For Protestants, the loophole is “Once saved, always saved”.
For Catholics, it’s either “If I support the Latin Mass, and can quote Pope Pius X out of context, and know all the plenary indulgences by heart, and eat fish on Fridays…” or “As long as I follow the Spirit of Vatican II, I can get away with anything, especially those pesky teachings on sexuality and abortion…”
The question, now, is what all these things have in common, and that is presumption.
We begin to go astray when we presume upon God’s mercy, and think that all our misdeeds will be automatically forgiven “as long as we’re doing the right sort of things”. Ultimately, we are judged on the totality of our lives and how well they conformed to the teachings of Christ and His Church - not just by reciting the “Sinner’s Prayer” (copyright 19XX AD, Jack Chick) or by being a good “Traditional” or “Liberal”.
If it was meant as a joke, perhaps a would have been an appropriate addition to your post? Considering some Catholics seem to have an attitude of superiority over Protestants (and vice versa), it is not a reasonable assumption it was meant as a joke, with no indication otherwise.
I hope this doesn’t mean that you don’t believe that the Catholic Church is the One True Apostolic Church because if it does than that means your’re not believing what you are obligated to believe as a Catholic. (I know not all Catholics believe all that their suppossed to, but I wanted to be sure you understood this.)
A good Christian is one who puts God above all things and loves others as God loves. We are all bad Christians sometimes because we sin.
But anyway, God says: “Love God above all things and love others as you love yourself.”
You can’t really love others ‘as you love yourself’, without loving yourself first; because you can’t compare something to something that doesn’t exist. But God is love. And He made us to love, so in Him we know and learn how to love correctly.
So the real order is: Love God, love yourself, love others. That’s how you have to live.
The problem with the atheist is that he or she ignores the first one, so without that foundation, I really can’t say he or she is a good Christian, and I would say his or her love is not perfect.
But anyway this my conclusion. I think you’re on to something when you say that Protestants, or even in my opinion, people who don’t believe in God, are better people or better Christians than we are sometimes. But that’s an issue about sin, not Christianity. I don’t think they’re better than Christians meaning people who are truly Christians, (meaning they love the way I described above).
They’re just better than the people who are bad Christians, and I don’t think that says very much, sorry. They just act the way we are supposed to act, the way Christianity has already told us to act. Good actions promote Christian beliefs, period, because Christianity doesn’t demand anything evil. An atheist who is doing good works is not being better than a Christian, they are being better than someone who is not a Christian or is failing at their attempt at being a Christian.
So to the two of you arguing, you’re both right. One who lacks God or misinterprets God’s teaching is a bad Christian, but then again, one who sins is a bad Christian as well. So theoretically, we’re all better or worse than each other at times. But if one is like Mary, a perfect human, then no protestant or atheist will ever match up; there can’t be anyone better than someone who follows God’s laws perfectly because God is perfect.
I apologize if I am confusing, I’m not a very good writer
Overall I think it’s not a good idea to focus a lot of attention on the ‘bad Christains.’ While we can newver condone anything that is an objective evil, the danger in this type of focus is that we are talking about other people in a way that saying that they are bad in some way and in particluar in comparison with us. This makes it easy to miss our own sins and faults. In my opinion this is not a good approach.
So we are the One Holy Apostolic Church founded by Jesus. We say that we believe that.
(I have a huge problem with saying we “must” believe that – my beliefs are an act of discovery, not a matter of will – instead of saying “we get to” believe that. Our Church is a gift, not a tyrant – or well, ummm… nm )
But if our belief about the origins of our church gives us big heads when comparing ourselves to Protestants, than really we’re worse off for believing it than if we hadn’t. Because it makes us self-righteous (for nothing we did btw – just being a member of a group) and condescending, which are exactly the attitudes that made Jesus go ballistic. So if we presume to be the “correct” ones compared to them, (whether we actually are is a separate issue) then we definitely need to be vigilant against all form of pride, even if subtle.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector.’
As I understand Jesus was a Pharisee. Nothing wrong with being a Pharisee, right? Just with being a Pharisee and looking down upon those who aren’t like us. :okpeople:
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