Categories for Christianity

Who Is Jesus Christ Essay

Who Is Jesus Christ Essay

Jesus is the central figure of Christianity. For some believers, Jesus is the son of God and the Virgin Mary, who lived as a Galilean Jew, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and rose from the dead. Even for many non-believers, Jesus is a source of wisdom. In addition to Christians, some non-Christians believe he worked healing and other miracles. Believers debate issues of the relationship between Jesus as God the Son and God the Father. They also debate aspects of Mary.

Some believe they know details about the life of Jesus not recorded in the canonical Gospels. Debates sparked so much controversy in the early years that the emperor had to convene gatherings of Church leaders (ecumenical councils) to decide the course of Church policy.

More than two thousand years ago God sent Jesus Christ into this world. He became one of us, but he did nothing wrong. He showed us what God is like – merciful and kind. He healed the sick people, the blind were made to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk.

Some people followed him, and to them he gave a new way of life – God’s way. But others hated Him because He was so good, and he exposed their evil ways.

He gave his own life as a sacrifice, a payment for our sins. He died on the cross to save us. Three days after he died, Jesus Christ came back from the dead. Now He lives in the power of an endless life to meet your need, to be your Savior, to forgive your sins. Jesus Christ is the only one who can do this for you.

Most evidence for Jesus comes from the four canonical Gospels. Opinions differ on the validity of apocryphal texts like the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and the Proto-Gospel of James. Perhaps the biggest problem with the idea that Jesus is an historically verifiable figure for those who do not accept the validity of the Bible is the lack of corroborating evidence from the same period. The major ancient Jewish historian Josephus is usually cited as mentioning Jesus, yet even he lived after the crucifixion. Another problem with Josephus is the issue of tampering with his writing. Here are the passages attributed to Josephus said to help substantiate the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth.

Explain How Christian Charities and Communities Essay

Explain How Christian Charities and Communities Essay

May put these Ideas into Practice

Christian charities and communities put these ideas into action by devoting time to those who are less fortunate than themselves. They may work abroad as a doctor or nurse, or as an aid worker in a refugee camp. They may also provide help from their own homes by not being wasteful and donating old clothes and books and other objects that could be of use. There are certain organisations set up for Christians to help those less fortunate.

These include organisations such as Voluntary Service Overseas which offers service to people with the will to help and it helps set them up with some work to do abroad. Other people will make donations to charities or even set aside some of their monthly income to make sure that they give something each month to help thise less fortunate than themselves.

Christians are obligated to work towards helping those less fortunate than themselves. Charities such as Oxfam, Save the Children Fund and Comic Relief are all based to eliminate world poverty.

However, they are not based on any religious beliefs. Christian charities include the Salvation Army, Christian Aid, Tear Fund and CAFOD.

Christian Aid was organised just after the Second World War as many people had lost all their possesions and loved ones, including their home and family. Many people were left with nothing. That is when ‘Christian Reconstruction in Europe’ was set up, which raised a massive one million pounds! This helped people start to build up their lives again. Once the citizens in Europe started to become more settled, the attention was drawn to other countries where there was still a huge problem with poverty and injustice, such as Africa. The name of the organisation was then changed to ‘Christian Aid’ and has been known as that ever since.

Christian Aid has helped those in natural disasters (such as the war in Lebanon, the famine in Sudan and East Pakistan and others), by sending over money, doctors and medicines, clothes and food. The money sent over is used to build hospitals, education centres and wells for clean water. Most recently Christian Aid has campaigned for fair trade and for an end to Third World dept. Christian Aid works in more than 70 countries, and on more than 700 local projects. There are four main areas to Christian Aid, the first of which is fund-raising. Christian Aid Week started in 1957 and is a major nationwide event.

Churches are given a number of towns to manage between them, of which all houses in them have an envelope posted through. In this envelope are the aims of Christian Aid, along with the explaination of the work and asks for a donation. In 1995 �8,600,000 was raised. Christian Aid provides emergency aid to deal with natural disasters and refugees- this takes priority over long-term projects due to the extreme nature of the situations. This type of aid involves sending food and medicine as well as providing shelter for those affected.

About 10-15% of its funds are spent on emergency aid each year. Long-term projects such as in Bangladesh where a basic drugs factory has been funded have the aim to continue helping the country in the future. This is the main area of Christian Aid’s work, which encourages people in LEDC’s to work themselves out of poverty, so that they will not need aid in the future. The final area of Christian Aid’s work is education (in the UK mainly), where 5% of the budget is spent. ‘Christian Aid News’, a quarterly newspaper gives information on their developments as well as explaining the need for world development and ways in which Christians can help those in LEDC’s.

Christianity tries to make people in the west aware of the conditions in the Third World. They do this by running advertising campaigns and educatory packs for schools. They believe that increased awareness will mean that Christians and others will be more prepared to give to Third World charities.

The Salvation Army began in 1865 when William Booth, and his wife Catherine, realised that the poor were not being treated equally to the richer and they were not even allowed into churches. He believed the ‘church needed to go to the people, rather than the people coming to the church, to be touched by the Christian message.’

By 1900 the Army had spread around the world to 36 countries.The aim of The Salvation Army is ‘the advancement of the Christian religion…of education, the relief of poverty, and other charitable objects beneficial to society or the community of mankind as a whole.’ The Salvation Army are also aiming to reach out to others, in order to encourage them to do the same. The ‘community outreach team’ aims at doing just that, making people aware of the hundreds of people who are homeless in London alone!

Caritas is a world-wide Roman Catholic organisation which believes that it is not enough to give people in need material help. It believes in ‘providing the solidarity needed to nourish that hope which alone will enable our less fortunate brothers and sisters to take personal charge of their own lives and destiny and thus achieving that liberty which is their inalienable right as children of God.’

In England and Wales, Caritas is represented by CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development). CAFOD is considered one of the United Kingdom’s leading development and relief organisations, and funds over a thousand projects in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. Not only does CAFOD help those less fortunate but they also work within parishes, schools and community organisations to help teach others about poverty and it’s causes. They also run many fund raising projects through schools and otherwise, such as sponsored sports events to raise money. CAFOD aims to get rid of poverty in the Developing World, and aims to bring about justice and fair shares for everyone. CAFOD also does a lot of emergency work when it is needed. When there is a natural disaster incident, such as a flood, hurricane, or earthquake they provide food and then help with rebuilding.

Some Christians donate one tenth of their earnings as their duty towards helping the poor. Christian’s faith teaches that the wealth is by no means bad but they must learn the right purposes for earning it and using it, and would argue that they should give money to charity rather than spending it all on luxuries. This is illustarating the Eye of the Needle; “it is easier for a camel to go through a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God” as in the story of The Rich Man …

If the world were like it should be according to Christian teaching then the world would probably be a better place. The problem is that God gave men and women free will. If all of the world’s wealth was divided up equally between each person then not before very long the rich would be rich once again and the poor would be back where they were.

Truth About Christopher Columbus: the Man Behind a Genocide Essay

Truth About Christopher Columbus: the Man Behind a Genocide Essay

“…Christopher Columbus sailed to the end of the world and discovered the Americas”-Mary Tucker. This depiction of Columbus’ journey summarizes what nearly every American grew up learning about Christopher Columbus. That Columbus was a hero making contact between the worlds of Native America and Europe which eventually developed into the America we know today. We are told that Columbus was a tenacious and courageous navigator who sailed across the Atlantic because he wanted to prove the world was round.

He is described to have loved adventure and the high seas, and that he was a hero.

We are taught this from elementary school all the way through the end of our senior year in High school. Why is it, that at such an early age we are exposed to a lie about one of America’s founders? Is it as David Eagleman describes in his article The Moral of the Story; that it is a moral and humanistic obligation to persuade those who are young, that great things are accomplished by only those who are good natured and that the land they live on was discovered by a courageous and heroic man?

This is only made clear in children books which are littered with aspiring visualizations of Christopher Columbus sailing to shore and graciously becoming good friends with the Native Americans.

But sadly this description is far from the true nature of Christopher Columbus because behind his false heroic legacy is a gruesome reality. The Christopher Columbus whom we are taught to admire is responsible for stealing land from the indigenous population, causing the deaths and disruption of many Native American lives, which by current humanitarian dictates is considered genocide, and the installment of the first slave trade.

Christopher Columbus was responsible for the enslavement as well as the direct and indirect killing of millions of Native Americans. One Spanish crew member, who accompanied Columbus, wrote in his journal that there was neither “paper nor time enough to tell all that they [conquistadors] did to ruin the Indians and rob them and destroy the land” (Stannard). Despite the kind hearted actions of the Native Americans, which can be noted from one excerpt from Columbus’ Journal reads “These people… are very gentle and do not know what it is to be wicked, or to kill others, or to steal”( Mintz S. McNeil S. ) Columbus still did not bestow the same amount of kindness or courtesy.

He even noted in his log, “They… brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks bells… They were well built, with good bodies and handsome features… they do not bear arms… they would make fine servants … with fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want… (Mintz S. & McNeil S. “.)

This clearly shows Columbus’ selfish endeavors which only became more aggressive with the discovery of gold deposits which can be inferred from his requisition to Ferdinand, “…So your Highnesses should resolve to make them Christians, for I believe that if you begin, in a little while you will achieve the conversion of a great number of peoples to our holy faith, with the acquisition of great lordships and riches and all their inhabitants for Spain. For without doubt there is a very great amount of gold in these lands…. ” (Mintz, S. & McNeil S. , this eventually caused the destruction of a flourishing culture which provoked no violence.

After their arrival in the West Indies, the Spaniards traveled from island to island enslaving Indians and forcing them to mine gold. Those that did not produce a sufficient amount of gold were killed (Kasum). Columbus left for Spain with 500 enslaved Native Americans; those that survived the journey were then sold. This began the infamous slave trade ( Kasum). Columbus treated these people in the most inhumane ways possible, and completely disrupted their way of life.

One Spanish Missionary, Baltolome de las Casas wrote, “One day, [Columbus and his men] dismembered, beheaded, or raped 3,000 people. Such inhumanities and barbarism were committed in my sight” ( Kasum) Columbus also subjected the Native Americans to diseases, to which they had no immune system defense against. One such example was small pox; Columbus intentionally gave Native Americans blankets that were infected with the disease in an act of extermination to remove the Native American population from the land.

This in today’s terminology would be described as genocide. Columbus’ role in the installment of a slave trade also directly influenced the development of African slavery and can be correlated to the roots of racism. Native American’s had a higher susceptibility to disease and also were familiar with the land, which made it easier for them to escape and navigate in the forests (Malone). African slaves however were unfamiliar to the land and less susceptible to diseases the Europeans had.

The slave trade of African’s began in 1509 and continued for over 300 years, hich led to the development of the idea of an “inferior race” (Malone), until the emancipation proclamation of the Civil War which abolished slavery, but left the African-American population uneducated, impoverished and segregated until the civil rights movement. Even in current culture discrimination and tension between races is evident and can be correlated to Columbus’ role in the initial slave trade. In conclusion, Christopher Columbus is not a figure that should be renowned as a hero.

He has caused the destruction and death of millions of Native Americans and their cultures. His inhumane acts against the Native Americans would be, by today’s standards, considered crimes against humanity; and his role in the initial slave trade evidently led to segregation and racism. The acts he committed are similar to current genocides occurring in Rwanda and other locations around the globe; and yet he is idolized by the American public as a hero; and though his acts against humanity are evident and clear, they are overlooked and kept in the dark.

Is it because of shame or guilt that general education refuses to acknowledge that the country we call our own was founded by an act of mass genocide? I believe the answer lies in David Eagleman’s article The Moral of the Story; because he states morals of an individual are rooted from their childhood. David Eagleman states that “Stories serve the biological function of encouraging pro-social behavior. If we are honest and play by the rules, we reap the rewards of the protagonists; if we break the rules we earn the punishment accorded to the bad guy.

Christopher Columbus’ moment in history is taught at an early age; so could one imagine the moral roots of an individual who learns that we idolize a character who is responsible for the slaughter of millions of individuals. So perhaps the reason Christopher Columbus’ acts are overlooked is because of some moral obligation to perceive those who do great or contribute to society as heroes and protagonists.

Similar to Sister James Essay

Similar to Sister James Essay

Similar to Sister James I was left in doubt throughout the story regarding what was true and what was not. One aspect of the story that did not leave me in doubt was the juxtaposition of the very different philosophies of Sister Aloysius and Father Flynn. One the far end of rigid sternness was Sister Aloysius with her dislike of anything new or changing and who felt the children should be dealt with stern rigid methods. On the complete opposite side was Father Flynn who felt the children should be related to with kindness and love and favored progression to transform the school.

Even within the structured religious institution there was the classic dichotomy between black and white, light and dark, good and bad; although there is doubt about which character reflects which aspect, for most of the story I felt Sister Aloysius represented the black and Father Flynn the white. Through their conversations and actions the two waged a war of words and wills which left Sister James caught in the crossfire wherein she subsequently lost her innocence and was possibly the biggest victim of all.

Although she was perceived as ignorant by Sister Aloysius I feel Sister James simply had a new and progressive attitude towards the education of her students. Sister Aloysius quickly cut through her ideals on how she should teach and be regarded by students in favor of her own stern methods and approach while subsequently igniting the flame of doubt within Sister James. It is the doubt that quickly corrupts Sister James changing how she views herself and the world around her. She goes from perceiving the world from an optimistic and happy place to that of pessimistic and paranoid which she says makes her “feel as if I’m less close to God”. It struck me as highly unbecoming of anyone ordained as a nun to cause another sister to stray away from God and Sister Aloysius’s excuse of “In the pursuit of wrongdoing, one steps away from God” was weak at best. She seems to have had it out for Father Flynn from the beginning and done everything she could to get rid of him and even though she did the problem (if there was one) simply moved locations. Her actions can be easily justifiable only if her suspicions were correct and as the truth is never revealed the reader is left in doubt.

I feel there is a lot of meaning in the title and that the story would hold a different meaning if it were simply titled “Doubt”. Adding the words “A
Parable” change my perceptions and connotations about the underlying themes and messages of the work. Regarding parables while talking with Sister James Father Flynn says “You make up little stories to illustrate. In the tradition of the parable”, and later “What actually happens in life is beyond interpretation. The truth makes for a bad sermon. It tends to be confusing and have no clear conclusion”. In this play we never get at the truth and we never see or learn what really happened, all we have is the story that illustrates a point; in this case doubt. Father Flynn’s message of doubt and of the story were revealed in the first act in his sermon: “Doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty. When you are lost, you are not alone”. Sister James is the only character in the play that experiences profound doubt which may have lead her away from God or it may have created the strong bond and connection Father Flynn spoke of. Either way I am still left in quite a bit of doubt.

Impact of christianity Essay

Impact of christianity Essay

Christian dogmas have always been intertwined with philosophy regardless of the fact that most of the time both philosophers and theologians had polar opinions associated with religion and philosophy respectively. The first mentioning of philosophy in the Bible was encountered in the New Testament: See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.

(Colossians 2:8) Nevertheless, one of the earliest Christian representatives Tertullian always disagreed with the combination of ordinary temporal philosophical views and spiritual exalted religious dogmas.

To the contrary, another religious thinker St. Augustine of Hippo defended the idea of inter-complementation of abstract science and Christian faith only in case of their mutual compatibility. St.

Thomas Aquinas made great contribution to the Christianity’s impact on philosophy, as he was the first to distinguish these two important sectors of human perception of surrounding environment. He claimed that o Owing to philosophy information is being received through basic sensory functions: smell, touch, vision, hearing, and taste.

Also, it is possible to prove and check the data according to laws of physics initially based on philosophy as well. o Owing to Christianity, information is not something to be proved or argued.

It is to be accepted axiomatically especially when it is closely connected with God and Divine. After the Middle Ages the double nature of Jesus Christ (divine and human) was put in doubt and required explicit evidence regarding the origin and function of God. Philosophy could not succeed in answering this question, as the notions of humanity and divinity do not logically coincide with each other. Therefore, certain attempts were made with the help of Christianity to resolve the issue of imbalance.

Thus, we need to mention three major reasons why philosophy was isolated from Christianity. ? First of all, philosophers from English-speaking world were predominantly atheists and rejected all spiritual and divine aspects of human activity. They required strong logical evidence and proof for subjects of their investigation and discussion ? Secondly, rejecting Christian dogmas philosophers were constantly seeking alternative ways to find proof for their arguments and new methods and evidences hidden in other religions.?

Thirdly, philosophers believed that the language of religion and theology is too incoherent, irrational, and inconsistent that the meaning, no matter how important or of current importance it may be, loses its significance. Philosophical issues that have become Christianized include: ? Trinity: it was no clear for many thinkers why God consisted of three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In the 7th century the Council of Toledo announced: “we may say God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; but they are not three Gods, he is one God”.

Similar to how a solar system may consist of numerous cosmic bodies. ? Sacrifice and atonement: philosophers believed that one punishment is enough to give birth to another, which is not always fair. However, Christianity responded by proving that punishment has moral nature and it is not something that exceptionally deals with evil. In conclusion, we may add that Christianity had a great impact on philosophy since early times.

References Moore, N. B. , & Bruder, K. (2004). Philosophy: The Power of Ideas. 6th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Humanities.

Worldview Essay of Romans Essay

Worldview Essay of Romans Essay

Introduction

In Paul letter to the Romans he provides for us a biblical view of creation, which is our natural world, our human identity as it relates to God, human relationship and how it should be understood and culture. He shows us God’s love for all mankind, regardless of nationality or cultural background through His saving grace found in Jesus Christ. He grants salvation to all by faith in His son, with no favoritism or partiality. Man is incapable of saving himself, it is not earned through his works or good deeds, it’s only found by faith in Christ.

It is essential for us today to have a clear and proper biblical understanding of our Creator, our relationship to Him and others, sin and its consequences and also our justification and redemption found in Jesus Christ.

The Natural World

Our natural world was spoken into existence by God and was perfect in its creation. The bible explains to us how the world was formed in Genesis 1:1-25 and God called His creation good.

His purpose for creating our natural world and all that is in it was to worship and glorify Him. Our natural world is clearly a manifestation of His existence, sovereignty and power as stated in (Romans 1:20-21). There is general revelation of God’s creation, which speaks to everyone regardless of their culture and language and regardless of their access to Scriptures or the gospel according to (Psalms 19:1-6). God intended for man to subdue and take dominion of the earth, but man failed because of sin according to (Genesis 1:28). However, according to Romans 8:35-39, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. This is comforting to know that in a world that has fallen and is extremely sinful, that we have an assurance and hope, which is found by faith in Christ Jesus.

Human Identity

Our identity originated in God, and in His image were we made (Genesis 1:26-27). We not only have a spiritual image but also a physical image as well. Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, meaning God with us, came in the form of a man to redeem mankind back to the Father. But, since the inception of sin, our physical and spiritual image has been marred and our fellowship with God was broken. We were born with an identity problem, because we are descendants of Adam and Eve who sinned, and their act of independence passed down from generation to generation.

In Romans 1:21-24, these people knew God, but their hearts and minds had become darkened and they reveled in wickedness. They thought of themselves to be wise, however they were fools. They even exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man, birds and animals and snakes. They distorted the image of their Creator and God gave them over to their sinful desires and the lust of their own hearts. Man will never fully understand his true identity until he comes to a saving knowledge of who Christ is and what He has done for him. Only then will his eyes be open and his new identity revealed.

Human Relationships

Our human relationships with each other can be challenging because of sin and its tendencies to put strife between us. God intended for man and woman to be fruitful and multiply, to dwell in peace, love and unity. We are to love and forgive one another, and not stand in judgment against each other. Show kindness to our enemies even those who oppose God. For God is love. However, that changed after sin entered our world. Man began to do what was pleasing and right in his own eyes. Sin took man so far from God’s design that they exchanged their natural affections for each other. They abandoned their natural desire for each other to unnatural ones, although they knew these things were wrong. Therefore God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do what ought not to be done (Romans 1:26-32). Paul states in Romans 6:23 for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Culture

We can clearly see the culture of that time had completely turned from God even though they knew God. They rejected Him and lived life on their own terms and by their own rules. This is the mindset of our culture today. The early church culture also dealt with a lot of legalism. Some believe to be a Christian one must obey the laws of Moses, which I believe is in error. Our justification is in Christ and not the law. After the cross, the two nations of Jews and Gentiles are now one in Christ. The new covenant is to both the Jews and the Gentiles (Ephesians 2:11-22). There is much division in our world because of different worldviews and how one believes. In Romans, Paul teaches us our sanctification and justification is in Christ alone. The mercy and grace of God has been extended to all mankind regardless of race, creed, color or culture.

We have a responsibility to share the love of God with all cultures to bring them to a saving knowledge of God’s grace through Christ. In conclusion, Paul teachings help us to understand how God views sin and its consequences. His message also reveals God’s righteousness and forgiveness through Christ. Our natural world, our human identity, relationships and our culture has been given a glorious opportunity to be renewed and redeemed through the blood of Jesus. We should not conformed to this world, but be transformed by renewing our minds and share that revelation to others through the love of God. Therefore, having a proper biblical worldview are both essential and valuable to us and our world.

The Hidden Christians Essay

The Hidden Christians Essay

The Portuguese Catholic Missionaries introduced Christianity in Japan in the 16th century. After its introduction the religion experienced unprecedented growth for about fifty years when the Tokugawa government under Hideyoshi, issued a decree outlawing the religion in 1614. This was because he was alarmed by the colonization and conversion of Philippines (Japan’s neighbor) by Spain. The edict led to the expulsion of the Christian missionaries from Japan.

About 150,000 natives who had converted to Christianity went underground and continued to practice their faith secretly, they are known as the “Hidden Christians” because of their secretive nature.

There followed widespread repression of the Christians who numbered about 750,000. Great repression was witnessed in the southern fringes of Japan where about 6,000 Christians were killed. The repression was to continue for almost 300 hundred years until the arrival of Commodore Perry in 1853 when the persecutions eased.

In 1873 Christianity was legalized in Japan. Missionaries returned again in the late 19th century in the southern islands of Japan that are remote to coax about 50,000 of the hidden Christians to come out in the open.

After the isolation ended some of the hidden Christians continued to practice the secretive belief that had been handed down to them by their ancestors. There are some of the hidden Christians today in Japan.

The belief and practices entail the existence of three persons who are responsible for leading various ceremonies, conducting of baptisms, and helping out in ceremonies including maintaining some level of contact between the members. Four fundamental issues that include Polytheism, Present gain, ancestor worship and ritualism on the other hand characterize the belief system. Today the faith of the hidden Christians is facing one of its greatest challenges.

Instead of the persecutors of yester years the faith is facing indifference especially from the young generation who lack the time to learn the ancient chants.

Works Cited

Ann m. Harrington: Japan’s Hidden Christians Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1993. P12-14 Miyazaki Kentaro: Hidden Christians in contemporary Nagasaki: Retrieved on 24th April from http://www. uwosh. edu/faculty_staff/earns/miyazaki. html Turnbull,Stephen: The Kakure Kirishitan of Japan. Japan Library. Curzon Press. 1998 12-14 Thelle, Notto R.: Buddhism and Christianity in Japan: From conflict to dialogue: 1854 1899. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1987 34-35 New York Times Article: Lack of Oppression Hurts Christianity in Japan: Apr. 3, 1997 James Brooke: Once Banned, Christianity Withers in an Old Stronghold: Ikitsuki Journal; December 25, 2003 Retrieved on 24th April from http://query. nytimes. com/gst/fullpage. html? res=9B02EFDC163EF936A15751C1A9659C8B63 www. reuters. com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUST14106220071219: Japan’s Hidden Christians face extinction: Article dated19 Dec 2007:Retrieved on 24th April 2008

Explain Christian views on suicide Essay

Explain Christian views on suicide Essay

In a broad sense suicide can be defined as, “the act of intentionally ending your life.” However, there are many different types of suicide. Durkheim identified four kinds: egoistic suicide, which is the result of feeling one’s life is meaningless; altruistic suicide, the act of giving one’s life for the greater good; anomic suicide, the result of a major social change that disrupts a person’s sense of order; and fatalistic suicide, the results of excessive regulation, when one’s future is pitilessly blocked by oppressive discipline, such as in a prison or dictatorship.

Christians believe that all life is sacred, and therefore the vast majority of denominations are against all forms of suicide. In examining the reasons behind this, a good place to start is the Christian teaching on the sacredness of human life.

Christians believe in the sanctity of life, meaning that all human life is created in God’s image and has intrinsic worth. The Decalogue teaches, “Do not kill.

” This includes killing oneself. Elsewhere in the Old Testament, Ecclesiastes 7:17 states, “Be not over much wicked, neither be you foolish: why should you die before your time?” Prematurely ending your life prevents the believer from serving God to his full potential. This idea is backed up in the New Testament, where the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Christians reject the idea of total bodily autonomy, meaning that they do not believe we have the right to do whatever we want with our bodies. The Bible suggests that our bodies are not our own, but God’s, and therefore we do not have the right to destroy them.

Historical church fathers have held consistently negative views on suicide. Augustine was one of the first to publically speak out against it. He opposed it because we have a duty of selfâcare arising from natural inclination and we have a debt of love that we owe to others. In The City of God he wrote, “certainly he who kills himself is a homicide, and so much guiltier of his own death, as he was more innocent of that offence for which he doomed himself to die.”

To take one’s own life into one’s hands and act precipitously by committing suicide is to look away from God (a final and definitive refusal of trust in God and a denial of trust in his providence, by the very nature of the act itself excluding any subsequent repentance/penance).

Furthermore, Aquinas was also against suicide. In Summa Theologica he set forth three reasons why suicide is immoral. Firstly, it is contrary to natural law. Secondly, suicide does injury to the common good because the person’s community will suffer. Thirdly, it is a sin against God because life is God’s gift to man. For it belongs to God alone to pronounce sentence of death and life, according to Deuteronomy 32:39, “I will kill and I will make to live.”

However, there is one form of suicide that some Christians would accept, and that is altruistic suicide in the form of martyrdom or self-sacrifice. Jesus taught that, “Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” For example, in Judges Samson brings down a temple killing both himself and the Philistines. Augustine said that suicide was rooted in pride and lack of charity, whereas martyrdom is commendable and for the good of others.

The different Christian denominations are generally unified when it comes to views on suicide. In the Roman Catholic Church it is regarded as a mortal sin, and the Catechism asserts, “Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life.”

The Presbyterian Church would hold a similar view, as the Westminster Confession reads, “The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in the case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defence.” Even though they clearly teach that suicide is a sin, it is not an unpardonable sin. Salvation is by grace alone and if one is truly saved, nothing (not even suicide) can separate them from Jesus. The United Methodist Church believes that suicide is not the way life should end, but would be hesitant to label it a sin. Therefore, they denounce the condemnation of people who commit suicide, and do not believe surviving family should be stigmatised.

Modern psychology has impacted the Christian view of suicide. In the past Christians were guilty of separating physical and mental illness and although they were in support of treatment for physical ailments, they were wary of psychiatric treatment. Even today some fundamentalist churches would see illnesses such as depression as purely spiritual afflictions. In the wake of high profile suicides such as Rick Warren’s son Matthew, most leaders are encouraging the Church to acknowledge that matters of depression and suicide are medical in nature and should be addressed no differently than other physical illnesses. They imply that to do otherwise promotes stigma, shame and restricts the believer’s access to appropriate care.

Another reason why Christians are against suicide is the profound negative effect it can have on other people.

Suicide does not just harm the person who dies, it is a form of bereavement even more devastating than usual because the family will forever agonise over what led the person to take their life, and if they could have prevented it. This is especially so if the family discover the body or witness the suicide. Suicide can damage close communities such as schools and churches. Wyatt said that, “suicide can have devastating effects on others. In fact, it can be one of the most selfish and destructive acts anyone can perform.”

Christian Science Essay

Christian Science Essay

Modern day America is home to many Protestant groups, most of which had their foundation largely influenced by 19th century Protestantism in the region. During the period, irresistible dynamism rocked American Protestant groups, coinciding with an epoch in which the American society readily allowed the founding of new churches and religious movements. Amid growing revivalism and much freedom to develop, the 19th century also saw mounting interest in millennialism and the rise of Adventism. All these resulted in new Protestant groups, some motivated by the looming Second Coming of Christ and while others invented new religious doctrines.

A few broke away from existing churches while others claimed their foundation in new revelations. Among the key churches founded then include the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Christian Science and the Seventh-Day Adventist. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, popular as the Mormons and founded by Joseph Smith, was among the first churches to be formed.

In his boyhood, Smith experienced visions via which he was advised against joining existing churches, and told he would be active in restoring true Christianity.

In 1823, he was guided by a heavenly messenger named Moroni to a hill in New York, where he discovered strange writing covering two thin golden plates. His translation of the writing, aided by Moroni, is now the Book of Mormon and is based on Christ’s teachings. Mormons deem their faith akin to that founded by Jesus in North America. Although they accept the influence of the old and new testaments, their scriptural doctrine includes the Book of Mormon and two other texts, Doctrines and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price; both based on Smith’s revelations and sermons.

The discovery of the Book of Mormons allured many followers to Smith’s church, whose membership is now roughly eight million, with headquarters in Salt Lake City. Christian Science was on its part founded in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy, originally a member of a Congregational Church. As a young woman, she suffered from nervous disorders that physicians and hypnotists could not cure. She in 1866 claimed to have been totally cured after reading a New Testament account of one of the miraculous healings Jesus performed. She subsequently founded the church, which she described in her book Science and Health.

Its members disregard formal creeds and doctrines, with some fully devoting themselves to tutor others how to use ‘scientific prayer’ to access God’s healing love. Christian Science has over 3, 000 congregations in 50 countries, with headquarters in Boston. This church is seen as the source of New Thought, a larger American religious movement attributed to Emma Hopkins. Emma was Baker’s student and a teacher, whose students later formed new versions of New Thought such as the Unity School of Christianity, Religion Science and Divine Science and the Unity Movement.

The latter has congregations in most USA cities and abroad. On the Adventist front, the Seventh-Day Adventist is the main church. It was founded by Ellen White. White was a follower of William Miller, a millennialist who founded the first Adventist denomination and wrongly proclaimed Christ would return in 1843 to preside over a final judgment. Ellen experienced many visions that inspired her books. And being a gifted speaker, she drew thousands to her lectures, in which she attributed the delay of the predicted Second Coming to Christians’ failure to obey the Ten Commandments.

Today, the church has nearly four million members, with half a million living in the USA. The Jehovah’s Witnesses is also a millennialist group, formed in 1881 by Charles Taze Russell. At 20, Russell’s study of the Bible led him to a verdict that the Second Coming would occur in 1874, when Christ would invisibly return. This was to be followed by the Battle of Armageddon and end of the world in 1914. His ideas drew him hundreds of followers and membership continued to rise even after his prophesy failed to materialize.

The church, with headquarters in New York, now has over two million members in 200 countries. They understand Christ to be God’s son but reject the doctrine of the Trinity and still believe that a ‘great tribulation’ is imminent. Considering that the churches discussed here are just the main ones and have followers worldwide, it is clearly evident that 19th century American Protestantism played a middle role in both the origination and molding of the course, and even beliefs, of numerous modern-day churches and movements. References LD.

The call to discipleship Essay

The call to discipleship Essay

Vocation comes from the Latin word calling which we as Christian’s believe is a calling from God to become followers of Jesus and make our pilgrimage her on earth. Throughout the old and new testament God has called to people and inspired them to begin their individual vocation through the use of the holy spirit which strengthens the individual’s mind and body since God is now with them to guide the on their journey.

Presumable of the most famous callings in the Old Testament was that of Moses where he was called by God when ‘the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush’ allowing him to received the Holy Spirit which enabled him to embark on his vocation to lead his people into freedom and salvation from their Egyptian rulers.

Consequently many people now, in contemporary society are inspired and motivated by this same Holy Spirit giving them the spiritual strength to begin on their own vocation as God uses the Holy Spirit to speak with his people directly as in the burning bush or in directly as in through life experiences, natural events or historical events.

The Gospel indicate that a decisive moment for Jesus when he realised his calling was with his meeting with John the Baptist, where ‘upon coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the spirit, like a dove, descend on him and a voice come out from heaven saying you are my son the beloved; my favour rests at you’. Consequently it is at this point that Jesus realised his calling when receiving the Holy Spirit, leading him to begin his public ministry as is displayed in Matthew 4:1-2. Essentially Jesus’ baptism allowed him to foresee his vocation as well as strengthening his mind and body to continue with his vocation even though he known of the troubled times he will come across as God was there to guide and protect him. Furthermore due to Jesus’ vocation Simon and Andrew acknowledged there when they were recruited by Jesus to became his disciples as Jesus announces he will make the fishers, ‘fishers of men’ causing them to ‘leave their nets and follow him’ as they realised their vocation was to be a disciple for Jesus by learner for the wise man, as told in Mark 16:20.

Through his various teaching and parables, Jesus taught his disciples to ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’ Matthew 5:44, outlining his teaching about loving your neighbours on the Sermon on the Mount in Mark 7:24-27. During which his expands on the Ten Commandments Moses had inscribed on the rock teaching that the most important commandment was to ‘love God with all your heart, mind and strength’ followed closely by the golden rule telling early Christians to ‘do onto others as you would like them to do onto you’.

After Jesus’ death many of these teachings were continued by the work of the apostles who were filled with the energy of God as ‘they saw tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there filling them with the holy spirit’ inspiring them to teach to people across the world as Jesus had done Acts 2:1-5. Consequently all the marks of a disciple of Jesus being love, compassion and service to the lord stayed with the disciple well after Jesus’ death as a result of his teaching prior to his death, such as in the last supper – John 13:14 – where Jesus washed the feet’s of his disciple ‘if I, your lord and teacher have washed your feet, you then should wash the feet of others’. Furthermore the fact that disciple comes from the Latin word learner proved to be the bases of which the disciples had to undergo before they were able to able apostles of the lord and spread the word of God.

Baptism, being a Greek work for being bathed or totally washed is the sacrament for the initiation of a person into the Christian community, helping us unshackle our souls from the original sin committed Adam and Eve from their failure to obey God. For Catholics baptism is the normal way by which a person becomes a Christian and is celebrated by a religious ceremony of initiation by a person into the Christian community. The origin of baptism began with the baptism of Jesus marking a new beginning in his life since he received the Holy Spirit and God declared him to be his son. Through this sacrament a person who is baptised becomes a child of God by receiving the Holy Spirit as well as their calling from God. They are many different types of paths a person can follow each with an individual vocation ranging from discipleship, being called a witness or being a member a community.

The laity can follow in Jesus example and lead a vocation of their own in several different ways all through the work they do. The call to religious life is the vocation undertaken by monks and nuns who believe that to be able to show complete and utter dedication to their religion means they must isolate themselves from the busyness of contemporary by spending most of their lives praying and reflecting. Furthermore the call to Priesthood is another vocation that some few select people in contemporary society embark on which involves them taking the three evangelical as those who chose the religious life. Although people recognise these vocations are important as they show dedication to God, the call to married life and parenthood also show the same devotion to God since 1 Corinthians tell us that “”. Consequently this vocation can only be undertaken by the laity whom have not had to take any of the three evangelical counsel preventing them from marring or having children. Additionally as well as these vocations there are many others which people do as a career although not to obtain money but to give service to others through their job e.g. doctor, nurse, teacher or social worker.

In conclusion there are many ways in which to show love towards God such as praying, attending mass and showing compassion towards others which Jeusu taught us to do, during his time here on earth.

aii) explain why some Christians join communities and take vows of poverty chastity and obedience

For the many Christian that choose to dedicate there lives to God and live their life in a religious order, the fundamental reason they that believe that this type of life will be better suited to them is that they deem that the new change in life will help them come closer to Jesus in many new ways as they will be encouraged in that pursuit by the examples of other sincere Christian who want to do the same. Additionally it is easier for them to achieve their purpose without the distractions and busy-ness of modern living with its emphasis on materialism. This life new type of life relieves them of the demands of partners, children or work and thus giving them more time to spend in prayer, meditation and worship.

The roots of monasteries can be traced back to the time of Jesus when Christians were being persecuted for their belief, because of this to be a faithful Christian meant being willing to be a martyr, which required a high level of dedication to the gospel. However as Christianity came into favour and the persecution stopped some Christians desired to restore the high level of dedication as they had experience during the persecution.

They did this by living as hermit in isolated places such as deserts and eventually joined together in communities setting the beginning of a monastic life. At this present time these communities of Christian who have separated themselves from their worldly possessions to commit to become as perfect Christians as possible are called monasteries. These days the people living this kind of life are called monks and nuns and abide by arrangement which they must live under called a rule, the best known monastic rule being that of Saint Benedict. Religious communities are now more diverse in nature but all share the same desire for dedication to the Gospel.

The three evangelical counsels which monks and nuns take when they join a religious order are the vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. The vow of poverty is taken by monks and nuns to allow them to experience the life of the poor as they’re more sensitive to the needs of the poor when poor themselves than being blinded by wealth. Consequently to do this shows complete trust in God as it enable them to live in the service of others as Jesus did, founding the origins of Christians poverty. Furthermore for someone to be a true follower of God the must give up all their earthly possession to inherit the treasures of heaven as Jesus said to the rich young man (Mark 10:17-22) ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me’.

Furthermore monks and nuns take the vow of chastity as living a celibate life allows them to dedicate their life to the Gospels without the distraction of family life or working life. Living a celibate life mean that both monks and nuns have to give up their sexual relations like Jesus and not have a husband, wife or children because Christians husbands and wives have the duties of loving each other and share in the responsibility of looking after the children, limiting what they can do to promote the gospel and live in service to others like Jesus disciples.

The third of the three evangelical counsels, which monks and nuns take, is the vow of obedience. They vow to be obedient to God and follow in Jesus’ example as the bible depicts Jesus as being in perfect obedience to God since Christians believe that he died not because he wanted to, but in accordance with God’s will (Mark 14:32-36) ‘Take this cup away from me. But let it be as you, not I, would have it’. For the dedicated Christians who want to be as obedient as Jesus they must all obey human authority that in included in obedience to God because all authority comes from God, although many people find it difficult to submit authority because of their pride. Consequently the vow of obedience enables a religious community to be united in the service of God and others with an abbot if chosen by monks or mother superior if chosen by nuns leading them.

There are many religious orders in contemporary society all whom follow the examples set by Jesus although in different ways. Apostolic order or those who lead active lives try to show their love for God by helping their neighbours directly. For example Benedictine monks provide education in their schools and by doing this show their love towards their neighbours which in turn shows love for God.

However there are orders whom unlike the Benedictine monks follow the contemplative life by being totally focused on God. This requires them to be separated from the everyday world and be committed to God as a contemplative person, mainly monks and nuns, is one who seeks to live with a permanent awareness of Gods presence. Consequently orders such as these show their devotion to God by reading and meditating on scriptures in order to understand Gods purpose and to experience his love in their lives. Additionally they spend most of the time in prayer to God to be able to listen to what he has to say to them.

aiii) explain the purpose and practice of ONE particular religious community

An example of a religious order that exits in contemporary society and leads both active and contemplative lives is that of the Friars of the Order of Preachers, known as Dominicans after they founder St Dominic. They are a religious order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Order was founded in the south of France in the early thirteenth century where St Dominic realised that some of the central truths of the gospel were being denied, and saw the need to establish a preaching community. Consequently Dominic and his brothers showed by their lives and in their preaching that it was possible to live a radical form of life without abandoning the truth of the gospel. This message soon spread quickly throughout Europe, being especially strong in the centres of learning. The Order was “known from the beginning to have been instituted especially for preaching and the salvation of souls” and is “appointed entirely for the complete evangelisation of the Word of God”.

Dominican friars live in priories, usually with at least six brothers under an elected prior. The Divine Office and Mass are sung daily by the community, and form the heart of the common life. Sharing meals and recreation together is also an important part of community life. Any works of the brothers are seen as works they do as a member of the priory. They profess obedience directly to the Master of the Order, and so can be moved to another priory, as the needs of the Church and if the Order requires.

As part of their profession of obedience they also bind themselves to the celibate life and the life of personal poverty, so as to be free for the common apostolate. Their life is not only a witness to the gospel in itself, but prepares them to preach that gospel. So that they can minister the word and the sacraments of faith, most of the brothers are ordained priests; however there are also non-ordained brothers who contribute in various ways to the preaching community and thus share fully in the work of the order.

As they are required to be men of prayer, in times of quiet contemplation as well as in the liturgy and in all that they do, they must never lose touch with the God whom they study and preach. Dominican friars are both apostolic and contemplative. Contemplation means both prayer and study, so all the brothers are called upon to devote time to study, whatever their other work might be. In a number of cases this means full-time academic research and teaching, but for every friar it means a continual enrichment of their preaching. The first eight years of a friar’s life in the Order are set aside for full-time initial formation, principally the study of theology and philosophy, according to the needs and abilities of the brothers.

The purpose of their regular and contemplative life is to prepare them to preach the gospel, not only in the homilies given at Mass, but also by lecturing, writing books and pamphlets, appearing on radio or television and producing material for the Internet. They preach their gospel to the people they meet in their work in parishes, schools, hospitals, prisons, universities and all the other places where Dominican friars are found. Wherever their work takes them, they try to emulate their founder St Dominic, who, it was said, spoke always either to God or about God.

Dominican priories in particular areas are grouped into provinces. It is the province, which is responsible for admitting, training and nurturing friars, and so a province builds up over time its own character and traditions. The English province covers the whole of Great Britain, and is also given the care of three islands in the West Indies. In Britain there are 75 friars in seven houses, at Oxford, London, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Newcastle, Leicester and Glasgow. Apart from prayer and study there is a wide range of work that is done in these houses: parishes, chaplaincies to universities, schools, hospitals and prisons. A number of brothers are writers or lecturers, many of who teach in Blackfriars, a Hall of the University of Oxford run by the Order.

There are nearly forty provinces of friars in the Order of Preachers, from all parts of the world, all united by obedience to the Master of the Order. Sharing in the charism of the order there are also enclosed nuns, apostolic sisters and members of Dominican lay fraternities, priestly fraternities and secular institutes. Their order has a world-wide mission, and so they work to spread the gospel not only by preaching in their own lands but also in those places around the world where the Christian message of hope has not been heard.

b) Give response to the view that:

“Christians should lead active rather than contemplative lives.”

In the argument concerning whether Christians should lead an active rather than a contemplative life my beliefs would strongly support the argument for many reasons. The fundamental reason being that Jesus led an active life during his time here on earth by helping others and preaching the Word of God. Nevertheless many people believe that leading a contemplative life shows greater devotion to God as Jesus himself said that the first and greatest commandment is to love God and this should come above all other in his teaching on the Sermon on the Mount.

Consequently because of this many people may misinterpret the message given since not only can show the same devotion and love by leading a contemplative life but you can also show the same devotion and love by leading an active life. This is supported by the parable of the sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46)

‘come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’,

indicating that both active and contemplative lives show love to God as Jesus taught us that love must be more than mere words but we are charged to act on our love and this can only be done by living an active life since you go out and help people rather than pray all day.

Furthermore Jesus sent his disciples as apostles with specific tasks (Mark 6:7-13) ‘he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits’ tells us that we should follow the apostles’ example and lead an active life since Jesus told his own disciples to lead an active life making sure that Christianity exists in contemporary society as the apostles spread the word of God to all parts of the world ‘they went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them’.

Despite this clear example of why people should lead an active life some still disagree and say that Jesus praised the example of Mary over Martha (Luke 10:38-42) ‘Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her’ telling them that showing devotion to God through prayer and contemplation is more worthy of praise. However even though Jesus may have said this, the fact that Christians should be Christ like means we should therefore do the kind of work he did and he led an active life himself.

The Gospel offers us numerous examples of the compassion shown by Jesus to the sick, the lame, the lepers and those who were considered to be outcastes of his society. Jesus prayed over them but he also cured them. Consequently many Christians use this as their inspiration to act on their love of other through giving active service in their communities e.g. St Vincent De Paul, CAFOD, Missionaries of Charity all whom work to help the outcastes of our society. Those who lead contemplative lives, on the other hand say that Jesus himself went off to pray on different occasions such as his 40 days in the desert meaning he did sometimes lead a contemplative life therefore being alone to pray and mediate in order to communicate with God is a very important part of Christian Vocation.

Nevertheless all Christians have a vocation to evangelise and this can only be done by leading an active life since in a contemplative monks and nuns usually live in enclosed orders cut off from the outside world to focus on their relationship with God. They defend their way of life by saying Jesus warned us against the possibility of becoming tangled up in material possessions in the Parable of the Rich Young Man (Mark 10:17-22) as ‘it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.’ Leading a contemplative life prevents this materialistic temptations encroach on life as they take vows of chastity, obedience and poverty to join their orders and do not mix with society.

In conclusion I consider that leading an active life would be better than leading a contemplative life because it gives you the opportunity to help others which is what Jesus himself did and told others to do during his time here on earth. However, we should also combine this with times set aside in our day for prayer and contemplation. Sundays should be set aside for attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion. Many religious orders show us how it is possible to combine the active and contemplative life and Mother Teresa’s order. The Missionaries of Charity is an example. These sisters have special times during their day, which they set aside for prayer, meditation and contemplation. They also go to work in the Homes for the dying, the orphans or in the communities. For other monks and nuns who join contemplative orders, this is their choice and their belief that this is their vocation, a different route to heaven but no less important.