Catholicism News

Vatican-OK’d journal strikes out again at US evangelicals

La Civilta Cattolica published “The Prosperity Gospel: Dangerous and Different,” critiquing American evangelicals. Screenshot

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A Vatican-approved journal has dismissed “prosperity gospel” as a pseudo theology dangerously tied up with the American dream and President Trump’s politics, launching the publication’s second major critique of American evangelicals in as many years.

Two of Pope Francis’ top communications advisers — an Italian Jesuit and an Argentine Protestant pastor — penned “The Prosperity Gospel: Dangerous and Different” for the current issue of the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, published Wednesday (July 18).

In the article, the authors note that the prosperity gospel and its belief that God wants his followers to be wealthy and healthy has spread throughout the world, particularly in Latin America and Asia, thanks to its charismatic proponents’ effective use of TV and media.

But they point to its origins in the U.S. and its underpinning of the American dream and say its vision of faith is in direct contrast to true Christian teaching and Pope Francis’ emphasis on the poor, social justice and salvation.

“In truth, one of the serious problems that the prosperity gospel brings is its perverse effects on the poor,” wrote the authors, the Rev. Antonio Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa.

“In fact, it not only exasperates individualism and knocks down the sense of solidarity, but it pushes people to adopt a miracle-centered outlook because faith alone — not social or political commitment — can procure prosperity.”

While prosperity gospel is widely popular, many Christians consider it heretical. Ministers in the tradition often hold up their own wealth as evidence that their teachings work.

Trump campaigned in part on his record as a wealthy real estate developer and businessman, and prosperity gospel preacher Paula White is a key Trump adviser. She and another prosperity preacher, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, were among the religious leaders selected to offer prayers at Trump’s swearing-in.

The Civilta Cattolica article said that prosperity gospel clearly serves the U.S. economic-political model, especially under Trump, and the idea of “American exceptionalism,” and that the United States “has grown as a nation under the blessing of the providential God of the Evangelical movement.”

It cited Trump’s own inaugural speech and the militancy associated with prosperity preachers, in which in a few short sentences Trump mixed in the idea of “God, the army and the American Dream.”

The article named several prominent U.S. and international televangelists and megachurch pastors, including Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson and Joel Osteen — and denounced how they have increased their own wealth and popularity thanks to a “pseudo-Gospel” that subverts the Bible.

Most problematic, they said, was their preaching that if the faithful give money to the preachers, they will reap the rewards exponentially because of their faith that God will provide them riches.

“This is why there can be a lack of empathy and solidarity in these cases from (prosperity gospel) followers,” the article said, referring to migrant crises and natural disasters.

“There can be no compassion for those who are not prosperous, for clearly they have not followed the rules and thus live in failure and are not loved by God.”

It was the second time the two authors have joined forces to criticize religious movements in the United States, signaling once again the clash of cultures underway in the Francis papacy and Trump White House.

Last year, the authors condemned the way some American evangelicals and their conservative Roman Catholic supporters mix religion and politics in an “ecumenism of conflict,” saying their worldview promotes division and hatred.

Then again, Spadaro and Figueroa took aim at conservative religious support for Trump, accusing activists of promoting a “xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations.” Trump has sought to bar travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and vowed to build a wall on the Mexican border.

Articles in La Civilta Cattolica are reviewed and approved by the Vatican Secretariat of State. Under Francis, who is a Jesuit, the publication has become something of an unofficial mouthpiece of the papacy.

The initial article was criticized by some on the Catholic right, including Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput.

About the author

Nicole Winfield

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  • If God wanted His followers to be wealthy, why did Jesus have no where to lay His head?

  • Give away all that you have, and follow me.

    Give me all that you have, and follow Jesus.

    What on earth is the difference if you are Protestant or Catholic? From my Rome Travelogue a few years ago:

    “amazes me that for centuries, what is probably the wealthiest business enterprise in the world always seems to be standing, hat in one hand, the other stretched out, with a querulous voice crying “Alms for the poor! Alms for the poor!” And there is always THIS: its lands, gold, castles and palaces, gold, churches, gold, furnishings, gold, influence, gold, sumptuous robes of silk worked in gold thread and worn above Gucci loafers, gold, bejeweled scepters, gold, priceless works of art, and gold.

    There is something about gold: it’s just so pretty.

    Without a hint of either irony or sarcasm, they call one of these money begs Peter’s Pence, as if that poor, saintly old man were himself standing on a street corner of Rome, begging for just a wee sum, a few pennies, or perhaps a crust of stale, moldy bread. I believe Peter’s Pence started out as a one-penny-per-household-per-year tax paid directly to the church. But this was back in the days when a penny was actually worth something, and this was a whole lot of pennies. My question? Why is it that God always seems to need a bigger, better, and ever more grand and spectacular house to live in, or at least to use on the weekends? And why does he always seem to need money?”

  • The tag team of Jesuit Antonio Spadaro and Presybterian Marcelo Figueroa have tag teamed American evangelicals before:

    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2017/07/14/on-that-strange-disturbing-and-anti-american-civilta-cattolica-article/

    That article was roundly criticized for demonstrating a near total lack of familiarity with the American religious scene, and Protestantism in particular.

    Marcelo Figueroa is a buddy of Pope Francis from Argentina

    https://cruxnow.com/global-church/2016/07/12/pope-taps-protestant-friend-carry-voice-argentina/

    Calling the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica “Vatican-approved” is misleading.

    It is required to receive the approval of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See before being published.

    The Secretariat of State of the Holy See handles the political and diplomatic functions of the Vatican State as a sovereign, not religious matters.

    Its approval means that nothing was objected to as creating diplomatic issues for the Vatican State.

  • After listening to this stuff for years, one could be excused for thinking that God wants everyone to deal in finance, insurance, real estate, common stocks, commodities, derivatives, entertainment, multi-level sales and ministry for profit—–but—–does not expect people to thrive as retail clerks. Why would we think that? Well, the preachers tend to side with those who think it would be sinful for Walmart to have a union and with those who thought Donald Trump and Steve Mnuchin needed tax cuts. Face it, folks. We have been the national victims of theological malpractice for roughly 40 years now.

  • So the Pope has a beef with evangelicals about the “Prosperity Gospel”, and also their political support for Donald Trump.
    Likewise, (unless they’ve fallen for Universalism and Gay Marriage), evangelicals also have a beef with the Pope. Business as usual.

    Meanwhile, how should Christians assess the “Prosperity Gospel”? The good folks at Lausanne offer some excellent, specific, balanced, fair-minded, Bible-centered guidelines to evaluate and criticize various aspects of it. So you may want to skip this “La Civilta” stuff, and just deal with Lausanne instead:

    https://www.lausanne.org/content/a-statement-on-the-prosperity-gospel

  • Good article by Spadaro and Figueroa. People trying to impose their morality on the entire world still live in delusions of grandeur reminiscent of the Holy Roman Empire. Jesus never imposed his morality on anyone, and never colluded with the religious and civil authorities of his day to “sell” his message. The American “dream” is becoming the American nightmare.

  • The idea that Jesus wanted his followers to be wealthy is absurd. I mean, the gospels are pretty clear about it. Jesus taught so often that wealth was a hindrance, blocking the way to “the kingdom of heaven,” that I almost don’t know where to begin. 

    Oh wait — I did that already

    • “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. … No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:19-21, 24

    • Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” (Matthew 19:21-25

    • Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” (Mark 10:21-26

    • And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44

    • And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20

    • “But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.” (Luke 6:24

    • “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:33-34

    • “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Luke 16:13

    • When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” (Luke 18:22-26

    • “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: … ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.’” (Revelation 3:14a, 17-18

    I haven’t got a clue why any Christian — especially one who believes the Bible is literally God’s word — could possibly fail to understand this reality. But they do. 

  • ” The management of Peter’s Pence, a
    collection taken up yearly around the world and sent to Rome meant to
    aid the less fortunate, ‘is an enigma cloaked in the most impenetrable
    secrecy,’ he writes. ”

    For every ten euros given every year under
    the centuries-old Peter’s Pence donation scheme, six allegedly went
    straight into the Vatican’s coffins (sic)….”

    “….the Catholic Church is guilty
    of diverting millions intended for the poor to plug administrative
    deficits and to fund the lavish lifestyle of some cardinals. ”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3303893/Vatican-spends-just-four-ten-euros-receives-donations-poor-rest-going-finances-claims-new-book.html

  • Yeah? And? Your point? /s

    Bible beliefs are not responsible our actions. That’s obvious from the article. We are.

    Youre right. Jesus is quite clear. And yet protestants and catholics alike love the yellow stuff and seem to have no issue with that.

  • “Bible beliefs are not responsible [for] our actions…..We are.”

    Beliefs can and do inform one’s behavior. Beliefs can be sincerely held, or they can be used as rationalizations. Either way, they can prop up behaviors that run contrary to the Gospel.

  • The philosophically bankrupt, discredited and corrupt RCC has only Latin America left to loot. The Evangelicals and apostles of the ” prosperity gospel “, esp, are, and have been promising Latinos a better life than that which the RCC gave them by being complicit in the slaughter of millions and turning the rest into slaves.

    The RCC is in a nosedive and scrambling to find a breath left to it in the toxic world they have created.

    A Diablo contigo donde perteneces !

  • The philosophically bankrupt, discredited and corrupt patrick has only Disqus left to annoy.

    He’s in a nosedive and scrambling to find a breath left in the toxic world of anti-Catholicism.

  • Re: “Youre right. Jesus is quite clear. And yet protestants and catholics alike love the yellow stuff and seem to have no issue with that.” 

    The irony of what Christianity is, is overwhelming: Way back, as early as the latter half of the 1st century, they built a religion predicated on collections of writings that — they say — lay out the tenets of their faith. That collection includes not one but four separate “biographies” of their faith’s founder, and each of those, in turn, includes a large number of teachings they claim he delivered personally. 

    But, very soon after — as in, starting around the end of the 2nd century, and certainly by the early 4th — they had already worked out a number of rationales for why they did not actually have to obey all those teachings, inscribed in those writings which they continued to profess to revere as sacred. That only continued. The modern “prosperity gospel” is merely one of the latest examples of that phenomenon … but it’s by no means the first. 

    For the last c. 2,000 years, Christians have played a game of dissemblance, triangulation and disingenuousness. Sure, there were a few who actually seemed to want to do what their Jesus ordered them to do. Some of the first monks and friars might be described that way. But it wasn’t long before both the monastic and mendicant movements were subsumed by the prevailing Christian tendency to undermine the teachings of Jesus … all while still claiming to revere those teachings as utterly divine in nature. 

    It’s impossible to look at Christianity, and Christians, and not have contempt for them. Even within terms of their own religion’s stated foundation — i.e. the content of the Bibles they say they revere, which includes numerous teachings by Jesus which they petulantly and consistently refuse ever to obey — they’ve collectively, and quite obviously, failed to live up to that standard. And they have the nerve to get upset, when called out on what they’ve done. 

  • The Vatican is turning into just another temporal organization playing gotcha politics.

    How sad and how low.

    Put the Dominicans in. These squirrelly little Jesuits have some compensation issues.

    Marxism has clouded the thinking of the jesuit run Vatican.

  • Don’t give up your day job for theology.

    It appears to you to be a game of dissemblance, triangulation and disingenuousness because you began with a priori assumptions and skipped the part where actually learned what they think and why.

  • In this case it’s a Jesuit and his Presbyterian friend.

    I am not sure I would lay this on the Vatican.

  • “The RCC is in a nosedive…”

    Tell it to the tens of millions of people in Africa and China who’ve joined in just the past 20 years.

  • In the inns at the time of Jesus a sable was somewhatn upscale accommodation. Jesus was not poor, nor was he wealthy. Mary’s sister was married to a Temple priest, a minor aristocrat in those days. People in those days married within their class. The wedding feast of Cana indicated that the neighbors were of limited means but not poor. Mary, like many not-poor Galileans of that time, knew how to read Scripture. Jesus knew Scripture too. As Jesus was growing up a luxury Roman city was being built near Nazareth, affording well paid wages to a “builder” (a better translation of the Greek word than carpenter). … The criticism in the article of the Prosperity Gospel is not romanticizing being poor. It is first of about this preaching’s diminishment and even elimination of empathy for and solidarity with the poor. Secondly it is abut pastors enriching themselves by saying that giving monry to them will automatically make the givers prosperous. This preaching makes religion transactional (the art of the deal), material tit for tat) rather than transformational (the gifts and frits of the Holy Spirit).

  • Many early Christian wealthy, on becoming Christian, gave away a large part of their wealth. Two excellent examples are the Sts. Melania, mother and daughter, who both worked hard all their lives to give away their wealth to the poor but both died wealthy because their wealth was so vast and spread throughout the Roman Empire. Giving away such huge wealth was not administratively easy but they were determined to do so.

  • “The Vatican is turning into just another temporal organization playing gotcha politics”

    “turning into”??? Where have you been for the last 1500 years?

  • Yes, because when I want to know what’s going on in the Catholic Church, the first person I turn to is Franklin Graham.

  • Well, you see, doesn’t pointing that out just indicate how much you hate Jesus? I’ve been told that three times in the last week.

  • As I said, WE are responsible for our actions. We make our choices,whether we use the Bible to justify what we are doing, whether sincere or not.

  • Stop hating on the Virgin Birth. That’s a weird fixation. Or is it actually the Baby you’re targeting?

  • But if WE are responsible for our actions, our beliefs, our words, our deeds, then exactly who are WE responsible to?

    The Bible says “God”, but your Atheism says “Nobody.” So according to your religion, WE can do whatever we wanna do (or whatever WE think we can get away with), because ultimately there is no God to hold us accountable one day for our actions, beliefs, words, and deeds. Kewl !!

  • Ourselves and our communities, of course. That you need to be responsible to your invisible friend is your problem, not mine. That was indeed my whole point. Properity gospel is the perfect example. Or you, for that matter. Have you given away all that you have to follow jesus? I sincerely doubt it,

  • “Ourselves and our communities, of course.” Sounds good Ben, except you got that one from MY religion, not YOURS.

    Your religion of Atheism does NOT require that the individual has an inherent responsibility to “ourselves and our communities” for his or her actions, beliefs, words, and deeds. All that “ourselves and our communities” stuff can be inherently derived from God and His Bible, but not inherently from Atheism. You’re just stealing from God’s ethics to prop up an empty Atheism.

    (Since Atheism rejects the all-equalizing image-of-God historical claim, Atheism has NO rational inherent basis to invoke an “ourselves and our communities” gig anyway. What a mess!)

    Remember, as he was about to be executed, Timothy McVeigh chose to invoke Atheism. “It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” That’s the religion of atheism, Ben.

  • Re: “So according to your religion …” 

    There’s your first problem. Atheism is not a “religion.” 

    Re: “… WE can do whatever we wanna do (or whatever WE think we can get away with) …” 

    There’s your second problem. There’s no such thing as a philosophy that says any such thing. Well, wait … maybe there is … it’d be called “sociopathy” or “criminality.” But there are sociopaths and criminals who’re religious as well as some that are atheists, so that’s not really relevant.

    Re: “… because ultimately there is no God to hold us accountable one day for our actions, beliefs, words, and deeds. Kewl !!” 

    You need a deity to hold you accountable for what you do!? You aren’t willing to hold yourself accountable? Or let others hold you accountable for your own conduct? 

    If that’s true, then it’s YOU … and not “atheists” … who espouse a “we can do anything we want, any time we want, to anyone or anything we want, in whatever way we want” philosophy. 

    Just to be clear about who’s really espousing moral and ethical relativity around here … ! 

  • Nonsense, as usual. Atheism doesn’t pretend to provide a sense of ethics and morality. It is your need to set up the straw man that it does so that you can knock it down and pretend you are morally superior. You are not. Responsibility is not something that Christianity teaches, not as long as Jesus will forgive you as many times as you need him to.

    Responsibility is what you can observe by watching human behavior, and it’s effects in the world. Religion cannot make a claim to it any more than it can make a claim to be be the Fount of morality. It is not.

    Im truly sorry for you that you don’t understand what responsibility is actually about. But I don’t have the time to explain it to you.

  • “Vatican-OK’d journal strikes out again at US evangelicals”

    That headline is inaccurate. The Vatican published a piece critical of the so-called prosperity gospel, but in no way is that an attack on evangelicals themselves — unless, of course, you equate the two.

    The prosperity gospel is just a new name for a centuries old rationalization that lets the wealthy off the hook for getting richer at the expense of others. It was nonsense in Jesus’ time and it’s nonsense today. The Gospels couldn’t be clearer that the path to holiness lies in less material wealth, not more.

  • ” A sweeping new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, finds that 69 percent of Latin American adults say they are Catholic, down from an estimated 90 percent for much of the 20th century. The decline appears to have accelerated
    recently….”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/upshot/latin-america-is-losing-its-catholic-identity.html

    ” A new survey by the respected Chilean polling firm Latinobarómetro finds Latin America now to be only 59 per cent Catholic, down from 80 per cent in 1995. ”
    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/january-26th-2018/is-latin-america-still-catholic/

    The ” nones ” are on the ascendancy – ALL OVER THE WORLD

    ” A new report released by the Pew Research Centre has found that the proportion of Latin America that is Catholic has
    dropped 25% since 1970, falling from 92% of the population then to 69% now. Over the same period of time the number of Protestants has grown to 19%, while the number that define themselves as religiously unaffiliated has risen to 8%. ”
    https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/nov/13/number-catholics-latin-america-dropped-25-since-1970

  • I think Jesus was condemning acquisition and hoarding of material wealth as the sole focus of one’s life. Consider: Jesus says the poor will always be with us (Mark 14:7). In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus tells us that when we help people in material and other need, we are helping Jesus himself. We need wealth to help the poor, i.e., people with whom Jesus self-identifies. Elsewhere, Jesus says, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Luke 12:48). In other words, Jesus expects his listeners to be “faithful and prudent steward[s]” of wealth, not to waste it (v. 42). Wealth has a legitimate purpose in God’s plan. Material wealth is part of the larger picture that also includes the poor.

    This episode in Jesus’ life also illustrates metaphorically that we are expected to use our gifts and talents — a different kind of wealth — to give thanks and glory to God from whom all good things come. We are part of the larger picture that also includes others and God. When we love neighbor, we also love God. One cannot love God and not the other (Mt 22:36-40; 1 John 4:20). Love of God and of the other are on the same plane; they are of equal importance.

  • Were you under the impression that Africa and China are filled with people from Latin America, or do you just not read very well?

    “The ” nones ” are on the ascendancy – ALL OVER THE WORLD”

    Actually, while their numbers are increasing almost entirely in Western Europe and the US, the percentage of people who fall into the ‘none’ category is dropping globally.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/07/why-people-with-no-religion-are-projected-to-decline-as-a-share-of-the-worlds-population/

  • Absolutely brilliant. Exactly what I had neither the time nor interest to a moral infant. Thank you.

  • Just in case oyu missed it the first time, the second time, or the third time it was explained to you, here it is again.
    “WE can do whatever we wanna do (or whatever WE think we can get away with) …”

    There’s your second problem. There’s no such thing as a philosophy that says any such thing. Well, wait … maybe there is … it’d be called “sociopathy” or “criminality.” But there are sociopaths and criminals who’re religious as well as some that are atheists, so that’s not really relevant.

    Re: “… because ultimately there is no God to hold us accountable one day for our actions, beliefs, words, and deeds. Kewl !!”

    You need a deity to hold you accountable for what you do!? You aren’t willing to hold yourself accountable? Or let others hold you accountable for your own conduct?

    If that’s true, then it’s YOU … and not “atheists” … who espouse a “we can do anything we want, any time we want, to anyone or anything we want, in whatever way we want” philosophy.

    Just to be clear about who’s really espousing moral and ethical relativity around here … !

  • I just quoted you again to dear Floyd, since he is not responsible for understanding what he doesn’t have any interest in understanding.

  • BTW, I’m still waiting to find out if you gave away all that you have to follow jesus? Ort is that yet another passage in your book of morals that is inconvenient, and so clearly doesn’t mean what it clearly says, and must mean something lese entirely.
    Moral relativism? Only self-service is available at the Morality Cafeteria,.

  • Oh..it used to have a handle on the many errors of Modernism (not modernism), which is used as a cover by Modernism), but no longer.

    No it’s promoting the very errors identified in these documents, which haven’t been on your reading list.

    Mirari Vos
    Quanta Cura
    Diuturnum Mud
    Libertas Praestantissimum
    Rerum Novarum
    Graves de Communi Re
    Lainentabili Sane
    Pascendi Dominici Gregis
    On the Sillon
    Quas Primas
    Mortalium Animos
    Divini Redemptoris
    Humani Generic

  • The little beady-eyed jesuit is not freelancing…he’s been given instructions to make things messy.

  • His making things messy has been tolerated.

    There are some differences of opinion as to what goes on behind the scenes.

  • Your making things messy is only tolerated by RNS because they’re too lazy to moderate their forums.

  • FYI, I’ve been told thousands of times over the last 25 years or so that I “hate Jesus.” That’s a lie. I simply despise what his followers have done, in his name. If he existed and taught the things they say he taught, he cannot possibly be happy with them.

    Those folk need to stick crowbars into the Bibles they long ago slammed shut and read the warning their Jesus left, in Matthew 7:21-23.

  • Oh we are in agreement about all of that. one need only read the fecal bleating certain posters on these very pages to come to that conclusion.

    In Fact, here comes my personal stalker in 3…2..1….

  • ” But there are sociopaths…who’re religious…” I cannot cite my source, but I recall once reading that many of America’s most successful corporate leaders have been sociopaths (this term is a social-psychological one, not a clinical one). They don’t necessarily come across as ruthless or otherwise dangerous. They don’t rape, murder, etc. their way to the top. I’m convinced that our current POTUS is a sociopath.

  • I don’t blame you for doing an emergency switch-over to Psi-Cop’s channel, given what I specifically replied concerning the “ourselves and our communities” line. There is NO atheist defense against that reply, as you’ve discovered today.

    So I will compose a specific reply to Psi-Cop’s post (including Psi’s first argument which you’ve oddly omitted from the cut-n-paste), soon.

  • Well, Ben wants me to address **your** post, since he temporarily ran outta gas (due to the irreparable holes that got poked in his gas tank below.) So let’s begin. (Part One)

    “There’s your first problem. Atheism is not a ‘religion.'”

    Really? The late evolutionist Dr. Ernst Mayr, says you’re wrong.
    All of the atheists I know are highly religious; it just doesn’t mean believing in the Bible or God. Religion is the basic belief system of the person. Mankind wants the answers to all unanswerable questions.” — (2003 interview, The Scientist magazine)

    Nice and simple, no fluff. Atheism IS a religion. You deny that God exists without providing ANY rational warrant for your specific denial, and THEN, on blind faith, you act out that unsupported belief by substituting yourself as the object of worship, the Final Authority for the core questions of your life. You become a “DIY god”, don’t you? Welcome to Atheism.

    Remember what Timothy McVeigh preached on Execution Day? “It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” That’s the religion of Atheism talking, folks. Better not listen.

  • Okay, Part Two.
    (Replying to: “… WE can do whatever we wanna do (or whatever WE think we can get away with.” )
    There’s your second problem. There’s no such thing as a philosophy that says any such thing.”

    Your problem is that Atheism has NO rational inherent human basis for anything other than, “WE can do whatever we wanna do, whatever WE think we can get away with.” Atheism is totally empty, doesn’t have any inherent human ethics, boundaries or morals to offer.

    Which is why the religion of Atheism actually steals whatever community ethics or morals it can get from **theism.** You atheists believe in “Love Thy Neighbor”, right? Well, you STOLE that from Jesus because it’s totally not inherent to Atheism. (You thieving varmints!! )

    You treat all races fairly? Well that’s not because of atheism. Atheism doesn’t require any such ethic, and Darwin said the races evolved at different rates anyway — whites fastest and highest, blacks barely above the gorilla. So there’s no reality-based need for fairness, if God doesn’t exist and didn’t create humans inherently equal. But you were raised by THEISTS, or at least went to school, church or camp with THEISTS, and you were influenced by theists you could trust, to adopt the ethic of racial fairness. In spite of your atheism, which offers you nothing!

  • No, the Vatican did not publish a piece critical of the so-called prosperity Gospel.

    The Jesuits did.

  • If there are two organizations that can be counted on to be completely unreliable, they are the Pew Research Center and Public Religion Research Institute.

    They are agenda-driven, consistently make the statistical mistake of drawing trend lines into the future, and rig their questionnaires to solicit the responses they are looking for.

    The Catholic numbers based on actual census do NOT tally with the Pew numbers based on a tiny poll projected worldwide.

  • You’ve been completely unable to articulate a moral philosophy over the months I have been reading you.

    Yes, you’re the one espousing moral and ethical relativity.

    You know what you like, you know what you want, nothing more.

  • Re: “Really? The late evolutionist Dr. Ernst Mayr, says you’re wrong.” 

    Really? That’s all you’ve got? One guy who says atheism is a religion? Heh heh heh heh … one man’s opinions isn’t evidence of anything. In truth and in fact, atheism is not a religion and never will be. No matter how often you, or Mayr, or anyone insists it is one. You can either be mature enough to accept that fact, or reject it in juvenile fashion … the choice is yours. 

    Re: “Atheism IS a religion.” 

    No it’s not. Repeating falsehoods in the hope they’ll magically come true is irrational (and logicians refer to it as argumentum ad nauseam. Grow up and stop it already. 

    Re: “You deny that God exists without providing ANY rational warrant for your specific denial …” 

    Hold your horses dude. First, I’m not an atheist, so I don’t “deny that God exists.” I’m an agnostic; here’s what that means. Second, lots of atheists have, in fact, explained why they deny the existence of a deity. For you to say they never have, is a lie … and that’s beneath even you. 

    Re: “… and THEN, on blind faith alone, you act out that unsupported denial by substituting yourself as the object of worship …” 

    People who worship themselves are called “narcissists,” not “atheists,” and a lot of them are religious, so your argument here (if one can call it that) falls apart. Try again. This time, with logic and not with rash, infantile accusations. 

    Re: “Remember what Timothy McVeigh preached on Execution Day?” 

    What does he have to do with this? Oh wait, you’re going to claim he was an atheist, therefore everything he said and did is exactly what all atheists are required to do. Right? Well … wrong! If that were true, it’d be a disaster for the country; atheists in the US number in the millions, ergo, if they were all murdering, bombing terrorists, blasts would be going on day and night and the casualties to date would be incalculable. 

    Try again, this time (as I said) with logic, not wild, childish fantasies. The grown-ups around here would appreciate it, little Floyd. Thank you. 

  • Re: “Atheism is totally empty, doesn’t have any inherent human ethics, boundaries or morals to offer.” 

    That’s true. Atheism is not a collection of morals or ethics. It’s also, therefore, rather clearly NOT an amoral philosophy or anti-ethical. As for it being “empty,” many atheists would disagree. But then, of course, YOU know SO MUCH MORE about atheism than any atheist possibly could … right? 

    Re: “You atheists believe in ‘Love Thy Neighbor’, right? Well, you STOLE that from Jesus because it’s totally not inherent to Atheism.” 

    As I told you, I’m not an atheist. So even by your own standards, I have “stolen” nothing. As for who stole from Jesus, consider that he stole some of his teachings from others before him. One of them is “the Golden Rule” or “Ethic of Reciprocity,” or “do unto others as you’d have done unto you.” That was expressed in lots of other places, long before Jesus ever reportedly said it (sometimes in the negative, i.e. “do not do unto others as you wouldn’t have done unto you”). It was found in ancient Egypt, India, China, and many other places. So go take your bellyaching about “theft” to someone who cares. 

    Re: “You treat all races fairly? Well that’s not because of atheism.” 

    Religious folk aren’t necessarily keen on “treating all races fairly.” That includes somes Christians especially, and more importantly historically. Ever heard of the “Curse of Ham”? It’s a supposedly Biblical doctrine that Christians conjured up centuries ago, to justify (among other things) black slavery. It’s been used to rationalize any number of atrocities. So don’t stand on your Christianist soapbox and accuse atheists of racism — which, really, is what you’re doing here, by implication — when your own religion’s track record in that regard is far less than stellar. 

    Re: “But you were raised by THEISTS, or at least went to school, church or camp with THEISTS, and you were influenced by theists you could trust, to adopt the ethic of racial fairness.” 

    … says a guy who’s part of a religious tradition that led, among other things, to the raging racism and white supremacy of Christian Identity

    Note, I am not saying you are a racist, believer in “the Curse of Ham,” or member of Christian Identity. What I am saying is that your implication that your religionism inoculates you against hatemongering, and overt statement that atheists have no such protection, are both false. The history of your own Christianity is evidence of that. 

    For you to pronounce yourself morally superior on the basis of a religion which has, in fact, shown itself capable of more than just a little immorality, and then accuse atheists of being amoral, is hypocrisy of the highest order. You do know, I hope, that your own Jesus explicitly and unambiguously forbid you ever to be hypocritical … right? Well, I suggest you stop, or else you may hear the words he’d predicted he’d say to some, in Mt 7:23

  • Re: “I’m convinced that our current POTUS is a sociopath.” 

    I would agree with that, if I had any confidence he even knew what he was doing. At this point, though, I can’t be sure of that. He shoots his mouth off like a dolt far too often for me to be certain he’s actually plotted out what he’s up to. 

  • This is the religion of Christianity talking: “It matters not how straight you are, you will never be straight enough to please God.” Better not listen.

  • Christianity rejects the all-equalizing image-of-God historical claim, by demonizing LGBT+ people.

  • Why is there so much time and money wasted on religion when the Great Kibosh is there vitiating all of it?

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  • There’s nothing “fair-minded” about Christians who have a beef with gay marriage.

  • Dear, dear mouth of bob.

    As you know, I don’t usually read your comments. I see your name and my eyes glaze over. I bother to comment on them even less than that. That seems to enrage you, which is a good thing. But I do have to engage you once in a while, just to keep you coming at me.

    Within the limits of your reason, you are reasonably smart, just not as smart as you think you are. As usual with you— far more than not— your three modes of argument are “Nyuh-unnnh”, “what about….” and “you’re a big poopy head.” You hit the trifecta here. But that’s ok. It’s what I expect. It’s not productive to engage with you, and so I don’t.

    Your question was answered when you posed it, but you simply either didn’t understand it, and definitely, were not interested in the answer. You’re not interested in anyone’s answers unless they agree with you. Good for you.

    You,re no different than what you allege me to be, dear. You prefer to believe your Bible is true, just as you prefer to believe that you understand it, and prefer to believe you are your god’s enforcer.

    You know what you like and you know what you want. Nothing more.

    You have a nice day, dear.

  • Now look at this mess, Psi-Cop. Ben is looking for YOU to save his atheism from getting microwaved, yet you yourself refuse to adopt Atheism for some reason? One wonders what such reason(s) happen to be!!

    (At this rate, Atheism will become 3 shades past Pitiful by the end of the day, folks.)

    Anyway, let me first keep my promise to reply to your third point, and then we’ll see.

  • No I’m not. I simply don’t choose to argue the same point with you pointlessly, over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. PSiCop said it very well, I quoted him becuase I do have other things to do besides replying to you over and over and over and over and over and over.

  • Re: “Now look at this mess, Psi-Cop.” 

    I have. You created it, by lying about atheism — solely because you’re too infantile to deal with its existence. 

    Re: “Ben is looking for YOU to save his Atheism from getting microwaved …” 

    You haven’t “microwaved” anything, little Floyd. Not even close! 

    Re: “… yet you yourself refuse to adopt Atheism for some rational reason or reasons.” 

    You should note, I also utterly refuse to adopt your religionism … also for rational reasons (several of them, if truth be told). So grow up and stop trumpeting like you’ve “won” or something. You haven’t. As I said, you haven’t even come close! 

    Re: “Anyway, let me first keep my promise to reply to your third point, and then we’ll see about things.” 

    Remember … whatever dreck you cook up has to be logical and rational. That means you can’t employ any of your fallacies, rash assumptions, childish theistic fantasies, or out-&-out lies. 

  • Re: “BTW, I’m still waiting to find out if you gave away all that you have to follow jesus?” 

    Wait … you actually expect Christians to behave in the ways Jesus taught them to behave!? Huh!? How dare you! Why, the insolence of that is downright distasteful! Don’t you realize that Christians are free to cherry-pick through their Bibles and their doctrines and choose which bits to follow and which to ignore? Why would you deprive them of their freedom to do so? They have a God-given right, dammit, to act like “cafeteria Christians” and brazen hypocrites! 

    </sarcasm>

  • Now let’s look at Item #3. With Atheism, I wrote, “ultimately there is no God to hold us accountable one day for our actions, beliefs, words, and deeds”. This is why Atheism really says, “WE (humans) can do whatever we wanna do (or whatever WE think we can get away with).” Ben thus has to borrow ethics from Theism, ’cause his Atheism got nothing.

    You replied, “You need a deity to hold you accountable for what you do!? You aren’t willing to hold yourself accountable? Or let others hold you accountable for your own conduct?”

    But your reply is already refuted. First (and obvious), you clearly did NOT deny what I wrote. In fact, your reply totally assumed that what I said about “ultimately no God to hold us accountable” is true. Instead of denying what I wrote, you immediately jumped into trying to provide an atheism-friendly **justification** for what I wrote. Sheesh.

    Second, you in fact DO need a deity to hold you accountable. Psi-Cop uses an immaterial moral conscience to practice self-accountability, but who installed that invisible accountability barometer? Certainly wasn’t you yourself, and it wasn’t the materialistic, mindless theory of evolution. Romans 2:15 says it was God. So you need Him after all.

    But the Bible also says that you and I have NO clue how far down the corruption hole we’re capable of jumping (Jer. 17:9). Because of sin, our hearts are EXCEEDING deceitful, it says. You mistakenly think you don’t need God to keep you ethical & accountable every day, (and that mistake is what the atheists preach, isn’t it!), but that’s all wrong. The grace and providence of the Lord, (not you, not me, not Ben), is the ONLY reason why Lester Holt and “NBC Dateline” aren’t doing a National-Crime-Show-Special on all three of us today. God gives you what Atheism (and agnosticism) will never give you.

  • By the way, Charlotte — The last time we talked about it, (quite recently), it turned out that YOU were not an atheist either. In fact one of the two religions you self-identify with, is clearly open to the existence of deities.

    So talk to me. How come YOU ain’t no atheist? (Any and all reasons for rejecting atheism are welcome!)

  • I think Trump is a combination of ignorance and cunning. I don’t know which facet predominates.

  • I got into Buddhist meditation in college, and still practice to this day. It’s really changed my perspective.

  • Pay no attention to Ben in Oakland he is absolutely immoral. He has the audacity to defend a sexual predator and pedophile on another Disqus site who among other things kept a boy locked in his hotel room for days while he was drugging and raping him. He is actually asserting that this man’s victims were “trying to find their true nature” and “searching for the right man”.

  • Although I can find away around a Bible, the Constitution, and court cases, I have never cited the Bible to you on any position whatsoever.

    That scratches “You prefer to believe your Bible is true” from the discussion.

    I can provide cogent rational arguments from natural law and the nation’s founding and ruling documents in support of my positions.

    You’re stalled and have been for months with trying to provide a basis for your alleged “minority rights”.

    That leaves with “Nyuh-unnnh”, “what about….” and “you’re a big poopy head”, which is where you were when I last hear from you.

    So much for Ben in Oakland as a force to reckon with.

  • Then you should really block me so that you don’t have to. If your ego will allow it.

  • As the primary proponent of your particular viewpoint, your posts are excellent for pointing out the various errors your side of most arguments contain logically and factually.

    If you never read another one of my responses my life would go on serenely and unaffected.

  • This posting gig IS time-consuming, yes. (If I didn’t think it was important, I’d punt just like you.)

    Meanwhile, I’m sorry you don’t have the time to support and defend your atheism. But you gotta admit, it looks VERY awkward when you try to hand off the baton to somebody who rationally rejects Atheism in their own life. Gotta watch that stuff, Ben.

    Not to mention the fact that Science, Scripture, and Logic 101 have all made Mincemeat Roadkill out of Atheism. Atheism’s only value to humanity, honestly, is Target Practice.

  • Have you ever microwaved a Chicken Drumstick past the Point of No Return? Yes you have? Not a pretty picture, hmm?

    Then you already know how Atheism looks now that we’ve discussed it a little in this thread. Looks worse than a Drumstick zapped overtime in a 2200-Watt. All burnt up to a Fare-Thee-Well !!

    (By the way, you win the “Lost Cause Award” for trying to defend the indefensible. Congrats!)

  • Re: “Then you already know how Atheism looks now that we’ve discussed it a little in this thread.” 

    Some of us have “discussed atheism in this thread,” but you, little Floyd, have not. You have no idea what it is — and you’re so petrified of it that you’re literally incapable of ever understanding it. Instead, what you do is to lie about it all over the place.

    Re: “(By the way, you win the ‘Lost Cause Award’ for trying to defend the indefensible. Congrats!)”  

    The only “cause” here that’s “lost” is your own militant Christianism. You lost the moment you felt the infantile compulsion to lie about atheism in order to make yourself feel better about being a Christianist. The moment you have to lie about stuff solely to fend off your own childish insecurities, is the very moment you lost. You lost your argument … not that you really presented one (you wouldn’t know what an argument is if it smashed you in the face) … and your credibility in one fell swoop. 

    You’re the kind of contemptible, immature sniveler I’ve come to expect of all militant religionists. You, little Floyd, have unwittingly proven why I’m absolutely correct to be a non-believer. You’re one of the reasons I’m proud to call myself an ex-Christian. 

    Thank you. And QED. 

  • This one is easy. In Luke 18:22, Jesus talks to the rich young ruler. Jesus tells HIM to sell everything he has and give it to the poor. But did Jesus tell EVERYBODY the same thing? Nope.

    Matt. 8:14 says that Jesus’ disciple Peter owned a house. Jesus even visited this house. But did Jesus tell Peter to sell his house and give the money to the poor? Nope.
    In Matt. 26:6-9, the disciples are all angry because a woman is pouring super-expensive perfume from an alabaster jar, upon Jesus’ head. “Should have sold it and given the money to the poor,” they piously whined, whereupon Jesus verbally zaps them right in front of the woman.

    So there you go Ben. Your attempt to preach that Luke 18:22 is binding on all Christians, has already been refuted from Scripture itself. Try a new sermon?

  • On the “give away all you have” issue, Ben is needing your emergency help again, Psi-Cop.

    See my post above. You may want to hurry; I don’t think Ben will be able to handle this one either.

  • As always with you, when you don’t want your bible to apply to you, it doesn’t. Divorce? easy-peasy . Just ask someone else. Riches? He he didn’t say I couldn’t. No mention of anything remotely approaching homosexuality? Why it’s covered everywhere else. Judge not? Of course I can.

  • I’m not getting into any other discussions with you, little Floyd. In fact, you know nothing about atheism. You need to grow up, accept this reality, and stop lying about it all over the place. 

    Or … do you actually think your Jesus needs you to lie for him, in his name? If so, how can he be worthy of your worship? A deity who needs his/her/its followers to lie for him, ought to be condemned in every possible way, and thwarted at every opportunity. 

  • We are all born Atheists.

    Religion is a prison where children are sent to do Penance for their parents.

  • Of course that means you can’t employ any of your fallacies, rash assumptions, childish atheistic fantasies, or out-&-out lies as well.

  • And you’re the kind of contemptible immature sniveler we’ve come to expect of all militant atheists.

  • Also no mention of genocide, fornication, incest, bestality, stomping babies, or grand theft camel.

    Wow, if you’re right – Katie bar the door!

  • Bobose Arnzen Carioca, you l​ying, snivelling, and bigoted old hypocrite, your own posts are all fallacy and childish religious fantasy, all the time.

  • Says Bobose, a habitual li​ar and paid shill for the now frantic evangelicals who are dying out fast.

    Fu​ck off and die soon please, Bob.

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