Columns Doctrine & Practice Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Opinion

Francis Derangement Syndrome (FDS)

Pope Francis looks up at a statue of the Virgin Mary on the occasion of the Immaculate Conception feast in Rome, on Dec. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

(RNS) — FDS proceeds apace on the Catholic right.

It’s not easy to take issue with Pope Francis for advocating on behalf of poor folks and immigrants, for criticizing unfettered capitalism and urging protection of the planet. His predecessors have been doing those things for a while, if not always so urgently.

Hence the conservative obsession with his decision to allow divorced and remarried Catholics (under certain circumstances) to take Communion. This doctrinal shift has, for those suffering from Francis Derangement Syndrome, acquired the status of  heresy — because it effectively sanctions divorce, opposition to which they’ve now elevated into a virtual article of Catholic — no, Christian — faith.

Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s Richard Rex, professor of Reformation history at the University of Cambridge, writing in First Things:

If, however, the Catholic Church were indeed to abandon or reverse the almost total opposition to divorce that it has maintained across two millennia, then its claim to be the privileged vehicle of divine revelation on moral issues would be, quite simply, shattered. The position of the Church on the indissolubility of marriage is among the most consistent of its traditions. Its scriptural basis is, frankly, stronger than that for the doctrine of the Trinity, for the observance of Sunday as the day of rest, or for the real presence in the Eucharist. To all intents and purposes, it is a mark of the Church. Nor should this claim be theologically surprising. Marriage, as Paul taught, symbolizes the union of Christ and his Church (Eph. 5:31–32). For Christians, the indissolubility of marriage is integral to its symbolic — that is, its sacramental — place in the economy of salvation. If it is terminable, then it can no longer symbolize that perfect union between the head and the body of Christ.

As Rex is doubtless aware, Eastern Orthodoxy is prepared to sanction not one but two divorces per Orthodox Christian. Under the theological principle of economia — developed, as it happens, by the same Cappadocian fathers recognized as saints by the Catholic Church — the Orthodox recognize that in this fallen world it’s sometimes necessary for people to do sinful things (like go to war).

In other words, there’s a difference of opinion between the Catholics and the Orthodox when it comes to divorce. And maybe, from the conservative Catholic point of view, the Orthodox are therefore barred from being a privileged vehicle of divine revelation on moral issues.

But if the “almost total” opposition to divorce were such a big thing, you figure that it would be a major bone of contention when it comes to mending the millennium-old schism between those two ancient branches of Christianity. And it isn’t.

The major bones are papal sovereignty over the church and that pesky creedal filioque. (Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The Orthodox believe the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone.) Otherwise, the differences are minor: the date of Easter, three-dimensional icons (statues), the nature of the bread used in Communion, and (yes) divorce.

Can an outsider like me be forgiven for thinking that Francis’ new rule for the divorced and remarried has become a pretext for those opposed to the rest of his agenda? I hope so.

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

140 Comments

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  • Pretty funny stuff. Once again, the death and resurrection of Jesus take second place to “do what you’re told.”

    “For Christians, the indissolubility of marriage is integral to its symbolic — that is, its sacramental — place in the economy of salvation. If it is terminable, then it can no longer symbolize that perfect union between the head and the body of Christ.…

    That barn departed from the horse centuries ago. But for something more recent, there is always Anita Bryant, who claimed her divorce from her first husband was against everything she believed. Well…

    Almost.

  • And then we have Kentucky’s Kim Davis, the daughter of lifelong Catholic parents, who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because they are — in her opinion — violating God’s holy law:

    “Davis has been married four times to three different men. The first three marriages ended in divorce in 1994, 2006, and 2008. Davis has two daughters from her first marriage and twins, a son and another daughter, who were born five months after her divorce from her first husband. Her third husband is the biological father of the twins who were adopted by her second husband, Joe Davis, who is also her fourth and current husband…” (Wikipedia).

    Lordy be, A’hm gettin’ dizzy already!

  • You don’t have to worry. About it. Jesus forgives her all of that fornicatin’, adulteratin’, and and divorcicatin’.

    She said so, and no Christian would ever use a Jesus-gets-me-out-of-jail-free card, now, would e?.

  • Re: “If, however, the Catholic Church were indeed to abandon or reverse the almost total opposition to divorce that it has maintained across two millennia, then its claim to be the privileged vehicle of divine revelation on moral issues would be, quite simply, shattered. The position of the Church on the indissolubility of marriage is among the most consistent of its traditions.”  

    This is a truly stunning example of circular reasoning. Paraphrased: “The Church can’t change its mind about anything because its authority is predicated on it never changing its mind on anything, therefore if the Church changes its mind about something, its authority will be totally wiped out forever and ever and ever and ever and ever.”  

    I can’t think of a more idiotic assumption to make. And I say that with all due respect to the Church. Its changelessness should never matter one iota (to use a Biblicalism). That is, if the Church possesses any spiritual authority, then it possesses it — without regard to whether or not it’s ever changed its mind about anything. It ought to be able to change its mind on things, and not lose its authority … because if it has any authority, then by definition it must possess the authority to change its mind, in addition to anything else it might choose to do.  

    It’s more like, the Church fears changing one thing, because then, anything else might also change. That, of course, is the slippery slope fallacy at play … but no one appears to be able to think of that. It’s sort of like how the Church refuses to just get rid of pedophilic priests, because if it admits there is anything a priest might be able to do that invalidates his ordination, that would contradict the position the Church took in in the Donatist controversy during the 4th century (which is that nothing a priest does — even, at the time, hand his sacred texts over to Roman prosecutors to be burned — invalidated his ordination). So, they persist with the notion that all priests, even those who abuse children, must be retained.  

    Yes, the Church still operates with an eye toward how it reacted to a 4th century ecclesiastical schism. Really!  

    Put bluntly, this whole realm of thinking is so absurd and irrational as to be laughable … if not for the fact that one of the largest, wealthiest, and most influential institutions in the world operates on that basis.  

  • In Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11 and Luke 16:18, Jesus said those who divorce and remarry are committing adultery.
    Pope Francis called those who defend this position as having “legalism,” “closed hearts,”“blinkered viewpoints,” judging “sometimes with superiority and superficiality,” lacking “understanding,” unable to “discern,” cowardice in “burying their heads in the sand,’ “a nasty spirit in order to sow division,” and psychologically “born from something missing, from trying to hide one’s own sad dissatisfaction behind a kind of armor.” He warns that they are a “cancer of the Church” in pursuit of glory rooted in “the logic of ambition and power.”
    Of course, Mr. Silk omitted this information.

  • I agree that the biggest problem churches face is their inability to change and adapt as society and people grow and progress.

    BUT unfortunately, laughable and ridiculous as it is, one of the foundation stones of the Catholic Church is built into the doctrine of infallibility. It holds up everything else. It is part of the problem with the priest sex scandals–becoming a priest, changed the man and he can sin no more. Admitting that a priest has sinned undermines that whole doctrine. Becoming a Christian–the same concept, it fundamentally changes the person so they can sin no more. Popes can’t make mistakes, because everything they say comes from God and God is perfect and infallible.

    If this Pope reverses an earlier Popes declaration (read revelation from God), he will be destroying the entire foundation the church is built upon.

    This doctrine of infallibility has literally put all Popes between that proverbial rock and a hard place, or painted them into a corner without anyway out!

  • I’m told the Orthodox make the point that in a marriage “the two shall be come one” and that “until death do us part” refers to the death of that “one”, i.e., the marriage. So a divorce decree is the death certificate issued after an autopsy. The parties, now separate, are single again, so a second marriage is permissible for either of them and it is not adultery. And without a charge of ongoing adultery there would be no excommunication. Divorce is necessary, as Jesus said, because people sin by killing their marriages, and dead marriages need to be buried. There is a certain sensibleness to this view. Catholic clergy would better understand this if they, like the Orthodox clergy, were allowed to marry .

  • You can’t be a priest without a vocation, a literal “calling” from god. So god calls men to the priesthood that he knows will be child molesters. The church will not ordain a man without a genuine calling or vocation.

    In this sense, you’re right. The belief that the church represents the word of god is simply the word of men who wish to represent god. Or that god is a monster.

    Take your pick.

  • Re: “BUT unfortunately, laughable and ridiculous as it is, one of the foundation stones of the Catholic Church is built into the doctrine of infallibility. It holds up everything else.”  

    This is true only because the Church, its hierarchy, clergy, and laity keep saying it, over and over and over again. In truth, though, there’s literally no logical reason an “infallible” Church cannot change something, if it decides to do so. To repeat, if the Church does truly have spiritual authority to decide things, then it has the authority to decide them — and that must (by definition) include the authority to change stuff, as needed.  

    Re: “If this Pope reverses an earlier Popes declaration (read revelation from God), he will be destroying the entire foundation the church is built upon.”  

    As I’ve said, this fear of “breaking precedent” is also irrational and illogical, if not downright counter-productive. Enslaving oneself to previous Popes effectively reduces the authority the incumbent Pope has, at any given moment. In fact, over time, this authority will diminish relentlessly. Think about this: There have been around 280 Popes. If this principle is correct, each is absolutely bound by the decisions of all his predecessors. The next Pope will then be bound by the decisions of 281 Popes, the one after by 282, and on it will go.  

    If enough time goes by, no Pope will be able to do anything at all, and the office may as well disappear, since, eventually, no further decisions will ever be possible.  

    Really, this is a pretty primitive, if not childish, view of how leadership works. Any leader — of a country or of a religion — has to have full decision-making power; otherwise, s/he can’t ever be much of a leader. It’s fine to honor precedent, but that’s what they should be treated like: Precedents. Not straitjackets.  

    Re: “This doctrine of infallibility has literally put all Popes between that proverbial rock and a hard place, or painted them into a corner without anyway out!”  

    I agree. I can’t figure why an institution would predicate its authority on such a foundation. It’s inevitably self-defeating. What’s more … there’s no rational basis for it. None at all.  

  • “You can’t be a priest without a vocation, a literal ‘calling’ from god.”

    Usually it arrives via FedEx. That way you have to sign for it.

    For those who actually can tie their theological shoelaces, in Catholic theology every person is called to a vocation. Trying to figure out what is called “discernment”.

    While that Church assists the potential priest in this “discernment”, sometimes as with all human endeavors it misfires. That’s why there is a provision for laicization.

    So the notion that “So god calls men to the priesthood that he knows will be child molesters.” is simply ignorant anti-religious twaddle, and “The church will not ordain a man without a genuine calling or vocation.” is simply ignorant as is “The belief that the church represents the word of god is simply the word of men who wish to represent god. Or that god is a monster.”

    As usual.

  • I think you’ve figured out how to increase your personal odds of success.

    Rather than then set the bar high like, say, the Christians do set the bar as law as possible by becoming an atheist. That way no one can nick you for fornicatin’, adulteratin’, divorcicatin’ or your personal favorite – nekkid leapfroggin’.

    Then all you have to is hold yourself out as non-hypocritical, and therefore superior, by neither praying nor attending any form of religious service, and you’re an A-1 super atheist who exceeds every expectation, as modest as those expectations might be.

    Yes, let those Christians, Muslims, and Jews contribute to the Red Cross, Red Crescent, and Red Crystal – suckers – you’re way way ahead of them in the make-myself-feel-superior sweepstakes.

  • How would the Catholic clergy “better understand this”?

    I understand what radiation sickness is, but I’ve never been irradiated.

  • No. I was raised Catholic, in a devout Catholic family, and also studied medieval history in college. So I understand the R.C. Church very well. As a result, I’m proud to be a Catholic apostate, and won’t ever be going back.  

  • If you want antireligious twaddle, I would suggest you re-read Strobel’s comments in this article, wherein he dismisses every religious tradition but his own.

    I just believe in one less religion than he does.

    Or you do.

  • “If it is terminable, then it can no longer symbolize that perfect union between the head and the body of Christ.”

    It is a metaphor, not the actual thing itself. Oh, how much has the interpretation of the Bible and the faith taken metaphors, parables, and part told stories and decided an absolute derives from the limited concepts we can derive?

    We are tied in knots by the fear of contradicting an old understanding, by this idea that any human can adequately express the infinite. We are tied to old ways of viewing the world, old philosophies, old power paradigms by this thinking that they were God’s design and not the best humans could do at the time.

    Yes, if the Church changes its mind on divorce, there will be a loss of trust by some. But there will also be a real opportunity for the church to become a voice of reality, of the Spirit in the present, of individuals learning to be responsible in seeking God’s will rather than depending on guru’s, shamen, and, yes, priests and bishops. It is time to move past childlike dependence on understanding and rules made under the limits of knowledge and cultures of the past and renew our understanding based on the reality of life today.

    And, we need to be prepared to understand that what we come up with will never be a final, ultimate, utter truth. We are not God and neither was Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, any pope, any theologian. All are fallible. The Spirit may inspire, but what we get is what the human receiving that inspiration can make of the whispers of the spirit, filtered through that humans limits of knowledge, experience, language, and culture.

    A little humility is needed here, even in considering the words of those we acknowledge as holy and great. They are also only human.

  • Yes, things like the the saeculum obscurum; the synodus horrenda; the endless debates over trivia like whether Jesus owned his own clothes or the number of angels that can dance on a pinhead; the absurdity which is Anselm’s ontological argument; the siege of Béziers; the propounding of Unam sanctam; the Great Western Schism; the missionary bishops who accompanied the conquistadores in the New World … all of those, and MANY more I could name but won’t bother to … are all tremendous object lessons on the wonders and virtues of the Roman Catholic Church. Yep. No doubt!  

  • “It is a metaphor, not the actual thing itself.”

    Actually he is not describing a metaphor, he’s describing an icon, a mystery.

    The source is Ephesians 5:21-32.

    He appears to be “tied in knots by the fear of contradicting” a divine command and the Scriptures themselves rather than “an old understanding”.

    “Yes, if the Church changes its mind on divorce, there will be a loss of trust by some.”

    Yes, and there will a conclusion that this particular pontiff is no longer teaching the Catholic Faith, since the indissolubility of marriage is considered “de fide”.

    I am not sure why at that point why one would not consider going elsewhere where the living is easier.

    “It is time to move past childlike dependence on understanding and rules made under the limits of knowledge and cultures of the past and renew our understanding based on the reality of life today.”

    Most people do that every day. They go to work.

    If Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, and Paul were fallible, folks are wasting a heap of paper and ink and have for almost 2,000 years.

  • You need not recap your reasons – I could care less.

    History is viewpoint, not answers, and most certainly not theology.

    Johann Joseph Ignaz von Döllinger provides a good example of how confusing the two leads to trouble, as does the late John T. Noonan Jr..

  • Re: “You need not recap your reasons – I could care less.”  

    And I couldn’t care less that YOU don’t care. In fact, your contempt (as a militant Christianist and Catholic) for what I said only further convinces me I’m correct. The more you snivel and whine, the more you confirm everything I say.  

    Re: “History is viewpoint, not answers, and most certainly not theology.”  

    You’re just saying that so you can take your precious Church off the hook for everything it’s done. Too bad so sad, it doesn’t work that way. History IS “answers,” even if you say it’s not, and it reveals a lot. In particular, it reveals the character of the Church and of those who staffed it. Their reprehensible nature can’t be hidden.  

    Why don’t you go do what Pope Stephen VI did and put a dead man on trial? Go right ahead. If it was good enough for him, it’d have to be good enough for you. Because your precious holy Church never changes … right?  

  • “And I couldn’t care less that YOU don’t care.”

    If that were the case you wouldn’t be entertaining us with a long (as usual) rant.

    As to “as a militant Christianist and Catholic”, you have zero clue about me, my beliefs, or my background.

    “The more you snivel and whine, the more you confirm” your basic insecurity in your silly nihilism.

    “‘History is viewpoint, not answers, and most certainly not theology.’”

    “You’re just saying that so you can take your precious Church off the hook for everything it’s done.”

    Actually I am saying it because it’s true.

    Reality is infinitely complex, and only the very smallest bit of it is recorded, and invariably recorded by victors or by controversialists. Every nutcase, Marx, Hitler, you name it claimed to be vindicated by “history”.

    History IS NOT “answers”, and if you say it is, that reveals a lot.

    History is data, and in particular partial data.

    In this case you use it to make yourself feel about about personal conclusions as to the character of the Church and of those who staffed it. If you were as confident in them as you claim, we wouldn’t be hearing you vent about them on a regular basis in your overheated – nearly hysterical – rhetoric.

    It is no surprise that good and evil intermingle. The Scriptures never attempted to, for example, hide Judas’ reprehensible nature.

  • A bit of a snark. First hand experience of two becoming “one” and then the struggle to keep that one alive, might give Catholic some sympathy for those who have experienced the death of their marriage. And along with experience and sympathy they might find themselves more ready to see things the way the Orthodox do.

  • There is zero snark.

    I’ve dealt with celibate clergy and found nor more or less sympathy for those who have experienced the death of their marriage than among their non-celibate cousins.

    And, since the indissolubility of marriage is a core doctrinal belief of the Catholic Church on marriage, why in particular would seeing things the way the Orthodox do be of benefit?

  • http://www.thyateira.org.uk/divorces/

    An ecclesiastical divorce MAY be granted after a civil decree has been issued.

    The party seeking the ecclesiastical divorce petitions the Ecclesiastical Court stating the grounds.

    Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia:

    “The Orthodox Church permits divorce and remarriage, quoting as its authority the text of Matthew 19:9, where Our Lord says: ‘If a man divorces his wife, for any cause other than unchastity, and marries another, he commits adultery.’ Since Christ allowed an exception to His general ruling about the indissolubility of marriage, the Orthodox Church also is willing to allow an exception. Certainly Orthodoxy regards the marriage bond as in principle lifelong and indissoluble, and it condemns the breakdown of marriage as a sin and an evil. But while condemning the sin, the Church still desires to help the sinners and to allow them a second chance. When, therefore, a marriage has entirely ceased to be a reality, the Orthodox Church does not insist on the preservation of a legal fiction. Divorce is seen as an exceptional but necessary concession to human sin; it is an act of oikonomia (‘economy’ or dispensation) and of philanthropia (loving kindness). Yet although assisting men and women to rise again after a fall, the Orthodox Church knows that a second alliance can never be the same as the first; and so in the service for a second marriage several of the joyful ceremonies are omitted, and replaced by penitential prayers.”

    “Orthodox Canon Law, while permitting a second or even a third marriage, absolutely forbids a fourth. In theory the Canons only permit divorce in cases of adultery, but in practice it is sometimes granted for other reasons as well.”

    “One point must be clearly understood: from the point of view of Orthodox theology a divorce granted by the State in the civil courts is not sufficient. Remarriage in church is only possible if the Church authorities have themselves granted a divorce.”

    As to the “why”, here is a Catholic author:

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/eastern-orthodox-oikonomia-and-marriage

  • Re: “Actually I am saying it because it’s true.”  

    … like I said, you just keep intoning that endlessly so that your precious and sacred Church is taken off the hook for the horrific things it’s done. Like, digging up a dead Pope to put him on trial.  

    Yeah, that happened. Really. It’s a fact. You can repeatedly order me to ignore it, but no amount of stamping your feet is going to make it anything other than a fact.  

    As for history not being illustrative, your own precious Jesus would disagree with you. Here are some of his own comments on how people’s conduct reveals a good deal about them:

    “By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.” (Mt 7:16-20)  

    “Either declare[a] the tree good and its fruit is good, or declare the tree rotten and its fruit is rotten, for a tree is known by its fruit.” (Mt 12:33)  

    “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Lk 6:43-45)  

    If your position truly is that the things people say and do somehow do not reveal their nature and character, well, you’ve contradicted your own Jesus. It’s OK if you, as a Christian, want to disagree with him, but he also had a little to say about his supposed followers not actually following his teachings:  

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’” (Mt 7:21-23)  

    If I were you, I’d take that warning seriously. But hey, what could a cynical, insolent, godless agnostic heathen possibly know about Jesus’ explicit teachings … right?  

    Re: “Reality is infinitely complex …”  

    So, you and your Church can just say and do anything you want, any time you want, about anything you want, to anyone you want, for any reason you want, and the morality and/or veracity of it doesn’t matter, because … after all! … “reality is infinitely complex”? Is that it?  

    And YOU called ME a “nihilist”? Wow! Have you ever got a pair, throwing out that kind of garbage.  

    Re: “History is data, and in particular partial data.”  

    That a dead Pope was dug up, cleaned off, dressed up, propped up in the Curia, and put on trial is not “partial data.” It is, instead, something that actually happened. You can try to dismiss it as “partial data,” or whatever asinine label you want to slap on it in an effort to make it something other than it was … but that’s all you’re doing, slapping labels. It doesn’t mean anything.  

    Oh, and the time where there were three Popes simultaneously? Yeah, try telling me that’s just “partial data.” There is, in fact, nothing “partial” about it. It really happened. Three different colleges of cardinals actually assembled themselves and elected three different Popes, at one point. The absurdity is so obvious that only someone who’s insane could fail to see it.  

    Re: “In this case you use it to make yourself feel better about about personal conclusions as to the character of the Church and of those who staffed it. If you were as confident in them as you claim, we wouldn’t be hearing you vent about them on a regular basis in your overheated – nearly hysterical – rhetoric.”  

    Again, you throw labels around … e.g. “hysterical – rhetoric” … as though they actually carry weight with anyone who can actually think. The only thing “hysterical” about events like the Cadaver Synod and the Great Western Schism is that they were actually seriously carried out by people who seriously considered them justified. If anything, it’s your useless labels which are “hysterical – rhetoric.”  

    If hurling labels around is all you’ve got … then you’ve got less than nothing. Hilarious!  

  • Hmmmm …. 798 words, but you don’t engage in overheated – nearly hysterical – rhetoric.

    Whatever you’re smoking, pass it around.

    More interesting are the series of Scripture quotes in support of anti-religion. Consistency is not your forté, is it?

    ” ‘Reality is infinitely complex …’ ”

    “So, you and your Church can just say and do anything you want, any time you want, about anything you want, to anyone you want, for any reason you want, and the morality and/or veracity of it doesn’t matter, because … after all! … “reality is infinitely complex”? Is that it?”

    Nope. And if it weren’t on the edge of reality you’d know that.

    Whether it is this particular denomination, or another, any organization which involves humans – including atheists, agnostics, and so on – is going to exhibit human behavior, just like Mom and Dad.

    Over 2,000 years with some of the schlemiels that have hiked up the hierarchy I would be shocked if there weren’t perfidy, perversion, and the like in evidence more than once.

    Jesus, according to what we’re told, picked twelve guys and one was a complete jerk.

    That you choose to pick those examples and disregard the larger dataset of charity, moral improvement, preservation of knowledge, and the rest of their contribution to history is illustrative.

    You got ticked off and backed into your position by consciously choosing what to focus on.

    Hitler and Marx did pretty much the same thing to the same detriment to reality.

  • Re: “Hmmmm …. 798 words, but you don’t engage in overheated – nearly hysterical – rhetoric.”  

    Some of those words were Jesus’, you know. Just saying.  

    Re: “Whatever you’re smoking, pass it around.”  

    You’re the one on drugs here … denying facts and all.  

    Re: “Whether it is this particular denomination, or another, any organization which involves humans – including atheists, agnostics, and so on – is going to exhibit human behavior, just like Mom and Dad.”  

    But when that organization claims to make those inside it better … more moral, more compassionate, more ethical, etc. … than they would be without it, you can’t fall back on this excuse. It fails.  

    Re: “Over 2,000 years with some of the schlemiels that have hiked up the hierarchy I would be shocked if there weren’t perfidy, perversion, and the like in evidence more than once.”  

    If the Church were truly the holy, and highly moral, institution it claims to be, then it shouldn’t be easy for “schlemiels” to “hike up the hierarchy.” They ought to be hindered by its sacred nature and tripped up along the way.  

    Re: “That you choose to pick those examples and disregard the larger dataset of charity, moral improvement, preservation of knowledge, and the rest of their contribution to history is illustrative.”  

    That they happened, is illustrative — regardless of whether or not you wish them to be. Again, this is in very much in line with your Jesus’ own “you shall know them by their fruits” trope (which he employed multiple times). That your answer to them is to order me to ignore them, is ALSO illustrative. It tells me you don’t really have anything to say.  

    Re: “You got ticked off and backed into your position by consciously choosing what to focus on.”  

    Amazingly enough, yes … I get to decide what to “focus on.” And amazingly enough, you have no power to force me to look away from things. None.  

    Re: “Hitler and Marx did pretty much the same thing to the same detriment to reality.”  

    Thanks for stumbling into the arms of Godwin’s Law. You just demonstrated — again! — you have nothing to say about your Church’s failures and atrocities, and can only pitch fits about me being so insolent as to refuse to look away from them.  

  • The Catholic Eucharist is about the Three B Syndrome i.e. Bred, Born, and Brainwashed in orthodox mumbo jumbo i.e bloody wine, hairy bread, “pretty/ugly wingie, talking/singing, flying, fictional thingies, limbo, ascensions, assumptions, immaculate conceptions, virgin impregnations by theoretical ghostly gods, guilt trips of atonement/mythical sinning-original parents, food/wine replicators, raising bodies only to die again, imminent second comings that never come, imaginary wise men, slaughtering innocent children and filicide.

    And the Last Supper which supposedly is the basis of Christian Communion? It was not an historic event. See http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/016_Supper_and_Eucharist and http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html

    An excerpt:

    “At the same time, Luedemann concludes that the portrayal of Jesus celebrating such a ritual on the night before his death is not historical. He is clear that there is “no generic relationship” between any actual final meal and the Lord’s Supper understood in cultic terms. He also denies the Passover character of the supper as a Markan creation. Like Meier (below), Luedemann does accept the saying (Mark 14:25) about drinking wine in the kingdom of God as authentic. He concludes: (this saying) “hardly came into being in the early community, for in it Jesus does not exercise any special function for believers at the festal meal in heaven which is imminent. Only Jesus’ expectation of a the future kingdom of God stands at the centre, not Jesus as saviour, judge or intercessor.”

  • You’re making progress … you’re down to 373 words to say what could be said in four sentences. And you only threw in “Godwin’s Law” once. FYI, this ain’t Usenet, it isn’t a law, and people who cite it are typically out of arguments.

    “Amazingly enough, yes … I get to decide what to ‘focus on.’ And amazingly enough, you have no power to force me to look away from things. None. “

    Which is why your distaste for a particular denomination doesn’t interest me that much – there is no accounting for taste.

    What does interest me is the argument that you reached that by “history”.

    “You’re the one on drugs here … denying facts and all.”

    You seem to make that statement or its equivalent in every discussion you get involved in.

    I have not denied one fact, let alone facts and all.

    “If the Church were truly the holy, and highly moral, institution it claims to be, then it shouldn’t be easy for ‘schlemiels’ to ‘hike up the hierarchy.’ They ought to be hindered by its sacred nature and tripped up along the way.”

    If you happen to get an upgrade to deity, and found your own church, you can set it up that way.

    As it stands that is not how this particular church was set up.

    So, for whatever reason you took a dislike to this particular organization, cherry picked the “history” that made your dislike look reasonable, and like a decorator crab walk about with the results as camouflage.

    Of course a real historian looks at the positives as well as the negatives, the operation of hospitals, the provision of charity, the rise in the level of laws and morals, and tries to get a balanced view.

  • Your position appears to be based on the Three S Syndrome: Snark, Snide, and Sniping.

    Gerd Luedemann was member of the “Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion”, a spin-off of “Free Inquiry” magazine.

    Of course he concluded it’s not historical.

    That simply demonstrates that there are others with similar attitudes to your own, not that they make the slightest bit of sense.

  • Have you read Professor Luedemann’s studies published in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years? Get back to us when you finish. It is one of cures for the 3B Syndrome.

  • Of course it is irrational and counterproductive and childish view, etc.

    BUT infallibility is built into the proof that God exists, if he is fallible (which means that he made a mistake in the past) than he isn’t God.

    NOW it is true that all a current Pope would need to say is that the Popes and God were speaking for their time and place and that times have changed.

    BUT according to the doctrine of infallibility God can NOT change his mind. IF what He said was good once, it is good for all time.

    To admit that what He said doesn’t apply now is (in their minds) equivalent to saying he was fallible and thus he doesn’t exist.

  • Ben it was all about power and control that brought wealth and prestige and in some cases political power.

  • No. I was cured of the 3B Syndrome by reading outside the bible box that you are trapped in. Again get back to us when you escape.

  • No, you trapped yourself into a skeptical box.

    Applying epithets like “the bible box” to me demonstrates you’re not reading what I am saying.

    You’re just as big a true believer armed with your proof texts from Jefferson, Luedemann, Crossan, et al as the earnest young man at the door with a KJV under his arm and his memorized proof texts.

    That’s the reason I asked you to “Explain in simple English how the New Testament, which is a religious scripture whose entire purpose, structure, and content differ from a history or a scientific treatise, could be ‘analyzed with rigorous testing’.”

    In this case the analysis predetermines the outcome.

  • I think you have made a very wise observation. Get ready for the burn-the-heretic tirades, both from the sola scriptorium crowd and the hyper-conservative crowd.

    Uh-oh.

    too late. The pitchforks and the torches have arrived.

  • “the indissolubility of marriage”
    ______________

    What BS!! The Catholic Church makes millions on dissolving marriages, through the magic of “annulment”, where the parties involved pretend that a marriage never existed in exchange for a hefty fee.

  • How many millions does the Catholic Church make dissolving marriages?

    With an assertion like that you must have good data indeed since annulments are done at the diocesan level and there are

    2,234 dioceses world-wide in the Catholic Church.

  • You will never know until you read said books on the rigorous historic testing of your book of semi-fiction , embellishments and myths. Again get back to us when you finish. Might want also to review my analysis of the Easter con on the Da Vinci Code Moment comments, a blend of theology and rigorous historic testing.

  • If you can’t explain “rigorous historic testing” in straightforward English with a Ph.D. in Polymer Science, you can’t really expect anyone else to plow through something like John Dominic Crossan’s “The Historical Jesus” to find out what you’re talking about.

    Folks will smile, shake your hand, shut the door, and throw “The Historical Jesus” into the trash can next to “The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom” magazine.

    Personally I find the entire Jesus Seminar tedious, tendentious, and mind-numbing.

  • “It’s not easy to take issue with Pope Francis for advocating on behalf of poor folks and immigrants, for criticizing unfettered capitalism and urging protection of the planet. ”

    If only he would walk the walk by releasing the billions in the Vatican Bank just setting there earning interest.

  • Yes, defensive people such as yourself tend to project their insecurity onto people who are confident in their beliefs.

  • I may be wrong….but i think Davis converted to some holy roller evangelical sect so her actions are not so much a Catholic thing.

  • indeed…the Bible gives instructions on how a man can divorce his wife.

    To me the best practice is – leave the defining of marriage practices as to divorce and such to…oh I dunno…the individual married couples maybe.

  • It’s fascinating that you have a religion that depends on teachings of Paul and Jesus….twi lifelong confirmed bachelors.

    That’s like me giving golf lessons.

  • I haven’t – even once – described my personal beliefs.

    Being taught by two life-long bachelors is like being judged by a jurist who has never been convicted of a crime.

  • Oddly the Bible also seems ok with one man marrying a bunch of women (it’s good to be the king).

  • Thankfully…most people could care less what a bunch of ancient dudes think about marriage. Modern problems need modern solutions.

  • So, where are the costs?

    In order to “make millions” they have to charge more than it costs.

    http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/annulment/index.cfm

    “Pope Francis has asked dioceses whenever possible to provide their tribunal services free of charge. Depending upon how much your diocese is able to subsidize the work of its tribunal, you may be asked to pay a nominal fee. You may also be asked to make a donation following the completion of your case. Fees are typically payable over time, and may be reduced or even waived in cases of financial difficulty. Other expenses may be incurred when consultation with medical, psychological, or other experts is needed, or if you obtain the services of a private canon lawyer to represent you.”

    That hardly describes a profit center.

  • I just gave you the costs. You’re in denial. You’re accustomed to living with lies, so it’s understandable.

  • You claimed they were making millions.

    You just gave what they charged, not what it cost them to deliver the service.

    If they charge $1,000 and it costs them $1,200, they lose $200.

    Did you mean to write “they collect millions”?

    You’re apparently accustomed to claiming words mean just what you say they mean, so it’s understandable.

  • Rigorous historic testing has been defined in these pages many times. Obviously you missed it. Again, it is the number and time of publication of attestations, archeological evidence , and language and mores of the period in question. Added specifics can be found in the first chapters of exegetes who are specialists in the field.

  • Oh, I get that. I’ve wondered, a while now, if he’s a Poe. For the moment, I’ll have my fun. When it gets boring, I’ll move on to some other entertainment!  

  • Re: “And you only threw in ‘Godwin’s Law’ once.”  

    I may have mentioned it, but at least I wasn’t the bonehead who tripped over it.  

    Re: “FYI, this ain’t Usenet, it isn’t a law, and people who cite it are typically out of arguments.”  

    FYI, you don’t own me, and have no right to give me orders as to what I will say here.  

    Re: “Which is why your distaste for a particular denomination doesn’t interest me that much – there is no accounting for taste.”  

    I repeat the words of your own Jesus: “By your fruits shall you know them.” I’m happy to repeat his teachings to you, any time you wish.  

    Re: “You seem to make that statement or its equivalent in every discussion you get involved in.”  

    Yes, but you’re the one that keeps making me say it, by repeatedly denying facts. You must have gotten lessons in screeching about “fake news” from your friend, the Groper-in-Chief.  

    Re: “As it stands that is not how this particular church was set up.”  

    Yes, it was set up by childish morons who then used their organization to justify remaining childish morons forever.  

    Re: “Of course a real historian looks at the positives as well as the negatives …”  

    Now you’re the one who’s cherry-picking. And you’re doing it in two ways … first by ordering me to pay attention only to the “positives,” and in reverse by ordering me to never pay attention to the “negatives.” I believe I just pointed out to you that you have no right to order me around; I will repeat that here. You have zero authority to compel me to think in any particular way … none. For you to presume that authority, is infantile.  

    Go whine and snivel about my insolence to someone who actually cares what you think. You’re actually ignorant, but like most militant Christianists, don’t know it … because you’ve granted yourself license to be ignorant and to (you think!) order other people to remain ignorant, too.  

  • If she herself was ever a Catholic, she’s no longer a practicing member of the Church of Rome (whether canon law considers her — still? — a Catholic may be another matter: “Once a Catholic, always a Catholic” 🙂

  • Do you really want to claim that the Church isn’t making millions? Like so many others, it’s a for-profit organization. The Vatican wasn’t built on humility.

  • ” ‘And you only threw in ‘Godwin’s Law’ once.’”

    “I may have mentioned it, but at least I wasn’t the bonehead who tripped over it.“

    Mentioning it at all was the bonehead maneuver.

    “I repeat the words of your own Jesus: ‘By your fruits shall you know them.’”

    Super. You can regale us with tales of the atheist/agnostics of old who preserved civilization during the Dark Ages, raised the moral standards from those of pagan Rome, opened and ran hospitals, provided charity, and otherwise distinguished themselves with their works of mercy.

    Oh, that wasn’t the “atheist/agnostics of old”?

    The statement “…. you’re the one that keeps making me say it ….” is spectacularly juvenile.

    The statement “…. you’re doing it in two ways … first by ordering me to pay attention only to the ‘positives,’ and in reverse by ordering me to never pay attention to the ‘negatives.’” flies in the face of reality.

    I’m not ordering you to do anything. I pointed out a real historian looks at all the data available – knowing of course that all the data is never available.

    Looking at all the data is the opposite of cherry picking, which is your modus operandi.

    Of course, you’re not a real historian.

    “I believe I just pointed out to you that you have no right to order me around; I will repeat that here. You have zero authority to compel me to think in any particular way … none. For you to presume that authority, is infantile.”

    Speaking of infantile.

  • I didn’t ask for a citation or url, I asked you:

    “Explain in simple English how the New Testament, which is a religious scripture whose entire purpose, structure, and content differ from a history or a scientific treatise, could be ‘analyzed with rigorous testing’.”

    I am considerably more familiar with the topic than most posters, but I was interested in YOUR understanding of the Jesus Seminar, et al’s, processes.

    The phrase “exegetes who are specialists in the field” is the usual cant of someone who holds a zany position – and the entire Jesus Seminar meets that definition – who is going to hide behind alleged expertise.

    John Dominic Crossan is certainly a biggy in the Jesus Seminar, not as big as Robert Funk, but in the top tier.

    Their analysis begins with assumptions such as “Mark was the first gospel”, which contradicts 1800+ years of constant scholarship, and the creation (in their minds) of a hypothetical “Q document” with which to embellish Mark. The fact that not a trace of it has been found in 1900+ years, not one shred of papyrus, paper, sheepskin, nothing at all despite the fact that all manner of eccentric and esoteric documents exist including entire rejected books of the Old and New Testament counts as nothing.

    And it goes downhill from there.

  • Since you lack any data of any kind whatsoever, there does not seem to be a lot of point in feeding this.

  • It’s “Kool-Aid”, a registered trademark of Kraft Foods.

    If you mean I expect something in the way of proof beyond your bald-faced unsupported opinion, you’re correct.

  • You can’t handle the truth. Fortunately you wouldn’t know the truth if it smacked you in the face with a handbag full of quarters, so you’re safe.

  • On the other hand I back my beliefs up with facts, while you back yours up with more beliefs.

  • Might want to read if you have not already, Father Raymond Brown’s An Introduction to the New Testament, 878 pages on just about everything a good conservative Christian needs to know about the NT with one large problem, Father Brown does not do any rigorous historic testing to determine the authenticity of the NT passages. Note he does put Mark’s gospel as being the first gospel. He even has a section on the historical Jesus movement to include a critique of the Jesus Seminar and Funk, Crossan et. al.

    And from http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ with a discussion of each, just in case you have not seen said list. (I believe Father Brown’s analyses of publication dates are analogous to the ones below.
    Date: CE

    30-60 Passion Narrative

    40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q

    50-60 1 Thessalonians

    50-60 Philippians

    50-60 Galatians

    50-60 1 Corinthians

    50-60 2 Corinthians

    50-60 Romans

    50-60 Philemon

    50-80 Colossians

    50-90 Signs Gospel

    50-95 Book of Hebrews

    50-120 Didache

    50-140 Gospel of Thomas

    50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel

    50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ

    65-80 Gospel of Mark

    70-100 Epistle of James

    70-120 Egerton Gospel

    70-160 Gospel of Peter

    70-160 Secret Mark

    70-200 Fayyum Fragment

    70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

    73-200 Mara Bar Serapion

    80-100 2 Thessalonians

    80-100 Ephesians

    80-100 Gospel of Matthew

    80-110 1 Peter

    80-120 Epistle of Barnabas

    80-130 Gospel of Luke

    80-130 Acts of the Apostles

    80-140 1 Clement

    80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians

    80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews

    80-250 Christian Sibyllines

    90-95 Apocalypse of John

    90-120 Gospel of John

    90-120 1 John

    90-120 2 John

    90-120 3 John

    90-120 Epistle of Jude

    93 Flavius Josephus

    100-150 1 Timothy

    100-150 2 Timothy

    100-150 Titus

    100-150 Apocalypse of Peter

    100-150 Secret Book of James

    100-150 Preaching of Peter

    100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites

    100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans

    100-160 Shepherd of Hermas

    100-160 2 Peter

  • The late Raymond Edward Brown had some opinions.

    He denied the inerrancy of the whole of Scriptures, cast doubt on numerous articles of the Catholic faith, doubted the virginal conception of Jesus.

    https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=8154&repos=1&subrepos=0&searchid=441843

    Neither fish nor fowl, he avoided the extreme of the Jesus Seminar, but also failed to produce anything beyond titillating folks who heretofore had been lucky enough not run into “historical-critical” analysis.

    Brown, like the late Richard P. McBrien, was an excellent speaker, a superb self-promoter, and a vicious stabber-in-the-back in academia of all who challenged him.

  • And yet Father Brown got the complete approval by the Church for the publication of his books.

  • Re: “You can regale us with tales of the atheist/agnostics of old who preserved civilization during the Dark Ages …”  

    Irrelevant.

    To repeat what YOUR Jesus told you (with an important part in bold):

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:15-20)  

    Using the tree metaphor, you tell me your precious Church is a “good tree” which only occasionally, and rarely, coughs up “bad fruit.” However, that is not what your own Jesus told you! He very clearly said, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit.” Thus, that your Church yielded any “bad fruit” at all, automatically — by your own Jesus’ standards — must be a “rotten tree.”  

    You can pitch fits at me all day over this, if you wish, but it’s not MY standard. It’s YOURS. You’re a Christian. You picked that religion. And this is one of its teachings, supposedly delivered in person by its founder.  

    Re: “The statement ‘…. you’re the one that keeps making me say it ….’ is spectacularly juvenile.  

    Every one of your posts is spectacularly juvenile, and reeks of religionistic infantilism.  

    Re: “Looking at all the data is the opposite of cherry picking, which is your modus operandi.
     

    But you don’t want me to look at the “negative” data, hence, you’re not telling me to look at “all” the data. Telling me to NOT look at some things is, as I explained to you already (and as you childishly insist isn’t true, even though it is), cherry-picking in reverse. Stop being an immature hypocrite for once.  

    Re: “Of course, you’re not a real historian.”  

    Nor are you, since your position is that some history MUST be ignored, because it happens to make your precious Church look bad. Waaaah wah waah, little baby.  

    Re: “Speaking of infantile.”  

    … says the raging infant who keeps giving me orders as to what I’m allowed to think.  

    Keep it up, by all means! Your infantilism shows with every word you type. I repeat: You have zero authority to force me not to look at unflattering parts of your precious Church’s history. If I wish to focus on them, I can, and there’s not a single thing you can ever do about it.  

  • If it is irrelevant to point out the good that these folks have done, it is equally irrelevant to point out the bad.

    “He very clearly said, ‘A good tree cannot bear bad fruit.’ Thus, that your Church yielded any ‘bad fruit’ at all, automatically — by your own Jesus’ standards — must be a ‘rotten tree.’”

    Prescinding for the moment the absurdity of an opponent of this church citing its Scripture, let’s consider that.

    – Did Jesus say that the church would be free of sin or sinners? No.

    – Did Jesus select one apostle who turned out to be a complete rapscallion. Yes.

    – Does this church call itself the Pilgrim Church, sinners in this world hoping to be saints in the next? Yes.

    So, why would it be a shock that it contains sinners who sin?

    What does this same Jesus say about this?

    John 5: 28 Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

    Apparently the sorting of the fruit takes place AFTER death.

    But possibly this is a matter of interpretation. What does the church in question say about all of this?

    “Fully incorporated into the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who–by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion–are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but “in body” not “in heart.” All children of the Church should nevertheless remember that their exalted condition results, not from their own merits, but from the grace of Christ. If they fail to respond in thought, word and deed to that grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be the more severely judged.” – Chapter One, 14, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church – Lumen Gentium

    So this church, which you are ragging on, says that the folks you dislike will be MORE SEVERELY JUDGED when entering the next life. It never claims that it will be free of sin or sinners.

    So, to summarize: you apparently reached some sort of conclusion, perhaps in college, about the value of this church and those who adhere to it.

    You then concocted a completely false and unsupportable analysis of what characteristics it must have to be acceptable to you. Essentially that analysis requires that every member of it be perfect and that the organization be free of sinners altogether.

    You then cherry picked sufficient pikers, sinners, reprobates, and perverts to “prove” this particular organization did not possess the characteristics you chose that it must have to be acceptable to you.

    Voila! You’ve “proved” it’s a false and in fact possibly evil organization.

    “Nor are you, since your position is that some history MUST be ignored, because it happens to make your precious Church look bad. Waaaah wah waah, little baby.”

    Every historian recognizes that some history MUST be ignored.

    We’re living in history currently. To record and report EVERY single thing going on today is impossible, so future historians will rely on excerpts, very small excerpts.

    Denying that indicates you’re a controversialist, not a historian.

    Your general commentary seems to indicate that all of this has something to do with issues dealing with authority. That is, the issues are psychological, not theological, and not historical.

  • He never wrote something that was clearly heretical.

    He “suggested” this or that, “hinted” this thing or the other, and generally danced around staying short of the Jesus Seminar.

    One contemporary theologian described him as having his cake and eating it, too.

    Of course, Richard P. McBrien’s “Catholicism” was initially published with the requisite approval, and later they were rescinded. The approval process is imperfect.

  • I will add your cited review of Father Brown’s hints to my review of the Easter con as it fits quite well with the analyses of Aquinas, JP11, grad school theology courses at some major Catholic universities, the Jesus Seminar, Professor Crossan’s inventory and Professor ,Luedamann’s conclusions. Have a Happy Spring!!

  • “Raymond Brown was one of the great biblical scholars of the last third of the 20th century.”

    At least Raymond Brown thought so.

    “Nevertheless, a stress on the bodily resurrection keeps us from defining this resurrection solely in terms of what God has done for men. The resurrection was and remains, first of all, what God has done for Jesus. It was not an evolution in human consciousness, nor was it the disciples’ brilliant insight into the meaning of the crucifixion – it was the sovereign action of God glorifying Jesus of Nazareth.”

    The stress on the bodily resurrection occurs because (a) without it the entire Christian message is a hollow charade, (b) it supports Jesus’ claim to divinity, and (c) it places Jesus in the Heavenly Jerusalem, which underlies much of the rest of the Christian belief.

    The phrase “the disciples’ brilliant insight” comes from the Jesus Seminar. The text of the Scriptures is “enhanced” by these theologians, formerly fishermen, tax collectors, or whatever because they were ALMOST as brilliant as Raymond Edward Brown.

  • Re: “If it is irrelevant to point out the good that these folks have done, it is equally irrelevant to point out the bad.”  

    We aren’t talking about the good and bad done by other sorts of people (and in the Middle Ages, there weren’t any agnostics to speak of, at least not as such). The actions of non-Christians have no bearing on the actions of Christians and what they reveal about their character. So yes, irrelevant … no matter how vehemently you deny it.  

    Re: “Prescinding for the moment the absurdity of an opponent of this church citing its Scripture, let’s consider that.”  

    Yes, I get to cite scripture in my critiques of Christianity. Don’t like it? Tough. You can’t make me stop. Yes, I get the judge them in the terms of their own stated beliefs. There is nothing wrong with this. Not. One. Single. Thing.  

    Re: “So this church, which you are ragging on, says that the folks you dislike will be MORE SEVERELY JUDGED when entering the next life.”  

    So what? Obviously this did nothing to change their actions in the present. Promises of future “worse punishments” are not sufficient to prevent malicious behavior. So what good is any of that? It’s useless. &nbsp

    If you think this is supposed to impress me … well, obviously it doesn’t. So try something else.  

    Re: “So, to summarize: you apparently reached some sort of conclusion, perhaps in college, about the value of this church and those who adhere to it.”  

    First, why would the time during which I reached this conclusion have anything to do with its veracity (you’re implying that a “college student” somehow isn’t allowed to reach such a conclusion, but maybe someone else would). Second, yes I reached that conclusion, and it’s one your own Jesus would agree with:

    “By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.” (Mt 7:16-20)  

    If you dislike my conclusion, then you must disagree with this premise, which happens to be one of Jesus’ own reported teachings.  

    Re: “You then concocted a completely false and unsupportable analysis of what characteristics it must have to be acceptable to you.”  

    Except there’s nothing “unsupported” about what I said. I’ve offered “support.” Plenty of it. Historically-factual support.  

    Re: “You then cherry picked sufficient pikers, sinners, reprobates, and perverts to “prove” this particular organization did not possess the characteristics you chose that it must have to be acceptable to you.”  

    This isn’t about me. It’s about Christians and the things they’ve done. I haven’t “cherry picked” anything, either. Jesus’ own words make clear that a tree which bears even just one bad fruit must be judged a “rotten tree.” I get that you don’t like this, but this is a premise from YOUR religion. YOU picked it. Abide by it, or not … but don’t snivel and whine at me, and insinuate I’m crazy or something by having come up with it. I didn’t. Jesus supposedly did. Take it up with him, if you dislike it. Not me.  

    Re: “You’ve “proved” it’s a false and in fact possibly evil organization.”  

    According to your own Jesus’ teachings, yes it is. Again, if you don’t like this conclusion, take it up with the guy who laid down its premise. Not me.  

    Re: “Every historian recognizes that some history MUST be ignored.”  

    Since when? Oh wait, you’re a historian, so you get to tell me what history is and isn’t, is that it? You’re a historian, because you believe in your Jesus and your Church, right?  

    Wrong. If you could say something like this, then obviously you have no clue what history is (or isn’t). Go yammer at someone else about it, someone who doesn’t have a degree in the subject and may be too stupid to know how asinine your statement is.  

    Re: “Your general commentary seems to indicate that all of this has something to do with issues dealing with authority.”  

    Well, yes, because perhaps the chief problem with the Catholic Church is its obsession with the concept of “authority.” For every trope it clings to, it roots around (often desperately) for some kind of “authority” to justify and rationalize it. This causes any number of problems and makes the institution vastly more dysfunctional than it would be, if not for this obsession.  

    I’d explain further, but will not waste my time going there with you.  

  • The Easter and Post-Easter Cons: once again, if you missed it previously on another thread.

    The events fail rigorous historic and theological testing:

    To wit:

    The physical resurrection of Jesus as per current graduate theology teachings at many large Catholic universities- (e.g. Catholic University)

    “Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly — earth bound distractions.

    Christ ‘s and Mary’s bodies are therefore not in Heaven. For one thing, Paul in 1 Cor 15 speaks of the body of the dead as transformed into a “spiritual body.” No one knows exactly what he meant by this term.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    The physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus’ crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary’s corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke’s Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus’ mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus’ followers The Assumption has multiple layers of
    symbolism, some are related to Mary’s special role as “Christ bearer”
    (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus’
    Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would
    be derived by worms upon her death. Mary’s
    assumption also shows God’s positive regard, not only for Christ’s male body,
    but also for femalebodies.”
    “Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly — earth bound distractions.

    See
    http://wiki.faithfutures.or… for added
    details.

    “In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or
    human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to
    describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas
    Aquinas said long before him.”

    http://eternal-word.com/lib

    Jesus was definitely crucified (multiple attestations from the first stratum.) “That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate as
    the Creed states is as certain as anything historical can be.” from JD Crossan in his book, Who is Jesus?.

    From the First Stratum,(30-60 AD) with multiple attestations (from Crossan’s
    The Historical Jesus)

    Crucifixion of Jesus 1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b)
    Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3)
    Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16
    (=Psalm 22:6-; (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.

    However, the Passion-Resurrection Prophecy is not from the historic Jesus, (1a)
    Mark 8:31-33 = Matt 16:2l-23 = Luke 9:22, (1b) Mark 9:9b = Matt 17:9b, (1c)
    Mark 9:12b = Matt 17:12b, (1d) Mark 9:30-32= Matt 17:22-23 = Luke 9:43b-45,
    (1e) Luke 17:25, (1f) Mark 10:32-34 = Matt 20:17-19 = Luke 18:31-34, (1g) Matt
    26:1-2, (1h) Mark 14:21 = Matt 26:24 = Luke 22:22, (1i) Mark 14:41= Matt
    26:45b,(1j) Luke 24:7 i.e. (many references but only a single attestation and
    from the Second stratum (60-80 AD).

    Addressing the historic inauthenticity of the
    post-resurrection sightings of Jesus of Nazareth.

    -The empty tomb myth

    Mark 16:1-8
    = Matt 28:1-10 = Luke 24:1-11

    (1b) John
    20:1,(2-10),11-18

    Originated by Mark and copied by M, L and J and historically nil after rigorous analyses for number of attestations, time of
    publication and content. For added details:

    see Professor Gerd Ludemann’s analysis in his book Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 111-114 and http://www.faithfutures.org….

    –The disciples on the Emmaus road

    Luke 23: 13-35 Historically nil. See Ludemann’s book, pp 409-412. Note: Emmaus can no longer be located.

    — Revealed to Disciples

    1Cor 15:5b,7b
    (2) Matt
    28:16-20
    (3) Easter
    Night 2.3.1 (3a) Luke 24:36-40
    (3b) John
    20:19-21

    2.4 (4) IgnSmyr 3.2b-3

    See http://www.faithfutures.org
    and the following from Professor Luedamann:

    “Matt 28:16-20 The description of Jesus’s
    appearance is minimal, as attention is focused on the content of Jesus’ message
    to the Eleven. Luedemann notes: that
    “the historical yield is extremely meager.” He accepts the early tradition that various disciples had visionary experiences, most probably located in Galilee, and that these experiences led to the founding of “a
    community which preached the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus as the
    Messiah and/or the Son of Man among their Jewish contemporaries.” [Jesus,
    255f.]

    Luke 24:36-53 The emphatic realism in the
    recognition scene that begins this appearance story mans “one can hardly
    avoid seeing this as a thrust against docetism. Evidently in this verse Luke is
    combating the same challenges to the bodily reality of Jesus as Ignatius, To
    the Smyrneans 3.2, does at the beginning of the second century.” Luedemann
    concludes, “The historical yield is nil, both in respect of the real historical
    event and in connection with
    the visions which were the catalyst for the rise of Christianity.” [Jesus, 413-415]”

    –Rev 1: 12-20 (a reboot of Daniel 7:13)

    And then there is this:
    “Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G.
    Ingersoll branded Revelation “the insanest of all books”.[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he “considered it as merely the ravings
    of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of
    our own nightly dreams.” [31]

    Martin Luther once “found it an offensive
    piece of work” and John Calvin “had grave doubts about its value.”[32]

    –Appearance to James et al

    1 Cor 15: 7a

    /4/ and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, /5/ and that he appeared to
    Cephas, then to the twelve. /6/ Then he appeared to more than five hundred
    brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some
    have died. /7/ Then he appeared to

    James, then to all the apostles. /8/ Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

    See http://www.faithfutures.org
    i.e. historically nil.

    For more on the infamous Resurrection con, see Professor Gerd Ludemann’s review in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, (Mark 16)
    and also http://www.faithfutures.org….

    For
    more on the infamous Ascension con, see the same book, Luke 24:50-53 and
    http://www.faithfutures.org

    So
    where are the bones???

    According to Professor JD Crossan’s many exhaustive studies, they still are a-mouldering in the ground outside of Jerusalem or were eaten by wild dogs and are now cycling through nature’s recycling system.

    •The appearance to James reference should be http://www.faithfutures.org… . There was a dash added at the end of the original reference which prevented it from being accessed. Note also in the reference, the conclusions of the Jesus Seminar are also included.

    One added reference on the myth/con of Easter to include a summary of the Jesus Seminar conclusions is http://www.faithfutures.org

    And yet another added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    “Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God’s hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus’ failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing

  • Without Adam and Eve— in short, without a good deal of the knowledge accumulated in the last 2000 years in science, biology, physics, chemistry, astrophysics, physiology, paleontology, medicine and quite a few more disciplines— there is no original sin.

    Without original sin, the entire christian message is a hollow charade.

  • It’s strange how right wing Catholics and Evangelicals have the arrogance not only to believe their values are superior to others but also to try to get political power to force them on everyone. Many of the humanistic values of Pope Francis are quite refreshing.

  • infallibility is a problem for Catholics and also Evangelicals that claim the Bible is infallible. Removing adaptability from a religion or any ideology will cause it to fail as society adapts.

  • “’If it is irrelevant to point out the good that these folks have done, it is equally irrelevant to point out the bad.’”

    “We aren’t talking about the good and bad done by other sorts of people (and in the Middle Ages, there weren’t any agnostics to speak of, at least not as such). The actions of non-Christians have no bearing on the actions of Christians and what they reveal about their character. So yes, irrelevant … no matter how vehemently you deny it.”

    Of course, if it is irrelevant to point out the good that these folks have done, it is equally irrelevant to point out the bad.

    “‘Yes, I get to cite scripture in my critiques of Christianity. Don’t like it? Tough. You can’t make me stop.’”

    I believe if there is one thing you wrote that clearly is the core of your belief system it is “You can’t make me stop.”

    “‘So this church, which you are ragging on, says that the folks you dislike will be MORE SEVERELY JUDGED when entering the next life.'”

    “If you think this is supposed to impress me … well, obviously it doesn’t.”

    Actually I thought I’d try reason with you. Obviously that doesn’t work.

    “…. (you’re implying that a “college student” somehow isn’t allowed to reach such a conclusion, but maybe someone else would)”.

    Not in anything I wrote. Certainly if there is one you don’t lack, it is conclusions.

    “If you dislike my conclusion, then you must disagree with this premise, which happens to be one of Jesus’ own reported teachings.”

    Yes, I disagree with the premise that you can reach into a vast body of text, pull one statement from it out of context, and then announce that THIS is the entire thing. I will admit that your “You can’t make me stop” comes close to being your entire thing, though.

    “Except there’s nothing ‘unsupported’ about what I said.”

    That’s true in the sense that you’ve been clear about what Christianity would have to be to be acceptable to you. It’s not true in the sense that what it would have to be to be acceptable to you is not what it says about itself, or what it offers, or what it does.

    “This isn’t about me. It’s about Christians and the things they’ve done. I haven’t “cherry picked” anything, either.”

    Of course you have.

    You’ve skipped over each and every positive contribution that Christians have made to charity, welfare, art, science, law, and on and on and on.

    Not minimized, not deprecated, completely skipped.

    “According to your own Jesus’ teachings, yes it is.”

    No, according to Jesus’ teaching it is not. According to YOUR “teaching” it is.

    “‘Every historian recognizes that some history MUST be ignored.’”

    “Since when?”

    Since the Durants found in their 11-volume “Story of Civilization” they barely scratched the surface.

    “Well, yes, because perhaps the chief problem with the Catholic Church is its obsession with the concept of ‘authority.’”

    Actually that appears to be YOUR chief problem, and not just with the Catholic Church.

    Whether it is the Catholic Tradition plus Scripture, or the Orthodox Tradition and Councils, or the Protestant Solar Scriptura, every religion – including Christian – which purports to be revealed purports to teach with authority.

    Those portions of those faiths – e.g., the Episcopal Church USA, United Church of Christ – which bids adieu to that suffers within a short time drastic losses of membership.

    Apparently folks are looking for religion, not membership in a debating society.

    And obviously those who grew up with untreated oppositional defiant disorder do better in the debating society.

    “I’d explain further, but will not waste my time going there with you.”

    And furthermore not waste MY time, which you have been doing.

  • “The events fail rigorous historic and theological testing”.

    They fail the “fall up” test; when dropped, they fall down, not up.

    “Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.”

    That’s a bit of a strawman, attributing a rather thin definition to “current graduate theology teachings at many large Catholic universities”.

    In the Catholic Church, the Orthodox, traditional Anglicans and Lutherans, and others it is held that the heaven of the blessed is a special place with definite limits not within the earth, but, in accordance with the expressions of Scripture, without and beyond its limits. All further details regarding its locality and attributes are quite uncertain, and the Church has decided nothing on this subject beyond that.

    That dispenses with “Christ ‘s and Mary’s bodies are therefore not in Heaven”, “(t)he physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus’ crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary’s corpse) into heaven did not take place.” and the other Jesus Seminar speculations.

    “Addressing the historic inauthenticity of the post-resurrection sightings of Jesus of Nazareth.” should read “if the completely unsupported speculations of a small group of pie-eyed self-appointed experts were true”.

    “Luedemann notes: that ‘the historical yield is extremely meager.’ He accepts the early tradition that various disciples had visionary experiences, most probably located in Galilee, and that these experiences led to the founding of ‘a community which preached the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus as the Messiah and/or the Son of Man among their Jewish contemporaries.”

    is completely meaningless unless you think Luedemann actually knows what he’s talking about and is not just mechanically applying a hare-brained scheme to materials people with more intellectual and theological horsepower than he had parsed long before.

    And so on.

    Yes, if you start with the assumption 1=1=3, you can have great fun.

    Of course, every conclusion you draw will be wrong unless and until you accept that 1+1=2.

  • Re: “Of course, if it is irrelevant to point out the good that these folks have done, it is equally irrelevant to point out the bad.”  

    What part of “Christians don’t even live up to the claimed standards of their own religion” do you not comprehend? The “good” they may do, is irrelevant, if there is “bad” that they also do which runs counter to their own stated faith and the teachings they say they follow.  

    Yes, I know it sounds unfair to you … but too bad so sad, that’s just how it goes. Remember, this principle is based on Christianity itself, because as Jesus himself said, “a good tree cannot bear bad fruit.” What this means is that — again, according to your own Jesus! — no amount of “good fruit” borne by the tree matters, if it happens to bear even one “bad fruit.” That’s by Jesus’ reported standard, and the premise he set forth that one lone bad fruit means the entire tree is rotten.  

    Again, your Jesus said it. Not me. You can hang this on me all day if you wish, but no amount of your whining can ever magically change that reality.  

    Re: “You’ve skipped over each and every positive contribution that Christians have made to charity, welfare, art, science, law, and on and on and on.”  

    Yes, I have, and I will reiterate the reason for that: It’s because Christianity’s own principles teach that “a good tree cannot bear bad fruit” and that ANY tree which bears “bad fruit” is, by Jesus’ definition, “rotten.” Again, he said it. I didn’t come up with it … at all. If I’m using it against you, it’s only because he gave me that ammunition. There’s a solution, of course, which is for you to stop venerating the documents that contain this teaching (i.e. Matthew and Luke) but I doubt you want to go that far.  

    Re: “Actually that appears to be YOUR chief problem, and not just with the Catholic Church.”  

    No, it’s the R.C. Church’s problem. Not mine.  

    Re: “And furthermore not waste MY time, which you have been doing.”  

    If I’m wasting your time, why do you keep responding to me and ordering me what to think, say, and do … even if it what you demand of me contradicts your own Jesus’ reported teachings?  

    Look, this whole stinking religion belongs to YOU. Grow up and own it already. If you agree with Jesus’ teaching that only one “bad fruit” makes the entire tree of the Church “rotten,” then just admit that already. It won’t hurt you to admit your Church has failed to be what it should, and that those who’re part of it have failed to live up to Jesus’ own reported teachings. Really, that concession wouldn’t even be news to anyone … Christians have nearly a two-millennia history of not doing as Jesus instructed. What it will mean, for you, is that the moral authority your Church claims to have, doesn’t actually exist. It will also mean the Church will have to change, if it’s to return to its origins (as reported by early Christians in the gospels).  

    But, that’s not my problem. It’s yours, as a Christian and a Catholic. It’s your religion, and you’re accountable for it. Are you mature enough to take responsibility for your own religion’s failings and those of its followers? I doubt it. I really don’t know of any Christians who’ve shown that kind of maturity. And I haven’t seen anything from you that suggests you’re anything other than sanctimoniously infantile. But hey, you could surprise me.  

  • Apparently there was a first human, a first bird, a first elephant, and so on according to the knowledge accumulated in the last 2,000 years in science, biology, paleontology, and quite a few more disciplines.

    Original Sin is a theological matter, not a biological or scientific one.

    There are differences between Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic views but essentially they share a belief that a deity wished and wishes better for humanity than the current state of affairs, in the next life and in an end time in some form of this life.

    The entire notion that science contradicts Original Sin, then, is a hollow charade.

  • Apparently? Hahahahahahahahaha! At least you didn’t say presumably!

    Rather astounding ignorance, and really pretty lame, about the first anything from a guy who continually claims to be the smartest, bestest, logicalist guy in the room, ever. Not to mention, original sin is no longer part of the True? All of that theology about it was just metaphor? Ridiculous! It almost sounds as if you know you can’t ignore science, and so modify your “theology” accordingly. Why, you almost sound like a liberal Christian! But we know THAT can’t be true.

    The “deity” wished “better” for humans, and so he went through the whole cosmic melodrama. what an admission!

    Speaking of that, whatever happened to your co-zygote, Jose Carioca? he seems to have disappeared entirely, just after I pointed out that you two were likely the same person, given the virtually identical snideness in both literary and personal tastes? And if we were suddenly to hear from him, how would we know it wasn’t you just trying to deflect attention away from intellectual dishonesty?

    And by the way, the only Bob Arnzens I can find are either dead or basketball players. Not one that has written no less than four books!

    Oh, Bobby, Bobby, Bobby. Or Joe Joe Joe, whichever one of your multiple personalities is speaking now. What a tangled web we weave!!!

  • “Hahahahahahahahaha! At least you didn’t say presumably!”

    “Rather astounding ignorance, and really pretty lame, about the first anything from a guy who continually claims to be the smartest, bestest, logicalist guy in the room, ever.”

    So, you deny altogether that there was non-bird, then bird?

    http://assets.amuniversal.com/9bb43880060401361f1e005056a9545d

    You’re against evolution?

    “The ‘deity’ wished ‘better’ for humans, and so he went through the whole cosmic melodrama.”

    If you weren’t an ignorant twit, you’d have realized that was the basic theme of both Judaism and Christianity. Of course what made it a melodrama was free will.

    Having to make sense in a conversation, unlike your posts over at JoeMyGod where you can just crap on Christianists, doesn’t suit you very well, does it?

  • BTW, first there was no bird, then there was bird…

    That,s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.

    I’ll let others deal with this. I have to cook a six course dinner for 16. first there was non dinner, then there was dinner.

    And oh, yes!

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  • “What part of ‘Christians don’t even live up to the claimed standards of their own religion’ do you not comprehend?”

    What part of “some Christians don’t live up to the standards of their own religion and as a result are going to be punished” do you not comprehend?”

    “The ‘good’ they may do, is irrelevant, if there is ‘bad’ that they also do which runs counter to their own stated faith and the teachings they say they follow.”

    “Yes, I know it sounds unfair to you … “

    No, it actually sounds irrational.

    The religion itself says that the good and bad will mingle in this life and be judged in the next.

    Somehow you’ve scrapped their entire theology – as though you were competent to do so – and taken “a good tree cannot bear bad fruit” to mean “one bad Christian, and Christianity is sh-t”.

    Do you apply that anywhere else? To yourself? To your family? To a spouse?

    That’s not just irrational, black and white, and unsupported – it’s weird.

    “It’s because Christianity’s own principles teach that ‘a good tree cannot bear bad fruit’ and that ANY tree which bears ‘bad fruit’ is, by Jesus’ definition, ‘rotten.’”

    It’s unfortunate that you have no idea at all what that means. However, having reached your conclusion and trying to build a box to support it, you’ve spun it into what fits your bill.

    It actually ties into the faith and good works issues discussed in Christianity.

    Can a piker with no belief and no morals do “good works”?

    Is “belief” sufficient?

    “Look, this whole stinking religion belongs to YOU.”

    Oddly, I actually did not come up with it.

  • I believe that actually refers to the two terms of Bill “I did not have sex with THAT woman” Clinton.

  • I agree with the proposition that Pope Francis has humanistic values.

    Catholics apparently were expecting him to have Catholic values.

  • Actually that is how it works.

    If it didn’t work that way, you would be an amoeba.

    Although you may in fact be a particularly articulate bonobo.

  • No, which is why I did not express a taking of offense.

    I understand you’ve been getting away with sophistry and falala for some time, and are having some difficulties actually trying to make logical sense and adduce facts.

  • “Do you apply that anywhere else? To yourself? To your family? To a spouse?“. Actually, I’m more interested to know if she applies it to atheism. That would be a hoot.

    Not, of course, to point out the obvious problem with that view — that Jesus was talking about individuals in the passage in question, not institutions. Over the millennia multitudes of individuals have fallen away, but Israel remains and so does the Church.

  • You did not address Aquinas’ or JPll’s views of heaven and hell nor have you read Professor Luedemann’s Jesus After 2000 Years so your banter has no meaning. Then there is Professor Crossan’s inventory and the other Faith Future supported citations you failed to read and or recognize. Conclusion: you are stiil trapped in the NT box and I obviously am not the one to set you free. You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink . I have no more water to offer.

  • Exegesis is not Psi Cop’s forté.

    I have already applied it for Ben in Oakland, who makes a somewhat similar argument against “religionists”, to atheism.

    His response seems to involve a belief it is only fair to apply the criterion to religions.

  • Why not sit back and just let dinner evolve?

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  • You did not ask me to address Aquinas’ or JPll’s views.

    Do you want me to? If so, why?

    You have an inexhaustible supply of malarkey, er, “material“ and I have a finite amount of time and interest.

    Crossan’s nonsense is of minor importance in the big picture. I appreciate you’re an adherent, but dealing with him as a major player is like giving credence to the latest edition of the Watchtower.

    I am still trapped in the Big Picture it’s a religion box, while you and Crossan are trapped in the 1+1=3 box. Since I’m not a true believer, it’s unlikely I am going to join you two.

    And I hate to be the one to tell you but that ain’t water.

  • And if your interlocutor insists on such application, simply reclassify atheists as theists.

    And when that fails, one must of course turn to the collection of mostly excrement-themed epithets.

    It’s quite easy to learn the volley pattern around here. Reminds me of the “Blip” I got for Christmas in 1977.

  • Richard Rex is Professor of Reformation History at the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge, Polkinghorne Fellow in Theology and Religious Studies at Queen’s College, Cambridge, and Director of Studies in Theology, Queen’s College Cambridge.

    Mark Silk presents not a scintilla of evidence that Professor Rex opposes Pope Francis in any way for advocating on behalf of poor folks or immigrants or for criticizing unfettered capitalism or for urging protection of the planet, but he brings up that issue both at the beginning and the end of his column. Why?

    Since Professor Rex’s historical studies are deeply involved with the issues surrounding Henry VIII’s marriages and the English Reformation, it should be no surprise that he thinks Catholic doctrine on marriage is really, really important, important enough to risk losing England for Catholicism and important enough to risk literally losing one’s head back in the day. I suspect Professor Rex would also disagree with the Eastern Orthodox position on marriage and not consider it or other issues as minor as Professor Silk does.

    I am not a Catholic, and I am trying to observe the current controversy dispassionately. I can see arguments on both sides. Based on what I have seen presented in the Spiritual Politics column and the First Things article, to imply that Professor Rex and those who might agree with him are obsessed, deranged, or suffering from a syndrome is simply mean-spirited advocacy journalism, hurling cheap insults at a distinguished historian. I would appreciate an article on this subject written in a less caustic manner.

  • I was referring to the period in the West from 313 BCE when Christianity was made the state religion of Rome to the beginning of the enlightenment which occurred at the beginning of the 17th century. From the time of Constantine, the Christians began by destroying the knowledge of Greece and Rome. During the remainder of this time they savagely persecuted those with any knowledge that differed from the dogma of the Church. The Reformation did not end this persecution, only its sources.

  • According to history, not anti-Christianist screeds, the “Dark Age” derived from the use of the phrase Latin “saeculum obscurum”, applied by Caesar Baronius in 1602 to a tumultuous period in the 10th and 11th centuries.

    This came to be used as a historical periodization referring to the Middle Ages, based on the assertion that a demographic, cultural, and economic deterioration occurred in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire.

    When the accomplishments of the era came to be better appreciated, scholars began restricting the “Dark Ages” appellation to the Early Middle Ages (c. 5th–10th century). It is rarely used these days by scholars because it is misleading and inaccurate.

    Attributing it to “the Christians … destroying the knowledge of Greece and Rome” has zero historical grounding. In fact the Christian monasteries and schools were the preservers of the Greek and Roman knowledge.

  • Re: “What part of ‘some Christians don’t live up to the standards of their own religion and as a result are going to be punished’ do you not comprehend?”  

    What part of “a good tree does not bear bad fruit” did you not understand from your gospels? That any Christians fail to live up to their religion is — by Jesus’ standards — an indictment of the whole thing. Why do you keep rejecting that notion? Are Jesus’ teachings so repugnant to you that you’d reject them out-of-hand?  

    Re: “No, it actually sounds irrational.”  

    Maybe it is, but again, it’s not MY teaching. It’s YOURS. YOU picked the religion that has it as a basic premise. Either accept it, and be a Christian, or reject it, and join some other faith.  

    Re: “Do you apply that anywhere else? To yourself? To your family? To a spouse?”  

    What I would do with it, is irrelevant. It’s not my teaching. It’s not part of my religion. It’s Jesus’ teaching, and it’s part of his religion … and yours.  

    Re: “It’s unfortunate that you have no idea at all what that means.”  

    It’s you who doesn’t understand it. Jesus spelled it out pretty clearly, so let’s have a go at it, again, just so you’re clear on it:  

    “By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.” (Mt 7:16-20)  

    Jesus was unambiguous: “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit.” I can’t understand why the plain meaning of this escapes you, but it does.  

    Re: “It actually ties into the faith and good works issues discussed in Christianity.”  

    What does any of that matter, if there are Christians who supposedly revere Jesus and his teachings, yet refuse to live by them? You realize, I hope, that you’ve just declared yourself one of those false Christians, don’t you? You openly and explicitly have rejected the idea that “a good tree cannot bear bad fruit.”  

    Re: “Can a piker with no belief and no morals do ‘good works’?  

    Irrelevant. What DOES matter, and is the only point to be considered here — since it’s a premise laid down by none other than the founder of your religion — “a good tree cannot bear bad fruit.”  

    Re: “Is ‘belief’ sufficient?”  

    Irrelevant. What DOES matter, and is the only point to be considered here — since it’s a premise laid down by none other than the founder of your religion — “a good tree cannot bear bad fruit.”  

    Re: “Oddly, I actually did not come up with it.”  

    No, but you joined it … and are part of it, of your own volition. If you dislike any of its teachings or premises — above, you called one of them “irrational” so clearly you DO have problems with some of it — then leave Christianity and join some other religion you find more to your taste.  

  • “What part of ‘a good tree does not bear bad fruit’ did you not understand from your gospels?”

    You never tire of making it clear you have no idea about that of which you speak, do you?

    In the sense that you’re proposing it, you have Jesus saying that the church he himself is founding will be a bad tree.

    Of course what it actually refers to is individuals. Judas was a bad tree and bore bad fruit.

    That more or less puts a torpedo at the waterline into the rest of your argument.

    I spent a few minutes going through two dozen or so expositions of the passage, and found zero that saw it your way.

    “That any Christians fail to live up to their religion is – by Jesus’ standards – an indictment of the whole thing. Why do you keep rejecting that notion?”

    Because it is half-baked, incorrect, bullsh-t, eccentric, and self-tailored to fit your argument.

    Now, if you can find in your free time in between rants some expositor, theologian, or other person who actually knows their way around the source material who sees it your way and provide a url so we can all read it and consider it, I’ll be happy to revisit the passage.

    “’No, it actually sounds irrational.’”

    “Maybe it is, but again, it’s not MY teaching.”

    In fact it appears to be ONLY YOUR teaching based on an eccentric reading of a passage to mean something no one else has ever interpreted it to mean.

    But almost every conversation in which you enter into disputation heads in much the same way, since no one can tell YOU what to do, eh?

  • Re: “You never tire of making it clear you have no idea about that of which you speak, do you?”  

    I know what I’m talking about. Words are on the page. They mean something. Why am I in the wrong, somehow, for pointing them out to you? Are you implying those words aren’t there? As though I fabricated them?  

    Well, I didn’t. See them at the Vatican Web site, if you want: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__PVG.HTM

    Re: “Because it is half-baked, incorrect, bullsh-t, eccentric, and self-tailored to fit your argument.”  

    My argument is predicated on YOUR scripture. I’ve said it before and will repeat: If you don’t like the premise, join some other religion that doesn’t include it in its teachings. OK? Getting sanctimoniously enraged at me because of it, won’t help you, and is childish.  

    Re: “Now, if you can find in your free time in between rants some expositor, theologian, or other person who actually knows their way around the source material …”  

    Unlike the vast majority of Christians, I need no one to guide me about “the source material.” In the case of the gospels, I can read them in their original language (κοινη Greek) and am also well-versed in Greco-Roman civilization and literature. Moreover, there were no “theologians” in the time during which the gospels were composed. They weren’t written with an eye toward “theology,” so theologians cannot shed any light on why those words were written. All they can do is analyze and interpret those words. They may do that very well, as far as you’re concerned, but they cannot (by definition) accomplish what you’re telling me they’re able to do.  

    Re: “In fact it appears to be ONLY YOUR teaching based on an eccentric reading of a passage to mean something no one else has ever interpreted it to mean.”  

    There’s nothing “eccentric” about it. The meaning of “a good tree cannot bear bad fruit” is clear, unambiguous, and unmistakable. I have no idea why you find it so oppressive, or why you view these words as an attack on you. They mean what they mean. I know what they mean; the question is, why don’t you? Why do do insist they mean something other than they mean? Why are being so infantile about it?  

  • “I know what I’m talking about.”

    If so, you’ll find one more person who agrees with you and cite him or her.

    “My argument is predicated on YOUR scripture.”

    Your argument was based on “history”, now it’s “predicated on YOUR scripture”.

    No, it’s based on the conclusion you reached.

    The rest of this eyewash is backfill to make it look like more.

    “Unlike the vast majority of Christians, I need no one to guide me about ‘the source material.’”

    If this shoddy exegesis you’ve done on Matthew is any hint, you need a ton of guidance.

    “There’s nothing ‘eccentric’ about it. The meaning of “a good tree cannot bear bad fruit” is clear, unambiguous, and unmistakable.”

    It is certainly is, and every exegete, commenter, and theologian who comments on it arrives at a conclusion other than the one you arrive at.

    Go ahead, tell us now that you’re on expert on the Scriptures.

    So, in summary, your passage from Matthew says what the Catholic Church says it says, that the wolf among the sheep, or the bad tree in the orchard, or the chaff amongst the wheat, will be segregated out and burned – in the end.

    In the meantime we mingle with evil and good every day, even in churches.

  • Interestingly, RNS is now intercepting my responses to you. I’ve posted several, but all have been blocked. I guess you’re too precious a snowflake to have to endure being corrected!

    I have no idea if you’ll see this, but I’ll leave you with Jesus’ own warning to his followers, which I think you need to pay attention to:

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’” (Mt 7:21-23)

  • You are correct that the term ”Dark Ages” has been used by various historians to describe differing time periods.
    The destruction of classical knowledge and torturous prosecution to prevent the discovery of new knowledge is historical fact. This happened at the times I mentioned. I will call this period the era of Christian oppression and suppression of knowledge. Here is a single example of the kind of things Christians with political power did:

    “One day on the streets of Alexandria, Egypt, in the year 415 or 416, a mob of Christian zealots led by Peter the Lector accosted a woman’s carriage and dragged her from it and into a church, where they stripped her and beat her to death with roofing tiles. They then tore her body apart and burned it. Who was this woman and what was her crime? Hypatia was one of the last great thinkers of ancient Alexandria and one of the first women to study and teach mathematics, astronomy and philosophy. Though she is remembered more for her violent death, her dramatic life is a fascinating lens through which we may view the plight of science in an era of religious and sectarian conflict.”
    Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/hypatia-ancient-alexandrias-great-female-scholar-10942888/#FcDHwZrvH5vyZ6yc.99

  • The preservation of classical knowledge by the Christian church is historical fact.

    A period of Christian oppression and suppression of knowledge is not.

    Calling “Peter the Lector” and his band “Christian zealots” is less than accurate.

    Peter was a “parabalani”. They began as hospital attendants during a plague in Alexandria in the second half of the 3rd century.

    Draw from the lowest classes and uneducated, their presence at public gatherings or in the theaters was forbidden by law. At first they performed works of mercy, but they gradually became “bodyguards” for the bishop of Alexandria.

    The Codex Theodosianus placed them under the supervision of the praefectus augustalis, the imperial governor of Roman Egypt.

    Because their fanaticism resulted in riots, successive laws limited their numbers.

    By Justinian I’s time they were extinct.

    Hypatia advised Orestes, the Roman prefect of Alexandria, who was in the midst of a feud with Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria. Rumors spread accusing her of preventing Orestes from reconciling with Cyril. While the parabalani were believed to have helped murder Hypatia, the evidence is conflicting.

    If they did, it was not as Christians but as assassins for someone who wanted Cyril to reconcile with Orestes. In other words, it was a political assassination whoever did it.

  • If they’re “intercepting” them, they violate either RNS’ or Disqus’ rules and provisions.

    I stand by what I wrote.

  • Why not sit back and just let dinner evolve?

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  • Re: “If they’re “intercepting” them, they violate either RNS’ or Disqus’ rules and provisions.”  

    They don’t, being little different from what I’ve posted to you in the past and which they allowed (you’re good at forcing me to repeat myself), but you just go right ahead and tell yourself they do. What RNS is doing is protecting you, because (as I said) you’re a precious snowflake.  

    And you should stand by what your Jesus told you, not by what you wrote. If you want to be a good Christian, that is. 

  • I suspect Mr Harrison is a believer in the pop myth about Christians burning the library of Alexandria— which was already destroyed before Christ was ever born.

  • In light of the usual progression of Psico(p)’s commentary, her posts have probably become too angry and abusive for even the mods here to stomach.

    Considering some of the filth the potato spews without incident, it must be pretty bizarre.

  • You can contact RNS or Disqus for details.

    The notion that “What RNS is doing is protecting you, because (as I said) you’re a precious snowflake.’ fits into your rather bizarre take on just about everything.

    You couldn’t read your way out of a scriptural paper bag, so I take your advice for what it is worth.

  • Re: “You can contact RNS or Disqus for details.”  

    There are no means for doing so. I expected they’d notify me of a problem, but they have not. So I cannot safely assume there was one.  

  • I can tell you I did not flag any of your posts.

    It is conceivable that someone else did for some reason.

    If you go to:

    https://disqus.com/by/PsiCop/

    you should be able to see the status of all your posts, and if any of them were removed or moderated they will be so indicated.

  • “…makes millions…!

    The donations requested by tribunals generally cover about half their expenses. And these are waived at the drop of a hat.

    You would do well to expand your research beyond Jack Chick comics and The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk.

  • Well, you provide no evidence for your claim, so there. My point was not the millions, but the hypocrisy of dissolving marriages that are supposed to be un-diossolvable.

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