Is this a religious contradiction?

It recently hit me, amid all the stories of people willing to carry out God’s will in various creative (explosive) manners, that there was something that just seems utterly contradictory to me. I grew up going to church. Went to Baptist and Catholic schools. I can’t tell you how many times I heard that you have to reject this world to live in the next.

If that’s the case, why are they actually *doing *so much in this world?

Keep in mind, I’m not talking so much about morals as I am about politics. Why are Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Bin Laden, etc. so involved in political acrobatics around the world, if this world is to be rejected?

Keep in mind, I don’t want to get into *why *they do, per se, I just want to know if it’s a contradiction *that *they do. I just want to know if this makes sense or if I’m using some pretty messed up reasoning.

As usual, if someone thinks they know what I’m trying to say, and can word it better, be my guest.

I had a Catholic upbrining and even studied Catholic theology, and I don’t recall ever being told to “reject this world.” Even monks don’t reject the world, they reject “worldliness,” but also live close to the land and God’s creation and celebrate it daily. So I don’t know where you heard this idea of rejecting this world, or if you transfered from one church to the other, or heard something in a different context (like renouncing wordly possessions). I think most Catholics see their faith very much intertwined with their daily real-world lives and would have no idea what “rejecting this world” would mean.

I would also say, even as a lapsed Catholic, that I don’t sense anyone in the church thinks it’s inappropriate to be involved with politics… many consider it their duty. Of course they aren’t getting involved in “politics,” but standing up for the core values of their faith: sanctity of life, justice, etc., it’s just that those involve political action. FWIW, YMMV.

Keep in mind, I’m not talking so much about morals as I am about politics. Why are Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Bin Laden, etc. so involved in political acrobatics around the world, if this world is to be rejected?[/QUOTE]

None of them say they want to reject the world, just the world’s values. They all want to reform the world, to change it into something that they consider better, and in order to do that, they need to get involved in the affairs of the world.

In my church they try to communicate this idea by the phrase “being in the world, but not of it.” The idea is to be involved with your fellow man and all, but not to adopt attitudes of materialism, selfishness, hedonism, and so on.

Some smaller sects do preach that their members should not be involved with the world at all; thus Mennonites and Amish do not vote, since they do not recognize any worldly government (or so our Mennonite friend explained). However, this is a rare teaching and most Christian churches are all for voting, exercising civic duties, and all kinds of community involvement.

From my perspective, it used to be that Christians in general were non political. To clarify, a devout Christian would keep separate hats for religion and politics.

Roe vs Wade changed everything.

I’ve never heard anything of the sort from (mainstream) churches. They may say that life prepares you for the afterlife, yet they don’t suggest ignoring your own life.

On the other hand, the Cathars/Albigensians did preach rejecting earthly existence, and look what happened to them.

They succeeded.

Right, there’s no contradiction. Any command to “reject this world” is most likely
meant as “reject the materialism of this world and focus on higher aims.” Part of this command is interpreted, especially by Evangelical Christians, as a duty to go out and bring other people to the faith, and this command then leads to all the tensions, fighting, and killing on the part of the whackos like bin Laden.

Actually, from what I’ve read, it used to be the norm for serious Evangelicals to stay out of politics entirely as being too worldly. That didn’t start to change until the emergence of the religious right as an active political force in the '70s – right after they woke up to the fact that the “Christian consensus” in American society was eroding fast.

This is interesting because, while I can understand the secular case against abortion, the Biblical one, having to contend with verses like this, strikes me as being something of a non-starter :slight_smile:

Really? Ever hear of the blue laws? Before the 1960’s, the religious mostly got the laws their own way. They were political, but quietly political, brooking little dissent. They only started getting loud after the courts starting acting as if the First Amendment meant something.

As for the OP, I don’t think Robertson having tons of money and being political is a contradiction - just hypocrisy.

It varied. Evangelicals were really active in the abolitionist, temperance, and anti-evolution movements, and black evangelicals, at least, in the civil rights movement

Good point. I remember when a lot of stores were closed on Sundays in Ontario. But as I can best recall, these restrictions were accepted by society as a whole and there was little or no debate when laws were changed prior to Roe vs Wade.

From my perspective, thank God that there are some people who understand that “separation of church and state” is not in the constitution. When Jefferson wrote those words they had a totally different meaning than the perversion that is threatening to ruin the country today. People who really believe in and trust in Jesus Christ could not separate that relationship from anything they do. Separate hats would be hypocrisy. So, as we are in the world but not of it we can actually make a difference for the better as we stand against evil. I would that it were “used to be.”

What perversion is that? Christianity seems (to me at least) to be playing just as big a part in politics as it ever has. Politicians, including the President, certainly seem to put forward agendas based on their religious beliefs.

True, in some cases it seems like things could be changing for the better.

The misunderstanding or perversion of that phrase “separation of church and state” has led to a persecution of people who bring their faith into the public sector. Sometimes it seems like everyone but Christians have the right to free speech. Some are willing to take the heat and press on. As for “religious” beliefs, it seems like religion was one of the things Jesus was against, at least in the Jewish leaders of the time. I wonder how many political agendas are results of the direction of the Holy Spirit. BinLaden et. al. are putting forward agendas based on their religious beliefs.

Who has been persecuted for brining their faith in the public sector? Is it because the Christians want their symbols put up so it looks like the government is a Christian one? would they tolerate a devil worshiper to put their symbol next to theirs ,or any other religious symbol?If every religion put up a symbol it would not help the Christian cause. If Christians lived as they should, and as the first Christians did in the early part of Christianity, just lived their faith and not worry about the sins of others, just make sure they lived right they wouldn’t need symbols. One doesn’t see 10 commanments in front of churches as they are allowed to do.Why? Is it because they want to force their beliefs on others?

Jesus never went out hunting sinners and it seemed to me he scolded the ones who did!

A weak faith is afraid if someone believes differentialy than they do, a strong faith doesn’t care if some one disagrees.


Cite? What did Jefferson mean? Please provide context.

Bullshit. Jesus did not reprove them for their beliefs or practices, but for acting like those made them better than others. That’s what the parable of the laborers in the vinyard is all about. The Pharisees are those who have toiled from dawn, but the latecomers get paid the same; it’s nothing against the Pharisees except they shouldn’t be so niggardly.

Yes, it’s pure oppression not to allow the Ten Commandments on courtroom walls!

Poor, poor Christians.