Father Robert Barron. Photo courtesy of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries

Robert Barron, YouTube evangelist, lifts up Catholicism's good, true and beautiful

MUNDELEIN, Ill. (RNS) Charged by Cardinal Francis George with the vague task of “jump-starting evangelism” in Chicago’s archdiocese nearly a decade ago, the Rev. Robert Barron accepted the mantle with gusto and in the process became one of the country’s best-known priests.

Father Robert Barron. Photo courtesy of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries

The Rev. Robert Barron's Word on Fire ministry plans to complete the first six episodes of a follow-up series to his acclaimed 2011 documentary "Catholicism," which aired on 250 PBS stations nationwide. Photo courtesy of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries

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This year, his Word on Fire ministry plans to complete the first six episodes of a follow-up series to his acclaimed 2011 documentary "Catholicism," which aired on 250 PBS stations nationwide.

He has also posted 416 cultural commentaries on YouTube, and this past fall he surpassed 10 million online viewers. The seven- to 13-minute clips range in subject from disquisitions on original sin and hell to commentaries on the Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything" and Martin Scorsese's "The Departed."

And in September, Barron, 55, will be the opening speaker at the World Meeting of Families, a Philadelphia mega-event that will culminate with Pope Francis celebrating Mass to conclude his first U.S. visit.

For Catholics tired of the highly politicized public image of their faith, Barron provides easily digestible, no-nonsense eloquence. Skirting hot-button issues such as gay marriage, women’s ordination, the sexual abuse scandal and abortion, he takes a broad view of the church as many Catholics experience it and still toes a traditional line.

The church, he said in an interview, “is extreme in its demands. At the same time, it’s extreme in its mercy. We shouldn’t dial down the expectations. Love has to dominate every aspect of your life.”

Beauty -- be it of artwork, literature, music, architecture or ideas -- dominates Barron's. His mandate, he said, is to preach “the good, the true and the beautiful,” and he believes that if people first encounter what’s beautiful in the church, they will later discover what’s good and true.

Barron likens discovering Catholicism to a kid discovering baseball, finding himself inside a big league ballpark, seeing the lights, hearing the crowds, smelling the grass, and as a result, wanting to learn the game.

Later, that kid may come to understand the church equivalents of the infield fly rule -- or the finer points, some of which are most controversial. But Barron prefers to dwell on the big picture.

His documentaries, now a staple of parishes and Catholic schools around the country, feature lavish displays of classical art. Part travelogue, part art history lesson, the Catholicism series features the engaging, bespectacled, slightly rumpled Barron as professor and tour guide, leading his viewers on a trek from continent to continent, through holy sites and ancient ruins, pointing to maps, art, music, literature to drive home his story of Christianity’s growth and development.

In an upcoming series, “Catholicism: The Pivotal Players,” Barron tells the stories of key figures in church history, including Michelangelo, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Catherine of Siena.

Filming locations include London, Florence, Dublin and Paris.

Barron's weekly schedule includes a short YouTube video in which he stands in front of an office bookcase, commenting on everything from Cicero to Bill Maher, bringing a church perspective to culture and laying out how the world intersects with the faith.

YouTube, he said, “attracts people who would never come near a church.” For that reason, “it’s an important evangelical tool.”

Though early meetings took place at a local Panera Bread shop, Word on Fire now numbers eight full-time staffers who work in a Skokie office tower, where they produce a lineup of study guides, parish resources and seasonal meditations via email blast.

Barron receives a priest’s salary from the Archdiocese of Chicago, as well as a modest stipend from the Word on Fire ministry, a nonprofit organization governed by a board of directors, said the Rev. Steven Grunow, the group’s CEO and executive producer.

The ministry was underwritten in its early days by a large donation. Today its $1 million annual budget is made up by revenue from sales of DVD and study programs. Documentaries such as the one in production now rely on fundraising drives.

Fluent in five languages, classically educated in the U.S. and abroad, and author of numerous books, Barron provides a classical antidote to the “too smart to be religious” mindset amplified by Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking in recent years.

It wasn’t always so. Baseball was Barron’s passion growing up, first in Detroit and then in suburban Chicago, and he played through high school.

As a high school student at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, he came across Thomas Aquinas’ “Summa Theologica," a medieval compendium of theology that is considered a landmark achievement of Catholic thought.

“I felt as though something just broke in my life,” he said. “It was an experience of an invasion of the reality of God."

Barron graduated from Catholic University and was ordained in 1986 for the Archdiocese of Chicago. He served as a parish priest before embarking on postgraduate work, which included a master’s degree in philosophy from Catholic University as well as a doctorate in sacred theology from Institut Catholique de Paris.

In 2012, Barron was named rector of Chicago’s St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1992.

“He is a person of deep spiritual intensity who has accepted his public mission as evangelizer with great humility," Grunow said. “If you asked him why he does this, he’d probably say because the church asked him to do it.”

On weekends, Barron likes to golf and watch sports on TV. He works out daily to rock 'n' roll, plays the guitar and adores Bob Dylan. Barron’s own drawing of his idol hangs alongside his academic credentials and photos of old rectors, students and saints in his office at Mundelein, about 40 miles north of Chicago.

If all of life is grist for the media evangelist, he sustains his spiritual side with traditional Catholic disciplines: celebrating Mass daily, reciting the five-times-daily liturgy of the hours and praying the rosary.

Diocesan priests with media ministries aren’t unheard of. New York’s Archbishop Fulton Sheen may be the most famous, with his enormously successful radio and television programs. The Rev. Andrew Greeley, also from Chicago, was a prolific novelist who wrote with the approval of his bishops. Archbishop Blase Cupich, who replaced the ailing Cardinal George, “has been very receptive” to his work, said Barron.

Barron seems to have broad church support and few, if any, detractors. "He’s one of the few people I haven’t heard categorized” as left or right, said Mary Beth Yount, director of content and programming for the World Meeting of Families event in Philadelphia.

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan is an admirer. Popular Jesuit author the Rev. James Martin called Barron “one of the rare scholars who can speak in a popular way to people.”

“He’s an excellent evangelizer,” Martin said. “I’m happy to call him a friend.”

On a recent day, after some brief writing and recording, Barron turned to seminary work -- student progress reviews and money matters.

As rector of the strikingly beautiful 800-acre campus, he has worked to keep it an appealing place for those who will follow in his footsteps. The long-shuttered students’ chapel, for instance, has been restored to feature a series of stained-glass windows, which include modern saints such as American heiress Katharine Drexel and philosopher Edith Stein.

In a church of high standards and ready forgiveness, all Catholics can be saints, he believes.

(Mary Beth McCauley is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia.)



  1. RC is a dying religion. They still have lots of cash and assets but are kind of like an old person with a 401K, draining it down. Their end comes anyway.

  2. I’ve watched all of Robert Barron’s videos.
    He laughs at logic. He laughs at science. He laughs critical thinking.
    He laughs at people who read too much.

    He is a typical Catholic clown. Unthinking nonsense.

    He says, “Love has to dominate every aspect of your life.”

    Great. Compulsory love destroys true love.
    evil hooey.

  3. Hi Atheist Max–
    Can you back up your assertions? Can you show me where he “laughs” at those things?

    Hi Wendy-
    Great contribution to the content of the article.

  4. Hey, Wendy! Thanks for the comment.

    You might be surprised to learn that Catholicism is actually growing worldwide, by leaps and bounds. In terms of sheer numbers, the total of Catholics around the globe has more than tripled since 1910, from an estimated 291 million (1910) to nearly 1.1 billion (2010). The percentage of the world population has remained almost identical, although several areas in African and Asia are seeing explosive growth, growth that will continue with their high birth rates.

    Dying things don’t usually grow. But Catholicism is.

    You are right that the Catholic Church is rich in assets. But not in money; only in faith, hope, and love.

  5. Atheist Max, what do you think of Fr. Barron’s remark that atheists must believe that something can come from nothing?

  6. Doctrine needs to be taught cause so many in the church think they are
    a “good person” or they are “good people” but the Bible says that there
    are none good…not even one! Luke 13 says we must bear good fruit and
    that fruit is of Repentance not good works because good works don’t save
    plus many non-believers do good works. All we can do is humble ourselves
    and Repent. 1 Corinthians 6:9-12 lists many sins right along with all of the
    homosexuals so I hope others sins get confronted today besides abortion
    and/or gay marriage. Gossip,gambling,being mean/sharp tongus,jealousy,
    coveting,pride,taking the Lords name in vain,premarital sex are all wrong!

    1 Corinthians 5 and 6 whole entire chapters need to be taught along with all
    of Luke 13 which says for all of us to Repent or perish! We all must Repent!
    Two guys were next to Jesus on the Cross and only one guy went to heaven
    becasue only one guy Repented and had a change of heart about their sin.
    Jesus said that you are one of Mine only if you continue in My teachings and
    follow Me so it’s not enough to believe in Jesus. We must Repent/follow Him!

    If you say you love Jesus and then don’t follow the Bible/ religion no Truth is
    in you! It doesn’t matter how spiritual people are if they aren’t Biblical they’re
    still lost/headed for hell. We must follow Jesus Christ and always be Biblical.

    Ephesians 5:18 says don’t get drunk and 1 Corinthians 6:10 says that all
    drunkards go to hell including people who get drunk on strong wine cause
    John 2:10 says all the cheap wine was brought out last so the best for last
    refers to poorer/watered down/diluted wine. Bible also says don’t get drunk
    with strong wine so people who get drunk with strong wine are also wrong!
    Bible says Repent and believe the Gospel to be saved! We all must Repent!

  7. @Brandon Vogt That was one of the most beautiful and positive responses to someone else’s unkind and hateful comments that I’ve read on this site. Thank you!

  8. Hi Wendy, I just became Catholic this past year. And love it! Would not trade it for the world. At least twenty other people are joining out parish too. We are growing!

  9. Good question, honestly.

    Larry, what’cha got for THAT one?

  10. Cranmer-Amen/very well said from both of you and it’s a perfect example of Grace allowing us all to grow/Repent. Many people think that Grace allows
    allows us to sin. Wrong! The Grace allows us all to Repent. Big difference!
    Bible says Repent and believe the Gospel to be saved! We all must Repent!

  11. I like that he is engaging, bespectacled, slightly rumpled , He doesn’t come off as a smiling used car salesman,(the kind who shout at you and always smiles), I’ve watched most of his videos and as a “non” Catholic person, I enjoy the fact he speaks to me like i have two brain cells that bump together, he explains why and whats of the catholic faith with out screaming that your going to burn in hell (or what ever sort of nonsense)gives you the info and lets you mull it over and digest what he says, perhaps over a cup of coffee or while making notes to look up certain things later…. I’ve come to enjoy his talks about things and sometimes i laugh or some times i go Humm, but I’m never bored listen to his quiet voice.

  12. The Rev. Andrew Greeley, also from Chicago, was a prolific novelist who wrote with the approval of his bishops.

    By his own account, Greeley avoided any conversations with Cdl. Cody after about 1973 (and only ever met him twice) for fear that the Abp. would order him over the telephone to cease publishing sociological works and cease teaching (he insisted that chancery employees warned him). Fr. Greeley also contended that Abp. Bernardin insisted that if he wished to have a parish assignment in the Archdiocese (he had none from 1965 to the end of his life), he would have to stop publishing fiction or remove the erotica from his fiction. Not sure about Greeley’s veracity. Troubled individual he.

  13. Rozann Lee,

    “Can you back up your assertions?”

    Watch the above video link – see for yourself.

    He scoffs at people who ask for evidence. People like yourself, for example.

  14. I think Atheist Mark was stung by Father Barron’s arguments. Otherwise Mark would not have descended to immediate ad hominem or watched all of his videos. His last two lines are a giveaway. Somehow he has concluded that Catholics think God makes “loving our neighbor” compulsory, yet he favors “true love”, however that might differ from the Catholic belief. I wonder if he has the same problem with the Wiccan Rede.

  15. @Mitch Finley,

    “A UNIVERSE FROM NOTHING” – by Laurence Krauss

    Apparently there never really was a nothing. The Quantum appears to have always existed it creates material continually. There is no evidence that there ever was a ‘nothing’.

    Of course, according to the gist of your argument a God could not exist. If something could not come from nothing that would apply to your god also.

    There is no sign of a God. But we have solid evidence for the Quantum.
    If your argument is that “God always existed”, my rebuttal would be twofold:
    1. it contradicts your premise that something cannot come from nothing.
    2. It appears that the Quantum always existed – not a god.

    None of this of course argues in favor of which god would be the right one or whether Jesus wants you to be baptized. All of that is just made up stuff.

  16. Skirting hot-button issues such as gay marriage, women’s ordination, the sexual abuse scandal and abortion, he takes a broad view of the church as many Catholics experience it and still toes a traditional line.

    In other words, where the rubber hits the road in these crooked times. Having Cupich and Dolan in your corner is not the endorsement you want bar for brutely practical reasons.

  17. Mike,

    I’ll refer to Robert Barron’s above video – his argument against Atheism is full of straw men and unsubstantiated claims about God.

    Atheists don’t say God is impossible. We simply don’t BELIEVE the claims regarding the gods we keep hearing about.

    Barron struts his silly claims while wearing a silly uniform – an appropriate word for that is ‘clown’.

  18. The universe is not something that came from nothing. No atheist believes that.

    God, on the other hand, is something that came from nothing. Religionists believe that.

  19. Having a sense of humor does not equate to “laughing at” something in a dismissive manner. Seems to me that is ‘your opinion’.

  20. Mark Twain said something to the effect that the death bells of the Catholic Church has been ringing for centuries but the Church surprisingly keeps going while those who said it was dying are in fact dead. The Church, which is really the people of God, will never parish from the earth.

  21. It is growing particularly in Africa and Asia. Not just Catholicsim but Christianity in general.

  22. No, RC really is declining and with all the pedo scandals, good riddance when that comes. More of a fade out than a quick exit though.

  23. The problem I have with followers of the so called new atheism is the fact that they are a bunch of bullies who have nothing better to do then insult religious people on line hiding behind their computers. It does not do much good for atheism in and of itself. There are atheists I like such as the philosopher of science Michael Ruse of Florida State University. I also happen to be good friends with an atheist who is a philosophy professor.

  24. Robert Barron explains the increase in atheism to philosophy departments being taken over by atheists who then appoint their ideological allies to dominate the philosophy departments. However, the fact that this is happening suggests that atheism is increasing, for if atheism was static or declining the atheists simply wouldn’t have the numbers to do this.

    He also argues that philosophy is more like literature or poetry than science. In science, knowledge increases whereas in literature, the old books are every bit as good as the new. This suggests to me that philosophy is therefore not an area of knowledge, but is more like literature.

    Now Robert Barron is an entertaining speaker, but when it comes to religion, its influence appears to be waning because of religious abuses.

  25. Hey Atheist Max! Love ya, brother!


    All the Catholics


    I’m sorry if people find it offensive but it is the duty of a thinking person to challenge religious claims – otherwise we are stuck with the offending claims themselves.

    Robert Barron says:
    “SCIENTISTS rarely know what serious people mean when they use the word god. Almost invariabley they assume that God is some item in the universe who may or may not exist – let’s look and find out and see if there is any evidence..meaning physical traces of this being – experimental evidence, etc…”
    “But this is precisely what people DO NOT MEAN by god”

    Condescending, arrogant garbage. Does he think we don’t know our Bibles?


    It IS CLAIMED – God answers prayers in ways which can be measured.
    “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – JESUS (Mark 11:24)

    IT IS CLAIMED – God blesses good people with things which can be seen.
    “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need..” – (Corinthians 9:8)

    IT IS CLAIMED – God smites bad people with physical problems.
    “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall!” – (Act 23:3)

    IT IS CLAIMED – God’s blessings are to be WITNESSED physically.
    “Go; your faith has made you well.” – JESUS (Mark 10:52)

    IT IS CLAIMED – God’s relationships can be TESTIFIED TO.
    “You will know them by their fruits.” – (Matthew 7:16)

    Of course these claims all fall flat.
    Anyone who has ever been to a children’s hospital knows these claims are a crock of ancient superstitions and lies.

    Don’t say out of one side of your mouth
    that evidence does not matter
    But then tell us that evidence is to be expected!

    We must have more respect for ourselves than to fall for the evil and dishonesty of religion. Father Barron should be deeply ashamed of himself for these terrible videos.

  27. Atheist Max – thank you, excellent clarity. It is almost impossible to disagree with you sometimes.

  28. @James Watrous:

    “new atheism …they are a bunch of bullies….”

    We Atheists are actually not bullies at all. We are responding to bullies.

    “the only cure for homosexuals is that they be put to death”
    Pastor Robbie Galaty, Tennessee Megachurch, Sept 4, 2014

    “We have avenged the Prophet”
    Muslim Assassin outside of Charlie Hebdo, Paris, France – Jan 7, 2015


    “Slay the infidels wherever you find them” – ALLAH, Surah (9:2)

    “Slaughter the believers of other religions in daylight” -Yahweh (Deut.)

    “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed!” (1 Corinthians 16:22)

    Religion is inhuman, disgusting, revolting and uncivilized.
    It should all be abandoned before it destroys the world.

    For Peace, Culture and The Separation of Church and State

  29. The Church of Zoroaster lasted much, much longer than Catholicism ever will.
    And it was invented by men long before Jesus was ever born.

    All of Persia worshipped Zoroaster the great MAN GOD
    5000 years ago. He was born of a virgin. Wine and bread were part of his ritual.

    Some sects of Zoroastrians still exist. They are called Christians now.

  30. Why do atheists always sound bitter, hateful and disrespectful? If you disagree, do so with respect. Calling Fr. Barron a clown is ridiculous and makes you look rude and sound like a bully. Live your chosen life and leave the believers alone.

  31. Dear Max
    Surely you must grant that he does great movie reviews.

  32. Atheist Max,

    I’m a teacher and I know a bully when I see one. Unfortunately Pastor Robert Galaty also seems to be one. If I met Galaty I would tell him God loves all people including homosexuals. Including a gay Episcopalian priest I use to know and my gay friends. Your quote from Luke is from one of Jesus’ parables. Jesus is telling a story to make a point but not be taken literally anymore than LORD OF THE RINGS should be taken literally. With Paul’s quote it helps if your realize that he is writing to a church in Corinth trying to deal with problems. His quotes need to be taken in that context. I am not a Muslim so I don’t know that I should be speaking on their behalf. Islamic terrorist are considered heretics by some Muslims. Yes, there is violent passages in both the Bible and the Koran but they need to be taken in context of when they were written. There is a good book on the subject entitled LAYING DOWN THE SWORD: WHY WE CAN’T IGNORE THE BIBLE’S VERSES by Philip Jenkins. You should read it. Fortunately most of the religious people I have known are humane and civilized and are not disgusting or revolting. I wish I could say the same about atheist on the internet, fortunately I know a couple of good humane atheists out there.

  33. God/Jesus are vey real and evolution is impossible. Romans 1:18-32 says that
    people deny the Truth/God/Jesus cause they love their sin/don’t want to be told
    how to live. Psalm 22:16-18 and Isaiah 53:3-7/Bible prophecy accuracy is why
    we can trust Jesus/ the Bible. God/Jesus are very,very real/ Bible is the Truth!

  34. Dear Max
    I think Robert Barron is perhaps the best (living) spokesman for conservative Christianity I have encountered,
    Holy cow, compare him to Franklin Graham.

  35. James:
    Well said.
    Check out Julian Baggini, one of my favorites. He is too restrained to be appreciated by Max.

  36. James Watrous,

    The Parable of the Minas (Luke 19:20) is an inexcusable – and yes, disgusting – parable.
    Jesus reveals an astonishing lack of concern for how his words will be understood (if he really said them at all) because this parable is used by the Catholic Church as an excuse for the Parousia – where Jesus shall return to slaughter his enemies. How will Jesus do this? He will have the good servants slaughter the bad ones – that will be their reward!

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King and execute them in front of me” – JESUS (luke 19:27)

    Jesus seems to have not the slightest care about how many millions will die over the coming centuries because of (what you claim) is an out of context misunderstanding.

    “Fortunately most of the religious people I have known are humane and civilized and are not disgusting or revolting.”

    Of course most people (including atheists) are perfectly well-adjusted and humane individuals. All the more reason to stop spreading dangerous lies, as Fr. Barron is doing.

  37. Atheist Max, if you are incapable of believing, if you cannot agree with other people’s thoughts, beliefs or opinions, if you dislike others for who they are or what they choose to do, then leave them be. You expect to be respected for who you are, and you are free to hold your own beliefs and opinions. So is everyone else including those who hold views contrary to yours. No one is forcing you to accept theirs, but everyone else expects you to respect theirs. So be free. Do not believe, do not accept, do not agree with those you choose not to, do not listen, don’t bother. But do live and let live. Go your own way. Be at peace, in your own way.

  38. God/Jesus are very real is what the first part above should read but I made
    a typo. For someone to say that this whole world formed out of nothing and
    that the sun is set perfect where we all don’t burn or freeze is all just random
    is being blind to the Truth. Bible prophecy accuracy can’t be refuted. God bless.

  39. “makes you look rude”

    The rudeness comes from the claims of “Father Barron” who assaults human decency and critical thinking in his videos as if such things are dangerous.

    I am merely calling him out on his incredibly offensive claims.

    “A real human being was tortured mercilessly and slaughtered for your personal benefit” – Love, the Catholic Church

    Think about that.
    And check out the news of a man being burned alive inside a cage by ISIS.

    The equivalent happens to a man named Jesus 2000 and somehow we are all okay with it? Horrifying!

    This is indecent and offensive. Yes it is.

  40. Atheist Max:

    It’s still a parable. It needs to be taken metaphorically and not literally.

    I am glad that most people, both atheists and religious people are well balanced. It’s unfortunate that some religious are not always well balanced and humane. It’s also too bad some atheists aren’t either. It really was too bad that Marquis de Sade was balanced and humane. Nor were Mao and Stalin.

  41. Karla

    I agree with God and Jesus are real but evolution is also real too. God created the Universe to be an evolving universe. Why you may ask? I have no idea.

  42. “Word on Fire Ministry” doesn’t sound typically Catholic to me. Is the Church now trying to compete with the Protestants and their flamboyant, “on fire for the Lord” antics?

    Simmer down, Catholics. Simmer down. You’re supposed to be the boring ones.

    “Skirting hot-button issues such as gay marriage, women’s ordination, the sexual abuse scandal and abortion, he takes a broad view of the church as many Catholics experience it and still toes a traditional line.”

    Trying to have his communion wafer and eat it too, huh? Well, it’s working for Pope Francis, so best of luck to Father Don’t-Try-To-Pin-Me-Down-I’m-Too-Slippery.

  43. I could listen to Father Barron for hours but I couldnt get through the negative comments to this article. What is it that scares you…why do you react as you do? Viva “Word on Fire”!

  44. James Watrous,

    “Mao and Stalin.”

    You are opening a can of worms.
    Invoking leaders of Agrarian Cults which advocated miracles of Lysenko and Man Gods, men who are worshipped in Russian Orthodox Iconography with halos over their heads (Stalin and Lysenko) is no way to argue against Atheism.

    To blame Atheism for Stalin is as empty as blaming Peanut Butter.
    Religion takes the blame whenever a population surrenders to authority.

    “All totalitarianism is fundamentally religious” – George Orwell

    If you want to know what a proper Atheistic Regime looks like
    you already have one:
    The US Constitution – “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion…”

    The greatest achievement of humanity so far is our Atheistic Constitution which in its NON BELIEF(Atheism), preserves Religious freedom for everyone.

  45. James Watrous- Thanks for the feedback. The Bible says that in the last
    days knowledge will increase so Bible prophecy is coming true just as Bible
    predicted. God/Jesus created everything yes but He/God is still in control.

  46. atheist Max you must’ve been very hurt in your life to react this way. God is also someone you can turn to in times of severe pain and suffering. He is there for us to lean on and carry through. Because we can Choose too. The world we live in is not a marionette show where he pulls our strings. We have free will to do whatever we want and those actions also can hurt others, some are innocent. And he’s always there to forgive us we just look to him and ask. I really feel anger from your words, and don’t understand them.

  47. Misleading, Brandon. At best, it is fair to say that the influence and popularity of the Roman Catholic Church remains flat after 104 years. Despite localized growth in parts of Africa and Asia – offset by declines elsewhere, helping to keep the numbers stable – it’s rather disingenuous to claim the RCC is “growing by leaps and bounds.”

  48. Must believe? Although you addressed this to Max (and he answered), as an atheist, I feel it’s worth emphasizing the utter lack of dogma & doctrine in atheism. No atheist – no person – is or should be “required” to believe in anything not supported by persuasive evidence. Hence, I deem Fr. Barron’s remarks to be biased and ill-informed.

    With that said, I understand the challenge and answer that the origin of the universe is the subject of much conjecture and speculation, and there is no final consensus. It is a gap into which Fr. Barron’s god fits nicely, and perhaps always will. Now, I tend to read a fair number of articles on cosmology and physics, but as a non-scientist I’m content to admit my relative ignorance, and confess my distaste for borrowing an answer from my ancestors. I find the question far too interesting to accept so threadbare an answer.

    Feel free, of course, to take my remarks or leave them, as you like.

  49. Forgot to summarize: I don’t know the origin of the universe, and neither does Fr. Barron. Or you. What you have is a narrative you find appealing.

  50. Ah, of course this would the topic where OCD atheist troll Atheist Max would be posting to the max. I’ve crushed Atheist Max’s trite cliche attacks on theists, mainly Christian ones as you find atheists trolls like max on most every religious forum now, the atheists weighing in at all of 5% of the population want to make an impression. Even though not of one of them ever knows what he or she is talking about. Theists: Remember that atheists have NO experience with spiritual consciousness and do not know what spiritual contact with God or the Spirit of Christ is like. They have only other atheists opinions about it and all of them are devoid of actually ever having a spiritual relationship with God. So not having any personal experience with spiritual consciousness they say to themselves and everywhere they can, stalking as trolls on religious discussions, that because they can’t find God nobody else can either. Therefore God doesn’t exist. So, just always remind our no-nothing atheists that they don’t know what they are talking about and just try to divert religious discussions with their tripe cliches against theists. Tell Max to beat it and go to Atheist Forums and rant to fellow no-nothings about spiritual conscious or God or anything having to do with Spirit. Just a suggestion..

    As for sticking up for the Catholic Church..are you crazy? I’m a Celestial Torah Christian who follows a Gnostic Christian path and just someday take a look at how the RCC treated us. We were the very first victims of Christian persecution, being killed, religious texts burned, and run out of the Roman Empire long before the serious pogroms started against Jews and European pagans.

  51. Wendy, For 2,000 years there have been some expecting the death of the” Rock of Peter.” Joe Stalin was one of these. He sarcastically asked:”How many divisions does the pope have???
    In our parish we recently had a large class of converts including the woman pastor of a Protestant church. So please–Don’t hold your breath.

  52. I do love Pope Francis but not his church. He has one road to go and that is the “Shoes of the Fisherman” movie’s conclusion: “At his papal coronation, Kiril removes his tiara (in a gesture of humility) and pledges to sell the Church’s property to help…”

    Yup, sell it all and get out of the banking business and Mammonism altogether. Let every scholar into the Vatican Library so Christians can finally know what the RCC did with early Christian texts.

  53. “the atheists weighing in at all of 5% of the population want to make an impression.”

    What percentage of the population are “Celestial Torah Christians,” Stephen?

  54. @Ran a,

    I’m very, very fine. A very happy guy.
    I have never been hurt by the church. I was a Catholic for 44 years.
    I have never had a problem with priests. Though nuns once whipped my knuckles bloody for asking questions about God when I was a kid – I am over it.

    Thanks for the concern.

    Meanwhile, I’m concerned about this sort of thing:

    Father Robert Brannon says:
    “86% of philosophers don’t believe in God.
    Well, I discovered something behind philosophers – very few specialize in religion! So very few are qualified to adjudicate the nature and existence of god….”

    Now this is very dangerous nonsense. If a person must be religious in order to assess the evidence regarding a god, that would be like leaving the effectiveness of medicine to only the voodoo doctors.

    Something either makes sense, or it doesn’t.
    If God exists, nobody should be afraid of examining that evidence.
    If God does not exist, it should perfectly fine to say so.

    We find ourselves in a ridiculous situation where we are supposed to ‘respect’ someone who has blown smelly smoke at us. There is no evidence for a god – and just because some vague ‘authority’ has decided Robert Brannon is worthy of ADJUDICATING that god exists doesn’t mean I have to give a tinker’s dam about it.

    Robert Brannon is a mortal mammal like the rest of us. I reject the claim that somehow, because he has a fancy collar, we are supposed to accept his decisions about god as better than our own!

  55. @J.C.

    “I find the question far too interesting to accept so threadbare an answer.”

    Brilliant, sir! Well said.

  56. “best (living) spokesman for conservative Christianity”

    And P.T. Barnum is still the best Circus Barker.
    It won’t fix the problem. At the core of this philosophy is a claim – ‘God exists and he cares’.

    I see no reason to believe either claim. And enormous harm from trying to sell this nonsense in the modern world.

    “All Homosexuals must be slaughtered” – (Leviticus 20:13)

    Remember this when a priest tells you that God is real. And understand the implications on innocent people who never harmed you.

    Religion is an assault. It is against you and your mind.

  57. “Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise there of…” Amendment I. I don’t think that is particularly atheistic. It means a separation of church and state which I am for.

    May I suggest some of books
    Belief or Non-Belief? by Umberto Eco and Cardinal Martini.
    When Atheism Becomes Religion: America’s New Fundamentalism by Chris Hedges.
    Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and It’s Fashionable Enemies by David Bentley Hart.
    Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Questions on the God Debate by Terry Eagleton.
    Why Religion Matters by Huston Smith
    Is Nature Enough? by John F. Haught
    The Myth of Religious Violence by William Cavanaugh
    Is Religion Dangerous? by Keith Ward

  58. TGGPan,

    “What percentage of the population are “Celestial Torah Christians,” Stephen?”

    Thank you for the hearty LOL!
    🙂 🙂 🙂

  59. I love Pope Francis. And I even love my dysfunctional church. Francis is attempting to reform things and I hope he succeeds. Though to be honest I am not sure I have heard of a Celestial Torah Christian before. Gnostics I have heard of. I think you’re right on about Atheist Max. Who would have thought Fr. Robert Barron would be so controversial? Seems to be a pretty nice guy actually. I am not sure you would find what you’re looking for in the Vatican Library. Do pray for Pope Francis he needs it.

  60. You can blame the filmmaker Terrence Malick and his film The Tree of Life for making become a Fr. Robert Barron fan. I love The Tree of Life; it’s my favorite film of all time. I love Terrence Malick; he’s my favorite filmmaker of all time. The Tree of Life also caused as much controversy as on this blog. I don’t know to many people on the fence about that film or it’s filmmaker. Anyway, I discovered Fr. Barron’s reflection on the film and I really liked it. Check it out when you get a chance.

  61. @James Watrous,

    Thanks for the book suggestions. I once loved Umberto Eco but no longer understand his conclusions.
    As for Chris Hedges – I’ve met him. He’s a mixed bag.
    I heard him speak when he was selling his anti-atheist book, “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (or something like that).
    Hedges’ other book, “War, The Thing That Gives Us Meaning” is an absolutely terrifying book – I don’t know if humanity can survive if he is correct.
    I’ve read Huston Smith’s book “Why Religion Matters” and found it ridiculous. His notion that we need a god is completely unfounded and the scientific evidence against it is easy to understand.

    “Is Religion Dangerous” by Keith Ward is the only book you mentioned which I never heard of.

    As long as the Atheistic (yes, that is what it is) Establishment Clause continues to be part of the American Constitution we shall have nothing to fear from either Christians or Atheists.
    Your problems will begin when that Separation is dismantled and someone decides to shove a religion at you as a matter of law.

    The religious claim may seem benign at first, but it will grant all sorts of unfounded permissions to the government to be very authoritarian.

    Your reading assignment is ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell.
    I’ll give you extra credit if you read “THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK”
    Or “The Magic of Reality” by Richard Dawkins
    Or “The God Virus” by Darell Ray
    Or “God is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens
    Or “The Missionary Position” by Christopher Hitchens
    Or “De-Converted” by Seth Andrews
    Or “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins
    Or “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris
    Or, “A Universe from Nothing” by Laurence Krauss
    Or, “The Voyage of the Beagle” by Charles Darwiin

    Religion is absolutely the cause of most misery in this world, including most holocausts and genocides. Brace yourself as ISIS (certainly no atheists in that bunch) rears its head and Catholics raise their own in reply.

    Religion must be abandoned. One believer at a time.

  62. When I was in college the school newspaper had a column entitled “Dear Flabby.” Obviously, a take on Dear Abby. Anyway, everyone thought the column was written by a bitchy college girl who thought she knew everything. It ruffled a few feathers. I got pissed reading some of her stuff. No one knew who she was. The whole thing was a big joke and it was on us readers. It turned out it was a guy who was making fun of the bitchy college girls who thought they knew everything at the school. I have to admit I laughed when the truth came out. It was pretty funny. Maybe the joke is on us from Atheist Max. I find it hard to believe that he actually believes even half the stuff he’s saying.

  63. @James Watrous,

    “It is growing particularly in Africa and Asia”

    The most Catholic country in all of Africa of all is Rwanda. Gee.
    I wonder what could possibly go wrong? About 20 years ago it exploded in genocide as priests and nuns personally helped to slaughter 800,000 of their brothers and sisters.

    As far as Asia is concerned – this is a true disaster. The recrudescence of Christianity there is a nightmare. One need only examine the horrors of the Tai Ping Rebellion where 45 MILLION were slaughtered in the name of Jesus.

    For shame.
    How tragic that this disgusting philosophy of Jesus continues despite the evidence that it is a horrific nightmare to humanity.

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King and execute them in front of me.” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    For shame. For shame.

  64. I have read Animal Farm and 1984 too for that matter. And The Constitution of the United States too. Letter to a Christian Nation I read and was not impressed.

  65. Atheist Max — I appreciate your comments. However, it works both ways doesn’t it? What Father Barron said is that those most of those philosophers have not made a study of theology — not that you have to be a believer in God to study God, but you do need to study God before you proclaim professionally that you have found the absence of one. In the same way, for example, I would not turn to dentist to look at my stomach problem. He did not nor has he ever said you should not examine the evidence. I believe in climate change caused by humans because the evidence examined by climate scientists have examined it and agree. I do not believe it because a group of medical scientists tell me it is true, nor do I particularly care for their professional opinion on the question.

  66. I’ve read Animal Farm and 1984, too for that matter. I should read The Diary of Anne Frank. Though I have seen a movie about her. I really need it though someday. i read Letter to a Christian Nation which I was not impressed with. The Hedges book is the same book, just a different title. Hedges is an interesting guy.

  67. Read The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity and The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South both by Philip Jenkins.

  68. James Watrous,

    “I find it hard to believe that he actually believes even half the stuff he’s saying.”

    By all means, bring it on.

    I assure you it is a matter of great concern to me
    and many other Atheists like me
    that we are heard and that we are noticed.

    Don’t take it for granted that Christianity is normal anymore.
    Millions of us are well-schooled in religion, spent years in it, left it and have decided to not be silent about its evils anymore.

    I would not be posting here and engaging so many at every opportunity, if I were not very serious.

    Witness your horrible Bible:


    “If men get into a fight with one another, and the wife of one intervenes to rescue her husband from the grip of his opponent by reaching out and SEIZING HIS GENITALS, you shall cut off her hand; show no pity.” – DEUT. 25:11

  69. I don’t want to say too much about Lawrence Krauss other than not all scientists agree with his conclusions, including Amir Aczel.

  70. To Atheist Max,

    Hey that’s good idea about cutting off your wife’s hand if she touches another man’s penis. I’ll run that by fiancé. LOL. That’s a joke by the way. Hmm, I wonder why my fiancé dumped me.

  71. Atheist Max — One more comment. I have atheist friends and that is perfectly ok with me. They are great people. But there is one generally accepted tenant you seem to repeat that is wrong, and that is the idea that religion is behind so much violence and hate. The 20th Century was our most bloody, and yet those wars were all fought over nationalism, not religion. Hitler and Stalin were both atheists. Religion and other passions of the populace are simply used as ways to manipulate people. It is not the reason behind the blood, any more than Auschwitz was really about the Fatherland. It was about hate, and Christ preached the opposite of that. So there is that to think about and examine logically.

  72. Don’t worry. He will have answer for you. Might be a flawed answer but still an answer.

  73. Kevin A Smith,

    Brannon is saying that evidence can only be properly examined by Theologians.

    That is the dangerous nonsense which he preaches.
    Evidence is evidence. Just freakin’ show it!

    If someone, ANYONE, has real evidence for a god then please show it! My problem with Brannon is he keeps claiming the evidence exists yet he won’t show it!

    Atheism is the lack of belief. That is all it is.

    You don’t believe in leprechauns, right? So you are an ALeprechaunist. And you have seen no evidence for leprechauns and it doesn’t matter to you one way or the other, right?

    What good does it do to say:
    “Only people who study Leprechauns are worthy of ADJUDICATING whether Leprechauns exist.”

    Yet that is what Brannon is saying about God and Theologians.

    If you don’t have evidence for Leprechauns the entire field of LEPRECHAUNOLOGY should be laughed at!

    Same for God – same for THEOLOGY. It is a JOKE unless someone can explain that God (like Leprechauns) is a real thing.

    Brannon is completely ridiculous. But the fact that people have given him attention is part of the problem. He has nothing supporting his ridiculous claims.

  74. To Atheist Max and anyone else who is interested.

    Atheist Max isn’t a regular atheist. He is an anti-theist, which is one of the more radical forms of atheism. Reza Aslan of the controversial Jesus book Zealot fame wrote an interesting article on anti-theism a couple of months ago in Salon. I recommend googling it. It’s good.

  75. I know from watching the Catholicism series that this man spoke candidly and accurately about the scandals the Church was right fully called to a task for. The author should have the class to acknowledge this.

  76. @Kevin Smith,

    “Hitler and Stalin were both atheists.”


    Hitler was certainly NOT an Atheist but a confessing Catholic whose first treaty in 1933 was with the Catholic Church! (the Vatican Koncordat)

    “Got Mit Uns” (god with us) was worn on every Nazi belt buckle!

    Stalin was an Atheist – but he wavered back and forth seizing the position of Czar (a religious title).
    He started as an orthodox Seminarian and used the ‘surrender of faith’ to his benefit in building up his image as a god – he employed miracles of Lysenko and claimed absolute knowledge. Icons of Stalin have Halos on them in Russian Cathedrals today. Stalin is claimed to a Russian saint. Stalin was an employed religion to his own ends like all who destroy separation of church and state.

    “Religion and other passions of the populace are simply used as ways to manipulate people.”
    That is not an argument in favor of religion but an argument against it!!

    ” It is not the reason behind the blood, any more than Auschwitz”

    STOP RIGHT THERE! killing jews for the sake of Jesus was exactly the Lutheran argument for the HOLY Aryan Nation.

    Hitler was confirmed as a “SOLDIER of CHRIST” and his goal was to become a priest. He was never excommunicated or condemned and the church had stated that he was “Avenging for God” in attacking the Jews for they deemed the Semites the killers of Jesus.

    Hitler was given veto power (Vatican Konkordat 1933) over whom the Pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany and forged a treaty whereas the National Socialist state was officially recognized by the Catholic Church.

    In a letter to the Nazi party, HITLER wrote “…this treaty shows the whole world clearly and unequivocally that the assertion that National Socialism is hostile to religion is a lie.”

    He allied with Pope Pius in converting German society and made a deal with the church whereas the church absorbed Nazi ideals and preached them as part of their sermons, and in turn, Hitler placed Catholic teachings in public education. This lead to Hitler enacting doctrines of the Church as law. He outlawed all abortion, raged a death war on all homosexuals, and demanded corporal punishment in schools and home.

    Hitler was quoted,
    “The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity. It will be its honest endeavor to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines (Lehren), and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State of today…Providence has caused me to be Catholic, and I know therefore how to handle this Church.”

    The Holocaust grew out of Hitler’s Christian education
    due mainly to Jews having an inferior status in Christian Austria and Germany.

    The Christians there blamed the Jews for the killing of Jesus
    and the hatred that Hitler fostered against Jewish people began from the preaching of Catholic priests and Protestant ministers throughout Germany. It is well known that Martin Luther held a livid hatred for Jews and their religion. Luther wrote a book titled “On the Jews and their Lies” which set the standard for Jewish hatred all the way up to World War 2.

    Hitler, of course, expressed enormous admiration for Martin Luther.

    The Nazis began to control schools insisting that Christianity was taught.

    They included anti-Semitic Christian writings in textbooks and were not removed from Christian doctrines until 1961. Nazi soldiers wore religious symbols and placed religious sayings on military gear. The official army belt buckle read “God With Us”. They got sprinkled with holy water and listened to Catholic sermons before going out on maneuvers. The Nazis had a secret service called the “SS Reich” that would act as spies on the dealings of other citizens and if anyone was suspected of heresy they would be prosecuted.

    Here is Hitler’s commitment to Christianity:
    “We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933

    “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows . For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.” -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922

    “Christianity could not content itself with building up its own altar; it was absolutely forced to undertake the destruction of the heathen altars. Only from this fanatical intolerance could its apodictic faith take form; this intolerance is, in fact, its absolute presupposition.” -Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf

    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

    Yes – Hitler is gone.
    But the Bible unfortunately is still with us…
    To be used again and again to spread its ridiculous lies and to inflame the same hatreds whenever history feels the time is right!

    “Christ preached the opposite of that.”

    OH NO he did not!!

    “I have come to bring FIRE…What constraints! I am impatient to bring NOT PEACE BUT DIVISION.” – Jesus (Luke 12:49-51)

    “Hate your parents…hate your life, or you are not worthy” – Jesus (Luke 14:26)
    “Eat of my body” or “Be condemned to Hell” – Jesus (John 6:53-54) (Mark 16:16).

    “I shall kill her children with Death” – Jesus (REV. 2:23)

    “…if they are unworthy..REMOVE your blessing of peace.” – JESUS (Matt 10:13)

    “And why do you break the command of God
    for the sake of your tradition? …. ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ ” (Matthew 15:3)

    “..bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and execute them in front of me.” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    And you claim absolute obedience to a Religion
    which promotes HARSH JUDGEMENT OF OTHERS
    at the direction of JESUS:

    “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

    “Avoid Them” (Romans 16:17)

    “For whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” (2 John 1:11)

    “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault.” (Matthew 18:15)

    “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:9-11)

    “Let him who has done this be removed from among you.” (1 Corinthians 1:13)

    “have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2 Thessalonian 3:14)

    “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed!” (1 Corinthians 16:22)

    Christianity is a litany and history of judgements and horrors against innocent people.

    Your reading assignments are:
    “The Diary of Anne Frank”
    And “Animal Farm” by George Orwell

  77. Atheists Max: There was never a Zoroastrian “church” since the religion pre-dates Christ. Small communities of Zoroastrians still exist in Iran and India. Zoroastrian Persia did not convert to Christianity (you many have noticed that Iran is not a Christian nation). Additionally, Zoroaster was the founding prophet of the Zoroastrian religion, and was not considered a “man god” by his followers. Rather Zoroastrianism is a dualistic system claiming a constant strugle between the equal forces of good and evil. So you may want to brush up on your history and try getting an education. Education is a wonderful thing.

  78. Reza Aslan is one of the “Yes to free speech, but…” crowd.

    I am vehemently against religion.
    But I don’t object to people having a religion.

    My complaint is that religionists – like Father Robert Barron – are promoting religion and pushing religion while making claims which are unsubstantiated and dangerous.

    I feel about Religion the same way I feel about a huckster who is selling poison to sick children: DON’T THINK YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH IT!
    We see you!

  79. Wrong on so many levels. Why waste your time and mine by posting such obvious dreck?

  80. I’m trying to say, we Anti-theists will continue to challenge these claims.
    I see the claims – I challenge them.
    That is all I’m trying to say.

  81. Or the gov. takes away freedom of religion. The current occupant of the white house speaks of freedom of worship. They are not interchangeable.

  82. @LegallyJustified:

    Zoroaster was the precursor to Judaism and Christianity – AND by extension Islam.

    The idea of ‘Dualism’ started with Zoroaster. Bread and Wine were part of his ceremonies. He was born of a virgin. He was both MAN and intermediary to God – as a god himself.

    Yahweh is an invention of hellenistic (greek), Zoroastrian and other myths. Son of Man is an idea from Zoroastrianism which goes back too far to be certain – perhaps as far as 6000 years ago.

    Clearly, Judaism is one such extension of these myths. There would be no Yahweh if there had not been a Zoroaster.

    Today, Zoroaster is worshipped by very few. But Christian ideas like the gifts of the magi are clearly Zoroastrians ‘blessing’ of the Jesus child – a symbolic and fictional passing of the torch – written for the benefit of particular sects in ancient time who needed reassurance that the new Christianity was superior to the Zoroastrian religion. The Magi made that possible.

    Today’s Christians are just an offshoot of Zoroastrian ideas, reconfigured in the furnace of ideas which stemmed from the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 C.E.
    I doubt there ever was a real Jesus – he is an invention – and we can see branches of new Christianities being propagated even here at RNS right on these very comment boards!

    Man made hooey.

  83. Legallyjustified:

    “And you can’t make an intelligent argument…”

    I’m sorry. Did you present some evidence that the claims of ‘father’ Brannon were true?

    Where is this God you speak of? This god who commanded rape:

    God commands Raping in daylight
    “Thus says the Lord: ‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives [plural] while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall HAVE SEX WITH YOUR WIVES in broad daylight. You have done this deed in secret, but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, and with the sun looking down.’ ” (2 Samuel 12:11)

    Did someone say God is love? Not to me.

  84. @Lappeus D54,

    “An Evangelical atheist. Will wonders never cease?”

    If it is fair to preach Jesus
    It must be fair to preach against Jesus.

    “Zombies Walked for Jesus to raise Awareness” – (Matthew 27:52)

    Too bad they didn’t collect pledges. Could have raised some money for the early church.
    How embarrassing!?

  85. Hey, wot’s this mess around here? You wouldn’t be looking to **Mr. Debunked Lawrence Krauss** to save your atheist bacon, would you Max?

    I give you credit for at least responding to Mitch Finley’s big question — your atheist colleague Larry simply failed to do so. But having said that, you picked a singularly POOR choice — Krauss — with which to respond. Atheist Krauss tried to escape the big question by deifying “The Quantum”, to borrow your phrase. He failed, dude. Krauss messed it up seriously.

    “Where, for starters, are the laws of quantum mechanics themselves supposed to have come from? Krauss is more or less upfront, as it turns out, about not having a clue about that. He acknowledges (albeit in a parenthesis, and just a few pages before the end of the book) that everything he has been talking about simply takes the basic principles of quantum mechanics for granted.” — David Albert, PhD (physics, philosophy), review of Krauss’s book in the New York Times

    “Throughout ~A Universe from Nothing~ Krauss keeps changing his definition of “nothing.” Almost all his definitions are not really nothings but actual “some things.” It reminds me of what my younger son, David, said in his early teens when his mother asked him, “What’s under your bed?” He replied, “Nothing.” What he really meant was, “Nothing I want you to find out about.” — Dr. Hugh Ross (astronomer).

    These are just a couple short snips to keep this reply from being a mile long. Krauss’s attempt at escape-hatching Finley’s question is a just plain fail; the fact is that it doesn’t work to deify “The Quantum.”

  86. @Doc,

    There never was a ‘nothing’.

    The reviewer you mentioned had no understanding of what Lawrence Krauss had discovered. The evidence shows that there is no evidence that there was ever a point in time when there was ‘nothing’.

    Even in space where there appear to be nothing it turns out the space is full of quantum energy – it can be measured and it can be discerned.

    There is no reason to think something predates the quantum.
    The concept of nothing, like ‘zero’, is purely imagined and not real.

  87. Atheist Max, come on, man, what you are really on these boards every day about is getting attention for yourself. You don’t offer anything new with your comments. They all are atheist mantras we theists have heard so often they are cliches now so why post them? Because you want attention and never stop to think that your way of going about it says more about your need for public recognition than any reason to listen to you as you offer nothing new, only negativity of the atheist who wasn’t successful as a theist and now runs around like a reformed drunk to tell everyone they can’t have a theistic relationship because A.M. couldn’t. It short, its these diversions from others posting because of the atheist hogging the comments that I object to. If atheists had anything of value to contribute I wouldn’t object. But its a failed ideology as science has shown our human brains are hardwired to have spiritual consciousness– and the vast majority of human beings can have such experience but not those locked into left-brain domination, the measurement obsessed people, scientists and atheists, 5% of the population vs. 95%. Is Atheist Max and other atheists posting at their 5% level here or on any religious discussion board? I think not..

  88. Max, Zoroastrianism does not worship Zoroaster. It acknowledges two supernatural beings, one good, the other evil. It is the epitome of dualism. Focusing on transcendence over immanence, it does not believe that Zoroaster was a god incarnate.

    Zoroastrianism is not the root of Judaism or Christianity, neither of which preaches a strict dualism. In the case of both religions, there are not two gods, one good and the other evil, but one God. The evil being of Judaism and Christianity, Satan or “Ha Satan” (the adversary) is not co-equal to God, but a created being in rebellion against God. Unlike in Zoroastrianism, that means he has no power that is independent of God.

    Moreover, historically, Judaism developed long before the Jews’ exile to Babylon and subsequent encounter with the Persians and hence Zoroastrianism a century later, when Cyrus the Persian liberated them. And the idea that the Jews got their idea of Satan from Zoroastrianism is inaccurate, not just because the Jewish idea contradicts the Zoroastrian conception (see above), but because there is much internal evidence that the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Job, which introduces the character of Satan, was written centuries before the exile to Babylon and hence the encounter with Persia and Zoroastrianism.

  89. I’m not a Catholic, but Fr. Barron sounds like a thoughtful, decent man of substance. The Protestant equivalent today might be Tim Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York.

  90. A hate-filled poster railing against agape love…..apropos.

  91. Max, if you’re a “happy guy,” I hate to find out what a miserably unhappy person is like.

    It’s obvious that you have a continental-sized chip on your shoulder.

  92. I agree, Cranmer. Kudos to Brandon. While I’m not a Catholic doctrinally, I deeply respect the RCC’s many strengths, including its ability to produce a fairly good number of thoughtful, dedicated, intellectually serious, and spiritually grounded clergy.

  93. More people perished thanks to the gulags and genocides of officially atheist regimes in the last century alone than died under any religion at any point in history.

    Quite a grisly and dubious “achievement,” Atheist Max.

    Based on your own logic and mode of blame-gaming, the whole world should flee for its very life from atheism.

  94. Amen, James Watrous. I also happen to be good friends since college days with an atheist who is a professor and a leader in holding his field’s feet to the scientific fire. He is nothing like the militant, politicized, grievance-driven proponents of the “New Atheism.” We debate a fair amount, but I have learned a great deal from him.

  95. bb, not all atheists are like Max, so let’s not paint with too broad a brush. Max is an amateurish, “me-too” version of the so-called “New Atheism,” people who have embraced the bully-boy, radical-Left, “up-against-the-wall-m*f*ker” tactics and verbiage which hijacked the civil rights and feminist movements after the 1960s.

    Most atheists abhor such tactics and have nothing to do with them.

  96. Pan, reread the article. The subject of the article is portrayed as the opposite of flamboyant or bombastic.

  97. The collection of people who hate the Catholic Church reads like a cast of villains from Lord of the Rings movies….a collage of drooling, snorting, menacing knuckle-draggers. While I disagree strongly with some of its doctrines, I conclude it must be doing something right by attracting all the right enemies.

  98. Sorry, Max, but no matter how hard you try, you will never succeed in convincing people that Jesus was a bloodthirsty killer or war-monger. Your repeated attempts to do so tell us far more about you than about Him.

    Your attempts are so transparently absurd, at least one poster here has wondered out loud whether you’re just pulling everyone’s leg and doing a hilarious caricature of a rabid New Atheist fanatic.

  99. Atheist Max, if you are truly Atheist, why spend so much time trying to disprove God?
    Is it possible you are just resentful at God because you are not Him? And at some point maybe He didn’t give you something you wanted so therefore he must not exist? Because somehow, in your mind, you deserved this thing that you wanted? (you don’t have to answer these questions)
    My guess is for every one person you convert to your side, 10 more seek for further Truth (because you have been kind enough to give us chapters and verse), and eventually end up in God’s camp.
    You seem to know a lot of Scripture also, I commend you an that.
    May God continue to bless you.
    You also may want to consider a career in Law or politics because you bring some compelling arguments.
    I, on the other hand, will give my life Jesus.
    “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Cor. 1:18

  100. Atheist Max, if you are truly Atheist, why spend so much time trying to disprove God?
    Is it possible you are just resentful at God because you are not Him? And at some point maybe He didn’t give you something you wanted so therefore he must not exist? Because somehow, in your mind, you deserved this thing that you wanted? (you don’t have to answer these questions)
    My guess is for every one person you convert to your side, 10 more seek for further Truth (because you have been kind enough to give us chapters and verse), and eventually end up in God’s camp.
    You seem to know a lot of Scripture also, I commend you an that.
    May God continue to bless you.
    You also may want to consider a career in Law or politics because you bring some compelling arguments.
    I, on the other hand, will give my life Jesus.
    “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Cor. 1:18

  101. Anyone who, 80 years later, truly thinks that Adolf was a sincere believer in anything but himself and his monstrous ego and genocidal aims, is worse than naïve.

    Max, what did you think he would say to the German people — “hi, I’m Adolf, a megalomaniac who despises your childish, weakling of a Christian religion, but will pretend I like it so can win your allegiance to the Nazi cause and then subjugate you and the rest of Germany?”

  102. So Max says he (1) is “vehemently against religion” but (2) does not “object to people having a religion” yet (3) thinks that preaching religion is “selling poison to sick children.”

    Max is asking us to believe that he doesn’t object to people having the very thing he labels as poison.

    Of course he does. If Max’s words are to be taken seriously, admittedly a huge “if,” then if Max ever got lots of power, he would have the law go after those who in his own opinion are selling “poison.” Since poison kills, it’s obvious that Max would feel a duty to stop religious freedom, which, based on his analogy, includes the freedom to sell other people poison and encourage them to drink it.

    Make no mistake: Max’s thinking, at least as expressed, is totalitarian to its core.

  103. Don’t feed atheist trolls is my suggestion. Take a look at most any religious forum now and find your resident atheist troll at work like Atheist Max hogging comments and diverting the religious discussion into the atheist vs theist crapola. I know it’s hard for theists not to respond to constant irritants like A.M. but as long as these OCD people get attention that’s all they want to keep on stalking Christians and posting their irrationality as know-nothings about spirituality.

  104. Is this Atheist Max from Lujan, Argentina? Come on Max Diaz, I think you lost your marbles!

  105. By the way Max used to be a devout Catholic, albeit one who didn’t bother to study his own faith! Very sad indeed!

  106. Catholic never dies… they are baptizing infants that cannot say NO

  107. Actually, Mike P., what’s most striking about Max’s posts is precisely his lack of compelling arguments for atheism. I, being a theist, could do a heck of a better job arguing for atheism than his error-laden laundry lists of babble and gibberish, copied and pasted from crackpot web sites.

  108. Jack –

    The burden is on you – not me.
    Where is this god you claim exists?

    I don’t need to make an argument for non-belief. I see no reason to believe in your god. Where is it?

    “No reason to believe” wins the argument if you don’t provide a reason.

  109. It”appears”that the Quantum always existed? Seriously? And that’s better than Almighty God…How??

  110. Take a deep breath,Karla;you’re starting to sound like an unhinged fanatic. We need some context, dear.

  111. You exactly missed the point, it seems. In Christian and Jewish thought, God did not come from nothing. God has always existed. The philosophical concept of this is called aseity. The short version is that everything can’t be contingent on something else. There must be something in the universe that does not depend on anything else for its existence. Christians call this thing God. Jews prefer Yahweh, which is Hebrew for I Am.

  112. Max, garbage is garbage, no matter whose “burden” it is. In making your arguments, that’s what you’ve been spewing. At times it can get so nonsensical and self-caricaturing, at least one poster has wondered aloud whether you’re really a theist poking fun at the buffoonery of the New Atheism.

  113. The kind see it and call it kindness. The wise see it and call it wisdom. Ancient Chinese saying.

  114. You spoke for yourself, nasty Ad Hominem Jack.

    Ad Hom Jack is back in 2015 and even more insulting than before.

  115. Max, if you’re a “happy guy,” I hate to find out what a miserably unhappy person is like.

    It’s obvious that you have a continental-sized chip on your shoulder.

    And Ad Hominem Jack puts out another insulting put-down. As usual, representing his evil religion of hate well.

  116. No Karla. Our settings actually are fully consistent with the anthropic principle http://www.anthropic-principle.com and are not evidence for your god -quite the opposite, in fact. You’ve got some reading to do outside your whacked out bible.

  117. Jack, I think you are very far mistaken about Max. Reading his statements, I think he is genuinely caring and concerned about the well-being of all people, religious and non-religious. I think he’d be a far better elected official than most of our present ones.

  118. Maybe Max is partly so concerned because you vote, Mike.

  119. Explain “spirituality”, Stephen. Stop claiming to know what you do not know.

    And maybe you should see the increasing visibility of atheism for the indicator that it is: religious delusion no longer holds sway like it used to.

  120. Kaching! Another insulting post from nasty Ad Hominem Jack. He’s really on a roll this week.

  121. Jack, it looks like you are just dodging Max’s question. State the reasons for believing in your god and let them be examined, or Max plainly should win the argument.

  122. Hitler and the Christian god sure do have a lot of killing on both of their written records, so they fit together that way.

    Hitler’s private and public writings generally show his Christian beliefs too.

    Not sure why you are hell bent on ridiculing Max though. Maybe that’s your own Christian training showing itself. Tone it down.

  123. Father Barron: I saw a video where you stated that, ‘we can have a reasonable expectation that all will be saved’
    Is this true? It seems quite contrary to Church Teaching

  124. Brendon: The number who claim to be ‘Catholic’ may well be growing but the number that practice their religion ( EG attending Mass every Sunday) has fallen drastically over the last 40/50 years. Something Like 80% 50 odd years age to about 15/20% Now,.
    Can you explain that for me?
    By the looks of your Photo, you may well have come down with the last shower however . My observations are from personal experience. I was there 50 odd years ago.

  125. Ben, I’m tough on Max because I don’t like habitual lying. He’s been caught in lie after lie….deliberate misrepresentations of numerous citations. And when we quote from the citations, he denies his misrepresentations while going on with them as if nothing had happened.

    As for Hitler, he was not a Christian and no, my reason for saying that is not the “no-good-Scotsman” logical fallacy. It’s that he simply did not believe the basic doctrines of Christianity. If we transported him to prior centuries, he would have been put on trial for heresy. His beliefs, to the extent he had any, were Gnostic. The church has rejected Gnosticism since the second century. When the Nazis tried to impose Gnosticism on the German church, it was the one thing that awakened it, and it actually fought back in that one area….because that’s the one belief that has always been a non-negotiable for Christendom in all its forms.

  126. I’m just following the logic of his words, FancyJane. He believes them or he doesn’t. If he does, he’s an authoritarian. If he doesn’t, he’s a liar, because that’s the very definition of lying — saying what one knows is not true.

  127. FancyJane, the increasing visibility of atheism is simply due to the fact that it is less socially de rigueur to be a theist. So people who in prior times would have been official theists but functional atheists are now coming out as atheists. And that’s good, because people who are actual atheists should not have to pretend to be otherwise.

  128. Karl, if you read Max’s many posts, his main argument is against both the veracity and the morality of the text of two particular religions — Judaism and Christianity.

    That’s something we can chew on, because it’s concrete….especially the veracity question. It’s a lot more concrete than abstract philosophical arguments for or against God. They’re fun in college but ultimately pointless, because there is no resolution either way. I can sum up both sides by saying that the atheists’ strongest point involves the question of how a good God could allow so much evil, while theism’s strongest point involves the question of how the vast beauty and complexity of the universe and its components, including people, could have emerged by their lonesome.

    Being a theist, I think the second point is more compelling but atheists will argue the same for the first point. I would answer by saying that this presupposes that we have all the knowledge we need to make a right moral judgment.

    And I can almost guarantee that my summary above is likely to be a lot more fair to both sides than anything you are likely to read by others in subsequent posts. And I can guess that no matter how one-sided the responses will be on either side, you will accept the ones that favor your side as being totally fair, and those that aren’t as completely unfair. I hope, though, that I am mistaken on that count.

  129. This doesn’t sound like the words of a man who only wants separation of religion and state. It sounds like the words of a man who wants religion wiped clean from the earth.

  130. Oh, I know Max isn’t a regular atheist. I know a few atheists and none are like him. Max is to atheism what Al Sharpton is to racial equality and justice — a bombastic and bitter cynic who hates the “enemy” more than he cherishes what he professes.

  131. Well surprise, surprise……Max has acquired yet another new name……

    How many aliases do you now have here, Max?

  132. Jack, I’ll bet here that you are the one who is presenting falsehoods, not Max.

    Let’s investigate. Present a few of these cases of Max “lying”. Be specific in showing his intent to deceive. If you can’t do that, then you should post a retraction, and get down on your knees and apologize to Max.

    Like I said, you really need to tone down. You come across as a very hateful and spiteful person.

  133. Jack, again, tone it down. You aren’t doing your case or your side any favors by calling Max a liar. You have not actually shown that he intended to deceive.

    I think seriously that you own Max several apologies.

  134. I disagree with you again Jack. Max clearly cares about the subject matter here, but his posts also show sincere effort as well as caring -not cynicism at all.

    Tone it down, Jack. Give Max a hearty apology. You clearly owe it to him.

  135. Ben, again you are accusing Max of something bad. Why are you so mean to him?

    Either present your proof, or retract and apologize. It is seriously owing from you to Max.

  136. Jack, again you are accusing Max of something bad. Why are you so mean to him?

    Either present your proof, or retract and apologize. It is seriously owing from you to Max.

  137. Jack, you can’t make any such guarantee, and you are not the sole arbiter here.

    I think you owe the whole forum an apology, for your mean-spirited posting.

  138. FancyJane, Karla is right to say that “Bible prophecy can’t be refuted.”

    It really can’t. And to be blunt, don’t even try. The evidence for it is far bigger than you think, as are the explanations for every conceivable objection to it. There are prophecies that simply boggle the mind and have no rational explanation other than the obvious.

    And again, if you think that you’re 10 steps ahead of “dumb Christians” who haven’t explored all the possible explanations, including writing down predictions after the fact, think again.

    Some of us really have….

  139. Ben, then you probably haven’t been reading our exchanges on the Bible very carefully. There is no way in the world I would call anyone a liar unless I was convinced after numerous exchanges that the person was deliberately posting falsehoods — ie falsehoods that were shown to be such…things that the person knows not to be true or accurate.

    Here’s one: Max kept calling Paul a “Zealot,” meaning Jews who were first-century revolutionaries against Rome.

    And to support his claim, he kept posting citations for two particular scriptures.

    Now Max posted zillions of citations, and none of us has the time to check them all to see if he’s describing them accurately, I normally don’t check him.

    But given that I knew historically that given what historians know about Paul, he couldn’t possibly have been a Zealot, I decided to check Max’s citations.

    And in both cases, one of them from the Book of Acts, Max was mistaken. In both cases, Paul simply said that he was “zealous” for his beliefs and practices.

    Moreover, reading in context, ie preceding and succeeding verses, there was nothing to indicate that Paul was referencing the Zealot group.

    So I responded to Max’s post with a post that quoted what he was citing, thus showing that in fact, those verses never said Paul was a Zealot.

    If Max were an honest person, that would’ve been the end of the story.

    He would have said it was an honest mistake and either abandoned his theory or come up with an alternative proof if there was any.

    But instead, what Max did was deny and then deny again and then run by changing the subject….and then later post the same thing again, as though I had never posted what I did and as though he had never seen what I had posted….even though his responses indicated that he had.

    This is one of several examples of the same pattern. Max posts a Biblical citation, gives an erroneous interpretation that has nothing to do with the citation, is then refuted when I or someone else posts the actual words, responds by launching into denials or subject-changing (indicating that he has read the words), and then goes on to repost the same thing later, hoping his readers hadn’t read the earlier exchange.

  140. If I were an atheist, I wouldn’t watch Robert Barron or even care. More is going on here than meets the eye.

  141. Catholics know that the bestselling “Left Behind” books and movies have grossly perverted Catholicism’s biblical “rapture” doctrine – the only “rapture” view before 1830.
    The 2000-year-old Catholic “rapture” (the “caught up” in I Thess. 4:17) occurs AFTER the final “tribulation” (post-tribulation) while the 185-year-old evangelical Protestant “rapture” supposedly occurs BEFORE it (pre-tribulation) and is said to be “imminent.”
    All Catholics should read journalist Dave MacPherson’s “The Rapture Plot” (available by calling 800.643.4645) – the most accurate documentation on the history of the pretrib rapture which began in British cultic circles in 1830. By twisting Scripture, this new doctrine gave folks the (false) hope of being evacuated from earth before the chaos found in the book of Revelation.
    “The Rapture Plot” reveals, for the first time, how a Plymouth Brethren historian, after John Darby’s death, secretly and dishonestly changed the…

  142. I apologize for going past the word limit (above). The rest of that piece in on the web.

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