Most upvoted comment
Muslim here hoping to dispel some personal myths, stereotypes and ignorance about Christians and Christianity(r/Christianity)
I can try for a few of these…
- Modesty is preferred, but not required. It depends on the tradition (denomination) as to what constitutes modesty and actions. The Orthodox tradition is even variable between churches, but in general, at church, women and men should be dressed modestly because our minds should be on God, not on each other. Tempting someone to sin in their heart is also a sin.
- If by “taking” you mean “having sex with”, then that’s a no. There’s been some debate around here on premarital sex, but from Baptist to Roman Catholic to Eastern Orthodox, I’ve been taught that it’s a sin, so don’t do it. Now, simply having an exclusive relationship, well, yeah, we do that. I mean, I’m married now, but at some point we were only “dating” or “going out with” each other.
- Works are not required as part of salvation, but works follow from faith. Faith without works is dead.
- Belief is… sort of… Repentance is the key, and living a life in Christ. There is a final Judgement. In the Nicene Creed we profess that Jesus “will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead”. In Orthodoxy and (I think) Roman Catholicism, “being saved” isn’t like getting a ticket punched on a one-way train. It’s a process that lasts one’s lifetime.
- That depends on the tradition (denomination). The New Testament was written and compiled by the Apostles and their disciples. Though not considered scripture, in the Orthodox and Catholic churches (as well as others), we look to the writings of the Church Fathers, the priests, bishops, deacons, and defenders of the church from the earliest times to now. The information they provide and the devotions they give are invaluable. Our “high regard”, though, isn’t restricted to the first few generations, or even the first few centuries. Some of us (Catholics, Orthodox, and others) hold to the communion of saints. [Luke 20:37-38 NKJV] has Christ in His own words say that God is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him. Thus, the martyrs, confessors, prophets, and all saints are alive in Christ and live to God.
- The Church and the State should be separate. The Orthodox Church, while it has been taken on as a state religion, from what I’ve been told generally doesn’t want it, even if certain members of the hierarchy enjoy certain political privileges.
- Yup. Nope.
- Man, people are people. I honestly don’t believe we worship the same God. (By the way, and this is for others reading the comment, not the OP, ‘Allah’ is the Arabic word for ‘God’, and the Muslims do not have a monopoly on the word.) God is Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is love and gives freedom, and does not demand obedience. To demand obedience is slavery. That said, I’m an American, and I don’t duck and cover if I see a woman in hijab or niqab. If anything, I admire the devotion in the case of niqab. However, we are not “People of the Book”, we are the Children of God and of faith.
- Depends on the tradition (denomination). In the Orthodox Church we have a few different postures, including bows, half prostrations, and full prostrations. There is only one kneeling service I’m aware of, though (called “Kneeling Vespers”), done once a year, and nothing like the prayer rug concept.
- There might be, but I’m not aware of it. The Seventh Ecumenical Council, or Second Council of Nicaea declared that icons do with paint what scripture does with words. Actually, the tradition of iconography comes from Judaism, and is based in teaching images used the temple. This article, while written for a Christian Protestant audience, goes into that a little. Statuary is more of a Catholic/Western tradition, and they’re not used in veneration.
- The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware (Metr. KALLISTOS+). There’s also The Orthodox Way by Bishop Kallistos Ware (Metr. KALLISTOS+, same author as the first recommendation) if you’re feeling a bit more cerebral.
I hope this helps, and we’ll see if I get any of it right. 🙂
EDIT: Formatting. So frustrating…
EDIT part deux: Updated link for The Orthodox Church as there’s a newer edition I didn’t know about.
EDIT: Removed a line.