Get rich quick

Would you like to become very rich? There are plenty of possible ways. You could develop and sell a successful social network on the internet. High school dropout, David Karp, recently sold his social networking site, Tumblr, to Yahoo! for more than $1 billion. You could play the market and, with reasonable luck make, or possibly lose, a fortune. You could become a banker. But surely the easiest way is to start your own religion.

But would it be successful? You could beat the odds by carefully following the formula which makes for religious success.

The starting point needs to be a revelation. After all if you haven’t got your own privileged piece of Good News you have nothing to sell. Imagine Christianity or Islam or even the Mormons without a revelation. And with the right story you really don’t need very much hard evidence. We take Scripture, and the story of Jesus, largely on faith just as the Muslims must take the Koran. The Mormon religion started with the revelation of the Angel Moroni to Joseph Smith. It was written on the golden plates which unfortunately were not available for later examination.

Of course you would need witnesses – and Joseph Smith had his – but then so does Christianity: St Paul was able to cite 500 brethren who witnessed the risen Christ. Are all these true witnesses? For your new religion it really doesn’t matter because your, sufficiently devoted, adherents will soon find that they are remembering things which somehow support their new belief. If you want to make that doubly certain, get a member of the Magic Circle on your pay roll: even the simplest of manifestations will impress those who want to believe.

What should your revelation contain? It may be best to think of it as connected with Christianity – but going well beyond any existing denomination. Probably it will offer reform of the manifest failings of contemporary Christianity. It must present a plausible and high ideal to follow. And it has to have its own radical and unique elements because your followers must be aware of how special they are in belonging to the group. It will also need pretty strong rules and disciplines because likely converts will have fearful personalities – and they need the security of demanding regime.

You might consider an “exclusivity” element so that your followers will only mix with other followers – that keeps people on a tight rein with a real sense of their own identity, and no chance of outsiders dissuading them.

Ritual will matter very much – and particularly shared rituals such chanting or dancing. In many ways the odder the better. Think of the bonding effect of the goose step: who would do something so absurd if it didn’t bring you together? Don’t forget the mind-numbing element of repetitive prayer – you might supply a device of beads on a string to help people keep track.

Naturally among those strong rules high financial contributions will figure. The higher they are within reason (“scoring” is a good idea – that’s twice tithing) the more willingly will they be given. And, once given, the closer the bonds. If you’ve invested that much, it must have been worthwhile.

Of course you will be the great I AM. You must be a mysterious figure, occasionally seen gliding around in your Rolls Royce. Your quietly publicised wealth will not be a sign of fraud but it will be evidence of the favour the Almighty shows you. You will have soaked yourself thoroughly in the King James Bible so that its vocabulary and rhythms come naturally to you when you address your followers. Even Martin Luther King did that. The word infallibility is not mentioned in case it should remind some of another religion, but it is absolutely clear that you are the mouthpiece of the Almighty. That way you can be humble and omnipotent at the same time. It’s a good trick. You will of course have your “elders” to help you run the operation. Being the elect they will be excused the most trying disciplines, and they will have considerable authority, but it will always be in their interests to support you rather than stage a coup. You and your elders will have ceremonial costumes to impress on special occasions. However yours will be a little grander than the others: it’s only fitting.

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You might think this to be a very wicked idea. You will have founded a religion out of your own imagination, and you will have fooled a large number of people to enter a phoney and demanding lifestyle for which you require them to pay large sums of money. That’s terrible!

But is it? The people who join will be those who are looking for a community which will accept them – and a community which will make them safe by taking any decision-making out of their hands. They answered your call because their inadequate personalities badly needed an ideal to follow, and an absolute authority to which they can subscribe. You have given them what they need and they will undoubtedly be happier. If 918 followers of Jim Jones – who invented “Apostolic Socialism – could be persuaded to take cyanide on his say so, your benign regime by comparison is a merciful way of helping people’s deep needs. All the evidence shows that active member of a religion benefit – in health, longevity, conscious content, and in a wide range of other ways.

And it really does not matter which religion. The programme I have laid out requires revelation, high ideals, close group bonding, strict rules, powerful shared ritual, major self-sacrifice, unquestionable authority, and a sense that one is very special compared to the rest of the human race. In fact if you look at Catholic Christianity you will find all the necessary elements well-bedded in there. Is that why it has been so successful over the ages? And is it possible that it is the weakening of many of these characteristics in recent times which is the real reason for the haemorrhaging of its current membership in developed countries? Think on it.

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About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
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51 Responses to Get rich quick

  1. Ann Mc Givern says:

    I’m kind of in between, personnally being a christian can make me feel great, doing good deeds for others, eg volunteer work, helping out at church events, and trying to do and say the right thing in difficult times, but then you don’t need to be a christian to be a good person. Then theres the ccc were I need to follow all the rules to be a true christian, which can be very hard, and as I have my own mind I can’t always agree with the church’s teaching….does anybody? Even priests/nun’s etc, but I suppose they have made promise’s to the faith to which they can not question it? Funny this post comes at a time in my life when I’m struggling to believe all the church teach’s me on how I should live my life……

    • St.Joseph says:

      Ann Mc Givern
      We have had a lot of discussions on Gods Laws and Church Rules in the past
      You may be interested to look back on Second Sight Blog.
      I am sorry I can not tell you which ones but you will find them interesting.
      We do question our faith,we need to- to have an understanding as to why we believe it there is always a reason!

      • Ann Mc Givern says:

        St Joseph
        Thanks, I shall take a look, I have been on a few forums and found them very interesting. I can understand why some people don’t believe in god full stop, and others know with out a doubt he created every thing and is active in their lives, but yes you are correct we need to question so we may understand.

  2. mike Horsnall says:

    I go and talk to a priest I know sometimes. When I ask him about the teaching of the Curcch he tells me that much of it has been put together over the years as a kind of safeguard, a boundary line if you will. The boundary line tells us as much about what is not as about what is. So for example the doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God is not an autonomous monotheistic being but lives by his nature in relationship. The doctrine doesn’t tell me how to imagine the Trinity or what shape it is. For myself there is much in church teacching I am simply not personally very sure about-but little, when the context is understood correctly, that Ifrankly disagree with.

    • Ann Mc Givern says:

      Hi mike,
      (For myself there is much in church teacching I am simply not personally very sure about-but little, when the context is understood correctly, that Ifrankly disagree with.)
      Can I ask then, does this make you feel less whole as a christian, or do you manage to feel as connected to god even though some things you don’t agree with that the church teaches cuts you off alittle from god?

  3. ionzone says:

    Before we ask if we want to start a new religion we should probably ask ourselves – what is religion? This is a much harder question than you might think because the danger is to simply describe Christianity in very broad terms. Is it a system of moral codes? Well, no, it isn’t – most ancient religions were about either appeasement of wrathful natural forces or stories about superhumans who drank and warred and, when you get right down to it, acted like humans minus even the most basic moral restraint. Indeed the very concept of how gods were worshipped is very, very different to how the Christian God is worshipped. Drugs and temple prostitutes anyone? Or how about believing that the queen is a god or that Apollo or Zeus might pop into your local for a pint and then put a horrible curse on you for a laugh. Even the very nature of belief was different, pagan piety was something Christianity did away with.

    Is religion even as simple as a set of beliefs? Do those beliefs need to be supernatural? You might say yes, but think about Scientology. Scientology is a mystery cult, and like all mystery cults it is a layered organisation based around the control of information with a privileged inner circle who control admittance into the cult. The rather dubious stuff that we have heard indicate that while the believe in souls and reincarnation, what they mostly believe in is aliens, exclusivity, control, and lawsuits. They are a very different thing to Christianity, but one of the tenents of that fringe religion known as atheism is ‘thou shalt believe all religions are basically identical’ which not only goes against common sense and actual experience, but also makes a mockery of one of their other major beliefs: that communism was a religion and therefore the fault of that entity known as religion. This sounds like a tangent but it really does show the kind of confusion that people have about what a religion actually is, especially when that confusion suits them.

    So what is religion really? As near as I can tell you it is a shared culture of beliefs and traditions. Are these beliefs supernatural? Well, that depends on what you mean by ‘supernatural’…..

    • ionzone says:

      In other words, what I am trying to say here is that you could dedicate your entire life to discovering what would count as a religion and if making money from one is morally good or bad. After all, what con-merchants who start religions for money are really dong is starting a type of fraudulent charity.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Although my comment may be a connection with the last subject however if one reads
      THE EUCHARIST AND SILENCE by Laurence Freeman OSB.Lecture at The School of Prayer. Archdiocese of Melbourne 20th April 2005.
      It is to me the most wonderful thoughts on Holy Mass ,the way we worship and feel the fullness of Grace, Peace and community also the healing power of love in the Eucharist
      We will find ourselves not thinking of the worldly whether we agree with church teachings or not,it will put our lives into perspective as to what religion is all about.
      I can thank God for our Catholic Faith
      I am sure John Candido will have read this.

  4. Claret says:

    Are religion and faith the same thing? I have heard quite a few clergy wanting to distance themselves from religion. Religions come and go, they wax and wane, here today and gone tomorrow.

    • Ann Mc Givern says:

      Hi claret, I’m probably wrong, but I’m here to learn! To me religion is a practise, but you can have faith without practising a religion…Not sure about religions coming and going, but cults come and go don’t they? But if cults are pretty much the same as religions that means the christian faith is a sort of cult anyway?

  5. tim says:

    Yes, I do think it’s a very wicked idea. The fact that it might do some good is no justification, if the whole thing is based on a lie. No doubt, if one did found a religion like this, it would be necessary to persuade oneself that one believed it (or some of it). It has been claimed that Ron Hubbard invented Scientology to prove that it was quite easy to start a religion, but perhaps this is a wicked canard. Quentin’s point I take to be that successful religions must have certain common characteristics, at least some of which are shared by Catholicism. I admit this makes me feel uncomfortable, but I’m not convinced that there’s any reason to be. But no doubt some people will wish to argue this backwards, to dispute the truth of those elements of Catholicism they find uncongenial.

  6. mike Horsnall says:

    Claret:

    I think thats a very interesting question. We believe in an event, an initiative which came from God freely to humanity. Around that act has arisen the edifice of our reply- a sacerdotal structure. Yet within that structure hearts are warmed and moved in a quite mysterious manner, in some way love arises from the structure like the flame from a candle.

  7. Ann Mc Givern says:

    Isn’t there a new cult growing now were a man is claiming to be christ and his wife mary magdaline? There are followers, not sure if its money motivated, or power, but how are people easily lead by these people? I don’t get it…

  8. claret says:

    In partial answer to Anne’s ‘I don’t get it’ we really should not be surprised that it is not that difficult to attract followers to pretty much anything that offers some sense of belonging and purpose. It starts with the family , and if it cannot be found there then it moves in another direction, until we find that sense of belonging and purpose. I think it was man called Malthus who came up with the hierarchy of needs. It starts with basic needs of air and water and then moves up the hierarchy as each previous need becomes satisfied and then comes to one of self fulfilment where following a creed of some description coms in. ( Someone on here can probably clarify it more intellectually than I can.)
    Such creeds are often personally disastrous but still attract adherents. Hitler pretty much managed to take a whole nation to hell, and he wasn’t the first or the last to ‘succeed’ in this.

    • Quentin says:

      Abraham Maslow, for the record.
      Malthus was the man who pointed out that populations increase geometrically, and resources arithmetically — thus he claimed a mismatch which inevitably led to overpopulation. But it didn’t work out that way.
      Maslow is important in so far as many argue that modern and relatively well educated people are dissatisfied with an authoritarian Church which spoon feeds its membership.

    • Ann Mc Givern says:

      I’m not surprised that people are drawn towards cults ,like you say they are searching for meaning perhaps, and find it within a certain cult, the one i mentioned before for example they may or not have read some of the bible where it says christ will come back the way he left, so why believe in someone who claims to be christ reincarnated?

  9. Vincent says:

    I sometimes try to guess what Quentin’s hidden agenda is. In this case perhaps he is thinking about the difference between Catholics who just “float” in all the comforts of religion – and might in fact belong to any old religion – and those who actively work towards living their faith fully. That would suggest that those of us who have doubts or difficulties and still struggle may be closer to God than the complacent. But I could be wrong.

  10. Iona says:

    I think Quentin likes to provoke us.
    Buddhism is spoken of as a religion, but (and I’m open to correction) I understand that to be a Buddhist one does not need to believe in God, nor to believe that Buddha was / is a historical personality, and no specific rituals are essential, – there are different rituals in the different countries where, and in the different groups by whom, Buddhism is practiced. There is an ethical code, and a belief in rebirth, and a belief in “enlightenment” which frees the practitioner from all fear and anxiety and ultimately also from rebirth.
    Very hard to see how this can come under the same umbrella as – say – a belief in a pantheon of gods who require sacrifices of various sorts in return for which they will provide favours in this life.
    Perhaps the only thing that all religions have in common is the belief that “This world that we see around us is not all there is”. And that does set them on one side of a dividing line, with Nazism and Communism and secularism on the other side.

  11. Nektarios says:

    Oh dear brothers and sisters & Fellow bloggers,
    What an opportunity this topic affords me to talk about a new religion.
    Ah well, it is not exactly a new religion, but a religion one has lost sight of.
    Many have been the factors that has made us lose sight of a true religion for mankind.
    There has been heretics, politics, occupations, careeist religionists, people craving power, prestige and money.
    The world has been through and continues to go through so much disorder, pain, suffering and sorrows,
    in fact it has been going on for so long people think it is normal, some people can’t stand it and commit suicide.
    Those who have caused the most distortion are those who were wealthy, the rulers, the nobility, royalty
    the aristocrats who saw in their interests the need for a religion that produced order, a religion that kept the masses in their place, a religion of rules and laws and regulation, a religion full of beureucratic departments to rule and to govern. Did these people or the modern day religionists invent this for theirself interest? Where did it come from? It came from an admiration of the workings of the Roman Empire.
    These were quickly adopted and utilized in particular by Constantine for his on self and political reasons
    to adpot

    toadopt
    to adopt

  12. Nektarios says:

    These were quickly adopted and utilized in particular by Constantine for his own self and politcal reasons and suited his purpose to adopt or rather use this new religion called Christianity. All his cunning and propaganda went into making this new religion a tool of the State.
    Fear made many accept this dictat from a ceasar. Since then, what has come to be known as the Church
    is little more than a religion made a tool of the State, and nowadays, turned in on itself and insists enslaving people not only into belief, but rules, regulation, strict order. This is true of all the main stream and State Churches east and West.
    The new religion I place before you, is not new, but the New Testament Church and its pattern which I lay before you and to resdicover it. The religion whose head is not a ceasar, or pope or patriarch, but Christ.
    Whose power is not one of institutionalised deadening and enslaving religion, but the Holy Spirit of God.
    Whose members are not pawns in the heirachies games and the clergy powermongering and fantasy about themselves that many superstitiously believe of them. These members in the New Testament pattern religion rediscovered, where Christ is our head, whose life dwells in us and makes us not only true brothers and sisters for all eternity, but free in Christ Jesus. Let us reclaim our religion and our faith. faith.ourship, our spiritual life in Christ. Will you ffoloow?

    • Nektarios says:

      Sorry about that, the last line was jumping about and should read:
      `religion, our faith and our spiritual life in Christ. Will you follow?’

  13. Nektarios says:

    St. Joseph

    Where does one find this New Testament Church…..? It is not a case of finding another Church than you are presently in. It is a case of discarding that which does conform to the NT pattern,
    which was very different to the present.
    The New Testament pattern is found in the New Testament, naturally especially in Romans 12:4-8 in particular. Do read it.
    There is no such thing as mere Laity in a Church that follows the NT pattern. All the Church are members one of another in the body of Christ. One has to find what gift or gifts the Holy Spirit has given to us as individuals and use them in the service of the Church.
    There is no such thing as a separated clergy and heirarchy from the local church in a Church that follows the NT pattern,
    What one has now is a global Church with Archbishops in charge of countries and sometimes several nations and a Pope or Patriarch as the leader of all. Such structure does not belong to the NT pattern of doing things, but the structure of the administration of the very successful Roman Empire. It is no more, but we carry on with their administrative structures. Rediscover the Ntattern within the NT and what is other than that one can pay little or no attention to.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Nektarios.
      Thank you, but I am not sure what your meaning is. Jesus came to establish His Church otherwise He would not have chosen the 12. When Judas killed himself a new Apostle was chosen.
      Jesus said his Church would be ‘the light of the world’ He then noted that ‘ a city set on a hill cannot be hid’ (Matt.5:14). This means that his Church is a visible organization.It must have characteristics that clearly identify it and that distinguish it from other churches.
      Jesus promised ‘I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it'(Matt.16:18).
      The Catholic Church is the only universal Church that has existed since the time of Jesus despite constant opposition from the world. This is testimony to the Church’s divine origin, especially considering that its human members- even some of its leaders-have been unwise, corrupt, or prone to heresy.
      The Bible says the Church is the bride of Christ (Eph.5:23-32) Jesus can have but one spouse’ and His spouse is the Catholic Church.
      For 2000 years the Catholic Church has carried out Her Universal Mission. preaching the Good News that Christ died for all men and that He wants all of us to be members of His universal family. One Holy Catholic and Apostolic because He appointed Apostles to be the first leaders of His Church and their successors were to be its future leaders.
      The Apostles were the first Bishops, and since the first century there has been an unbroken line of Catholic Bishops faithfully handing on what the Apostles taught the first Christians in Scripture and oral Tradition (2 Tim.2:2).
      These beliefs include the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the Sacrificial nature of the Mass, the forgiveness of sins through a priest, Baptismal regeneration, the existence of Purgatory, Our Blessed Mothers special role, and much more-even the Doctrine of Apostolic succession it self. Also by giving the Keys to the only apostle which is St Peter.
      That in my understanding is the New Testament Church.

  14. claret says:

    Nektarios seems to see no contradiction in taking one part of the NT to discredit other parts of the NT.
    Incidentally the NT did not just appear from nowhere ( on some gold tablets for example,) but was written by men and it was the Catholic Church that decided what writings were divinely inspired from those that were not.

    • Nektarios says:

      Claret & St. Joseph

      Am I contradicting the NT to discredit other parts – I think not. The Roman Catholic Church has a rewritten history that makes and justifies all that it does.
      When I speak of the pattern within the NT Church, some run into great errors simple because they look at the present set up and project it back down through history.
      So the assumption is made that the powers of the clergy and the heirachy as it is now
      was the same then. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      Far from contraditing the NT, I am allowing the NT itself to tell us what the set up of the Church was and what was its practice, what were ts beliefs and so on. What you see of the structure of the Church is a far cry from what the Apostles set up.
      But then you would have to read the Holy Scriptures and let them speak for itself – but you will need the Holy Spirit to enlighten you mind.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Nektarios.
        It is impossible to have such a deep searching discussion on this subject Church v New Testament or vice versa.
        Firstly because I am not quite understanding what you are saying! Unless we go backwards and forwards again and again.
        As a Roman Catholic and you of the Orthodox Tradition will see things differently, I can not comment on your church or your beliefs. As far as I am concerned the Pope and the Bishops form the teaching authority of the Church, which is called the Magisterium( from the Latin teacher) guided and protected by the Holy Spirit gives us certainty in matters of doctrine. The Church is the custodian of the Bible and faithfully and accurately proclaim its message. a task which God has empowered it to do.
        Keep in mind that the Church came before the New Testament, not the New Testament before the Church. Divinely-inspired members of the Church wrote the books of the New Testament, just a divinely-inspired writers had written the Old Testament. and the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit to guard and interpret the entire Bible , both old and New Testament.
        Such an official interpreter is necessary if we are to understand the Bible properly (We all know what the Constitution says, but we still need a Supreme Court to interpret what it means). The Magisterium is infallible when it teaches officially because Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles and their successors ‘into all truth,
        (John16:12-13).
        Nektarios- I know this will not mean truth to you or else you would be a RC-and myself not of the Orthodox Church. However we can understand each others opinions.
        Maybe it would be a help to you if you were to read ‘Turmoil & Truth’- The Historical Roots of the Modern Crisis in the Catholic Church by Philip Trower Ignatius- Family Publications.You may be able to have a deeper understanding of what I am trying to point out to you-also maybe the Orthodox Church as I am sure that too has its problems.

  15. mike Horsnall says:

    “But then you would have to read the Holy Scriptures and let them speak for itself – but you will need the Holy Spirit to enlighten you mind.”

    We need to be careful here or else disappear completely into the fog.I was involved with the housechurch movement before I became a Catholic. I was a part of that movement both in England and in China throughout the eighties and mid nineties . These churches did seek to model themselves on the New Testament Church-in England because they felt it best and in China because there was little alternative. I met many committed believers during that time who felt themselves to understand scripture from a spirit filled perspective-I was among them myself. In China I also met christians who believed that the only way to meet ‘real’ believers was to be imprisoned for one’s faith…there and only there were the true hearts to be found and real revelation given.

    My own life has changed direction a little since then and I find myself these days kneeling before the mystery of the holy sacrament and being caught up in the wonder of that which we see as source and summit of Christian faith and worship. I am aware that the NT churches tend to be strong and dynamic in some aspects, weak and incomplete in others, probably not much use in trying to compare them. However when I was in the NT churches and being led, so I thought, by the Holy spirit directly I thought that the only way anyone could truly understand Jesus Christ was to be a spirit filled believer in a NT church. Now I have become a Catholic I seem to have developed the sense that, to come truly close to Him, means to meet him in the eucharist as a Real presence. Its best not to bang drums too loudly I think and to remember the darkness of the glass we see through which is our own selves. Better by far just to serve the Lord in his church as best we can with our lives lived as they are each day.

    • Nektarios says:

      Mike Horsnall & St Joseph

      I understand where you are both coming from.
      This link sums up better than I ever could at once what I am talking about.
      When you click on the link you will see a page of sermons. Scroll down till you come to
      3317 on Lesson from the Past and further on 3318 on Worship etc.
      Each are sermon lectures about an hour long, by one of the greatest bible expositors
      of the 20th century. It will reward anyone listening to these a historically accurate and reliable information on the New Testament pattern and the way Worship and ministry was in the early Church. Perhaps you can give me your view after llistening to these sermon/lectures

      http://www.mljtrust.org/collections/book-of-romans/12/

      • St.Joseph says:

        Nektarios,
        Thank you I will keep it in my favourites and read it sometime,
        I listen every morning to a homily by a Cistercian Priest at Mass, and I am quite satisfied that I hear the Truth, so at my age now I am not likely to be ,’converted” as much as I am already in the Truth. That is not presumptuos of me- but belief!.
        But I will keep it in mind as I hope you will keep Philip Trower.’s book in mind too.
        What it all boils down to and that is ‘I am not sure what you are trying to explain to me-I am defending Holy Mother Church-I don’t know what you are doing-perhaps you can make it clear in a comment.

  16. Nektarios says:

    St. Joseph
    As a Christian, the link I sent you does not convert you away from where you are or into some other denomination, but it may enrich your faith, deepen your understanding even more. There is
    nothing in what Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones says that will be over your head, he speaks to communicate what the Scriptures teach.
    You don’t have to defend the Faith, nor is it an attack on your personal faith.
    What I am doing, is simply responding to the topic suggested by Quentin. I think I made it clear in my first posting on this.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Nektarios.
      I understand what you are saying. Correct me if I am misinterpreting you.
      I take it that you are saying in not so many words that there is no ”One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” with a structure, guided by the Holy Spirit. but that we are all free spirits ‘ therefore not chosen by Him who knew us from our mothers womb.
      I believe He has a plan for us all, not forgetting we have a free will to do His Will or our own.
      I believe there is a structure by which we live by and we are not wandering in a desert in a sea of chaos and allowing ourselves to be blown away with every whim and new idea that comes along-tossed in a sea of confusion.
      Holy Mother Church is the lighthouse that guides us if we don’t agree with that we can easily be lost and never reach the shore.
      I am sure the sermons you asked me to read-and I will, but it wont give me a better understanding than what I have. My Lighthouse is the Blessed Sacrament my guiding Star and where I am still interested in finding out certain things and discussing them on SS, I have all that I need or could ever wish for in Jesus in the Real Presence.

      • Nektarios says:

        St. Joseph
        No, I am not saying that there is not a One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, nor is the link I sent you to listen to proposing such a thing.
        I am somewhat confused that a man-thought up structure gives one eternal perfection and eternal life. I think not. If anything, this is an analyticical look at these very structures you say you believe in, how they came to be and so on.
        Whether you listen to these two sermon/lectures I sent you or not, I simply have left with you and other readers of this blog for your edification.

  17. St.Joseph says:

    Nektarios.
    Maybe we do misunderstand each other here!
    All I will say on reply to your comment ‘ a man made thought up structure gives one eternal perfection and eternal life. ‘I think not.

    To me it is Gods structure based on Jesus the 2nd Person of the Blessed Trinity who became ‘Man’ suffered and died on the Cross- so that we can have Eternal Life
    No amount of sermons will clarify that.
    It may confuse you as you say, but I am definitely not confused!

    • Nektarios says:

      Sorry St. Joseph,
      You really are labouring all this. What we are talking about is the structure of the institution called church, its history, its early history, its pattern then and its pattern now.
      & so on.
      The basics of the Gospel, there is no need to go on to me about – is there? We agree on that at least. – NO moe on this – thank you.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Nektarios.
        I wont, but just to remind you it was you who started this conversation with the NT Church. All I asked was where could I find it? As I would like to meet them.
        This is what discussing is all about, to get an insight it to what someone means!
        We ought to be able to do this as adults.

      • ionzone says:

        “Oh dear brothers and sisters & Fellow bloggers,
        What an opportunity this topic affords me to talk about a new religion.”

        Ah, Nektarios, it took me a while to realise you weren’t talking about money or something similar. Constantine didn’t need some obscure Jewish sect to give him power over his mainly pagan culture – it was many years after his death that Christianity took off the way people think it did under Constantine.

        The problem with this argument is that it is part of the ‘power fad’ ongoing at the moment. People have started pinning everything on a lust for power when the reasons people do things are actually very complex and varied. The Church has changed a lot over the last two millennia, but it hasn’t changed that much. The core teachings have always been the same and they have always jarred with people who hold real power because they preach the power of the powerless. As much as people like to think that the very Bible has been altered, every ancient manuscript we uncover of it only proves further what absolute care was taken in its translation.

        This hankering for a bygone ‘true’ Christianity is as much in vain as the hankering for the mythical ‘scientific paradise’ of ancient Greece. It’s just nostalgia for an idealised image of something that never really happened. Really, all Christianity needs is to remember how awesome it really is. Screw the Romans – we are the ones who built Western Civilisation!

      • ionzone says:

        To clarify, when I say ‘it hasn’t changed that much’ there should have been more emphasis on ‘that’. What I am implying is that the way we think about Christianity has shifted, but not to the extent that there was ever an ancient ‘golden age’ where people understood it more fully. In reality the golden age of Christianity was everything up until the point where people really started to shift away from it and they stopped teaching kids about the Bible. Your parents or grandparents were expected to know it inside and out.

  18. Nektarios says:

    Ionzone
    I agree with you to some extent, especially your last posting. However, where I disagree, is fo you to think I have hankerings after a bygone age and seeing the Church through rose coloured spectacles.
    If anything what the links I provided certainly shows, was the Church fighting for its survival against heresy and so on. There was trouble in the local Churches too and the Apostle Paul and others had to get them to co-operate with each other.
    But al that is not the issue I have been putting across, failing it seems with St. Joseph, that I am not talking about a NT Church rather the NT pattern that was put in place by the Apostles for the churches they set up. It was to explore what was the scene then and how the Holy Spirit worked with them.
    It was to show how things have not only changed from the NT pattern that was in all the Churches at that time. How there was no division within the Church of clergy, bishops and laity, for they all had gifts and used them. The idea of one priest, or bishop doing everything would have be quite alien to our Christian forebears.
    But go listen to the link yourself – it is simply for your edification and understanding your own Church.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Nektarios
      As you have brought my name into your comment again perhaps you will enlighten me as to why you believe the Orthodox went into schism from the RC Church.?

      • Nektarios says:

        St Joseph
        That is a question you will need to ask the Latin or Roman Catholic Church.
        Having said that, I have had a few conversation with RC priests and it is quite clear
        they have a rewritten history in the Latin or RCC’s favour justifying itself….. as I have said previously.
        I hope you get the message by now St. Joseph, the Church is one, but not one centralized one but many churches, aministratively speaking.
        How far this present day pattern shows and demonstrates it has departed from the NT pattern is clear enough and to help you, and myself understand better, I sent you and the blog these links.

  19. St.Joseph says:

    Nektarios.I really must reply to your comment because I really don’t think you know what I am saying to you.
    Of course we are all saved by Christ’s saving Blood whether we be Christians or not.
    One does not have to be a Catholic to be saved. that is not what the Church teaches.
    However even other Christian denominations believe in different Truths to what the RC proclaim.
    Abortion Contraception and others Not in the fulfilment of truth
    When one is cut off from the Tree of Truth it withers and dies. According to Scripture!!.
    Jesus’s prayer ‘That we will all be one’
    I take that as meaning we will all be one in the Truth.
    If the Holy Father was to go along with all the other Christian religions believing just for the sake of ecumenism She would be failing in Her Mission that Jesus left to St Peter.!
    I am not reading your Pentecostal Sermons, I hear the readings every day and the Gospel and a full explanation of their meanings for nigh on 72 years nearly every day in the last 50 years.
    I don’t want to download anything at the moment and mess up my new computer as I wont know what to do if I do something wrong. No disrespect to your offer.
    I just keep to e.mails (messed that up already) and the blog.

    • Nektarios says:

      Amen, to most of the first part of your latest posting St. Joseph.
      But with all due respect, your second part is wrong thinking, it is not Pentecostal sermons at all. Be that as it may, I understand your fears about anything that is not RCC.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Quentin thank tou, I pray for that unity with the Greek Orthodox.
        Nektarios
        Having married a Methodist who I met at 17-who was adamantly against hte RC, who converted after many years of reading-no pressure from me-I can assure you I have no fear about anything which is not RC!
        And my children in their late 40s and grandchildren are all practicing -no pressure from me.
        Thank God.

    • Quentin says:

      St Joseph, in any event the differences between the Universal Church and the Greek orthodox Church would take several pages to describe — and I daresay not everyone would agree! All we need to bear in mind is that the Universal Church has great respect for the Greek Church, acknowledges its sacraments, and hopes very much that it will one day re-join universal Church from it separated itself several centuries ago.

      • Nektarios says:

        Quentin,
        You asked about a new Church and what it would contain. As I said when I included the link, it was not a new Church but rediscovering the NT pattern and practice again.
        If I may suggest from your comment above, listen to the link i have included, it is an eye opener on some issues. Cf. My posting containing link.
        On the matter of the Great Schism matter, it would be balanced if you had giving the Orthodox account of it and present position too?

      • Quentin says:

        By all means put in your understanding — if you can do so in a couple of sentences. Alternatively, those interested could consult Wikipedia on the East-West schism. But the article is about 24,000 words so a debate on the subject should take place on another forum not Secondsightblog!

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