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Catholic groups sue over federal contraception mandate
The American Catholic bishops voiced support for the lawsuits filed Monday.
May 21st, 2012
01:03 PM ET

Catholic groups sue over federal contraception mandate

By Alan Duke, CNN

(CNN) - The University of Notre Dame and "a diverse group of plaintiffs" filed lawsuits Monday challenging the federal mandate that religious employers offer health insurance that includes coverage of contraceptives and birth control services, Notre Dame spokeswoman Shannon Chapla said.

The Notre Dame suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Northern Indiana, is one of a dozen filed Monday by 43 separate Catholic institutions in different federal courts around the United States, Chapla said.

The lawsuits are efforts to "vindicate the country's constitutional and traditional commitments to religious freedom and pluralism," Notre Dame law professor Richard W. Garnett said in a university statement.

The Catholic Church teaches that use of contraception is morally wrong.

A White House spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuits Monday.

The Obama administration, in an attempt at a compromise, revised the rule to require health insurance companies - not employers - to provide contraception coverage, mollifying some Catholic critics. Other Catholic groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, are not satisfied by the revised rule.

The suits contend that the regulations violate of the First Amendment guarantee of religious liberty, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other federal laws.

"This filing is about the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission, and its significance goes well beyond any debate about contraceptives," Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins said in a message to his school. "For if we concede that the government can decide which religious organizations are sufficiently religious to be awarded the freedom to follow the principles that define their mission, then we have begun to walk down a path that ultimately leads to the undermining of those institutions."

The Archdiocese of Washington joined in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday. The plaintiffs also include Archbishop Carroll High School; Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington; the Consortium of Catholic Academies of the Archdiocese of Washington; and The Catholic University of America.

"There is no way out of the dilemma the mandate forces upon us," Washington Archdiocese Chancellor Jane Belford said. "Catholic schools, universities, hospitals and social service ministries employ and serve millions of people in this country and do so without regard to their religious beliefs. Under the government's new rules, religious organizations will face an impossible choice."

–CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Health care • Politics

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    September 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  2. Janen Zudotokimoshiw

    I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is required to get set up? I'm assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I'm not very internet savvy so I'm not 100% positive. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate it

    July 28, 2012 at 4:52 am |
  3. Jack

    Good afternoon everyone, you all are more than welcome to visit ... thestarofkaduri.com

    June 15, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  4. Just Claims, No Truth

    "does the Church have any power over you?"

    Nope, not any longer. But it still has an effect on my life personally. And it did have power over me when I was wrongly led to believe I was a sinner and needed the church and its teaching to be redeemed. Power can be obtained 2 ways, through money and having knowledge others don't have. The church gets its power through a claim of knowledge (the knowledge does not have to be true, you just need people to believe it is true). The church has plenty of money and that alone gives it power.

    "The church is using my love of God as a source of power? Wow. That is amazingly stark."

    Yep, I agree, the reality of a situation is not always pretty.

    "The Catholic Church has no power."

    So you are saying the church is impotent? I don't think you believe that.

    "Certainly there have been some degree of civil organization associated with the Vatican, but the Catholic Church has only the mission previously stated."

    Wow, the Catholic church is one of THE MOST organized religious insti,tuions in the world. The fact that you would downplay this characteristic is telling.

    "That is why he is a Saint. He is exemplary of the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church being lived, as opposed to the defrocked and prosecuted Priests that you choose to focus on."

    I agree he acted in accordence with church teaching and he was a great example for all of humanity. But his sacrifice was not dependent on the church. There are people that have sacrificed for others from all backgrounds. There is not one selfless action that is dependent on the church teaching or religion in general. I agree with many of the churches teachings and I don't think they as an organization are evil or worse than other religious organizations.

    "your dismissal of the comparison of Geometry to Catholic Teaching fails to acknowledge the point I have been making all along, that the Catholic Church’s teachings are objectively true."

    Which church teachings are objectively true? And by that question I mean can be proven true. For instance claiming Jesus is god is not an objective truth.

    "but only Catholicism is the fullness of Truth."

    This is a claim, claims are not truth per se. They have to be proven. Geometry is proven. I have a question, would it ever be possible to prove Jesus was not god in your worldview?

    " you sort of slide down to it when you lose hope and clarity."

    So I take at some point you were an atheist? Or are you making more baseless claims and again letting you argument devolve into patronizing prattle? I am less conflicted and more clear on this issue than at any point in my life.

    "I encourage you to continue to continue to search and give at least equal credence to Catholic writers until you come to the conclusion that the claim of Catholicism is true."

    So I should read them until I believe them? If that is what is needed to believe the claim, it is not objective.

    "Perhaps you are currently comfortable floating in mid air as an atheist, because you can do those things you enjoy. The only way an atheist can truly understand the world around them is the pleasure and pain principle. ."

    Perhaps you are a Catholic because you find comfort in being told how to view the world and fear living without supersti.tion. The only way a christian can make sense of the world is through an unquestioned invisible authority.

    If you want to just throw vebal barbs at each other I can do that.

    May 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  5. Steve

    The Catholic Church might be best served by cleaning their own house and bring the pedophiles they sheltered to justice. I know that would impresss me far more than attempts like this at imposing their peculiar beliefs and impose it on others. Just my view.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  6. No Truth, Just Claims

    The point of me bringing up Ehrman was to point out the sordid history of the scripture. There are well known forgeries and additions into the New Testement and gospels and most christians are not only unaware that these exist and do not seek to learn more. I think it is dishonest of christian theologians to know the history and still claim it was somehow divinely inspired.

    May 25, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • TheTruth

      Actually, Erdman's long since been discredited. Rather disgracefully as a matter of fact. And very publicly.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  7. get it right

    Time we ended giving them grant money, our tax dollar.

    May 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  8. No Truth, Just Claims

    "And lastly, I would say that just because you dissagree with the Church on fundamental issues doesn't mean the Church is wrong"

    Exactly, theirs is just an opinion like mine is, except they claim to have a direct connection to god and that their opinions are directly inspired by god. Either god changes his mind radically or they are not telling the truth.

    May 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    May 24, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  10. John Carroll

    NTJC.
    So you left the church? Is that why you are so angry at it? When someone is angry, they usually fear something, such as the loss of something they don't feel they can live without. What was it that caused you to leave the church and be so angry at it? It certainly isn't lack of truth. I could write you maybe about 1000 pages and guide you through the recognition of truth into the Natural order, through natural law, to Christ and his church. However, as long as you remain angry at the Church you left, it would be a pointless endevour. That is why I refer you to "Mere Christianity" and then maybe to "Lord, Liar or Lunatic." At this point in your journey, you view Christ as a Lunatic or Liar. C.S. Lewis deals with that effectively in his book. I need not write it here for you. Lewis is certainly much more elequent than me.

    May 23, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Once again John you are making an appeal to emotion. I am not angry. 10 years ago I started looking into questions I had. I talked to priests who gave the same type of non answers you give. After talking to enough priests and getting as many answers as priests I talked to as well as the answers being less than satisfactory, I looked elsewhere. I realized the priests sounded more like politicians rather than bearers of truth. So I looked at the actual history of Christianity and the bible which made it obvious the entire religion is man made and is in no way inspired. And you continue the long tradition of ducking answers, changing the subject and appealing to emotion for your arguments John. It's really sad, you claim truth to be important but that is just another empty claim.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      As far as Jesus is concerned, there are other possibilities. Legend being the most likely.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      John,

      No response? So you assert all kinds of truth in your theology, you equate it to math and science, when I ask you to prove it and not just assert it you say things like

      " but you dispel any possibility of theological truth. For example, if I run a red light, it is true that there is a higher likelihood that I will get in an accident."

      After making a claim for theological proof your "example" of theological proof is running a red light......? Huh?

      Again when you are called on it you are condescending and patronizing. When I point out that I actually have a very good understanding of the religion you next move to the "you must be angry at the church" and "why do you hate the church". When that argument is refuted you dissappear.

      This almost exactly reflects my experience with the church. Its like a cult trying to hold on to followers, they seem to go through the same stages.

      May 24, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • John Carroll

      NTJC... C.S. Lewis was a atheist and eventually reasoned his way into the Anglican Church. I can't seem to post the link to an online copy of his book "Mere Christianity," but you can google it. That would be my response to you. You can either stand on the ground and stay angry at the moon, or you can start building a rocket. I can't build it for you.

      May 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      BS John, I asked YOU questions, you claimed answers. You failed.

      May 25, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      B.S John, I asked YOU questions, you claimed answers. You failed.

      May 25, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • John Carroll

      NTJC... You only asked me for one thing, that was proof. I gave you "Mere Christianity" as proof. It is clear that I have not failed to provide you with a well thought out line of reasoning provided by C.S. Lewis. If you choose not to read it, then you probably really don't want proof regarding the validity of Christianity. Unfortunately, that means your claims about how you only believe things that are provable Like math and science really means you only believe in things that a prvovable that you wish to believe in.Thus, as far as philosphy and theology, you choose to believe that 2+2=5. Go ahead and read "Mere Chritianity" with a critical eye.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      C.S. Lewis is not an authortiy in Catholicism. I did better than read about it, I lived it. Its like you trying to tell a war vet that he needs to read (fill in the blank) to understand what war is like. I had plenty of positive experiences through the church, I had negative ones as well. I am not angry at them I just realized their claim of truth is no different than any other version of christianty, they are equally true and therefore equally false. I disagree with them on fundamental issues. I think they spread fear and act as a false authority.

      You are the one that claimed there is truth in christianity as valid as science. I asked you to back that statement up. You then equivocated your response by comparing it to philosophy which is not a science and does not have solid provable truth to it.

      Why don't you read "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart D. Ehrman who IS an authority on New Testament scripture.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • John Carroll

      NTJC... I have a deal for you. I will read "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart D. Ehrman if you will read "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. Lewis was in your shoes, as he was a strong atheist and set to debunk Christianity. In his foreword, he explains why he focuses on Christianity in general and not on Catholicism, Anglicanism, Protestantism, etc. His book is to rationally prove a basis for Christianity. I am confident that if you re-discover Christianity, you will eventually be on track to come home to the Church that Christ created, the Catholic Church. By the way, you do reailize that it is fundamentally illogical to be equally true and equally false, don't you? And lastly, I would say that just because you dissagree with the Church on fundamental issues doesn't mean the Church is wrong. I am also stunned that you think philosphy does not have solid provable truth to it. It takes logic to complete a math word problem. If you believe in math, certainly you believe word problems are solvable. If not, what use does math have for us?

      May 25, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "By the way, you do reailize that it is fundamentally illogical to be equally true and equally false, don't you?"

      Not when you are dealing with unprovable claims, the statements that "there are purple unicorns on Venus" and "there are purple unicorns on mars" are equally true and equally false.

      There is some philosophy that can be proven, but claiming philosophy in general is as equal to the discovery of truth in math and science is intellectually dishonest. Logically Christianity does not make sense and there are philosophers who have shown the concept of a personal god does not make sense, they do not prove however that god does not exist. Also the burden of proof for theologians is much higher than philosophers, they are making exceptional claims.

      I will read Lewis. I have been aware of some of the concepts he argues such as the 'Liar, Lunatic, Lord dilemma, I disagree with the premise that these are the only options and therefore his conclusion as well, but I will read it first hand. I am always willing to change my mind if given sufficient reason to but I have heard the best apologist views and I have found them lacking.

      May 25, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • John Carroll

      With regard to equally true and equally false, I agree with your previous position, which is that if something is not proven, it is false, even if it contains elements of truth. This is the position you take to Catholicism. Though I get the gist of what you are trying to say, your unicorn statements are not very compelling. We can prove that there are no unicorns on venus and mars. Now invisible unicorns may be a different story, but I think we can comfortably say that the claim is false until some evidence arises to make it slightly possible that they are there.
      Philosophy is much more similar to math than you may realize. The goal of philosophy is to build logical arguments and grow in truth. Just as there are incorrect equations in math, so too there is erroneous logic, even if they are harder to spot. What I find most interesting is your faith in Math and Science. What makes you believe in them? How can you believe in something such as Pi, which we have never determined to its final digit? How do you not see that as an unreasonable leap of faith to believe that Pi actually exists?
      I am glad to hear that you will read Lewis, and I hope you will start with “Mere Christianity.” As I promised, I will locate a copy of “Misquoting Jesus” and read it, because I feel I “ought” to keep my word to you. Don’t say a Catholic never did anything for you.

      May 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      I do not agree that philosophy is that similar to math and science nor do I think theology and philosophy are equal. Like I have pointed out and you have ignored, theology makes claims that cannot be substantiated and those same claims are the foundation of its knowledge, truth cannot be asserted. Math can be demonstrated, you ask why I believe in Pi. Pi as a concept is demonstrable theoretically AND physically. It is reproducable. Name one concept religion has claimed that was later proven true, is original to the theology and would not have been know without theology? You keep saying christianity is on some level provable and yet you never offer anything that is demonstrats your position. If humans lost all knowledge of religion, religion itself would most likely come back but the forms that it would take would be much differnent than what we have. If we lost all scientific knowledge and had to start from scratch we would end up eventually with the same knowledge we have now. The information is vetted. The information is not vetted in religion.

      May 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "As I promised, I will locate a copy of “Misquoting Jesus” and read it, because I feel I “ought” to keep my word to you. Don’t say a Catholic never did anything for you.'

      John, don't read it as a favor to me, read it because you are interested in learning the history of the foundation of your beliefs.

      Many Catholics have done many wonderful things for me, and I have done nice things for them, I hope that comment was meant in jest.

      May 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • John Carroll

      Of course, I was kidding. It was a reference to your earlier post that said, “Again when you are called on it you are condescending and patronizing. When I point out that I actually have a very good understanding of the religion you next move to the "you must be angry at the church" and "why do you hate the church". When that argument is refuted you dissappear. This almost exactly reflects my experience with the church. Its like a cult trying to hold on to followers, they seem to go through the same stages.”

      I was just trying to make sure you remembered that I was one of those Catholics, but I was willing to read “Misquoting Jesus.” I have already read a review by his friend Daniel Wallace that says “I grieve for what has happened to an acquaintance of mine, a man I have known and admired—and continue to admire—for over a quarter of a century. It gives me no joy to put forth this review. But from where I sit, it seems that Bart’s black and white mentality as a fundamentalist has hardly been affected as he slogged through the years and trials of life and learning, even when he came out on the other side of the theological spectrum. He still sees things without sufficient nuancing, he overstates his case, and he is entrenched in the security that his own views are right. Bart Ehrman is one of the most brilliant and creative textual critics I’ve ever known, and yet his biases are so strong that, at times, he cannot even acknowledge them.”

      Rest assured, I won’t be reading it for my enjoyment, and there are many other textual critics that I find more to my liking, like Scott Hahn. But you never addressed my question about your faith in Pi. Also, why have you and Catholics done nice things for each other? Is it because you felt like you “ought” to?

      May 25, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      John,

      There are 2 posts of mine above, I think you missed the first one where I addressed Pi.

      "Also, why have you and Catholics done nice things for each other? Is it because you felt like you “ought” to?"

      You seem to want to discuss "ought" issues.

      May 25, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      The point of me bringing up Ehrman was to point out the sordid history of the scripture. There are well known forgeries and additions into the New Testement and gospels and most christians are not only unaware that these exist and do not seek to learn more. I think it is dishonest of christian theologians to know the history and still claim it was somehow divinely inspired..

      May 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • John Carroll

      Theology can be demonstrated. We can begin by asking, why is it that when someone is trapped in a burning car, you feel that someone “ought” to do something? Your instincts may prevent you from doing it yourself, or you may be selfless and risk your own life to rescue the person in danger. However, regardless of which path you choose, you know that someone ought to save the person. Theology is simply the study of beliefs. It does not create concepts, but only attempts to understand the external truth through concepts, much the same way that we create Pi as a means by which to understand a truth that we cannot comprehend fully to its end digit.
      Additionally, if you were to look at a circle and believe it to be a perfect circle, you would have to have a natural understanding of perfection upon which to base your judgment of the circle’s perfection.
      Pi is only demonstrable theoretically as a concept, not as a number. In fact, even using Pi as a concept requires faith that Pi exists. If Pi exists as either a number or concept, did we create it or did it exist before we developed the concept of Pi to understand it?
      By saying that if we lost all scientific data, we would eventually end with the same knowledge we have now, you are making an assumption which cannot be proven. Our scientific understanding is limited, and claiming that our understanding of the universe would take a similar path in how it unravels is no more logical than certain theological assumptions. Likewise, your assumption that if humans lost all knowledge of religion, that it would most likely come back in a much different form also is based upon the assumption that there is no creator and concepts with which we understand the created, such as math and science.
      Finally, I would add that as you look at your computer and the data on this blog, you may know but not see that the computer is made of billions electrons. Yes the fact that the atoms exist may be scientifically demonstrable, but there are things that are happening beyond your own ability to demonstrate at this moment. If for all those many years of human existence, we had no knowledge of the atoms making up the matter surrounding us, does that mean that atoms did not exist? Likewise, just because you have not yet seen proof of God does not mean that God does not exist and that Catholicism is not indeed the Church with which he founded through Christ as a means by which to sanctify the physical world, all these atoms you cannot see.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Definition of Theology

      1. the field of study and analysis that treats of God and of God's attributes and relations to the universe; study of divine things or religious truth; divinity.

      Theology is not just the study of beliefs, it is the study of the divine.

      "It does not create concepts, but only attempts to understand the external truth through concepts"

      Name one external truth it understands.

      The scientific data that is known is observable, and can be demonstrated. I will ask this question again since you continue to fail to answer it. Name one concept religion has claimed that was later proven true, is original to the theology and would not have been known without theology?

      The "ought" example failed as that says nothing about divinity in any way. Yes, empathy can be demonstrated in humans and animals, big deal.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • John Carroll

      I wrote the previous post rather quickly last night. I meant to say that belief in God is logical and can be demonstrated. Theology is the study of belief, which includes belief in God. Thus, your definition, regardless of from where you pulled it, is not in conflict with what I meant to convey. In fact, your definition seems to make a concession on your part, as it recognizes that religious truth exists to a degree that it can be studied. One of the fundamental truths that theology attempts to understand is existence, much the same as philosophy.
      In direct answer to your question, “name one concept religion has claimed that was later proven true, is original to theology and would not have been known without theology.” Natural Law. Be careful to not hastily set aside the concept of Natural Law, or you will find yourself on the side of Nazis in the Nuremburg Trials.
      With regard to your answer to the “ought” principle, the fact that you ought to help someone in a burning car is not a matter of mere empathy. Empathy would be simply that you feel for the person in the burning car and can put yourself in his or her shoes. The example I provided is something different than mere empathy and the ability to feel for the person in the burning car. It is an example of human nature, which can only be understood by humans. It cannot be observed from outside of the human species and is a part of what we are as humans. It is not empathy, as it is not an emotion. As a part of human nature, it is recognition of truth and justice, what “ought” to be done, much the same way that holding an image of a circle in comparison to a perfect circle that cannot be attained in nature is a natural human understanding and recognition of perfection. These are building blocks upon which we will arrive at evidence and recognition of the divine. This is how “Mere Christianity” begins. By the way, I only agreed to read “Misquoting Jesus” if you agree to read “Mere Christianity.”
      You did not respond to my statement that “[theology] does not merely create concepts, but only attempts to understand the external truth through concepts, much the same way that we create Pi as a means by which to understand a truth that we cannot comprehend fully to its end digit.” Also, “Pi is only demonstrable theoretically as a concept, not as a number. In fact, even using Pi as a concept requires faith that Pi exists before it can be demonstrated to be mathematically logical. If Pi exists as either a number or concept, did we create it or did it exist before humans developed the concept of Pi to understand it?”
      By saying that if we lost all scientific data, we would eventually end with the same knowledge we have now, you are making an assumption which cannot be proven. Our scientific understanding is limited, and claiming that our understanding of the universe would take a similar path in how it unravels is no more logical than certain theological assumptions. Likewise, your assumption that if humans lost all knowledge of religion, that it would most likely come back in a much different form also is based upon the assumption that there is no creator and concepts with which we understand the created, such as math and science. [note that I am saying that math and science are also a means by which we attempt to understand the divine and we grow ever closer to understanding the fullness of truth. Thus, we are in agreement that math and science are a logical means of growing further toward truth. I just don’t simply limit myself to these fields of study and see that the rejection of other fields and a limitation two these two fields of study which also require a degree of faith (as in faith that Pi exists or that a hypothesis can be proven) is fundamentally contrary to an open pursuit of truth and illogical.

      Finally, I would add that as you look at your computer and the data on this blog, you may know but not see that the computer is made of billions electrons. Yes the fact that the atoms exist may be scientifically demonstrable, but there are things that are happening beyond your own ability to demonstrate at this moment. If for all those many years of human existence, we had no knowledge of the atoms making up the matter surrounding us, does that mean that atoms did not exist? Likewise, just because you have not yet seen proof of God does not mean that God does not exist and that Catholicism is not indeed the Church with which he founded through Christ as a means by which to sanctify the physical world, all these atoms you cannot see. You have faith that something which is mathematically or scientifically demonstrable at several points in time in the past will be mathematically and scientifically demonstrable at any given moment. While the degree and manner of your faith may be different than those who belief in God and Catholicism, you do indeed have faith.
      I understand that you have a great deal personally invested in your evangelical atheism, but as we continue down this path, you may find yourself in a personal dilemma and possibly even a personal crisis.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Natural Law is not original to theology. Natural law has varied widely throughout history and is not specific to theology and does not need theology. The belief in god of course can be demonstrated, god cannot be demonstrated. Pi can be demonstrated and I don't share your fascination with an irrational number and how that is supposed to prove your point, Pi can be used as a mathematical concept which is applied to geometry and therefore physical structures. You do a good job of conflating science, math and philosophy and then assert that means "god did it". I don't deny that god IS a possibility but I do not see it as necessary.You make a further claim that it is a specific "god", a personal god, and a christian god and even if your premise of natural law is accepted the idea of a personal god as is asserted by christians is not logical. There is no evidence for such a god as should be expected if this god interacts with our world. The typical response is that god does not want us to know he interacts with the world or show proof of it which is what makes the whole concept absurd.

      "By saying that if we lost all scientific data, we would eventually end with the same knowledge we have now, you are making an assumption which cannot be proven."

      The laws of nature are the same regardless of our understanding them. The same cannot be said of religious knowledge. Religion would change radically if politics, wars and other variables changed historically even a little bit. Science studies what can can be oserved and reproduced. Lightning used to be attributed to a supernatual cause though the cause of lightning has never changed, only our understanding of it has changed. There is nothing christianity or specifically the Catholic church has ever claimed as an understanding of our natural world has ever turned out to be correct. You would think with the direct conduit to god that is claimed they could come up with some understanding of our world that would have later been proven correct.

      "In fact, even using Pi as a concept requires faith that Pi exists before it can be demonstrated to be mathematically logical."

      Once again if Pi was not able to be demonstrated the concept of Pi would be moot, it only has meaning because it can be demonstrated to work. To conflate Pi as a concept to the concept of god is a fallacy. There is no way to put god in an equation to demonstrat whither it works and more importantly take god out of the equation to show the concept falsifiable. Which leads into the last part of your argument,

      "Likewise, just because you have not yet seen proof of God does not mean that God does not exist and that Catholicism is not indeed the Church with which he founded through Christ as a means by which to sanctify the physical world"

      On the one hand you are right I can't prove this statement wrong but that in no way gives credence to the statement being correct, furthermore it is not a dicotomy, Catholocism could be right, or some other version of christianity, or some other religion entirely, or they ALL could be wrong. But if god created the church to help humans understand and come to god he did a terrible job as is shown by the sordid history of the church, its changes in its theology, its history and the basis for the knowledge of Jesus, (the bible) which has forgeries, additions and condradictions to the level that there is absolutely no reason to think it is of divine orgin. If the church had some special connection to god that should be able to be demonstrated in its history, instead what we find is that it is as flawed as any other man made organization and though they claim to have a superior moral understanding they don't act the part.

      May 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • John Carroll

      It will take me a little time to respond specifically to your post, but I wanted to make a quick response. Your response would be perfect if I were an evangelical protestant. However, as you know, I am a Catholic, and many of the assumptions you make about God wishing to be hidden or a mystery to us are incorrect. It is specifically through the natural order as well as some divine revolation that God has been made known to us. Certainly, natural law has existed as long as human beings. However, the concept has not. Finally, I honestly don't see how you could take a concept such as Pi and work backword to use it demonstrably. The same could hold true if Christians made up the concept of God and proved his existenced by application of God to any given situation.

      May 26, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "Finally, I honestly don't see how you could take a concept such as Pi and work backword to use it demonstrably. The same could hold true if Christians made up the concept of God and proved his existenced by application of God to any given situation."

      John,

      What? ......This does nothing to answer the point I made that Pi is demonstable and can be proven to work.

      Also my point on Natural law is that it is not original to theology, obviously the proponets of natural law will say it predates humans, that is the point, it exists outside of humans. However, as a concept it does not rely on theology, my question was "Name one concept religion has claimed that was later proven true, is original to the theology and would not have been known without theology?" The concept of natural law is in no way a correct answer to this question.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • John Carroll

      Ntjc… Thank you for your patience. I was busy today attending Latin Mass. Have you ever been to one? The music is Gregorian Chant. The first music in the western world to be written down was by monks under order of Gregory the Great in order to preserve Liturgical Music around 600 A.D. By the way, you said that you had 12 years of Catholic Education. Were you ever a practicing Catholic? That is, did you ever attend weekly Mass and go to Confession at least once per year? Just curious.
      As far as natural law goes, yes some form of natural law dates back to Plato, however, St. Augustine of Hippo adapted Natural Law to Christianity, and St. Thomas Aquinas introduce Natural Law from an Ethical standpoint, which is to what I refer. He is known to be the first to say, “an unjust law is not a law,” a concept championed by Dr. Martin Luther King as a reason for civil disobedience during the Civil Rights movement.
      As far as the concept of God being comparable to the concept of Pi and being demonstrable, I don’t think there is any denying the fact that a group which fully accepts the concept of a Christian God is more likely to fear hell and thus more likely to follow moral law in order to avoid hell. This is a widely held argument by atheists as to why the concept of God was created, in order to create a subservient and law abiding populous to be more easily controlled by those in positions of power. Even if God were a created concept, there are countless applications of the concept to well-ordered results. Take for example when I went to Mass today and the many people there lined up to kneel at the altar and receive Communion. The concept of God directly resulted in this act, much the same way that Pi as a concept results in particular demonstrable outcomes. For two thousand years, people have lined up to come and receive communion in this way. Regardless of whether or not you believe in the concept, it has resulted in a very demonstrable, repeated result. In fact, every day the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ over 200,000 times in every country of the world, as it has been done since the last supper. I would safely say the concept of God is demonstrable to work, just as Pi is demonstrable to work. People react to the concept of God. Call it a mass delusion if you wish, but 1.2 billion Catholics in the world disagree with you.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • John Carroll

      For example, if you look at the French Revolution, did you know that the bones of 6 million dismembered bodies can be found in the catacombs below Paris? It is widely reported that Robespierre and the enlightened atheists killed tens of thousands of Catholic Clergy during the reign of terror. However, the bones below parish date to the French Revolution and show signs of decapitations and being drawn and quartered. Since Catholics were annihilated during this time period, they were unable to report the true numbers of those persecuted and murdered for their faith. Entire families were sent to the guillotine and literally erased from the face of the earth. Thus, the truth is rarely if ever taught in history books.
      Furthermore, it is believed and stated by atheists that both Hitler and Stalin were Catholic Altar boys. Both fell away from their faith, and as part of their atheism, they felt a need to persecute Catholics. While many atheists try to claim that Hitler remained a Catholic and was in cahoots with the Vatican, there is no denying the story of St. Maximillian Kolbe who voluntarily took the place of another to die in Auschwitz. His story is an incredible one, and I encourage you to google his name. Likewise, today major news outlets are quick and immediate to report the slightest incident of a sinful and disturbed Catholic Priest. However, they never report on the persecution of Catholics in China. In China, the socialist and atheist government not only routinely rounds up Catholic Clergy and puts them in prison, but they have gone so far as to create the Patriotic Association, which is an “official” Catholic church which falls under the control of the civil authorities. While Catholics in communion with the true church are persecuted, the mirror church of the state is attempting at every turn to subvert the true Catholic church by confusion the faithful. This is widely known and reported by Catholic News agencies but not the media that you read. I hate to tell you ntjc, but atheists have a pretty sordid history when it comes to the violent persecution of Catholics and it is thriving to this day.
      I have one final question. Will you be taking a holiday tomorrow? Much to the frustration of atheists, the original root of the term of holiday is Holy Day, though Memorial Day is an American holiday and not a Catholic Holy Day. Are you still planning on reading “Mere Christianity,” or should I scratch reading “Misquoting Jesus” off my to do list?

      May 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • John Carroll

      ntjc... a middle section of my post is not posting. I will try to figure it out and post it.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • LinCA

      @John Carroll

      You said, "ntjc... a middle section of my post is not posting. I will try to figure it out and post it."

      CNN uses WordPress blogs for their opinion pieces, and they use automated censoring that looks for words, or fragments of words, that are considered offensive. If your post doesn't show up, it most likely had a forbidden word in it.

      Repeat posts, even those that were previously censored and not displayed, will show a message stating that you posted it before.

      The following words or word fragments will get your post censored (list is incomplete):
      arse
      bastard
      bitch
      cock
      coon
      cum
      cunt
      douche
      effing
      fag
      ftw
      fuck
      homo
      horny
      jackass
      jap
      jism
      kinky
      kooch
      nipple
      orgy
      pis
      porn
      poo
      prick
      rape
      sex
      shit
      slut
      snatch
      spic
      tit
      twat
      vag
      whore
      wtf

      To circumvent the filters you can break up the words by putting an extra character in, like: consti.tution (breaking the oh so naughty "tit").

      May 27, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • John Carroll

      middle post
      You state, “[t]he laws of nature are the same regardless of our understanding them. “ I agree entirely. However, your statement that religion would change radically if politics etc changed even a little bit is clearly an assumption with regard to Catholicism. From the standpoint of Catholicism, if the Catholic religion departs from the laws of nature, and thus from reason, it would cease to be Catholicism, which is the fullness of truth. In fact, Catholicism is the ant.ithesis of moral relativism. Moral relativism is the primary reason why people leave Catholicism and choose a different religion or atheism. They wish to be the determiner of right and wrong.
      You also state, “if [G]od created the church to help humans understand and come to [G]od he did a terrible job as is shown by the sordid history of the church, its changes in its theology, its history and the basis for the knowledge of Jesus…”
      I would assert that Catholic theology has not changed and cannot be demonstrated to have changed in its fundamental tenants, though understand of these tenants has continued to grow. It is the same since it came from the mouth of Christ and he appointed Peter as the first Pope. As far as sordid history goes, you will be unable to attribute any sordid history to the Church as an organization and will only be able to attribute any sordid history to individuals who are sinners and may have been acting in a liturgical role. You see, Catholicism is different that Protestantism, and you seem to have arguments that are more geared toward evangelical protestants. Catholics believe the Catholic Church was started by Christ and is not merely the sum of its believers. It is an insti.tution. This is an important difference that you may have difficulty grasping. If an individual Priest sells Indulgences in the middle ages in order to gain favor with the Pope, that does not mean that the concept of indulgences and the Church are to blame for his sin. You will have to search for a better understanding of this concept, as it is not widely understood by non-Catholics and even many Catholics and Catholicism is rarely portrayed correctly.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • John Carroll

      thanks LinCA. What an absurdity to be censured for the word "insti.tution."

      May 27, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      John,

      There is a lot to respond to so I will have to in stages. I will try and quote your statement and then respond to it so you know exactly what I am refering to.
      First, yes I was raised as a Catholic, I was an alter boy, I was confirmed, the fact that I know and understand what transubstantiation is puts me ahead of a large percentage of Catholics.

      “an unjust law is not a law,”

      I would agree, but this also applies to the god of the bible and the injustice therein. For god to condem all humans for the failings of Adam and Eve is wrong. You can blame humans all you want but when a creation is flawed you blame the creator. (this does not mean I am angry at god as is often asserted to atheists, we don't believe in god, I am refering to the concept, which as you have shown is 2 different things).

      "Even if God were a created concept, there are countless applications of the concept to well-ordered results."

      This depends on the definition of "well ordered" 25,000 different denominations of christianity alone to me does not point to a "well ordered" understanding. You can try and claim your understanding (Catholicism) is correct but practicing Catholics do not agree with the teachings of the church. You can argue all day that Catholics who use contraception are wrong but if it truly is wrong the church is failing to get its message across. I would expect a better success rate from an orgaization with a divine connection to god.

      "Take for example when I went to Mass today and the many people there lined up to kneel at the altar and receive Communion.The concept of God directly resulted in this act, much the same way that Pi as a concept results in particular demonstrable outcomes."

      Comparing the concept of PI and the concept of god is a false analogy. First the results of the concept of PI are consistent and reproducable, the results of the concept of god is the polar opposite, it is anything but consistent. Everyones version of the concept of god is different. Catholicism tries, and in my opinion fails, to create an objective version of god for all of its followers through claiming a direct connection historically to Jesus and contemporarily through the pope. They essentually use an argument from authority. But might does not make right. A claim of authority does not equal authority individuals should submit to. The Catholic church has gone to great lengths to try and ligetimize its authority through it theology but when it comes down to it they are selling something, and I am not buying it. They need to show they actually have truth, not just be really good at asserting it.

      PI is a concept, no one is arguing that PI created the universe or that PI is an immaterial being that we should pray and give praise to. The concept of god as I have said is demonstrable, that much is obvious in our world but people have had all kinds of demonstrably false concepts throughout history that at the time could be argued as being perfectly reasonable and rational but in the end were shown to be false.

      I am far from done responding but will end this one here.

      May 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      "From the standpoint of Catholicism, if the Catholic religion departs from the laws of nature, and thus from reason, it would cease to be Catholicism, which is the fullness of truth. In fact, Catholicism is the ant.ithesis of moral relativism. Moral relativism is the primary reason why people leave Catholicism and choose a different religion or atheism. They wish to be the determiner of right and wrong."

      This is the way the church attempts to claim that actual truth is objective and outside of itself and the church is just the interpreter of it, thereby putting itself (so it thinks) in a position of undeniable authority. Which is really convienient because when some position it takes is later determined to be wrong the church can then say its understanding of said truth has evolved to the "real" truth and preserve its authority. It is this claim of authority that made my jaw drop when John Paul II apologized for the churches transgressions, but in the end the church was not wrong, the church can never be truly wrong because of the premise, only the individuals in the church doing the interpreting are wrong. It is a 3 card monte shell game of responsibility. I reject the churches assertion of authority because they have been and continue to be morally wrong, once again if they actually have a divine connection to truth and morality their track record should be much better.

      More to come.

      May 28, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      "Thus, the truth is rarely if ever taught in history books."

      First, I think Robespierre's problem with the church and its followers had more to do with the Catholics aligning themselves with the state, I am not real familier with French history but what I have seen is hostorically a lot of Catholic "persecution" has had more to do with the church's support of dictators than trying to actually suppress their belief system.

      "Furthermore, it is believed and stated by atheists that both Hitler and Stalin were Catholic Altar boys. Both fell away from their faith, and as part of their atheism, they felt a need to persecute Catholics."

      I have not heard of Stalin being a Catholic, Hitler yes, but I do not associate Hitlers atrocities with religion, I think he used religion to further his ends. I don't blame the Catholics for Hitler other than that they were complicate in their knowledge and did nothing to expressly object. Their persucution of Catholics was only because they saw it as a threat to their authority which was directly connected to the authority the church claimed as its own. It was a power struggle and aledging persecution is dis-ingenuous.

      Atheism is a response to a question, the question being "do you believe in god(s). The answer being "no". There is no dogma associated with atheism. People do not act 'in the name of atheism'. Stalin's atrocities were a reaction to his concern with a threat to his power. For anyone to claim that atheism is a causation for immoral behavior they would have to claim that atheists are by defininition less moral as a result of being atheist. If that were the case I would expect theists would be able to demonstrat they are more moral just by the mere fact that they believe in a god, or in your case that Catholics act in a more moral fashion because they are Catholic....but that isn't the case is it. I find your argument in this area to be more about lobbying for your position that about truth. Of course China wants to set their own version of Catholicism, Catholicism claims ultimate authority and that is a threat to China's ultimate authority. If China can bring the religious dogma under their rule it then is an asset and not a liability. The whole point is one of control and Catholics as well as christians use the concept of 'persecution' to garner sympathy. If Catholics could show a higher level of morality because of their beliefs, that would at least be evidence for their claim of having a direct connection objective morality, but you don't, you are no more moral than those who are not Catholic.

      "Likewise, today major news outlets are quick and immediate to report the slightest incident of a sinful and disturbed Catholic Priest."

      John, if it was just a matter of immoral behavior by individual priests I might agree with you. The level of secrecy and conspiracy associated with the pedophilia problem in the church is systemic. How many priests, bishops and cardinals have to be involved before you admit that it is not just individuals acting immorally but is in fact an organizational problem? I was actually looking at reconnecting with the church 12 years ago, it was not the child molesting that turned me away, it was the church's complicity in the situation that made me realize they are not a moral authority and could not be looked to for moral guidance. I have tried to stay away from this subject in our corespondance because I felt you would just write me off as being "angry at the church" but this goes to the heart of the argument. An organization that claims moral truth and a direct connection to obejective morality should never, ever have policies in place that put the organization as being more important than the children under their care. It is unconscionable. I don't believe that Catholic priests have any more disposition to being pediphiles than any other organization that has direct contact with children, pediphila has more to do with opportunity than anything else. The church's secrecy even within the church, sending known child molesters to parishes with out informing the congragation is the problem. I will ask again, how many individuals in an organization have to be involved with immoral behavior and decisions befor the organization is responsible and not just individuals? How many bad apples do you have to have to determine the tree itself is bad?

      "I have one final question. Will you be taking a holiday tomorrow? Much to the frustration of atheists, the original root of the term of holiday is Holy Day"

      The christian church has annexed countless pagan "holidays", practices and symbols in an effort to cater to commoners and further its agenda and add followerers, and you indirectly claiming christianity is the orgin for holidays is dishonest to the point that it is disturbing. I have enjoyed our discussion but when you argue in this fashion it is hard to respect your point of view, you are better than that.

      "However, your statement that religion would change radically if politics etc changed even a little bit is clearly an assumption with regard to Catholicism."

      No its not, the idea of Jesus Christ being of two natures was not a uniform belief until after 300-400 AD. The whole reason for the Apostels Prayer is to affirm the teaching of the winning side of the political struggle of the early CHRISTIAN church, it was not the Roman Catholic Church yet. With the knowledge you have shown I get the idea you are well aware of this but you were trying to slip one past me. The two nature issue is just one of many and the theology could have been radically different, that is anything but an assumption.

      I am still not done.

      May 28, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      "I would assert that Catholic theology has not changed and cannot be demonstrated to have changed in its fundamental tenants, though understand of these tenants has continued to grow."

      This is back to my point that the church claims it is never wrong it just grows in its understanding which like I said is very convienient for their purpose. I would assert theological 'knowledge' never grows, only changes, and I use the term knowledge loosly.

      "As far as sordid history goes, you will be unable to attribute any sordid history to the Church as an organization and will only be able to attribute any sordid history to individuals who are sinners and may have been acting in a liturgical role."

      Part of morality is taking responsibility for actions. If you claim the church never does wrong, how can it claim to do what is right (moral). If it is not moral, and not immoral that only leaves amoral. I know you have this concept of the church 'as all that is true' and if it is not true it is not of the church. I call that type of thinking a rationalization. I also believe that concept to be dangerous. It is pretty easy to for invividuals in power in a "can't do wrong organization' justify their wrongs. When individuals act on behalf of the church and the decisions that are made are a known policy, it stops be individual action and becomes an organization action. The lack of taking responsibility by the church was probably the biggest reason I left the church. You can argue this anyway you want but I will never argee and will never look at the church as a moral insti.tution as long as this mentality is in place.

      "Catholics believe the Catholic Church was started by Christ and is not merely the sum of its believers. It is an insti.tution. This is an important difference that you may have difficulty grasping."

      Oh I grasp what you BELIEVE just fine, I have always understood this point back to when I was a practicing catholic. I just don't agree with the premise or the conclusion. I don't believe Jesus was god so I don't believe the church has the authority it claims. You seem to have this idea that I "just don't understand". This is what I was taught as a catholic, I don't agree with them.

      May 29, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • John Carroll

      Ntjc… regarding your claim that John Paul II apologized for the churches transgressions, I encourage you to read what other Popes have spoken. Don’t just read about them. Catholicism is the fullness of truth with regard to Catholic Teaching, which has been handed down since Christ through Peter, appointed first Pope by Christ, and all successor Popes, and the Apostles, who are the successors of the Bishops. You seem to have a misunderstanding of infallible teaching, as if it means that individuals in the Church can do no wrong. You say the Catholic church has been and continues to be morally wrong. Says who?
      I highly encourage you to do some research on the French Revolution, the sacking of the Notre Dame and replacing a statue of Mary with the goddess of Reason. The persecution of Catholics was simply due to a rejection of Catholic Moral Authority and Catholic Teaching. Millions were killed and their property confiscated by the atheist state, the same as was done by Hitler and Stalin and King Henry VIII.
      As far as Catholic persecution under Hitler, it is well docu.mented. I again encourage you to read the story of St. Maximillian Kolbe. If you believe the Vatican’s silence during WW II was a failure to expressly object, you are unaware that the Vatican was helping Catholics and Jews escape. Furthermore, they were I think about a half a mile from Mussolini’s office. An open objection would have meant total doom to the Vatican and all the people they were helping escape. There are a few books on the subject written from a Catholic perspective, which you may want to explore to get a balanced perspective.
      You claim that people don’t act in the name of atheism. So you are asserting a similar argument to mine, that the sins of individuals cannot be attributed to the Inst.itution of the Catholic Church. Catholics are not necessarily more moral than atheists. In fact, it is well understood that we are all sinners and in a fallen state. While people may not act in the name of atheism, governments who have an official stance of atheism and see religion as “the opiate of the masses” are particularly repressive toward religion and the free exercise there of. Catholicism does not claim ultimate authority. Catholics believe that ultimate authority lies with God. In fact, when the Pope was asked why he doesn’t allow women to be Priests, he said he has no power to allow women to become Priests. The only role of the Pope is as guardian of truth. The Catholic Church respects just civil authority, but atheistic civil authorities often do not respect the ecclesial authority of the Catholic Church and attempt to stamp it out.
      In order to better see how your understanding of Catholicism is limited, you may want to read a docu.ment by Pope John Paul II, which the name escapes me right now. In it, he explains that in any basic inst.itution, the motivation should be love. Where there is only power, then love cannot rule. This is the case in an abusive home, where there is a struggle for power, and love is not the motivating factor. The same is true with governments or religions. If the motivation is love, then there is no need for a struggle for power. As Pope Benedict states in his encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, God is love. As a result, an atheist or a government who claims to be atheist, can only view the Church as a structure of power. Thus, they entirely miss that the entire mission of the Catholic Church is one based on love and not coercion.
      As far as the pedophilia issues in the Catholic Church, you may not be aware that the percentage of Catholic Priests involved in the scandal is less than the percentage of the general populous who are involved in the same behavior. The only reason why it is news is because people hold Priests to a higher standard, and they should. It also has been pounced upon to be used as ammunition by those who hate the Catholic Church.
      “How many individuals in an organization have to be involved with immoral behavior and decisions before the organization is responsible, and not just individuals?” Here again, you have a protestant view of the Catholic Church. The Church is an inst.itution made up entirely of fallen and sinful individuals. Thankfully, whether or not the host is transubstantiated does not rely at all on the state of the soul of the Priest on the altar. The Mass, and all the Sacraments are for all of us. Pope John Paul II went to confession every day. So even if all the facts you have read are true and the scandal was terribly mishandled, what does that have to do with the purity of Catholic Teaching and the Sacraments. Surely you don’t believe that the Catholic Church TEACHES that pedophilia is ok.
      When I made reference to Holiday, I was talking about the linguistic origins of the word, which are evident.
      JC being of two natures was not a uniform belief until after 300? You could just as easily say the Catholic Churches opposition to hom.o.sect.ual marriage was not uniform until after the year 2000, because that is the first time it made a pronouncement about it. The reason a pronouncement was made was because it had become an issue. The same is true with the two natures of JC in the 300s, as well as the Tridentine Mass being called the Mass for all time in the early 1500s when Protestants started taking liberties with the Mass.

      May 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      "As far as the pedophilia issues in the Catholic Church, you may not be aware that the percentage of Catholic Priests involved in the scandal is less than the percentage of the general populous who are involved in the same behavior."

      John,

      I do not blame the Catholic Church for having pedophiles in its ranks. Any large group of people will have a percentage of immoral individuals. I DO blame the Catholic Church as an insti.tution for what it did with the information when it found out who was acting in such a way, for its policies that allowed offenders to continue to offend.

      "You claim that people don’t act in the name of atheism. So you are asserting a similar argument to mine, that the sins of individuals cannot be attributed to the Inst.itution of the Catholic Church."

      Like I said above, I don't blame the church for the actions of the individuals, I blame the church when it is acting as an organization. Like when the church teaches that condom use speads aids.

      "As a result, an atheist or a government who claims to be atheist, can only view the Church as a structure of power. Thus, they entirely miss that the entire mission of the Catholic Church is one based on love and not coercion."

      This is a joke right? Love is not the reason the church coffers are full, it is power through its influence.

      "So even if all the facts you have read are true and the scandal was terribly mishandled, what does that have to do with the purity of Catholic Teaching and the Sacraments."

      It has to do with the basic idea that the Catholic Church is true in its teachings. Just as you admitted that priests should be held to a higher standard, if the church claims objective truth as its goal and if it fails as an organization to handle basic moral problems within the organization it calls into question its ability to actually teach objective morality, the bar is set high and their failure is evidence that their claims are possibly baseless. Having a goal is nice butat some point you have to provide results. It begs the question "How do you know that Catholic teaching is truly pure" You have asked the question "how doI know the church is wrong". I don't but I have no evidence they are right either, I will not believe something based on a claim.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Oh, I found an online version of "Mere Chrstianity" So I will start reading it.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • John Carroll

      JCNT… The Catholic Church is only infallible in particularly declared teachings. You may be disappointed in the way certain leaders dealt with a new issue, which spawned after the se.ct.ual revolution and permissiveness that radically changed all of our society. It does not merit discrediting Catholic teachings and the ancient insti.tution, only the prosecution of those involved. I don’t discredit Geometry simply because my Geometry teacher was a weirdo and the school failed to fire him, though I believe they should be held accountable for their failure.
      “Love is not the reason the church coffers are full, it is power through its influence.” Actually, when I give money to my church on Sunday, it is particularly because I love the inst.itution and wish to support it. Is this an example of the power wielded by the church?
      Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish priest who died as prisoner 16770 in Auschwitz, on August 14, 1941. When a prisoner escaped from the camp, the Nazis selected 10 others to be killed by starvation in reprisal for the escape. One of the 10 selected to die, Franciszek Gajowniczek, began to cry: My wife! My children! I will never see them again! At this Maximilian Kolbe stepped forward and asked to die in his place. His request was granted. Saint Maximilian Kolbe was thrown into Auschwitz because he was running a Catholic Radio Station in Poland under Nazi rule. He was Canonized by the Catholic Church in 1981, and Mr. Gajowniczek, the man whose place he took in the starvation chamber, was at the Canonization.
      “It has to do with the basic idea that the Catholic Church is true in its teachings. Just as you admitted that priests should be held to a higher standard, if the church claims objective truth as its goal and if it fails as an organization to handle basic moral problems within the organization it calls into question its ability to actually teach objective morality, the bar is set high and their failure is evidence that their claims are possibly baseless.”
      Perhaps in your 12 years of Catholic School, nobody mentioned to you that St. Peter, the first Pope denied Christ three times while Christ was captive before his crucifixion. If the first Pope denied Christ, how do you expect the inst.itution to live up to your expectations? I do like the fact that you have now shifted to the position that the Catholic Churches claims are "possibly baseless." We are making progress.
      How do I know that Catholic Teaching is pure? It does not deny reason or revelation. It is logical. It is in full cooperation with the laws of nature. Beyond that, it tells me to “love my enemies,” which I can logically see that to do so is the only way to make the world a better place. I am informed about Catholic Teaching from the source, and I see it like 2+2=4 and I must conform my life to the truth… not 2+2=4 when I want it to equal 4 because it feels good. These are not the only reasons, but they are the only ones that you are likely prepared to recognize at this point.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • John Carroll

      I found a copy of "Misquoting Jesus" in a nearby library. I will try to pick it up soon and read it. Thank you for your efforts.

      May 29, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      John,

      "Actually, when I give money to my church on Sunday, it is particularly because I love the inst.itution and wish to support it."

      I know individuals love the organization, that is the source of its power. My point is the organization is more interested in preserving its power than in the individuals that it claims are under its care.

      The Polish priest story is a nice story. The priest acted as an individual and yet you seem to want to claim his actions for the church but then when the actions of priests are immoral you then say it is the actions of individuals. You don't get to argue it both ways. I have already said I don't blame the church for having pedophiles, I blame the church when it acts as an organization. St. Peter acted as an individual so once again that is not an example of church failure, he was not acting as head of the church when he denied Jesus. According to Church history the church has been around for 2000 years, I expect an organization with a claimed direct link to god to be better at using its moral compass after all that time.

      "I don’t discredit Geometry simply because my Geometry teacher was a weirdo and the school failed to fire him."

      Ahh, back to the false comparison. Geometry has nothing to do with religion or theology and you are not helping your argument by using it. But if you want to use this example I will. I would blame the school for its failiure and I would not continue to send my children to be taught there, the school has proven its inability to correct internal problems and should no longer be trusted. The school (Catholic Church) does not teach the same version of geometry (theology) that other schools teach (which is why it is a terrible analogy).

      The church's failures is not why I am an atheist, the failures are why I started asking questions. I first looked to other forms of christianity but soon looked to the foundation of christianity. The foundation of christianity is not logical nor moral and I therefore rejected it. I in no way set out to become an atheist, it was a realization not an objective. You see christians often have this idea that people choose beliefs, but they don't. Claims are made, information is provided and people come to one of three conclusions, the claim is true, the claim is false or the truth of the claim is undetermined until further information can be obtained. As far as a possible god creating the universe my answer is "I don't know". When I said "possibly baseless" it was in reference to a possible god, not a christian god. The christian god has no more validity than the greek gods or other mythologies, so we are not "making progress".

      May 30, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • John Carroll

      JCNT… does the Church have any power over you? You were free to leave, no? I am free to leave. The church is using my love of God as a source of power? Wow. That is amazingly stark. The Catholic Church has no power. It has a mission, which is to provide the truth of Christ, His teachings and Sacraments. That’s it, and nothing more. Certainly there have been some degree of civil organization associated with the Vatican, but the Catholic Church has only the mission previously stated.
      The difference between the story of Saint Maximilian Kolbe and the sins of other Priests is that St. Maximilian Kolbe WAS DOING WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES THAT HE SHOULD DO. That is why he is a Saint. He is exemplary of the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church being lived, as opposed to the defrocked and prosecuted Priests that you choose to focus on.
      Your statement about not letting your children be taught at a school where some scandal has occurred is a good one. However, your dismissal of the comparison of Geometry to Catholic Teaching fails to acknowledge the point I have been making all along, that the Catholic Church’s teachings are objectively true. I have given you many examples of how these teachings are based upon the natural order, how they are logical and well reasoned. So when you say, “the school (Catholic Church) does not teach the same version of geometry (theology) that other schools teach,” I would respond, you are right. The other churches may contain portions of truth, but only Catholicism is the fullness of Truth. Thus, you must determine if you want to learn true geometry, a sort of true geometry, or scrap geometry all together because of what one bad teacher did, which was against school rules and policy, which resulted in his removal and prosecution. Meanwhile, the school has other geometry teachers that it reveres, such as St. Maximilian Kolbe.
      I definitely understand that atheism is not something you set out to become… you sort of slide down to it when you lose hope and clarity. I encourage you to continue to continue to search and give at least equal credence to Catholic writers until you come to the conclusion that the claim of Catholicism is true. Perhaps you are currently comfortable floating in mid air as an atheist, because you can do those things you enjoy. The only way an atheist can truly understand the world around them is the pleasure and pain principle. Is that the meaning you wish to find in life? If not, keep looking.

      May 30, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • John Carroll

      One last thing… something I heard today. You and I can sit down to a lunch and devour it. We can fill up a car and drive and use up the fuel. However, if you teach me that 2+2=4, I can teach it to another and it is never consumed. The truth keeps regenerating and never dissipates. On the other hand, if you teach me that 2+2=5, in the not too distant future, I will recognize that it is not true and cease to teach it. Thus truth is eternal, but falsehood is not. Could this be why Catholicism has endured for two thousand years, through the rise and fall of many empires, and yet still endures?
      So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants [would] be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.* For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
      When he had said this, he again went out to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in him.”

      May 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      "does the Church have any power over you?"

      Nope, not any longer. But it still has an effect on my life personally. And it did have power over me when I was wrongly led to believe I was a sinner and needed the church and its teaching to be redeemed. Power can be obtained 2 ways, through money and having knowledge others don't have. The church gets its power through a claim of knowledge (the knowledge does not have to be true, you just need people to believe it is true). The church has plenty of money and that alone gives it power.

      "The church is using my love of God as a source of power? Wow. That is amazingly stark."

      Yep, I agree, the reality of a situation is not always pretty.

      "The Catholic Church has no power."

      So you are saying the church is impotent? I don't think you believe that.

      "Certainly there have been some degree of civil organization associated with the Vatican, but the Catholic Church has only the mission previously stated."

      Wow, the Catholic church is one of THE MOST organized religious insti,tuions in the world. The fact that you would downplay this characteristic is telling.

      "That is why he is a Saint. He is exemplary of the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church being lived, as opposed to the defrocked and prosecuted Priests that you choose to focus on."

      I agree he acted in accordence with church teaching and he was a great example for all of humanity. But his sacrifice was not dependent on the church. There are people that have sacrificed for others from all backgrounds. There is not one selfless action that is dependent on the church teaching or religion in general. I agree with many of the churches teachings and I don't think they as an organization are evil or worse than other religious organizations.

      "your dismissal of the comparison of Geometry to Catholic Teaching fails to acknowledge the point I have been making all along, that the Catholic Church’s teachings are objectively true."

      Which church teachings are objectively true? And by that question I mean can be proven true. For instance claiming Jesus is god is not an objective truth.

      "but only Catholicism is the fullness of Truth."

      This is a claim, claims are not truth per se. They have to be proven. Geometry is proven. I have a question, would it ever be possible to prove Jesus was not god in your worldview?

      " you sort of slide down to it when you lose hope and clarity."

      So I take at some point you were an atheist? Or are you making more baseless claims and again letting you argument devolve into patronizing prattle? I am less conflicted and more clear on this issue than at any point in my life.

      "I encourage you to continue to continue to search and give at least equal credence to Catholic writers until you come to the conclusion that the claim of Catholicism is true."

      So I should read them until I believe them? If that is what is needed to believe the claim, it is not objective.

      "Perhaps you are currently comfortable floating in mid air as an atheist, because you can do those things you enjoy. The only way an atheist can truly understand the world around them is the pleasure and pain principle. ."

      Perhaps you are a Catholic because you find comfort in being told how to view the world and fear living without supersti.tion. The only way a christian can make sense of the world is through an unquestioned invisible authority.

      If you want to just throw vebal barbs at each other I can do that..

      May 30, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      "Thus truth is eternal, but falsehood is not. Could this be why Catholicism has endured for two thousand years, through the rise and fall of many empires, and yet still endures?"

      Nope, it is the claim of truth that has allowed it to endure. If it was actual truth the Church would not be losing followers hand over fist. Not to mention that people of higher intelligence would be drawn to it in much higher percentages when not already indoctrinated into it. Religion uses indoctrination for its subsistance.

      May 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • John Carroll

      JCNT… I am not throwing verbal barbs. It is no secret that I am Catholic. In order to see the truth of Catholicism, I ventured through the valley of darkness. As far as Maximilian Kolbe is concerned, you claim that he acted in accordance with Church teaching but that his selfless action was not dependent on the church teaching or religion in general. I am sure as a Catholic Priest who gave his life for another, he would not agree with you. In fact, why would he have taken the place of another if he had no faith in eternal life? That is fundamentally illogical. Why give up the few remaining days, or years of his own opportunity to seek pleasure to take the place of another unfortunate person who has been condemned? Your world view does not seem to be as clear as you say.
      I have been given free will, so I certainly choose to recognize the truth of Catholicism and live by its teachings. It has no power over me, because I don’t view it from the perspective of power, but love. Likewise, you and I have no power over each other. We are free to quit writing at any time. Why do you continue? Does it give you pleasure to encourage me to drop my “superst.ition?” Are you looking for validation of your current choice, or are you in internal turmoil over the loss of the fullness of truth?
      I don’t see the Catholic Church as impotent, because it is protected by God in order to teach the truth. As I mentioned in my previous post, the truth is eternal, but falsehood is not. The Catholic Church has an earthly mission, and it fulfills that mission through organization. If you don’t believe in the mission, then you can only see the organization as evil and misleading. That is why many protestants see the Pope as the Antichrist. If we deny truth, we embrace chaos. As a believer in math, certainly you recognize that.
      In reference to the previous paragraphs and to answer your question, “which church teachings are objectively true?” I would respond by quoting Section II, paragraph 7 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states, “Catechesis is intimately bound up with the whole of the Church's life. Not only her geographical extension and numerical increase, but even more her inner growth and correspondence with God's plan depend essentially on catechesis.” The truth of this teaching should be apparent on its face even to an atheist. You claim “I agree with many of the church’s teachings and I don’t think they as an organization are evil or worse than other religious organization.” Do you agree with the Catholic Church’s teaching that you deem are true or the ones that you deem are false?
      I encouraged you to continue to search and learn until you conclude that Catholicism is true. Certainly I recognize that you have free will to turn your back on any or all Church teaching, but I encourage otherwise. We are given free will specifically so we can freely choose to love and serve God. You can’t make someone love you, and neither does God. My statement about searching isn’t a factual claim. It is a personal recommendation. I would imagine that your position would be that I continue to search and learn until I conclude that Catholicism is not true, at least not in its entirety. Do you see any conflict in your statements, at one moment stating that you agree with certain Catholic teaching, but then asking me to name one Church teaching that is objectively true?
      “The only way a Christian can make sense of the world is through an unquestioned invisible authority.” The same is true for you too, JCNT… you claimed that you agree with certain church teaching, on what basis, an external truth other than Catholicism? How do you determine which teachings are true? Where does that come from?

      May 30, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      “Catechesis is intimately bound up with the whole of the Church's life. Not only her geographical extension and numerical increase, but even more her inner growth and correspondence with God's plan depend essentially on catechesis.”

      You will have to do better that that. It is this type of circular garbage that drove me to look for answers elsewhere. This is just a complex way of arguing the "church teaches truth because it says it teaches truth".

      "I am not throwing verbal barbs. It is no secret that I am Catholic. In order to see the truth of Catholicism, I ventured through the valley of darkness."

      This again says nothing. Assuming all atheists have no hope, no basis for acting moral and cannot understand the world is arrogant and ignorant, it is a type of ethnocentrism. Obviously we disagree but if a civil discussion cannot be acheived without being consescending than what is the point with continuing? I am trying to understand your basis for belief. You on the otherhand are making claims about me personally that you have no knowledge of other than making broad generalizations.

      "We are free to quit writing at any time. Why do you continue?"

      I have a lot of reasons to continue. I enjoy discussion. What started this was your claim that Catholicism can be proven as just as science or math can be proven, when you made that claim I wanted to hear your reasons. You have not once given evidence of that claim or any claim you or Catholcism have made. Geometry does not prove it is true through comparison to astronomy. Even if you proved natural law (which you haven't) it does not prove god nor could it prove a personal god.

      "I don’t see the Catholic Church as impotent, because it is protected by God in order to teach the truth."

      You also said the church does not have power, now you say god is on your side and protects you organization. How is that not power?

      "If we deny truth, we embrace chaos."

      Assertions are not truth, I deny your assertions.

      "Do you agree with the Catholic Church’s teaching that you deem are true or the ones that you deem are false?"

      I agree with the ones that make sense and are logical.

      "Do you see any conflict in your statements, at one moment stating that you agree with certain Catholic teaching, but then asking me to name one Church teaching that is objectively true?"

      Not in the least, even if I agree with a church teaching, that does not make it objectively true, it just means I agree with an opinion.

      "You can’t make someone love you, and neither does God."

      God has not ever been proven himself exist, if he choose to make himself known he could. As the saying goes "the invisible and the non-existent look very much alike".

      May 30, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • John Carroll

      Jcnt… I am beginning to realize that no matter how much “proof” I provide you, you will likely claim that I have not provided proof of the existence of God or the truth of Catholicism. I have provided you with proof of the logic of Catholicism, its adherence to logic and the natural order. I have shown you that the natural order is no less logical than math, which is one thing that you seem to put all your faith in. If you remain obstinate in claiming that the proof and facts that I am providing are not so, I cannot force you to see them as such. In the end, you have free will, and you have the power to reject truth, even when it is presented to you. I have also shown that for all that you claim to know about Catholicism, there are many things that you do not and did not know and yet you have still written it off. For a person to be so intent on demanding hard proof, I am surprised at how unwilling you are to accept proof, truth and logic when it is presented.
      There is nothing about the Catechesis quote that I provided which const.itutes “circular garbage.” It is quite clear that the Catechism states that Catechesis is intimately bound up with the whole of the Church’s life. That is evident and proven by the existence of the Catechism of which I quoted a very small portion. It is the “one truth” that you requested before, and you rejected it as circular garbage. You respond, “this is just a complex way of arguing that ‘the church teaches truth because it says it teaches truth.’” Actually, the Church here says that it teaches, and that teaching is intimately bound up with the whole of the Church’s life, and it says it in the Church’s teaching, the Catechism. Like it or not, the statement is true because it is self-proving. You specifically asked me “which church teachings are objectively true?” I have provided you one logical and irrefutable example of a teaching that proves itself true.
      You also stated that when Peter denied Christ three times, he was acting as an individual and not as the head of the Church. I agree. My point was not to show that the Church has denied Christ, but that Christ’s Vicar on earth had denied Christ. By this point in the Gospel, Jesus has already said, “you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it, and I have given you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth, will be loose in heaven.” As such, Peter was already Pope, but as an individual, he still denied Christ at his most desperate hour. We cannot expect much better from subsequent Popes and Bishops. However, the teaching of the church is protected as “the gates of hell will no prevail against it.”
      If an atheist has a basis for hope and for acting moral, what is it? What exactly is moral behavior to a true atheist? Isn’t the denial of God the same as denying moral truths? You’ve made a strong claim and I think you owe me an answer after all of the ones I have provided you. What is the basis for morality and for moral behavior? Is there a common agreement on what const.itutes moral behavior since atheists have “no insti.tution?” If there is no common agreement on what cons.ti.tutes moral behavior, then does moral behavior exist to a true atheist? In my readings of atheism, I have only found that the base moral truth to an atheist is that we should strive to reduce suffering and increase pleasure to its greatest extent. These are the points asserted by ethicists who claim to be atheists. Do you agree?
      God has shown himself to exist, and I have shown it in the many paragraphs above. You have chosen to not count these things as proof. Why? The truth of math is no or less provable than the truth of logic, as I stated in my red light example above. You have chosen to discount it and claim it is not truth. You have the power to do so, however I find it disappointing, especially since you seem like a smart person who asks for proof that God exists, but will continually discount proof presented no matter how logical it may be. I would guess that you have a great deal personally invested in atheism to be so willing to ignore facts and truth when presented. I have even quoted Christ who said that he has come to testify to the truth, to which Pilate, an atheist or non-Christian responded, ‘what is truth?’ He didn’t recognize it when he saw it. Perhaps the same is true about you. Maybe you don’t recognize the truth when you see it. Perhaps we should both pause and go back for the next day and read all the things we have posted on this blog. Perhaps then we may have a better understanding of each other, even if we freely disagree. I don’t want this discussion to slide down into a nasty debate with personal attacks which gets us nowhere. I hope we can continue to discuss our differences logically in hope that both of us will learn something about atheism and Catholicism.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      John,

      The reason I took interest in this conversation was that I had hope you would provide what other Catholics I have been involved with haven't, a straight answer. Think of proof as what would be accepted as evidence in a court of law, you have not provided any proof.

      "I have shown you that the natural order is no less logical than math, which is one thing that you seem to put all your faith in."

      Natural Order does not equate to god. Faith in a religious sense is not comparable to faith in reproducable understood natural occurances. Natural Order does not prove an afterlife, or a christian god or anything specific to christianity or especially Catholicism.

      "Catholicism, there are many things that you do not and did not know and yet you have still written it off."

      Yes, here I agree. I do have a better understanding now after this dialogue which is one of the reasons I have enjoyed it, though your assumption and condescention of my knowledge has held the discussion back. The level of rationalization and delusion involved in Church dogma is far deeper than I thought. There are many thing I don't understand about astrology, am I wrong therefore to reject it as true?

      " Actually, the Church here says that it teaches, and that teaching is intimately bound up with the whole of the Church’s life, and it says it in the Church’s teaching, the Catechism."

      The fact that you think this is a self proving statement goes to the heart of why I stopped looking to the church for answers.

      "Isn’t the denial of God the same as denying moral truths?"

      Atheism is not a denial of god, I don't "deny" the tooth fairy. When you understand why you reject every other version of god that man has come up with you will understand why I reject yours.

      "What is the basis for morality and for moral behavior?"

      The basis John, is I benefit more by acting morally, morality in the end is selfish in nature.

      "Is there a common agreement on what const.itutes moral behavior since atheists have “no insti.tution?”

      There is not common agreement among Catholics who DO have an "insti.tuion" The issue with the Nuns in the U.S. is one of many great examples.

      As I said I have enjoyed this and I have learned a lot, maybe not all of them are things you would want me to take away from this but some you would. You have provided intricate rationalizations that are well thought out and complex but when broken down are non the less fallacious and fall short of the "proof" that was original to your claim. This certainly remained me of conversations I have had with church leaders, interesting but in the end unsatisfying.

      Goodbye, I wish you the best.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • John Carroll

      JCNT... prove to me that 2+2=4. Every argument that you have made can be applied to the same. 2+2=4 you claim because it is demonstrable. When? where? Here? Now? Are you saying 2+2=4 in every time and in every place? I give you the natural order. I claim that 2+2=4 because it follows a natural order. Two trees over here, two trees over there... there are four trees. The same is true with Catholic Theology.
      II. Ways of Coming to Know God
      31 Created in God's image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of "converging and convincing arguments", which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These "ways" of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world, and the human person.
      32 The world: starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world's order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe.
      As St. Paul says of the Gentiles: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.7

      And St. Augustine issues this challenge: Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky. . . question all these realities. All respond: "See, we are beautiful." Their beauty is a profession [confessio]. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One [Pulcher] who is not subject to change?8
      33 The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God's existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. the soul, the "seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material",9 can have its origin only in God.
      34 The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality "that everyone calls God".10
      35 Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.
      III. The Knowledge of God According to the Church
      36 "Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason."11 Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God's revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created "in the image of God".12
      37 In the historical conditions in which he finds himself, however, man experiences many difficulties in coming to know God by the light of reason alone:
      Though human reason is, strictly speaking, truly capable by its own natural power and light of attaining to a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, who watches over and controls the world by his providence, and of the natural law written in our hearts by the Creator; yet there are many obstacles which prevent reason from the effective and fruitful use of this inborn faculty. For the truths that concern the relations between God and man wholly transcend the visible order of things, and, if they are translated into human action and influence it, they call for self-surrender and abnegation. the human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appet.ites which are the consequences of original sin. So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful.13
      38 This is why man stands in need of being enlightened by God's revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding, but also "about those religious and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be known by all men with ease, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error".14

      May 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • John Carroll

      jcnt... I enjoyed your quote, ""What is the basis for morality and for moral behavior?"

      "The basis John, is I benefit more by acting morally, morality in the end is selfish in nature'
      Thus, when it is convenient, the selfish in nature could cause you to choose immoral behavior. Tthere is no real moral code othter than what suits you at the moment. You should think thru the impllications of such a moral code. It has been shared by many sociopaths throughought history.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      So 2+2=Catholic Theology.....OK

      "In the historical conditions in which he finds himself, however, man experiences many difficulties in coming to know God by the light of reason alone:"

      So you can't use just use "reason" to understand god. Funny how they just slipthis one past everyone and it it not really noticed. Let me ask you John, what other mental capacity does one use in addition to reason to understand god? Then the next line contradicts the quote above and says you can use reason but it is hard. It then goes on to say it is hard because it is invisible. But that isn't the real problem, we understand lots of things that are invisible. The real problem is it can't be demonstrated, the point I have been making all along and the above admits it. Ciruclar reasoning is circular, there I proved circular reasoning exists and is true.

      As far as my point on morality. St. Maximiilian that you brought up devoted his life to the concept of god, he believed in an afterlife, he wanted to be as much like his perception of his god as possible and he felt his sacrifice would take him to an everlasting eternal life with his god. His actions was just as selfish in nature as any other persons.

      When I volunteer my time to help others I am not under the illusion I am ONLY helping them, it is also selfish because I am helping myself.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • John Carroll

      "St. Maximiilian that you brought up devoted his life to the concept of god, he believed in an afterlife, he wanted to be as much like his perception of his god as possible and he felt his sacrifice would take him to an everlasting eternal life with his god. His action was just as selfish in nature as any other persons."

      But according to you, St. Maximilian Kolbe had no PROOF. Thus, according to your own assertions, his act was an entirely selfless act based upon faith.

      btw, I read the Introduction to Misquoting Jesus last night. The author’s experience seems to have been as a nominal Presbyterian to an Evangelical. Of course, I haven't read the entire book yet, but his arguments seem to be geared toward evangelicals who base their faith on the concept of Sola Scriptura and not Catholics. The key difference is that Catholics know historically that Catholicism predates the New Testament and the Catholic Church actually wrote and assembled the Bible. When that process begins and ends is not an issue for Catholics, so all the textual differences and changes, if they can be proven, are diminished greatly.
      To clarify your reading of the Catechism, in JPII’s Encyclical “Fides et Ratio,” he writes, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth-in a word, to know himself-so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”
      From a Catholic standpoint, your stance of demanding material proof for the existence of God and denying any provable truth outside of Math and Science is just as illogical as an Evangelical who says that the Bible is the inspired word of God without any recognition about where the Bible came from or any textual contradictions. The Catholic Church is the solution to the illogic in both instances as an intellectual and spiritual guide.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      "But according to you, St. Maximilian Kolbe had no PROOF. Thus, according to your own assertions, his act was an entirely selfless act based upon faith."

      John, really? Why do I have to waste time explaining it makes no difference whither I think he had proof, HE believed it and that is all that matters, his belief informed his action, my saying that he had no proof had no bearing on them. You get your morality from your belief that morals are objective and given by god, whither you love god or fear him your morals are just as selfish in nature as anyone else's.

      "From a Catholic standpoint, your stance of demanding material proof for the existence of God and denying any provable truth outside of Math and Science is just as illogical as an Evangelical who says that the Bible is the inspired word of God without any recognition about where the Bible came from or any textual contradictions. The Catholic Church is the solution to the illogic in both instances as an intellectual and spiritual guide."

      The only thing the Catholics have done is create an argument that cannot be tested or proven false, that does not therefore make it true no matter how eloquent the argument is stated.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • John Carroll

      JCNT… Do you think that you are the only one tempted by doubts? St. Maximilian Kolbe was probably tempted by doubts to the bitter end, when he was dying of thirst and starvation in the chamber. He had heroic belief, which is why he is a saint. On the other hand, there are many who will cast aside their faith for any fleeting pleasure they wish and justify it in all manner of illogical ways.
      Have you ever experienced a miracle?

      June 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      I am sure he was a wonderfull man.

      No I have not experienced a miracle and those that claim they have can only make the claim. Their experience may be reason for them but it is not a reason for me or anyone else to believe it.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • John Carroll

      Since the topic of St. Maximilian Kolbe has come up, I am going to ask for his intercession to bring you a miracle. You will know it when it happens sometime in the near future.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      I have another question, If what you have been claiming all along is that Catholic truth is objective and can be proven just like 2+2=4, why would ST. Maximillian have ANY doubt. I have no doubts about 2+2=4 and would stake my life on it without any concern what so ever. According to what you have been saying the teaching is completely logical and confirmed with as much certianty as any known truth in science. If this is the case a preist should never have doubt.

      I appreciate your effort as far as your hope for a miracle in my life. Since we are on the subject you may find this site interesting.

      http://www.whydoesntgodhealamputees.com/

      June 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • John Carroll

      The reason why he would have doubts is because we are human and doubts are natural. If it were not so, there would be no atheists. You might stake your life on the fact that 2+2=4, but what if you are wrong? What if when you get closer to the center of the galaxy or inside a black hole, the time space continuum is altered to such a degree that 2+2= something very close to 4? You would have staked your life on something you assumed was a universal truth, when it was not.
      As far as your amputees website, I thank you for your interesting gesture. I would respond by saying that you assume that God has nothing to do with human creativity. What if God is the master artist? What if he is the artist of artists? If so, then maybe God is healing amputees… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yazYwCPC8g&feature=player_detailpage

      June 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      "You would have staked your life on something you assumed was a universal truth, when it was not."

      It is not an assumption since it can be demonstrated, claiming it is just an assumption and at the same time saying god can be proven to the same certainty then concludes god is also an assuption in your view.

      "What if God is the master artist? What if he is the artist of artists?"

      So the concept of god gets all of the credit and none of the blame.

      June 1, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • John Carroll

      2+2=4 can be demonstrated in this place and time, but maybe not in another place and at another time. Perhaps God is an assumption to the degree that 2+2=4 is an assumption, but I am not the one doubting either, am I?
      As you stated earlier, if it were not for the faith in god of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Gajowniczek would have been killed in Auschwitz. God worked a miracle through St. Max. The same is evidently true with amputees. That’s not to say that God couldn’t heal an amputee without the faith of another person. I can quickly site two examples. The first if Jesus’ healing of the Roman Soldier whose ear St. Peter cut off. The other is the Miracle of Calanda. However, I doubt you will consider either of these as the kind of proof which you seek, so I will stick with my initial response, which is that human ingenuity and creativity reflects the artistry and creativity of God. After all, we are made in his image and likeness. I will still pray for St. Maximilian Kolbe to intercede and provide a miracle, but I doubt he will bring about the restoration of an amputated limb. Keep your eye out for something a little more personal that nobody else will believe is a miracle. This is about you, and not about creating a famous supernatural event.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      "As you stated earlier, if it were not for the faith in god of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Gajowniczek would have been killed in Auschwitz."

      No that is not what I said. I said his faith informed his action. That is not the same as saying without his faith it could NOT have happened.

      "which is that human ingenuity and creativity reflects the artistry and creativity of God."

      You are really god at making statements that can't be proven wrong and then thinking that makes them true.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • John Carroll

      JCNT.. Thank you for continuing our conversation. I have learned a lot about atheism. Though I have many other responsibilities, I recognize that that matters we are discussing get to the heart of the different viewpoints about the meaning and purpose of life. It allows me time during my busy day to keep my focus on important, broader issues. I also recognize that you stated something to the effect that atheism is not a choice, but that you feel you came to a certain realization by recognizing the errors of certain aspects of Christianity. If there was ever a time that a Catholic treated you poorly, particularly as a result of your doubts about the existence of God, I would like to apologize on their behalf.
      To that point, if I misstated your previous words and you particularly stated that Faith merely informed the actions of St. Maximilian Kolbe, I believe I was attempting to capture this by saying that Grajowniczek would have been killed in Auschwitz. In this particular instance, I am not claiming that it could not have happened. Certainly, there were many selfless people during the holocaust that voluntarily suffered on behalf of others, and many of them may have had no faith. However, I think it is safe to say that in this instance, it would not have happened if it were not for St. Maximilian Kolbe’s faith.
      Also, with regard to my statement regarding ingenuity and creativity reflecting the artistry and creativity of God, I was not attempting to make a provable statement, but merely presenting a Catholic view and the continuity of faith and reason… that 2+2=4 because it reflects the truth of Creation. The same is true with my quote of the Encyclical Fides et Ratio, that Faith and Reason are not incompatible and my earlier statement about Gregorian Chant being the first written music in the western world highlighting the contributions of the Church. Have a good weekend.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      John,

      Yes I have enjoyed this as well.

      I like many people have been treated poorly by church representatives (no real abuse) but I have also met wonderful church representatives, and the good ones have outnumbered the poor ones. No one has teated me poorly because of my doubts, they just did not give satisfactory answers and the answers were anything but consistent which brings into question the truth. You have actually provided the fullest answers and I commend you for that. I am under no illusions that I am going to change your mind. Enjoy your weekend.

      June 2, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • gg

      haha. Interesting reading here. But as a former catholic I must say this. The catholic church is so full of hogwash and false teachings that it becomes humerous when one thinks about how many falsehoods it teaches, celibacy, hellfire, purgatory, immortal soul, trinity, etc. etc. etc. Study the Bible objectively, without the influence of the catholic church, and you will see how false it is. Get a good reference Bible, like the New World Translation or others that have not slanted the words to prove their own beliefs and you will see more clearly. Not to mention how a large number of priests/bishops/fathers live hypocritical lives. I'm sure there are some sincere ones among them, but it's time to get out before it's too late. Revelation 18:4.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:32 am |
  11. WASP

    "One indication is a poll recently published by the Public Religion Research Insti-tute, a think tank supported by a broad spectrum of scientists and religious experts. The poll showed a majority of Americans, including a majority of Catholics, believe that most employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception at no cost.
    Another sign of change is the perceptible ease with which young men talk about and support contraception, including methods being developed for them.
    a 23-year-old policy intern working in Washington, says he looks forward to the day when male birth control, in various testing stages around the country, goes on the market.
    "My generation has always had contraception," he says. "It was a part of our s-e-x education and is a part of our relationships. We are just beginning to get engaged in the politics, and the fight against it is a losing battle."

    from another articule here on cnn. i want to see the catholics get up in arms over male birth control. a woman only extinguishes one egg, male birth control would kill millions of possible babies. ROFLMFAO this is going to be a good one. maybe the headline will read " catholics try to stop mass genocide in a pill."

    May 23, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  12. jon

    In the 2008 election the majority of Catholics voted for Obama...not this time around though

    May 23, 2012 at 6:28 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Last I saw a majority of catholics use birth control, so that will changetoo right?

      May 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      You're all forgetting a simple fact about the whole election. People don't want to vote for Romney. It doesn't boil down to "Well I don't like Obama so I'm not voting for him". It comes down to "Which of these two people do I want in office?" I have to say the majority will still pick Obama over Romney.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  13. mmi16

    Organized religion – all varieties – is nothing more than one small group of men trying to control a larger group of mankind.

    I will not be controlled!

    May 23, 2012 at 4:24 am |
  14. John Carroll

    It is a shame that people feel so free to be bigoted and full of hate toward Catholicism when they know so little about it, other than what they have heard in the main stream media.

    May 23, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Guess what John,

      Lots of us are former catholics that have left the church. I had 12 years of catholic education. Nice try trying to marginalize the opposition though.

      May 23, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • jmsbois

      What a victim!

      May 25, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • ukuleleism

      NTJC–

      I don't disagree with you at all, but I am just saying that your story is just one anecdote, and you can't prove or disprove things with a single anecdote.

      Simple AP Stats. :D

      May 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      My point was that his assumption that those who oppose the church do not have knowledge of the church is a fallacy.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • gg

      Not true, been there done that. The catholic church is nothing but falsehoods.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:38 am |
  15. John Carroll

    Surtherfurd... why is harboring abusers wrong, but forcing a religious organization to contract with an insurance provider that provides somethingthe religous organization has always held as morally wrong and passing the cost back to the religious organization ok? Is it because you say it is ok?

    May 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Because said religious organization is not just involved in religion, it is involed in large business operations like health care and social services that have nothing to do with their dogma and employ people and therefore compensate people with differing beliefs. What if a non Jahovas Witness employed by the Jahovas Whitnesses was denied blood transfusions, would that be justified?

      May 23, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • SPA Knight

      NTJC – Providing social services to the poor is a huge component of the Catholic Church's mission and is completely backed up by it's dogma, teachings and traditions. They use much of their resources to feed the poor, provide shelter, deliver medical treatments and promote dignity of the human person on the street. Their motivation originates from their core beliefs. On the other hand, a government has no compassion in their approach to delivering social services no matter how much money they take and that is because their motivation is no longer driven by a mission to serve the individual citizen but to serve themselves.

      Finally though I would suggest that you focus less on finding fault in the Church and conduct a deep examination of your own conscience. It's much easier to criticize that to change ourselves because that requires real work. I like you spent many years very confused and critical of the Catholic Church but it had more to do with my lack of understanding than it did with anything they were doing. I came to the realization that I needed to know what I was leaving before moving on so I started reading books, studying the Catechism, reading about the saints and their personal testimonies of conversion. in the end, the struggle was the catalyst for my conversion, or reversion since I was raised Catholic. You should strongly consider what John Carroll suggested about reading Mere Christianity as a start. I read another one called Born Fundementalist Born Again Catholic which was also excellent.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  16. A Candid Look

    Throw religion out of it...

    lers say you are a vegan, and firm in your beliefs.... now the government comes along and mandates that you must pay for meat for people.... it is free to them, no cost to them.....

    or leave religion in

    perhaps you are an athiest and fimly believe that there is no God... and the government mandates that you buy books for people that are religous (what evfer religion) through a tax... to be supplied at no cost to them...

    Some one in this thread made this statement
    You must love all men and women,,, Does this mean that unborn children are not male or female??? (men or women)

    As a Catholic I believe the teachings of the Church are correct in this... never mind the politics.... never mind humans that have made mistakes as a member of the clergy.... Those mistakes are an affront before God and they will be judged... but you have to have faith.... if you have no faith then you will never believe that judgement will come... so you set yourself up as the judge and condem all people of faith. This seems more than just a little egotistical ...

    all this being said .... I have stated my opinion is the nicest way I can,,, I am open to discussion... will you show me the same respect????

    May 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      The Catholic church does not have to pay for the contraceptives. The insurance company covers the entire cost so your analogy falls flat.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • A Candid Look

      Well famous french ball jugler... let me ask you a question... Which is this...

      Who is the insurance company? The party that pays the bill's? If so, then the Catholic hospital I was just in is the insurance company... not UHC.. UHC only administers the health plan, Mercy self funds...... Hmmmmm.... could it be that they have a legal leg to stand on... could my analogy be correct... and you only addressed part of it... Thank you for displaying a shining example of ignorance much akin to the president of this fine country.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Skeptic38

      I completely agree, which Is why I am opposed to the Catholic church being given tax dollars and then allowing them to use that money to further their own beliefs. Currently, they are given many millions of tax dollars from non-Catholics. ( I'm not talking about re-imbursement for treating medicare patients). I'm sure if an athiest organization took your tax dollars and used it to further athiest beliefs, you would object. That is why the government should not be giving tax money to any athiest or religious organization. If you agree with this, them join me in telling your church that they should stop accepting tax money if they don't want to use it for puposes deemed acceptable by the general population thru our legislative process. The government represents all of us, not just Catholics. When Catholics buy up the only hospital in a neighborhood, then convert it to Catholic rules and force those rules on everyone who has no other hospital available, they are taking religious freedom away from other people.

      May 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  17. Kindness

    thought to consider without a typical ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Let go and let god".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    Your all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome .

    May 22, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "You're all smart people . I tell the truth."

      LMAO You're all smart people . I tell the truth.= EGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That makes your whole post moot!

      May 22, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for those who think outside the bible box:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

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

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

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

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

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

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      May 22, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "Evidence follows faith."

      No, you have no evidence and your religion does not make sense. Religious faith is acceptance of a claim without evidence and is a terrible excuse to believe. Faith is not a virtue, it is self-delusion.

      May 22, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • John Carroll

      The material world is sanctified through the sacriments. Jesus' physical suffering was not an illusion. It was meant to sanctify the physical world. We are called to go forth. We can not detatch to a point of dualism or there would be no point to this life.

      You others, you hold beliefs in such things that 2 plus 2 equals 4. Yes, it is true, but why? Because math reflects the external truth. If it does not, it is useless. The same is true of science. You are forming a hypotesis and using external data to prove it true. There is truth. Because you say something is myth does not make it so.

      May 22, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      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.

      Again, 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 records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension 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 female bodies." "

      "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/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

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

      p.4

      "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."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      May 22, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • John Carroll

      Reality... that's a very nicely worded myth you just wrote. Posting other's viewpoints, even misguided viewpoints does not disprove Catholicism. However, I wonder if you ever fly in an airplane. Do you think the laws of aerodynamics are outmoded and medieval? How about the law of gravity? Pretty ancient laws.. Do you adhere to those? If so, why? Why don't you evolve and break free of the shackles of such outmoded and patristic ideas?

      May 23, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Reality

      AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS/MYTHS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (M. Romney still does)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented. (As do B. Obama and his family)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel

      May 23, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      John,

      Because you say your myth is real does not make it true. Science can be replicated and therefore proven true, math can be replicated and proven true. Using those as examples in trying to prove your myth is dishonest. Replicate your myth, prove ONE claim your religion makes, if there is truth in it one should be easy.

      May 23, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "The material world is sanctified through the sacriments."

      John,

      Here is a claim you and your religion make. prove this is true like science can prove gravity or math can prove 2 + 2 = 4.

      May 23, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • John Carroll

      Reality. In essence you are saying: 2+1=4; 2+2=4;2+3=4; Because the first and last are incorrect, they are all myths.
      NTJC: the fact that 2+2=4 proves that the material world is sanctified. While I am not going to unravel your years of thinking in a few words, for you to say that science and math can be replicated, and therefore proven true but theological principles can not is fundamentally illogical. Do you say the same about Philosphy, logical reasoning? If you have ever studied theology at all, particularly Catholic Theology, you would find that erroneous theological principles are rejected specifically because they are not logical.

      May 23, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "the fact that 2+2=4 proves that the material world is sanctified."

      John,

      This is yet another claim. First you have to define "sanctified". Then you have to prove, not just assert, that "2+2=4 proves that the material world is sanctified" You are also claiming there is a "material world" and therefore an "immaterial world", you need to prove that as well.

      Philosophy does not claim supernatural events or immaterial existence and therefore is not relative to this discussion. Philosophy is not a science, you are moving the goal posts by bringing it up.

      May 23, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Reality

      Also think about the logic (or lack thereof).

      “I believe the Bible is inspired.” “Why?” “Because it says so.” Would anyone let that logic pass if it came from the followers of any other book or person? “I believe x is inspired because x says so.” Fill in the blanks:

      x=Pat Robertson
      x=the ayatollah Sistani
      x=David Koresh
      x=the Koran”
      x=John

      more “logic”?

      “I believe there is One God Jehovah because He is revealed in the infallible
      Bible. I believe the Bible is infallible because it is the Word of the One God Jehovah.”

      May 23, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • John Carroll

      NTJC. Do you agree that it is true that 2+2=4? If so, why? As I mentioned, it is true because math reflects the true as it exists. if there are two trees here and two trees there, then there are four trees. If I try to say, well... "I believe 2+2=5 and there are a bunch of people who agree with me. We feel you need to change your banking systems to accomidate us, or you are intollerant." We would be bringing about chaos. Math and science are useless if they do not reflect the truth as it exists. Once you establish that there is truth, then it is important to live according to that truth, You are willing to live according to mathmatical truth and scientific truth, but you dispel any possibility of theological truth. For example, if I run a red light, it is true that there is a higher likelihood that I will get in an accident. Truth must be pursued in all areas of study, not just math and science. Otherwise, you undercut any validity or meaning to the truth as found in math and science.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      John,

      Yes math and science can be proven true. I am asking you to prove your religion should be held as just as true as math and science. In your analogy you are the one asserting that 2+2=5 and asking the rest of us to respect your unfounded claim.
      You say,

      "Once you establish that there is truth, then it is important to live according to that truth,"

      Your religion does not establish (prove) truth, it asserts it. And then when people disagree and call them on it your argument is that those people "hate" it, an appeal to emotion. I don't hate you or anyone, that does not mean I have to repect you belief.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • John Carroll

      NTJC... You have acknowledge that truth exists. That is a big step. Now it is your job to give Catholicism an honest look. If you choose to live by truth as found in math and science, then it is important that you read what Catholics have written, and not simply Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. You next will recognize the truth in the natural order, then natural law, then Christ and finally, his church. May I suggest you start with "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. The job is yours to take. I have done my research. If you choose not to do so, you may be living a life convinced that 2+2=5. Best of luck to you.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Reality

      An honest look at the RCC in the 21st century: (outside the bible box using rigorous historical and archeological studies)

      Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white, aging hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      May 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Hey John,

      Good attempt at being condescending, as I replied to you above I have had more than my fill of catholic crapolla and christianity as a whole. Yes there are truths in the world but there is no truth in your religion. I asked you mutiple times to prove the truth of your religion but all you do is make unverifiable claims. The same reason I left the church. No real answers just superst.ition and dogma. You dodge my questions almost as well as the priests of the church so you have obviously been taught well. What you don't get is that in order for people to follow the teaching of the church or any religion you have to at some point accept answers on faith, we have all been lied to...faith is not a virtue it is a crutch, beliefs based on faith are no better than believing any fairy tale. C.S. Lewis is a great writer but his assertion are no better than yours.

      May 23, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @NTJC

      I read apologetic works for the pure entertainment value. There isn't a single explanation of god not based on a logical fallacy.

      May 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • John Carroll

      NTJC.
      So you left the church? Is that why you are so angry at it? When someone is angry, they usually fear something, such as the loss of something they don't feel they can live without. What was it that caused you to leave the church and be so angry at it? It certainly isn't lack of truth. I could write you maybe about 1000 pages and guide you through the recognition of truth into the Natural order, through natural law, to Christ and his church. However, as long as you remain angry at the Church you left, it would be a pointless endevour. That is why I refer you to "Mere Christianity" and then maybe to "Lord, Liar or Lunatic." At this point in your journey, you view Christ as a Lunatic or Liar. C.S. Lewis deals with that effectively in his book. I need not write it here for you. Lewis is certainly much more elequent than me.

      May 23, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Hawaii,

      I agree, ........

      And I also find it entertaining, and sad, sort of like watch a car crash

      May 24, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • A Candid Look

      and your response is any better there???? Hey yeah right ... you are worse...

      May 26, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  18. wthoma01

    God Bless the Church for this move. Obama stepped over the line with this mandate and it's about time that the Church said no. As for you hateful atheists, God Bless you!

    May 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      And May Zeus Bless YOU! Why do old men in dresses get to decide when a woman has a baby? Just saying?

      May 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      I do not trust an organization that has harbored hundreds of child s3xual abusers to have anything worth saying about such things.

      May 22, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • John Carroll

      Why is it that what you claim the Church has done is wrong?

      May 22, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
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About this blog

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.