The Instigator
bubbatheclown
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Geogeer
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Churches Shouldn't Spend So Much Money on Buildings

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Geogeer
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/8/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,437 times Debate No: 48675
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

bubbatheclown

Pro

I have burden of proof, Only accept if you're a Christian, please, and post your argument during the 1st Round.

I do not believe that all those churches should spend thousands of dollars making their sanctuary more beautiful when that money could be spent providing ministries to the poor or funding foreign missionary projects. Stained glass is a waste of money, and a building that will fit 1000 people is only of use if your church has 1000 members of your congregation.
The early churches were not huge fancy buildings. They probably met in each other's houses, or perhaps outside. Jesus's sermons took place outside. So why is a huge fancy church building needed?
We are the Church, the building is not!
Geogeer

Con

I will follow Pro by making a brief introduction to my argument and then letting Pro make his arguments.

The word sanctuary comes from the Latin word Sanctuarium - meaning a container for holy things. [1]

The oldest Christian denominations are arguably Catholicism and Orthodoxy which both believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As such it is believed that on the alter and in the tabernacle the God becomes truly present in our world. The purpose of the art in the church and sanctuary is two fold.

First it is to make the church and especially the sanctuary a place of transcendence to glorify God with our best fruits. The second is to instruct the faithful through the use of imagery. If you actually believe that God is physically present in this location would it not be incumbent on you to make it beautiful?

Additionally, it is believed that the reward of heaven will be the beatific vision whereby we see the face of God who is more beautiful than all else. As such, art and beauty are prefigurements of what we will experience in heaven.

Finally, beauty attracts. People want to be somewhere where they can experience beauty. It is an innate desire in everyone. If I were to ask you would you rather be poor, but be surrounded in beauty, or be rich but be surrounded always by uglyness I think most of us would rather live in poverty. In fact in poorer nations, a place like a beautiful Church is the only place where the average person will have the opportunity to experience art and beauty and as such the community pool their resources to create such.

Finally the purpose of the Church is to get souls to heaven. While works of Charity are important, we must consider what Pope Francis meant when he said, "The Church is not and NGO."

The two great commandments are to Love God first, then to love your neighbour. Beauty helps the first, and the first leads to the second.

If we read about the temple of Solomon we find that no expense was spared in the construction of the temple that housed the Ark of the Covenant. The entire interior was lined with the finest cedar from Lebanon carved with the patterns of gourds and open flowers. The Holy of Holies was overlaid with gold from top to bottom. The altar in the holy of holies was overlaid with gold. Statues of Cherubim were carved out of olive wood and covered with gold. And there was more more carvings of olive wood and more gold on the walls and floors and carvings and more and more and more.

I look forward to Pro's argument.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
bubbatheclown

Pro

"First it is to make the church and especially the sanctuary a place of transcendence to glorify God with our best fruits. The second is to instruct the faithful through the use of imagery. If you actually believe that God is physically present in this location would it not be incumbent on you to make it beautiful?"

http://biblehub.com...
http://biblehub.com...

God is not physically present in church buildings. He resides in our hearts. That's what we truly need to keep clean and beautiful, not the church building.

"Additionally, it is believed that the reward of heaven will be the beatific vision whereby we see the face of God who is more beautiful than all else. As such, art and beauty are prefigurements of what we will experience in heaven."

Considering that the fanciest church building doesn't even come close to the glory of Heaven, this seems kind of pointless.

"Finally, beauty attracts. People want to be somewhere where they can experience beauty. It is an innate desire in everyone. If I were to ask you would you rather be poor, but be surrounded in beauty, or be rich but be surrounded always by uglyness I think most of us would rather live in poverty. In fact in poorer nations, a place like a beautiful Church is the only place where the average person will have the opportunity to experience art and beauty and as such the community pool their resources to create such."

So they're coming to Church because they want to check out the building? If the Holy Spirit didn't draw them, then they won't get anything out of Church.

"Finally the purpose of the Church is to get souls to heaven. While works of Charity are important, we must consider what Pope Francis meant when he said, 'The Church is not an NGO.'"

Correct. However, our good works are part of our witnessing to others. Others are supposed to see our changed lives and marvel at the God who has done this.

"The two great commandments are to Love God first, then to love your neighbour. Beauty helps the first, and the first leads to the second."

You don't show your love for God through a beautiful building. You show it through a beautiful heart.

"If we read about the temple of Solomon we find that no expense was spared in the construction of the temple that housed the Ark of the Covenant. The entire interior was lined with the finest cedar from Lebanon carved with the patterns of gourds and open flowers. The Holy of Holies was overlaid with gold from top to bottom. The altar in the holy of holies was overlaid with gold. Statues of Cherubim were carved out of olive wood and covered with gold. And there was more more carvings of olive wood and more gold on the walls and floors and carvings and more and more and more."

Under the Old Testament Covenant, God resided physically in the Temple, and in the Temple alone out of any place on Earth. If you wanted to approach God, you had to enter the Temple room known as the "Holy of Holies." But today, God resides in our hearts, which is 1000 times better.

"I look forward to Pro's argument."

Gladly.

MY TURN:

I'll tell you the tale of two churches:
Donahue Church (the name changed a while back) and Liberty Church.
One is this huge building with a parking lot the size of a State Capitol (perhaps that was an exaggeration), a two-story gymnasium, a large sanctuary with stained glass windows, and fancy light shows during worship services. That church was always building new buildings. Eventually, their bills were so much that the church was bought by another church,
Liberty, on the other hand, is a small single story metal building which used to be a bar 30 years ago. About 50% of the congregation consists of Senior Citizens who've attended that church since its conception. That church still exists today.

One of the problems with huge church buildings is that it costs a ton of money, money which could be spent helping the poor, the widows, the orphans, or assisting missionaries oversees. Instead, that money is used for the purpose of making your sanctuary look better. Effectively you are stealing from God.
And no, I'm not calling you in particular a thief, unless you're a mega church pastor with a huge fancy building.
http://www.biblegateway.com...

One's building should not be larger than the size of the congregation demands. House Churches are just fine, as is meeting outside. This is what the early Church did. Do you think Peter ever saw a huge fancy Cathedral? Of course not! He probably met inside people's basements for worship services and sermons.

It's not about the number of people your church draws in. It's not about the fancy light show, the beautiful stained glass, the rock band praise team, the comfortable seating, or any of that crap. It's nice to have, but one should go without it if it costs so much money, money that could be spent on something else.

I await Con's response.
Geogeer

Con

My opponent seems to believe that since Church A overbuilt and spent beyond its means that beauty in a Church is wrong. Additionally he notes that Church B can continue to pay its bills. However he notes that the majority of the parishioners are old original members of the church. Is it possible that young people are not attracted to a drab building that has no draw for them.

A church is supposed to be a place where you can feel the transcendence of God. A place where you understand that the offerings of beauty of the parishioners to God helps them to envision and desire the hereafter.


My opponent claims that the early Christians only met in Church houses, however we know that the Apostles themselves worshipped in the temple:

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. [1] - So yes Peter did worship in something like a Cathedral.

Additionally my opponent rightly states that while Christianity was officially illegal in the Roman empire that the gathering places were generally church homes. However if we look at the oldest know Church House we can see that the walls were painted with frescoes. [2] And that, as per my argument in the previous round, they were instructive in that they showed events and parables from the bible like the Good Shepherd, Peter and Jesus walking on the water, the Samaritan woman by the Well.

When you hold a special party for your family and friends you put out your good tablecloth and plates. You clean the house up, maybe wash the windows, vacuum, maybe buy party hats or candles. You do this because you want to show your family and friends how much they mean to you. You want the place to warm and welcoming. You want your home to be a place they want to come to and a place where they feel happy. Could you not have made them a better meal if you spent that time cooking instead? Could you not have bought a nicer piece of meat? Sure, but something intangible would have been lost.

Now you wish to do that when God is present in His house, and at His meal. My opponent brusquely ignores that it is a central tenant of the Catholic and Orthodox religions that God is physically present in the Eucharist.

Orthodox and Catholics believe that in the Eucharist the bread and wine are objectively changed and become in a real sense theBody and Blood of Christ; and that after consecration they are no longer bread and wine: the consecrated elements retain the appearance and attributes of bread and wine but really are the body and blood of Christ. [3]

This interpretation is shown to be true from the bible.

In the Gospel of John Jesus says, "I am the bread of life. “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh." [4]

And when the Jews began to grumble and argue he told them more bluntly:

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." [4]

And when many of his disciples left over this he did not tell them come back, I'm speaking metaphorically he let them go and then raised the stakes again with the remaining apostles.

So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.

And that is that. Jesus did not explain to them the meaning any further until the last supper when he said:

And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. [5]

And this exact spot is the only time that Jesus mentions the New Covenant. Under the Old Covenant (which is a prefigurement of the New) the Jews had to eat the sacrifice. Here Christians have been shown how to eat the sacrifice.

Now you may argue that I've taken this all out of context, let's see what the Church fathers believed:

The Didache: [6]

And let none eat or drink of your Eucharist but such as have been baptized into the name of the Lord, for of a truth the Lord hath said concerning this, Give not that which is holy unto dogs.

If it is only symbolic it cannot be holy.

St. Ignatius of Antioch (c. 110 A.D.):[6]

Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: FOR THERE IS ONE FLESH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, and one cup IN THE UNION OF HIS BLOOD; one ALTAR, as there is one bishop with the presbytery…

They [i.e. the Gnostics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that THE EUCHARIST IS THE FLESH OF OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again.

St. Justin the Martyr (c. 100 - 165 A.D.): [6]

For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, AND BY THE CHANGE OF WHICH our blood and flesh is nourished, IS BOTH THE FLESH AND THE BLOOD OF THAT INCARNATED JESUS.

And so on and so forth. If anything my opponent is blinded by his protestant viewpoint. I have clearly shown that authentic Christianity - that which is in line with the early Church - proclaimed Christ to be fully present in the Eucharist. Additionally, my opponent agreed that this was acceptable in the Jewish Temple where God physically resided.

The degree of beauty in the Church should reflect the size and prosperity of the parish. Parishioners who spend a great deal on beautifying their homes, but not their Church should consider their priorities. And no it isn't about the stained glass, etc. It is about giving glory to God in EVERY way.



[1] http://biblehub.com...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://biblehub.com...
[5] http://biblehub.com...
[6] http://www.therealpresence.org...
Debate Round No. 2
bubbatheclown

Pro

"My opponent seems to believe that since Church A overbuilt and spent beyond its means that beauty in a Church is wrong."

That's not what I said. The large church building itself is not the problem; the fact that huge amounts of money was spent on it...money that could've been spent on something worthwhile...that is the problem.
The resolution of this debate is not "Church buildings should not be big and beautiful." It's "Churches shouldn't spend so much money on buildings."
If a church could be built big and beautiful at no cost, well, I suppose that'd be fine. However, a prettier church isn't any better in God's eyes than a run down metal building church. It's a huge waste of money, and it turns the church's attention away from what matters.

Take a load of this:
http://eugenecho.com...
130 million dollar church?! Seriously?! Let's say that the church provided 1000 dollars worth of aid to each poor person. Do you know how many poor people that could provide aid for? 130,000 people.
The guy in the article said:
"The building of the Tower of Babel isn"t what upset God. It was the hubris after it was built " not for God"s glory but to make a name for themselves""
Okay, can that guy honestly look me in the eye and tell me that the construction of that fancy and ultra-expensive building had nothing to do with pride?

Anyway, I'm getting off track. I'll continue.

"Is it possible that young people are not attracted to a drab building that has no draw for them."
Why do young people need an exciting church building? Do they really need to be entertained constantly, even in church?

"A church is supposed to be a place where you can feel the transcendence of God. A place where you understand that the offerings of beauty of the parishioners to God helps them to envision and desire the hereafter."
Uh, okay. I've never heard of a church having this purpose. Last I heard, it was a place where people gather to worship God, have fellowship with one another (may I add this is pretty hard in a building with 3000 people), and listen to the Pastor preach so that their spirits can be fed on the Word of God.

"My opponent claims that the early Christians only met in Church houses, however we know that the Apostles themselves worshipped in the temple:"
"Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. [1] - So yes Peter did worship in something like a Cathedral."

Thank you for pointing that out to me. However, after their conversion they were kicked out of the Temple, correct?

"Additionally my opponent rightly states that while Christianity was officially illegal in the Roman empire that the gathering places were generally church homes. However if we look at the oldest know Church House we can see that the walls were painted with frescoes. [2] And that, as per my argument in the previous round, they were instructive in that they showed events and parables from the bible like the Good Shepherd, Peter and Jesus walking on the water, the Samaritan woman by the Well."

Like I said, the beauty of the church building is not the problem. It's the money behind it that is spent, money which could be spent on more worthwhile things.
Those frescoes were probably hand painted, and they probably didn't cost the church any money.
And yes, they were instructive. However, a huge chandelier and a marble floor has no instructive purpose (as far as I know).

"When you hold a special party for your family and friends you put out your good tablecloth and plates. You clean the house up, maybe wash the windows, vacuum, maybe buy party hats or candles. You do this because you want to show your family and friends how much they mean to you. You want the place to warm and welcoming. You want your home to be a place they want to come to and a place where they feel happy. Could you not have made them a better meal if you spent that time cooking instead? Could you not have bought a nicer piece of meat? Sure, but something intangible would have been lost."

Sure, keep your church clean. Sure, it can have some decorations. But let me ask you this: when somebody visits your home, do you take the money that they gave you for something else and use it to make your home fancier?

"Now you wish to do that when God is present in His house, and at His meal. My opponent brusquely ignores that it is a central tenant of the Catholic and Orthodox religions that God is physically present in the Eucharist. "

Indeed, God is present.
http://biblehub.com...
But it's not the building where God is present at. It's in the hearts of the many believers who are gathered together to accomplish something for God's Kingdom.

"In the Gospel of John Jesus says, "I am the bread of life. "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. "This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 'I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.'"

"And when the Jews began to grumble and argue he told them more bluntly:"

"'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.'"

I've got two things to say to this:
A. Jesus's blood and body being bread and wine is figurative. We're supposed to hold Communion in remembrance of him, as Jesus said.
http://biblehub.com...
B. He'd never advocate cannibalism, which is sinful.
C. If you X-Ray the stomach of someone who just ate Communion bread (or crackers) you'll find that it's still bread (or crackers).

I'm running out of characters, so I can't finish with the rest of what you said.
However:
The purpose of the Church is to be a light unto the World. I have a long way to go before I'm sanctified (shown by some of my outbursts on this Site) but that's what I'm supposed to be, me and every other believer.
We're supposed to show our sanctification through our love, through our ministries for the poor and the widows and the orphans.

"This is true religion that is pure in God's eyes: to build a beautiful church building which brings the pastor glory."
-No Verse Ever-
Geogeer

Con

My opponent claims that it is okay for churches to be big and beautiful so much as you don't spend money on it.

I'm sorry to say that these two values are at odds with each other. While there are simpler and more ornate versions of beauty, they all cost money. Some more than others.

And the bible instructs us to give the best that we have to God:

The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God. - Exodus 23:19

Con continues to be blinded by his own Protestantism. He refuses to acknowledge clear evidence by Jesus through the Gospels and the Church Fathers that the Eucharist is the the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. However, lets go one further, if the Eucharist were considered simply symbolic why would Paul write:

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. - 1 Corinthians 11:29

It is illogical that eating and drinking a symbol would bring damnation on you unless it were not simply a symbol! And why would Paul refer to the body and blood as the body of the Lord if he only meant it figuratively? My opponents claims do not mesh with his own scriptures.

I have established that both of the oldest Christian denominations (Catholic and Orthodox) believe that God in the person of Jesus becomes physically present in the Eucharist at Mass.

I have also shown though use of the scriptures and early Church that the belief that Christ was present in the Eucharist was present.

Con has conceded that it was acceptable for the Jews to have an ornately decorated Temple since God was present there.

In the Catholic and Orthodox masses the faith of the religions is that heaven and earth are joined and that God becomes physically present in the form of the Eucharist.

Con has accepted burden of proof and yet he never proved that Churches that have beautiful buildings do not also have large congregations that are able to donate generously to Charity. He only discussed two Churches. The one he discussed was unwise and built more than it could sustain. The second one he did discussed was one that doesn't seem to even be able to remotely replace it quickly aging population.

He then goes on to mention a $130 million dollar Church. Now he doesn't mention that it is not just a Church but a 6 story education building that will be able to charge tuition to students and a parking structure because it is in a busy downtown location. Additionally, my opponent does not mention how many families will be serviced by this Church. Banks do not lend out $130 million dollars to people without a proper business plan that will not have valuable assets if it all falls through.

Finally I would like to note that even though the Catholic Church has some of the most beautiful Churches it is also the largest charity worldwide. [1] So obviously spending money on beauty does not hamper charitable giving to others.

I will close my argument with a quote from the Book of Mark:

While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table,there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? “For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. “For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. “She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. “Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went off to the chief priests in order to betray Him to them. Mark 14:3-10

People who honour God do so in many ways. That she did this for Jesus is not to say that she did not also give to the poor. Jesus did not stop her, but was grateful for the gift. One could claim that Judas loved the poor, but it was others honouring Jesus in a way he disagreed with that led him to jealously betray Jesus.

[1] http://pseudo01.hddn.com...
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by bubbatheclown 2 years ago
bubbatheclown
I was posting Round 2, but my crappy computer erased it all. I'm going to wait a little while before trying again.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Actionsspeak 2 years ago
Actionsspeak
bubbatheclownGeogeerTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's round 5 argument proved invalid since the $130,000,000 offered a huge amount of services. Also the 6 story building had to be expensive considering it's location, and massive size.