Beliefs Doctrine & Practice Faith Opinion Thomas Reese: Signs of the Times

Conservative Catholic dissidents attack Popes Francis and Benedict

Pope Francis embraces Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI before opening the Holy Door to mark opening of the Catholic Holy Year, or Jubilee, in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican
Pope Francis, left, embraces Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI before opening the Holy Door to mark the opening of the Catholic Holy Year, or Jubilee, in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, on Dec. 8, 2015. Photo courtesy of Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters

(RNS) — Conservative Catholic dissidents, who have been attacking Pope Francis, showed their true colors recently by attacking retired Pope Benedict, calling his writings “subversive” and “modernist.” That’s right, they think Benedict is a heretic.

In his new book, “Al Cuore di Ratzinger, Al Cuore del Mondo,” the Italian philosopher Enrico Maria Radaelli goes after Joseph Ratzinger’s “Introduction to Christianity,” one of Pope Benedict’s most popular books. Radaelli accuses him of embracing modern subjectivism by dabbling in Kant’s transcendentalism and Hegel’s “dialectical idealism.”

Radaelli is joined in this attack by Monsignor Antonio Livi, dean emeritus of the faculty of philosophy of the Pontifical Lateran University. What is noteworthy is that last summer both of these academics signed a letter of correction addressed to Pope Francis asking him to change his “erroneous” views.

These folks are unhappy with everything that has happened in the church since the death of Pius XII in 1958 and the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

Livi thinks that “neo-modernist” theology (a slur used by conservatives to describe anything they don’t like) has enveloped the church, infiltrating its seminaries, bishops’ conferences and even the Vatican itself. This “heretical” view has infected all the documents of Vatican II and the teachings of post-conciliar popes, Levi argues.

The problem with these philosophers is that they see the world as ideologues with rigid categories and rules. They have absolute certitude in their views and are not open to new questions. They are incapable of dialogue or learning from others.

They remind me of the joke: What is the difference between a scientist and a philosopher? If a scientist’s theory does not fit reality, he changes his theory. If a philosopher’s theory does not fit reality, reality must change.

Luckily, Pope Francis does not take these critics seriously. In a talk to the Italian Theological Association on Friday (Dec. 29), he laid out what he believes is the true vocation of a theologian. Theologians must always refer back to Vatican II, where the church recognized its responsibility to “proclaim the Gospel in a new way.”

The pope spoke of “faithful creativity” in responding to a rapidly changing world. The job of a theologian is to show people what lies at the heart of the Gospel.

“There is need of a theology that helps all Christians to proclaim and to show, above all, the saving face of God, the merciful God,” he said, “especially in the presence of some unheard-of challenges that involve the human today.” Among these challenges, he listed the environmental crisis, technologies that can alter human beings, social inequalities, mass migration and relativism in theory and practice.

He even calls on theologians to work together to “reimagine the church so that it may conform to the Gospel that it must proclaim.”

A worker covers with a banner reading “illegal poster” a poster depicting Pope Francis and accusing him of attacking conservative Catholics, in Rome, on Feb. 5, 2017. Photo courtesy Reuters/Max Rossi/File Photo

The problem with conservatives is that they treat the great theologians of the past as a treasure chest of quotes rather than as examples of how to do theology. St. Augustine, for example, took Neoplatonism, the elite philosophical thought of his period, and used it to explain Christianity to the people of his age. St. Thomas Aquinas took the newly rediscovered writings of Aristotle — the avant-garde thinking of his time — and used it to explain Christianity to his 13th-century contemporaries.

The task of theologians is not to simply quote Augustine and Aquinas but to imitate them, to take the best secular thought of our time and use it to explain Christianity to 21st-century men and women. After all, how many Neoplatonists or Aristotelians have you met lately? Do we really expect contemporary people to master Plato and Aristotle before we can talk to them about Christ?

Sadly, the church does expect seminarians to learn Greek philosophy before studying theology, which results in them spouting unintelligible concepts like “transubstantiation” and “consubstantial.”

What theology needs today are thinkers like Augustine and Thomas who want to engage the thinkers of today, not yesteryear. Such creative thinking can get you in trouble in the church. Thomas’ books were burned by the bishop of Paris. Likewise, in the last century, creative theologians were persecuted and silenced by the hierarchy. Thankfully, Pope Francis is not afraid of theological creativity. In fact, he encourages the theological discussion and debate that are essential to the development of theology.

Catholic conservatives were brought up in a church that presented itself as unchanging because in Greek philosophy the perfect cannot change. Such an approach is not only ahistorical, it is doomed to failure. When such conservatives not only attack Pope Francis but also Benedict, they show that they are true ideologues, out of touch with reality, who should not be taken seriously.

About the author

Thomas Reese

The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest, is a Senior Analyst at RNS. Previously he was a columnist at the National Catholic Reporter (2015-17) and an associate editor (1978-85) and editor in chief (1998-2005) at America magazine. He was also a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University (1985-98 & 2006-15) where he wrote Archbishop, A Flock of Shepherds, and Inside the Vatican. Earlier he worked as a lobbyist for tax reform. He has a doctorate in political science from the University of California Berkeley. He entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1974 after receiving a M.Div from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.


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  • “The problem with conservatives is that they treat the great theologians of the past as a treasure chest of quotes rather than as examples of how to do theology.”

    All of which goes to show that “doing theology”, which is explaining the Absolute, means absolutely nothing.And all the article shows, with all sincere respect towards father reese, is that this is what it always about: power, money, and dominion. Who gets to run the corporation. Who gets to be god’s BFFF. Who gets to tell everyone else what to do. I suspect that the only people enjoying this more than the anti-Catholic Catholics are the anti-Catholic protestants.

    Were is Hadrian VII when you need him?

  • Here in the 21st century — just seeing how the pontiff’s dress in that lead picture at the top…makes it easy to dismiss them and their teachings.

    I wondered why the priests dressed so silly as an altar-boy long ago. Get a suit and tie!…And get women in top leadership in modern business attire. Don’t purposely let yourself be laughed at.

  • “When such conservatives not only attack Pope Francis but also Benedict, they show that they are true ideologues, out of touch with reality, who should not be taken seriously.”

    This is ironic, in light of the rest of your article. You’re saying theology should be trying to engage with people who have different views–and yet the traditionalists should not be engaged with; they should not be taken seriously.

    If a Catholic is to preach tolerance, openness, and flexibility (which I don’t disagree with, by the way), he should be consistent. Consistently extend your “enlightened” perspective to traditionalists who you think have misunderstood the Tradition and and treat them with respect–try to see it from their perspective. Perhaps if you did, your critique wouldn’t be so facile.

    The reality is that Pope Benedict himself would be uncomfortable today with parts of what he wrote way back when in Introduction to Christianity–given the shifts in his thinking since then.

    Ratzinger represented a fairly radical break from the Roman Thomism of the early 20th century under Garrigou Lagrange. He’s not a an Aristotelian-Thomist, for one. But I won’t go into that.

    You have a particular view of Revelation that differs from that of the traditionalists. But you must engage with their positions, at least in your own mind, rather than dismissing them. The truth is that some of their positions are more coherent than yours … and by the looks of it, you probably aren’t equipped to take on the arguments of the more philosophically oriented ones. Thus the need to dismiss outright.

  • One of the best explanations of the relationship between theology and philosophy I’ve ever read. Excellent!

  • We should not worry too much about rigid traditionalists. The patriarchal culture is passing away, as evidenced by many families evolving from male headship to father-mother partnership. We should be concerned with vocational discernment. The Catholic Church should recognize that religious patriarchy is cultural rather than dogmatic and start ordaining women to the sacramental priesthood. For your consideration:

    Meditations on Man and Woman, Humanity and Nature

  • And all vitiated by the following:

    The NT to be correct is the story of a simple preacher man aka Jesus told by five different story tellers/embellishers/non-witnesses named Paul, Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. They made this simple preacher man into a god to win converts to their cause, the new Judaism. Some years later a few of the many embellished passages were erroneously used to establish the male papacy. Tis time to bring Christianity back to Earth where it originated. Time for equal representation in the leadership. Time for democracy in the Catholic Church. Amen.

  • Again the problem is in the history. Did this simple preacher man, an illiterate rabbi at best, establish a church? No, based on the lack of historical proof e.g. “Thou art Peter” (Matt 16: 18-19) passage only appears in one gospel.” Matthew, whoever he was, was therefore a part founder/”necessary accessory” of the Catholic Church, as was Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James his brother, Mary Magdalene, Mary, Joseph and another father if you believe the mamzer stories, the Apostles and Pilate. It was a team effort with Pilate being the strangest “necessary accessory”.

  • “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”
    Bertrand Russell
    “The wise at heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.”
    Proverbs 16:21

    “Moral rules ought not be such as to make instinctive happiness impossible”
    Bertrand Russell
    “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
    Proverbs 16:25

    “War does not determine who is right-only who is left.”
    Bertrand Russell
    “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self control than one who takes a city.”
    Proverbs 16:32

    Faith has the ability to compliment a smart secular world, well being smart about faith does.

  • “Pope Francis has condemned the use of capital punishment in any circumstances whatsoever, on the grounds that it is ‘vengeance’ (i.e., punishment in kind) and ‘an offence against the inviolability of life.’ He explained that when criminals are deprived of their liberty, the threat they pose is neutralized. But the pope went on to condemn life imprisonment because it ‘entails for the prisoner the impossibility of planning a future of freedom.’ In another forum he said, ‘A life sentence is just a death penalty in disguise.’ He also condemned confinement in high security prisons as ‘torture,’ since it might lead to anxiety, depression or weight loss. [Popes] John Paul and Francis have presumptuously imagined that they can annul the commands of God, and have taught that the commensurate punishment of crime ordained by God is morally equivalent to crime itself.”
    (“A Refutation of the ELCA Social Statement on the Death Penalty, page 9, note 26)

  • Mean-spirited article, which ridcules Catholic tradition, while promising something of novelty to replace it, but offers nothing. So, we’re supposed to toss out the old, because the author is full of hate for it, to be replaced with something that nobody knows what will replace it? Even the scold PF1 isn’t offering us anything new, nothing of profound anything, only criticism and hate of people he knows are better Catholics than him and his ilk.

  • It think the author is calling for a creative theology that speaks to our age with words and idea that are of our time. While Platonic and Augustinian philosophies dominated the thinking of their times and were utilized in those periods to explain Christianity. Those philosophies no longer form the foundational structures beneath post modern thought; hence, seminarians today have to first learn “pagan” philosophies before they can properly understand Augustine or Thomas. Then the clergy must find ways to explain Christian thought grounded in philosophies that are not commonly understood today. Not a very effective method of sharing the faith. I think the article is calling for theologians, who understand the foundations of today’s thought, to form a new unifying system of theology, one that speaks meaningfully to the 21st century. So you see it’s not a matter of tolerating conservative thought (that doesn’t speak meaningfully today anyway), but of the Church collectively finding a new theology.

  • Now there’s a reliable source: the deluded monomaniacs at LieSite. If they told me today was Wednesday, I’d check my calendar.

  • Unfortunately, your one-liners don’t work. This is the Vatican’s official Nativity display. If you have a bucket with you, take a look at the photos at the end of this post. (Why do you need a bucket, you ask? In case you vomit after seeing the photos!)

    Catholics, please note. Francis ain’t really doing too good here. Even the flat-out gay MCC churches in America, have never offered any such Nativity mess.

    So why did Pope Francis do all this chuckling and give his official blessing to that mess?

  • And all vitiated by the following:

    The Apostles’ Creed 2018: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (references used are available upon request)

  • It’s funny how tradition typically entails formerly officially sanctioned bigotry such as antisemitism and sectarianism.

    The complaints are typically of things the Vatican deliberately swept aside on its own accord decades ago.

  • Theology is all BS. Since theology is totally non-empirical–indeed, anti-empirical–you can arrive at any conclusion you want.

  • See my comment above re theology. It is indeed interesting to look at the history of theology to see how it has changed over time, with regard to ideas like Jews. If theology originates with ideas or “inspiration” from god, how can it change over time?

    Oh, wait, I know–it’s because the info from god is interpreted by fallible humans. OK, if that’s the case, then how can we have any confidence that the teachings of today–on, say, sex, abortion, etc–are being understood correctly?

  • Papal infallibility began, as I recall, with Pius IX, around 1850, as a way for him to increase his power. And I was taught, in a class on religion at a secular university, that he’s infallible “when speaking *ex cathedra* [“from the chair”, or sort of officially] on matters of faith and morals.”

  • Re Russel quote, look up the Dunning-Kreuger effect. That’s a principle of psychology that’s well-established.

  • Two rather pretentious words…

    of the same substance or essence (used especially of the three persons of the Trinity in Christian theology).
    “Christ is consubstantial with the Father”

    (especially in the Roman Catholic Church) the conversion of the substance of the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Christ at consecration, only the appearances of bread and wine still remaining.

  • No, you couldn’t. For starters, perhaps you didn;’t see the word”empirical”?

    Your comment shows a profound lack of understanding of science. Or is it fear of science? Science is subversive, often upsetting, which is why so many people are so uncomfortable with science.

  • Science makes claims for which there is no evidence for. Theories on a piece of paper is not evidence.

    How often has science claimed something true and only later tell us that its not true?

  • OK, then it will be an easy matter for you to provide, say 3 examples of claims lacking evidence.

    And give me 2 or 3 examples of a claim that science later said was not true.

  • I heard a scientist claim you understand how science works. But there was no evidence for it, so he retracted the claim.

    Besides, “I don’t believe it” is not the same thing as “there is no evidence.”

  • Creative Theology? Really? What is the result of your “Creative Theology”? The utter collapse of the Catholic Church. Seminaries emptied out. Convents shuttered up. Over 90% of practicing Catholics using contraception. Over 70% not believing in the Real Presence. Creative Theology is exactly what Pope St. Pius X warned about in Pascendi. Instead of being intellectually lazy, take the time and effort to understand Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas. What you espouse is not Catholic and has been what has destroyed the Church since the 1960s.

  • New York Times–ROME, Oct. 30, 1992— More than 350 years after the Roman Catholic Church condemned Galileo, Pope John Paul II is poised to rectify one of the Church’s most infamous wrongs — the persecution of the Italian astronomer and physicist for proving the Earth moves around the Sun.

    Pope John Paul II apologized for the the Church remaining neutral during WWII while tens of millions of Europeans were being slaughtered, mostly by those who were raised in Catholic homes, to include Hitler.

    The International Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission (ICJHC), revealed several documents that cast a negative light on the claim that the Vatican did all it could to facilitate emigration of the Jews out of Europe. Internal notes meant only for Vatican representatives revealed the opposition of Vatican officials to Jewish emigration from Europe to Palestine. The Holy See has never approved of the project of making Palestine a Jewish homeland, while today recognizing 58 declared Muslim States, all members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the largest voting bloc at the UN General Assembly.

  • An embryo has the consciousness of a fertilized chicken egg. Are you going to take care of the millions of unwanted children born every every year, feed them, hold them when they are sick, pay for their college, etc. How do you feel about birth control? Every unwed teenage girl that gets an abortion is another teenage girl on welfare without a committed partner, who is not going to finish her education, and will statistically join a special class of people called “the poor”.

    I know some very successful women who had an abortion when they were young, and then went on to finish their schooling, have careers, have big beautiful families, and married to good men from good families. I applaud them, and would never equate them or their doctors with Jeffery Dahmer.

  • Yes, the mass murder of children is bad….the vicious and brutal dismember of little girls and boys is bad (except to satan and liberals of course)…..calling an unrepentant child abuser a “great person” shows a heartless souls and a disregard for the suffering an murder of children so yes it is bad…….it is only good for those who destroy human life and those who abuse children.

  • Those very successful women who murdered their own children won’t be successful in eternity…unless they repent…..abortion did not make them un-pregnant..abortion made them the murderer of their own child.

    By he way… is deceitful of you to bring up an embryo when talking about surgical abortion….embryos are not surgically aborted….fetuses are surgical aborted and we all know the word fetus means little child,

  • And it looks like this effect was being observed for many 1000’s of years before it was quantified and named after the authors of the study. Some people still insist on simply calling it something like Proverbs 16:21.

    Whether you quote Proverbs, Russell, or Dunning-Krueger they all compliment each other. The source you quote will not exempt you from being affected by the effect, that’s my point. Thanks for the Dunning-Kruger info.

  • Nothing like sacrificing children to Moloch and Ba’al in order to advance one’s career and finances. What used to separate Christians, that is Catholics, from the pagans in Rome was their rescuing of the babies, left in the elements by the Romans to abort them, and raising them as their own.

    Birth Control is another abomination. Most of it is abortifacient. You want “birth control” tell women/girls to keep their legs closed and men/boys to keep their pants on. Every unwed teenage girl needs to not sleep around. First is is morally abhorrent and secondly it is a piss poor decision destined to keep her poor.

    While you applaud the killing of children, I will continue to fight and pray against it. In modern times isn’t it funny that the first states to allow for abortions were states like China, USSR, and Germany in the 30s. You keep good company.

  • It has always seemed to me that there is a big problem with quoting some bit of advice or “wisdom” from antiquity: how do you know it’s true until there’s some empirical evidence for it–or against it? After all, not every claim or piece of advice from “olde sources” is true or accurate. It sure looks like people quote approvingly statements that they agree with, or that they want to be true. (NOTE: this is not in any way a criticism or objection to what you wrote above.)

    Re Bertie, I think I was in high school when I discovered him (? perhaps through Principia?), and I was delighted at what I read. Later on, I re-read his collection of essays “Why I am not a Christian” and found it disappointingly shallow.. But overall….WOW!!!!!

  • The behavioral scientist Jonathan Haidt has writtten some very good stuff about conservatives.

    To me, conservatives are mostly unprincipled folks who hate ideas like liberty and democracy.

  • That would be bad if it happened. But children are born and therefore aren’t killed by abortion.

    If you want to protect a fetus, feel free to take possession of it from the mother.

    How about this Sparky, if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one. If you don’t like other women having them, nobody has to care. Not your body, none of your business.

    How about you spend time trying to help people rather than engage in hysteria, s!utshaming, and being the handmaiden to malicious greedy politicians.

  • Good thing no one is sacrificing children in this argument. To your other point- when teenagers get hot, they don’t always use the best judgment- hence abortion time. The fact that you want them to feel shamed for the rest of their lives, is your problem. You probably want to shame homosexuals, transexuals, and the gender confused, Personally, I think you are a shame for playing God in the judgement game. God is only a concept, but you are real, and that concerns me.

  • God’s approbation of judgement is the judgement of souls, not of actions. I’m in no way playing God. What is truly ironic though is that while you condemn me for “judgement” you are doing just that. I love the complete lack of self awareness of those that condemn people for “judgement” when to do that you must do that what you just condemned.

    As to shame, the biggest problem today is the lack thereof. Shame is the appropriate feeling when one does something evil. Fornication is condemned. There are also consequences for one’s actions, and the modern beau ideal of consequence free sin leads to sacrificing of babies on the altar of the modern “trinity”, this me, myself, and I.

    Homosexual behavior is also condemned as would be other sexual deviancies. Both New and Old Testaments condemn sodomy as a crime to cries out to God for vengeance. We even see the problems with it in the temporal world.

  • I would have put it this way.

    if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one. If you don’t like other women having them, then stop opposing birth control, sex education in the public schools, and responsible family planning. Support those proven antidotes to abortion. Instead of demonizing liberals, put your money where your mouth is and start donating money to help women who cannot manage another child to carry their fetuses to term, get those now born children adopted and not into state institutions, and support them thereafter.

    But if you have to demonize people, let’s start with those adulterous “pro-life” politicians like Tim Murphy and Scott Desjarlais, who suggested that THEIR MISTRESSES get the very abortions they oppose for everyone else. Let’s demonize fornicating adulterous Newtie and Grabby McPussy and Grabby McKitten instead.

    And then, dear lady, get your vituperous mouth off of other people, and start caring about the very real morals of the people you erroneously believe are moral. Abortion has been legal for 45 years, and bible thumpers have accrued a great deal of money and power encouraging people like you to vote for them and give them money, while simultaneously doing absolutely nothing about abortion.

    It’s a great racket.

  • If only you knew what you were talking about. Leaving babies to die in the elements is called infanticide. I’d call it murder. But it is most assuredly NOT abortion.
    If only your “solutions” worked. But they don’t. The most religious states have the highest rates of teen pregnancy overall, and the worst outcomes for maternal health. In fact, birth control does work, sex education does work, and family planning does work to reduce abortion.

  • YOUR religion tells YOU not to judge. I don’t subscribe to your religion, so I am hardly being a hypocrite.

    Your idea that a human child that is not wanted is a punishment for fornication says worlds about you.

    “Both New and Old Testaments condemn sodomy as a crime to cries out to God for vengeance.” Really, because no where does the bible say anything even remotely like that. But sure, your god of love is in love with vengeance.
    why, he sounds suspiciously JUST LIKE YOU.

  • What religion do you believe he is that would tell him not to judge?

    All three of the major Abrahamic religions, and their smaller relatives, call on their adherents to judge.

  • Not surprising that forced birthers like yourself only can argue about birth control by calling girls and women sluts. This won’t come as a shock to anyone to the left of the Society of St. Pius X, but married couples, including those identifying as Catholics, use birth control. Your sexual hangups are not going to force me and my wife into a life of celibacy.

  • Not to take your work of fiction to task, but the statement that he “was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate” does not comport with the facts we have.

    Being “a temple rabble-rouser” was not a capital offense under Roman law.

  • For Reese, a Jesuit, to blame an entire group for Enrico Maria Radaelli’s personal impressions illustrates why he was pressured to resign as Editor at America.

    Rigorous thinking is simply not his forté.

  • Oh, good. You are no better than muslims. But I knew that.
    Jesus said “Judge not lest ye be judged.” Jesus also said “Judge away”.
    Which Jesus are we to believe? All of us may be sinners. Only some of us are throwing stones.

  • I take it “religious dominionism” is your vocabulary phrase of the day.

    For those with an interest, “Dominionism” is a buzz phrase for “Dominion Theology”, a group of Christian political ideologies that seek to institute a nation governed by Christians based on their personal understandings of biblical law.

    Although it has never had much purchase either in Christianity or American politics, it has in the last few years developed a certain currency in the LBGT community as a slightly more subtle slur against Christians than “Christianist” and worse.

    Journalist Stanley Kurtz called its use “conspiratorial nonsense”, “political paranoia”, and “guilt by association”. I think he was being kind.

  • Flying birds are an ominous sign? Here I was thinking it’s a sign of God’s creation.
    Have you ever noticed that the people most loudly opposed to homosexuality see any image of a partially clothed man as “homoerotic?” I’m not a psychologist but I think they call that “projection.”

  • This oft misused phrase is found in context at Matthew 7: 1-5.

    In order for you understand it, you’d have to understand it in context.

    That seems unlikely.

    The actual sentence in the KJV, which I assume you were aiming for based on the “ye”, is “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

  • This is why progressive Countries have separation of Church and State. You have the same attitude toward sex as far right Islamists. You are one of the few people that I have talked to that would go back and live under religious laws and punishments. When the Church ran Europe, it was called the “dark ages” well into the “middle ages” for a reason.

    The Church has been on the wrong side of history many times throughout the centuries. I hope you do not teach your BS to children, because that is a form of child abuse. Don’t teach the stories of the Bible as fact, when it is mostly fantasy and fiction, starting from the Genesis forward.

  • You know the type— the eternal hell-fires. On the other hand, if sex outside of marriage is a sin, then half the population might suffer the same fate and suffer the same vengeance.

  • Murder is intent to kill. When I was in Vietnam, serving my Country, firing up communist rice farmers in their own Country, we had clerics come to the field to bless us. Are those clerics going to helll?

  • 1. My experiences over the last 30+ years have been that conservatives generally have serious reservations re things like free speech (alas, so do many liberals), are eager to try to foist religion on others, are very selective in their “principles” (e.g. minimal gummint–except when it comes to things like substances, porn, etc).

    2. In fact, the definition and values/beliefs of “conservatives” have changed considerably over the last 30-40-50 years, e.g. many “conservatives” reject many of the ideas of Barry Goldwater.

    3. I am in fact drawn to folks who disagree with me, in hopes that they might help me identify and correct any errors of thinking I may have.

    Do you recall the common phrase about the dangers of “assuming”?

  • But this time, the artist actually (in fact quite proudly) confessed to putting in the “provocations” as he called it. There was nothing accidental or imaginary on THIS one Nativity gig. Even the Virgin Mary halfway looked like an alien hybrid on this one.

  • Yes, provocations to make you think, as opposed to the standard ubiquitous Nativity scenes — something that would have been clear if you printed the entire quote: “It is not a camp nativity; it is particular and makes you think. . . It leaves no one indifferent; there are provocations.” There’s nothing to suggest he meant it as *sexually* provocative — unless you’re looking for sexual provocation to begin with.

  • You of course know where the saying you used comes from…….southern politicians used it in the 19th century to justify slavery.
    “if you don’t like slavery then don’t own one.”

    Contraception always and without exception leads to abortion. Contraception teaches that human life is to be destroyed or avoided with a pill and when contraception fails as it does murdering the child is the next option.

  • Many years ago, I read a book by an archeologist about The Dawn of Conscience” by Breasted. The statement that stuck with me was the impossibility of truly understanding a dead, or remote religion, such as that practiced by Sumerians–the oldest civilization that left us written poems, songs and temple information. From that, I gradually came to realize how an outsider can often condemn a culture, a realm of studies, and even another person because of ignorance and fear. Your view–Howard Kay–depends on the “theology” that in fact you got from Galileo, Francis Bacon, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the “Encyclopedistes” and others who emphasized reason over intuition and faith. Pascal, a fine thinker of the era, who blessed us with enough mathematics and philosophy to get his name on a computer code–reminded us that the “heart has reasons that the reason knows nothing of.” Your statement that “theology is non-empirical” suggests your principle (or bias, depending on how you look at it) against the “reasons of the heart.” You love and hate–and sometimes it has nothing to do with empirical experience, but something else that the mind and heart (our more human dimensions, but trickier, trickier) know–and know for sure. Tell someone like a wife why–empirically–you love her, and she will laugh in your face. That is the kind of thing–for those of us not wedded to pure reason–that the rest of us concern ourselves with. theology is about love. Ask and keep asking, and you will get that answer. as I dodder on.

  • Abortion is the murder of a child loved by God, the vicious and brutal dismembering of a little girl or boy who is our sister or brother.

    When a person supports the murder of children as you do they will have to answer to the Father and creator of those murdered children – God.
    And God is clear that if you murder His innocent children you have chosen Hell for yourself – and that is the “choice” you will get.

  • Have you and your wife ever murdered one of your children by abortion…….

    By the way the divorce rate for people including Christians who use birth control is 50-60%………….the divorce rate for couples who use natural family planning is 3%.

    I’ll bet you are not in your 1st marriage?

  • From Professor J.D. Crossan in his book, Who is Jesus?

    “While the brute fact that of Jesus’ death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. ”

    “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was
    arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in
    the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

    I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipaseither about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or
    Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a
    Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality
    with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those “last
    week” details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just
    mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered.”

  • You bet wrong. My wife and I are both in our first marriage. No, we have never murdered one of our children because abortion is not murder. But my wife did have to have a D&C because of a fertilized embryo that failed to develop any further (known as a missed pregnancy). What would you have had us do, prove to the government that the embryo was dead?

  • The traditionalists have no interest in connecting with those they call “modernists.” Their attitude is that theology is set in stone. They se nothing wrong with regurgitating Aquinas, and dismiss such people as Rahner as heretical. We know what they have to say, and it is of some interest, but we have moved on.

  • Nope. Children are born. Abortion doesn’t affect the born. No children are killed in abortion.

    But again, if you don’t like it, don’t have one. But frankly you aren’t ever going to do squat about making it illegal again. All you do is allow yourself to be grifted by politicians into voting to attack your own economic interests. You are a stooge.

    Last month, fetus worshipers were willing to support a child molesting, bigoted, lying, embezzling scoflaw just because he promised to listen to your whining (but was never going to be capable of doing anything on the subject) you guys are clueless.

  • [vbg] I didn’t say I understood it. I do not remember how much I understood.

    This reminds me of a lecture I went to a few years ago given by the distinguished philosopher Dan Dennett. It was actually very easy to understand. But after he got beyond the first few words–“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for inviting me”–I was totally lost.

  • Stanley Kurtz? The guy who invented statistics about marriage in Scandinavia, purporting to show how same sex marriage harmed “real” marriage? Especially when the statistics he was quoting said nothing of the sort?

    dominionism is quite real, every time roy Moore says the bible should be the basis of our laws, every time a so-called Christians claims that our laws are based on the bible, every time one of that ilk claims this is a “Christian” nation.

    dominionism is of course quite a real thing. but only the stupid dominionists are willing to admit that that is what they are doing.

  • You wrote lots to think about. I agree with your statement about the sources of my views.

    As far as theology, one has only to look at how the Catholic church has changed its views over time. The Catholic church, in particular, is opposed to ideas like liberty and democracy and so on. One has only to look at its history, at the way it has tried to impose its views–and how people resent that (e.g. the Irish people, who, since the power of the RCC has receeded, have voted for lots of things the RCC was opposed to.)

    Because there is no solid factual basis to anything in religion (indeed, just about all religious claims are non-provable–no accident!), “theologians” can say any kind of BS they want, with little fear of being challenged.

    And it is true–it has been shown empirically [wry grin]– that in lots of areas and ideas, an individual’s gut comes up with ideas or views or opinions, and then the individual tries to come up with logical reasons for those views.

  • Care to provide a source ofr that quote? Of course not. Moral and intellectual dishonesty is what you pro-life people trade in.

    Contraception always and without exception leads to abortion? And here, silly me, I thought that condoms prevent conception. Moral and intellectual dishonesty is what you pro-life people trade in.

    Contraception always and without exception leads to abortion? Most birth control pills are “combination pills” containing a mix of the hormones estrogen and progesterone to prevent ovulation (the release of an egg during the monthly cycle). A woman cannot get pregnant if she doesn’t ovulate because there is no egg to be fertilized. Moral and intellectual dishonesty is what you pro-life people trade in.

    Moral and intellectual dishonesty is what you pro-life people trade in.

    Moral and intellectual dishonesty is what you pro-life people trade in.

    Moral and intellectual dishonesty is what you pro-life people trade in.

    Moral and intellectual dishonesty is what you pro-life people trade in.

  • I asked JP for some examples to back up his statement. Somehow, I don’t think we’re gonna see any examples. I’m not holding my breath….

  • Wait a minute. you couldn’t possibly the same Maggie Sullivan that used to traipse around the bay area telling lies about gay people. That would make you older than methuselah, because that was 40 years ago. But I would suspect you are related to her.

  • Re: quoting from antiquit. 1st I agree with you but I have a couple of thoughts. If we assume there was never empirical evidence to support let’s say the proverbs 16:21 quote that might be a bias on our part looking back. I say that because we have pyramids in Egypt but we have no blue prints so we have different ideas on how they were built. Because there is a pyramid I assume there was a written plan. Bias on my part? If the plans had survived but the pyramids didn’t, I assume that today we would test ideas on why Egyptians spent so much time planning something that could not be accomplished. That’s just a thought that does not prove anything but without proof of a pyramid I think our bias would carry us that way.
    The second thought (this is some self criticism of my tribe) if you take the moral rules quote and proverbs 16:25 and you use them personally they compliment each other. What happens with Christians is we will quote Proverbs 16:25 as an absolute at anything we morally disagree with. The response can be an absolute living out of Russell’s moral statement. My opinion, both are excellent thoughts to be made sense of in light of each other, they are made senseless as absolute arguments against each other.

    Re:Bertie, totally agree.

  • Glad to know you haven’t murdered you own child but by your support for abortion you are responsible for the murder of other children.

    If you met a young couple about to get married would you recommend contraception that has a 50-60% divorce rate or NFP that has a 3% divorce rate?

  • As a theologian, and a happy one, I enjoy your generalizations more than feel hurt or insulted. Unlike you, but respectfully different, I do believe (with many a wise person from Socrates to Mother Teresa) in an invisible, wordless, but very real world–one available to people good and bad, Pharisees as well as SOME scientists–this “realm” offers consistent cause and effect [the very basis of ALL SCIENCE], love, justice, morality and gratitude. which are all part of “theology” as I have studied it, and immersed myself in it. LIke signposts along the road that warn and advise a reality, I saw signs of love in my (dead) Rosemary’s eyes, the touch of her hand, the forgiveness she offered, and the trust she gave me. They just are things–but they are–in my theological view, but not in your view–SIGNS of an invisible sphere, realm, region, etc which wise people seem to be aware of more than others–and which–in my opinion–are at the heart of values and meaning.

  • A second mention. I think Religion does the Bad Things you mention. they also do good things.

  • Your post contains lots and lots of ideas, and if I try to think about even half of them my head’s gonna explode.

    It seems to me that (1) the bible contains lots of ideas for practical living that are also found in other religions, e.g. no stealing, marital faithfulness, etc; (2) there is lots of raving lunacy in the OT, for example, that no one ever talks about–do those thoughts/ideas/statements also come from god? I think most people, ESPECIALLY bible-thumpers, understand that that stuff is lunacy, and embarrassing, thus best avoided; (3) clearly, some of the men who wrote biblestuff understood how fear could be used to motivate people.

  • Sheesh, Joris, you *are* trying to make my head explode by posting so much stuff to think about, aren’t you? [grin]

    I do not wish to insult you personally; you are probably a very nice guy, I try to be polite to most people I meet, and there are only a very small number of people I deliberately insult [grin]. Your message tells me that you are probably a decent, polite guy who sincerely tries to follow the teachings of brother J, and probably does so effectively.

    Nevertheless, a quick look at theology, and how it is done, makes it clear that it is nothing more than BS, intended to arrive at seemingly logical (in some way) support for preconceived ideas.

    One of the things I’ve noticed as I stumble through life is that the folks who are the most sincere and honest about trying tofollow the teachings of brother J are usually quite quiet about it. I have no problems with them, or their beliefs. Now, as to certain others…..

    I suppose it’s ultimately biological, in some sense, but I just have trouble believing in anything I can’t measure. (NOTE: I’ve said this many times, expecting some listener(s) to respond “well, what about love?”, and, frustratingly, none ever has responded that way.)

  • I do not dispute that at all. I am a realist and a pragmatist, not an ideologue.

    You might have noted, also, that some religions and denominations and theologians and so on, are better at it than others.

  • let me try to share my point of view. I personally believe in a God/Person (though I have not ruled out a recent suggestion from a friend that God is really the “sentient” quarks and photons that run the universe), but at 81,I am pretty subtle and sophisticated–and that is an apology. I think that people–individuals–have to follow their own passion, their own sense of morality, and what they consider wisdom. Ihave a priest-brother, two very generous and sweet agnostic brothers, and a super-Catholic. We get along. A Person is Alive if Growing–otherwise they can inhabit a coffin. in my Growth, I see religions–deliberately plural–as structures that help–for example, the Ten commandments are NOT commandments (one is–to honor parents)–the rest are expectations–neither more nor less. In my view, Religions expect people to be good and truthful–but some people follow externally and miss the point. I respect everybody just because they are human–and so do all of my brothers (though it has taken the Super-Catholic time to come around). You need your measurables–and I say, “hooray” I have found in my exceedingly happy marriage a peace that is certainly what the Buddha found. It is more mystery–and that mystery is almost my definition of real “relgion.”

  • Even though I know that “theology” is total BS, I have no doubt that you and I could sit down and have a discussion that was mutually respectful, interesting, informative, etc.

    That seems to me that ultimately, the purpose of theology is to guide human behavior. One has only to look at the way for years the Vatican honored an accused felon, a man who violated Catholic theology and teaching, in many ways, for many years, to see that so often, theology in fact has little or no effect on behavior.

    Of course, if the accused felon had been a peon, an untermenschen, and not a high-ranking guy, it would have been a totally different matter, n’est-ce pas?

    Still, if the theology has no effect on behavior–despite the many voices that were practically screaming at Vatican officials–then what good is it?

  • Curious which individual you are referring to–there have been any number of Heretics/Deviants/Marxist/Evangelica/ltheologian persons, who have suffered more or less at the Vatican and its rigidity (Read the Sin of Obedience–a historical- fictionalized version of his life as a seminarian–whose pristine and obedient priesthood is destroyed by the Most Stubborn Cardinal–Ottaviani– at Vatican II) Theology, liker religion and faith–are vague things in the end, however many precise words are used. They are–in my view–about a realm that is wordless. I say that over and over. Quarks and photons and gravity are also–in the end–wordless until scientists verbalize them–often mathematically. NOW–the mystery of the linkage between quarks that can affect their mutual behavior on the other side of the universe instantaneously is-to come back to signs–to me evidence that is there is a “love” at work keeping mystery and consistency going on. To others, such things just happen (and I won’t argue–I refuse to argue)l They waken me to a sense that all this beauty, Rosemary’s love, the wondrous struggles of addicts, the authentic sense of guilt in some (and me), and so on–all fit into a pattern–which I find resonates with a “theology” of Christianity. Not The Council of Trent, nor just Scripture, not awareness of pediphile priests, nor the Catechism of the Catholic Church. None of these–but the more amorphous sense of mystery, love and truth which make my 81 years meaningful. happen to be Catholic, but I could be a Chinese retarded child who comes via a different route to the same end.

  • Another thing that occurred to me about theology: as a general matter, it appears to me that most denominations or “religious organizations” do not value open, frank discussion in theology. For example, I recall that some years ago there was a dissenting theologian at Notre Dame–I forget his name, perhaps McBride or something like that?–who dissented on some issue, perhaps abortion, and was banned by the Vatican from publishing. And I recall reading about some nuns, years ago, who dissented indirectly–perhaps taking issue with some male cleric about whether Catholics could vote for a Catholic candidate who was pro-choice, something like that–who were, of course, silenced.

    So I would have more respect for theology if it encouraged, let alone allowed, true free discussion of issues.

  • so would I. Aquinas was forbidden to teach awhile, but Duns Scotus (a peculiar favorite theologian of mine) remains a better example. Called the “most subtle doctor” (doctor subtilissimus-)-he was one of the finest and most subtle theologians of the late middle ages, but precisely because he was so good, his followers became mere echoes of him instead of the growth that intrinsically theology requires or it dies. A sixteenth century follower became famous for his idiotic echoing and gave us the word “dunce” (an etymological freebie for you–and it contributes to your criticism of theology as B.S.) BUT…I think your very efforts to point out the efforts to stop fresh thinking implies the value of theology towards finding a meaningful life. Its critics, it seems to me, suggests its value–the way a negative produces a positive. As this article–way up there–implies Josef Ratzinger has been on a trajectory–a young, creative theologian at Vatican II , he became a “conservative” Pope and seems now to be emerging as somewhat more “liberal” than he appeared to be. I mention this as a facet of theology that is vital (vita==Latin word for life). A living theology offers meaning. (Hope you are warm wherever you are; here is -6 and a windchlll tonight of -25)

  • quick note. Nuns. Investigated. Vatican wanted them to stop being political. Investigator said they were great. Investigator is now a Cardinal.

  • Oh sure, I saw the quote. But it actually reinforces that this mess is NOT deriving from people’s biases & projections.

    I love Nativity’s that help folks think. (Hint: Use live actors & animals, and good music.) But THIS artist was honest. “Provocations,” not merely “food for thought.” Messed-up provocations. Facebook actually rejected the photo at one point, citing policy against “sexually suggestive or provocative” images.

    See top photo. You can NOT easily see the Christ Child. But you immediately see on the right, a workout-buffed, jaybird-nekkid gay man laying all “provocation”-like. On the left (the rectangular object), you see Our Lady of Montevergine, a politicized Mary who got w.h.o.r.e.d out to that region’s homosexuals. A totally corrosive & confusing mess.

  • Re-read her remarks, and you will note that they are *so-o-o-o* characteristic of the way evangelicals and other self-described “Christians” follow the teachings of Jesus–i.e., they demonize others, have deep hatreds, etc.

  • JP, I hope you will be able to make time to give me some examples of your statement. I will be waiting, and I have a good memory.

  • Absolutely. Projection is what they do. We must hate them because they stand for righteousness. We must hate god. We have all kinds of nefarious plans against them. It doesn’t matter how many times you say, “ya know, if you’d stop attacking me and mine, you’d be surprised how little we would care about you.”

    There is a joker right now who insists that my desire for equality before the law and an end to legalized prejudice is simply a cover for my real intentions. I routinely get accused of hating Christians, and it doesn’t matter that we asked a minister (UCC). Friend of us to marry us, that my oldest friend in the world belongs o a denomination somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun.

  • Another, very specific, aspect of projection is the way they talk about “the homosexual agenda”. My understanding of the “homosexual agenda” is that it is about respect, period, and the right to marry–a right that has been affirmed by the Supreme Court.

    By contrast, evangelicals are quite open about the “evangelical agenda”, which is to impose their views on everyone, and make gummints officially and publicly acknowledge that “the US is a Christian nation”–which of course, for anyone who knows anything about US history, is preposterous.

  • Here are 2 v. quick examples of why I think theology is BS.

    1. Prot and Catholic theologians come to opposite conclusions about (artificial) birth control–starting with the same info. (And most Catholic laypersons, being far smarter than the dunces in Rome, ignore Catholic teaching about artificial birth control).

    2. RCC (? and Prots?) condemns masturbation because Onan “spilled his seed on the ground” (as i recall). But that passage is not about masturbation at all, but instead, is about *a married man* disobeying god. So why does RCC (et al) condemn masturbation? My guess: since masturbation is just about universal, indeed probably an important part of normal maturation, condemning it is a way of gaining some control over the minds and behavior of followers.

    And probably equally, RCC (and many clergy in other faiths) are very uncomfortable with/about sex.

  • WHAT?????????? The evidence for evolution is overwhelming–if you actually read it. As for the exact origin of life, my familiarity with biology is sketchy, but I doubt that scientists have postulated any specific event.

    More to the point, I am waiting for you to post a few some examples –hopefully, specific, concrete examples–of ideas or facts on which “science” (i.e., scientists) have changed its/their minds.

    And if you cannot, I hope you will be gracious enough to admit it.

  • So what are the steps that evolution or some force of natural created the first cell?

    How did evolution create DNA? What were the steps?

  • That’s a lot of questions?

    1) yes, agree.
    2) “There is lots of raging lunacy in the OT”
    If you’re looking for raging lunacy in the OT you will find it, but that is biased. Is there a purpose behind something written that sounds like raving lunacy is probably more objective.
    2b) “Do these statements/ideas/thoughts come from god?”
    Let me answer this way. I do not believe the Bible was written to support bad reasoning, but I support the idea that it has been, and still is, sometimes used that way. I have a view of “by God” so if I say yes it doesn’t mean I support any reasoning that comes to the same conclusion.
    2c) “I think”, that definitely shows a bias, for what it’s worth it’s one I probably share with you sometimes.
    I think this is generally a fair judgement of people, any people-lunatic belief leads to lunatic behavior. Undesirable belief leads to undesirable behavior. Desirable belief leads to desirable behavior. Desirable belief doesn’t have to mean a shared core belief, same with undesirable and lunatic.
    3) “Clearly some of the men who wrote bible stuff”.
    “Clearly” would seem mean that you know their motive. So by bible stuff you mean things in the Bible, I don’t know if that was their motive. If bible stuff means stuff about the Bible, what people want you to understand about the Bible, I would say yes clearly sometimes some do.

    Enjoyed your questions thanks for asking.

  • Your fundamental ignorance is showing. Evolution did not create a cell. but if you weren’t fundamentally ignorant, you would not be fun but you’d still be mental.

  • The nature of science is that it can “change its mind” with new evidence and new understanding. Aristotleian mechanics were “true” until Newton.Newtonian mechanics were all the rage for nearly 200 years. Then Einstein came along,. and showed that Newton was a subset of relativity physics. Quantum mechanics showed that neither Newton nor einsten were correct when it came to the very small.
    Science is a progression, not a destination.

  • The lifelong probability of divorce in the US is as high as 50%. Similarly, those who would only use drug-free family planning for religious reasons are the same people who would eschew divorce for religious reasons. Note that your statistics say who’s getting divorced, not who has a happy marriage. In sum, the statistics provide an expected correlation. They do not support the idea that birth control leads to divorce.

  • You have not provided any examples of facts on which the science has been reversed.

    Please try to answer my question requesting some examples of facts or ideas or etc on which science has changed its mind.

    BTW, are you aware of some prominent Christian scientists–including one very prominent EVANGELICAL scientist–who have said they have no problem with the idea of evolution?

  • Of course. Not only that, but of course we all (those of us who are scientifically literate) understand the meaning of “p < .05" or "p < .001" and so on.

    As well, JP may be thinking of some examples of poor science, e.g. a statement by a scientist that is not based on any evidence (or a statement by a non-scientis t that looks like it comes from "science" or a scientist).

    In any case, I'm sure you noticed that JP has still not provided a single example of a reversal in scientific thinking. Very revealing.

  • To refer to someone as “an abortionist” tells us all that you call yourself a Christian, and that you *may* be an evangelical.

  • Limited time now, so I will address only 1 point.

    It seems unarguable to me that many (all?) bible writers did some thinking about human behavior–after all, isn’t almost all of the OT and NT about behavior?

    If they thought about human behavior–regardless of how well or how poorly they thought about it–at least some of them must have noticed, or thought they noticed, that fear was a powerful motivator. If you, as a writer, believe in god, believe he’s gonna kick the crap out of you for “sin” (hmm…the loving god does that, eh?), then you’d probably try to find some way to influence the behavior of others. Thus, use fear as a tool.

    As to why some of the loonytunes books are in the bible…I do not know enough about how the OT canon was arrived at to hazard a guess–except that maybe those books were at hand and the creators of the canon were fearful of leaving that stuff out.

  • I just remembered something about agendae.

    Evangelicals are especially fond of a bible passage that says something like “every knee shall bend, every tongue shall confess” that JC is lord. When you read evangelicals writing or talking about that verse, it looks to me like they’re thinking in terms of compulsion.

  • And like to control the lives of others, even if they are secretly doing the things they are condemning.

  • And if my calendar agreed with them, I would then check as many other sources as possible to make sure my calendar had not been tampered with.

  • “Theologians must always refer back to Vatican II, where the church recognized its responsibility to “proclaim the Gospel in a new way.”

    It appears that this author believes that “transubstantiation and consubstantial” are merely theories that can be transformed through space and time; the fact that The Blessed Trinity is not subject to time or space is not a “conservative” Catholic viewpoint. To suggest that in order to “proclaim the Gospel in a new way”, it is necessary to transform The Word of God, would be a grievous error in both our Catholic Faith and reason.

    We cannot transform Christ; Christ transforms us through Salvational Love, God’s Gift of Grace and Mercy.

  • It seems unarguable to me that many (all?) bible writers did some thinking about human behavior–after all, isn’t almost all of the OT and NT about behavior?

    Bible writers did some thinking about behavior-Okay.

    Isn’t almost all of the OT and NT about behavior?-explain.

    Second paragraph-“thus use fear as a tool” Personally my tendency is to not conform to a threat. I do believe in consequences.

  • All theology is nothing more than an opinion about god and his message to the world, including the very idea of god and the very idea that god has a message, or that we can understand what that message is. Every religion has theologians. Within Christianity, every division has its theologians. All claim to be able to divine (pun intentional) the nature of god and his message, but come to completely different conclusions.

    Im not disaagreeing with you, but what you describe are the simply human emotions of love and remembrance. Theology is not required, but simply, being human, compassionate, and loving.

  • JP has few facts, but lots of opinions masquerading as facts. Like to many wingers, he simply projects what he does onto other people, being outraged that in his mind, they are no better than he is.

  • Only people who are doing what god tells them to do have an agenda, but they don’t call it an agenda, they call it god’s will.

    I usually refer to it as godswill.

  • No doubt, a Christian would not deny the Sanctity of the human person, from the moment of conception, when every human person is created and brought into being in the Image and Likeness of God, equal in Dignity, while being complementary as a beloved son or daughter, Willed by God, The Ordered Communion Of Perfect Complementary Love, Worthy of Redemption, or the Sanctity of the marital act, which is a rightly ordered sexual inclination within the ordered Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, that is Life affirming and Life sustaining, and can only be consummated between a man and woman, united in marriage as husband and wife.

  • Would you like some dressing with that word salad? Because, frankly, I have no idea what it has to do with Stanley Kurtz being caught in outright lying. I’m sure god isn’t fond of liars and hypocrisy, but maybe he is.

  • That a human person can conceive someone who is not human and thus not a human person.
    That it is possible for something that is not human to become a human person.
    That it is possible for a son or daughter of a human person to not be a human person.
    These claims obviously cannot be grounded in Science so they should be considered science fiction.
    And speaking of Science fiction, those scientists who claim that man some day will be able to time travel. This moment in time is the same moment in time on every point of space in God’s Universe. Time is constant.

  • Well the pope has a valid point. We can’t have murderers suffering despondency or weight loss!

  • Most or all of OT/NT is about behavior–sin, how to worship god, what will happen to you if you don’t, what behavior is needed to get to heaven, how you figure out if a woman is an adulterer, what will happen when ????? occurs (“every knee will bend, every tongue will confess”…), and so on.

    YOU may not be especially immune to threat, but many people are, and especially, as I observe and listen to believers, they are. There is a difference betw a threat and seeing or knowing with certainty what the consequences will be. When it comes to biblestuff, virtually EVERY claim is unprovable–god, afterlife, consequences of sin, and so on. Since those ideas are unprovable, to motivate people (followers), use (vague) threats–it’s been shown that fear of loss is a better motivator than hope of gain, and those writers believed that to be true.

  • Not only does he have few facts, but, like almost all evangelicals or others yelling about how they are Xians, he does not have the humility to admit when he is wrong or cannot follow through on something he said.

    Boy, I’m seeing more and more stuff, explicitly, about these folks here.

  • It is Loving and Merciful to desire that we not remain in our sins, but desire to overcome our disordered inclinations, so that we are not lead into temptation, but become transformed through Salvational Love, God’s Gift of Grace and Mercy. If it were not true that it is Loving and Merciful to desire that we not remain in our sin, we would not need our Savior, Jesus The Christ.
    No doubt, we all need our Savior.

  • ??? HUH??? Not sure I get what you are saying–are you saying these are examples of ideas or claims on which science/scientists have reversed themselves?
    Or are you saying that such claims were never science in the first place?

    As to your last para, above, I am unaware of any scientist who has made such a claim. But being unaware is not the same as “it has never happened”. What scientist(s) did you have in mind for individuals who have made that claim?

  • two somewhat hurried answers from an 81 senility.(sic) 1) As I have said elsewhere, I think God calls people individually. I think a Tibetan yak herder following his duty, his love for wife and children, struggling against the elements and reflecting on the giant mountains around him is developing a kind of unconscious, nonverbal view of the meaning of everything he is doing–a passionate atheist often denies the same god I deny and what she does is more pleasing to the Creator than many a saint. Denial of god (or the truth) does not erase what is denied.. I believe that different theologies are a good thing! They complement one another. 2) Every word spoken is a decision; I have heard that we humans make about 40,000 decisions a day–the consonants of each word is a decision, etc. What does this have to do with theology? I think that–in my understanding of theology–the curiosity, the meaningfulness, and the purpose (and other applications) lead toward a effort to find common threads, common values, etc. My even far-more-aged Jewish friend notes the commonness of “treat others as you want to be treated.” It is theology to see that it is common (though not universal).

  • “Since those ideas are unprovable, to motivate people (followers), use (vague) threats–it’s been shown that fear of loss is a better motivator than hope of gain, and those writers believed that to be true.“

    You prove those bible writers believed your ideas to be true because the ideas they write about are unprovable? I disagree with your reasoning.

  • How about this: “Spontaneous generation – a principle regarding the spontaneous generation of complex life from inanimate matter, which held that this process was a commonplace and everyday occurrence, as distinguished from univocal generation, or reproduction from parent(s). Falsified by an experiment by Louis Pasteur: where apparently spontaneous generation of microorganisms occurred, it did not happen on repeating the process without access to unfiltered air; on then opening the apparatus to the atmosphere, bacterial growth started.”

    Classical elements – All matter was once thought to be composed of various combinations of classical elements (most famously air, earth, fire, and water). This was finally refuted by Antoine Lavoisier’s publication of Elements of Chemistry, which contained the first modern list of chemical elements, in 1789.

    Do you know that evolution cannot account for a number issues in living things? Take the brain. How did evolution create the 1st brain?

  • Birth control of course leads to divorce because it separates the the couple using it from God. Birth control is a mortal sin and when the couple chooses lust and selfishness over the life of God in their soul of course it leads to broken marriages.

    Couples who lived together before they get married have a 33 percent higher rate of divorce than those who waited to live together until after they were married………another example of how rejecting God’s law leads to broken relationships.

    Facts are facts……use birth control and you have a 50% chance of divorce.
    Use NFP and you have about a 3% divorce rate.

  • You wouldnt look up abiogenesis if i told you to. Your question excludes the answer which you wouldnt believe anyway.

  • The first step to exploring both theology and reality, is to abandon atheism. Live life with the lights on!!

  • I see what you mean about assuming.

    I assumed you would address “To me, conservatives are mostly unprincipled folks who hate ideas like liberty and democracy”, but instead I got yet another completely unsupported assessment and some more things you like.

    Barry Goldwater last held office 30 years ago, was last prominent in national politics 54 years ago, and would be considered a Libertarian by modern political standards.

    His relevance to the topic is not clear at all.

  • You are so focussed on showing that evolution is false that you STILL have not addressed the question I asked you in the first place: you said “How often has science claimed something true and only later tell us that its not true?” and you still have not provided any examples.

    I did not ask you about evolution; and your sad attempts to show that evolution is wrong in some way, do not address the challenge I gave you.

    As to “classical elements”, that was NOT an idea that was advanced by SCIENTISTS.

    Find me an idea that was advanced by SCIENTISTS. Name the scientist who advanced it, and the scientist who showed it was not true.

    ALSO, if you are gonna get into the idea of scientific “theories”, you would do well to learn what a THEORY actually is. Evangelicals and fundies always confuse “theory” with “hypothesis”. theory

    Really, JP, you oughta give up. With every post you just make yourself look more ignorant and more silly.

  • It seems fair to ask you first.

    What is your basis for “temple rabble rouser” as the “crime” for which he was executed?

  • Stanley Kurtz, who wrote an article in National Review in 2005 from which the quoted assessments were taken.

    Scandanavia doesn’t enter into the matter.

    Dominionism is real, as is the Aryan Nation, as was NAMBLA.

    All three are (were) minuscule oddball fringe movements that should not be a matter of concern to anyone except people who live next door to them.

    Your pretending otherwise is the same tactic as Joe McCarthy’s Red Scare of the 1950s.

    As to “a ‘Christian’ nation”:

    “These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.” – Justice Brewer delivering the opinion of the Court, Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U.S. 457 (1892)

    What does this mean?

    “But in what sense can it be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or that people are in any matter compelled to support it. On the contrary, the Constitution specifically provides that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ Neither is it Christian in the sense that all of its citizens are either in fact or name Christian. On the contrary, all religions have free scope within our borders. Numbers of our people profess other religions, and many reject all. Nor is it Christian in the sense that a profession of Christianity is a condition of holding office or otherwise engaging in public service, or essential to recognition either politically or socially. In fact, the government as a legal organization is independent of all religions. Nevertheless, we constantly speak of this republic as a Christian Nation – in fact, as the leading Christian Nation of the world. This popular use of the term certainly has significance. It is not a mere creation of the imagination. It is not a term of derision but has substantial basis—one which justifies its use.” – Justice Brewer, “The United States: A Christian Nation”, 1905.

    Despite your hatred of Abrahamic religions, for rather obvious reasons, there is nothing sinister at all going on here.

  • It could be considered an argument if you consider “If you don’t like murder, don’t commit one” an argument, or “If you don’t like stealing, don’t steal” an argument.

    Of course if you consider either of those an argument, you need more help than can be provided in a discussion in the comments section.

  • “It’s none of your business what women do in that regard.” is a proposition. Support it with some facts in a logical connectitude to establish its veracity and it’s an argument.

    The slogan “if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one” is not an argument.

    Nor is “if you don’t like theft, don’t steal”.

  • If I understand your point correctly–I’m not “proving”, I’m *asserting*. My point was that the key ideas of religion–god, afterlife, soul, god loves you, and so on and so on–are unprovable. And that is no accident.

    As to pain/gain/loss, what I stated was demonstrated by Kahnemann & Tversky (and others since them). What I thought I was making clear was one point only–that the men who (allegedly) wrote the bible, believed that ideas about fear of loss and hope of gain” were correct, and used those ideas to motivate their followers or listeners or whatever term you wish to use. .

  • Of course you do.

    Your entire shtick consists of categorizing people you disagree with and assigning them a derogatory label.

  • Your entire shtick consists of categorizing people you disagree with and assigning them a derogatory label.

  • Of course it’s all BS. It’s non-empirical, not based on anything provable or disprovable, and a theologian can come to any conclusion s/he is directed to come to, or figures out that his/her denomination approves of.

    If it’s not BS, then explain to me how different denominations can use the same material, i.e. the bible, and come to conclusions that differ so drastically from each other.

  • OK, I will try to address your comments.

    1. Conservatives talk a lot about freedom and liberty and so on, but in fact most conservatives value things like authority and “loyalty” to group and so on–and those are often in contradiction to ideas like freedom and liberty.

    EXAMPLE: conservatives think pot and other substances should be highly regulated. And that certain written or pictorial material–what I would call porn–should be banned or regulated.

    EXAMPLE: for all their talk about liberty and patriotism and so on, conservatives have been conspicuously absent when it comes to things like securing rights for African Americans–and this extends back to the ‘fifties and before.

    2. Barry Goldwater was a prominent conservative in the ‘sixties and later. I suspect you may be correct (I have not done enough reading or thinking to say I agree) that today he would be regarded as a libertarian. And that is exactly the point: over the decades, the way conservatives define themselves, the ideas

    Finthey say they value, and so on, have changed significantly.

    Note, too, that although some self-labelled “conservatives” today are expressing alarm about Trump’s ideas, many are silent–deafeningly so–about things like his attacks on media, on Mueller, and so on. It is exceedingly dangerous that Trump is trying to spread such disrespect for media, for FBI, investigators, etc–you might say, for the referees. (Fortunately, even some conservatives agree with me–but, sadly, so many are quiet.)

    Finally, you *assumed* that I was a liberal.

  • On this site, search for some of my replies to Joris Heise for some deeper explanation of why I think theology is BS. In particular, look for a reply I made to him containing (as I recall) the name ONAN.

  • Pope Francis is the most sensible and liberal pope the Catholic church has ever had since its inception 300 years after the death of Christ. He even makes more sense than the Bible toting evangelicals.

  • Patently false statement there. Rom. 1:20 makes clear that theism, (but NOT your atheism), is supported by empirical observation and rational inference.

    Theism is rational. Atheism is irrational. Gotta choose.

  • It seems to me that a key idea for understanding our entire discussion here is that in theology, the conclusion is pre-ordained, by the other teachings of your denomination.

  • JP, this is so sad. Really. You clearly don’t have a lot of education in science, or analytic thinking.

  • No, it’s a fact. You have no business telling women what to do with their bodies. It’s a matter of basic human rights. You and the rest of the fetus fetishists don’t get to decide. In a free world you pecksniffs and wowsers have no say in what free women and men can do.

  • Somehow my earlier reply to you (posted Friday night) has disappeared.

    You assumed that I was a liberal. That assumption is incorrect.

    You actually made my point for me about conservatives being unprincipled. They had one set of principles when Goldwater was running, and an entirely different set of “principles” today.

    It’s interesting that you do not see Goldwater’s relevance to the topic, since once upon a time he was called “Mr. Conservative.”

  • Here are some more discounted scientific theories:
    “Emission theory of vision – discredited by Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen)
    Aristotelian physics – superseded by Newtonian physics
    Ptolemy’s law of refraction, replaced by Snell’s law
    Luminiferous aether – failed to be detected by the sufficiently sensitive Michelson-Morley experiment, made obsolete by Einstein’s work.
    Caloric theory – Lavoisier’s successor to phlogiston, discredited by Rumford’s and Joule’s work
    Contact tension – a theory on the source of electricity”

  • Some scientific assumptions are not based on anything provable. You cannot prove that the laws of nature are the same throughout the universe at all times and all places. You have to assume that.

  • “While the brute fact that of Jesus’ death by crucifixion is historically
    certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much
    more problematic. ”

    “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was
    arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in
    the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

    I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or
    Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a
    Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality
    with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those “last
    week” details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just
    mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered.”

    See also Professor Crossan’s reviews of the existence of Jesus in his
    other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with
    Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

    Other NT exegetes have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

    Part of Crossan’s The Historical Jesus has been published online at

  • This (your post) is really so sad, and so revealing about you.

    Aristotle? Ptolemy? Dalton (~1800)? “Science” from the 1700s? And clearly, you have no understanding of what a THEORY is.

    I’m gonna do what I can to alert others to this post, because it reveals so much about you. With any luck, my telling others about you will be a benefit to you–it will save you so much time, since no one will waste time responding to you.

    Thank you for giving us so much information about yourself.

  • Somewhere down below I have a reply to JP about scientific theory. I think you will find it interesting and/or amusing.

  • A few examples of conservative honesty and integrity:

    1. Just recently, some konservative “family values” type in Congress was outed for getting his mistress knocked up, and then telling her to have an abortion. We see this all the time.

    2. Konservatives are always ranting about freedom and getting the gummint off our backs–except, of course, when it comes to folks like gay people.

    3. Similarly, konservatives rant about liberty, but are eager to put religion in the public square, i.e. impose their religious views on others.

  • I didn’t tell you any personal information about myself but gave you examples that showed science has been wrong about a number of things.

  • All religious assumptions are not based on anything provable. You cannot prove that that your God is the same throughout the universe at all times and all places. You have to assume that.
    See how easy it is?

  • so, in short, as scientists learned more, they abandoned previous explanations. what they did not do was say “I don’t understand it, god did it.”

  • On the contrary…you’ve given us an enormous amount of info about yourself. But you are just insufficiently educated to grasp how much info you’ve given us by what you’ve stated and referenced.

    Perhaps one of your more educated co-religionists can help you understand.

    For example: I cannot say for sure, but I’d guess that there’s a good chance you life in a southern state.

  • Re: “So I would have more respect for theology if it encouraged, let alone allowed, true free discussion of issues.” 

    If you’d like another example of Church personnel who were repressed by their own institution … there’s Roger Bacon, 13th century scholastic and friar (and early proponent of the scientific method) who was, for a short time, imprisoned by his order, the Franciscans — although this may have been because he had advocated stern poverty for mendicants rather than because of any of his scientific (or “natural philosophy”) work. 

    And then there was Giordano Bruno, 16th century Italian philosopher and friar, who was not only charged with “heresy,” but burned at the stake for it. 

    I could go on but won’t bother. You get the picture, I know. Just thought I’d toss a couple more examples your way. 

  • Thank you. Nice to be reminded of these examples (which I think I knew years ago, but forgot).

    Theology, as a process, starts out with the theologian knowing the answer expected by the denomination to which the theologian belongs, and then “reasons” to that answer, using all manner of non-observable, non-measurable, un-seen ideas, e.g. god loves XXX and so on.

    Another thought that occurred to me: given how fond religion is of theology, it’s easy to understand that religion is equally antsy about science–tho most clergy or religious folks are careful, I think, not to say anything that indicates they have such a fear, or are aware a conflict might exist.

    Sheesh! [shaking head in wondrement…]

  • Re: “Theology, as a process, starts out with the theologian knowing the answer expected by the denomination to which the theologian belongs …” 

    If I might add to that a little … somethings theology starts with the theologian knowing something s/he wants to avoid. For instance, the belief that Jesus and the Father were “one” (as stated e.g. in the Gospel according to John) led to the assertion by some (e.g. Sabellius) that Jesus was, in fact, the Father in flesh, who was born, lived, and died (i.e. patripassianism). 

    But many found repugnant the notion that the Almighty could, himself, suffer and die. This, in turn, led to a number of Christological conflicts, as early theologians endlessly seesawed all over the place in a desperate attempt to arrive at some idea of the relationship between the Father and Jesus that 1) affirmed everything they wanted to think, but 2) avoided ideas that chagrined them. Adoptionism, the Samosatene doctrine, Arianism, Nestorianism, and more all erupted over the following decades. 

    Add to this the problem of how to wedge the Holy Spirit into that scheme, sometimes in an uncomfortable or undesirable way (e.g. Macedonius) and the development of theology became a repeated exercise in averting unsatisfying outcomes, more than it was an effort to rationalize desired outcomes. 

    If that makes any sense. 

    Well, I’m sure it probably doesn’t — but then, this is theology we’re talking about. And ultimately, no one really knows anything about theology; all they know, is what they like knowing, or what they don’t. 

  • Thank you. This is v. useful and interesting and I’ve saved this text in my personal files.

    Your second para reminds me of a thought that I had many years ago and that has always seemed stunningly obvious to me, but which I’ve never seen discussed anywhere: why create a belief that Jesus is god incarnate?

    The answer to me seems very obvious: the Jewish god is extremely difficult to love. But if you can point to a human being who you believe is god–someone who has the same wonderful, warm, lovable qualities as that wonderful uncle who you love so much–that makes it much easier for worshipers to love him.

    Whaddya think?

  • I’d love to be able to answer your question, but I don’t think things are simple enough to explain in those terms. If you’ll indulge a little rambling, I’ll explain why I say that. 

    The evidence we have shows that Christianity developed organically. The earliest extant documents we have, i.e. the genuine Pauline epistles, date to the late 40s CE or early 50s. By that time Christians had already decided their Jesus had been a cosmic entity, if not God himself. Earlier Christian documents must have existed, e.g. the “lost gospel” Q, but what we can derive from those suggests they didn’t reflect this cosmic aspect of Jesus. 

    Another problem is that, even by that time, there were clearly distinct “Jesus movements” which did not agree on — well, much of anything, other than their reverence for a Jesus person. We see this in the genuine Pauline epistles, most of which are concerned with getting past these differences and tamping down “alternate” versions of Christianity (which appear to have been practiced within congregations), such as the “Judaizers” of Galatia and the charismatics in Corinth. 

    Couple this with the fact that, as far as we can see (again, from the documentation we’re aware of) is that, by the 50s, the largest constituent of the Christian movement overall, and the source of most of its influx of converts, was among Gentiles who were trying to comprehend the Jewish deity and find some way to make the Jews’ special ethnic deity into one that could be embraced by others. This may have initiated by the so-called “Godfearers,” e.g. Hellenes who attended Jewish synagogues, attempting to understand Judaism as though it were kind of philosophical school in addition to a religion. 

    This merger of Gentiles into the “Jesus movements” which probably started as apocalyptic variants of Judaism, reflected the times; there were a number of other religious movements, in the Greco-Roman era, beginning in the 3rd century BCE, in which ethnic deities/religions/rites were adopted, in some form, by other sorts of peoples. Some of these attempts were limited or aborted by force, e.g. Rome’s laws regarding Bacchanalia in the 2nd century BCE (that being an originally-Greek movement which had been adopted by Romans). The 3rd century BCE through the 3rd century CE has been called a time of “religious syncretism,” and while this assertion by itself isn’t very useful, it can help to understand that religious boundaries had grown porous and crossovers of many sorts were popping up all over. 

    Back to the topic at hand: Sometime in the 30s to the 40s, the idea that Jesus was divine (to at least some degree) was introduced into many of these movements. How did this happen, and why did it happen, is what you’re asking about. 

    From everything I’ve mentioned above, what we know is that this process — whatever it was — was not organized; the entire “Christianity” movement grew dynamically, and was fractured virtually from the beginning. It may well be that the belief in Jesus’ divinity grew over the course of the mid-1st century within the context of these “Jesus movements” trying either to reconcile or one-up one another. It might also have been due to these early Christians trying to one-up the pagan folk around them. Keep in mind that some pagan religious notions held that divine beings could manifest as, or actually, be, human — so this wouldn’t have seemed entirely weird to the people of the time. If this was behind it, then it didn’t happen so much to make the Jewish deity seem more “loveable” as you guess, but instead, present him as being akin to other types of pagan deities that people were familiar with, but in a way that makes him seem even more mighty than they. 

    I’m not sure I’ve answered your question, though, and there’s good reason for that: I don’t think I can answer it. But there you are, nonetheless. 

  • Samosatene doctrine.
    I love samosas, especially if they are freshly made. Holy St. Benghan Bharta! Who knew they were thelogical.

  • In case you wanted to know, “the Samosatene doctrine” is named for Paul of Samosata, a controversial bishop of Antioch. Samosata as a city is no more, but it had been in the extreme north of the province of Syria, and today the site is in southeastern Turkey. Around 270 a regional synod (including no one within his see) deposed him, although local magnates kept him in office for a few years. His doctrine was Monarchian and adoptionist and probably influenced Arius of Alexandria later on — along with other forms of adoptionism. 

    Sometimes Paul of Samosa’s doctrine is called “Paulianism” and his followers “Paulianists,” but I find this term ambiguous, since there have been a lot of Christian teachers, pundits and leaders named “Paul” (not just the Paul of epistle fame), and other movements with related names (e.g. the later “Paulicians”), so for clarity, I refer to “the Samosatene doctrine” instead. It’s not official, but if anyone is inclined to research it, this term will lead him/her to the right place. 

    And FWIW, I too enjoy samosas — yummy! 

  • John Dominic Crossan is a former Catholic priest who lost his faith, resigned the priesthood, and writes material disputing Christianity.

    That’s your source?

    In “Who Is Jesus? Answers to Your Questions about the Historical Jesus”, of which he was co-author, not author, he claims that Jesus and the early Christians suffered capital punishment for “what the Romans called ‘majestas’ and we call high treason”.

    That’s rather a different matter than “rabble rousing in the Temple”.

  • Your first sentence argues that theology is not empirical, not that it is BS.

    Your second sentence asks me to explain why a non-empirical discipline would permit divergent arguments.

    If you understand the difference between science and philosophy you already know the answer to that.

    If you don’t understand that difference, I am not sure why you felt qualified to make your statement in the first place.

    Science has its own conflicts, for example possible explanations of group differences encountered in the study of race and intelligence. Since the beginning of IQ testing there have been observed differences between average scores of different population groups, but there has been no agreement about whether this is mainly due to environmental and cultural factors, or mainly due to some genetic factor, or even if the dichotomy between environmental and genetic factors is the most effectual approach to the debate. The debate rages on, but all share the same data.

    Does that mean science is BS?

  • Yes, the use of “konservative” really adds to the general sense you’ve nothing important to add to the conversation.

    And the lack of actual content clinches it.

  • When you read things like “My best historical reconstruction would be …”, “I do not presume that …”, “No doubt they would have ….”, you’re reading personal opinions masquerading as something else.

    Even those personal opinions, however, don’t support “rabble rousing in the Temple”.

  • Actually I assumed you might have something intelligent to say.

    I will admit I was wrong.

    Barry Goldwater was “Mr. Conservative” a half century ago.

  • At such point as women have two heads, four legs, two hearts, and four arms you may want to bring up “no business telling women what to do with their bodies”.

    Until then it is a slogan, nothing more.

    You will also have to find a woman who has two heads, four legs, two hearts, and four arms for your position that “(i)t’s a matter of basic human rights”.

  • Thanks for the information. Your knowledge of the minutes of Christianity is truly breathtaking.

    But what about St. Benghan Bharta?

  • Thanks for the compliment! I wouldn’t call my knowledge of early Christianity “breathtaking,” it certainly is far less than most academics in the subject. But, it does allow me to put certain things into a historical context that — in some ways — helps make sense of things. Such as, the unwillingness of the R.C. Church to meaningfully crack down on abusive (or otherwise wayward) priests: That, I think, is a relic of the Church’s response to the Donatist controversy. Once one understands that, the Church’s willingness to hold onto criminal clergy appears to make some sense (beyond just the fear of bad P.R., which I find too mundane a motive to explain the hierarchs’ longstanding and pathological intransigence on the matter). 

    As for Benghan Bharta … sorry, not a fan of eggplant. Woops! 

  • I don’t think it is too mundane a motive at all. As famous talibangelist Helen Bunker Hunt once noted, once you start questioning the bible– i.e., the authority of religion– where do you stop?
    As for your defamation of St. Benghan Bharta by transfiguring him into an eggplant, there is a special place in Tandoori for you.
    you have been warned, you will be warmed.

  • Analysis based on a thorough review of all the NT and associated documents by Professor Crossan . Peruse his 10 plus studies on the historic Jesus and get back to us.

  • Re: “I don’t think it is too mundane a motive at all.” 

    Actually, I do, and there’s good reason for it. Take a few steps back and consider that every organization has malcontents within it. We see this everywhere … government agencies, police departments, corporations, etc. Those are dealt with in a variety of ways. Yes, often there’s an impulse to not let outsiders know, and yes, there are cover-ups, but the R.C. Church takes it to a level that other organizations don’t reach for. They even retain malcontents who’ve harmed them (e.g. priests who’ve embezzled). They don’t work as hard to cover up such things but they do keep such priests “in the fold.” 

    Not wanting to look bad in public, simply is not enough explanation for keeping (again, as examples) thieves and con artists in the priesthood. 

    What really is going on is, the Church refuses to accept the premise that anything a priest does can invalidate his ordination. No matter how egregious his behavior, he must always retain his clerical status. This is a dogmatic decision they arrived at, due to the Donatist controversy. If they were to decide that a priest was no longer in good standing because he (say) abused a child, that would break the precedent set in the 4th century, when the Church decided — contrary to the party of Donatus, bishop of Carthage — that clergy who lapsed during Diocletian’s persecution had effectively invalidated their ordinations and ceased to be priests. 

    So, not only do they retain priests who’ve abused people, they retain priests who’ve abused the Church itself. Embezzling priests may never again be trusted with finances, to be sure, but they remain priests in good standing who can minister to the public. The Church will not break any precedents, no matter how old, and no matter how dysfunctional it might be, in any given case, to do so. 

    Again, as I said, a desire to avoid bad P.R. simply doesn’t explain this particular aspect of the hierarchs’ policies. It just doesn’t. But … if one is familiar with Church history, it becomes as plain as day and makes total sense. 

  • This is a good explanation, and the once a priest always a priest would certainly come into play here.

    Could there also not be the idea that every sin, no matter how bad, cannot be beyond redemption? I’ve heard that logic apply to the kiddy diddlers. “Oh, he sinned. But he has seen his sin and repented.” (We all know how that one works out in practice).

    As a friend of mine said, who went through a period where he gave up atheism to be a priest and then Realized that he ceased to believe any of it— again— they let people who have sinned and sinned again handle The Host, but they won’t let gay people who they think are intrinsically ordered toward grave evil handle the host if they find out they are gay, even if he haven’t sinned.

  • Aaah, I think I see what you are saying. You are saying that conservative “principles”–about matters like government, liberty, etc–change over time. Thank you for endorsing what I said.

    Yes, that is one of the points I think I made above. And of course we can see that in action in numerous places–in the recent budget vote that raised the national debt, for example, in the views of conservatives about homosexuals and govt non-interference in the lives of people, and so on.

  • OK, let’s see:

    1. Theology is non-empirical–in fact and in principle–which make it total BS, since any “theologian” has very wide latitude in what s/he might say, with little fear of contradiction. (The Catholic church, for example, adds “tradition” to the “knowledge” it relies on, in order to say whatever it wants its theologians to say.)

    2. I think I understand at least some of the differences betw science and philosophy. Sadly, so much philosophy is non-empirical.

    3. I am well-aware that all science has conflicts about interpreting data, about principles, and so on. However, (1) in all such cases, any argument that is given any respect must cite data, and (2) in principle (if not in practice) nothing prevents scientists from arguing vigorously with each other, and in fact we see that in interpretations of many (most) scientific experiments.

    And what arguments in theology cite data? Well, some theology does cite (for example) biblical passages or (alleged) biblical history–but the interpretation of that “data” can be almost anything the theologian wants.

    What happens in theology is that vigorous dissent is shut down by higher authorities–“lest it confuse followers”, for example–or damage contributions, or “respect” for the religion (which in most cases is long-gone).

  • Re: “Could there also not be the idea that every sin, no matter how bad, cannot be beyond redemption?” 

    This is definitely a principle common to virtually all Christian sects. So yes, it comes into play. But “no human is beyond redemption” isn’t actually the same thing as “once a priest, always a priest.” Even in the eyes of Donatists, lapsed clergy could return to their congregations as Christians, after doing penance … it’s just that they couldn’t return as priests. So even Donatists would have agreed that no one is beyond “redemption.” They just placed limits on what those particular “redeemed” folk were allowed to do within their churches. 

    You’re right, though, that “no one is beyond redemption” is a recipe for disaster and allows Christians to provide refuge for villains of every sort. In fact, it’s pretty common for them to welcome reprehensible people, even criminals, as fellow Christians. 

    Re: “… they [the R.C. Church] let[s] people who have sinned and sinned again handle The Host, but they won’t let gay people who they think are intrinsically ordered toward grave evil handle the host …” 

    That’s because, well, you see — hmm, how can I put this … ? — there are sinners, but then there are sinners. Even though no such demarcation is stated in the New Testament (which suggests the opposite, that humans are all more or less equally “sinners”). 

  • You put it well. There are the sinners we likes, and the sinners we doesn’t likes. Or perhaps, the sinners that are like us, and thesinners that are not like us.
    That’s why I always make reference to bigotry hiding behind religious belief.

  • My wife got very sick with postpartum preeclampsia in her last pregnancy. The preeclampsia during the pregnancy itself led to our child born five weeks premature, an issue we are still dealing with years later. We’re not using birth control out of lust or selfishness, we are using it because we want a normal, happy and healthy family — one that already includes several children.
    Your facts do not account for the difference between correlation and causation.

  • The pill can act as an abortificiant….it destroys human lives.

    Natural family planning works, it is safe, healthy, leads couple to life and love.

    The pill can lead to breast cancer, stroke, and other health issues.

  • There is a lot of history behind the Catholic view of sex, which was developed, in its entirety, by celibates.

    It had to do with the notion that procreation was the only acceptable reason for sexual intercourse. Sex had to be “justified”. We have Justin Martyr saying “We Christians marry only to produce children” and Jerome (who I have always thought would have benefited from a course of Freudian psychoanalysis) saying “Do you imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children? He who is too ardent a lover of his own wife is an adulterer.” This attitude has three sources: Platonic dualism, which says that the soul and mind are at war with the body; Roman Stoicism, which says that pleasure is to be avoided; and Gnosticism, which held that the Evil One created the world, sex and your body, which your soul is trapped, and that salvation lies in freeing the spirit from the bondage of the body by denying the flesh.

    At Vatican II, for the first time ever, the institutional Church admitted that what biologists call “pair bonding” is at least as important as procreation. However, procreation was still the number one reason for sex.

    Humanae Vitae says that “natural law” tells us that sexual relations must always be “open” to procreation. And how do they know this? They say that the magisterium knows what the natural law is. Sorry, but I’ve given up circular reasoning for Lent.

    Clearly, the celibate people who have created and maintain these teachings simply don’t have a clue. Not that ignorance is considered bad in making policy in the Catholic Church. After all, last year, the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life asked women religious to attend its annual meeting for the very first time. We have Synods on marriage and the family in which the sole attendees are unmarried men and meetings about the place of women which does not have any input from actual women. They seem to have internalized George Orwell’s “Ignorance is Strength!”

    To put it simply, the official stance of the Catholic Church is that sex is only morally licit for heterosexual married couples, and even they have to pretend that they are doing it for procreation.

  • Incidentally, to go along with the general discussion, let me say this. When I was tudying the development of theology, I was continually amused at the towering edifices that were built on the flimsiest of foundations.

    Limbo,for example, came about when someone conflated John 3:5 “Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” with the problem that babies who died before they could be baptized. Scripture seemed to be saying that these babies would go to hell, and the question arose, “Is this fair?” So they jerry-built “Limbo” on essentially nothing, a place of “natural happiness”, neither heaven nor hell.

    Or let’s take Romans 5:12, 15

    Just as through one man sin entered the world and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned … but the gift is not like the transgression. For if by that one person’s transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one person, Jesus Christ, overflow for the many.

    This has led to one of my favorite flights of theological fancy, the felix culpa — “happy fault”. The reasoning is: If Adam had not sinned, Christ would not have come to redeem us. Now our redemption by Christ is not only the best thing that has ever happened, it is the best thing that could possibly happen. So far, so good. The argument continues that the cause of such a supremely good thing must share in its goodness. Thus, the sin of Adam was in itself a good thing. This is perfectly orthodox, as we hear in the Easter vigil proclamation: “O happy fault, O necessary
    sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”

    I know of a 15th century French theologian named Josse Clictove who was jailed for
    heresy, specifically for doubting the felix culpa. Admittedly, Clictove had political problems, and the felix culpa was a convenient club for his enemies to use. My opinion is that God’s ability to bring good out of evil is one more example of God’s power and goodness, but it does not excuse the original sin.

    That’s the sort of thing that theologians can dream up, just two examples out of many.

  • 1. My impression is that at some point in the last 50 or so years the church did change its stance on sex and finally decided that non-procreative sex was OK. Am I mistaken? Or are you saying that Vatican II did not change the church’s official stance?

    2. In any case, this policy was a blatant, screaming, idiotic LIE from the start, and reveals an enormous amount about the RCC.

    If in fact the church believed that the purpose of sex was for procreation only, then it would not have married couples who could not procreate–most obviously, post-menopausal women.

    3. The bottom line is that the church clearly has given NO real thought to sex, beyond reflexive “sex bad, sex bad” “thinking”.

    How can one not laugh at the church? Or spit on its clerics?

    Anything you can think of related to “sex and the church” shows how freaked out and stunningly ignorant (and hypocritical) the RCC is about sex–celibate priests? artificial birth control? sex-and-procreation? ETC.

  • Upon additional reflection….

    1. It seems to me that the notion “the (primary) purpose of sex is procreation” is very easily shown to be wrong by any competent biologist or behavioral scientist.

    2. It seems to me that this notion could have/should have been easily shown to be false when it was initially advanced by the RCC.

    3. It seems to me that this notion reveals an enormous amount about the “thinking” of the RCC re sex.

    4. OTOH, it is certainly true that sex and procreation are very strongly linked among college students!

  • At Vatican II, they said that pair-bonding in marital sex is as good a reason as procreation. However, in Humanae Vitae, they said that sexual intercourse must be “open” to procreation.

    I wouldn’t say that the policy is a lie, I would say that it is wrong. It is based on a view that sex is only morally licit if one can at least pretend one is doing it for procreation. As I wrote, this view owes more to the Platonists and the Roman Stoics (pagans to a man) and to the Gnostics (who were heretics) than to any actually Christian source. It is a view promulgated by generations of unmarried men, who, if they had any experience of sex, had it (by their view) illicitly.

  • My high school was run by an order called the Society of Mary. The brother’s habit was a black suit, white shirt, and black tie. As one of them put it, he is always properly dressed for a funeral. The priests, BTW, wore cassocks.

  • Augustine and Thomas were using thinkers from the past, not contemporary thinkers. Perhaps your real point is that theologians should be engaging with and using secular schools of thought?

  • Your info is always interestg; tnx for posting.

    I have been following the RCC in one way or another for many years. My conclusion is that 2 factors provide a good deal of the motivation for RCC views: extreme skittishness/ignorance about sex, and the desire to control the behavior and thinking of everyone; to do that it is willing to engage in almost any sort of lie or illicit [grin] behavior.

    A propos of sex and celibacy and clerics, are you aware of the (famous) (? infamous?)finding by monk-turned-psychologist A. W. Richard Sipe, in 1992, that 50% of all RCC clergy are non-celibate?

  • I mean, theoretically it’s possible to situate nebulous “feelings” as based in neurology. We have only our bodies through which to experience the world, and thus all our experience must arrive through it – even our God experience. God gave us these bodies and speak to us via them (mainly I would think our brains). So theologically is definitely not separate from science, if science seeks to observe the phenomena of the material world. Science and God are not anti-thetical.

  • i will keep this as short as a blabby 81-year-old theologian can. From my perspective, our empirical existence is contingent. (John duns Scotus argued, subtly, that if anything exists, God exists). I see a rule-governed universe (four forces, mysterious but consistent cause-and-effect, DNA working LOOONGG before we knew it existed) which pre-existed me. I add these happenings, these passing [contingent phenomena together, and am convinced Something Greater than Me is at work. Not “out there,” but woven into–but separate from–my me. That is rudimentary–fundamental–theology. I have a history that includes Jesus and others who seem to influence both others and me. When I study the Gospels (and their ambience now), I see that Jesus was not very “religious,” but definitely someone who valued “faith.” Faith, to him, it seems to me, meant not credence to a creed, belonging to a community, or even behaving according to a set of rules. Faith is half the recognition of a “world beyond a self,” and half a sense–an acceptance–of hope that a “better world” is coming to me because of that world beyond me. I turn to expents–doctors, learned folks, priests, lawyers, wise elders, etc.–to guide me into that better world, know that all of them have expertise in one or the other field, but are as human as I am. These folks gel into traditions, communities, cultures, religions, and so on–carrying all the flaws along, like a clean river bespeckled with run-off and plastics that may kill. Finally, my view of the “nature” of God has grown considerably as these various influences (beauty, guilt, advice, traditions, love, etc) go to work. “My” view of God is somewhere in the interconnectedness of love, mystery, attitude and before-and-after me. I think God is timeless. I think Jesus had the same nature as the creator–if by “nature” we mean character traits like creativity, love of diversity, involvement, patience, etc. Timelessness and character traits are a big mystery–but that is the point.

  • No document of Vatican II taught that “pair-bonding in marital sex” was equivalent to procreation.

    The basis of “Humanae Vitae”, prohibition against abortion, against same sex relations, masturbation, fornication, and incest is the command “go forth and multiply”.

    Btw, Jesus was an unmarried man.

  • Jesus, as youi know full well, is a special — indeed, unique — case. It’s like bringing up Queen Victoria when discussing the status of women in 19th century England.

    As I said, and you cannot deny, the institutional Church see absolutely nothing wrong with bishops, all of whom are unmarried, making policy about marriage and the family, subjects on which they have ZERO experience, and at best second-hand knowledge. The analogy I would make is to combat — someone who has “seen the elephant” (as they said about those who had been in combat during the American Civil War) has a fundamentally different view of war than someone who has not had that experience. And yes, I have been in combat, so I know whereof I speak.

    Gaudium et Spes 50 says in part

    Marriage to be sure is not instituted solely for procreation; rather, its very nature as an unbreakable compact between persons, and the welfare of the children, both demand that the mutual love of the spouses be embodied in a rightly ordered manner, that it grow and ripen. Therefore, marriage persists as a whole manner and communion of life, and maintains its value and indissolubility, even when despite the often intense desire of the couple, offspring are lacking

    Humanae Vitae was written by unmarried men, quite possibly virginal men. THEY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT THEY WERE WRITING ABOUT! And don’t pretend they did.

  • “Contraception always and without exception leads to abortion.” If you genuinely believe that, you’ve got serious mental problems. It would be like if I said that owning a gun always and without exception leads to mass murder.


    Intrauterine Device (IUD) – A small device shaped in the form of a “T” that is placed inside the uterus by a health care provider. It works to prevent fertilization by keeping sperm from entering the fallopian tubes and thins the lining of the uterus, which may prevent implantation if fertilization does occur. The estimated failure rate is less than 1%.

    Depo-Provera – Hormones delivered through injections, or shots, in the buttocks or arm every three months. It prevents ovulation, thickens the mucus lining so as to prevent fertilization, and thins the lining of the uterus, which may prevent implantation if fertilization does occur. The estimated failure rate is less than 1%.

    Oral Contraceptives (Birth Control Pills) – Delivers hormones orally through a daily pill that prevents ovulation, thickens the mucus lining so as to prevent fertilization, and thins the lining of the uterus, which may prevent implantation if fertilization does occur. The estimated failure rate is 5%.

    The Patch (Ortho Evra) – Hormones delivered through a skin patch worn on the lower abdomen, buttocks, or upper body. It prevents ovulation, thickens the mucus lining so as to prevent fertilization, and thins the lining of the uterus, which may prevent implantation if fertilization does occur. The estimated failure rate is 5%.

    The Hormonal Vaginal Contraceptive Ring (NuvaRing) – Hormones delivered through a ring that is inserted into the vagina for three weeks at a time. It prevents ovulation, thickens the mucus lining so as to prevent fertilization, and thins the lining of the uterus, which may prevent implantation if fertilization does occur. The estimated failure rate is 5%.

    Emergency Contraception (“Morning After” Pill, Postcoital Contraception, Plan B, etc.) – Delivers hormones orally through a high-dosage pill that prevents ovulation, thickens the mucus lining so as to prevent fertilization, and thins the lining of the uterus, which may prevent implantation if fertilization does occur. The estimated failure rate is 1%.

  • Thanks for proving my point. The prevention of fertilization or implantation is not even remotely the same as an abortion.

  • Your first paragraph admits your issue is NOT with celibate men, it’s with the leadership of the Catholic Church. Your second adds nothing substantive. The “written by unmarried men” argument, which avoids the 2,700 year history of “go forth and multiply” in first the Old and then the New Testament, is absurd unless the text being written is an update of the practical advice portion of the Kama Sutra.

    The passage from the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World does not raise mutual love to equality with procreation.

    The context is a discussion of the role of the family. In 48:

    “For, God Himself is the author of matrimony, endowed as it is with various benefits and purposes. All of these have a very decisive bearing on the continuation of the human race, on the personal development and eternal destiny of the individual members of a family, and on the dignity, stability, peace and prosperity of the family itself and of human society as a whole. By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children, and find in them their ultimate crown.”

    “(T)he continuation of the human race” begins the discussion purposes because it is the primary purpose. The family is the building block of human society.

    The Church has never taught that mutual love is not part of marriage. The Apostle himself advises men to love their wives as Christ loves his church.

  • The prevention of fertilization by using contraception is not the murder of a person but it is a grave mortal sin that can send souls to hell…..

    All of these forms of contraception can cause an early abortion by preventing implantation after fertilization has happened….thereby killing a person.

  • You’re speaking absolute lunacy. All these random and arbitrary sins you’re talking about show a very cruel god. You make me glad to be Satanic.
    PS Implantation does not equal life. I assume you’ve never heard of a blighted ovum. NFP almost killed my wife. So, you’re wrong on that level, too.

  • Apparently, you have no trouble with people who have zero experience with a subject dealing with it. I suppose that you would trust your plumber to write laws covering the activities of banks. After all, the plumber has as much experience with that subject as the bishops have with married life.

    No, my basic problem is that the Catholic Church — and you — have no problem with ignorance in making policy.

    The Church has taught that the ONLY justification for having sex was procreation. It changed this slightly later at the Council of Trent by saying that sex is also for abstaining from adultery and third for mutual, but procreation is the “primary end” of sex in marriage.

    No, my statement is unchallenged. The unmarried men who make up the laws on marriage are working in ignorance, and are basing their laws on a fundamentally flawed view of sex in marriage.

  • Of course a satanist would see goodness, truth, and beauty as lunacy……..Jesus is our hope and the moral teachings of Jesus will always lead us to life and love.

  • When a satanist tells you you are promoting evil you know you are on the side of the Angels and the Saints.

  • Sure. Then, in that case, keep it up. I’m sure you’ll get your reward. I mean, everybody knows that pointless and arbitrary cruelties are the surest sign of God’s love. If basic empathy is evil, I’m glad I’m going all the way down.

  • When a satanist calls things “arbitrary cruelties” they certainly are eternal truths of love and goodness.

    When a satanist say “basic empathy” they mean they only care about how things make them feel not how it really effects others.

  • Not at all. I prefer to attempt to consider the effects my actions have on others’ well being instead of basing my actions on the will of some sky tyrant. I prefer freedom and knowledge for all over cowardly submission and malice disguised as love. No god that condemns people to Hell for an arbitrary and victimless “sin” such as being attracted to another person of the same sex is worth following.

  • Everything you say must be understood in the light of your acceptance of satan…….all your actions are based on how they make you fell on your road to eternal damnation.

    Catholics freely submit to and obey the truth, goodness and beauty of Jesus Christ – He loves us and will save us.

    The god you submit to satan wants you to suffer for all eternity that is why you accept and practice evil in this life to prepare your soul for eternal suffering and loss of all good in the next.

    Jesus does not condemn souls to hell they choose eternal separation from God because they choose their sins over love……you are a perfect example – you have freely chosen satan, sin and death – and God will give you what you have chosen.

    Of course the all good, loving, and merciful God will forgive you but you must repent, turn from, evil, and choose love over sin.

  • Nah, I’m good. I’m not an unfeeling psychopath like you. I know history. Your side brought the Inquisition, the Witch Trials, the Troubles, the Crusades, and the very concept of antisemitism into existence. Even now, you work against your fellow man. You can claim righteousness all you want, but I know your actions.

  • The Crusades…… mean the battles that saved the world from Islam.

    Atheists – the ones who brought us Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot………

    Christians have sinned and many have repented….atheists & satanists want sin.

    Christians are Saints in the making…….satanists are demons in the making.

  • Keep trying. The Crusaders massacred tons of civilians, including children, along with enemy combatants. Hitler was not remotely atheist. In fact, he was condoned by the church. Your form of Christianity is no better than the worst form of Islam. Neither is worth anything.
    Atheists don’t even believe in sin, so your supposition that they want sin is ludicrous.
    You can repent to your god all you want, but the harm you have brought others remains.
    Finally, half your saints are murderers and rapists, so I’ll gladly become Satan himself if it means opposing your poisonous influence. Draco Sit Mihi Dux.

  • Your right….atheists don’t believe in sin so when Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, and pole Pot murdered over 100 million people they thought it was just fine.

    Sadly you will get what you choose………satan and hell fire for all eternity….and one of the most gut wrenching things you will suffer in eternity is you had the chance to repent and you chose sin, satan, and eternal suffering over Jesus, life, and love.

    Repent while you have can……..

  • You’re extremely wrong.
    There’s no way you can honestly think that nonChristians are fine with genocide. You, on the other hand, seem to be completely ok with war crimes, as evidenced by your response to the Crusades. You fail to see that people can do good without, and, especially, in spite of god.

  • As you laid it out, the subject was morality, in particular Christian sexual morality.

    The leadership of the Catholic Church would appear to have vast experience in that area.

    If you’re suggesting they were writing some sort of performance manual, perhaps you could expand on that a bit so I understand what they were, or you thought they were, expounding on. It sounds interesting.

    I have no problem with my legislator writing laws forbidding murder, assault, stealing, and a host of other acts which I trust she or he does not actually engage in.

    So, let’s put aside “written by unmarried men” unless and until you can establish marriage as a prerequisite.

    I am fairly well read on the topic, and so far as I know the Catholic Church has taught the purpose for two sexes and the marital act was to fulfill the command “go forth and multiply”. It never prohibited enjoying it. It never suggested that the other lawful purposes were unlawful. It simply pointed out that “God made them, man and woman”.

    But it certainly would oppose the notion that procreation was not the primary reason.

    Yes, your statement is challenged, and to this point your defense of it consists of restating it and restating your disagreement with the Catholic Church.

    The solution, of course, is not to join it.

  • All interfere with the command “go forth and multiply”.

    That’s the reason why in Catholic theology all three are sinful.

  • I’m sure when your father and mother made you eat your peas, you believed they were very cruel parents as well.

    NFP did not almost kill your wife. Your dingle dongle and your use of it did.

  • So, you must be going to Hell because your personality is a contraceptive. Also, why would I, a non Christian, give a crap if you consider contraception a sin? My religions tennants hold that
    “one’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.”, so what other folks do with their bodies is of no concern to me.

  • I guess I wouldn’t disagree with that,–at ,east, not strongly– but I would say that ideas that are non-empirical are certainly more prone to BS–especially religion, since you can say almost anything you want about something non-empirical and no one can successfully contradict you.

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