1. Zugzwang
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    23 Feb '14 21:01
    While I'm not a Christian, I did not create this thread to criticize Christians.
    I'm just curious about how the Christians here would handle this situation.

    A friend of mine has an Irish Protestant father and an Irish Catholic mother.
    Given the history of conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland,
    some of her parents' relatives--on both sides--refused to speak to them
    again after they got married. My friend describes herself as a Christian, yet
    she always has refused to identify herself as Catholic or Protestant (not
    to mention as Orthodox, Mormon, etc.), even in private conversations
    with someone (like me) who's not related to her.

    I have asked her: 'I can understand why you would prefer not to say
    whether you consider yourself Catholic or Protestant in public or to your
    relatives and thus seem to be taking sides in a family dispute. But how do
    you feel deep inside?' She said, 'What do you mean? Why do I have to
    *make* a choice between being a Catholic or a Protestant?' I said, 'You
    don't have to *express* a choice. But you say that you have given much
    thought to your Christian beliefs. Surely, by now you should have thought
    about whether you consider yourself Catholic or not? Do you accept the
    authority of the Catholic Church and the Pope or not?'

    I reassured my friend that I was not going to reveal whatever she chose to
    confide in me. And I believe that she trusted me about that. My motive
    was simply to gain a better understanding of her personal Christian beliefs.

    After I asked her, she denied that she considered herself as belonging to
    any branch or sect of Christianity other than Catholicism or Protestantism.
    Yet I never could get a straight answer from her about whether or not
    she accepted the authority of the Catholic Church. In logical terms,
    she preferred to adhere to the 'excluded middle', accepting neither the
    proposition nor its negation. (It's like calling a coin flip as 'edge' rather
    than 'heads' or 'tails'.) So I inferred that either she had not thought as
    much about her Christian beliefs as she claimed she had or, more likely,
    she had made a private commitment to either Catholicism or Protestantism,
    which her emotions, based on her family's history, prevented her from
    acknowledging at all. What bothered me was that she seemed to be doing
    her utmost to deny there were any differences between Catholicism and
    Protestantism, which seemed intellectually disingenuous.

    So I'm wondering if other Christians here would respond to this question
    like she did: "You say are you a Christian. Are you a Catholic, a Protestant,
    or another kind of Christian?" "I know I'm not another kind of Christian.
    But I cannot say that I'm a Catholic or a Protestant. I'm just a Christian."

    Any comments?
  2. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    23 Feb '14 21:42
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    While I'm not a Christian, I did not create this thread to criticize Christians.
    I'm just curious about how the Christians here would handle this situation.

    A friend of mine has an Irish Protestant father and an Irish Catholic mother.
    Given the history of conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland,
    some of her parents' relatives--on both s ...[text shortened]...
    But I cannot say that I'm a Catholic or a Protestant. I'm just a Christian."

    Any comments?
    " My friend describes herself as a Christian, yet
    she always has refused to identify herself as Catholic or Protestant (not
    to mention as Orthodox, Mormon, etc.), even in private conversations
    with someone (like me) who's not related to her." D64

    Your friend appears to be an astute maturing Christian who thinks enough of you and values your friendship enough not to be inveigled into cheapening the conversation with a non biblical distinction. She simply believes in Christ without apology.
  3. Zugzwang
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    23 Feb '14 22:021 edit
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    " My friend describes herself as a Christian, yet
    she always has refused to identify herself as Catholic or Protestant (not
    to mention as Orthodox, Mormon, etc.), even in private conversations
    with someone (like me) who's not related to her." D64

    Your friend appears to be an astute maturing Christian who thinks enough of you and values your fri ...[text shortened]... the conversation with a non biblical distinction. She simply believes in Christ without apology.
    I have more respect for her than for GrampyBobby, who seems to
    represent about the worst kind of Christian, appearing disingenuous again.

    I don't have a problem with my friend being a Christian. I don't have a
    problem with her choosing to be a Catholic, Protestant, or another kind
    of Christian. I don't have a problem with her preferring to keep her choice
    secret from her own family. My point is that, however, she should make
    (and I suspect that she may already have done) some choice. It seems
    intellectually dishonest to act as though there were no differences in beliefs
    between Catholics and Protestants, particularly when she could not avoid
    acknowledging there has been a long record of conflict between Catholics
    and Protestants.

    If a gunman (of unknown affiliation) in Northern Ireland were to ask you,
    "You say that you're a Christian. Are you a Catholic or a Protestant?", then
    I doubt that GrampyBobby's suggested reply of 'I simply believe in Christ
    without apology' would impress him enough to save GrampyBobby from
    further interrogation and its possibly painful consequences.
  4. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    23 Feb '14 22:45
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    I have more respect for her than for GrampyBobby, who seems to
    represent about the worst kind of Christian, appearing disingenuous again.

    I don't have a problem with my friend being a Christian. I don't have a
    problem with her choosing to be a Catholic, Protestant, or another kind
    of Christian. I don't have a problem with her preferring to keep he ...[text shortened]... im enough to save GrampyBobby from
    further interrogation and its possibly painful consequences.
    "My point is that, however, she should make
    (and I suspect that she may already have done) some choice." D64

    She has already made the single most significant choice of her life on earth: she has chosen for rather than against God. Your failure to rationalize her refusal to become sidetracked by false issues illustrates the limitations of human viewpoint.
  5. Zugzwang
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    23 Feb '14 23:00
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    "My point is that, however, she should make
    (and I suspect that she may already have done) some choice." D64

    She has already made the single most significant choice of her life on earth: she has chosen for rather than against God. Your failure to rationalize her refusal to become sidetracked by false issues illustrates the limitations of human viewpoint.
    My friend did say that she believes that many Christians have been
    extremely dishonest about the appalling ways in which Christians often
    have treated other people, including other Christians.

    GrampyBobby should consider himself fortunate that he's not living in
    some Christian societies of a few centuries ago, when declaring oneself
    as a Catholic or a Protestant could have been a life-or-death decision.
  6. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    23 Feb '14 23:14
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    My friend did say that she believes that many Christians have been
    extremely dishonest about the appalling ways in which Christians often
    have treated other people, including other Christians.

    GrampyBobby should consider himself fortunate that he's not living in
    some Christian societies of a few centuries ago, when declaring oneself
    as a Catholic or a Protestant could have been a life-or-death decision.
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    "My friend did say that she believes that many Christians have been
    extremely dishonest about the appalling ways in which Christians often
    have treated other people, including other Christians..."

    Your friend's honesty in making this statement is qualitatively identical to the honesty she displayed in refusing to compromise her integrity with an excursion into the non-biblical distinctions suggested by others in conversation.

    Note: Wouldn't it be serendipitous if your friend plays online correspondence chess and contributes to public forums.
  7. Joined
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    23 Feb '14 23:25
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    While I'm not a Christian, I did not create this thread to criticize Christians.
    I'm just curious about how the Christians here would handle this situation.

    A friend of mine has an Irish Protestant father and an Irish Catholic mother.
    Given the history of conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland,
    some of her parents' relatives--on both s ...[text shortened]...
    But I cannot say that I'm a Catholic or a Protestant. I'm just a Christian."

    Any comments?
    I would suggest that she may well have internally disavowed both sides but also pledged to herself not to reveal this.Although she may have complete trust in you, it's still safer in terms of family relations if she never identifies herself as non-catholic or non-protestant. I hope you have not made her feel too much under pressure to do this for the sake of your own personal curiosity. I'd suggest you don't push the issue and do your utmost to make it clear that you take no offense from her keeping this to herself and you mean no offence by asking the original question.

    Penguin
  8. Standard membersonshiponline
    the corrected one.
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    23 Feb '14 23:302 edits
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    While I'm not a Christian, I did not create this thread to criticize Christians.
    I'm just curious about how the Christians here would handle this situation.

    A friend of mine has an Irish Protestant father and an Irish Catholic mother.
    Given the history of conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland,
    some of her parents' relatives--on both s ...[text shortened]...
    But I cannot say that I'm a Catholic or a Protestant. I'm just a Christian."

    Any comments?
    Your friend is right on. She is not denominated and refuses to consider herself as being differentiated from other Chrisians by denominational names.

    She is 100% right to practice this way.

    I am making the happy assumption that she is a believer in Christ rather than just neutral about the Catholic verses Protestant schism.
  9. Standard memberKellyJay
    Walk your Faith
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    23 Feb '14 23:381 edit
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    While I'm not a Christian, I did not create this thread to criticize Christians.
    I'm just curious about how the Christians here would handle this situation.

    A friend of mine has an Irish Protestant father and an Irish Catholic mother.
    Given the history of conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland,
    some of her parents' relatives--on both s ...[text shortened]...
    But I cannot say that I'm a Catholic or a Protestant. I'm just a Christian."

    Any comments?
    I dislike all of our 'denominations' they only serve to divide us as you are
    experiencing. The only title that matters is Christian, and even though we
    can call ourselves that, it too is a meaningless title if Jesus really isn't
    the Lord of our lives.
    Kelly
  10. Standard membersonshiponline
    the corrected one.
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    23 Feb '14 23:542 edits
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    I have more respect for her than for GrampyBobby, who seems to
    represent about the worst kind of Christian, appearing disingenuous again.

    I don't have a problem with my friend being a Christian. I don't have a
    problem with her choosing to be a Catholic, Protestant, or another kind
    of Christian. I don't have a problem with her preferring to keep he ...[text shortened]... im enough to save GrampyBobby from
    further interrogation and its possibly painful consequences.
    I have more respect for her than for GrampyBobby, who seems to
    represent about the worst kind of Christian, appearing disingenuous again.


    This reaction of yours puzzled me. What did he say to provoke this indignation ?

    GrampyBobby said nothing that I can see, to be injurious to you.
    Did I miss something ?


    I don't have a problem with my friend being a Christian. I don't have a
    problem with her choosing to be a Catholic, Protestant, or another kind
    of Christian. I don't have a problem with her preferring to keep her choice
    secret from her own family.


    According to what you said, she is not keeping "her choice" a secret. She refuses to make the choice - if I understood you rightly.


    My point is that, however, she should make
    (and I suspect that she may already have done) some choice.
    It seems intellectually dishonest to act as though there were no differences in beliefs between Catholics and Protestants, particularly when she could not avoid acknowledging there has been a long record of conflict between Catholics and Protestants.


    Your friend can accept the true elements from either of those two "camps" and do so without claiming the name Catholic / Protestant.

    Both believe in Christ the Son of God.
    Both believe in the redemptive death of Christ.
    Both believe in the resurrection of Christ.

    She can hold to what is true and she finds in the Bible.
    What she finds unbiblical or extra-biblical she may refuse from either camp.

    The only name she need to lift up is the name of Jesus Christ.
    That is a step in the right direction.
    She should not HAVE to call herself by a denominational title.
    If others have this weakness, she can love them in Christ without having to imitate their practice.


    If a gunman (of unknown affiliation) in Northern Ireland were to ask you,
    "You say that you're a Christian. Are you a Catholic or a Protestant?", then
    I doubt that GrampyBobby's suggested reply of 'I simply believe in Christ
    without apology' would impress him enough to save GrampyBobby from
    further interrogation and its possibly painful consequences.


    No one said to follow Jesus Christ is always easy.
    She MAY have to pay a price for her desire to follow Christ in truth.

    No one is saying that for some reason, for another reason, or for any imagined reason someone wouldn't threaten her with harm because of her consecration to Jesus Christ.

    That we cannot guarantee - that to take such a stand will never cause her difficulty. It may even cost her her life. But she can trust her life to Jesus Christ.

    If you receive the Lord Jesus Christ, at least you can meet with her and strengthen her, standing with her and she with you. Could be the beginning of a great revival in that area.
  11. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    24 Feb '14 00:013 edits
    Originally posted by Penguin
    I would suggest that she may well have internally disavowed both sides but also pledged to herself not to reveal this.Although she may have complete trust in you, it's still safer in terms of family relations if she never identifies herself as non-catholic or non-protestant. I hope you have not made her feel too much under pressure to do this for the sake of ...[text shortened]... her keeping this to herself and you mean no offence by asking the original question.

    Penguin
    "I would..."; "I hope"; "I'd suggest": subjectivity seldom if ever penetrates the reality of relationship with a supernatural being. Duchess64's dear friend loves God the Father and is preoccupied with the person of the Risen Christ; and has a daily gratitude for the grace gift of salvation and eternal life. Penguin, it's faith alone in Christ alone at the outset; as an infant Christian matures, awareness of the magnificence of God's Unfailing Love supersedes speculative "non-" bracketing of men.
    ____________________________________

    "The trinity is defined not as three people hanging about in one essence, but as three relations. Everything exists in relation to someone or something else. Everything. Faith is a relationship with God. God is a relationship among the three persons of the Trinity. Existence is a relationship among all the creatures and objects and atoms of the material world. Material objects are a relationship among the atoms that comprise them.

    And all these relations are understood by asking questions. Naturally, many of these questions have answers. I can express my relationship with my wife by asking how she’s feeling today, and she can answer by saying she’s just fine. In that exchange, my role was asking the question: that was how I expressed my love at that moment. If my question was, however, “Why do you love me?” what answer could she give that would make any real material sense?

    There are questions that can have no answer, but we benefit from asking them anyway, or at least from considering them. “Why do you love me?” is something every lover wonders at some point. There’s no decent answer to that question, because often love lies beyond the realm of reason. It’s the one thing the atheists and materialists will never be able to probe and understand, and their deterministic, biochemical solutions are laughable in the face of the sheer power and mystery of love.

    And that’s why we’ll never have a concrete answer to the mystery of creation as expressed in Genesis: it was a pure act of unselfish love. It was a pure gift, given in generosity as an expression of a love so vast and endless that it willed all things into being. It’s the puzzle at the heart of existence, and we do well to question it, to ask what it means, to try to make sense of it all. But in order to do that, we need to ask the right questions in a spirit of humility and genuine inquiry. Atheists need to stop asking silly questions about how plants grew before the sun was created, and start asking questions that are truly challenging for both believer and non believer.

    You see, creation itself is a giant, complex, ever-renewing answer the most important question of all. It’s a question so profound and so basic to our existence that the answer has to be written across eternity. The question is “How do I express love?” When we ask that question, our answers may vary. You can say “I love you,” you can give a gift, you can perform some act of love, you can make something, you can sacrifice, even unto death. All human life is bound up in the way we answer that question.

    And how does God answer that question? The answer is all around us. We’re looking at it, walking on it, breathing it. Creation. Life. The Universe. Time. Space. Matter. God’s answer to that question was simple and profound: Let there be light. And that light was the life of the world." (4/4) Thomas L. McDonald Thread 158016 (Page 3)

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/2012/08/st-augustine-asking-the-hard-questions-atheists-dont-ask/
  12. Zugzwang
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    24 Feb '14 00:19
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    "My friend did say that she believes that many Christians have been
    extremely dishonest about the appalling ways in which Christians often
    have treated other people, including other Christians..."

    Your friend's honesty in making this statement is qualitatively identical to the honesty she displayed in refusing ...[text shortened]... serendipitous if your friend plays online correspondence chess and contributes to public forums.
    In fact, my friend does not play chess at all.
  13. Zugzwang
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    24 Feb '14 00:24
    Originally posted by Penguin
    I would suggest that she may well have internally disavowed both sides but also pledged to herself not to reveal this.Although she may have complete trust in you, it's still safer in terms of family relations if she never identifies herself as non-catholic or non-protestant. I hope you have not made her feel too much under pressure to do this for the sake of ...[text shortened]... her keeping this to herself and you mean no offence by asking the original question.

    Penguin
    I would have no problem if my friend said, 'Yes, I have made a choice
    between identifying myself as Catholic or Protestant, which I prefer to
    keep private, even from you.'

    In fact, however, there are significant differences between Catholics
    and Protestants, and making that choice tends to be a significant factor
    in how one's perceived and treated, particularly in an Irish context.
  14. Standard membersonshiponline
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    24 Feb '14 00:292 edits
    Never mind - erased.
  15. Zugzwang
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    24 Feb '14 00:411 edit
    Originally posted by sonship
    I have more respect for her than for GrampyBobby, who seems to
    represent about the worst kind of Christian, appearing disingenuous again.


    This reaction of yours puzzled me. What did he say to provoke this indignation ?

    GrampyBobby said nothing that I can see, to be injurious to you.
    Did I miss something ?

    [quote]
    I don't hav ...[text shortened]... her, standing with her and she with you. Could be the beginning of a great revival in that area.
    GrampyBobby seemed to respond (in his usual negative way toward me)
    as though I had done something inappropriate in asking my friend some
    questions in my sincere attempt to understand her religious beliefs better.
    GrampyBobby's term 'inveigled' (applied to me) has a pejorative connotation.

    'What did he say to provoke this indignation?'
    --Sonship

    I have not forgotten what GrampyBobby has written in many other threads.
    There are some Christians whom I can respect, admire, like, and trust.
    GrampyBobby's far from being one of them. Indeed, GrampyBobby seems
    to be among the Christians who's the least respected by non-Christians
    in this forum.

    "According to what you said, she is not keeping 'her choice' a secret.
    She refuses to make the choice--if I understand you rightly."
    --Sonship

    You misunderstand. I don't know if my friend has made a secret choice
    between identifying herself as a Catholic or a Protestant. I know that
    she has refused to *express* that choice, but I don't know if she has
    refused to *make* it. She has seemed to rationalize her non-commitment
    by attempting to deny the differences between Catholics or Protestants.
    If I ask, 'Do you accept the spiritual authority of the Pope?', one should
    answer 'yes' or 'no'. Either a person does or does not.

    'Could be the beginning of a great revival in that area.'
    --Sonship

    Irish people would surely benefit (sarcasm intended) if they became
    even more divided by their interpretations of Christianity.
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