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May 12th, 2014
10:05 AM ET

Update: Harvard's satanic 'black Mass' cancelled

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN) - A Harvard club's plans to stage a satanic "black Mass" were abruptly cancelled Monday after drawing fire from the Archdiocese of Boston and condemnation from the president of the Ivy League school.

Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the New York-based Satanic Temple, told the Boston Globe late Monday that the event was called off because no venue was available.

“Everyone involved, outside of the Satanic Temple, got really scared,” Greaves told the newspaper. “And I don’t necessarily blame them, because I understand that they were getting a lot of vitriolic hate mail, and I don’t think they expected it."

Greaves was not immediately available for further comment.

A petition to stop the black Mass had garnered 60,000 signatures, according to Aurora Griffin, president of the Harvard Student Catholic Association.

The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club had planned host the two-hour ceremony at the Queens Head pub in Memorial Hall in on the school's campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is unclear why the building was no longer available.

The history of black Masses is murky, but Catholics say the intent of such ceremonies is obvious: to mock their rituals and beliefs. The Masses often parody Catholic sacraments, such as Communion, and liturgical vestments.

“Our purpose is not to denigrate any religion or faith, which would be repugnant to our educational purposes," the Harvard student group had said in a statement, "but instead to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices.”

The cultural club said it also plans to host a Shinto tea ceremony, a Shaker exhibit and a presentation on Buddhist meditation.

But Harvard University President Drew Faust called the plans to reenact a black Mass "abhorrent."

"It is deeply regrettable that the organizers of this event, well aware of the offense they are causing so many others, have chosen to proceed with a form of expression that is so flagrantly disrespectful and inflammatory," Faust continued.

The Harvard president said she would allow the black Mass to continue, citing the value of free expression on campus, but planned attend a prayer ceremony Monday night at St. Paul's Church in Cambridge. The Boston archdiocese scheduled the event as a protest to the black Mass.

The Satanic Temple, which announced the Harvard club's plans last week, is also behind an effort to place a satanic statue next to a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of Oklahoma's state Capitol.

The temple does not believe in a real devil but advocates for religious tolerance and pluralism.

Greaves said black Masses began as a protest by people who felt oppressed by their local religious cultures.

But some Catholics say the "black Mass" is more sacrilegious than satirical.

Faust, a noted historian, said:  "The 'black Mass' had its historical origins as a means of denigrating the Catholic Church; it mocks a deeply sacred event in Catholicism, and is highly offensive to many in the Church and beyond."

A Harvard Divinity School professor who is also a Catholic priest said none of cultural club's other events include the "blaspheming of Catholic sacramental practice."

"What’s next?" asked the Rev. Francis X. Clooney, in an op-ed in the Harvard Crimson.

"The endeavor 'to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices' might in another year lead to historical re-enactments of anti-Semitic or racist ceremonies familiar from Western history or parodies that trivialize Native American heritage or other revivals of cultural and religious insult."

The Archdiocese of Boston, in a statement, had expressed "deep sadness and strong opposition" to the ceremony.

Satanic worship "is contrary to charity and goodness, and it places participants dangerously close to destructive works of evil," spokesman Terrence Donilon said.

Donilon had also called on Harvard to disassociate itself from the event.

Robert Neugeboren, dean of students and alumni affairs at the Harvard Extension School, said Harvard did not endorse the student group's decision to stage the black Mass.   The school provides evening and online continuing education courses.

"While we support the ability of all our students to explore difficult issues, we also encourage them to do so in ways that are sensitive to others," he aid.

Neugeboren said the Harvard Extension School worked with students to defuse some of the controversy surrounding the ceremony.

For instance, he said, a consecrated host - known by Catholics as the Eucharist and believed to be the actual body and blood of Christ - would not be used, he said.

Some Catholic bloggers had expressed outrage at the initial plans to use a consecrated host, calling it "sacrilegious to the highest extent."

Clooney had said the university's reaction is insufficient, adding that Harvard's "spiritual sensitivity" is at stake.

"Since there is no empirical way to show that one host is consecrated while another is not—consecrated hosts do not glow in the dark—there is also no way for anyone but the organizers to know whether a host used in a black mass has been consecrated or not," Clooney said.

"Catholics at Harvard should not have to be worrying about where Monday’s host comes from."

Satanists unveil design for OK statehouse statue

As the archdiocese notes, Pope Francis warned Catholics about the devil recently.

"Maybe some of you might say, ‘But, Father, how old-fashioned you are to speak about the devil in the 21st century!’ " the Pope said during a Mass in April.

"But look out, because the devil is present! The devil is here … even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naive, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan.”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Mass • Pope Francis • Satanism

soundoff (1,080 Responses)
  1. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    The Catholic cult is angry... so what. Do their churches have to pay taxes?

    I pay way to much in taxes and still have to pay the government more at the end of the year and churches pay nothing. Now THAT makes me angry...

    May 12, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
    • Alias

      The cathilocs are just mad because Satanism is a better religion, and they don't want anyone to know.

      May 12, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Hail Satan

        May 12, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • Alias

          The religion started before jesus. Back inthe days when monotheist was a new concept. Back when the lesser greek gods all had temples too.
          It is just ignorant for the christians to treat satanists like their enemy.

          May 12, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Hail Woden

          May 12, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      It shouldn't make you angry... Separation of church and state, right?

      May 12, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
      • SeaVik

        It's the opposite of separation of church and state Theo. Churches receive special tax treatment which is the equivolent of the government endorsing religions which violates our const.itution.

        May 12, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        'Separation of church and state" To bad christian fundamentalists think there shouldn't be any separation and continue to push their superstitions into the government. The fraud that is religion should be taxed liked any other business.

        May 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          But it's not a business, it's viewed as a non-profit organization, and thereby tax exempt.

          May 12, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          "Non-profit" (s) I'm sure they are... (/s)

          May 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Boy, for a "non-profit" they certainly have a lot of huges houses, drive nice cars and wear elaborate finery. I've seen real non-profits at work and the volunteers are anything but pretentious, with religion its nothing but pretense.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
  2. Alias

    Typical freedom of our religion crap.
    Don't let anyone educate the young people about something we don't believe, it might make sense. After all, how can they continue to demonize something if their children understand it, and it doesn't preach evil?

    May 12, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      But if you don't indoctrinate them at very young ages you'll never get them to believe your fairy tale. Could you imagine trying to get an adult who has never had any religious exposure to believe in Santa Claus? I don't care if the guy is from the middle of the Amazon, he would still laugh at the thought of a jolly fat man in a red suit bringing gifts to all the good children on a single night in a sleigh towed by a bunch of flying reindeer. That story is almost as implausable as the one about two fully formed human ancestors who ate a fruit and were cursed with birth pains and death because before eating the fruit they each would never have died and would still be with us today. The tribesman would be laughing by now for sure. Then of course he would tell you how things really happened as the jaguar God carries the world on its back, you know, how he was taught as a child.

      If we banned all childhood indoctrination and only allowed religious research study for those who have reached age 18 all organized religion would evaporate within a decade. No sane adults would adopt such rediculous theories without any evidence. Only children who don't know any better can be convinced of such things.

      May 12, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
      • Alias

        You are missing one key element: Isolation.
        It is very important that everyone around you believes this stuff too.

        May 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          You are correct. The tribesman likely only believes in his jaguar God because that is what his parents told him and there was no competing narative.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
  3. thefinisher1

    Those Catholics and many atheists have one thing in common: they both like to whine. I think their faith is extremely weak if they honestly care that people worship other things. Most Satanists don't even worship Satan. Another religion has total dedication to the worship of Satan. If your faith is that weak that other people pose a "threat", why are you a "believer" in the first place? This is exactly like atheist crying over a nativity scene. YOU DONT HAVE TO WATCH. How they worship has NOTHING to do with your life. Unless they pose a serious threat like they use force or violence against you, GET OVER IT.

    May 12, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
    • Madtown

      Trolling comes very naturally to some. For others, it's a decided work in progress.

      May 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        Dawwww! You consider that "trolling"? The truth isn't your friend I guess. I'm here to help you! ^_^

        May 12, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
    • bostontola

      finisher,
      Please get help. I implore you, find a Christian group that you feel comfortable with. They can help you find love and community.

      May 12, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        Take your own advice, kiddo.

        May 12, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • bostontola

          If you're not comfortable going to a church group, send me a PO Box number and I'll send you a bible. It takes a while to get through it, but you'll learn a lot about loving others even if they feel threatening to you.

          May 12, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
    • SeaVik

      I love it when believers point out how ridiculous other believers are. Oh, the irony.

      May 12, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
      • bostontola

        It is the most amusing part of this blog for me. The "no true Scotsman" routine is hilarious.

        May 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
    • G to the T

      "This is exactly like atheist crying over a nativity scene. YOU DONT HAVE TO WATCH. "

      Little early in the year for this, but why not. I don't object to Nativity Scences, that would be silly. I object to Nativity scenes done on government property paid for with my taxes.

      May 12, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
      • bostontola

        I certainly don't mind as long as other faiths and atheists are given opportunity to represent themselves in the seasonal displays.

        May 12, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • G to the T

          Agreed, but to me that just opens the window for one-up-man-ship between groups and even more strain on our already overburden civil services.

          Like prayer in government meetings, I think none is just as fair and better for everyone involved.

          May 12, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      LOLOL @thefinisher1 you are so funny. I get your sense of humor now. Hilarious!

      May 12, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
    • G to the T

      My "faith" is so weak as to be non-existent.

      I beliefs, certainly. I have hopes of course... "faith"... not so much.

      May 12, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
  4. bostontola

    "might in another year lead to historical re-enactments of anti-Semitic or racist ceremonies"

    Maybe the Reverend forgot about Skokie. Minorities have had to endure public bigotry for a long time.

    It must be tough for Christians going from an uncontested majority where being "right" is taken for granted, to becoming a shrinking majority where so much is questioned. Get used to it.

    May 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
  5. SeaVik

    I just love this. So incredibly hilarious:

    "Since there is no empirical way to show that one host is consecrated while another is not—consecrated hosts do not glow in the dark—there is also no way for anyone but the organizers to know whether a host used in a black mass has been consecrated or not," Clooney said.

    That's right, there's no way to know whether or not someone said some hocus pocus to an inanimate object because IT DOESN'T DO ANYTHING. I just can't believe that these people make statements like this with a straight face as if what they're saying isn't completely insane.

    May 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
    • colin31714

      It's fvcking hilarious isn't it. "We don't know whether this particular piece of bread has been magically transformed into the flesh of a dead Greco-Roman Jew."

      May 12, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
      • markadrianc

        Know whats more hilarious? Its a satanic church wherein the opening music for the mass is ""Gettin jiggy with it! nananana! nananana! Getting jiggy with it! Nanananana! Nanananana!"

        June 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Unintentional comedy at it's best!

      Well maybe they could spray "Holy water" on the participants and see if that burns them?

      oh wait....same problem....nevermind.

      May 12, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
    • bostontola

      Transubstantiation, supercalifragilisticexpialidoscious.

      May 12, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
      • G to the T

        So what happens when I get god stuck between my teeth?

        May 12, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      First year "Charms" (taught by Professor Flitwick) is first period on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

      May 12, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
    • doobzz

      You'd think God would have some mechanism for showing transubstantiation, being God and all, just to prevent this sort of thing. Quite a weak one, as far as deities go.

      May 12, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Well ya know that would "violate free will" right?

        May 12, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          They do love making up excuses for everything.

          May 12, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          And remove the obstacle of 'faith'

          May 12, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
        • doobzz

          Oh, and we can't expect God to just show himself. He has to stay invisible and unresponsive to "build our faith".

          May 12, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
  6. bostontola

    "What’s next?" asked the Rev. Francis X. Clooney, in an op-ed in the Harvard Crimson.

    "The endeavor 'to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices' might in another year lead to historical re-enactments of anti-Semitic or racist ceremonies familiar from Western history or parodies that trivialize Native American heritage or other revivals of cultural and religious insult."

    Once again Christians position as the persecuted minority. They are the biggest religion in the world. There is a valid concern when a tiny minority is attacked as they have existential vulnerability issues. Christians don't.

    May 12, 2014 at 11:55 am |
  7. bostontola

    Let's see. It's OK to allow prayer in a public meeting, but it is terrible that a private group hold a black mass.
    Hypocrisy Alert!!!

    May 12, 2014 at 11:50 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      It's perfectly legal for them to do this according to the consti.tution... It's just monumentally stupid.

      May 12, 2014 at 11:51 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Why?

        May 12, 2014 at 11:54 am |
      • bostontola

        I'm not making a legal argument at all, just a statement on what is fair.

        May 12, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Oh, I don't have a problem with it's fairness, or its legality. It's the dabbling into forces beyond their ability to understand or be able to manage that just makes it stupid. They're doing this for fun or "education" or whatever you want to call it, but it is indeed very dangerous – well beyond anything they can imagine.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Oh that's right....I forgot you actually believe in the devil...my bad.

          May 12, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @Theo, I take it you believe that children playing with ouija boards is dangerous too.

          May 12, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Theo,
          Take comfort in the fact that the devil's response rate is apparently exactly the same as the alleged God's, i.e. indistinguishable for random.

          May 12, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          "dabbling into forces beyond their ability to understand or be able to manage" LMAO.... seriously?

          May 12, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Seeing as how "dabblers" have been dabbling for thousands of years and so far we have not one single shred of evidence of anything supernatural, i'm pretty sure those putting this on don't believe they are dabbling with anything other than history and attempting to better understand it. Maybe when we figure out why some people held black masses we can figure out what the real purpose of the regular mass is. Is it really the sharing of Gods flesh and blood with humans? Are we truly supposed to follow an ancient practice of eating unleavened bread and red wine while imaginging it is the blood and body of your God? Sounds like both masses are examples of what not to do in an educated non-superstltious society.

          May 12, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
      • SeaVik

        Theo, how exactly is this any more "monumentally stupid" than those who attend Christian church on Sundays? There is absolutely zero difference on the stupidity scale.

        May 12, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          But seavik...it must be different, as whatever religion Theo believes in must be the correct one, as he is so much smarter than the billions of people that believe other religions!

          May 12, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          hammer, meet nail.

          May 12, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
  8. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    "The 'black Mass' had its historical origins as a means of deni.grating the Catholic Church; it mocks a deeply sacred event in Catholicism, and is highly offensive to many in the Church and beyond."

    They have a right to be offended....they don't have a right to "not be offended".

    And the Catholic church does a fine job of deni.grating itself already,

    May 12, 2014 at 11:41 am |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    The very pointed, simple and specific question of what happens to the bread and wine in church when it is consecrated demonstrates how much division there is in the various Christian sects. Roman Catholic and Easter Orthodox churches teach transubstantiation, the actual conversion of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus due to the powers of the priest. Lutherans believe in “consubstantiation,” that one consumes the bread and wine as well as the body and blood, because Jesus is “in, with, and under” the condiments. Anglicanism teaches the so called “Real Presence of Christ” in the Eucharist, which is broadly interpreted to mean a “spiritual presence” of Christ, as their theology explicitly rejects transubstantiation. Methodists hedge their bets, defining the act simply as a “holy mystery.” Most reformed churches (Calvinist, Presbyterian, etc.) are nebulous on the issue, teaching that the faithful benefit from communion because Christ's presence “penetrates their hearts.” Most other Protestants see the entire thing as symbolic.

    And that’s the key – when you make the whole thing up, you can say whatever you want. So much of Christian doctrine is all just made up. And I mean that in the purest sense. They pull it out of thin air. To the extent a Christian theologian “researches” anything, they simply look to what earlier theologians said on the issue. To the extent they researched anything, they looked to even earlier theologians and what they said. But, no matter how far back you go, no matter how many theologians you go through and no matter how smart, well read or well intentioned the original fabricator of the issue is, it is all made up.

    This is true of the doctrine of Salvation, the Incarnation, the Holy Trinity and every other doctrine in the Christian churches.

    - Colin

    May 12, 2014 at 11:25 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      doG,

      Deacon Duncan wrote a piece about how "God is a character in a story we tell ourselves". I really liked it. Check it out if you are so inclined.

      http://freethoughtblogs.com/alethianworldview/2014/05/04/everything-we-need-to-know-about-god/

      May 12, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
  10. samsstones

    Too bad they didn't get all upset about hiding pedophiles, oh well.

    May 12, 2014 at 11:19 am |
  11. G to the T

    Did anyone catch this?

    "But Harvard University President Drew Faust "

    The president's name is Faust and he DOESN"T want a black mass. Maybe he got "burned" the first time?

    May 12, 2014 at 11:01 am |
    • Vic

      I can't help it notice that it is the same school that Professor Carol King introduced the embattled papyrus fragment of the so-called 'Gospel of Jesus' Wife.'

      May 12, 2014 at 11:37 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        It would seem that heresy runs in packs.

        May 12, 2014 at 11:38 am |
        • G to the T

          It's a big place guys, I wouldn't start the old conspiracy line quite yet.

          May 12, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Yes, that's right, the first theological college in the United States is chock full of heretics.

          It's a university for crying out loud. Even schools that started out by training congregational ministers welcome thought.

          Of course it might be different at Liberty U.

          May 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    Reverend Clooney: Why don't you just pray for your god to stop this black mass?

    Matthew 7:7 ”Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
    Matthew 21:22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
    Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
    John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it

    what abject foolishness your religion is!!!

    May 12, 2014 at 10:57 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      Do tell us then what it means to pray "in the name of God" as He commands us to. (Hint, it doesn't mean to put "in Jesus' name, amen" at the end of your prayer)

      May 12, 2014 at 11:01 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        actually "no" Theo, how about you tell me.

        Christians have an amazing skill at taking a plain and unambiguous sentence from the bible and surrounding it with escape hatches and self imagined fine print and obscure interpretations and shameless rationalizations and somehow saying that what is written in plain English actually means something entirely different. The bible is 'the unerring and unchangeable word of god' until it doesn't say what you want it to say and then any phrase can be changed to any extent a Christian wishes in an outrageous display of cognitive dissonance!

        you're a fraud!

        May 12, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          John 14:13-14 – "in My name..."
          1) The believer's prayer should be for His purposes and kingdom, and not for selfish reasons
          2) The believer's prayer should be on the basis of His merits and not any personal merit or worthiness
          3) The believer's prayer should be in pursuit of His glory alone

          May 12, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          as I said, are any of your three points god's word from the bible or are they just technicalities added as escape clauses by religious men over the centuries. Or worse still, are they just your opinion?

          May 12, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "are any of your three points god's word from the bible"
          ---------–
          Absolutely! Read Jesus' model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. How does He tell us to pray? For God's will to be done. NOT ours.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:23 am |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          "How does He tell us to pray? For God's will to be done. NOT ours."

          So God won't do what he wills unless he listens to OUR WILL for him to do his own will.

          Classic! Totally NONSENSICAL.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          If you only ever pray for your Gods will to be done, is there a chance then that your Gods will won't be done? And if you believe no one can stop the will of your God then why pray? What good are you doing by praying if your God already knows who needs help and is only doing his will anyway. So what is the point of prayer?

          May 12, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Classic! Totally NONSENSICAL."
          -------------
          Of course it's nonsensical to you, because you are what is termed in original Hebrew: a nit-wit.
          Prayer doesn't change God. But on the same hand, God ordains that we pray. Our prayers are not to alter the will of a sovereign God who remains forever unchangeable, but instead, prayer molds our maleable wills to His, as well as operating as a means of revealing His character to us through a personal interaction with His word meshed with our lives.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Exactlu observer,

          And because it is god's will and nobody knows the will of god...it always works!

          It's a MIRACLE!

          May 12, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Blessed,
          We know enough about God's will, if we are in Him, then we have the mind of Christ through His word.
          1 Corinthians 2:10-16

          May 12, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • Madtown

          we have the mind of Christ through His word
          ----–
          Sure, as long as you're one of the lucky ones that God has, arbitrarily, shared his word with. If God placed you in an area of the world with no christianity, you don't get the word and it's tough luck for you.

          May 12, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "We know enough about God's will"

          Then the "we" in your statement are in agreement about what that is....right Theo?

          Nope.

          May 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          "Of course it's nonsensical to you, because you are what is termed in original Hebrew: a nit-wit.'

          Well done. Just what Jesus would have said, right?

          Keep the HYPOCRISY coming. The name-calling is just another example of not practicing what Jesus did. Grow up.

          Still STUMPED on what God said in the Bible? Why not try reading about slavery in the Bible? It would help you have a clue what you are trying to talk about.

          May 12, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          In regards to slavery in the bible, as any Christian will tell you it's all about context. If you have not read the entire bible cover to cover, Hebrew and Greek, then you do not have the context in which slavery is supported by the bible. I have read the entire bible cover to cover and I do know the context in which slavery was condoned in the bible and the fact is there was a difference between slavery for any of the nations of that time and slavery in Isreal.

          It's sort of like the difference between plantation slave owners and Donald Sterling, sure Donald believes he is better than his slaves, doesn't want his girlfriend to even be seen with his slaves, and he treats them well, but he does own them and can trade them to other teams without their consent and they are considered his "property" that he can demand repayment of if any of his slaves try to leave, whereas the plantation slavers often did not treat them so well. The bibe supports the Donald Sterling type slavery. The Isrealites believed they were Gods chosen people and they had a right to own people of other nations who were not the privileged chosen race, and their leader Moses told them they were right.

          The problem I have is with the belief that there is some invisible power that has the right to own humans, has a right to kill humans and has a right to take away any and all rights we humans believed we had. Since said invisible being has not been proven and it is unlikey it ever will be proven, why would we hand over our rights as humans to some unknown alien force whos will gets to be interpreted by some other humans here on earth? Sorry but that is a suckers game and only the foolish buy in.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
      • samsstones

        Theo
        You don't even consider catholics as true christians, so why don't you shut the fvck up already, you have no skin in the game and your opinion is just hypocrisy.

        May 12, 2014 at 11:13 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          And you don't have a Belief, so why do you post on a Belief blog?

          May 12, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • kudlak

          Theo
          Have you read the "About this blog" statement above? Sam is just taking part in the "global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives", as we all are. We just happen to have a different opinion about that role than you do, that's all.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • samsstones

          Theo
          I have a firm belief that you are a rectal orifice and I post here to inform others of that fact that have not reached the same conclusion yet. Post all you want, it harms your cause at best but why pontificate about a catholic story when you diss that group so often?

          May 12, 2014 at 11:25 am |
  13. Peaceadvocate2014

    Satire, comedies meant to ridicule one's belief is a price to pay for another's right of expression. We hope in the end we acted in ways to advance humanity.

    May 12, 2014 at 10:44 am |
    • kudlak

      Peaceadvocate2014
      My dictionary defines satire as the "use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues."

      Well, religious faith certainly is a topical issue of this blog, correct?

      May 12, 2014 at 11:30 am |
  14. Vic

    I don't think it's a big deal at all, let it take its normal course, and in time, people will choose within reason.

    Meanwhile, I feel sorry for the Satanic Temple and its movement for the fact that their feat is just a counterprotest as opposed to a bona fide belief.

    [
    "The history of the ritual is murky, but Greaves said it began as a kind of counterprotest by people who felt oppressed by their local religious cultures."
    ]

    May 12, 2014 at 10:44 am |
  15. lunchbreaker

    Any person of any faith would do good to "learn and experience the history of different cultural practices.” Too often individuals make themselves look like idiots by incorrectly portraying someones faith or lack there of.

    May 12, 2014 at 10:41 am |
  16. Theo Phileo

    All of this is going to be taking place in the same state as the start of the 1st Great Awakening and home to some of America's first revivals... If only Jonathan Edwards were alive today. My, how far this country has fallen.

    May 12, 2014 at 10:21 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      and yet I think that this country is finally on the right path to becoming free

      Pew Study: nearly a third of all millennials – Americans between the ages of 18-33 – are religiously unaffiliated, a dramatic and ongoing change from previous generations.

      It's the information age, and religious people are finding it impossible to keep their children in their cult's bubble of lies. With access to facts, children are seeing the foolishness of religion and joining the world of reality. Christianity is dying out, and it's going to happen a lot quicker than anyone expects. A couple more generations and the christian sky fairy will be in a category with Thor and Zeus as a quaint primitive supersti.tion.

      America will be all but free of the cancer of religion.

      May 12, 2014 at 10:27 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Your abusive and bigoted language aside, you are right in one sense. There will come a day when all Christians will be gone from the earth, and those who for so long have wished for their annihilation will be satisfied. But this age will only last for 7 years, and then the end will come. So says the prophets of God.

        May 12, 2014 at 10:31 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          I don't wish for any Christian to be harmed. On the contrary, I just want you to get well. Your mental sickness hurts your lives and hurts the human race as a whole. We have to get you out of your cult so that you can live a good life in the real world. I have made it my goal to help you.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:35 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "I don't wish for any Christian to be harmed."
          ------------
          I didn't say that you did, but truly there are many in this day and age who would that we were removed from this earth. One day, and no one knows when, they will get their wish. And in that same day, all restraining influences that have been holding back wicked men will be removed, and every man will turn to his own inner desires to perform them with a zeal unlike has been seen since this world began. For it is only now by God's grace that men are not as wicked as they could be.

          "On the contrary, I just want you to get well. Your mental sickness hurts your lives and hurts the human race as a whole. We have to get you out of your cult so that you can live a good life in the real world. I have made it my goal to help you."
          ----------------–
          What you claim to be a sickness is in fact merely a demonstration of that which you do not understand.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:40 am |
        • colin31714

          No, for the foreseeable future, there will always be some Christians around. Just like inoculations and vaccines have great difficulty wiping out the last vestiges of polio and other virulent diseases, the penetrating light of education and reason will have difficulty in putting the final death grip to the throat of your Bronze Age cult. As long as we reduce it to background noise, to a political powerless sect of simpletons, that is ok by me.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:43 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          your "and those who for so long have wished for their annihilation will be satisfied" had me confused. Seemed pretty straightforward and unambiguous to me.

          You also said "What you claim to be a sickness is in fact merely a demonstration of that which you do not understand." and I think that anyone who believes in magical sky daddy figures with zero proof other than a bronze age story book has definitely been indoctrinated into a cult at an early age and needs rescuing.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Are you sure about the 7 years? And those are literal years? Not some calculation of 7 years where each day is like a thousand years? Not 7 times 77 weeks of years?

          Just curious because there have been people predicting things based on the bible for thousands of years and so far not a single one has come. Not even the destruction of Jerusalem that was supposedly predicted can be proved to be pre 70 ad and thus may have actually been written after the fact. The rest is completely up to interpretation.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          The 70 Weeks Prophecy of Daniel 9 (as well as in several other places) the 7 years of tribulation is very plain. We don't know what the beginning of that count will be, but we know it will be 7 years.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          If you want to do a little more reading on the subject, I suggest reading "Because the Time is Near" and "The Coming Prince." They're really good places to start.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I've read Daniel for myself and if you believe in taking any of his visions at face value then no wonder you are so screwed up in the head. I'm sure there are lots of books out there by other morons who want to "interpret" ancient scripture, almost as many as their are for those wanting to "interpret" Nostradamus' writings. Do I believe in a single one of their "interpretations"? Of course not, only a fool would listen to these self appointed "experts" making money of their book sales. I feel sorry for how badly you have been fleeced and fooled Theo, but its not to late to get out. The one prediction from the bible I do see coming true is the destruction of the harlot in Revelation for nothing fits that Harlots image better than organized religion drunk on the blood of her people, a modern day Jezebel who will be thrown down and completely destroyed leaving nothing but the palms of her hands. That is where religion is going and there isn't much it can do about it.

          May 12, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    • colin31714

      Theo, you said, " If only Jonathan Edwards were alive today. My, how far this country has fallen."

      Edwards died in 1758. Since then, the USA has

      1. Made significant advances in medical health. Our life expectancy has virtually doubled from Edwards day and we now have effective inoculations against many of the diseases rampant in Edwards' day, including the Smallpox that killed him.

      2. Increased the accessibility of travel. We can now travel all over the World in the time it took Edwards to travel from Boston to Princeton. Worldwide travel is now available to anybody who can save a few thousand dollars.

      3. Improved communication from horse and buggy mail to instantaneous communication all over the planet, available to anybody with a laptop.

      4. Improved education and access to knowledge. You and I know more that the best educated person from the mid 700s, simply because of the advancements in science.

      All of the above is due to science and the scientific method and the gradual rejection of the religious superst.itions that pervaded in Edwards' day.

      I guess there is one are where Jonathan Edwards would be less than satisfied, however. In 1747 Edwards purchased a slave, whom he named "Venus". That he could no longer buy and sell slaves may well be seen by him as a significant backsliding.

      May 12, 2014 at 10:40 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Edwards owned slaves. So?
        Edwards felt that slavery was not forbidden in Scripture, and he argued that God could use slavery to save souls (such as the case with Paul in the epistle to Philemon). Edwards also felt that it was the duty of the Christian to not be harsh to slaves, to preach the gospel to them, and to be good to them.

        It was an insti.tution of the day, and he preached not only against their cruel treatment, but also preached against the hypocrisy of men who would preach against slavery, and yet still benefit from it in trade.

        I could go into more of this, but I won't. It is a red herring.

        May 12, 2014 at 10:47 am |
        • colin31714

          I agree. Owning and trading of slaves has significant biblical support. It is not a red herring to the point you make, that Edwards would feel the country has suffered a "backslide". Most thinking people would see the abolition of slavery as a significant step forward.

          Do you?

          May 12, 2014 at 10:50 am |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          "It was an insti.tution of the day, and he preached not only against their cruel treatment"

          God's idea of "cruel treatment" DID NOT include beating elderly female slaves with rods (apparently including breaking bones) as long as they didn't die "in a day or so".

          God didn't feel that SELLING your young daughter to a stranger for their USE was wrong.

          Get serious. Read a Bible.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Owning and trading of slaves has significant biblical support. It is not a red herring to the point you make, that Edwards would feel the country has suffered a "backslide". Most thinking people would see the abolition of slavery as a significant step forward. Do you?"
          -------------–
          It is a red herring in that Edwards, along with a great many other people, many of whom are still looked up to today as political figures, also owned slaves. It was not the fact of having an unpaid household servant that Edwards objected to, it was how they were treated.

          Listen to "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" and you'll recognize what it is that Edwards would object to in this day and age. Men who take pleasure in wickedness that should the same deeds have been committed in his day would have warrented jail time.

          Secular society continues to slide further downwards in its morality. Increasingly wicked deeds are not only glossed over, but are now entereing the realm of what is approved of, and then moving to what is normal, and then, to what is expected. A Christian stands in stark contrast to certain forms of modern morality, and that is why we are thought of as being so strange. We stand against that which society has deemed moral, because we stand for that which we deem to be a higher standard.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:09 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Observer,
          You've already proved to us before that you lack the ability for reading comprehension because you do not practice the contextualization of the text. You can continue to pick and choose through the text to try to prove yourself right, but you only do this to your own detriment.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • observer

          "Secular society continues to slide further downwards in its morality."

          Wrong. We have thrown away a lot of the immorality supported by the Bible. Slavery is illegal. Women have equal rights. Blacks have equal rights. Gays are getting equal rights.

          Guess you want us to go back to the "good old days of the Bible". Where did God or Jesus say that people were doing well with morality back then?

          May 12, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          Test for "lacking the ability for reading comprehension":

          What did God say was the vengeance to be taken for beating an elderly female slave with a rod breaking bones, but not killing them in a "day or so"?

          Have you read a Bible? Let's see how you do.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Observer...
          CONTEXTUALIZATION.
          If someone was in the habit of beating their slaves and there was no law to regulate it, men beat their slaves to death quite a bit – after all, they saw them as their property. In writing those regulations, now, if someone were to beat their slave and they died immediately, then that person obviously meant to kill them. If they didn't die, then the idea was that there was no intent to kill.

          The regulations were in place in first, in order to disuade a man from intentionally beating their slave to death, second, because they now had to be aware of how hard they beat them, now they had to ponder whether or not it was even worth beating them at all – so it worked to prevent beatings from happening altogether.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "so it worked to prevent beatings from happening altogether."

          Right, the bibles rules governing the administration of slavery were there to help people. The bible is so nice, except, you know, for the fact that IT SUPPORTS OWNING PEOPLE!!

          Theo, please do keep on trying to justify slavery and how its really not so bad if only you were owned by a nice rich white guy like Edwards. It makes it far easier for those on the fence to see your disgusting religion for what it is, a hiding place for slavers, racists and bigots.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          CONTEXTUALIZATION.

          I specifically said they DON'T DIE. Is English a problem for you?

          So what is the answer?

          May 12, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          What Theo and many other Christians want from others is not an honest search for truth from within the scriptures, they want you to come to the bible believing it is definately the word of God so anything in the bible that seems out of place or doesn't fit the concept of a perfect loving creator just takes some creative "interpretation" to come up with the reality you would like it to mean. When it supports slavery, it only supports good slavers, those who are kind and gentle to the humans they own. When it talks of murdering men who lie with men it means murder them right away, but when it speaks of daughters getting their father drunk and sleeping with him it's okay because their father had no heirs. When it speaks of the God of the bible being a jealous God killing several thousand Isrealites for building a golden calf to represent him it is really the same God who allowed himself to be spat upon and slapped and meekly turned the other cheek. If you come into the bible as a scholar reading an ancient peoples beliefs and understanding of the world it makes perfect sense. If you come in to it as a believer because your parents told you that the bible is the word of God so you start reading with the belief that everything it contains is absolute truth and if you find something that doesn't add up then you are just reading it wrong, then you will always have bible apologists making excuses for all of the bibles faults.

          May 12, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          I always hear that the bible should be taken word for word, and then Theo comes along and shouts "context!". I can read....and when Jesus says "anyone that comes to me and does not hate their father and mother can not be my disciple". That's pretty clear cut English there.....

          May 12, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
  17. colin31714

    My favorite piece:

    "Since there is no empirical way to show that one host is consecrated while another is not—consecrated hosts do not glow in the dark—there is also no way for anyone but the organizers to know whether a host used in a black mass has been consecrated or not," Clooney said.

    "Catholics at Harvard should not have to be worrying about where Monday’s host comes from."

    That is beautiful. If a host has been consecrated, it, according to the Catholics is the ACTUAL flesh of Jesus. I'm not making this up and it is not symbolic. The poor superst.itious old fools think that a priest saying some Latin words over grocery store bread turns it into the actual flesh of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago. lol.

    Saturday Night Live couldn't make this up !!

    May 12, 2014 at 10:19 am |
  18. Dyslexic doG

    Yep, we support freedom of religion ... as long as it's for our religion!

    May 12, 2014 at 10:17 am |
  19. colin31714

    As dyslexic Dog said, this is comedy gold. A group like that Catholics, with the childish Dark Ages supernatural hocus pocus they believe in, being offended by a group promoting religious pluralism.

    May 12, 2014 at 10:16 am |
  20. Dyslexic doG

    "But look out, because the devil is present! The devil is here … even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naive, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan.”

    LOLOLOL Comedy Gold!!!

    May 12, 2014 at 10:08 am |
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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.