I remember one discussion I had with a conservative Roman Catholic student. We talked about many things, church polity, the mystery of the sacraments, the richness and history of the divine liturgy; our discussion was interesting and respectful, until it turned into something else:
RC Guy: "Yes, the church of Rome is the One, True Faith. Since you are Protestant, you must re-think your ways."
Me: "But, um, doesn't salvation extend to other Christians - indeed, to all people - by the work of Christ?
RC Guy: "No."
Me: "Really? But doesn't the catechism of the Second Vatican Council actually extend salvation to those in other, imperfect relationships to God?" (It does, by the way.)
RC Guy: "[Sigh], the Second Vatican has been repudiated by many learn-ed theologians. The true faith says..."
Funny. I still remember the look on that guy's face when he answered "no" and the way he said "learn-ed theologians."
And I still want to punch him in the nose.
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In 1054 A.D. (yes, I know we're supposed to use CE, but I find this more a statement of faith since the year is still the same) the church in Rome and the church in Constantinople split. The year is known as the East-West, or Great-, Schism.
What it boils down to is that the Church in Rome didn't like the Greeks and didn't like their use of the phrase "and the Son" (the filioque) in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. The Greeks thought the Romans were arrogant nitwits for demanding to be called "the Mother Church." Essentially, it was more about politics than real theological issues.
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People will always like to think they are "right" as long as there are people who have different perspectives. I used to really let this crap affect me. Why, for instance, do I remember conversations like the one I wrote about above? It's because I think I'm right. Someday, I believe, that dork will be suffering, knowing that I, too, am part of the Reign.
Hmmm. Dan, think again.
It's gotten better, though. How? When I realized that all mythologies are just that: mythologies.
First, you need to understand the word "myth" does not equal FAKE. Myth comes from the Greek mythos, which means story. Human beings are story tellers. What once captivated people around a campfire, now captivates them primarily on television or online (regrettably).
Mythos can be differentiated with another Greek term, logos, which is more like an "account." Logos is the logical side of things.
I believe a chief cause of problems with religion is that religion turns stories into accounts. Accounts, that is, truths which are maximized to the point of separation of humanity, are "worth dying for." Stories, that is, truths which convey the human condition and stimulate cordial discussion, aren't worth dying for.
They are only worth listening to...
Tell me your story, your Mother's story, your Great Grandfather's. I will listen. Tell me an account, a truth to separate, to tear and rip; I will walk away.
1054 does not need to come, yet again.