So What’s the Difference?

Our small group (Bible study consisting of 5 couples that meets on Sunday nights) is just starting a new book called So What’s the Difference?, which looks at 20 world religions/worldviews and how they compare to Protestant Christianity.

I’m glad we’re doing this…I’m admittedly very dumb about world religions, and getting some sense of similarities and differences between Islam, Buddhism, etc and Christianity will be informative.

But the book also breaks down the differences between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in the second chapter, which we’ll be discussing next week. Of course, this is of particular interest to me as a former-Catholic, now-Protestant girl (woman? whatever.).

I got to thinking last night after our study that I had some questions I wish I could ask a group of Catholics…and then, I thought, duh – your blog!

These aren’t meant to be judgmental; I just want your honest (and, it’s anonymous) opinion on these questions.

I know that the church’s teaching on heaven is not as cut-and-dried as it was before Vatican II. Here’s a website with some information about the Catholic church’s stance on this…it’s lengthy, but if you’re interested in what the church believes now, scroll down to the section “The fate of non-Catholics, as expressed after Vatican II” for a summary.

And know that I’m not offended by a “no” answer here in the poll if that’s what you believe! I’m just curious.

Thanks, friends!

9 responses to “So What’s the Difference?

  1. haglerhappenings

    Great questions! I can’t wait to read the answers, as I am in your same boat. And let me know how the study goes. I might suggest it to our small group. πŸ™‚

  2. studying at a jesuit college, we studied this at length and it was some of the most fascinating education during my time there. maybe because after attending catholic school for 12 years and strictly being taught about the catholic faith is why i was so interested to learn the similarities and differences between a faith i had grown up with and those of others around me but i loved questioning my own faith and figuring out if catholicism was the religion i wanted to continue to practice.

    good luck with your studies in your small group!

  3. That sounds like a book/study i’d love to do with our group. I love learning and asking about how others believe and practice their beliefs. I especially love, love your first poll question on whether one considers themselves firstly a Catholic or a Christian… I wonder that often here as denomination seems such a bigger deal here in Nashville than I’m used to (we’re low on Catholic churches -especially as compared to STL!!- but all the other Christian churches are very denominationally divided). What church you go to is a big deal here and one of the first questions that is asked when meeting new people. Followed by (if it’s not clear from the name of the church) which denomination is that?? It’s weird to me as I’ve always just considered myself most primarily a Christian regardless of which church I’m attending.

  4. I was born and raised a Catholic in the days where being anything other than Catholic was just not heard of in our community. I came from Teutopolis and in my 12 years of school, I only knew 2 other families in T-Town who were not Catholic. Catholism was shoved down my throat. One of my friends had the audacity to date a non-Catholic and her parents made her stop seeing him. She then married someone who she was really not suited for, had 5 children and then divorced him. My sister dated a non-Catholic and my Father told him that he was not welcome in our home. My Sister did not give in and married him and they have been married for 63 years! He joined the Catholic religion and is very happy with his choice. One of my brothers married a divorced woman with a child, outside of the Church. I thought that my parents would grieve themselves to death. As it turned out, her ex died young and they were able to marry in ” The Church”. My parents were so happy when they heard that he had been killed because now their son and wife could be married in the eyes of the Church. Isn’t that pathetic? But they didn’t know any difference. Nicole, your Grandma was not Catholic and my parents made damned sure that she took instructions and became a Catholic. I was taught by the nuns that if you were not baptized in the Catholic Church, you could not go to heaven. As I grew older, I decided that this was hogwash! There are a lot of non-Catholics who are much holier than some Catholics I know. Our son married a Methodist and I do not have a problem with that. As long as he believes in God and lives a good life, I can not see a just God damning him for leaving the Catholic religion. I could go on and on. I do know that the Catholic Church has been the reason for a lot of marriages suffering. You young people would not believe what was all taught us about marriage and sex. I thought everything was a sin and as I grew older, I realized that it was not.,
    Poor Jim!!!! πŸ™‚

    aren’t you sorry that I read your questions and felt a “need” to respond??? lol

  5. Nicole, Heidi showed me your questions and I felt compelled to respond. The first one is particularly interesting. I would have responded 5 years ago with catholic first and christian second (when I was part of the Catholic church). I think this question is akin to asking “If you were in a fraternity in college, do you identify first with being a [insert your fraternity here] or being “Greek”. I would identify myself first with being a Sigma Nu and being “Greek” secondly.

  6. I really could not pick Catholic OR Christian…I believe them to be ONE. I cannot be one without the other included whole heartedly. I cannot answer that…I am both…not either or.

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