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Hey you Christians...(48 posts)

Hey you Christians...Wayne
Mar 6, 2003 6:09 AM
or is just Catholics? What is the deal with the smudge of ash on the forehead for ash Wednesday? What's its purpose/symoblism?
SinnersCaptain Morgan
Mar 6, 2003 6:20 AM
It basically is symbolic that the person is a sinner and is publicly repenting. I saw Hannity had some last night on his TV show. I personally do not get ashes. Ash Wednesday is not a "holy day of obligation" for Catholics.
What's it origin? (nm)Wayne
Mar 6, 2003 7:15 AM
What's it origin? (nm)Captain Morgan
Mar 6, 2003 8:07 AM
I thought it was...gregario
Mar 6, 2003 7:28 AM
I thought Ash Wednesday was a "holy day of obligation." But what do I know? I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic grade and high school but haven't seen the inside of a church since the last wedding I went to. I'm a recovering Catholic. If I recall correctly, the ashes symbolize that we come from "dust" and to dust we shall return. That's almost a direct quote of what the priest says. As a side note, I always thought the blessing of the throats was a hoot.
NopeCaptain Morgan
Mar 6, 2003 8:26 AM
Not a holy day of obligation:
It's not like I go anyway! thanks(nm)gregario
Mar 6, 2003 9:02 AM
The blessing of the throats?Kristin
Mar 6, 2003 8:52 AM
What's that? They don't kiss you there or anything do they? Yuck.
No, what the priest does to the altar boys is.....oh never mind.gregario
Mar 6, 2003 9:01 AM
Man, I can be disgusting. I have a "religion" rant that I have to sit down and post sometime.

Anyway, the blessing of the throats is when the priest has two candles bound together in the shape of an X and places it up to your throat and says something the blessings of St. Blaise may you be protected against throat problems...or something like that. It's a hoot. When I went to college a house-mate was also a fallen Catholic and we used to laugh about it. We used to drink and bless each others throats at restaurants with crossed knives. I guess you had to be there.

An excerpt from another web-site:

Blessing of Throats
The practice of blessing throats on February 3rd
originated with St. Blasé. Legend has it, a
mother came to St. Blasé because her
young son had a fish bone lodged in his
throat. At Blasé ‘s command, the child
was able to cough up the bone. We pray
that through the intercession of St. Blasé,
God will deliver us from throat ailments
and from every other evil. At the 4 PM
Mass on Saturday and the 8 & 10 AM Mass
on Sunday we will be blessing throats.
Can you say superstition?Kristin
Mar 6, 2003 9:18 AM
The catholic church is comical to observe at times.
You got that right.(nm)gregario
Mar 6, 2003 9:24 AM
what's the difference?ColnagoFE
Mar 6, 2003 10:45 AM
What's the diff between Catholic rituals and any other organized religion's rituals? You can't say any of them are based on reason or science, can you? I mean the transsubstatiation of the bread and wine to body and blood, thinking there are gaurdian angels around us, even praying to god in itself is pretty superstitious when you think about it.
Who said anything about science?Kristin
Mar 6, 2003 11:49 AM
Oh come on. Religion wouldn't be religion if it was based on science. It would be science. And if science is your religion, that's cool. It's your deal and I wouldn't cross your boundary. But not everyone agrees with you and you should respect that. I whole-heartedly disagree that believing in God is superstitious. I believe in God only because I've experienced God. As a result, I can't deny God's existence without some serious denial. So for me, it isn't superstition. At the same time, I don't miricalize my experiences with God and attempt to recreate them. If God does something amazing for me, I see it as a gift. I might build some sort of personal memorial to remember it, but I wouldn't try to make it happen again. (I will admit that I used to try to recreate God experiences--but that was born out of immaturity and lack of knowledge.)

Can someone tell me if the Catholic church is trying to recreate miraculous throat healings on March 3rd of each year, or are they just memorializing a significant event with a ritual? If its a celebration of a past event and a reminder that God does answer prayers, then that's great. The Jews celebrate the Passover for this reason. But if the Catholic church is trying to cause God to preform more miracles--or if they think God is more likely to heal throats on March 3rd than any other day of the year; I'd say they are off base. I could probably demonstrate this pretty easily from biblical texts. (I'm going to assume that the story about the fishbone is true and was validated by the Catholic church.)

I'm all for praying for healing--though I don't pray for this often. I bet LFR could use some prayer for her throat and lungs these days.
"experienced" God?gregario
Mar 6, 2003 12:22 PM
I'm curious about what you mean by "experienced God", and what He/She/It has done for you? I'm just curious because I'm someone who isn't religious at all. Like I said, I grew up Catholic. It was "when you live under our roof you go to Church" kind of thing. Once I was out of there I hardly even went again. I haven't been in a church since the last wedding or funeral I've been to. I look at all the crap going on in the world and think God is dead.

My wife has some fairly religious relatives. They just had a baby with some very very serious heart and liver problems. The baby has already had open heart surgery and will require several more surgeries and possibly a liver transplant to survive (if it does). All this time they are thanking God for their blessing, while I'm thinking "some blessing that is!" I don't get it. If God is so dang wonderful why does this happen to little babies? Why do I have such a good life and am not religious when others have crap lives and say "thank you God, may I have another?"
Warning: Can of worms inside (very long, sorry)Kristin
Mar 6, 2003 1:49 PM
Those are some tough questions and I'm not going to try to answer them for you--primarily because I have no answers. I don't understand the whole deal about suffering. Not even the suffering in my own life. But I've felt God's presence and I believe He's good. Of course, we all have to wrangle down our own beliefs. We can't ever have faith through another person. Your parents tried to give you faith and it didn't work. It never works.

Have I experienced God? I believe that I have. Though I'm not sure you'll believe I have. I'm a little anxious that you might just take everything I am about to say and label it fanaticism, since it can be explained in a number of ways. However, your response is your own and I'll accept it as long as it's sincere.

First of all, let me tell you that I am not one of those who had some blissfully happy childhood. I was injured continuously by people who were supposed to have loved and protected me. I've been repairing the damage they did for years and still have years of counseling ahead of me. This means I've asked my share of questions about God's and his love. While I don't blame God for what my parents did, I do ask why I had to go through it. I believe that our choices are our own—that God doesn't manipulate. My only sticking deepest question has been, "Why didn't God bring me to a safer place at an age when I was only vulnerable to their anger and hatred?" I still don't know the answer, but I don't believe it is for lack of love on God's part.

My experiences:

It's hard to explain these things because they are internal and intuitional. Since you weren't there you can't feel what I felt. But I'll take a stab at telling the story.

God spoke to me once—actual audible words. Sounds strange, huh? I would have thought so too, except I was there. See, I was 16 and I promised God I'd quit smoking. A year later, I decided I didn't really want to quit. Now, because of my childhood, I believed that God would punish me in the form of cancer. Sad, huh?

One weekend, I bumped into an old friend and we talked for a long time about God and religion. Eventually, I told him how I believed God was going to kill me for breaking my promise to quit smoking. Before we parted he asked to pray for me. I was not really religious and never attended church, so this seemed like a strange request—but I had no boundaries, and I allowed him to do so.

He began to pray for me and it was a normal Christian kind of prayer. But somewhere in the middle he began to stammer and stutter—like he couldn't get the words out. I was sure God was giving him a message that I was going to die, and I was scared. But I'd been scared for 2 years and was ready to hear the truth. I interrupted him and said, "Its okay. Just say it."

Then something happened. I don't was like the air even changed. Before the first word was out of his mouth, I was sobbing uncontrollably. Not because of fear or sadness. It was something different all together. (Think about how you might feel if you were to have an audience with the most powerful, important person in the world, then multiply this by 100.) Isaiah said it best, "I have come undone." That's exactly how I felt. Then he said, "My child, why do you think that I do not love you? Don't you know that I will never leave or forsake you?"

I will never forget how I felt inside. It was like every cell in my body knew that I was standing before the one who determined my very existence and created everything in the world. My God.


You may say to yourself, "Boy, that Kristin is some delusional nutcase." And you could be right. Perhaps I am looking for mystical experiences to validate subconscious longings. But somehow inside, I know the difference. I've been in denial before, and I've embraced my share of delusions. Thi
The restKristin
Mar 6, 2003 1:51 PM

You may say to yourself, "Boy, that Kristin is some delusional nutcase." And you could be right. Perhaps I am looking for mystical experiences to validate subconscious longings. But somehow inside, I know the difference. I've been in denial before, and I've embraced my share of delusions. This wasn't like that. It was outside of me...but invaded my soul at the same time.

This experience meshes with my other "God experiences," there is a similarity to them all.a common thread. Every time I encounter God, I'm surprised. He always does or says something I couldn't anticipate, yet seems to be the perfect response for the situation. This also meshes with what I've studied of Jesus in the Gospels.

If you've gotten this far, thank you for taking the time to read it all.
Thank you for sharinggregario
Mar 6, 2003 3:13 PM
I know that telling a story like that to complete strangers is risky. Thanks for telling it. That must have been some incredible experience. It's nice to have something like that to "hang your hat on"
Frankly, Kristin, it doesn't matter if it was real or not...sn69
Mar 6, 2003 5:37 PM least not in the biblical sense. What's more important is that you experienced something profoundly important in your life that helped guide or steer you towards a behavior that is, without a doubt, healthier, better and more balanced. God or not...if it made a change for the positive, how could that be bad by ANY societal terms?

Religion, of late, has been on my mind a lot. While I have no doubt that's in response to the entire 9-11/Fundamentalist Islam issue/events or due to the Judaism/Israel discussions on this board (and Christianity discussions on the Slowtwitch forum), I've nonetheless found myself starting to question basic beliefs and paradigms yet again. Dunno. Maybe it's a normal phase that I seem destined to repeat every so often. Regardless, I'm having a tough time personally with the concept of a God that is actively concerned with our well-being in light of the events that continue to unfold across the planet. It can easily get very disturbing if I allow it, and I find myself favoring the Jeffersonian concept of God as the grand clock maker more than anything else right now. Thus, in a very real sense, I find your experience something to be envied. It really doesn't matter if it was real or not. All that matters is how it made/makes you feel.

In any case, I think you've always been very forthwright with your religious beliefs, and I respect that. If this experience afforded you the impetus to change for the better, than I applaude it and I don't think you should EVER feel obligated to minimize it for the sake of others' potential appraisals of your values.

Be true to you always seem to do.

I hear what your saying, but to me the "truth" is exteremly importantKristin
Mar 7, 2003 12:06 PM
I agree with your premise. What doesn't kill you will make you stronger. There is an indication the Jesus himself had a similar perspective. He calmed his disciples down one day as they were fretting over a man who was "proclaiming the good news," but who wasn't really a follower of Jesus. Jesus told them, "Whoever isn't against us, is for us."

At the same time, knowing if I am believing the truths or a lie is extremely important. When things like quality of life-after-death are hanging in the balance, then I want to be very sure that I know what and why I believe. What if, from childhood, I was told that I have 5 million dollars in a trust fund that I'll inherit later. But really, it was squandered by the time I was 5 years old and there was no savings at all. If I believe that I will receive the money, and I live my life in the shadow of that expectation, I will likely be in very bad shape the day I discover the truth. I have have a big problem with "relative" truth for that very reason. It doesn't really make much sense. If someone is married and I decide I'll believe that they aren't...or if I'm tricked, it doesn't make them any less married, does it? Some truth is relative...that is, there may be several answers to any one question. There are also an infinate number of wrong answers for every question. (oooo...that's deep! I just came up with that, but I'm guessing someone else said it first. That's always the case.) Finally, there is such thing as absolute truth too. Sometimes there is just one right answer.

There have been a ton of positive influences in my life and I am grateful for each one regarless of what caused the change--a negative, positive or neutral. For me, knowing the truth about God/religion is a separate issue and one that's extremely important to me. I examine what I believe all the time because I want to make sure I am not following some fairytale, lie or sad would that be?
I hear what your saying, but to me the "truth" is exteremly importantsn69
Mar 7, 2003 8:56 PM
First of all, Kristin, I'm sorry if I came across wrong and I sincerely hope I didn't offend you. I I know what I was trying to say was don't apologize to others preemptively because they might not believe in your experience. That was my point of belief and truth. If it was true to you and you accept it as such, then so be it and others be damned. People will either believe you or not, although I'd tend to assume that most people in this silly little community of ours would respect you in your sincerity (which was another point I so badly made).

Yes, I believe in absolute truth, although I temper that with the concept that the function of absolutism might manifest itself differently between healthy, adjusted people. That, frankly, is how I reconcile religious differences. I don't personally believe that any one religion or manifestation of the supreme being is correct. I've never been able to stomach the concept that one man's/woman's belief paradigm or construct was any more or less significant, correct or otherwise beneficial than another. Not everyone agrees with that, however, and I understand that. I also understand that it's important for a lot of Christians to celebrate Christ's influence on their lives vocally. I don't fault or otherwise judge that either. ...Until, that is, the occassional bad-seed decides that they are obligated to lecture me about the "errors of my ways" as a Jew.

I'm reminded of a joke. A priest, a minister, an imam, a monk, a shaman and a rabbi all show up on "the other side" together. As God gives them a walking tour of the other side, they all take note of a group sitting in the corner with eyeshades, muzzles and earplugs. They collectively ask God "what's up with that?" "Oh, them?" God replies, "Those are the ____ (fill in the blank with any fundamentalist and exclusionary religious group, although I prefer to cite the so-called Moral Majority). We didn't want them to now that they're not the only ones here."

Communicating of the internet woes...Kristin
Mar 10, 2003 11:12 AM
No offense was taken at all. I did misunderstand part of your meaning. "Its not what you believe that's important, but that you believe something," is something I get from others all the time. I thought you were saying the same kind of thing. Anyway, nothing in your post offended me at all.

You know, when I first identified myself as a Christian--which was based on another experience I had with God--I was terrified to question my beleifs. I became very focused on the legalistic aspects of Christian religion. Something was either a sin or not a sin, you were either saved or condemned, everything was black and white. The grey terrified me because I thought it was unearth my entire faith and leave me with nothing. Only recently did I start to ask the hard questions about my beliefs and allow myself to doubt not only God's love, but his existance and the experiences in my life. It scares the crap out of me sometimes. But knowing if what I believe is real or a fantasy is really important. If that was really God in my live and he is really there, then I assume my faith will survive this season of my life. Time will tell. For now, I don't know much of anything. One thing I've learned: When I believed that I knew the answers to the origins of the universe, I was a fool.
I understandDougSloan
Mar 6, 2003 8:15 PM
Would it be fair to say it changes you to the core forever?

That's really sad about the baby.Kristin
Mar 6, 2003 1:52 PM
I'm sorry to hear that he/she is so sick.
You're too funny53T
Mar 6, 2003 2:02 PM
You are going to assume the story of the fish bone was validated by the Catholic Church? Have you ever been to the Vatican? Have you ever seen their investigative beurau? Of course not, they isn't one. Can you imagine what the administration of the church was like when the story of St. Blazes was young enough to validate? We're talking about real live chess pieces here. Looong before anybody thought to research a story about fish bones before developing a ritual to comemorate it. Hell, if a priest made up the story, it would be blashpemy to question whether it was true or not.

The church asks God to perform more miracles every day. In a typical mass the request for divine intercession appears at least 5 times.

And another thing, there is no way you can use biblical texts to show that the church is off base. When you consider the fictional nature of the texts, the profession of papal infalablilty, and the role of the clergy in biblical interpretation, you are three steps away from classical logic. Any "demonstration" of truth is impossible given the modern meaning of truth.

For you God is not superstition. Then what is superstition for you? Can you prove that walking under a ladder isn't bad luck?

I respect that not everyone agrees with me. But as you are taught as a Christian to proclaim your faith whenever possible, I proclaim my faith as well.
I could demonstrate that walking under ladder probably isn't bad luckKristin
Mar 6, 2003 2:13 PM
I could walk under one and if nothing bad happens, then at least we'd know that its not 100% garenteed to bring bad luck. But that sounds like the making of an "I Love Lucy" episode. We could create a double blind study and see what the results are, but my guess is that we'd find only a small percentage of bad luck occuring after a stroll under a ladder.

As for the biblical thing. You say tomato, I say tomato. I really don't have the energy to dabate it with you, nor do I have any burning passion to "save the world" at this juncture in my life. I'm just trying to figure out my own mess.
Just like Evangelicalsmoneyman
Mar 6, 2003 10:45 AM
Right? As well as most other religions that we don't truly understand.

Give me a specific exampleKristin
Mar 6, 2003 11:52 AM
And yes, evangelicals do some weird, unfounded stuff too.
OK - Faith healingmoneyman
Mar 6, 2003 12:09 PM
The laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, snake handling.

Little defensive? "Judge not, lest ye be judged."

Why do you think I'm defensive?Kristin
Mar 6, 2003 12:16 PM
I'm not in the least. I think you're seeing what you want to see.
Catholic Bashingjose_Tex_mex
Mar 6, 2003 10:55 AM
"superstitious" huh?

What makes you say this?
actually as far as Christian religions goColnagoFE
Mar 6, 2003 11:32 AM
I kinda like the Catholics. All that pomp and circumstance. The pope and the pointy hat. All those mysterious rituals. All the history. I can see how people could get into that.
That's funny...Wayne
Mar 7, 2003 5:19 AM
my wife's step-dad, who along with her mom, have been new-agers for some time (basically practicing a form of Hindu spiritualism based on some Yogi that came to the US in the mid-part of the last century) has now joined the catholic church. Talk about going full circle.

I agree with you in a sense, if my conscious would allow me to accept faith as a legitimate way to "know" about the universe, I could see how the ritualism of catholicism would be appealing.
Not at all. See my post above. nmKristin
Mar 6, 2003 11:52 AM
Not at all. See my post above. nmjose_Tex_mex
Mar 6, 2003 2:49 PM
1 a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation b : an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition
2 : a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary

Calling someone's faith a superstition is not very flattering.
How did I do that?Kristin
Mar 6, 2003 2:57 PM
Gosh you guys are reading alot into my words. I never said the catholic faith is superstitious. That thought never even crossed my mind. Please read what I write carefully. I feel like your putting something on me that I never said or intended.
How did I do that? Read your own posts.eyebob
Mar 8, 2003 7:23 AM
And I quote

"Can you say superstistion?"

While not flattering...Wayne
Mar 7, 2003 5:28 AM
I think if you could step back, you would see that ALL religions are superstitious. And actually meet the definition you provide quite well. That's why they are based on FAITH and not EVIDENCE.

Seriously, why is there any more reason to believe that catholism is truth rather than scientology (talk about an oxymoron), hinduism, or even the raelians (sp ?, the "cult" that probably falsely, claimed they cloned a human)?
here we go again...jose_Tex_mex
Mar 7, 2003 11:33 AM
I have said this before and I will say it again. EVERYTHING, including science, is a matter of faith. Nothing is knowable. Nothing is provable. Using your logic it could be inferred that Einstein was superstitious because of his belief in the Theory of Relativity.

If you disagree, please provide one example of something which you believe can be proven and I will disprove it.

Also, I fail to see how ALL religions are superstitious given my definition. What do you define evidence as? Do you believe George Washingtion was the first President of the USA? If yes, the why not that Jesus was the son of God? Neither can be replicated via science. Both are based upon reliable historical documentation.

Your desire to look for evidence sounds like a scientific approach to religion. Science deals with the natural world. Religion obviously has to do with the Supernatural. Why should one expect science to explain religion.
A new Theory of Ideological Relativity?czardonic
Mar 7, 2003 11:54 AM
The problem with your whole argument is that by reducing everything to the realm of unprovable faith, you negate any claim that your own faith is legitimate.

If George Washington is no more the first President than Jesus is the son of God, than neither is Jesus any more the con of God than anyone else is. After all, it would be a simple matter to cook up "unreliable documentation", and who can "prove" the negative?

You say that science and religion are both matters of faith, then go on to assert that science can not explain religion. If your concept of religion can explain science, surely the opposite it true.

As you say, each deals with different worlds. One of these world can not be denied, and the other can not be proven.
Reliable historical documentation.sn69
Mar 7, 2003 9:06 PM
I already think Czar has addressed this far more eloquently than I can, Jose, but to infer or otherwise state that Christ was the son of God based upon documention and fiction written in certifiable ancient times and filtered through hundreds of generations of perspective, cultural filters, and interpretation as opposed to the fact that Washington was the first President of the United States is absurd.

Granted, I think I get the gist of your argument about the simplicity of documentation and its fallability or "proveability," but by your logic Jesus was no more the son of God than Shiva is the creator and destructor of all life, than Buddah achieved full enlightenment, than Coyote is the master jester of the universe, and so on and so forth. All of those cultures also have historical documentation stating their arguments too.

Think of it this way. I might not taste a strawberry exactly the same as you, but we can both recognize similar chemical traits that define "strawberry." If not, you might recognize strawberry icecream whereas I might taste liver icecream (Y-U-C-K!). Likewise, gravity affects us equally (although in different magnitudes based on my beer and doughnut consumption rate). If we both get shot in the head with a .44 magnum, we both go splat. However, our individual interpretations of the esoteric are not so easily quantified. Your manifestation of God is not necessarily mine, nor mine yours. So, please, Jose, be careful with the inference that you are right and we're all wrong.

If that wasn't your intent, then I apologize in advance.
my apologies... Wayne, Sn69jose_Tex_mex
Mar 8, 2003 1:47 PM
Sn69 - no apologies needed. Indeed, if it sounded as if I implied that I was "right" - I am sorry. I think it's just that whole evidence proof thing that angries up the blood!

My point is simply that there are no absolutes in life. Everything (especially God) is a matter of faith. I think that is the whole point of life. More accurately stated, everything is either a matter of faith or credulity.

There are no absolutes in science. Everything is based on some amount of not knowing. I could pi$$ around with a Physical/Metaphysical argument as to the chance involved in all Physical laws. However, when we put a rocket into space that's very compelling evidence. Just don't say that it's proof - it really is not. Furthermore, please do not try to use an imperfect system to disprove God. Science is great when it comes to science. But when it comes to God...

I agree with most of your third paragraph, colloquially. However, any one of the examples would quickly fall apart if I questioned the primitive concepts (ideas that cannot be broken down further). That is to question what is strawberry ice cream? There's no way to reproduce the ice cream you tasted... We could go on and on, use Quantum Mechanics. But the point is that if we take for granted (have faith) that it is strawberry ice cream, we can both enjoy ourselves.

That's my whole God point. To question God as a primitive concept is foolish. However, if we have some faith in God great things are possible.

Again, Wayne, Sn69 sorry if it sounded liked I attacked. Must be the way I write - to the point. A lot gets lost on message boards. Maybe I will try to use the smiley faces more :-)
No sweat, Jose. Perhapssn69
Mar 8, 2003 2:11 PM
Gregg can give us some faces to attach to emails some day. That certainly would clarify the subtlties that are lost in words alone....

Wasn't that St. Heimlich? (nm)Me Dot Org
Mar 6, 2003 6:47 PM
Appearantly it's not for all ChristiansKristin
Mar 6, 2003 8:53 AM
I've never practiced anything called Ash Wednesday. The first time I encountered the term was when I was 23 and I told the Chamber of Commerce Director that she had some dirt on her forehead.
smooth move, ex-lax! ;)gregario
Mar 6, 2003 9:03 AM
Kristin, seriously...are you related to Lucille Ball?!? ;-) nmRhodyRider
Mar 6, 2003 11:38 AM
Confessions of a Catholic childhoodms
Mar 6, 2003 1:09 PM
A Catholic school education and a grandmother that was heavily into the more supersitious parts of Catholicism gave my sister and me a great deal of inspiration for various parodies of Catholic rituals. The time that we baptized our dog sent my grandmother into a real tailspin -- she was convinced that one or both of us had become tools of Satan. Your post reminded me of one of my favorite exploits at my sister's expense. I was about 8 or 9, my sister was 5 or 6. Since my sister was sick on Ash Wednesday and did not get ashes, I decided that a home administration of ashes would be a good thing. So, I took some ashes from an ashtray (both of my parents then were smokers) and anointed her head with them. She screamed, I got in trouble. Every year when I see people with ashes on their head, I wonder where the ashes originated. I know that they are supposed to be from burned palms, but maybe the priest has decided to take a short cut.

Did anyone here ever have to drink water that allegedly was from Lourdes to cure an illness? A story for another time.
Thats rich. Thanks for sharing. nmKristin
Mar 6, 2003 1:56 PM