Catholic bishops meet at the start of an afternoon session during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Annual Spring Assembly in Atlanta on June 13, 2012. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Tami Chappell *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-MURTHA-OPED, originally transmitted on Nov. 18, 2016

Because of the US bishops' voters guide, I may leave the church

(RNS) I always knew I wanted to be a priest. It was a calling. I could help and heal people and make the world a better place.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved those outfits the nuns wore -- so great for a bad hair day or after a particularly large meal, but I was willing to give all that up to become a priest.

I was a quiet kid, so I didn’t talk too much about my priestly dreams. I wanted to wait to surprise my big family, and I knew they would be proud.

I figured I’d tell my dad first. After all, we were church buddies. During Lent, bright and early, we’d bundle up and head over to St. Helen’s in Schenectady, N.Y., to pray the Stations of the Cross. Home by 7 a.m., we had plenty of time to get to work and school.

I remember the crunch of the snow beneath my boots and the feel of my mitten in his hand when the time was right to share my secret: “Dad,” I said, “I’m going to be a priest.”

Although it was over 50 years ago, I still remember the look on his face. He was a big shot at General Electric Co., but he was a sensitive, loving man. He stopped and looked at me with sad eyes and pursed lips, perhaps gathering his thoughts.

Finally, he simply said, “MaryAnn, they don’t let girls be priests.”

Lord help me, I was so embarrassed, so I fibbed and said, “I was just kidding.” Neither of us spoke as we rode home in the morning’s cold darkness. The subject never came up again.

MaryAnn Murtha at Western Connecticut State University on Nov. 17, 2016, where she teaches in the Department of Communication and Media Arts. Photo courtesy of MaryAnn Murtha

MaryAnn Murtha at Western Connecticut State University on Nov. 17, 2016, where she teaches in the Department of Communication and Media Arts. Photo courtesy of MaryAnn Murtha


 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

That was the first time I had to swallow a bitter pill from the Catholic Church. But I rallied. I went to a Jesuit university, married a Catholic boy, raised five Catholic kids, sent them to Catholic school, taught the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (the church’s religious education program) for 15 years, and became a longtime volunteer for Catholic Charities. I’ve been on board, checkbook open, full speed ahead.

That is, until now. With a heavy heart, I’ll tell you why I may leave the church.

It hurt when the U.S. Catholic Church practically filled out the ballots of its people with a Trump vote and these instructions from "A Guide to Catholic Voting:"

It is clear that one absolutely may not vote for a “candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, deliberately subjecting workers or the poor to subhuman living conditions, redefining marriage in ways that violate its essential meaning, or racist behavior, if the voter’s intent is to support that position” (FC No. 34)

The guidelines are based on the 2015 U.S. bishops’ document called "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship." Clearly, the instructions are to vote for a Republican, regardless of his or her character.

Evidently, it doesn’t matter that Pope Francis rebuked Trump for railing against immigrants and other minority groups. It doesn’t matter that Trump is a narcissist who compares his own book to the Bible. It doesn’t matter that he makes fun of the disabled or that his third wife posed naked in bed with another woman. The seven heavenly virtues of humility, kindness, temperance, diligence, charity, patience and chastity don’t matter either.

The candidate the U.S. bishops implicitly endorsed is, unfortunately, not a man of humility, temperance or chastity. Worse than that, he doesn't appear to be much of a man of faith.

This time, the Catholic Church has given me a pill that’s just too bitter to swallow. Politics are deeply personal and complicated, and we deserve to make our own prayerful voting choices.

Going forward, my hope is that the U.S. Catholic Church can see that its empty pews and dwindling coffers will continue to suffer unless it takes a hard look at the mixed messages it’s sending its congregants.

If you have it in your heart, please pray for me as I discern my new journey. I’m a little old for a big change like this, so I’m feeling lonely and scared.

I hope my dad will hold my hand again just like he did when I was a kid. This time, he’s up with the Lord, so we’ll see where they lead me.

As I try to make up my mind, I am still most grateful to my church and will continue to pray for its wisdom, strength and understanding.

(MaryAnn Murtha teaches in the Department of Communication and Media Arts at Western Connecticut State University)

Comments

  1. DAR may say, “Goodbye”, but the rest of the Church says WELCOME! You’ll find God and the Church are much bigger and more wonderful than than what you’ve known thus far. All shall be well and all matter of things shall be well.

  2. It will be a big step, but you may want to consider no formal religion, as I don’t know of any religion that doesn’t treat women as second class citizens. I hope your husband and children are understanding of your decision if you do plan to leave the Catholic Church. Best wishes for your future peace and happiness.

  3. “All shall be well”, as if by magic? Seriously?

    What’s to stop Prof. Murtha from simply taking her marbles and leaving AGAIN, if a given church group fails to vote against whoever she opposes in the 2020 presidential election? Will she just drop out of religion altogether, as poster David Hume suggested? Is church membership (of ANY flavor) the kind of cheapo checkers game that can just be abandoned at the drop of a presidential election?

    There are some unanswered questions lurking here. Is Prof. Murtha comfortable with Hillary’s assorted and damaging sins/policies and “hubris” (Gen. Colin Powell’s term), for example?

    Which brings us to DAR’s response. DAR’s simple response of “Goodbye” may seem a little harsh and abrupt, but without further information (the kind of info that wouldn’t be broadcast in an Internet forum but instead shared in a quiet, empathetic, caring, but no-nonsense pastoral interview), the safest rational & spiritual response might turn out to be “Goodbye” after all.

  4. Actually, reading the quoted portion of the instructions as provided by Prof. Murtha, I found nothing that conflicts with the historic position of the RCC, nor anything that either implicitly or explicitly amounts to an endorsement of President-elect Trump, though it may explicitly be a rejection of Mrs. Clinton. There is a clear instruction to provide justice to the working poor, and a condemnation of racism. The RCC’s opposition to abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, and gay marriage is nothing new. Where has Prof. Murtha been all these years?

  5. She had a childhood dream that was impossible and she never accepted reality. Her faith never matured. If there is fault to be had, it is not the Catholic Church that can be faulted.

  6. She was naive to think the Catholic Church was anything but the reactionary organization it always was. She was looking for a Catholic Church which was far better than the one that exists.

  7. Whether or not “all shall be well.” You might try asking St Julian or Norwich.

  8. Then you don’t know Christianity. Women are not second class.

  9. First Corinthians 14:33–35 states, “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”

    Sounds like second class to me.

  10. Not at all. Men and women have different roles. There is nothing nicer for me than to be sitting home with my husband discussing Jesus, or the gospels. It is a part of the intimacy of marriage.

  11. Sounds like the author doesn’t just have a problem with the Catholic church but with its Holy Scripture itself and probably with Jesus (at least as He is in the Scripture, probably not with the Jesus of popular imagination.)

    Their Bible does say that homosexuality is a sin and it does say to not murder, and I don’t know what else you can call terminating a human life before birth than murder.

  12. The point was to keep order in the church. A lot of female converts were ex-prostitutes with a low value of men (from their own personal experience) and so if they heard something in the church that they disagreed with, they spoke up and there’d be chaos in the church–which was turning off prospective believers.

  13. Nones are a major group in the US. Welcome to the club. What is amazing is that it took you this long to really start thinking. And you are still saying “Lord”? Your concept of the Divine is that IT is limited to maleness? You look young in the photo. So you think you are “old”? Five kids? Is that an issue for you? Like maybe more than your fair share of the environmental resources of the Planet? A cult that no longer fits is rather uncomfortable to wear. Yes, bishops do tell you how to vote and they tell you a lot of other things they know nothing about.

  14. I find it fascinating that some believers use literal interpretation to establish certainty and some philosophers use literal interpretation to establish uncertainty. Perhaps in both cases it is literalism that is the mistake.

  15. Oh no, its never the church, or its believers. People who have such issues just don’t like God and the Bible. /sarcasm I would venture to guess self-righteous narcissism exhibited by some believers have something to do with the decision as well.

    “and I don’t know what else you can call terminating a human life before birth than murder.”

    An abortion. Like everyone else does. One has to be born to be murdered. My guess is if there was ever a prenatal test for homosexuality, the Reactionary Christian would fast become pro-choice. 🙂

  16. That would be what you just did. About 2 decades ago I spent 3 years studying nothing but the subject. Generally speaking, I don’t memorize sources. Since it isn’t likely that you’ll do some serious independent research, the beast I can do is to point you to a website: https://gotquestions.org/women-silent-church.html

  17. If you say so. But if you are going to make the claims like you did, it would behoove you to cite a source. Lest people think you are simply pulling it from your posterior.

    Gotquestions.org is not anyone’s definition of independent or reliable research. So we know that reactionary Christians don’t think much of women except in subordinate subservient roles. What else is new?

  18. No. Throughout most of history and in most cultures women are second-class citizens and chattel.

  19. Congratulations! I left as soon as I was able (eighteen), although I hadn’t believed for many years but had to keep attending mass because I was a student at a Catholic boarding school and it was mandatory. I didn’t appreciate that enforced attendance at all. I have never looked back and I’m so happy I was able to think for myself, and somehow all the years of indoctrination never took with me. Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to think. Your conscience is your own.

  20. Naivete isn’t a concept a child can differentiate. She – as I would dare to say – virtually all of us were brainwashed.

    Church is a prison where children are sent to do penance for the sins of the the parents.

  21. How fortunate you and I both are. My nascent disbelief started when I was about 2 yrs into my catechism classes.

    But there are sheep and there are shepherds. Religiously indoctrinated parents fall into the category of brainwashed shepherds. Pity the poor children who have to suffer this gross assault upon their beautifully uncorrupted minds….

  22. Early in my marriage (50 + yrs ago) my wife was 7 mo pregnant with our second child. One day I walked into the bathroom to relieve myself, and upon lifting the toilet cover I saw that the toilet was filled with blood. The first thought that immediately raced to my mind was that my wife had a miscarriage.

    Shocked to the very depth of my being – I was completely immobilized till I realized that what I mistook for blood was actually a brite red washcloth floating in the water in the bowl.

    As it turned out, our first daughter was playing with the red washcloth and dropped it in the toilet bowl.

    God – via miscarriages – is the most prolific aborter humankind has ever known….

  23. Quite true. And that is part of the reason Luke wrote his gospel–to show the role of women in the ministry of Jesus. Also, if one actually reads the Bible, one would note the role of female prophets and in one case a female judge over all of Israel.

  24. > Lest people think you are simply pulling it from your posterior.

    Some of actually read the relevant literature in the field.

    >Gotquestions.org is not anyone’s definition of independent or reliable research.

    Source, or should we see your previous remark?

    See also https://www.gci.org/church/ministry/women9 — it didn’t even take 5 minutes of using the web to find another source. You won’t recognize the names of the scholars who are quoted, but as one who has studied in depth I did recognize them.

    On this one: http://www.truthortradition.com/articles/should-women-be-silent-in-the-church-a-biblical-study-of-1-corinthians-1434-and-35 — ignore the text and look at the sources that were used.

    More detail: http://www.thingstocome.org/silence.htm — you’ll learn some Greek (you already know at least 125 words that came from the Greek, you just haven’t been told which one’s they are).
    ===
    BTW, if women were to be absolutely silent in church, then how could a female prophet speak?

  25. There was no victim. The church has always taught that the priesthood could only be open to men. To believe differently is to be in a state of delusion.

  26. I applaud your move, but honestly, the Catholic Church has been doing this for decades (I remember attending church as a kid during the 1984 election and the monsignor telling the congregation that Catholics should know which party to vote for. There were always voter guides in the bulletins). It is strange it is only now that it would dawn on you to leave. After indoctrinating 5 kids in the religion…And you say that is still a “maybe”. But…better late than never, I guess!

  27. So who is the group seeking to discriminate against various groups under color of law and attack the personal liberties of others? Not I.

    The Catholic Church OTOH is actively seeking to intrude upon the lives and rights of others. Calling me a bigot for criticizing them for there actions is inappropriate and incorrect. But then again many Christian types are so thin skinned they call most criticism persecution.

    That is how you respond to being called a bigot. You don’t complain just about the label. You refute it’s applicability.

  28. Biblical scholars are a fairly unobjective bunch. Their work never constitutes a sole interpretation, nor authority on the subject beyond the sects which choose to use them to bolster their sectarian belief. People are going to use the most self serving interpretations which suit them or their sects.

    Bible study is not a study of history either. You were making a claim as to actual occurrences which cannot be supported by simple biblical interpretation.

    “then how could a female prophet speak”

    When she is not in church. Since church was really an informal gathering in the Bible, it would be far more fluid than a modern view of a brick and mortar building.

    Did all that Bible study help you divine context or authorial intent?

  29. “God – via miscarriages – is the most prolific aborter humankind has ever known….”

    And it’s actually much worse than that. The TrueChristian™ cliche stating that “every child deserves a mom and a dad” is obviously not something God cares about. During all of human history, until very recently, God killed multitudes of women during childbirth, and in addition, God denied multitudes of children their moms and dads by killing them via various diseases that had no cures . . . until modern medical science came to the rescue – no thanks to God. And to go even further, God sent many dads off to die in holy wars.

  30. I know of many variants of major religions in which women are not treated as second class citizens.

  31. She sounds more like a “Done” than a None. I’m getting that she still identifies as a Christian, maybe even Catholic, just can’t in good conscience call herself a member anymore.

  32. The Bible itself, in Exodus 21:22-24, indicates that it is not murder.

  33. >Biblical scholars are a fairly unobjective bunch.

    Said by someone who is woefully unfamiliar with the literature in the field. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_theology_journals

    >>”then how could a female prophet speak”

    >When she is not in church.

    Nice try. She would speak in church where the believers would gather. She would not be running around to each believer’s home.

    >Since church was really an informal gathering in the Bible, it would be far more fluid than a modern view

    As stated that is true. Dropping the last clause and it becomes false. The early church was organized as even a contextual study of First Corinthians 14.

    >Did all that Bible study help you divine context or authorial intent?

    You do that with an exegetical analysis.

  34. Hurling insults doesn’t change the fact that the subject is far more limited in scope, objectivity and credibility than you would like it to be. Your POV still comes down to pure conjecture and personal interpretation.

    You made a remark about the nature of the early Christian belief as if it were a historical fact or even something proffered by historians. (About obnoxious harlots as early female followers). You have yet to cough up actual support for that premise.

    At this point, his obvious you can’t support the statement nor do I care anymore. If you had the means to do so, you have done it already.

  35. to not define an abortion as murder is an arbitrary definition. I suppose you are thankful your mother had more compassion on your unborn body than you have for the unborn bodies of others. As Orwell wrote in Animal Farm, all pigs are equal some are just more equal than others. I applaud you on yoru self-appointed status to determine who has a right to live adn who does not. I find it interesting the left is always talking about speaking “truth to power”. In this case the “born” have all the power and the unborn have none.

    They simply are not valuable to those who so easily dispose of them.

    “Self-righteous narcissism” cuts across all political and ideological spectrums.

  36. Nothing arbitrary about it. Gestation is not personhood. It is not autonomous existence. Fetus worshipers like to pretend there is no fundamental difference between a pregnancy and a birth, but there obviously is. The main one which is entirely ignored is the woman who carries the fetus. You labor under the delusion that the unborn are somehow separate from their mothers and can be treated as separate beings during a pregnancy.

    With all your terrible analogy of a fetus with some kind of slave or oppressed person, you ignore the obvious implication. That in order to follow your ideas a woman has to be treated as chattel property of the state. That once she becomes pregnant, she no longer is considered a person to you. Only an incubator with a pulse. The fetus has rights, but the mother, a born person with autonomous existence does not. There is nothing rational in that view.

    Plus there is the fact that people like yourself show absolutely zero concern for those who are born. The only time life is precious to you is when it is gestating. Life begins at conception and ends at birth.

    Just to make things clear. I don’t care if you consider a fetus a human being. It is not a person. It only exists at the will of its mother. People are born. At no point can a fetus possibly have greater rights than its mother because of its dependence on her. Analogies between a fetus and a born person are doomed from the start. There is no equivalent existence of a born person to gestation. Unborn have no power, of course not. Your complaints to that effect are just railing against the reality of mammalian reproduction. Its in her body, it is her will which keeps it alive. You have no say in the matter. Your opinion as to her decisions on the matter are not welcomed nor necessary. If you want to make decisions concerning a pregnancy, get pregnant.

  37. You are a bigot. You have not the knowledge to judge the Catholic Church, but stupidly you do. The church has held the same beliefs for 2,000 years. You come, Johnnie-Come-Lately, with the absurd notion that you have the knowledge to criticize that which you know nothing of. Your “resources” are other bigots with the same hatred you carry in you heart. Your rejection of the church is irrelevant.

  38. Neither are you an autonomous existence. You are dependent upon others for your life.

    It is not just the mother’s body, there is another body present.

    Pregnancy is preventable. Don’t have sex or use birth control.

  39. Hardly. I judge the Catholic Church by its views and actions. You sling insults but hardly support your view I am a bigot. I have already mentioned why the label is incorrect and inappropriate. (Notice I do not use the ridiculous argument of complaining about “the bigot card”). You want to defend the church by avoiding all criticism of it. That makes it look weak and petty. It makes you look venal, ignorant and thin skinned. Having old ideas which don’t change much doesn’t mean they are moral, good or even worthwhile. The Catholic Church has done a lot of bad things in its history and continues with some truly repugnant actions today. You want to pretend it doesn’t exist, that just makes you look foolish.

    I will criticize the Catholic Church and any church as much as I want. The idea that there is anything which is beyond criticism or reflection is ridiculous nonsense. You obviously do not value free speech or religious freedom.Not everyone wants to join your church or thinks its worthy of praise. Your defense of the church is irrelevant and provides nothing. If you are not willing to own up to serious issues within it, then you are nothing but a pathetic cheerleader.

  40. You are lost. You haven’t make any specific criticisms of the church, you merely spewed out a lot political junk talk that has nothing to do with the church.

    Yes, I understand that you will “criticize the Catholic Church and any church as much as I want.” Ignorant, hateful, bigoted spewing is what bigots do.

  41. “Neither are you an autonomous existence. You are dependent upon others for your life.”

    Stupid remark. I am not attached to any given human being for my existence. I am not dependent on any human being in the same way a fetus is dependent on its mother. A fetus is not like any born person. As I said, analogies are a waste of time. The immutable facts which you want to ignore here is only the mother keeps a fetus alive. Any responsible adult can keep a baby alive.

    Personal autonomy is the basis for all of our rights. To have control of our bodies without government interference is the most basic liberty we have. To deny it to women because they get pregnant is to declare them slaves of the state, property. Your disdain or complete lack of regard for the existence of women in this subject is apparent. Hence you don’t actually ever mention them in your spiel. Only the fetus. As if the mother is not really an important part here.

    “It is not just the mother’s body, there is another body present.”

    But they are not distinct nor separable. So it is an irrelevance. Until you can get a fetus out of the mother, it is only the mother who matters here.

    “Pregnancy is preventable. Don’t have sex or use birth control.”

    That is not your decision, nor is your opinion on such things relevant here. Your s1utshaming is duly noted. All consideration for the woman is ignored because you want to feel morally superior. Children are not a penalty or a punishment. It doesn’t matter if you think a woman is irresponsible for having an unwanted pregnancy. You are not part of the decision process. Nobody requires your opinion here.

  42. Can the pope carry a baby to term? You appear to be a confused male-feminist, so I understand that you cannot differentiate roles. They exist, but you can’t understand them. Since you can’t understand you reject. Whether you understand or not is irrelevant because you live in a very small world that many of us would not want to live in.

  43. I just noticed a really dumb thing you said. How can the Catholic Church “intrude” into the lives of its members when it does not compel them to be members? Don’t struggle, it can’t and it doesn’t.

  44. You are a lousy apologist for your church. Someone who would rather play silly denial games, fling epithets and insults than face any kind of serious criticism of it. Your opinion at this point is worthless. You have no interest in honest dialogue or understanding. Calling me a bigot or hateful for making legitimate criticism just means you are thin skinned and venal.

    As of now your church promotes discrimination, attacks on medical professional ethics, attacks on personal liberties, and promotes dictatorships. Deal with it.

  45. No, you are just being willfully ignorant here It compels people who aren’t members to follow along.

    The whole lawsuit with the Little Sisters of the Poor was an attempt to force employees to follow Catholic dogma whether they were members or not. Evidently letting employees make their own healthcare choices was too much for the Catholic employers to bear.

    They own hospitals where people are not given all available medically necessary treatment or advice where it conflicts with dogma. Where doctor/patient privilege and informed consent takes a backseat to upholding religious doctrine.

    They use their wealth and political clout to attack the rights of others. What business is it of a church whether there is civil marriage equality or people can receive an abortion. Especially since everyone is not part of their church. If they oppose such things and respected the boundaries of others, they would not try to attack the rights of everyone to do so.

  46. You have any actually facts not tainted by your bigotry?

  47. Did you read the article here? This is a prime example of the church seeking to intrude upon the rights of others. If they respected personal boundaries they would not be using political power and clout to force the public to follow their views.

    No go eff yourself. You use the term bigot, but clearly do not understand its meaning.

  48. I don’t think you are intelligent enough to talk to.

  49. LOL!

    To quote poet laureate Vincent Neil, “don’t go away mad, just go away”

  50. Explore the Episcopal Church; it may be a much better fit for you. Women can become priests (and bishops) and are equal in every regard. No voting guides, except to love God and your neighbor. Same God, same faith; different human institution.

  51. Implicit rejection of one candidate is not implicit acceptance of the other. If neither candidate is acceptable, then don’t vote for either. And note the caveat tossed in: “if the VOTER’S intent is to support that position.”

  52. >Hurling insults doesn’t change the fact

    If you know that, why did you start?

    >the subject is far more limited in scope, objectivity and credibility than you would like it to be.

    Where’s the proof?

    >Your POV still comes down to pure conjecture and personal interpretation.

    I already told you that we find it by doing an exegesis. You have no proof for your claim.

    > you can’t support the statement nor do I care anymore.

    1) I told you what to read, I pointed you to sources to read. It isn’t my fault that you aren’t willing to do the work.
    2) You didn’t care to begin with. You had an agenda that you were going to hang onto, no matter what was said, period.

  53. I am still not getting that evidence concerning noisome prostitutes in church that you claimed.

    After several days of postings it is obvious you made it up. Nothing more is necessary here. Two people asked you to cite a source for a completely ridiculous assertion of fact and you balked, hemmed and hawed. Oh well

  54. It’s a shame that this young woman wasn’t aware of how easy it would have been to begin her seminary studies to become an Episcopal priesthood! There would have been a valuable discernment process that included lay people, to become partners with in her spiritual growth, and to whom she would become accountable–a collaboration that Roman Catholics have yet to discover!

    For 2-3 decades now we’ve welcomed women priests. They can even marry and have children! They are welcomed as pastors, since a married priest usuallyl had the moxy to marry some $ and make living on a priest’s salary much easier, And they can avoid all that embarrassement of hearing confessions, etc. That easily puts to rest most mothers’ concerns about the priest divulging what’s heard in those confessions for others to gossip about. We do a corporate confession at the beginning of the mass, so those dirty secrets are known only to God! We believe the same way about the Eucharist, and during the political seasons we free up our adherents’ consciences to vote however they wish!

  55. Already pointed you to several sources; it isn’t my fault that you didn’t want to read even one of them: https://www.gci.org/church/ministry/women9

    >cite a source for a completely ridiculous assertion of fact

    Like yours: “Gotquestions.org is not anyone’s definition of independent or reliable research”?

  56. Yeah, I can’t argue that it doesn say that in I Corinthians. That was at a time when women were very much second class citizens, still carrying all the guilt of mankind for that snake-and-apple encounter.

    You see, Ol’ Paul didn’t particularly like women. His estimation of marriage was that “it’s better to marry than to burn.” He certainly didn’t want any competition from them, or else they might start to focus on that Grace & Forgiveness thing, in the face of Paul’s confusion over legalism; after all he had been a member of the Sanhedrin, and one has to maintain their superiority over commoners, like lawyers everywhere do!

    Once in a lively discussion, a pastor’s wife offered that this “thorn in the fliesh”-thing that Paul spoke of, likely was impotence! (That was ‘way before Viagra!)

    The Catholics claim infallibility for St. Peter and his successors. No such deal with Paul, who had to wiesel his way into being an Apostle. I could agree with that infallibility thing, if it faithfully extended on central themes to move the church forward. Instead the Catholic church claims an infallibility that merely keeps the church mired safely in the past!

  57. Yea, verily! See my comment below! (above?) They even let you marry, then divorce if you need to!

  58. Going by that voter guide’s list of sins, neither party should get a vote. Based on his or her own beliefs, the voter would need to vote for the lesser of the multiple evils. If the voter is from the Roman Church, it could rank the sins to determine the greater sins. If the voter is from a Christian Church that believes a sin is a sin, then definitely must decide the lesser of the two evils

  59. It’s not in there. It wasn’t the first time you made the claim. There is no reference whatsoever to harlots and even the “noisome women” theory is dismissed by the author out of hand.

    But most of all there is no actual historical research done here. It is all subjective interpretation. You are done here.

  60. >>cite a source for a completely ridiculous assertion of fact
    >Like yours: “Gotquestions.org is not anyone’s definition of independent or reliable research”?

    Does anyone wonder why he skipped that–for the 2nd time?

    >It’s not in there.

    Obviously you didn’t read the text: “6) It seems that worship services in Corinth were chaotic; they probably did not have a time designated for evaluating prophetic messages, so it is doubtful that Paul is addressing problems that the Corinthians already had with this evaluation time—nor is there evidence that Paul is anticipating a hypothetical objection. Verses 34-35 indicate that the
    problem concerned comments and questions that the women were making,
    perhaps to everyone at once, or to specific men.[34]”

    No surprise there; reading isn’t a strong suit for the critics. How many of the commentaries and books listed here (for the 2nd time) have you read:

    Alan F. Johnson, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series; 1 Corinthians
    (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 2004), p. 271. Some commentaries
    give the names of scholars who believe 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 were
    added. Cp. Raymond F. Collins, First Corinthians (A Michael Glazier
    Book; The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1999), p. 515; Simon
    Kistemaker, 1 Corinthians (Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI, 1993), p.
    511; Richard Horsley, The Abingdon New Testament Commentaries (Abingdon
    Press, Nashville, TN, 1998), p. 188; Anthony Thiselton, The New
    International Greek Testament Commentary: The Epistle to the First
    Corinthians (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI,
    2000), p.1150.

    [3] Richard Hays, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary
    for Teaching and Preaching: 1 Corinthians (John Knox Press, Louisville,
    KY, 1997), p. 247.

    [5] Archibald Robertson and Alfred Plummer, A Critical
    and Exegetical Commentary on the First Epistle of St. Paul to the
    Corinthians (T&T Clark, Edinburgh), p. 326.

    [6] John Pringle, translator, Calvin’s Commentaries:
    First Corinthians (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, reprinted 2005), Vol.
    20, p. 469.

    [7] Philip Schaff, ed., Commentary on the Holy Scriptures; Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical by John Peter Lange: Romans and Corinthians (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, reprinted 1980), Vol. 10, p. 297.

    [8] Richard Hays, First Corinthians: Interpretation, A Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 1997), p. 246.

    [9] C. K. Barrett, Black’s New Testament Commentary: The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1968), p.331.

    [10] Raymond F. Collins, First Corinthians (A Michael Glazier Book; The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1999), p. 522. The Greek writer Plutarch said that a woman should feel shame at being heard in public just as if she was being stripped (reference in C. K. Barrett, Black’s New Testament Commentary: The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1968), p.331). See also, Leon Morris, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries; 1 Corinthians (William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, MI, reprinted 1995), p. 197. While not all Greeks would agree with Plutarch, his statement does show that some Greeks were very conservative when it came to women speaking in public.

    See, The Role of Women in the Church, and Richard and Catherine Clark Kroeger, I Suffer Not a Woman (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1992).

    [13] Gordon Fee, The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The First Epistle to the Corinthians (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 1987), p. 707.

    [14] Alan F. Johnson, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series; 1 Corinthians (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 2004), p 272.

    [17] See Gordon Fee, The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The First Epistle to the Corinthians (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 1987), p. 702. Roger Gryson, The Ministry of Women in the Early Church (The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1980), p. 7.

    [18] John Pringle, translator, Calvin’s Commentaries: First Corinthians (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, reprinted 2005), Vol. 20, p. 356.

    [19] Gordon Fee, The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The First Epistle to the Corinthians (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 1987), p. 702.

    See ya in 3 years.

    More background: https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/places/related-articles/church-at-corinth.aspx

    >But most of all there is no actual historical research done here. It is all subjective interpretation.

    Nothing like showing you know nothing about the field. If you are serious about this you should at least acquaint yourself with the relevant literature in the field. You should start with this: http://jnt.sagepub.com/content/10/31/73.extract — then when you actually (finally) read 1 Cor. 14, you just might begin to see what Paul was dealing with

  61. Mary Ann one of greatest realisations a person of faith can have is the revelation that the institution is not synonymous with “the Church”. Being Catholic is far more than being Roman or Orthodox! As a gay man my struggle was with an institution that condemned me even as they forbade you. Just keep in mind and hold dearly to in your heart it is God who made you Christian/Catholic by your baptism and God does not revoke baptism. You are in my prayers, Oh to put in a shameless plug for my inclusive community check out ecchurch.net Blessing on you and all you love. Remember God is like a Mother Hen who gathers her brood under her winds and he forgets not his own+

  62. So you know how to proof-text and repeat an opinion.

    None of that comes close to your claim of:

    “A lot of female converts were ex-prostitutes with a low value of men
    (from their own personal experience) and so if they heard something in the church that they disagreed with, they spoke up and there’d be chaos in the church”

    And you are talking about conjecture and fairly spurious assumption based on lack of evidence rather than a supported claim. In your last link it even tried to dismiss criticism of “noisesome women” as being overblown as more of dealing with general commotion.

    At the very beginning it says

    “Common sense, church custom, and good principles of biblical
    interpretation all say that we should not take these verses
    literally—and almost no one does.”

    You took an idea and exaggerated it and are too prideful and dishonestly apologetic to own up to it. Your “research” doesn’t appear to involve critical thinking and evaluation of evidence.

  63. >>cite a source for a completely ridiculous assertion of fact
    >Like yours: “Gotquestions.org is not anyone’s definition of independent or reliable research”?

    Does anyone wonder why he skipped that–for the 3rd time? Is it too hard to guess why?

    >So you know how to proof-text

    That proves you don’t know what you are talking about. If you had said that BEFORE given sources to read, we could accept a plea of simple ignorance. Now it is wilful and deliberate.

    > Your “research” doesn’t appear to involve critical thinking and evaluation of evidence.

    I’ve actually read ALL and much more of the sources I just gave you. You have done none.

    You remind of of a quote:

    “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” ― Isaac Asimov

  64. Still no mention of harlots. Not even in your cut and paste job last time. I can’t help it if you read far more into the interpretations of others than reality permitted and are too pigheaded to own up to it.

    You took a little idea (one based entirely on self-serving sectarian conjecture) and exaggerated it. Much like religious doctrines in general. 🙂

  65. I’ll admit it took me a long time to transition from Done to None. Let me ask you a hypothetical question which might be something you have an opinion on. If Paul had deliberately made an historical Jesus (a Jew) into a god reminiscent of contemporary Pagan myths, then Paul would have in conscience been violating which Jewish rules against calumny and slander in defaming Jesus? (citation??) But if Paul had created a composite Jesus based on several related historical characters, and made him into a human sacrifice, under the assumption that educated Jews of that time would know that their Yahweh did abhor human sacrifice and the story could only be taken as parody or a fable, then Paul could have had a clear conscience, as at least none of his countrymen would take it seriously and be offended, and no historical Jesus would be dishonored? What would Paul’s conscience tell him? Maybe the end justifies the means. Some good to be attained by converting Pagans to a quasi-monotheism, and thus a “new covenant” could be justified. But would there be something in Paul’s Pharisaical culture that would restrain him from dishonoring an actual person who had really existed, another Jew? And since Paul did set Jesus up as a sort of Pagan god, then we can assume that no historical Jesus existed, because Paul would not cross the line into calumny??

  66. >>cite a source for a completely ridiculous assertion of fact
    >Like yours: “Gotquestions.org is not anyone’s definition of independent or reliable research”?

    Does anyone wonder why he skipped that–for the 4th time?

    >one based entirely on self-serving sectarian conjecture

    You can’t prove that whopper either.

    BTW, that last remarked Asimov to be correct.

  67. So please cut and paste the reference to “harlots (who have a low opinion of men)” from the source that I allegedly missed. You didn’t do it the last time.

    Oh right, that would be what people who want to be considered credible would do. You won’t do it. now.

    You have a tough time understanding the difference between interpretation and a statement of historical fact. Websites of various churches and sects are not historical academic sources.

  68. Possibly. Your idea is that (a) A Pharisee would not have dishonored a fellow Jew; (b) setting up Jesus as a pagan god would have dishonored him; (c) because Paul would not have dishonored Jesus in this way, Jesus could not have been a real person. With respect it just makes too many assumptions. Paul was no longer a Pharisee once he started writing the epistles. Rabbinic Judaism and Paul’s theology are in stark contrast. Slandering people is certainly violative of Jewish law but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Finally, there are always exceptions to the rule. People sometimes argue that Jesus must have been married because it was expected of Jewish men of his age at that time. But the NT portrays Jesus as not taking a normal path in life.

  69. Rome does not speak for all Catholics: The American National Catholic Church (www.TheANCC.org) is a contemporary expression of an ancient faith. There is a firm commitment to the sacraments and we embrace the liturgy of Vatican II that is revered by so many in the Americas. We are also guided by the Spirit as a community which embraces a broader faith where all are welcomed and affirmed. We understand the importance of embracing and supporting each other, while continually challenging ourselves to embrace the Gospel calling of Jesus Christ. http://americannationalcatholicchurch.org/faq/

  70. >>cite a source for a completely ridiculous assertion of fact
    >Like yours: “Gotquestions.org is not anyone’s definition of independent or reliable research”?

    Does anyone wonder why he skipped that–for the 5th time?

    >So please cut and paste the reference to “harlots (who have a low opinion of men)” from the source that I allegedly missed

    I found that from the 3 years of reading that I did on the subject over 20 years ago. You haven’t even started on even one of the sources that I’ve posted so far, why give you more than you can obviously handle?

    >You have a tough time understanding the difference between interpretation and a statement of historical fact.

    Nope; I have a firm grasp of the subject. You simply assume that anything that runs counter to your preconceived, uniformed POV is an “interpretation”.

    >Websites of various churches and sects are not historical academic sources.

    Now all you have to do is prove that none of the material on any of the websites isn’t based on “historical academic sources.”

  71. “I found that from the 3 years of reading that I did on the subject over 20 years ago”

    So all your multiple assertions that it was in your sources you linked to were garbage. As I said. Somehow “for the fifth time” suddenly becomes a source which is vaguely remembered and impossible for you to verify. How convenient. Let me guess you have a girlfriend in Canada and the check is in the mail. 🙂

    You still cannot distinguish between proof texting/interpretation and statements of fact. Your sources are church doctrine sites. Not academic historical ones.

  72. >So all your multiple assertions that it was in your sources you linked to were garbage.

    Nope; I have given you easily found sources on the web, which you didn’t know about because you don’t know how to do research.

    >You still cannot distinguish between proof texting/interpretation and statements of fact.

    Which you haven’t proven.

    >Your sources are church doctrine sites. Not academic historical ones.

    The first is a lie; the second is an assumption that none of the info on the websites isn’t based on academic historical sources–because of you ignorance of the field. Asimov NAILED it.

  73. You can’t even keep your own stories straight. If the sources you linked said what you claimed you would have cut and pasted the sections which demonstrated them. Just to show me up. But you don’t, you can’t. Maybe one day you will stop lying. But today isn’t going to be it. 🙂

  74. >You can’t even keep your own stories straight. If the sources you linked
    said what you claimed you would have cut and pasted the sections which
    demonstrated them.

    Your reading ability is really low–which figures because you haven’t even read one page on this subject. At NO time did I claim that the sources I have shown you so far, said what I had said. What I told you was a distillation of 3 years of research. The web links and sources listed wouldn’t even cover a month’s worth of work.

    Now, you on the other hand have repeatedly made claims that you cannot prove and never will prove. Like these two:

    1) >You still cannot distinguish between proof texting/interpretation and statements of fact.

    Which you haven’t proven.

    2) >Your sources are church doctrine sites. Not academic historical ones.

    The first is a lie; the second is an assumption that none of the info on
    the websites isn’t based on academic historical sources–because of you
    ignorance of the field. Asimov NAILED it.

    Why you even ventured to comment on a subject in which you have done no serious study is beyond me.

  75. ” At NO time did I claim that the sources I have shown you so far, said what I had said.”

    So you still have not provided evidence to support your claim beyond a personal assertion. That is all you needed to say.

    “What I told you was a distillation of 3 years of research”

    Which is an admission that you cannot provide any kind of credible citation on the subject as originally asked. At best you are indirectly saying this is your own personal take on the subject. But lack any kind of outside support to back up the claim. At worst, you are just covering for a claim which can be described as “made up”.

  76. Almost all my relatives above 60 have left the Catholic church for various reasons, none of them the sex scandal (although they blamed the bishops for how they handled it, but their expectations of US Catholic bishops has always been very low so that did not push them over). By remaining Catholic you endorse Donald Trump, the Republican party and the intolerant and science-hating Christian fundamentalist allies (like Pence) of the bishops. You can look into an independent Catholic church.

  77. In the Bible Timothy states that a bishop should be a married man with only one wife. The Catholic church feels free to ignore this, so why not ignore other culture-limited texts?

  78. It looks like she was waiting for a reason to leave and made one up. The document that upset her was not from the U.S. Bishops. It was from OSV. It may have been based on the the bishops’ document, but that document was written long before the campaign got underway is just as often criticized for leaning Democratic as it is for leaning Republican. Many readers feel that it doesn’t give much direction one way or the other. She found what was she was looking for (an excuse to leave) and ran with it.

  79. I don’t see anything in the snippet provided other than standard Christian/Catholic moralism. As a long time Catholic, one would assume Prof. Murtha was aware of the Church’s policies on these points. So, while I agree with her assessment, I wonder why this is news. Did it never occur to her before to look at them critically?

    My curiosity piqued, I read the linked ‘Guide to Catholic Voting.’ What a dithering mess! After laying out four key principles for Catholic voters to follow, the site authors promptly abandon them as secondary to the “intrinsically evil act” of abortion. They won’t tell you who to vote for, but cheerfully offer a stern warning against voting for any candidate supporting that one “evil.” The oddly worded escape clause at the end of the snippet renders death with dignity, marriage between consenting adults of the same sex, sweatshops, and overt racism as lesser (but still intrinsic) evils, permissible in a candidate as long as voters themselves don’t intend to support those policies. This tidy bit of moral equivocation effectively indicts Clinton and sanitizes Trump in terms of moral viability. Endorsement dressed as advocacy.

    I do sympathize with Prof. Murtha as she transitions. The best thing she can do is give herself time. And, if she finds herself moving from “Done” to “None,” there’s at least one organization offering a real-time peer support network for people leaving a cherished religion behind. They’re called Recovering from Religion, and while I can’t speak to the quality of their support (I’ve never needed it), they seem to have a good reputation among my fellow secularists. Whatever she chooses, I wish her well.

  80. Interesting reply, thanks. Probably the average Jewish person of the first century would have been insulted at being portrayed as a Pagan god, but Jesus (if he existed) might have been able to have a sense of humor about it, even while knowing, “Hear O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord alone.” (Deut 6:4 NRSV) My feeling is that Paul in his writings does not really ever care about Jesus, only tries to use him. I do feel that Jesus was dishonored by Paul.

  81. Here – the part that I find disturbing is that you quote so many sites that have no qualms saying the stated Bible is somehow wrong. It says one thing, that women should be silent and subservient and the scholars somehow come out and say oh, not that was some special case. I have drowned in people insisting that there are no contradictions in the Bible, yet they seem to be everywhere.

    You guys just change the meaning, find some excuse to allow some other meaning, say the translation is wrong, blame the Romans… just be honest, you moved the goalpost and declared victory.

  82. The Bible itself is never wrong. Previous interpretations and understandings are what is found to be wrong. For instance, it used to be thought that because the bible mentions the Hittite empire (which it doesn’t do–but very few actually checked to see if the claim was true or not), and since no other ancient document mentioned them, then that in and of itself proved that the Bible was a myth. Then the archaeologists went out and found it and lo and behold, other ancient documents DID mention the Hittite empire

    > I have drowned in people insisting that there are no contradictions in the Bible, yet they seem to be everywhere.

    The key word there is “seem”. You can take it to the bank that there are no contradictions. Imagine watching a stage play and you see everyone on the stage, then the spotlight narrows onto just a couple on the stage, then when it pans out again, all the previous backdrop is all gone along with the other actors. That is what we see in the Bible: one author looks at a scene and reports what he thinks is important for you to know. Then another author reports on the same event and he see’s things differently–this is what detectives look for in good eyewitnesses. If they all report the exact same thing, in the exact some words, then they suspect collusion (binge watch First 48 at every opportunity).

    >just be honest, you moved the goalpost and declared victory.

    That would be dishonest.

  83. You’ve been hanging out drinking the revisionists'”Kool-aid” huh,Violet writes? Sad. Even that agnostic scholar Bart Erhman acknowledges Jesus the Christ’s existence; indeed, no credible scholar, Christian or secular,seriously doubts Jesus’ existence. So…do you have a point by your attempts to deny Jesus’ existence? I await your reply. Peace.?.

  84. Maryann, it was once I had achieved MY deam of becoming a priest, after 24 years in Catholic schools and seminaries that my conscience forced me to leave what I had always viewed as “the Mystical Body of Christ”. What I had discovered once I was really INSIDE this institution was that the higher one progressed up the hierarchy the more corrupt, deceitful, and hypocritical one had to be (with rare exceptions).

    So long as you are stuck inside this cult-like institution, I know how difficult it is to even IMAGINE how much evil has been perpetrated by “the one, true, holy, Catholic Church”.

    Please, please, study and share with as many of your fellow R.C. “detainees” my http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/MoralRelativism-RC-Style !

  85. “Can the pope carry a baby to term?”

    If he did, the Catholic Church would have a far more rational approach to family planning.

  86. I have to stop and compliment your scholarship. I would like to say that regardless of any intensity we have in this discussion, i never mean any criticisms in an ad hominem manner. Your faith and study is clear and a credit to you.

    As any area of study progresses we find that we have to change our methods from time to time, alter our initial perceptions in some manner. So with that in mind, i would like to kindly point out that you primary assertion “The Bible itself is never wrong” might present some difficulties.

    This will always lead you, the researcher, to conclude when contradiction emerges, that somehow some artifact of language, some malecto of translation, some misangled perception is at fault and never the text or the perceptions of the authors. This would always leave the English Bible I find in any church a flawed text, holding in place those mistranslations, perceptions etc.

    This leaves me (speaking for myself) challenged to find this an infallable document. You have gone to great study to understand the depth of the Bible, that in itself proves that it has some damaged face value.

    i used the phrase “moving the goalpost” in a somewhat unfair context i suppose. A reader might conclude that i find your act of correcting translations and perspectives as a dishonest act born of malice. I agree with you that would be dishonest and should be avoided on both sides of this discussion.

    When some sections of the Bible suggest that altering the meaning of the book is very bad and worthy of punishment, an outsider can be left with a confusing mixed message. Yes you will make changes to accommodate translations and perspectives ( as in the passage where all women should remain respectfully silent and ask no questions in church), yet the book says, no don’t do that.
    REVELATIONS
    22:18
    For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of
    this book, If any man shall add
    unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in
    this book:

    22:19
    And if any man shall take away
    from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part
    out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things
    which are written in this book.

    Perhaps the author meant this to apply only to Revelations itself, but that’s not left clear in this document. Can you see my confusion?

    Once again i thank you for your scholarship and eager for your answer.

    Erik

  87. DConklin proclaims : “The Bible itself is never wrong.. . . You can take it to the bank that there are no contradictions.”

    When bible-worshippers like DC here read in Exodus 14:9, : “Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart toward the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” 6 So he made his chariot ready and took his people with him; 7 and he took six hundred select chariots, and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. 8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly. 9 Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea,”

    bible-worshippers have already forgotten what they read just a couple of pages earlier, in Exodus 9:3-6, namely that in the fifth plague, leading up to the Exodus, the Lord KILLED ALL of the cattle of the Egyptians. (including the most crucial of them, i.e. HORSES) !!!!

    So NO CONTRADICTION for them. The never-erroneous Bible says that God killed ALL of Egypt’s horses, and shortly thereafter, the Egyptian army chased down the Israelistes with 600 Egyptian chariots pulled by non-existent horses.

    As a truth-seeking Christian clergyman, I can’t stand by and allow the BEST parts of the Bible to be “thrown out with the bath water” because short-sighted conservatives like DCconklin insist that you either take the WHOLE bible (warts and all) or you can’t have ANY of it!) That’s why I’ve published my http://LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/biblical-inerrancy and several other web pages that expose some or the Bible’s other major problems.

  88. >When bible-worshippers like DC

    There’s you first lie. That kills all the rest.

  89. Great website you have. (I discovered that “!” is not part of the address.)

  90. >I have to stop and compliment your scholarship. I would like to say that
    regardless of any intensity we have in this discussion, i never mean
    any criticisms in an ad hominem manner. Your faith and study is clear
    and a credit to you.

    Thank you very, very much. You are one of the very few who is honest enough to say such a thing!

    >This would always leave the English Bible I find in any church a flawed
    text, holding in place those mistranslations, perceptions etc.

    It is because of the mistranslations and false perceptions that I say that the text is “never wrong.” We can recoup with about 99.99% confidence what the original NT (Greek) said. On the OT we can point to the Dead Sea Scrolls and show that what the Isaiah scroll said is virtually what we have in the MT.

    >This leaves me (speaking for myself) challenged to find this an infallable document.

    I never start with an assumption that the Bible is “infallible.” I know of no way that one can defend such a proposition. The biggest thing I see is that people who criticize the Bible START with an assumption that it is the Bible that is false, not their perceptions/interpretations.

    >that in itself proves that it has some damaged face value.

    I would say that in every case I have looked at it is the critics who failed, the Bible stands unscathed. For example, there was a guy who wrote a book on alleged Bible errors and contradictions. I looked for what I though would be the easiest one to deal with and use it as a test case of how good his thinking was. The first one turned out to be Song of Solomon 2:12 which has the phrase (in the KJV) “and the voice of the turtle was heard in the land.” I use Bibleworks (the premier exegetical tool that is available) and found that the Hebrew word translated as “turtle” is “tor” which means “turtle-dove.” I then went to the public library and turn to the OED and found that for about 50 years before, in 1611, and for about 50 years after the word “turtle” was used as a short-hand (or metaphor) for “turtle-dove.” So, there’s no error here. After 6 attempts to convince this guy of what the facts were (and he wouldn’t budge) I gave up. Several years later, I happened to mention this example on a forum. Another poster jumped down my throat about “always bringing this up. He’s admitted he was wrong” etc.. So, I went to the link the poster gave and sure enough, he admitted he was wrong. BUT, on the same web page, he also boasted that he “was still light years ahead of his critics.” I went back to the forum and pointed out that it was I who had straightened him out. Shortly thereafter, the web page came down. I have a further 2 dozen or so examples, where I can show that it is the critics who have failed to do the most basic of research and/or read the Bible very woodenly, simplistically and way too literalistically, and/or that their claim fails logically.

    >Perhaps the author meant this to apply only to Revelations itself,
    but that’s not left clear in this document. Can you see my confusion?

    Took a class in Revelations. The prof had read 8,000 sources to do his dissertation. The book as 2,500 echoes and allusions to the OT, so if you don’t know the OT, it is virtually impossible to understand that book. I would suggest that given that fact, the texts you cited refer to the whole. For example, King David is called a prophet. A prophet isn’t one who just predicts the future, but also explains the past and the present. So, “prophecy” in these texts refers to far more than what we typically think of.

    >Once again i thank you for your scholarship and eager for your answer.

    Thank you again for your kind words. I don’t consider myself a scholar–just very well trained in how to analyze the evidence before us. Grad school will do that to ya!

  91. Thanks for the question Laurence. People who make a living by writing Jesus books do not deny Jesus’ existence. Nor do they acknowledge the existence of Sower’s Sevens in the Bible. For my part, I tend to believe there was an historical Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph, based on the cluster of names in the Talpiot tomb near Jerusalem. However, I am trying to figure out how Paul of Tarsus could have justified in his own conscience defaming a real person, his own fellow Jew – Jesus, by making him into a Pagan god. After all, Paul had been raised as a Pharisee and should have known better than to slander someone. Maybe Paul thought that there was no sin in misleading Gentiles if they could be reformed to be better; for example, to end genital mutilation of all sorts. Obviously the Jews would not have been misled by Paul’s story — for millennia they have not been convinced. They are not into Kool-aid.

  92. It’s a pleasure to hear from you again. You made me smile and outright laugh several times – in true mirth, not sarcasm. Your discussion about “turtle dove” brings me parallel questions, not to this topic, but to some several others where a shortened abbreviation of a term has caused confusion to generations beyond the original voice and ears.

    I am glad to hear your words on Revelations – yes it’s code – yes its referential – and for me clarity ends there. I don’t have so much an objection to you coming closer to god’s being through those words. My shirk came when groups like the Hagee Institute had amazing trips through rabbit holes of references that lead to firm and ironclad conclusions that we could make foreign policy and military decisions based on those conclusions. If 2500 echoes and allusions x 2500 bad ways to read each of those we have an excellent chance of misunderstanding that text.

    In my chats to the Almighty he never mentioned the book once.

    I understand your words on the presumption of “infallibility.” That is a trap to take that position. in just the basic lexical gymnastics of how a book works: 1) i write a book taking ideas from my head and code those ideas into words and write them down in English and hand it to you 2) You read the book and decode the language 3) and your thoughts match my thoughts.

    If that chain of events happens perfectly any day I would call that a Miracle. in the best chance, I can see the gods speaking to us through our sacred texts IF WE DO THE WORK and use it.

    i will be attending your other comments and thank you for the thoughts. Maybe we could drift in direction a bit. I understand how you might balk at calling yourself a scholar. I’d like to share something with you. My son, he is tall. At age 12 he broke 6 feet. We live in a small barrio just outside Albuquerque and many of his friends are Hispanic and very much smaller than him – by more than a foot sometimes. He looks at me, still taller than him for now – and when i ask what’s it like to be that tall in his class, He looks at me and says, I’m not tall. You’re tall. but they are just falling away.

    We often don’t notice our accomplishments. Your scholarship is merely part of being faithful and you can spend an hour telling of voices more scholarly than yourself perhaps. BUT if you find yourself walking from library to library to engage in these discussions, i dub you a scholar.

    About a year ago i decided i am a poet. (YES I know, my poor spouce….) I have a book out. I write frequently. But what made me decide i am a “poet” was that I found in my head that “POETS” make great poetry and i don’t make greatness, so i must not be a poet. But the other side of that is that if I am just “a guy that writes poetry” I have built myself an excuse for when i write something truly shoddy – “well it’s ok, I’m not a poet.I get to be shoddy.” I declared myself a poet to make my poetry become excellent – never settle for dreadful – never mediocrity.

    So I appreciate your humility, I do. But when you become a scholar in name, you recognize what’s on the line for weak scholarship. You are well on your way. To call yourself a scholar would not be a sin of pride, but a standard to rise to. I am NOT a great poet, but I aim for it.

    I appreciate your time and attention.May you find power and peace.

    Erik

  93. >I understand your words on the presumption of “infallibility.” That is a trap to take that position.

    You’ve got it!

    >walking from library to library

    I’ve gotten old, so I let my fingers do the walking and use interlibrary loan a lot. Sometimes, the librarians have seen me coming and they immediately turn and look to see if I have any materials waiting for me to pick up.

    >To call yourself a scholar would not be a sin of pride, but a standard to rise to.

    EXCELLENT!

  94. DConkil, you are a well-trained seal. And wh’sat to say about Erik Hammer’s admiration of a “scholar” who can’t meet the simplest of challenges! The example I gave is just ONE our a hundred that I’ve catalogued at my http://LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/biblical-inerrancy.html . I don’t blame you for being overwhelmed.

    The most that any conservative Christian has ever been able to do is to cut and paste something from some site that does nothing but supply “explanations” that are laughable to any scholar other than one who has BLIND FAITH in the inerrancy of the bible to begin with!

  95. >From your web site: “Luke even said that when the women heard this, “they remembered his words” (24:9).”

    Luke didn’t write that.

    >Again, “Matthew even claimed that the women saw Jesus, held him”

    Where did Matthew saw that the women held Jesus? I’m not surprised that you didn’t give the source or the actual quote.

    >I don’t blame you for being overwhelmed.

    ROFL! Thanks for the laugh!

    > BLIND FAITH in the inerrancy of the bible to begin with!

    I don’t. You are now zip for three (and possibly four); try yet another lie.

    BTW when one gives quotes, such as “Reinhold Niebuhr, once observed wisely:
    “Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are not sure that we are doubly sure.”
    And the French philosopher, Voltaire, once observed, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” — then you are supposed to give the source. Cut-and-paste can give you the look of scholarship, but invariably we find that the source lied.

  96. DConklin,
    you are an absolute genius at irony. After accepting my challenge to visit my http://LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/biblical-inerrancy.html you have the gall to criticise me for not providing “the source” of a few of my quotes, the FACT IS that I provide on the 3 pages involved, not just SOURCES – which readers normally have to work to check out for themselves – but I provide 380 LIVE LINKS, there enabling my readers to check on my veracity with a single mouse-click!!!

    And as for your critique of what you attribute to me (“from YOUR web site”), if you had provided THE SOURCE, i.e. http://LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/biblical-inerrancy.html then readers here who CHECKED that source could have seen for themselves that you were BLAMING ME for what I was quoting from a source that Conservative Christians LIKE Y0U use to argue AGAINST ME, i.e “The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pp. 348-349” !!! -(which I provided at the end of the quote)

    so when you wrote “ROFL! Thanks for the laugh!” you need to thank your friends above, NOT ME !

    ( Great scholarship, eh, Erik Hammer !!!! )

  97. Hmm…well “Violet writes”, that’s interesting, but…First, I have never heard of Sower’s Sevens; if it’s in the Scriptures,you’ll have to enlighten me. At any rate, if you think that people write about Yeshua Ha Maschiach, Jesus the Christ just to make a living, frankly you’re engaging in a little intellectual laziness.There is a long,long line of individuals,men and women, wrote about Jesus out of sheer love and wonder of Him throughout the last two millinea, and many of them received only pain and death. I also find your cavalier dismissal of The Acts of the Apostles, seeing as how,if the account is to believed, who Jesus was and is was already well established.(Most Biblical scholars believe that Saul/Paul met the Risen Savior on the Road to Damascus no more than 3 years after Christ’s Ascension.) So,if the great Apostle Paul morphed the Savior into a”pagan god”(seriously??), he was a johnny-come-lately in that endeavor.So,with all due respect to you,Violet writes, whatever your area of expertise is, it’s obviously NOT Biblical Theology and Ecclesiastical History; I don’t know if you are an atheist or not, but it’s obvious that you are at the very least an agnostic. That is your free choice of course, but as a Christian of over 40 years standing,and a student of all aspects of the Christian Faith for over 25, there isn’t a lot I don’t know about Christianity. So…there it is. I await your reply—PEACE IN CHRIST, ALWAYS !!???.

  98. >not providing “the source” of a few of my quotes, the FACT IS that I provide on

    the 3 pages involved, not just SOURCES

    And yet you failed to provide the source for the quotes. Interesting. If you were even a tad familiar with professional scholars you would have known that they catch exactly the thing I pointed out.

    Scholars would catch the fact that you are making hay on a minor point and yet failed to address the major points I made in my post.

    And when I go to check the original web page, I find that in your attempts to fix things you screwed it up (we now get “Missing page message”)!

    >Conservative Christians LIKE Y0U

    Yet another lie.

  99. I am a None and an agnostic. I do know something about Catholicism having attended Catholic high school, but of course I am not an expert, only someone who has been paying attention. I did not say that everyone who writes about Jesus does it for money.

    I think Paul was building on a tradition that was already established as he admits Junia was a Christian before him (Romans 16:7); however, Paul may be the one who added Pagan imagery to the Jesus story, perhaps to make it more enticing to the Pagan “Gentiles” he preached to. I do believe that the Gospel and Acts are Pauline, because Paul says the Gospel is “mine” and “ours.”

    Laurence, when you compare Acts 9:3-9, Acts 22:6-11, and Acts 26:12-18 (NRSV)), you can see three different versions of the same Road to Damascus story within a single book. You can start to get the idea that the biblical authors like to present discrepancies. Use a translation that will allow you to see the differences in Acts. The three-fold repetition with slight differences is a literary device. Just like there are differences among books of the Gospel. This may be deliberate and a way of allowing you to expand your awareness (read parallel passages side by side), or it may be a way of letting anyone who was educated to read carefully (such as students of Jewish Law), to know that these supposed scriptures were not for them.

    If Paul was the one who added that Jesus was a human sacrifice, then Paul must have done that with a deep cynicism and with deep contempt for his Gentile audiences. Paul, trained as a Pharisee, would have known that Yahweh father-god would never accept a human sacrifice. Yahweh abhorred human sacrifice.

    Always with thanks.

  100. It’s no wonder why DConklin can’t recognize all of the contradictions in the bible. He’s demonstrating in this thread that he doesn’t have the reading comprehension and memory to engage in an intelligent conversation!
    I’ve wasted enough of my precious time on him (or her).

  101. >It’s no wonder why DConklin can’t recognize all of the contradictions in the bible.

    When one reads the Bible, all one see’s are words on the page. I asked some high school kids, “Where are you getting the meaning of those works from?” They answered, “From our heads.” And they were correct. The critics of the Bible assume that the words on the pages and the meanings in their heads are one and the same. Now, when we look at the _alleged_ Bible errors and contradictions we find that the critics didn’t even do the most basic of research (using a lexicon), or they failed to recognize that they had made assumptions in order to create the alleged error/contradiction, etc.. I have a list of over 2 dozen where I can show that on even the simplest one’s the critics fail–this ignores stealing the graphics from a Christian (like Project Reason did) or padding the count by repeating the same claim (in some cases one right after another!).

    YEAH! Ray fixed the link–so now it works!

    However, he says:

    “The renowned theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, once observed wisely:

    “Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are not sure that we are doubly sure.”

    And the French philosopher, Voltaire, once observed, “Those who
    can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.””

    Now, what don’t you see? Sources for the alleged quotes.

    Unfortunately he still says ” … Luke even said that when the women heard this, “they remembered his words” (24:9).” I already told him that Luke didn’t say that. But he still lies. What Luke actually wrote was: “And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.”

    And again he still has “Matthew even claimed that the women saw Jesus, held him”.

    I has asked: Where did Matthew saw that the women held Jesus? But, still no answer.

    And yet he claims that I am the one who “doesn’t have the reading comprehension and memory to engage in an intelligent conversation!”

    Apparently Ray isn’t interested in telling you the truth. I wonder why? Does anyone have an answer?

    >I’ve wasted enough of my precious time on him (or her).

    That’s good to hear. An English proverb said “A lie can be halfway around the world before the truth has its boots on” (see http://www.gadel.info/2011/04/lies-lies-and-lies-quotes-and-proverbs.html).

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