Nnnnh…  Why you gotta do me this way?

“Christianity centres around orthodoxy, whereas Celtic practice emphasises the importance of doing things, rather than just believing in things (and therefore orthopraxy).”

Libris.  Please.

I won’t quibble with every single one of those characterizations, and the overall point is fine, but, Libris.  I know this is annoying to reckon with, but “one way that people do Christianity” does not account for all Christianities.  And the importance of “doing things” is pretty… canon.

I guess we could debate whether the “majority” (?) practice counts as the Platonic essence of what Christianity “is” vs. the relevance of basis texts and all other approaches, but I’m guessing the former would make it a lot harder to generalize about what Celtic practice is, too.  Or maybe it wouldn’t, I don’t know.

But do me a favor, eh?

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13 responses to “

  • Libris

    I was going on the basis of finding a ton of Bible quotes on being justified through faith, saved through faith, etc, and only a couple about being saved through works, rather than through experience of various Christian denominations (though they did both back that up, which was weird, because Anglicanism and Pentecostal fundamentalists generally agree on very little in my experience!)

    Maybe a better way to put it would be that Christianity focuses on orthodoxy as the way to be saved/to be a Christian? Like, doing good works is important, but I’ve very seldom heard people say that you can actually be saved if you do good works but don’t accept Christianity as being valid/your religion? Or would you quibble with that also? Do feel free to expand.

    (By the way, I’m generally happy to discuss shit, you’re welcome to use a tumblr askbox/message/whatever. I can of course appear here whenever I see your posts, but I don’t get notifications or anything, so it’s just whenever I happen to think of it.)

    • Libris

      At that point, thinking about it, you mostly seem to get the differences of thoughts between the gospels and Paul, where Jesus’ examples in the gospels is pretty active at times (cf. moneychangers in temple, ‘let those of you who are without sin cast the first stone’, etc) but Paul’s injunctions are pretty passive a lot of the time (how many times do the various letters say variations on ‘for it is through faith you are saved, not works’???).

      I guess the thing that complicates matters there is that Jesus wasn’t big on injunctions, as far as I can tell; most of the big commands to everyone in the gospels are ‘love your neighbour as yourself’, so people looking for direction will find it in Paul, who is very….. well, he’s very Paul. :/ (I have leftover Opinions on Paul, okay.)

      • Coyote

        Oops, replied to your other comment before reading this one.

        Paul Opinions welcome here. Paul is, indeed, very Paul.

        • Arrela

          thirded, and also please feel free to elaborate, both of you.

          • Libris

            1) Paul, the first ace elitist. Paul, please stop implying that people who want to fuck are somehow less pure than you. Stop. Forever.

            2) The… injunctions thing. Like, a lot of the time Paul seems to flatly contradict Jesus’ stated goals (such as the whole thing about ‘women, plz be quiet in church’ when Jesus was all HEY PEOPLE ARE ALL PEOPLE, DID YOU KNOW THAT), and it bothers me that people take that and then /listen to Paul/, either because Paul makes them more comfortable because he reinforces their biases (BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS LISTEN TO THAT AND NOT, LIKE, ‘THERE IS NO MAN NOR WOMAN, SLAVE NOR FREE, ETC’) or because they feel more comfortable with being directly told what to do rather than having Jesus’ exacting example waved at them.

            3) Paul is a dick sometimes. stahp. (Also the translations of his prose universally have abysmal grammar, so at that point I’m blaming Paul for that. This is a very petty grump from someone who used to do readings in church and hated it when they were assigned Paul because how do you read Paul out loud and sound good??? can we not have Isaiah or Psalms instead please?)

            4) We have no context for the Pauline epistles a lot of the time, and that’s a problem. Like maybe the whole ‘women, don’t speak in church thing’ was a catty passive-aggressive remark totally not calling out That One Woman Who Kept Interrupting People? We just don’t know! And now here we are arguing for years about whether women can be bishops in the 21st century!!! (I was in the Anglican church right in the middle of that debacle, it was fucking awful.)

            5) Why are people often paying Paul’s teachings more attention than Jesus’? If you’re a Christian, why are you paying more attention to a flawed human than the incarnation of the divine? ???? COME ON.

            6) I once heard a theory that Paul’s conversion was a fake because he was planted by the Romans to destabilise Christianity’s radical thoughts and make them more conservative. I have no idea of the historical veracity of this right now, but if it’s true it succeeded really well. :V

    • Coyote

      (Cross-platform convos are inconvenient, yeah. In this instance I chose making my own post so that there’d be a comment section, because I assumed there would be more than just one exchange, and because it wasn’t particularly urgent for you to see it.)

      Anyway, hm. I think I see how you got to that. That’s stuff that I interpret as being… like, don’t assume that you can be Such A Good Person that it’ll impress God, not how it works, not gonna happen. When someone talks about believing things vs. doing things in regards to Christianity, though, what my mind jumps to is all the times the New Testament records Jesus being very, uh… “don’t waste my time, /show me/” re: people claiming loyalty to God. Because whatever you truly believe, that should be evident in your actions.

      So, Christianity might not emphasize good works in the same way as, say, Islam, and with that said, I believe Christianity that deemphasizes “actually doing things” is a neoliberal perversion.

    • queenieofaces

      Interesting sidenote, but one of the big generalizations that happened in religious studies a couple of decades ago was that “Western religions” (they really mostly mean Christianity) are about orthodoxy whereas “Eastern religions” were about orthopraxy. That’s been contested now (in a lot of different dimensions–what are we talking about when we say “Eastern religions,” for example?), but it was interesting to see it come up here. (I think a lot of older scholarship tends to reach for the “less advanced religions are more interested in practice whereas us more advanced religions care about faith and belief” dichotomy which is pretty =/.)

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