It's been interesting to read all that threads about Christianity that have sprung up over the last few weeks. With the exception of a few dweebs who have added very little to the debate, some of the posts from both believers and non believers have been very interesting. A lot of non Christians have come to threads with a view of what Christians will feel about certain topics, only to be pleasantly surprised that it's not quite as cut and dried as all that, or to be infuriated when they can't pigeonhole as easily as they'd imagined. One of the most prominent assumptions is that all Christians are opposed to certain things, such as gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research, etc. It would be nice I suppose for the purposes of discussion if that were true as it would make debating Christians a lot easier. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Some Christians believe that other Christians are damned to hell because what they believe does not follow the specific words of Christ as revealed in the Bible. Others feel that those who dogmatically follow the Bible are often guilty of ignoring the true message of Jesus - that of "do unto others". How can members of one global religion be so at odds with each other? Indeed, is Christianity a religion at all, or is it just a euphemism for several different sects who all believe in the same God but come at it from different directions? I'll give you 3 examples that are personal to me, on the basis of my brand of Christianity (Anglican) and my wife's (Roman Catholic). I'm sure others will have different experiences. 1. As an Anglican, I am not supposed to take communion in a Catholic church. Anglicans believe that the host is symbolic, whereas Catholics believe it is literal. 2. My wife was married before. She is divorced, but her marriage has not been annulled by the Catholic church. We were married by a non denominational priest. According to Catholicism, we are living in a state of sin. 3. About 20 years ago, I joined a masonic lodge. I'm still a mason, though I don't attend any more. Pope Benedict ruled a few years ago (when still a Cardinal) in a declaration called "Quaesitum Est" that "... the Churchs negative judgment in regard to Masonic association remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enrol in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion." So, uh-oh I'm damned again. I've sometimes had difficulty explaining to posters why I don't believe something that they thought was a key tenet of Christianity. It's rather like being called both a left wingnut and a right wingnut in the same thread (which has happened more than once). It seems to me that some posters are incapable of appreciating that one belief doesn't always necessitate another. I'm probably closer spiritually to some Muslims and Jews than I am to some branches of Christianity. This dichotomy is highly inconvenient on a message board, but there you go.