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What Are "Indulgences"?

Can anybody explain them to me?


Asked by Anonymous at 12:31 PM on Jul. 12, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

This question is closed.
Answers (13)
  • Sometimes it's easier to explain what something is by first explaining what it's not. Indulgences are NOT related to the eternal consequences of our sins (salvation/heaven/hell). Indulgences are NOT a way to work your way into heaven. Indulgences are NOT prownie points that we can use to offset future sins. Indulgences are basically God looking at someone's heart and blessing them. As James points out "you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinners soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:20).

    The article "Primer on Induglences" will walk you through the basic principles behind the concept of indulgences.


    Answer by eringobrough at 1:04 PM on Jul. 12, 2009

  • Anything that is overdone. Such as eating one slice of pie is not an indulgence. Eating a whole 8 inch pie is an indulgence.


    Answer by SalemWitchChild at 12:34 PM on Jul. 12, 2009

  • I'm assuming you mean in the Catholic theology what an "indulgence" is. The term "indulgence" came from the idea of how the sinless Body of Christ tolerating / "indulging" members who were non-saints, who still struggling to overcome repeated sins. It comes from the distinction between true or essential membership in the Church (i.e., living in a state of grace and/or persistent loyalty to Catholic doctrines) and formal or institutional membership in the Church.

    The Catholic concept of indulgences is similar to the evangelical idea of 'blessings'. Here's a chart and article that helps explain things.


    Answer by eringobrough at 12:47 PM on Jul. 12, 2009

  • Today there are some preachers that "sell" blessings - preaching that if a person gives the preacher/church enough money then God will bless that person. Likewise back in the 1500's there were some corrupt priests that would do something similar - claim that if you give them enough money God will grant them an indulgence. That idea was wrong in the 1500's and it's wrong today. But that fact that some people use the fact that God gives us blessings/indulgences to make money doesn't mean that God does not give us blessings/indulgences. The Catholic Church never sold indulgences any more that prachers sell blessings. It's the idea that following God's will and doing good will result in blessings in other parts of the person's life. See "Myths about Indulgences"


    Answer by eringobrough at 12:58 PM on Jul. 12, 2009

  • What indulgences do involve is the idea that sin has both a temporary and eternal effect on us.
    "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), that's the eternal penalty. But there is also a temporary effect like "To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children" (Genesis 3:16). It's the fact that when you sin it has an effect on you and those around you. When a husband commits adultry, he can turn to God to and receive forgiveness for the eternal consequences - but that doesn't mean everything is just fine like it was before he committed adultry. That sin affected his relationship with his wife, his family - there are temporal consquences that people suffer because of that sin. Indulgences deal with these temporay consequences - so one does not earn their way into heaven with indulgences.

    Answer by eringobrough at 1:12 PM on Jul. 12, 2009

  • An example of an indulgence in the Bible is with Paul and his dealings with the Corinthians. Paul issued an indulgence by lessening the temporal penance for sin of a straying brother (2 Cor 2:6-11), which he had previously imposed on him (1 Cor 5:3-5).

    Answer by eringobrough at 1:20 PM on Jul. 12, 2009

  • Indulgence to me is doing something that everyone else thinks is "bad" but it gives me pleasure, and I don't care what anyone else thinks! It doesn't mean over-indulging. Over-indulgence causes bad things to happen, so logically, you don't want that to happen, so don't do it! And indulgence is something that has a GOOD outcome, ie: it relaxes you, makes you feel good, breaks up the stressful monotony of daily life or work, etc. To me there's no reason why you can't be selfish least once a day for me :) In fact I see it as a necessity for mental health.

    But then again, I don't believe in

    Answer by metalcowgirl34 at 1:35 PM on Jul. 12, 2009

  • i agree with metalcowgirl on this one :) except for the example: " it relaxes you, makes you feel good, breaks up the stressful monotony of daily life or work, etc. To me there's no reason why you can't be selfish least once a day for me :) In fact I see it as a necessity for mental health." because i dont do that stuff lol


    Answer by necro1134 at 1:40 PM on Jul. 12, 2009

  • I guess I should have been more specific, I just assumed putting the question in "Religion and Beliefs" would suffice, lol. Eringobrough is talking about the kind I meant. Thanks for explaining and I'll look into those sources you left.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:47 PM on Jul. 12, 2009

  • non religious....use common sense. if you want to have a it..dont drink the entire bottle. if you want cake, dont eat the entire cake. if you are horny and want to have some sex,..dont do the entire neighborhood. when you ove stop appreciating it....two you tend to be unhealthy, fat, sick, diseased, addicted etc etc.

    everything in life i moderation......thats just common sense, not religious

    Answer by moki1984 at 3:32 PM on Jul. 12, 2009

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