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Stephen Colbert roasts the Pope
Comedian Stephen Colbert roasted Catholic leaders, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Thursday night.
October 18th, 2013
10:17 AM ET

Stephen Colbert roasts the Pope

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) –– Declaring himself  "American's most famous Catholic," comedian Stephen Colbert roasted church leaders at a charity event in New York on Thursday, taking aim at Pope Francis and Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

"As an observant Catholic, I believe the Pope is infallible," said Colbert, a Communion-class teacher at a parish in New Jersey. "But he's also wrong about a lot of things."

Colbert, whose bombastic persona on the "Colbert Report" often takes a conservative slant on Christianity, poked fun at the new Pope's humble lifestyle, saying that if the pontiff were in charge of the white-tie charity event, it would have been held at an IHOP, not New York's glitzy Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

“His Humbleness would be out washing the feet of the coat-check guy or something,” Colbert quipped. "We get it, you're modest."

"But it's not just his humble lifestyle," Colbert continued. "He's off message. He says Catholics need to stop obsessing about homosexuality, contraception and abortion. For Pete's sake, we need something to obsess about now that `Breaking Bad' is over."

MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays

The Catholic comedian also teased Pope Francis for taking a softer line on Catholic doctrine than previous pontiffs.

"Being Catholic is like being in the Admiral's Club of Christianity: Membership has its privileges," Colbert joked. "But if even atheists can be redeemed, what's next, Lutherans?  It's madness."

MORE ON CNN: Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

Colbert was speaking at the Al Smith Dinner, an annual event for Catholic charities in New York named after the the late New York governor who in 1928 was the first Catholic politician to be nominated for president by a major party.

The charity dinner is usually attended by New York's cultural elite. Last year, President Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney attended and traded zingers less than a month before the election.

This year's event was less politically charged, but Colbert quipped about another kind of election.

Dolan, the portly archbishop of New York and a rising star in the Catholic Church, came thisclose to being elected pope himself earlier this year, Colbert said.

"But he blew it in the swimsuit competition. I would have gone with the one-piece."

On Thursday night, Dolan, who was dressed in a cardinal's traditional small black cape with red trimming, looked like "a matador who's really let himself go," Colbert joked.

"Did you not see the invite? It said white-tie, not 'flamboyant Zorro."

Dolan, who is close friends with Colbert, took the ribbing lightly, saying that his father always told him that the mark of a good night is any one that ends in laughter.

Dolan also quoted Colbert from an event on Catholics and comedy led by both men at Fordham University in the Bronx last year.

"A sense of humor comes from faith, a faith that everything is in God's providential hands, a faith that frees us up to laugh."

Rocco Palmo at Whispers in the Loggia has an audio recording of Colbert's keynote address

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Celebrity • Christianity • Leaders • Media • Pope Francis

soundoff (780 Responses)
  1. Brad

    Stephen Colbert roasted the Pope. Tasted like chicken.

    October 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Well

      I think it's more like one of those turkeys where you cook the chicken inside it.

      October 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
      • da pope

        turpopen?

        October 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  2. saganhill

    Roast the pope? That's an irony catch phrase if I ever heard one.

    October 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  3. NeoKat1

    The Pope is not here to please the world. Just the opposite. The king of the world is the devil. Good luck!

    October 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Cristeros for Satan

      Wow, get mental help

      October 18, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  4. Realist4691

    With all of its mis-steps and faults over the centuries, it is still the Catholic Church that provides more humanitarian support to the world than any other organization.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Relief_Services
    Heck, even this event was a fund raiser for charity. I can respect those who have an informed intellectual disagreement with the Catholic Church's teachings, but the anti-Catholic screed that is so vehemently heaped out on most of these blogs after any mention of the Catholic faith is quite telling of how anti-Catholic bigotry is alive and well in America. Long live the Pope!

    October 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Alias

      They provide the most support because they have the most members.
      I do not believe they do moer per capita than any other group.

      October 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Sara

      17% of the world population belongs to the Catholic Church. There are no bigger organizations, so I should hope they give the most, especially considering that their policies and lobbying on government and UN support of birth control and condom use are responsible for much of the poverty and misery in the developing world.

      October 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
      • Realist4691

        Roughly 20% of the world is Muslim – and we dont hear anywhere near the amount of good coming from that world religion that is coming from the Catholic Church. Also, that fact that the Catholic Churhc has a lot of members and does indeed use its base to mobilize for world good also shows that the Catholic Church is a good steward of its resources for the benefit of the world – whether they are Catholic or not.

        October 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
        • Sara

          You are making two errors here. First, "Muslim" isn't an organization like the Catholic church. "Muslim" is a general religious category like "Christian", and actual organizations run within this group are much, much smaller.

          Second, the average wealth of Catholics worldwide is much higher than that of Muslims, so even if there were a single "Muslim" organization (which there isn't and almost certainly never will be) the Muslims would not have the excess wealth to contribute at the same levels.

          October 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
        • Realist4691

          Oh, come on now, Sara. The typical stone that is thrown against the Catholic hierarchy/organization is that it is oppressive and slow-moving. So now that I show an example where this very "organizaiton" is effective across the world in serving humanity, you are saying that it is this very organization that affects that change. I could just as easily hold the Muslim faith even more accountable in that the 20% that is free to mobilize under their Iman or combine with other Muslim communities could actually be even more nimble than the Catholic faith – but it is resoundingly clear that this is simply not the case. It continues to be the Catholic Church that does the heavy lifting of serving the lowest of the low in the world – again, whether they are Catholic or not. Long life the Pope!

          October 18, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • Sara

          Realist, First, you can't argue inconsistencies with me using anything I did not personally say. Second, the fact that an organization relieves oppression in one are by no means negates the possibility of it engage in oppression in another. States or private organizations can help relieve poverty while indulging in se.xism or promote women's rights while oppressing minority ethnic goups. Third, an organization that is slow moving on one issue (say, slow to adapt new technologies) may be fast moving in another (might quickly take up new environmental policies, for example).

          October 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • ThinkForYourself

          I would like to note that in addition to the monetary support the Catholic Church provides, its total support is unquantifiable. The sheer number of nuns, monks and priests giving their lives to the service of others (christian or not) is just extrordinary. The Catholic church is undeniably the biggest supporter of good around the world. Mother Teresa and her nuns provided to the people in the slumps of India much more than money, and their are many others orders within the Catholic around the world that do not get the publicity but they do exist.

          October 18, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
        • Sara

          Mother Teresa, her nuns, and her church fought Indias efforts to reduce fertility, contributing to decades of widespread poverty and overpopulation.

          October 19, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • ThinkForYourself

        The Catholic church is not against family planning; however, they support natural family planning. Again, this rhetoric I hear against the Catholic church is just pitiful. Had you disagreed with their methods we would've had a constructive conversation, but just making false statements to make a point (misleading point) is not acceptable.

        October 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
        • aldewacs2

          Right. Only nice things can be uttered about the church, but the church has complete freedom to do what it wants.
          News flash: the good old days of the inquisition are over, my friend. Get used to criticism.

          October 19, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
        • ThinkForYourself

          Criticize is not the same as lie. But you my friend added nothing to the conversation except for false assumptions and a meaningless statement. What does the inquisition even has to do with anything I said.

          October 20, 2013 at 12:59 am |
  5. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    I wonder how much each plate cost at this event?

    I'm thinking white tie at the Waldorf Astoria – it's got to be expensive.

    October 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  6. Gol

    I always liked Colbert. He delivers good satire and is currently one of those odd guys in history...in that makes no sense how he got this far, but we are happy he did.

    October 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Talent?

      Opportunity? (He proved himself on the Daily Show.)

      By staying he has made a much bigger impact than other Daily Show alums like Steve Carrel.

      October 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
      • Gol

        Oh don't get me wrong. Colbert is talented and opporunities have abounded for him. But when you watch the show long enough, you can see it on his face that he knows he is extremely lucky in his life. He was the right guy at the right time for that special niche in entertainment news.
        If the Colbert Report came out five years earlier or even later, it might not have ever became what it is today.

        October 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        I'm sure he recognizes that he was lucky.

        October 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  7. George

    For shame! LOL! "Colbert was speaking at the Al Smith Dinner, an annual event for Catholic Charities in New York named after the the...".

    October 18, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  8. jj

    You only roast the ones you love.

    October 18, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  9. Agnostickids

    I had to laugh at the ti tle. Other countries and cultures may not know what "Roasting" means here, in America.

    First thing I thought was, "how did Colbert get the Pope onto a rotisserie?"

    October 18, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  10. ronjayaz

    I cant believe I enjoy Colbert so much since he violates everything I believe in. Pope Francis I is the most "simpaticato" pope we've had since John XXIII?

    October 18, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      You do see though the sarcasm of the Colbert Report persona don't you?

      I don't think you could find a bigger fan of the Pope than (the real) Stephen.

      October 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Anyone who says:

      ""As an observant Catholic, I believe the Pope is infallible, but he's also wrong about a lot of things."

      Is doing so with more than a little tongue in cheek.

      October 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  11. humanistJohn420

    Where were the jokes about the rampant se xual abuse of children that the church has been covering up for decades?

    October 18, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • John is a "Smoker"

      Boy, I'll bet you're the life of the party wherever you go

      October 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • KJ

      It's not covered up anymore. Go smoke a dubie, 420. Or better yet, go volunteer at the local shelter. No one is getting away free. It all gets reviewed in the end. If you had faith, you'd recognize that.

      October 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Gol

      "Rampant'?

      Just curious, what is the percentage for something to be rampant?
      And after that is answered, does the facts support this being called rampant?

      October 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
      • aldewacs2

        Right. What's a few thousand kids' lives destroyed? Thy're making new ones every day. (sigh)

        October 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  12. Lawrence of Arabia

    "As an observant Catholic, I believe the Pope is infallible," said Colbert, a Communion-class teacher at a parish in New Jersey. "But he's also wrong about a lot of things."

    This is a very interesting statement... The Catholic church cannot reform, because it believes that the dictates of the pope are infallible. In the 16th century, the Catholic church burned to death people who translated the Bible into the common vernacular, and who said that the pope was wrong about theology, but today, that doesn't happen.

    So, if the pope and the church are infallible, why aren't they STILL burning protestants to death, and why do they read the Bible in English?

    October 18, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Jackson

      You need to Google what Papal Infallibility means. You are confused. Catholics do not believe that the Pope cannot make a mistake...Bishops have been challenging Popes for centuries. Many famous Saints have openly criticized the Pope.

      October 18, 2013 at 11:55 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        I fully understand papal infallibility when he speaks ex cathedra... The context of my comment was that in Roman Catholicism, "the Word of God" encompasses not only the Bible, but also the Apocrypha, the Magisterium, the Pope's ex cathedra pronouncements, and an indefinite body of church tradition, some formalized in canon law and some not yet committed to writing. Whereas evangelical Protestants believe the Bible alone is the ultimate test of all truth, Roman Catholics believe the Church determines what is true and what is not. In effect, this makes the Church a higher authority than Scripture.

        So if the "church" approved of burning Protestants in the 16th century because they anathematized them, does it say anything of the infallibility of the church if now they say that the persecution of protestants is wrong?

        October 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • ObviousUsername

      The "infallibility" of the pope doesn't cover everything he says and does. Papal infallibility is invoked when defining a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church. Apart from canonizations of saints, official invocation of papal infallibility is pretty rare.

      October 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Michael

      Quite simple. Things change over time. Burning people at the stake was the right thing to do BACK THEN.

      October 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  13. Bob

    Hey Daniel Burke. Do your reputation a favor and get someone to proofread your articles before putting them on the internet.

    October 18, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

      We do have copyeditors, Bob. What'd we miss?

      October 18, 2013 at 11:34 am |
      • Bob

        If you're willing to send me a paycheck I'll point out the errors.

        October 18, 2013 at 11:52 am |
      • George

        Funny... my first post didn't show up as a reply... Here it is again. Sorry Bob if I spoiled it for you. For shame! LOL! "Colbert was speaking at the Al Smith Dinner, an annual event for Catholic Charities in New York named after the the...".

        October 18, 2013 at 11:59 am |
        • Bob

          Awww man! Oh well. Honestly, that whole sentence is way too complex. It should be broken down into two sentences. For example: "... Catholic Charities in New York. Which was named after the the late New York governor who in 1928 was the first Catholic politician to be nominated for president by a major party."

          The "the the" was pretty bad though.

          October 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
        • TC

          Don't quit your day job Bob.

          October 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
        • Nada

          oops wrong spot

          Nada

          Let me guess Bob, when you are going over random articles for mistakes, you maintain a stamp collection?

          October 18, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
      • Alias

        You are jewish, aren't you?
        I have nothing against the people, but every time i post what think about the policies of the jewish state you delete my comments.

        October 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
      • Thomas

        Daniel, Great blog posts! Thank you! 🙂

        As Joel Osteen would say:
        “(after listening to people gripe and complain just smile and remember)
        Crows can’t hang with eagles.”

        ― Joel Osteen

        October 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • Sara

        Maybe he's referring to thisclose as one word? Or is that an attempt to represent rapid speech or something?

        October 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • Sara

          Hmmm...I guess that' a semi-standard written form these days. It still looks weird to me and seems a bit casual English here, but I guess for a blog it's probably mainstream.

          October 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
      • Alias

        Shit
        and i was thinking you may have actually been the site boss.
        Shows how trusting I am.

        October 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Nada

      Let me guess Bob, when you are going over random articles for mistakes, you maintain a stamp collection?

      October 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  14. patrick

    there is no such thing- book of patrick 2:14-77, chapter 10, line 6- I wrote it so its true.

    October 18, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  15. I AM

    God finds this amusing.. A little laughter goes a long way..

    October 18, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Realist

      children abused and their families don't

      October 18, 2013 at 11:41 am |
      • I AM

        Ok....thanks.

        October 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  16. paul kudla

    Love is a supernatural force that has neither a beginning or an end. Loved ones pass from our reality into a reality of the heart. Encapsulated in a divine flame that death cannot extinguish. It holds the entire universe in iembrace like between a mother and her newborn. It's power drives all fear and evil away. Miracles are born of this. Love is the only saving force against future destruction and key to unlock any type of imprisonment. Love is God.:)

    October 18, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • FantasticalMusingsOfMyOwn

      You've discovered a "supernatural force"? Wow! Please present your evidence so we can all be assured of this wonderful "fact".

      October 18, 2013 at 11:22 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Kind of like that objective, scientific test for human consciousness?

        October 18, 2013 at 11:29 am |
        • Topher

          Austin, is that me?

          October 18, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • Alias

          LofA
          Why do you find it necessary to give god credit for everything you don't understand?
          I don't understand accounting, but i don't think accountants are gods.

          October 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Alias,
          "Why do you find it necessary to give god credit for everything you don't understand?"

          I don't... In my comment, I was merely attempting to show that objective science is simply not equipped to explain every aspect of reality.

          October 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • southmost

          Researchers call them "neural correlates of consciousness" just so they won't get drawn into pointless ontological debates.

          October 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
      • George

        Supernatural: an event attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature. String Theory? So, realistically it is only supernatural until we develop some sort of scientific understanding. There is so much out there that cannot be explained because it is beyond our 'current' scientific understanding. That does not mean it cannot happen.

        October 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      God (Christ Jesus) Is Love.
      Love is of God (Christ Jesus)
      .
      However, Love is NOT God (Christ Jesus).
      God Bless.

      October 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  17. uos_spo6

    All hail Gozer the Gozerian! Death to the monotheists!

    October 18, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Most

      X.ians are not monotheists (though they claim to be). They are Tri-theistic. Which is sad...

      October 18, 2013 at 11:13 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        "I thought Gozer was a man!?"

        October 18, 2013 at 11:21 am |
        • tagapay3

          No, Trogdor was a man...
          He was a DRAGON MAN!!!

          October 18, 2013 at 11:40 am |
        • ObviousUsername

          "It's whatever it wants to be."

          October 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Thomas

      Are....
      You...
      A...
      God?

      October 18, 2013 at 11:19 am |
      • RichardSRussell

        "Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say "YES"!"
        —Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters

        October 18, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  18. Lawrence of Arabia

    Justification before God is an act of God alone (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith alone in Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6-7) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Romans 10:9 10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11). That means to submit to Him and His authority over your life.

    This declared righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6, Ephesians 2:8-9, T.itus 3:5-7) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation (NOT infusion) of Christ's righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is enabled to: "be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).

    Any promise of salvation that also requires human effort is no salvation at all. Any belief system in the world that requires effort from its followers for salvation denies the finished work of Christ’s death and resurrection. Such systems of belief try to improve the character of its adherents, but only the transforming power of the Holy Spirit can make us better than we are.

    October 18, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • patrick

      why do you keep referencing books that were written by other people? What does that prove? who cares!

      October 18, 2013 at 11:21 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        That statement was directed towards those trapped within the bonds of works-righteousness based religion. I reference "old books that others have written" because of their authoritative nature.

        October 18, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • Dan K.

        Apparently you do because if no one cares then no one would be posting to this item. Just a thought. Hey, I have an idea, you go your way and have your believes, and I will go my way and have my believes and maybe, just maybe, we can get along. Once again, just a thought.

        October 18, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Thomas

      Aaaaaaaaahhhhh SHADAP!

      October 18, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      Well said!

      October 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Conjuring Cat

      One little dab of Luke in the middle of a flood tide of Pauline Epistles. Shows who you REALLY worship, Lawrence. Just sayin'...

      October 18, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  19. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    The quotes in this piece are classic Stephen Colbert.

    October 18, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Of course most of this was on the last "On Notice" segment:

      http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/429267/september-24-2013/on-notice-pope-francis

      October 18, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
  20. Lawrence of Arabia

    Adding works to faith as the grounds of justification is precisely the teaching that Paul condemned as "a different gospel" (see 2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6). It nullifies the grace of God, for if meritorious righteousness can be earned through the sacraments, "then Christ died needlessly" (Galatians 2:21). Any system that mingles works with grace, then, is "a different gospel" (Galatians 1:6), a distorted message that is anathematized (Galatians 1:9), not by a council of medieval bishops, but by the very Word of God that cannot be broken. In fact, it does not overstate the case to say that the Roman Catholic view on justification sets it apart as a wholly different religion than the true Christian faith, for it is ant.ithetical to the simple gospel of grace.

    October 18, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Westkay

      James 2:14-26

      October 18, 2013 at 11:14 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        In the book of James, he has already stated that salvation is a gracious gift (James 1:17-18) See also: 1 Peter 1:3

        James quotes Genesis 15:6 which claims that God credited righteousness to Abraham solely on the basis of his faith (James 2:23)

        The “works” that James said justified Abraham was his offering up of Isaac (Genesis 22:9, 12), an event that occurred many years after he first exercised faith and was declared righteous before God (Genesis 12:1-7, Genesis 15:6).

        Therefore James is emphasizing the vindication before others of his claim to salvation. (See underlined and bold text) God knows if our faith is genuine or not, but for others, it takes the manifestation of works that naturally flow out of a saving faith to prove to them that our salvation is genuine.

        You can easily see James’ point about vindication before others when you read the whole chapter...

        October 18, 2013 at 11:18 am |
        • goddog

          I am Sam. Sam I am.
          (Seuss:1:1-2)

          October 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Forgot to add this:
        James 2:14-26 – "...I will show you my faith by my works"

        October 18, 2013 at 11:19 am |
        • whatwhat

          You truncated the passage again.

          But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b] works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[c] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[d] And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

          October 18, 2013 at 11:43 am |
        • whatwhat

          New Testament Greek "Faith" or "pi'stis":

          Relating to ideas of faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty, commitment, trust, belief, and proof.

          And proof...

          October 18, 2013 at 11:46 am |
      • patrick

        is that your birthday James? whats with all the numbers??

        October 18, 2013 at 11:21 am |
      • Bob

        The whole salvation/Jesus sacrifice story is rubbish. Christians, how is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

        Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
        Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
        http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

        October 18, 2013 at 11:35 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          The whole purpose of salvation is to accrue to the glory of God: In the counsels of eternity past, before creation, the Father proclaimed His love for the Son, and desired to express that love by giving Him a gift; that gift was in the form of a redeemed humanity – love often shows itself in gifts, and divine love gives divinely, and without limits. The Father, in an expression of His love for His Son, determined that He would create a world, and that He would allow that world to fall into sin, and that He would recover from it a redeemed humanity that He would then give to His Son as a bride to Him so that this redeemed humanity could forever and ever, for all eternity glorify His Son. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:24 that when the end comes, and all who will be redeemed by God have been redeemed, The Son will then take that redeemed humanity and Himself and turn over that gift back to God in a reciprocal act of love

          October 18, 2013 at 11:38 am |
        • Bob

          Try to answer the question this time, Lawrence, if you can. Again, how is it that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          October 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Nelson

      Works must count somewhere in heaven, how is it justified if the missionary that sacrificed their entire life in serving the poor in Africa has the same rewards as the jet setting preacher with comforts trying to save a few souls?

      October 18, 2013 at 11:39 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        That's what the "bema" seat is for... The purpose of the bema is an exhaustive evaluation of our lives. 1 Corinthians 4:5 says the Lord will come and "bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God." That passage reveals Paul's emphasis on the judgment seat of Christ. Notice that Paul says each man's praise will come to him from God. God gives rewards to the victors. We know that He won't condemn us for our sins at that point, because Romans 8:1 says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."

        To the believer, his rewards are based on what he does with his salvation – his salvation however is not based upon his works since his works comes after his salvation.

        October 18, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • whatwhat

      Lawrence,

      Was Paul not referencing adherence specifically to Mosaic Law, or the Torah in Galatians? You're missing a lot of context here. He was specifically speaking to the churches he had founded and their positioning of Mosaic Law as a means of salvation/union with God.

      October 18, 2013 at 11:39 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Paul had taught in scripture that the law was given not because it could be kept, but that it might drive man to Christ (Galatians 3:22-27). Also, Paul reminds us that we are not saved by any works that we can do, but instead it is a gift from God… (Ephesians 2:8-9)

        October 18, 2013 at 11:46 am |
        • whatwhat

          I agree that saving faith is what brings salvation, but we also cannot wield passages like Ephesians incorrectly to justify our own specific sect of Christianity. The term faith, as it was used in the new testament in the original greek, did not mean solely "belief." It meant trust in, acceptance of, and proof as well. Can a faith truly be a saving faith if there is no fruit?

          Christ didn't call his apostles (like Paul) to join him, only to have them continue to live the same life, right? Their faith was so strong that they left behind their former lives (look at Paul, from persecuter and murder to most authoritative scripture author). That is saving faith. Faith without works is dead. Just like the passage says, demons and Satan believe in Christ Jesus, but will they be saved?

          October 18, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Did the thief of the cross add any works to his faith?

          The writer of Hebrews gives us the definition in Ch.11:1 – it is the "assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

          Furthermore, Strong's #4102 for "pistis" says nothing about the definition that you gave...
          Pistis:
          conviction of the truth of anything, belief

          October 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Nelson

      Have you ever thought about working together with the Catholics in spreading the gospels, with the sole intention of focusing on Christ and His love? Or, do you focus on the differences to the detriment of the gospels?

      October 18, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Nelson

      One more thing, whether you like it or not, Catholics are Christians and are saved by Jesus Christ when they accepted him as their Lord and Savior.

      October 18, 2013 at 11:46 am |
      • Jesus' Beloved

        I think the O.P. knows....and you are correct....Catholics and any one else, once they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and accept Him as their Lord and Savior... they are totally and irreversibly saved.

        Christ became sin so that we could become the righteousness of God. He was crucified- judged and punished for all the sins that you or I will ever commit. All our sins are already forgiven...this includes past, present and future sins. Christ bore it all at the tree.... your health/healing, salvation, provisions etc. are already provided for. It's all a finished work...that's why after going through all the punishment at the cross, Jesus cried... "Finished"....Everything (our entire lives of sin) has already been paid for.

        Good News...isn't it.
        That's how good, great, and merciful and Loving our God is.

        October 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        I believe that there are plenty of Catholics who are Christians...
        BUT, if they are, it is not because of their Catholicism, it is despite it.

        October 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
        • Nelson

          So, why are you bickering about Catholics and are not concerned with 2/3rd of the world's population that remains unsaved?

          October 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "So, why are you bickering about Catholics and are not concerned with 2/3rd of the world's population that remains unsaved?"

          Because that's not what the article was about. And this is not bickering, this is reasoning with others regarding the authoritative nature of the Bible.

          October 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • Nelson

          Why would you take that up in a secular forum where you have representatives of 2/3rd of the world's population looking on? How does this benefit a person that has never been saved?

          October 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Nelson, what would you have me do then?

          October 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • Nelson

          You are very knowledgeable, why not focus on furthering the gospels among the unsaved here?
          Peace be with you!

          October 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • asdfgh

      If God can judge a tree by its fruits would He not judge a man in the same way? Works (how you treat and help the poor, sick, and needy) are not required to be given the gift of salvation but they openly show whether you have accepted God's gift of salvation – or not.

      October 18, 2013 at 11:53 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        "If God can judge a tree by its fruits would He not judge a man in the same way?"

        The unbeliever is judged by his works, but the believer is rewarded by them. Since there is "therefore no more condemnation to him who is in Christ Jesus" and "the one who knew his master's will and did it not will be beaten with many stripes, but the one who didn't know his master's will, and did deeds worthy of punishment will be beaten with few stripes..."

        Only God knows the heart of man, therefore he doesn't need to see our works, it is other men that we are justified before with our works, and this is what James was referring to in James 2.

        "Works (how you treat and help the poor, sick, and needy) are not required to be given the gift of salvation but they openly show whether you have accepted God's gift of salvation – or not."

        Exactly!

        October 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
        • Bob

          So, like I said, Lawrence, the whole Jesus sacrifice story is complete rubbish. Thanks for coming out though. Again, but this time, try to answer the questions:

          How is it that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          October 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.