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September 13th, 2011
09:44 AM ET

Top Irish Catholic cleric calls for church to end celibacy for priests

By Peter Taggart, CNN

Belfast, Northern Ireland (CNN) - A respected former Catholic bishop in Ireland is calling for an end to clerical celibacy in the wake of the sex abuse scandals that have rocked the church worldwide, and says he finds it "heartbreaking" that some prospective priests turn away from the calling because of the celibacy rule.

In his recently published book, "A Troubled See, Memoirs of a Derry Bishop," Dr. Edward Daly said that allowing clergymen to marry would ease many of the church's problems.

There needs to be a place in the modern Catholic church for a married priesthood, said Daly, a prominent figure in the Catholic church in Ireland and the most senior Irish cleric to question the Vatican's celibacy rule.

Daly, 77, reiterated his views in local radio interviews in Northern Ireland Tuesday.

"There will always be a place in the church for a celibate priesthood, but there should also be a place for a married priesthood in the church. I think priests should have the freedom to marry if they wish," the former bishop said.

"It may create a whole new set of problems but I think it's something that should be considered.

The retired bishop said he was worried about the decreasing number of priests and the number of older priests. The issue "needs to be addressed and addressed urgently," Daly said, adding that he finds it "heartbreaking" that priests were forced to resign or prospective priests were unable to join the priesthood because of the celibacy rule.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told CNN Tuesday: "The position on celibacy is clear."

Daly said he accepted he might be out of step with current Vatican thinking, but he was "not engaged in a popularity contest."

His comments are expected to ignite fresh debate within the church as the number of priests continues to fall amid the international controversy over child sex abuse and a number of damning reports on pedophile priests in Ireland.

The retired bishop also addresses the issue of abuse in his book, saying he is "heartbroken and appalled that fellow clergy could engage in such horrible criminal acts against the most vulnerable." He said he was deeply ashamed and profoundly shocked there were so many instances of child sex abuse by clergy in Ireland and throughout the world.

Daly was Bishop of Derry from 1974 until 1993, during the height of the Northern Ireland conflict. As a priest, he was photographed waving a white handkerchief as he led a group carrying a dying victim of the Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry in 1972.

The picture became an iconic image of "the Troubles" - a term used to describe the 30 years of violence between pro-British and pro-Irish forces in Northern Ireland. Much of his memoir is devoted to that violence, but he called the issue of celibacy "the other conflict."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Ireland • Sex

soundoff (784 Responses)
  1. Reality

    Ending celibacy for priests will not solve the problem since 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.

    Then there is the high divorce rate. Will parishnors have to pay for the pastor's alimony?

    Mas-turbation might be the easier solution? A pill to temporarily control the se-x urge?

    But then there is this:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.
    ===========================================================================================

    September 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Logician

      @ Reality: this is about available talent and the priestly talent pool, not about nothing else. BTW: who hurt you?

      September 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  2. oooog3210

    PS:
    "but I did so to motive people to love and adore me"
    It's "motivate," genius.

    September 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Colin

      Yes, and a second typo I made was to say 3,700,000 years instead of 3,700,000,000 years. Do you ahve any substantive points to make?

      September 13, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • oooog3210

      Yes 1) It's "have" not "ahve" 2) the reason everyone got up in arms over your lengthy discussion is that you spoke as if you were God in the first person and you were belittling and childish instead of bringing up those points as an adult 3) I have had this conversation with many people who are atheists/agnostics/humanists and their arguments are more intelligible than yours, and we politely agree to disagree in the end (PS my best friend is an atheist) 4) Read the Bible, then we will talk. You are only discussing and contradicting a small part which is in the Old Testament and failing to discuss the New Testament, so if you're presenting a case against all of Christianity, please read it first, then we can discuss.

      September 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Jepumy

      Sorry oooog3210, but I think it's you that need to read the Bible. The Old Testament doesn't mention Hell *once*. In fact Colin completely ignored everything in the Old Testament (such as Genesis) in place of real science.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  3. Freeman1

    I was born-n-raised catholic, just like the baptist, you read any version of the good book and there is nothing mentioned that the apostles were not married, nor that anyone "willing to give up all that you have and follow me" were not held or bound by a consenting relationship such as marriage. Yeah & behold a light that YES priest should be allowed to marry. Men & women have the natural God given gift of bearing fruit which joins these people as in the beggining.

    September 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  4. jennyy

    is too little -too late. it has become a way of live for priest to molest young boys

    September 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • how

      are you one of those?

      September 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  5. oooog3210

    Any grown man who touches a child inappropriately is committing a FELONY

    September 13, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Bibletruth

      Gee guys, always let the wives change the diapers..lol

      September 13, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
  6. Sun

    Serving GOD is a very high calling

    As Jesus said those of you want to serve

    Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

    September 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • True

      Agreed, it is a very high calling and demands a lot of an individual. Those who served truly what a blessing they are to this world!!!

      The likes of Mother Teresa and others who never got the earthly recognition!

      September 13, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Reality

      Did the simple preacher man really say that i.e Mark 8:34? Many contempory NT scholars have studied said passage. Many conclude that is was not authentic.

      e.g. Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 57-58.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Bibletruth

      Yes, every believer is a servant of God, a priest, (the priesthood of believers) a child of God,

      September 14, 2011 at 12:00 am |
  7. rick perrytwit... slack jawed bible thumper

    Here in Texas we believe that it's ok for a priest to boink his cousin if he wants to. We all do that anyways down here.

    September 13, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  8. Tom

    I dont believe a pedophile would be interested in marriage. What is the difference between a Catholic priest and Warren Jeffs? Absolutely nothing. Chances are.....I only believe in one less god than you.

    September 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  9. Colin

    Basic Catholic Philosophy – at least for those who do not believe in the talking snake theory of the origins of the Universe:

    I am a god about to create a Universe. So, I decide to do so. I then sit back and wait 10,000,000,000 years for heavier chemicals to form in the first generations of stars, for those stars to go nova and for their heavy elements spread across the cosmos for eventual incorporation into planets. A long time, given that I am all powerful and could have got straight to the point, but whatever.

    I create 200,000,000,000 galaxies, EACH with 100,000,000,000 stars. One particular planet, which was the whole reason I created the other 200,000,000,000,000,000,000 likely stars and planets in the first place, I cause life to slowly evolve into h.omo sapiens over a 3,700,000 year timespan. At some point, I endow this one species with a soul (whatever that is) and set up a heaven, hell, purgatory, limbo etc. where they can “go” after they die. This was my whole reason for making the entire thing. This one species on one planet. So, to let them know about me, I do not do anything unambiguously miraculous, like appearing in the sky every morning. No, I send my son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in Iron Age Palestine. That was helpful.

    I did not have to create hell, where non-believers and other sinners will burn forever in an agony that would turn the stomach of even the most heinous of torturers, because I am omnipotent, but I did so to motive people to love and adore me. Over 10 billion people have lived on the planet, and many of them have denied me or committed other mortal sins, such as missing the Sabbath or worshipping other gods. They are currently burning. Some of them have been burning for over 2,000 years. Newcomers arrive every day. Of the 100,000 odd people who die every day, I send a large number to writhe in eternal agony. It is a constant stream of souls, with no way out, no parole, no time off for good behavior.

    While, there are a large numbers of murderers in hell, that’s just the start of it. You don’t have to kill, you don’t have to steal, you don’t even have to litter. All you have to do is displease me by refusing to believe in me, and I will impose a penalty on you an infinite times worse than the death penalty. There has never been a criminal system set up in the history of the Earth, by even the most despotic of governments, that comes close to the sheer barbarity of what I do to billions of souls every day. Hitler’s ovens don’t hold a candle to what I do. Pol Pot’s Killing fields and the medieval torture chambers of the Catholic Church are health spas compared to my pit of fire. Do the math. I inflict more pain and suffering in one morning than Hitler achieved during his entire career.

    I do all this because I am a loving and merciful god who loves you and wants nothing but the best for you.

    It is odd, because, in addition to being omnipotent, I am omniscient and I know those humans who will fail me and burn forever even before I even create them. I could elect not to, but where’s the fun in that. I am a little like a psychopathic teen who regularly breeds a large litter of kittens, so he can select a few to burn in an oven for their entire lives.

    How does it feel to be so loved?

    September 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Johnny

      Amen!

      September 13, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Sauce

      .....I don't even know where to begin to pick this apart.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • oooog3210

      Wow, you really have a lot of time on your hands, don't you?

      September 13, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • BRC

      @Sauce,
      That will make it rather difficult to debate then. Shame really, I tend to enjoy Colin's hypotheticals and lists, becasue they are set up in a way that is great for engaging debate and discussion; but they are rarely if ever met with any logical rebuttals or questions. Mostly just notes about his questionable beliefs, undoubtably weak moral character, and I think some one took a shot at his personal hygiene once.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • tad pole

      If it isn't real, then how come so many people believe in it? No, no, I'm just teasing with that one. 😀

      September 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • MarkTreeman23

      Well put. And scarily accurrate. The old I get the more I doubt my Catholic teachings. Much of it makes no sense, as you have do deftly pointed out. "Why are we here'?" The answer? "To adore God". Seems a bit self-serving of God, doesn't it? And why are WE so lucky to be the "chosen ones"?? And everyone who's not been Baptized and who's not asked forgiveness of their mortal sins (like not going to church on Sunday....) will burn for eternity, as you say? Is it any wonder that the most "religious" countries also tend to be the most poor and least educated??

      September 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • A Theist

      I will gladly debate the topics concerning the creation of the universe, as well as the topic of Hell with you. Keep in mind though, that because we are discussing Theology (why the universe was created the way it was, etc.), we need to agree on a few givens before going forth. If we don't stand on the same a priori assumptions, the debate will quickly go nowhere.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Jay

      The bottom line of atheism or materialism is that there is no throne; there is no seat of authority or power that all the universe must answer to; the bottom of humanism is that there is a throne – but man sits upon it. Essentially, man cannot live without the concept of a throne; so if he de-thrones God, he will inescapably place himself or some other man upon the throne (such as Lenin, Stalin, and Mao did).

      September 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Nicole

      Colin, you should turn your analytical skills to things that you understand. Faith is not one of them, and I'm not certain I understand why you find it necessary to belittle with ignorant and grossly simplified stereotypes a vastly varied and complex tradition that millions of people (some of them even as smart as you, perhaps) believe earnestly. It makes me sad that a lot of people will read what you've written and think, "Ooo, he has a point," because you can spell and write in complete sentences, and will think that because they've seen it on the internet, your interpretation must be representative of what Christianity teaches, as opposed to displaying the nuanced theological understanding of a seven year old.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • ThinkForYourself

      Nicole – can you actually rebut any points that Colin has made? Your post just makes it seems like you're pouting because you don't refute a single thing. Colin's looking at something from a perspective that people might not consider. Why is independent thought a bad thing? Because it makes you question your beliefs?

      September 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • BRC

      @Jay,
      Can't say I totally agree with you, and you might find it difficult to find anyone else who is willing to say that either Stalin or Mao were humanists. Humanism doesn't say that there is one most important person, it says what is best for all people is most important (or some variation of that sentiment).

      September 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • A Theist

      @ThinkForYourself I can, and it sounds like Nicole can too, but the point Nicole was making is that Colin is asserting that Christianity is absurd, but he's coming from a naive perspective of the faith. (For one thing, he doesn't believe in a God, so it stands to reason he'll interpret everything else as absurd from there). We can debate Theology with someone who doesn't fully understand its principles any more than I could debate about Philosophy with an actual Philosophy major. Not to say that we should understand everything, but as I mentioned in my previous comment, if we don't agree on certain Givens going into the logical debate, we can make no ground in any direction.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • A Theist

      "We can debate Theology..." should be "We can't debate Theology..."

      September 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Colin

      The criticisms toposts such as this, which I post regularly, are always the same: (i) I am wrong to say such things and obviously suffer from a fundamental personality flaw in order to so publicly disagree with established Catholic doctrine; (ii) I do not understand Catholicism and do now know what I am talking about – with no details of my errors given; (iii) I will get my comeuppance for having the audacity to disagree with the Church, when the god who loves me sentences me a an eternity of burning in hell due to my skepticism; or (iv) I must be a loser with too much time on my hands to write such a long posts – essentially a slightly different adumbration of point (i) above.

      Rarely will a Catholic actually specifically take issue with one of my points. I wish they would.

      A theist and Nicole, as is clear, my basic points are (i) what we now know of the size, complexity and age of the Universe makes a mockery of basic Catholic doctrine; and (ii) the wole concept of a loving god creating and maintaining hell is so self-contradictory as to, itself, reveal a pretty basic flaw in Catholic beliefs. I would happily engage on either point.

      A Theist – what are the agreed parameters you wish.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • BRC

      @A Theist,
      But that "naive" view of the faith isn't necessarily a bad thing, and the discussion between people who were and people who were not indoctrinated into the faith is a good thing. Whenever I hear the response "well, you didn't grow up with it so you don't understand" it bothers me. People don't grow up being taught physics, but you live with it, and you experience it, and when the material is presented to you, no matter how little exposure you've had before, you can understand it. Magnests attract opposite polarities, gravity pulls toward teh center of mass, blah blah blah, same can be said for math, and most of the physical sciences. They actualyl make sense.

      BUT, if you don't have prior exposure, religion, at first glance, and for many people even after third or fourth close examination, doesn't. There are many "contradictions and inconsistancies", lots of little things that don't mesh with the world we see with our eyes, that take faith to overcome. People have to have it explained to them in just the right way so that they grasp at least some portion of it, so they can work their way through the rest. It is, generally speaking, at odds with our way of thinking. You have even admitted to being a healthy skeptic that worked through it. If it was was that inherent, if "God" was that perfect and engrained into us, wouldn't it click, automatically, without hesitation?

      It doesn't so people who haven't been indoctrinated, who haven't spent their lives accepting and believing, don't understand what's being said. To us, it doesn't make sense. And that is perfectly valid grounds for discussion. Colin's view is how it seems to "naive" outsiders. So the question goes to those who are in the know- how is he wrong? What don't we understand? What part are we misinterpreting, how did you overcome it. People don't need to agree to debate or discuss, they just have to be civil.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • A Theist

      @BRC

      Everybody at some point will have a "naive" view of faith. And I would agree that growing up in the faith does not make one an expert. I argue that research and individual thinking develop a faith from naivete to understanding. The problem I take is when someone with a naive understanding then makes ultimatums and conclusions about the ideas behind the principle, instead of asking questions and investigating. A perfect example of this is special relativity–which I admit to only have a basic understanding of myself. I could say, "Look how stupid this idea is! It says that we can alter time just by moving fast enough! Does that really mean that I'm aging slower when I'm driving on the freeway?" We both know that mathematics and experiments have proven Special Relativity, but with my simple interpretation I made faulty conclusions. My philosophy is: never resolve to know anything with absolute certainty, but always ask and search for the truth, and resolve on what you can best conclude.

      if "God" was that perfect and engrained into us, wouldn't it click, automatically, without hesitation?
      I think you are misreading my point about naivete to be a criticism of skepticism. I believe that anyone can find God, if they search with an open mind (not an open mind that says "I am going to find God" but a mind that says "I will listen to both sides fairly to the best of my ability). That's a whole debate on its own, but it sort of goes back to my belief that it would be wrong of God to declare Himself known with absolute certainty.

      how is he wrong? What don't we understand? What part are we misinterpreting, how did you overcome it. People don't need to agree to debate or discuss, they just have to be civil. I agree, let's turn to the debate at hand.

      @Colin
      I am no Catholic, but in many ways it appears your questions are posed to Christians in general (who believe in a more literal interpretation of Genesis, etc.) so I will debate your points from this standpoint. As I mentioned earlier, we need to agree on some Theological underpinnings before going forth. For me, these are:
      1) The Bible is the word of God, and therefore is accurate and the authority that describes the nature of God.
      2) I believe that the Bible should be interpreted wholistically, historically, and contextually. I believe it should also be interpreted from the standpoint that the authors believed what they wrote.
      3) I denounce the additional books of the Old Testament added by the Catholic Church (they won't be included here).
      4) I believe in the Scientific Method.
      5) I believe that while the Bible gives us a good and sufficient view of God, it does not necessarily give us an entire view of God–that is, the Bible does not claim to describe everything about God, but what it does say about God is accurate.
      6) I believe the authors of the OT believed in the same God as the authors of the NT.

      If you can accept (hypothetically of course) these premises going in to the debate, we can discuss the Theology you have mentioned. I will say that the Givens I have listed are my own conclusions that I have derived through contemplation and a skeptical evaluation of the Bible and the Christian faith.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • A Theist

      Oh and 7) The Bible does not claim to include every detail to a story, but each book gives what the author considers as the important details. That is, so long as two stories do not claim that two different events occurred simultaneously, then it requires more substance to even be considered as a "contradiction." (this is another debatable topic as well, but for the sake of argument we will assume this to be true).

      September 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @A Theist: You're leaving out on very important assumption: 0) God exists.

      Not to hijack the thread, but instead of debating the theology, I'd much rather hear your answers to BRC's questions that you glossed over:

      "how is he wrong? What don't we understand? What part are we misinterpreting, how did you overcome it."

      September 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • A Theist

      @SeanNJ
      Not to hijack the thread, but instead of debating the theology, I'd much rather hear your answers to BRC's questions that you glossed over:

      "how is he wrong? What don't we understand? What part are we misinterpreting, how did you overcome it."

      If you are interested in why I believe what I believe I can certainly debate you from there. But the reason I engaged the Theological area is because Colin was raising Theological questions, such as: why did God take His time making a lot of nothingness in the Universe? Why did God make Hell? Why does God "send" people to Hell? All of these questions already presuppose your 0th given, that God exists. If we don't come to the same assumptions (whether we necessarily believe them or not) about the existence of God, how can I debate the nature of something the other side doesn't even believe exists? It'd be like arguing about what the diet of Unicorns are, when I don't believe that Unicorns exist but you believe an ancient and credible manuscript explains their existence and gives a detailed account of their habits–though not explicitly their diet.

      Very well, we can debate the existence of God if you would like. Not to make you feel bad, but in a sense it does hijack the thread a bit, since that wasn't what Colin posed, but I'm more than willing to take this to where everyone else does. Let's grapple with the notion of the existence of God. Where would you like to begin?

      September 13, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @A Theist: I'll be a little more specific whilst you're proofreading chapter 5 of your next post...

      Unless there's something about the definitions of the words omnipotent, omniscient, loving and merciful that would be contentious; and unless you are NOT attaching each and every one of those attributes to your idea of god, then I simply do not understand what is being misconstrued. Engaging in any further discussion about the theology without addressing these few elements is like arguing over the particular color and size of Russell's teapot.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • A Theist

      @SeanNJ

      No, that's fine, I will defend these claims. Here is my line of reasoning:
      First I came to the conclusion that it is more likely that a God or gods exist than do not->
      I then proceeded to see if any faith was able to stand up against skepticism and evaluation->
      The Bible proved to be not only the most accurate, but also completely consistent and credible as a historical and theological docu.ment->
      According to the Bible, God is omnipotent, omniscient, loving and merciful, and after doing my share of contextual research and textual evaluation, I found this to be an accurate depiction.

      My point is, we can't even discuss the most recent conclusion until you've–hypothetically at least–accepted all notions prior to it. It has to do with Logical Tra.nsitivity. That's what I mean by Colin's post being "Theological." So I open it to the first premise, that God likely exists. Does that make sense?

      September 13, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Colin

      A Theist – in order to engage in a debate about the veracity of Christian beliefs, you require us, as a premise, to accept the veracity of christian beliefs.

      Sorry mate, I'm out.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • A Theist

      No Colin, my point is: the questions you "raise" require answers that inevitably need their own explanation. My short answer is, the Bible demo.nstrates that God is loving and merciful, and that your interpretation of Hell is inaccurate. If I then use the Bible to show you these points, you'll say, I don't find the Bible to be accurate, in which case I'll have to explain why I believe the Bible to be accurate. If you don't believe the Bible to be the word of God, how can you accept the notion that God is loving and merciful? If you don't believe in God, I'd gather you couldn't be convinced that the Bible is His word, could you? So you raise issues with a text you don't consider to be authentic in the first place.

      Do any of you know how rhetoric works and what Ethos is? Learn some logic, people.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • BRC

      @Atheist,
      I hate to have to go, because I dont' want to just walk away from a conversation, and I know you're trying to engage, which is rare and appreciated; but works done I'm leaving. That being said, I tihnk I see one of the major stumbling bloks to this particular conversation. The premise that I think Colin is putting forward (sorry if I'm misreading you), and that I know I feel, is not that god is bad, it's that the good of Christianity is bad. So we CAN'T accept the assumptions that the bible is the word of God, or that the God of the BIble is omnicient, omniopotent, and still merciful and all loving, because our interpretations of the source material (and I think we can agree that we're both pretty well read for heathens) is that the Biblical representation of "God" fails all of those markers. If someone can explain how a "God" that made all the rules, made all the players, and made them knowing that many of those players would lose the game and be punished for it, ISN"T malicious, then we can start to have an understanding. If the coase is that hell isn't a fiery pit of eternal pain, then fine that would get around it, but that's also not church canon. One of those things has to give to make sense to an outsider. Hopefully that clears it up a bit.

      September 13, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • A Theist

      @BRC Yes, it does. Thanks. I've been given the go-ahead to use the Bible as my source of argument, so that is what I will do. I gave you those premises so that you could understand how I interpret the Bible, and what the most scholarly theistic approach to reading the Bible entails. Let's keep this simple. Textual, historical, and contextual evidence only.

      Now, regarding the issue of Hell.

      At some point, I endow this one species with a soul (whatever that is) and set up a heaven, hell, purgatory, limbo etc. where they can “go” after they die.
      The first issue: God did not make Hell for man, but for Satan (See Matthew 25:41 and Revelations 20:10) and his demons (fallen angels).
      I don't believe in Purgatory (I know many Catholics do, but there's only one verse in the entire Bible to even suggest it exists, and it's somewhat of a weak argument textually).

      This was my whole reason for making the entire thing.
      God made Heaven because He desires an intimate relationship with His creation. You are right in saying Heaven was built for man. (See Matthew 22:37-40 and Hosea 6:6)–God desires your heart, not religion.

      No, I send my son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in Iron Age Palestine. That was helpful.
      Sidetrack(on my part, since I won't include Bible verses) But I still want to address it. One could argue that the time and placement of Christ historically best fit the possibility of spreading the "Good News" to all mankind. It's not a sure-thing, but it has been argued before.

      I did not have to create hell, where non-believers and other sinners will burn forever in an agony that would turn the stomach of even the most heinous of torturers, because I am omnipotent, but I did so to motive people to love and adore me.

      Your interpretation of a "burning" hell is a literal one, and one that arguably is not as well supported as the contextual one. I'll provide support for this claim momentarily...

      I'll address the rest in a moment as well, this is just to get started...

      September 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Colin is a master of scathing satire. Some people get so caught up in their upset over the mocking tone that they refuse to or simply can't absorb the message. That's a shame, because some things, when examined closely, clearly ARE absurd and any true depiction will bring out and highlight those absurdities and horrors.

      If you think Colin is wrong about something, suck it up and point out the error. Don't blubber over your hurt feelings. That doesn't get anyone anywhere.

      September 13, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • A Theist

      I did not have to create hell, where non-believers and other sinners will burn forever in an agony that would turn the stomach of even the most heinous of torturers, because I am omnipotent, but I did so to motive people to love and adore me.

      Concerning the last phrase, "to motive people" see above where I indicated that God did not make Hell for men.
      There's actually a number of problems with this statement. The first to address is the "burning forever" that so many literalists love to take out of context. There are exactly 47 verses in the Bible that mention hell in some meaning of the word (many of them the Hebrew "Sheol"–which literally means, the Grave–and oithers still, Hades, which some argue is different from Hell since different words are used). I can go through and pick apart every verse where Jesus mentions Hell if you'd like, but suffice to say that, in general, Christ would speak in parables to the masses so that they would understand complex topics. (Matthew 22:1, Mark 4:33-34) Revelation of course is entirely figurative–with literal underpinnings as was tradition in Jewish prophecy–and so again any reference to "fire" ought not to be taken absolutely literally. Ultimately, there is little evidence to suggest that Christ literally meant that hell was a place of fire or immortal worms ("worms that shall not die"), but I am certain that I will hear the tired response of "that's just what you want it to mean.." Allow me to pre-empt you and ask, is a literal fire interpretation just one that you wish it to mean? The textual and contextual evidence is in much larger support of figurative fire than literal one.

      Now let's address the "I did not have to create Hell" debate. Many believe–even some Christians–that Hell does not exist or that God didn't have to make it. Under the assumption that mankind has an immortal soul, however, if we observe the nature of God's respect for free will, we must admit that Hell must inherently exist in order for free will to maintain credibility. We can discuss the topic scripturally, but perhaps a better approach would be to look at it logically, under the assumption that God desires all would be saved (Peter 3:9 to name one). God, then, must have an immense respect for Free Will, considering He hasn't claimed objective dominion over the earth while He could. If God were to annihilate the soul, God would be showing a disrespect for His creation (man). If He allowed everyone into Heaven, He would be disrespecting man's free will (for the concept of denying God is that one chooses not to follow Him). Therefore, the only other option is a place where mankind can maintain their free will and their dignity as creations of God, and that is an alternative place for the soul–Hell. That is why Christians say Hell is not a place for torment or punishment, but simply a place where man is separated from God. It will still be unpleasant, if nothing else than simply because man realizes he lost the chance to Commune with God, but it's not a place of torture.
      Granted, the subject of Hell is rather nuanced and controversial among circles of believers, but the vast majority of those that actually study scripture recognize that Hell is not a place of eternal torture by the hand of God. (This is really just an intro to the topic, so excuse my generic explanation).

      Over 10 billion people have lived on the planet, and many of them have denied me or committed other mortal sins, such as missing the Sabbath or worshipping other gods.

      The only mortal sin is renouncing the Holy Spirit–i.e. choosing not to follow God. (catholics may believe otherwise, but I'm not Catholic, so I'll correct you on this statement as well).

      All you have to do is displease me by refusing to believe in me, and I will impose a penalty on you an infinite times worse than the death penalty.
      A little repeti_tive here, but basically I've mentioned before that God is saddened by those that turn away from Him, and He does not impose a penalty, but respectfully grants those that do not wish to be with Him to not live in eternity with Him.


      I am a loving and merciful god who loves you and wants nothing but the best for you.

      No contest here.


      It is odd, because, in addition to being omnipotent, I am omniscient and I know those humans who will fail me and burn forever even before I even create them. I could elect not to, but where’s the fun in that. I am a little like a psychopathic teen who regularly breeds a large litter of kittens, so he can select a few to burn in an oven for their entire lives.

      How does it feel to be so loved?

      Even more to discuss here, but I'll see what your responses are to what I've posted thus far...

      September 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • A Theist

      John, No hurt feelings, and I've been working at these guys all day to engage in a logical debate. Maybe you can jump in the fray and start responding as well. I welcome the dialogue :).

      September 13, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @A Theist: You claim to want a logical debate, and yet you somehow insist that omniscience and free will aren't mutually exclusive. We'll put that aside for the moment.

      The rest of your argument seems to be not with the statements, but the matter of degree (no pun intended). Let's assume your god can actually divorce himself from the omniscience/free will contradiction for a moment. From what I can tell, you will agree that a place called hell exists, some people will wind up there (perhaps most) and it won't be as good as the other place. So, some will be punished with a lesser eternal existence (yes, by your description it is punishment) for denying god, and one god specifically.

      So, where was my free will in determining whether I wanted to exist at all? Why should I be forced to submit to a test that I never agreed to take?

      September 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      In closing, I think Russell's teapot is yellow and holds no more than four 6oz cups.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • A Theist

      @SeanNJ I do insist that free will and omniscience are mutually exclusive, and I'm curious to read how you came to a conclusion otherwise.

      From what I can tell, you will agree that a place called hell exists, some people will wind up there (perhaps most) and it won't be as good as the other place. So, some will be punished with a lesser eternal existence (yes, by your description it is punishment) for denying god, and one god specifically.

      Yes, by such a definition, it must certainly be understood as punishment. But the difference that I contended with was WHY Hell was created. God did not make it to punish Man, but Satan. Since man decided to follow in Satan's footsteps and choose to step out of a relationship with God, God allowed for "another option" if you will. You can call it punishment if you will, but the idea persists that such a punishment was self-inflicted

      So, where was my free will in determining whether I wanted to exist at all? Why should I be forced to submit to a test that I never agreed to take?

      Respecting free will does not grant one free will to anything and everything. We could also ask, where is my free will when it came to how, or when, or where I was born? Where is my free will in determining when I should die? By respecting Free Will I do not mean God allows for man to decide whatever he wants, but simply that, when given a choice to make, God will always allow man to decide for himself what to do.

      And in closing, you are off by 2 ounces 😉

      September 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @A Theist: I have no choice but to disregard your beliefs as silliness and nonsense. I hope that one day you find your way out of the haze.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Sean I am sorry you cannot give me reasons for why my beliefs are nonsense, but since you do not wish to carry forth the discussion, step out as you will. I wish you would address my question about omniscience and free will, or at least bring forth some of your own beliefs to discuss, but I won't press further on the issue.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • I'llPlay

      “But the difference that I contended with was WHY Hell was created.”

      To instill fear in people so they will opt to follow a god for fear of going to hell. It’s like your mom saying if you don’t obey, I’ll spank you, ground you, or lock you in a room. Without fear of consequences, humans can create chaos. It’s why we have jails, fines, etc, it doesn't mean everyone will obey them but fear keeps many from crossing that line. Fear is the underlying thing that makes people go to church, keep believing in a god they can't prove exists. How many times on this blog have we seen people say, I'd rather live my life thinking theirs a heaven and god so I won't go to hell just in case it's real. If there were no rules, no fear of consequences your life would be different. There is no hell; it was created from the imaginations of men.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • A Theist

      @I'llPlay
      Maybe you should go back and read my previous posts. Hell was not made for man, but for Satan who rebelled against God. BECAUSE man rebelled and wished to live a life apart from God, God honored that desire. It's more like your mom saying, I don't think you should go out drinking crazily tonight, but since you're old enough to make your own decisions I won't stop you from making potentially bad ones.

      Furthermore, to accept Hell exists is to accept that God exists. I believe that God is good and loving enough that I would follow Him even if everyone went to Heaven, regardless of their choices on earth–though such a theory is rather illogical. You can set up theories and reasons for why things exist, just as Freud created a perfectly sound, unprovable theory about the human psyche, but true theories must stand the test of evidence.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      @Colin: You have a way with words! That was a fantastic post. Thanks.

      September 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @A Theist: You said, "I wish you would address my question about omniscience and free will"

      I've seen you do this twice now, and I have a sneaking suspi.cion that, oddly enough, you don't know what "mutually exclusive" means. It means, "If A, then not B; if B, then not A." For example, the concept of an odd and even number are mutually exclusive; one cannot be both.

      By exactly that token, the existence of an omniscient, or all-knowing, being necessarily removes the possibility of free will, and vice-verse. If there were a choice available to be made where your god did not already know the outcome (an exercise in free will), he would no longer be omniscient since there was something that it did not know. If your god knows the outcome then it would indeed be omniscient, but our free will would be a sham since our choice will have been preordained.

      Your belief that your deity can circ.umvent this problem simply because it's god is illogical and unpalatable, no matter how you attempt to dress it up. You bypass this dilemma and ask us to have a logical debate with you using premises that, as I've just described, we consider to be nonsense and silliness.

      I'll stay out of your threads from this point on. I see no value in engaging since you've not provided anything new that I haven't heard many many times before. As I said, I genuinely hope you find your way clear of your shackles. Unfortunately, you likely won't consider them as such until you do.

      September 13, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • A Theist

      I've seen you do this twice now, and I have a sneaking suspi.cion that, oddly enough, you don't know what "mutually exclusive" means. It means, "If A, then not B; if B, then not A." For example, the concept of an odd and even number are mutually exclusive; one cannot be both.

      No Sean, I no what mutually exclusive means. It's a simple Biconditional wherein the affirmative of one variable implies the negation of the other. A ~B is a formal way of writing it. My issue is with how you got there.

      The problem is that you suppose the two variables are necessarily linked in such a fashion. I ask you how you came to that conclusion.

      You assert that, because God knows something is going to happen, it must have been preordained to be so. I contest that point by offering a third alternative. That is, God created the universe and set it into motion. It then may act independently of His hand, but where He cares to assert His will, He may. The point where you see differently than I do is that I do not believe God is bound by time. That is, time is also a part of His creation. It'd be as is a programmer generated a code that produced a random series of numbers. The programmer can look back at the string of numbers and know with certainty what the next number will be, since it's already printed before him. However, the programmer did not choose the numbers himself, he set the code into motion and gave it certain rules, but ultimately the code was left to a degree of chance–or really to the choice of the computer by employing a random algorithm. Now in some ways this is a weak ana.logy, but in many ways it demonstrates the point I am trying to make. A creation can exist and perform outside the control of the creator, yet the creator can still "know" how it will play out, because he/she has the whole picture in his/her hands. To God, everything has already happened, everything hasn't even happened yet, and everything is happening all at once. Time is creation of God's, and because of this, he has the entire timeline available to Him, while he does not necessarily need to have a role in it.

      I wish you would continue the debate with me. I'm asking you to please provide a formal proof that A ~B. If you'd like, I can demonstrate formally my assertion that A ^ B (A and B are true simultaneously), using First Order Logic.

      I'm sorry you don't wish to engage further debate with me, and I'd be surprised if someone has attempted to disprove your claim using first order logic before, but I won't press someone who doesn't want to engage in a discussion with me. I'm not here to pull teeth after all, just share ideas.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • Bibletruth

      As the bible plainly states....Satans destiny, and that of unrepentant sinners, is the Lake of fire, of which God plainly tells us that there, in the lake of fire, I shall bring thee to ashes and never shalt thou be anymore.

      Hmmm..no burning forever tortore chamber...take one more excuse away from the sin loving crowd to deny the Lord.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Jepumy

      > Yes, by such a definition, it must certainly be understood as punishment. But the difference that I contended with was WHY Hell was created. God did not make it to punish Man, but Satan. Since man decided to follow in Satan's footsteps and choose to step out of a relationship with God, God allowed for "another option" if you will. You can call it punishment if you will, but the idea persists that such a punishment was self-inflicted

      I don't think anyone you're talking to doesn't know this is the standard response from theists. It's besides the point. The point is that God is sending people to be tortured for all eternity. After a million billion trillion years they will have been punished for so little it doesn't even come close to a blink of an eye. After a trillion trillion trillion trillion years they will still be being punished. And why? Because God failed them. Yes, *He* failed them. He made them to dual with a being (Satan) so much more powerful than them that even has the power to change the inputs of their sense. How do they even know what's real with Satan around? And he didn't even give them the necessary information to help them fight him. The Bible barely mentions Satan and Hell as you've stated yourself.

      He cannot expect puny human beings to win against this and that's why according to Christian doctrine, almost every single person that has ever lived will go to Hell for eternity. Please explain how that is fair?

      > Many believe–even some Christians–that Hell does not exist or that God didn't have to make it.

      Yes and some Christians think Jesus defeated Satan 97 years ago (Jehovah's Witnesses). Some believe that men will turn into gods when they die (Mormons). People can't be expected to address all Christians at once. This was pretty clear at addressing people who aren't Young Earth Creationists and who believe in Hell.

      > Under the assumption that mankind has an immortal soul, however, if we observe the nature of God's respect for free will, we must admit that Hell must inherently exist in order for free will to maintain credibility.

      No, I don't have to admit that. That is a non sequitur. You have not explained your reasons for this.

      > God, then, must have an immense respect for Free Will, considering He hasn't claimed objective dominion over the earth while He could. If God were to annihilate the soul, God would be showing a disrespect for His creation (man). If He allowed everyone into Heaven, He would be disrespecting man's free will (for the concept of denying God is that one chooses not to follow Him).

      This makes more assumptions than it solves. God is Omnipotent, he could separate Satan from Earth. Or he could come up with a billion other ways of solving the issue. Rather than punish the soul, he should annihilate it. That's not showing disrespect, that's showing mercy. Think about what you're saying. Truly *think* about why you have come to these conclusions and whether they are the best explanations or the best way to solve a discrepancy in logic. Why doesn't he let people choose if they want to go to Heaven or change their minds later? Why doesn't he make Hell the equivalent of Earth or even better. Why doesn't he make Hell a paradise every bit as good as Heaven?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • Jepumy

      *Sorry about the spelling/grammatical errors I forgot to proof read. The only reason I'm stating this is because you were picking on Colin for his spelling mistakes. Which to be honest is ridiculously petty.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • A Theist

      @Jepumy Thanks for the response. I assume the reference to spelling errors was directed to someone else, since the only fathomable reproach given whas when I quoted "motive" which I assume meant "motivate." This was not an aim at mockery, but to indicate that I was directly responding to a quote of Colin's, and not an interpretation.

      I don't think anyone you're talking to doesn't know this is the standard response from theists. It's besides the point. The point is that God is sending people to be tortured for all eternity. After a million billion trillion years they will have been punished for so little it doesn't even come close to a blink of an eye. After a trillion trillion trillion trillion years they will still be being punished. And why? Because God failed them. Yes, *He* failed them. He made them to dual with a being (Satan) so much more powerful than them that even has the power to change the inputs of their sense. How do they even know what's real with Satan around? And he didn't even give them the necessary information to help them fight him. The Bible barely mentions Satan and Hell as you've stated yourself.

      >I've heard the "years upon years" claim before, it comes from "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man." As a side note, do you see what you've done here? By my definition of Hell, you are claiming that being separated from God is torture–that is, you admit that God is the source of all goodness and joy. If not, then it is possible for Hell to be a pleasant place, in which case God is not so bad after all. (You've prevented somewhat of a paradox here). You see, if joy and happiness are not derived from God, then God is not omnipotent, and therefore likely incapable of separating man from his happiness. Under such an assumption, Hell could be "Equally pleasant." If, however, God is the source of all good and joy, then you have admitted that separation from God is a torturous experience, and so I ask you why you don't accept Him into your life right now and end your suffering? (The argument is a little more nuanced and not quite so black and white as this, but it illustrates an interesting predicament you have placed a person in). I reject the notion that Satan can stop someone from believing in God. Claiming that Satan can stop someone from believing is not supported Biblically. He can influence your decision, but it also says Biblically that God does not give anyone anything they cannot handle. In other words, the option to follow God is always in the hands of the believer. I'd like to discuss more about the topic of hell and punishment with you, but I'll address your other comments for the moment being.


      Yes and some Christians think Jesus defeated Satan 97 years ago (Jehovah's Witnesses). Some believe that men will turn into gods when they die (Mormons). People can't be expected to address all Christians at once. This was pretty clear at addressing people who aren't Young Earth Creationists and who believe in Hell.

      You're right, and I appreciate that you have chosen to address my arguments as opposed to theirs–which often are lacking in Biblical and contextual support.


      > Under the assumption that mankind has an immortal soul, however, if we observe the nature of God's respect for free will, we must admit that Hell must inherently exist in order for free will to maintain credibility.

      No, I don't have to admit that. That is a non sequitur. You have not explained your reasons for this.

      Yes, I was rather brief in this explanation. Allow me to explain how I perceive it, under the caveat that I do not claim objective truth on the matter, but simply how I believe the evidence follows. My explanation comes from viewing the predicament through the lens of God. That is, God claims that every life is, to Him, extremely significant and important. Because of this, the option of annihilation is less than favorable. To do so would be to demean His creation and it's free will. To annihilate a being is to say, "You have made the wrong decisions, therefore you are meaningless, and shall not exist." It's like a little kid saying, "If you don't agree with me, then you don't get an option." The Bible states clearly that God does not lie, and so it would be contradictory for God to say that humans and their free will are extremely significant to Him, and then go and do something that demeans man's free will. You will likely argue that hell is more demeaning of a fate than annihilation because of the suffering, but again, you are therefore admitting that separation from God is much worse than death–and therefore that God is the source of all that is Good. It simply cannot be the case that God is both the source of all that is Good and yet also be a liar. The only way for both to be true is to ignore the Biblical evidence that God gives man significance–and therefore cares little about his free will–in which case I would say you believe in a God that the Bible does not support. There's a lot of logical nuances, so I hope we can discuss these points further, hopefully I am being clear with my explanation.

      >>>>>>>
      These questions sort of tie into what I've already stated, but I'll address them plainly.

      Rather than punish the soul, he should annihilate it. That's not showing disrespect, that's showing mercy. Think about what you're saying. Truly *think* about why you have come to these conclusions and whether they are the best explanations or the best way to solve a discrepancy in logic.

      I can formalize the logic if you'd like, but I have certainly thought through these ideas logically. Regarding the mercy point. The entire purpose of this human life is that God shows us mercy. He offers it freely to us. I posit that annihilation is still disrespectful, we will likely discuss this in comments to come.

      Why doesn't he let people choose if they want to go to Heaven or change their minds later?
      There's actually no Biblical verse that says that this isn't a possibility. But continuing from the assumption that God is the source of all that is Good and Joyous, it seems highly unlikely that anyone will want to leave that.

      Why doesn't he make Hell the equivalent of Earth or even better. Why doesn't he make Hell a paradise every bit as good as Heaven?

      The issue here is that God is the source of all that is Good in the universe. The concept of Hell is that you have decided that you'd rather not spend time with God, so again, by creating a place "as good as earth" or what have you would mean that God would necessarily be there as well, thereby ignoring your free will. It's entirely possible that Hell may look exactly like earth in every way, but without God's presence there can be no joy. And so by electing that God stay away from you, He will politely step out of your way.

      I appreciate your response and hope that the discussion can continue.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • A Theist

      It seems as though SeanNJ has decided to bow-out under the Burden of Proof...

      September 14, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @A Theist: I bowed out for exactly the reason I stated yesterday.

      You. Have. Nothing. New.

      You want to assign the attribute of omiscience to your deity EXCEPT in the case of our choices. You don't get to equivocate the meaning of "all-knowing." It means knowing everything. All the time. Past, present and future. The act of "making a choice" is meaningless and illusory, because of regardless of who holds the knowledge, the outcome is already decided.

      Your programmer/random number generator analogy is a very poor one. You claim the programmer chooses "to leave things to chance." If he does, he no longer is all-knowing. If I wait to examine the results to determine the next number, that's not omniscience, that's 20/20 hindsight. Guess what? We're all pretty good at that.

      You say you can prove otherwise. Do it. I'll read your reply, but I'll leave someone else to argue with the quality of your premises. You can construct an adequate proof of anything given adequately absurd preconditions.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • fred

      SeanNJ
      You sparked my interest if I may bud in. I was always caught by how God referred to himself as “I AM”. Past, present and future are one. When God separated light from darkness he spun off a linear time dimension. The moments and happenings in that dimension are ticked off in days and years that were created. I see God looking in all directions so he can look and act forward or look and act backwards to the origin of the big bang. Collapsing and or expanding time. The Bible speaks of predestination. As such God may choose to shine on me after I have exhausted all my free will.
      Personally, I have been there and lost everything before God simply hit me with His light. That is one the reasons I am more thankful than ever because I would never have chosen this path.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • A Theist

      @SeanNJ

      You want to assign the attribute of omiscience to your deity EXCEPT in the case of our choices. You don't get to equivocate the meaning of "all-knowing." It means knowing everything. All the time. Past, present and future. The act of "making a choice" is meaningless and illusory, because of regardless of who holds the knowledge, the outcome is already decided.

      You are making an illogical leap here. You are saying that because it has "happened" it is not free will. God need not even exist by this logic for your claim that free will is a farce. Your issue is what you perceive to be the space time continuum. Let me ask you something, if you're watching a movie that you've already seen before, does the movie play out the same way because you knew how it would play out? No, rather you are aware of the details of the film, but the film was made and played out independent of your intervention. Your "knowing" has no effect on the films "playing out."

      Your programmer/random number generator analogy is a very poor one. You claim the programmer chooses "to leave things to chance." If he does, he no longer is all-knowing. If I wait to examine the results to determine the next number, that's not omniscience, that's 20/20 hindsight. Guess what? We're all pretty good at that.

      That's what I'm telling you, God has perfect 20/20 hindsight, for the "future," for any moment. Jesus said, "before Abraham was, I AM"–you're pushing God into the domain of continuous time, I'm telling you that I believe that God lives outside of time. He "leaves things to chance" in that He allows them to occur without His intervention, even when He knows how they will play out.

      You say you can prove otherwise. Do it. I'll read your reply, but I'll leave someone else to argue with the quality of your premises. You can construct an adequate proof of anything given adequately absurd preconditions.

      You bring up a good point. My "proof" would be lacking in purist objectivity, since I don't even believe my belief can be proven objectively. It was you who said that it is absolutely impossible for omniscience and free will to exist together. Your insertion of objectivity leaves you with the Burden of Proof, I'm afraid.

      I never claimed God's omniscience and free will to exist to be certainly, or objectively true. I just said that it was a possibilty and that I believed it to be true. I have embraced a theory, based on evidence. You have told me numerous times that I am foolish because such a theory is an impossibility–you have given my claim the "false" value on the merit of Objective truth, a universal fact. You say that it is certainly so that God's omniscience and free will are mutually exclusive. Any Objective Truth can be proven using first order logic. Now I can construct some rough, impure proof to explain what I believe, but since I never gave my belief the stamp of Objectivity–as you had–you will see that there will unavoidably be loose spots. Put it this way, I don't believe anything about the existence of God can be PROVEN, only suggested evidencially, as in a court case. I'm giving you the heads up right now that you will NOT be able to prove that God's omniscience and free will are mutually exclusive–unless you can apply some mathematical and First Order Logic principles to semantic and theoretical ideas.

      Allow me to set up the problem laid out before you:
      I said, "I believe that it is possible that man can have free will and God can be omniscient simultaneously. I also believe–do not claim–this scenario to be true, though it is also possible to be untrue."
      You reply, "I cannot take anything you believe seriously, because it is absolutely and objectively impossible for God's omniscience to exist alongside man's free will." You have just claimed an absolute, and so the Burden of Proog lies with you.

      My beliefs consist of all things that cannot be proven, but bear evidence to their testimony. All other things are proven, and therefore factual by the general consensus of Objectivity. I have claimed that A ^ B may be a viable statement, but it cannot be proven, and so I derive a conclusion on evidence. You have claimed that ~(A ^ B) is necessarily true, and therefore that is why I am wrong. If you disagree with what I believe, then we can debate evidence back and forth as you wish, but you have claimed ABSOLUTE TRUTH on the matter, and absolute truths are, by definition, provable.

      You've been talking in circles every time I ask you to demonstrate to me the objective relationship of mutual exclusivity. Prove to me, using strict logical principles, that "A and B cannot exist together." I'm tired of reading your semantic explanations for logical variables. If you admit that your claim is not objective, and therefore cannot be proven, then it's high time you stop saying I'm foolish for believing something to be a possibility–even if you feel it is the most minute one–when you can't even prove that it is not. At such a point, we can return to an argument based on evidence, which is inevitably where this will go.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • A Theist

      Please forgive the long response. It's condensing what my reply is as well as educating someone on the principles of First Order Logic and the Burden of Proof.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  10. rainlady9

    I believe it was in 1248, give or take a bit, that the Pope decided Priests could no longer marry, that they must remain celibate. As ever cop on television knows, ya gotta follow the money, and that's what the Pope did. This was a time when people were beginning on very small but steady basis, to collect personal 'wealth' and the Pope didn't want the Priest to leave it all to his children when he died, it needed to go to Holy Mother Church.
    Allowing Priests to marry won't necessarily stop the pedophilia, but it jolly well may get a higher caliber Priesthood!

    September 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • jim

      you are totally correct!!

      September 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • darntootin

      historically accurate and well stated.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Canadian Friend

      Highly unlikely actually. There are a few good reasons that priests should not marry. 1.) Their focus can remain on their duties as a priest and not a family; 2.) Parishoners are not likely to want to support a priest and family and all the expenses iinvolved. Remember that Christ asked the apostles to leave all that they had and follow him.....not so simple with a wife and kids in tow. Why do peiople question the Church on this ....well inspite of all of the knowlegde out there its basically due to ignorance and a healthy dose of satan's influence. Pretty simple

      IIts all very simple really , either you believe in the Catholic Church , its traditions and teachings ....or you don't.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  11. SCAtheist

    How about turning over the evidence and letting the DAs prosecute them for their crimes? They just can't bring themselves to do that can they?

    September 13, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Gort01

      Nope they sure cant just do that...they cant MAN UP....cuz they are a bunch of pedophiles...what would allowing them to marry do....besides make it so they didnt have to leave their house for a victim....

      September 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  12. 1under

    i sure hope the vatican stays its course on this one! force the priests to keep on molesting young boys and girls and get sent to jail to the point that no one will EVER want to be a priest. then we'll have a world without this stupid religion.

    September 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  13. JessLove

    I agree that they have no biblical right to keep people from marrying because there is scripture that pointedly mentions some of the apostles were married as were a number of first believers that worked tirelessly within the Church. The catholic denominations have taken much of the bible out of context and have assumed a position not granted them by Christ. Paul himself explains that he was the last to be called by Christ while on his way to persecute the Church. Anything written by anyone that wasn't called by Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit after the day of Pentecost is a false teacher and a liar. It doesn't matter how many people believe them, the only true followers worship in Spirit and in Truth. They love God and live by faith each day proving by deed who is their Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.

    September 13, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      Oh thank you for that one Jesus.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Sunnysout

      Show me a Christian religion that hasn't taken the Bible out of context. Every religion has taken the Bible out of context, which is why we have different denominations.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  14. Frankly Speaking..

    Good Morning, I am athiest and I feel so good about hurling the likes of flying spaghetti monster parables at just about anything that moves. I have no problem accepting "theories" tracing my geneology back to apes and monkeys, even further back to slimy catfish and perch. I know everything and my life of 50-100 years is a reminiscent of all that has ever existed. I live in ir of defiance although I grew from something smaller than a speck of dirt.

    Today, I am all grown up and stuff got em muscles and fat, so whatever gave me strength in the time when I was weak I am gonna humiliate him. Thats how grateful I am, but wait a minute I believe in "all by chance" so I make up a fine excuse to so much as even recognize him.

    Ungrateful.human.is.an.animal.–> so you have fairly recognized yourself 🙂

    September 13, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      "Ungrateful.human.is.an.animal"? I doubt most atheists would make a meaningless comment like that.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      ...is this really necessary or constructive?

      September 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • HellBent

      Would accepting these "theories" also be like accepting the theories of gravity, quantum mechanics, and electromagnetism? Or do you only reject science when in conflicts with your own preconceived notions?

      September 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      I am a 25 year old with a Masters, two technical paper, a recently published patent and a six figure job at GM..So stop asking for credentials and speak something pertinent to the text I have written..Also, I am a muslim (now you will loose it)

      September 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • HellBent

      So then I'll assume that I'm right and you only accept science that doesn't disagree with your pre-formulated notions of the world.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • HellBent

      And who asked for your credentials?

      September 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Catfish and perch aren't human ancestors. I suggest you read up on evolution. I like Stephen Jay Gould's stuff. Very well written and unassuming in tone. Most of his books are collections of essays, mostly minor rewrites from his old Natural History column. He was highly educated in much more than just his field and that shows in his works. He was a true humanist in the best sense of the word and even showed a lot of respect for religion as a human inst-itution.

      September 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  15. Soldier

    + J M J +

    The Sacrament of Matrimony is for that purpose, not Holy Orders. It is important to truly pray to know your true vocation.
    Think about it, hell would do all it could to drag one soul away from its true vocation and confuse his whole life with another, for it makes it very easy to ruin him for eternity.

    One must be very careful, especially these days in these times. As each day passes, we awake into the next day..... Those who believe , understand when I say , Where are we headed to ? As far away as we could be, we believe in end times and as we approach them, satan and his deceptions will get worse and worse. Am I wrong? I am not asking the athiest , I am not asking the jew. But they are more then welcome to hear me out.

    Step out of your opinions and look at the big picture. Is the world not in trouble?

    September 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • HellBent

      Well, let's take a look, shall we:

      Lack of global wars killing untold millions? Check
      Global organization dedicated to peace and well-being? Check
      Monarchies falling and democracy increasing? Check
      Increased access to food? Check
      Increasing (on average) life span? Check
      Diseases continuing to be fought and eradicated? Check
      Civil and human Rights continuing to increase? Check

      Yup, we're really going to to hell in a hand basket.

      But if you want to be pessimistic and see the glass half-empty, that's your prerogative.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Canadian Friend

      You are exactly correct my American brother. Stay strong.... as you can see by the comments there are very few of us left.
      God Bless you and your country.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • BRC

      @Soldier,
      Even as an atheist, I agree with your post about one thing. As each day passes, we move on to the next day. I certainly agree that time moves in only one direction, thank you for clearing that up.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  16. D

    PEDOPHILIA IS A CRIME OF POWER...NOTHING MORE.

    Plenty of married men are also pedophiles....what is so hard to understand?

    Priests molest b/c they cannot marry? I mean really?

    September 13, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • JessLove

      I agree pedophilia is a crime and many abusers are married. The solution isn't marriage it is an actual fear of God that we will pay for the sins we commit against our body, others and especially the Lord. We should all know the Truth that we were born to have a spiritual relationship with God and to love him and others according to his command. The only way to obtain this relationship is to believe in his son Jesus and to obey his word, putting it to practice in our life. There is evil in this world and the only hope we have from it is having the Holy Spirit in our heart. These Catholics aren't in a relationship with the one true God because their actions and teaching proves otherwise. I hope people will truly seek the face of God to see how wrong the majority of man made doctrines and false denominations and religions are. Save yourself from this crooked and depraved generation!! J<3

      September 13, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • BRC

      @JessLove,
      Wouldn't it be easier and more to the point to just realize that children are innocent, need the protection of the larger more developed humans, and that to prey on the weak and defensless is cowardly and inhumane? Shouldn't that be enough of a reason for people to know that molesting children is wrong? I don't see why a god is a necessary part of it.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • yes to married priests

      It is not that the same priests married would not be pedophiles, it is that if they allowed married priests many people (possibly including myself, I have at least considered it) would become priests, so the extreme shortage that now exists would not, and so the church would not be so desperate to accept and retain people (pedophiles) who should not have become priests in the first place.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  17. Fred Tony

    I turned away from the Priesthood because of the celibate nature of it. Catholic Priests used to be able to marry until the time of Indulgences, etc. The Church wanted more money, and Priests were leaving their land/money/etc to their families. They forced all Priests to become celibate so that all their possessions would fall to the Church.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  18. Mel Gibson

    They could marry each other. Elimates all child abuse.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Canadian Friend

      pathetic

      September 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  19. barabra

    its amazing how jesus came along and just distorted the word of god and changed the old testemant for his own new one, jews will always be the chosen pieple as god promised and this jesus is one big joke

    September 13, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Canadian Friend

      I'm glad I won't be in your shoes when you are kneeling before God and he questions you about this statement. By the way....are the soles of your feet feeling a little hot.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • HellBent

      @Canadian Friend – I never get why some christians seem to take such delight in the thought of the torturing of others. The fixation on others burning is a little sick, frankly. Why not just worry about yourself instead of gleefully reminding others how they will suffer?

      September 13, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Ali Honger

      Good grief, woman. Please be aware that disparaging a commonly held view is best done with correct spelling.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Bibletruth

      Barbara, I assume by your comment you are a reader of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is all about Jesus. Look a little closer as you read. You will be amazed and happy.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:17 am |
  20. D

    The Bible says a man should become one with a wife and multiply and replenish the earth. Where does it say a man should be alone? Does the bible say a priest cannot marry?

    September 13, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • barabra

      jesus took out allot of verse and changed it around thats exactly what god told his chosen people the jews but jesus came and changed allot of things claiming that he is the son of god

      September 13, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • yes to married priests

      The bible mentions St. Peter's mother-in-law. Also one of the epistles mentions a head of a congregation should be a good husband and father for how can he take care of a flock if he doesn't take care well of his family. I believe the bible openly allows married priests but human beings went and messed it up making a bogus rule.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • DamianKnight

      D, it's because they are referencing 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 basically where Paul says, if you can, it's better to be single because then your attention can be solely on God. When you are married, your attention is divided between a spouse and God.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Keith

      The Church has always had married clergy. It is not a sin. Somewhere in the Roman Catholic church's' corrupt history... celibacy was imposed upon the clergy. Married clergy are alive and well in most Christian denominations.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • yes to married priests

      DamianKnight, exactly and I believe the church compromised by saying if you want to marry you can be a deacon but not a priest. But the decision should be allowed to be given to priests too. Those who can and choose to be a celibate priest, God bless them truly. Perhaps seminaries can help seminarians explore this and discern whether they are capable, even encourage them towards celibacy if they can. But better to allow some married priests than a shortage of priests which exists now and forces them to select and retain people who should not be priests, or at least not celibate ones.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • GnatB

      Problem with 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 though. It never makes any claims to be talking about a leader of the church. Tending to a flock will divide even MORE of your attention away from god. Just being close to god. It's an invalid logical leap that the leaders of the church should neccessarily be those closest to god.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.