How do Biblical teachings affect Christians behavior and attitudes?

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More than nine out of ten Americans own at least one Bible, and 86% call themselves Christians. All world religions have sacred scriptures. These scriptures state that the world and the universe were created, and that the universe has a purpose. Most Christians, regardless of denomination, regularly use the Holy Bible for prayer, worship and meditation, inspiration, encouragement, guidance, comfort, or to bring them closer to God. They can use the Bible to look for principles to help them make decisions about certain moral and social concerns; such as abortion, prejudice, poverty, and war. Christians are taught to live their lives as the Bible instructs and guides them to. According to the Bible, God should be an active influence on their lives.

 To Christians, the Bible is important because it is considered holy and sacred; “The Holy Bible is the divinely inspired record of God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its content”  Each Christian denomination has their own unique interpretation of the Bible.  These interpretations shape their teachings about the “proper” way to approach morals, values, and daily living.  This paper will explore how Christianity, and different denominations within Christianity, affects viewpoints, practices, and morals in two different areas; marriage and racism.

The Bible is a resource which deepens the Christians’ understanding of their faith and the implications of behavior that come along with their faith. It has a distinguished status for Christians because according to their faith, it alone holds God’s special revelation. This topic is worth of investigation as it will demonstrate to what extent a Religious faith can have an active impact on its believers.

Marriage and Divorce

Christians have four main principles which help guide them through marriage. These are Sacrament, Permanency, Exclusivity and Life-giving. According to Christians, this is the union between husband, wife and God. According to Christian doctrine, God should at all times be involved in their matrimony, and He will therefore influence the decisions made in it. These principles are bestowed upon a man and woman when they are joined together in holy matrimony.

God created man and woman together and in marriage so the two will become one. The Bible states the following about marriage: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24 KJV) This scripture is used to prove that in marriage a man and woman become one and their relationship revolves around God. This concept is adopted within Christianity. However, within the Roman Catholic Church; marriage is considered as a vocation and is only a sacred ceremony if it takes place in a church, where God is present and before a Congregation. It also states in the Catechism- a summary of the principles of Christian religion used for the instruction of Roman Catholics- that marriage is one of seven sacraments. The sacrament is a “visible sign of an invisible grace” which brings Christians closer to God. 

Permanence is the principle that marriage is for life. Expanding on this, it means that love in marriage should be forever and not give up when times are difficult, but rather in these circumstances, pray to God for strength and guidance. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man asunder.” (Mark 10:9 KJV) In The Roman Catholic Church, marriage is considered to be permanent. This principle of Permanence is symbolized in weddings vows where the couples state “Until death do us part”. The wedding rings themselves, too, symbolize everlasting love as it is a never-ending circle. The principle of Permanence in marriage influences Christian marriages to last longer as it can be analyzed that divorce rates are significantly lower for Christians.  According to the 1999 Barna Report, 21% of Catholics had been divorced compared to a significant 34% of non-denominational couples.  It is also observable with reference to Figure 1 that the Christian denominations listed below have a lower percentage than the 34% divorce rate of Non-denomination couples.

Figure 1: Divorce Rates 1995 (The Barna Group, Ventura, CA)

Marriage is exclusive as it demands faithfulness. This means that the sacrament is given to the husband and wife and no-one else. When there are trials and tribulations in the marriage, the Christian couple should turn only to God and not outsiders. Christian Churches encourage congregates to approach a priest/minister for help. The motive is always to repair the marriage and not move away from it. Through the vow of marriage, the Exclusiveness of marriage is highlighted when the couple recites, “to have and to hold from this day forward.” This statement explains that the couple has each other forever, regardless of any circumstance. In order for a Christian marriage to comply with the Christian teachings, they must follow the seventh commandment which states, “Thou shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14 KJV). This scripture emphasizes the Exclusiveness of marriage and how the only people who should be involved are the husband and wife who are in union by marriage.

In the letter to the Corinthians found in the Holy Bible, this idea of exclusivity is explained. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV) During a Christian wedding ceremony, the vows “For better or for worse, in sickness and in health…” is an agreement between husband, wife and God that they will look after each other and their marriage, come what may.

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The fourth and final principle that guides Christians through marriage is Life-giving. The Church, along with its Christian followers, believes that the main purpose of marriage is to reproduce and experience the joy of having a family. For example, in Genesis 1:28 KJV “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” This shows that it is God’s intentions for his people to procreate. These four principles which are set forth in the efforts of creating healthy marriages all influence Christian’s behaviors.

Different denominations approach marital breakdown and ...

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