Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Terrible T-Shirt

As promised in the previous post, here is the t-shirt that caused all the conflict. OK, granted, at least the wearer of the shirt is promoting Jesus to some extent, but my impression is that it's intent is primarily to recognize and appreciate Mary, the mother of Jesus.

It seems kind of ironic that it was only last week that I was involved in a typed exchange with an anonymous individual through the comments on my wife's blog (
see here) about Catholicism. But I really didn't realize just how important Mary is to Catholics. In fact, I completely forgot about it, until Eric mentioned it in his comments after mine. I certainly wouldn't have said they place her in the same category as Jesus, but judging from the t-shirt above, it's way too close for comfort.

From an earthly perspective, if someone knows my mom, does that mean they know me? The phrases "like mother, like daughter" or better yet "like father, like son" would certainly be applicable, but "like mother, like son?". I don't think of that as normally applicable. It's certainly not the case with my mom and me. Now, "like father, like son" does make a whole lot of sense in regards to Jesus.

From a Biblical perspective though, we really don't know all that much about Mary, and do we really care? She was simply a vessel for God to use. If there was no Mary, then God certainly could have found someone else to birth His child. Or better yet, He would have just created her - oh wait, He did create her. He's God!! So that "No Mary, No Jesus" part of it just makes no sense at all. The only necessary part of the Mary and Jesus equation was God, who caused it all to happen as it did.

Mary was an important person to be sure, just as Moses, David, Joseph, Samuel, Isaac, and so many others in the Bible were important. Why not pray to all of them, or wear T-shirts that say kNOw Moses, kNOw God? Wait, I think I know - because it's blasphemy! Sure, Mary was highly favored (Luke 1:28, 30), but she was human. As Eric said on my wife's blog, just because she was a virgin doesn't mean she was perfect.

Not only that, but Jesus seemed to make the point that Mary wasn't any more special to him, spiritually speaking, than you (if you're a Christian) or me. In Matthew 12, Mark 3, Luke 8, and he ignored his earthly family in favor of those who were willing to follow Him. For example:

Matthew 12:46 - 50 (NIV)
46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."[g]

48He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

One point that the fellow wearing the shirt said that threw me off was that asking Mary to pray to Jesus for you is just like me asking a fellow Christian to pray for me about something. That makes some sense, except for the fact that she's dead!! And I would never ask another person to pray for me to avoiding praying for it myself, only in addition to me praying directly to God about it. Nor would I pray to that person after they die!! I can't tell you exactly what happens between when we die and when Christ returns, but I do know that God wants us to pray to and worship Him only while we're here on earth, not other imperfect people who have passed on from here.


Anonymous said...

This is an example of one of the turn-offs of religion to some people. Every body believes that their religion/sect/denomination is the correct one, the only one that truly follows "God's word". Some are fervent that their interpretation of "God's word" is the correct one and why doesn't everyone see that. They pity the poor millions of people in other countries or even in our own county who are so mislead or possibly even damned due to their misguided beliefs.

Anonymous said...

First of all I am kind of bummed that I can't see the pictures of the shirt. But from your writing I am assuming that it had something to do with Mary's relation to Jesus.

Secondly, I use to be catholic and left because I did not agree with the praying to saints or mary. I strongly believe that it falls in the category of idolatry. The Bible clearly tells us that worshiping anyone other that God is a sin.

"One point that the fellow wearing the shirt said that threw me off was that asking Mary to pray to Jesus for you is just like me asking a fellow Christian to pray for me about something. That makes some sense, except for the fact that she's dead!!"

This makes absolutely no sense. Mary being dead is besides the point. When we ask others to pray for us or things going on then we are ASKING them. We are not praying to them to take our message to God. Huge difference!!! We are still saying our prayers and ASKING another christian to pray also. We are not praying to our neighbor. There is a great power in pray and the more people praying for something the more powerful the pray is. If you are lucky enough to be in a room where everyone is praying for the same thing you can feel the energy in the room. It is amazing! However the great thing about God is that he hears every single pray no matter how many people are praying for it.

michael said...

Yes, it's unfortunate that there is so much differing of opinion. In fact, since not everyone can agree on everything, I think I'm going to quit this whole religion thing altogether. What was I thinking?

Seriously though, one could say the same thing about politics too, but is the solution to cover your eyes, ears, and mouth like the 3 monkeys and pretend it doesn't exist? If it doesn't have any affect on you, then I suppose you could, but politics can greatly affect the city/state/country/world that we live in.

How much more though can religion affect us? The answer is both in this life and for eternity. So it may be difficult and unpleasant to have to sort through it all, and there will obviously be disagreement about it. But because the rewards and the consequences are so great - I believe that it's worth the effort and conflict.

The truth about the issues isn't always clear, but there is a truth. Either Jesus existed or he didn't. Either he was God's son or he wasn't . Either he performed all of the miracles and rose from the dead or it's a big hoax. Either the Bible is truly God's word or it's a bunch of silly stories and fables with maybe some history thrown in for good measure. Etc.

I Eat Dentists said...

Well said Mike. Like you, I don't want to appear like a Catholic basher, but at the same time, I think it is important to encourage all to seek the word of God for truth, not the Pope or any other human trusting that they are right.

I think most of the things that are "wrong" (used casually I assure you) with the Catholic church come from somewhere in its history that are most likely added by humans for non-biblical reasons. For example, where did confession come from? There is absolutely nothing in the bible about having to go to a priest to have your sins forgiven. Why would they start this then? Well the church (not just catholics) has very often ben used in the past for power, and what better use of power than to know all the secrets of your patrons? Have a problem with someone? Well, now you have blackmail over them. That is the only good explaination I have ever come across (actually that is my own). There are plenty of others, which Mike and I have already stated what, and over time could (purely out of being two people who apparently enjoy pounding an interesting subject to death) give reasoning to.

Next, I need to address the first anonymous post. This is true, and is why people get turned off. However, there are certain things that can easily be shown to be either simply true or false based as you say, on the word of God. The whole Mary/Saint thing, confession, waving smokey lanterns, chucking water at people (I flick boogers back at them), etc, etc, is nowhere in the word of God. These are done out of some word of the Pope. That is the difference here.

I will grant you that many other topics of discussion such as "choice vs. election", or "infant baptism vs. believer baptism" are much harder to deal with, and cause true "word of God schisms" since you can't say that one side or the other is right or wrong (for sure at least).

The point being that the things that Mike and I have said we disagree with in the Catholic faith are parts that are provably not in the bible.

As far as Mary, well, I have to agree with Mike verbatim. Mary being dead is exactly the point. Now asking Mary to pray for you, well, I guess go ahead, but why? She can't hear you. Show me anywhere in the bible that says she can, or any dead person for that matter. Go ahead, you can go to and do as many searches as you like, but you won't find it as it is not there. You are right in your comments about prayer, but this only applies to the living, not the dead. The whole saints Mary thing, regardless of whether it is praying to, asking to pray for, or whatever, is just another thing that some pope or cardinal fest came up with sometime for some odd reason. The disciples who "setup the Catholic church" as you said in a previous post (or someone did); i.e. Peter, Paul, or any other biblical author; never wrote one lick about this in the bible.

Oh, and Mike, don't quit religion! ;)

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