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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. dreamicus

    ""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."

    Funny, he sounds like he's talking about prayer in the court room.

    May 12, 2014 at 6:10 pm |
    • lewcypher

      or:

      Bibles in every motel room

      God on our money

      Prayer before public events

      Christian cable networks 24/7

      Discounts on insurance for being christian

      Laws that prevent non-christians from holding public office (Arkansas, Mississippi, Maryland, Texas, South Carolina and Tennessee)

      God in the Pledge of Allegiance

      Televangelists 24/7

      Christian billboards along the highway advertising Vacation Bible School and “Repent or go to He.ll”

      Federally recognized christian holiday

      Radioevangelists 24/7

      Religious organizations are tax free

      75% of the population claims to be christian

      National day of prayer

      God in the National Anthem

      Weekday christian education for elementary students (Indiana, Kansas, Ohio and Virginia).

      Christian clergy led prayer at Presidential inaugurations

      God in The Declaration of Independence

      Religious groups are often exempt from laws that secular organizations must follow e.g. termination of employment

      Supreme Court endorsement of prayer before government meetings.

      May 12, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "75% of the population claims to be christian"
        ----------------

        It's probably slightly more than that. 75-78% of Americans are affiliated with a recognized Christian denomination. An additional small part of the 'nones' are probably Christian too.

        May 12, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "Weekday christian education for elementary students (Indiana, Kansas, Ohio and Virginia)."
        ---------------

        Virginia surprises me on this list.

        May 12, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "Laws that prevent non-christians from holding public office (Arkansas, Mississippi, Maryland, Texas, South Carolina and Tennessee)"
        ----------------------–
        Those laws are blatantly non-Const.itutional, but it will be a long time before anyone gets elected there if they profess anything but Christianity.

        May 12, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
    • cheezfan

      "she."

      May 12, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
  2. dreamicus

    Am I the only one that finds it funny the President's last name is Faust?

    May 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
    • observer

      Yes. Someone did earlier if it wasn't you.

      May 12, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
  3. Concert in an Egg

    It is a terrible thing to lose your thoughts to permanent melancholy.

    Logic replaced with dread and misdeed?
    Why the same dreams and people?
    Why the same shame and funeral?

    My potion did not kill me. It doesn’t matter.
    Open me and purge it. Make me a child.
    Regrets adding up. Must balance the books.

    The wrinkles in his fingers smelled of gasoline.
    Tremble and swallow and wipe and push and beep.
    The little smear looks more like a face than his face does.
    Shut the visor with a tap.

    He should have been smart enough to die before 50.
    He should have been just that stupid.

    May 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
  4. Bootyfunk

    "Clooney said the university's reaction is insufficient, adding that Harvard's "spiritual sensitivity" is at stake."
    +++ religions sure hate it when they are criticized or made fun of. so they subtlety suggest censorship. it used to be against the law to ridicule religion. blasphemy laws were harsh. religion hates free speech.

    May 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      And how.

      May 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
  5. Alias

    So a group of bigots who wear funny robes and believe they eat the flesh and drink the blood of a jew that died 2,000 years ago are upset because they are being mocked?
    Good thing they don't believe in 600 year old men building boats, talking serpents, hiding criminals, virgin births, slavery, or people coming back from the dead.

    May 12, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      lol. it's pretty ridiculous.
      "don't make fun of our fairy tales!"

      May 12, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      How dare you criticize their robes.

      May 12, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
    • pandamt

      You do rather have a point...

      May 12, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
  6. Concert in an Egg

    Why are you here my son? What evil do you bring into my house monster? Are you here now to cling to my robes? Are you here now to weep before me? Do you beg forgiveness or do you seek company with the only heavenly being that knows your heart?

    My lord! Yes, I have been out tonight tasting your fruit if you know what I mean you old carnal bastard….Genius, master, maker of my death. That is you! But I love you don’t I?

    You have made death for yourself. You can now wrap yourself in the misery of your own making and loving. Sinister and dark. You crawl from beneath your own foul skin, consuming the meat and wearing the package. Is that why you smell so bad brother? Is that why death is on your breath?

    May 12, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      Alias hates robes.

      May 12, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
      • Alias

        Not all robes.
        I kind of like the really short ones with frills and lace that Victoria's Secret has in their windows.
        I just don't want to see the priests wearing those.

        May 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          Hmmm...not so fast, I am not sure. Maybe we should see a few priests in these robes before passing judgment...

          May 12, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
  7. lunchbreaker

    After researching Black Mass, I'm not sure that the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club is sincere in it's effort to " to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices.”

    May 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
    • observer

      Maybe they should study the Christians' Salem witch hunts instead.

      May 12, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        You do know there's many different theories right? Many have nothing to do with their "religion". In fact, most people targeted the "weak" in society and went after those they hated. So it was deep hatred they had for each other. It nothing to do with "witches". That was their clever cover up so they could kill someone they deeply hated. Atheism loses yet again! Facts support it wasnt based on "religious reasons".

        May 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          That is very interesting finisher. You may be right.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          What? You mean they weren't really witches and these were just humans using religion to their own personal selfish ends? How could that be possible? Oh, wait a sec, every religious person I know still does this, they just don't have the law on their side to go arrest and execute the "witches" "satanists" "gays" "atheists" that they condemn.

          May 12, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Funny thing is, that's human nature. People are flawed and will look for things that "support" when they want done or have done. In reality, only idiots like yourself believe them. Why do you feel the need to believe what criminals have to say? Hate is a very powerful force. You should consider ALL factors of an event rather than ignorantly blaming a single factor (religion). There's more to every story.

          May 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Funny thing is, that's human nature. People are flawed and will look for things that "support" when they want done or have done."

          Then I thank the founders I live in a country of mostly secular laws and where we are continuing to rid ourselves of the old excuses used to discriminate and lord it over others. The fewer unregulated reasons (religion) people can use as an excuse to murder others the better.

          May 12, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          That is right finisher. Tell it.

          May 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          People will use that argument to save their skins in front of other humans and in human court. That's it. If you believe them, we'll, you are more stupid than they are. How can you believe what they say? If they enjoy killing etc...your argument falls to pieces.

          May 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          evil people will do evil,
          good people will do good,
          but it takes religion for good people to do evil.

          May 12, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • johnbiggscr

          'That was their clever cover up so they could kill someone they deeply hated. Atheism loses yet again! Facts support it wasnt based on "religious reasons".'

          Rubbish. The people accusing others may have been doing it to settle old scores but the people running the trials and witch hunts were most certainly doing it for religious reasons. And how the heck does 'atheism lose again' due to salem witch trials?

          May 12, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
        • observer

          Facts support it wasnt based on "religious reasons".

          Christian witch hunts killed TENS of thousands of people in Europe and we had the Salem witch hunts here by Christians.

          Ooops.

          May 12, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          Yes, on many occasions those yelling "kill the witches" or "burn the heretics" have also stood to gain financially with the biblical injunctions in the Old Testament to kill witches (Exodus 22:18) and heretics (Deuteronomy 17:2-7, Deuteronomy 13:6-9, etc.) serving well to aid them. E.g. during the Spanish Inquisition the inquisitors torturing people in to confessing dealings with the devil or sacrilegious rites could gain a share of any wealth their victims might possess, if they could extract a confession. Since the CNN article mentions communion wafers and transubstantiation, I'll mention the case of poor Benito Garcia, an itinerant woolcomber and also a "converso", i.e., someone who converted from Judaism to Christianity, which is related in "Dogs of God: Columbus, the Inquisition, and the Defeat of the Moors" by James Reston, Jr. He was able to withstand torture by an ambitious vicar for quite awhile, but was finally broken and gave the confession the priest wanted, though confession meant death:

          *** begin quote

          When the rack did not produce the desired result, the churchmen turned to the water torture. In this hideous remedy, the prisoner was tied to a ladder that sloped downward, so that the head was lower than the feet. The head was held fast in position by a metal band, twigs were placed in the nostrils, and ropes winched tightly around his appendages. The mouth was forced open with a metal piece and a cloth placed over the mouth. Then a pitcher of water was brought, and water poured over the cloth. With each swallow, the cloth was drawn deeper into the throat, until in gagging and choking the victim nearly asphyxiated. The terror of suffocation was extreme, and the process was repeated endlessly, bloating the body grotesquely until the victim was ready to confess. If the suspect was still uncooperative, his body was turned over, causing unimaginable pain in the heart and lungs. From the inquisitor's standpoint – for he was there to record every detail – the treatment was easy to administer and left no telltale signs.

          Garcia had been able to hold his tongue for a few days, but on the fifth day of torture, his resistance crumbled. ... Under the threat of more torture, Garcia blurted out an astonishing tale. At some time in the past two years, he, along with several Jews and conversos in the town, had engaged in a secret and magical rite with a human heart and a consecrated communion wafer. This powerful mixture was meant to create a toxin of mass destruction with marvelous results: the Inquisition would be blocked; all Christians would die raving mad; Jews would seize their property and take over the world. Whether in fact Benito blurted this out, or whether the tale came from the fertile imagination and ambition of the vicar is unclear.

          In regards to the Salem witch trials of 1692, to state it had nothing to do with witches is certainly false, though. One should not ignore how Christian ministers waving their Bibles ensured the deaths of the "witches". Cotton Mather, the son of another minister, Increase Mather, was one of the most respected ministers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was a leader in ensuring that the witch trials took place. Cotton Mather attended the trials and hangings in Salem and was a friend of some of the judges. He urged the hanging of George Burroughs, even after he had recited the Lord's Prayer perfectly. The historian Charles Wentworth Upham wrote in 1869 that both Cotton and Increase Mather "are answerable... more than almost any other... for the opinions of their time. It was indeed a supersti_tious age, but made much more so by their operations, influence, and writings, beginning with Increase Mather's movement at the assembly of Ministers in 1681 and ending with Cotton Mather's dealings with the Goodwin children, and the account thereof which he printed [1689] and circulated far and wide." Robert Calef, another contemporary of Cotton Mather, wrote "Mr Cotton Mather was the most active and forward of any Minister in the Country in those matters [the Goodwin children and Goody Glover], taking home one of the Children, and managing such intrigues with that Child, and after printing such an account of the whole, in his Memorable Provinces [published in 1689], as conduced much to the kindling of those Flames, that in Sir Williams time [i.e. Salem Witch Trials] threatened the devouring of this Country."

          In October 1692, around the time the Court of Oyer and Terminer was dissolved, Cotton Mather published an account of the witch trails. His book, "Wonders of the Invisible World by Cotton Mather and Increase Mather", defended the actions of the court. Since the book is long out of copyright, it is freely available at gutenberg.org/ebooks/28513

          I've included a few paragraphs from the introduction to the book:

          *** begin quote

          There was at this time in Boston a distinguished family of puritanical ministers of the name of Mather. Richard Mather, an English non-conformist divine, had emigrated to America in 1636, and settled at Dorchester, where, in 1639, he had a son born, who was named, in accordance with the peculiar nomenclature of the puritans, Increase Mather. This son distinguished himself much by his acquirements as a scholar and a theologian, became established as a minister in Boston, and in 1685 was elected president of Harvard College. His son, born at Boston in 1663, and called from the name of his mother's family, Cotton Mather, became more remarkable than his father for his scholarship, gained also a distinguished position in Harvard College, and was also, at the time of which we are speaking, a minister of the gospel in Boston. Cotton Mather had adopted all the most extreme notions of the puritanical party with regard to witchcraft, and he had recently had an opportunity of displaying them. In the summer of the year 1688, the children of a mason of Boston named John Goodwin were suddenly seized with fits and strange afflictions, which were at once ascribed to witchcraft, and an Irish washerwoman named Glover, employed by the family, was suspected of being the witch. Cotton Mather was called in to witness the sufferings of Goodwin's children; and he took home with him one of them, a little girl, who had first displayed these symptoms, in order to examine her with more care. The result was, that the Irish woman was brought to a trial, found guilty, and hanged; and Cotton Mather published next year an account of the case, under the ti_tle of "Late Memorable Providences, relating to Witchcraft and Possession," which displays a very extraordinary amount of credulity, and an equally great want of anything like sound judgment. This work, no doubt, spread the alarm of witchcraft through the whole colony, and had some influence on the events which followed.

          ...

          The witchcraft delusion had, however, been sufficiently dispelled to prevent the recurrence of any other such persecutions; and those who still insisted on their truth were restrained to the comparatively harmless publication and defence of their opinions. The people of Salem were humbled and repentant. They deserted their minister, Mr. Paris, with whom the persecution had begun, and were not satisfied until they had driven him away from the place. Their remorse continued through several years, and most of the people concerned in the judicial proceedings proclaimed their regret. The jurors signed a paper expressing their repentance, and pleading that they had laboured under a delusion. What ought to have been considered still more conclusive, many of those who had confessed themselves witches, and had been instrumental in accusing others, retracted all they had said, and confessed that they had acted under the influence of terror. Yet the vanity of superior intelligence and knowledge was so great in the two Mathers that they resisted all conviction. In his Magnalia, an ecclesiastical history of New England, published in 1700, Cotton Mather repeats his original view of the doings of Satan in Salem, showing no regret for the part he had taken in this affair, and making no retraction of any of his opinions. Still later, in 1723, he repeats them again in the same strain in the chapter of the "Remarkables" of his father enti_tled "Troubles from the Invisible World." His father, Increase Mather, had died in that same year at an advanced age, being in his eighty-fifth year. Cotton Mather died on the 13th of February, 1728.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
  8. thefinisher1

    These Catholic students act a lot like atheists do. Whine and complain that the other group is "forcing" them believe or infringing on their rights. All religions are welcome here in America and NONE get special treatment regardless of its popularity or "power". Fundies and atheists have a lot more in common than they think! Fact!

    May 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      Wow, you are right. I had not considered that before.

      May 12, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
    • bostontola

      Interesting that all you do is whine about atheists.

      Please get help finisher, it's never too late to improve your state of mind.

      May 12, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
  9. Concert in an Egg

    Heaven is a place in Hell.
    A place where Angels and Demons dwell.
    The bell rings, the Devil Swings and on God’s throne he begins to dwell.
    Looking through space and time the duality of the immortals shine.
    The singing begins and the song is one of the infinite.
    Universes are sung, galaxies too.
    Star and planet, me and you.
    But we can hear the singing not.
    For we are here on this planet caught.
    The web we weave to cry and deceive.
    Robs us of our own immortal lot.

    May 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
    • thefinisher1

      You need some serious therapy. You seem depressed.

      May 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
      • Concert in an Egg

        Why do you say that? I am not feeling depressed...I don't think...

        May 12, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          Wow, thefinisher just told ME I need therapy. I must need therapy.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Your atheism makes do crazy things and it makes you depressed. That's why many atheists hang around religious blogs. You don't like religion yet you tend to be deeply attached in a unhealthy way.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I do not think he means the same kind of therapy. His would entail sitting in Church listening to a guy drone on and on about the benefits of their Church and why you should donate so they can appease God for your sins you terrible terrible sinner.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          Thanks for the guidance finisher. I feel much better now.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Here he goes again claiming this is a Religion Blog. Just scroll up fini, you'll see that it says "Belief Blog" of which everyone has plenty of. Do you deny others the right to come here and share their belief? Or is it that you think when they do they must be coming here to listen to you and your brand of religion? I visit because I like to not only keep up on current topics in both the religious and secular world, but I also like taking the believers temp every now and then, find out whats still going on in these crazy brains. It's kind of like watching "Worlds craziest accidents" where you know the car is about to hit the pizza man but you just can't turn away. Watching the religious pontificate on these blogs is like watching a slow motion car accident.

          May 12, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          LOL. Wrong.

          May 12, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Very well thought out refutation of my stated premise. golf clap....

          May 12, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
        • kudlak

          thefinisher1
          "You don't like religion yet you tend to be deeply attached in a unhealthy way."

          It's no more unhealthy than the way police seem to be interested in criminal activity, or doctors seem to be interested in disease.

          May 12, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
  10. ddeevviinn

    We find ourselves living in an age of heightened technology in which computer aided design and engineering applications have never been as advanced, and yet, the boorish, monolithic architectural structures that "grace" most of our modern cities pale in comparison to the aesthetic beauty pictured above.

    Just my subjective opinion.

    May 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
    • colin31714

      Tend to agree that many religious monuments bring out the best in human architecture. Doesn't make their religious doctrines any less silly, though.

      May 12, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
      • bchev

        Colin,
        I find that religious inspiration can also make for very good and moving music (music is better with soul, that's just the way it works). It's easier for it to go overboard and just sound sappy and trite, but the feelings that religion can inspire in people, if they reign in the praising, gives it weight.

        May 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          There are only two acceptable forms of religious music. Gregorian chants and Black gospel. Everything else sucks.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • G to the T

          "I find that religious inspiration can also make for very good and moving music (music is better with soul, that's just the way it works)."

          On this I whole-heartedly disagree. No offense, but most fo the "christian" music I've ever heard was lousy to say the least. Some of the Hindu stuff is kind of interesting, but probably only because it's exotic.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          Egg

          I'm guessing Handel and Bach may have disagreed.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          devin, my bad, I was thinking of the music people sing in church. (Hymns, chants, gospel...)

          May 12, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • bchev

          G to the T,
          I actually agree with you completely. Music written FOR a specific religion tends to be awful, music written BY omeone of a religious group, who just feels moved, not alwasy as much. Leanord Cohen's "Hallelujah" and several cover versions or it, Nina Simone "Sinner Man", they're not necessarily written for christians, but you'd have a hell of a time they don't have religious inspiration. They're written with feeling, and it carries through, that's all I mean.

          I'm decently sure that just about all Catholic music is written as a punishment to feed and Validate their Catholic guilt.

          May 12, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • bchev

          Concert in an Egg,
          Church music is awful, definitely not what I meant, see the short list above. There are musicians out there who got their inspiration from their faith. Some of them managed to turn that into good music.

          May 12, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          There are a few that are ok musically but nothing to write home about.

          May 12, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
      • kudlak

        Most of the ancient Greek, Egyptian and Roman temples and religious art is better than your average Christian stuff, IMHO, but lots of churches have fine features. That's why they tend to be retrofitted into homes and condos when they get abandoned.

        May 12, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      A basilica whose floorplan is in the shape of a cross. The exterior kind of reminds me of the Biltmore House.

      May 12, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      Wasn't really singling out " religious monuments" it just happened to be a church that was pictured. Seems to me the decline is pretty much across the board.

      As for the " religious doctrines any less silly", well, you know.

      May 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
  11. Concert in an Egg

    I saw a sunset and it was perfect.
    Why do you ask me to see another?
    For in waiting for the next sunset, I will endure much suffering!

    Perfection exists in the suffering too.
    Be thankful for the pain.

    Did I not thank you by loving you?

    May 12, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

      May 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
      • Concert in an Egg

        How many peppers did Peter Piper pick?

        May 12, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          Irrelevant, just be thankful for the pain

          May 12, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Can you feel my peck on your cheek? Don't worry, its just my peppered pickle...

          May 12, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          I looked it up. 2 gallons by volume.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          that's about the size of it...

          May 12, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • samsstones

          So how many would depend on, size matters!!

          May 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          Impressive neverbeenhappieratheist.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          neverbeenhappi

          You're confusing gallons with ml's.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          How can you measure faith anyway? Just have faith that it's two gallons, and since faith requires no evidence, it must be true...

          May 12, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I have faith that my body contains at least a spare two gallons of blood for whenever I become aroused by ddeevvs' fanciful imaginings.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • Concert in an Egg

        ddeevviinn, it just occurred to me that you don't understand the poem.

        May 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          It took you 45 minutes to reach that erroneous conclusion?

          May 12, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          Yes, I did come to that conclusion. Erroneous or otherwise.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          The poem is a tongue twister so i'm sure ddeevv is very familiar. There is nothing Christians do better than twist their tongues...

          May 12, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          neverbeenhappi

          Your insight and wisdom is without precedent. ( I'll let you figure out the nuance there.)

          May 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
  12. colin31714

    "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."

    Ya gotta love that. Here is some of the childish garbage one has to believe in to be a Catholic priest. It is just a small sample.

    1. Grocery store bread and wine becomes the factual flesh and blood of a Greco-Roman Jew after a priest says some Latin words over them in church of a Sunday morning. It is not symbolic, BTW, they believe in the ACTUAL change.

    2. There is a magical after death kingdom called "hell" inhabited by the devil and a legion of demons. Periodically, one or more of these beings "comes to Earth" to possess the body of a mentally infirm person. Oddly, Satan and his cast of malevolent sidekicks are only every able to possess the mentally ill. The well adjusted seem immune to their diabolical layovers. lol.

    3. When a Catholic thinks silent thoughts like, please God make mommy's cancer go away, a being powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies is monitoring his or her thoughts and, if it so minded, may intervene to alter what would otherwise be the course of human history (the mother would otherwise die) to answer the prayer. Oddly, as with satanic possessions, God only ever seems capable of curing internal, uncertain conditions. Amputees the World over are ignored. Again, lol.

    At this point, I should probably pause and say that I am not making any of this up. It is straight out of mainstream Catholic beliefs.

    4. The Jewish god Yahweh impregnated a Greco-Roman Jewish virgin with himself, so he could give birth to himself and then sacrifice himself to himself to forgive the Original Sin of a couple we now all know never existed.

    5. This half god-half man or (all god, all man as they believe) rose from the dead, performed miracles and is still alive in heaven where he busies himself answering prayers (see 3 above) and generally saving the human race.

    6. If I do something to offend this God, I am a sinner. If my sin is band enough, like this email by me, for example, I will burn in hell for all eternity, unless I go through a ritual forgiving ceremony (confession) before I die. I don't have to kill, I don't have to steal. Hell, I don't even have to litter. All I have to do is harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelief in the Judeo-Christian god and he will inflict a horrid punishment on me a billion times worse than the death penalty. And he loves me.

    7. The Old Testament is true. The World is about 6,000 years old, and started with a talking snake (which was actually the devil – see 2 above). Donkeys talk, mana falls from heaven, the Exodus happened, the Passover is true, the destruction So.dom, Gomorrah and Jericho happened, the Red Sea Split, giants walked the Earth, people lived to be more than 500 years old, witches were true, there was a worldwide flood less than 6,000 years ago, the Tower of Babel is where different languages come from.

    How the reconcile this with being a Harvard professor eludes me. I wonder if, when the professors from Harvard go to lunch, they mock the Divinity School "professors." I guess it must be a good source of income.

    May 12, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
    • pandamt

      The incredibly weird thing is that they actually DO believe this stuff. Granted, there are a few who are less delusional, but the majority think this stuff is true. It just seems so strange to me that otherwise intelligent people fall for this stuff.

      May 12, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
      • believerfred

        Please tell me how a rock (inorganic matter) becomes intelligent life simply by adding billions of years. Your math is far more complex yet without evidence: rock + time = man

        May 12, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
        • observer

          believerfred,

          So the big bang came from one rock. How do you know this?

          May 12, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • believerfred

          observer
          The Big Bang is simply the current consensus as to origin of our universe. It will change. You do understand that there is a reason we have a history of science? It is because scientific facts are really only scientific consensus at that point in time.
          It remains speculation as to where many of our elements came from but the Big Bang is a good place as any to begin speculation.

          May 12, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
        • observer

          believerfred,

          Please read more than a 2,000-year-old book with unicorns and talking non-humans,

          If you follow science at all, you'll find that scientists have no real interest in looking for life on rocks, but look for water and other key elements.

          May 12, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
        • believerfred

          observer
          Big bang => formation of galaxies, stars, and all the other structure in the universe => the rock I was referring to is on this side of the Big bang based on current consensus => organic matter forms from inorganic matter =>.......man

          May 12, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
        • believerfred

          observer
          You believe you came from a rock and the Bible says God formed man from the dust of the earth. We have the same belief with the exception that the Bible is more up to date since the dust of the earth contains all the necessary elements for evolution whereas a rock most likely does not.

          May 12, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
        • observer

          believerfred,

          I never said I believed the Big Bang Theory. I have no idea if it's true. It does, however, make more sense than a god who came from NOTHING and then created EVERYTHING from NOTHING.

          May 12, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
        • believerfred

          observer
          If you remove all the anthropomorphism of the God of theology as Spinoza and Einstein preferred we still could not come to a point of "nothing". Non existence is not a possibility scientifically or metaphysically unless you have discovered some new laws.

          May 12, 2014 at 7:44 pm |
    • believerfred

      colin
      " I wonder if, when the professors from Harvard go to lunch, they mock the Divinity School "professors."
      =>I thought you actually read the Bible. Mocking is what those who witnessed the brutality against the innocent (Christ on the cross) did to reveal their ignorance of truth. I give the professors enough credit that they understood the truth of story even if they cannot accept the Divinity of Jesus. Most people show respect.

      May 12, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
  13. Concert in an Egg

    The troll;

    frozen in time;

    squeezes through the crevice;

    now blocked by green rock and green tree;

    just as he.

    May 12, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      or in Latin 'Stultus Troglodytarum'

      May 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
  14. Reality

    Black Mass, High Mass, Regular Mass, Divine Ritual et al: They are all absurd !!!

    May 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      ... don't forget Dorchester Mass. That place is also absurd... It has a municipal name but it is a Boston zip code! It doesn't even have it's own zip code!

      May 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
      • Doris

        And don't forget the Devi's Triangle. It doesn't have it's own zip code either. Coincidence?? I think not!! lol.

        May 12, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • Alias

          E=MC^2

          May 12, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • observer

          Isn't the zip code for the Devil's Triangle set to 666?

          May 12, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
  15. Concert in an Egg

    Please bow your heads in prayer:

    Dear Lord, thank you for all the sorrow you have brought to us on this day and all the many dark days of the past when you ignored our suffering and did nothing to prevent horrifying atrocities from taking place. Your worthlessness is the key to salvation. Lord, thank you for the hundreds of murders today and all of the many murders yet to come in the days ahead. Your lack of compassion for human life inspires us all to ponder your ineffectiveness. Heavenly Father, we gather in the shadow of your careless disregard for us. Your lack of concern over our lives and injustices against us teaches us well the nature of the one true God. Bless us with your absence and complete lack of effectiveness against evil. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

    May 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
    • noahsdadtopher

      Still sounds like you're pretty angry at God.

      May 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
      • Alias

        No, he just like to whine about the suffering in this world.

        May 12, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          Alias hates that.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      Oh no T, I am just liking to make funny joke.

      May 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
      • noahsdadtopher

        Then you might need to work on your timing. There's nothing funny about this at all.

        May 12, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You're right, there is nothing funny about a man who preaches lies being a hypocrite and calling out a different set of beliefs for their absurdities, especially when his own belief is just as full of them.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          And who would that be?

          May 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          It made me laugh T. It made me laugh.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          Having a sense of humor is required to appreciate a joke; it seems when your lot are born again they leave that quality out. Such dour judgemental ass holes your bunch becomes.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          I thought it was funny.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Oh I don't know Toph...who do you think I was referring to? You can't be that stupid...can you?

          May 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • samsstones

          Truth...
          Topher believes in the christian creation story, the great flood and the tower of babel, so of course he can be and is that stupid.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          sam: Yes, I was just hoping he truly wasn't so stupid that he failed to comprehend what I said but it appears he is.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • sam stone

          "Toph...You can't be that stupid...can you?"

          "Death is unnatural" – Gopher

          Any questions?

          May 12, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        Dear earth, thank you for all the sorrow you have brought to us on this day and all the many dark days of the past when you ignored our suffering and did nothing to prevent horrifying atrocities from taking place. We know we would not have happiness without sorrow and we also know you have neither the power nor the will to intervene.

        Our wordiness is the key to salivation, for the more we talk, the dryer our mouths become. Earth, thank you for the hundreds of murders today and all of the many murders yet to come in the days ahead. We know you had nothing to do with them and they are simply a symptom of the human condition and our own fear of mortality. Your lack of compassion for human life allows us to understand you are truly neutral. Oh Earth, we gather in the shadow of your careful disregard each night as you turn your back on the sun. Your lack of concern over our lives and injustices against us teaches us well the nature of the earth, and that you will keep spinning regardless of what we do. All we ever truly need is for you to stand beneath us. Amen.

        May 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          How can you blame Mother Earth when it is clearly that sumbitch god doing all this stuff??

          May 12, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Just making the point you can't blame something that neither knows of your existence nor has the power to effect any change in the lives of humans. The earth just keeps on spinning regardless. We humans round up a bunch of people and label them heretics and slaughter them, the earth keeps spinning. We drop an atomic bomb on two cities wiping out tens of thousand of humans in an instant and afflicting hundreds of thousand more with fatal radiation, the earth keeps spinning. It doesn't know we are here, and it doesn't care because it is a product of physics and behaves as such.

          In the same vein someone who does not know of or believe in God cannot blame God for anything. This is why when the religious claim atheists "hate god" it is an impossibility and shows how little they really know.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          Still....take it easy on Mom.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          Mother

          She danced

          Each jewel on her gown flying outward

          Perhaps never to return

          Each shiny gem in a cloud of total darkness

          She danced and she sang

          Her gown twirling like a pinwheel faster and faster still

          Soon to become many

          And many to become light

          And that light to become trillions of sparkles

          Still she danced

          And now the swirls were as giants dancing

          And the dancing giants would collide in beautiful confusion

          And the spinning would last forever

          May 12, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
  16. Doris

    Theo:

    "It's the dabbling into forces beyond their ability to understand or be able to manage that just makes it stupid."

    "God is not some encantation"

    "encantation"? lol.

    Theo – if you have cable TV, I hope you realize that when the show Supernatural is on, the evil signals for it make it all the way to your cable box whether you actually tune to it or not. You might want to rub down the cable box with some garlic....

    May 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      No, we don't have cable TV in our home. I refuse to pay for the amount of trash that's on TV these days.

      May 12, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
      • Doris

        Well you know all those evil OTA signals are just in the air if you're close to a major city. To be safe you might just want to rub the entire frame of your house down with fresh blessed garlic.

        May 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          I think you're due back at the lab to have your bolts tightened...

          May 12, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • Doris

          So Theo, what's an "encantation"?

          May 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          I misspelled the word with an "e" instead of an "i." Is THAT what you're mocking? Have you never misspelled a word in your life before? My apologies then, I did not mean to offend you by not first looking up the proper spelling of the word before attempting to make my point.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • Doris

          Theo – it's just that your mentioning of bolts needing tightening made me think of the people who man a ship with a crucial mission – like an ice breaker. Or the people who man a missile defense post for instance. I'm sure for them accuracy is very crucial. I'm sure to be trusted for their jobs, they must prove not that they have a specific type of theistic interpretation, but rather that they can repeatedly demonstrate their training and their ability to communicate consistently with each other.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "repeatedly demonstrate their training and their ability to communicate consistently with each other."
          -------------
          Having spent years working as a professional residential architect in both the Raleigh and Atlanta home markets, and now working in the electrical distribution industry, my experience with professionals in either of these industries shows that there's a LOT of people who can't spell very well. And you know what? It doesn't really matter, and no one really cares.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " It doesn't really matter, and no one really cares."
          Typos are common and easily forgiven. Poor spelling and not caring ? Therein lies the real downfall.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Typos are common and easily forgiven. Poor spelling and not caring ? Therein lies the real downfall."
          ----------------
          Really? Because there's hundreds of houses in and around Raleigh and Atlanta that were built accident free and with happy homeowners who could really care less that I made the occassional spelling error. Or that any of our employees made the occassional spelling error. I can't even believe that we're talking about this. It's not like we were writing technical manuals here – it's building homes. That's not rocket science.

          If you happen to be communicating that "a 4×4 SYP PT Post will bear 2.5 kipps of crushing load before FALURE" people are still going to know what you're talking about.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Theo – I was merely emulating your melodrama from page 1.

          May 12, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
        • cheezfan

          Actually, Theo, plenty of people think that if you don't understand basic grammar, you might not be all that smart. Your consistent use of "there's" when you really mean to say "there're" or "there are" is a perfect example of this.

          May 12, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
      • observer

        It's not surprising that you don't want 24 hour access to news or to get educated by the History Channel, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, National Geographic Channel, etc.

        No wonder you depend on an unchanging 2,000-year-old book with some good morals but other horrible ones like slavery and discriminations and beatings of helpless people.

        May 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • Doris

          test

          May 12, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Doris

          We just started getting the Sm.ithso.nian channel in our area. The first time I tuned to it, I was intri.g.ued and ca.ptiva.ted by a do.c. on the Canadian Coast Gu.a.rd ice breaker ship "Henry Lar.sen".

          May 12, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • Doris

          Good grief, CNN. I'm an old hand at this word filter thing, but I still get hung up on ridiculous things like the ar.se in "Henry Lar.sen". How in the world do you expect to get anything but the same people posting here when it's so difficult to post the simplest things?

          May 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • tallulah131

          It astonishes me that anyone would be so offended by arse that they would filter it. But what really bothers me is that you can't type Constitution because apparently even words with tit in them are offensive. And tits were birds long before they were breasts.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        That explains so much of your ignorance to facts, thank you for showing us exactly what happens when one turns a blind eye to the realities in this world. I would suggest that since you're using a computer where you might inadvertently come across a pop-up showing a woman in a bra or perhaps a bikini, you disconnect that evil machine also.
        Remain ignorant if you wish, the rest of us will work to save your sorry ass.

        May 12, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
      • Apollo to Zeus

        There is far more trash on the internet, and yet; here you are.

        May 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          The internet is EASY to filter. TV? Not so much.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Do you have children Theo?

          May 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • observer

          Yes, TV is easy to filter when your range of interests are covered by only 3 or 4 network channels.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Nope. The only pitter-patter of little feet around our house usually comes from the chickens.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Thank you for not breeding Theo...we wouldn't want innocent minds polluted by you.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
      • kudlak

        Theo Phileo
        "I refuse to pay for the amount of trash that's on TV these days."

        Come on, The Bible wasn't that bad a series.

        May 12, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
    • bchev

      Lets's leave Supernatural out of this. That show used to be awesome; and if you point out that it has just as much chance of being true as any particular branch of any given religion, then people are going to start saying bad things about it, adn it doesn't deserve that.

      May 12, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
      • Doris

        True enough. I haven't seen it in a while, but I remember it having a great script and they used good songs in it frequently.

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

        Buffy the Vampire Slayer was my favourite quasi-religious sic-fi series.

        May 12, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
  17. bostontola

    2,000 years ago many people thought that disease was the work of the devil. That probably explains why Jesus stories have curing disease as a compelling plot line. Not only does Jesus help people, he battles against Satan.

    Nowadays, we know what disease is. We have medical science that battles disease. It wasn't and isn't Satan making disease, it is microorganisms trying to make a living, or DNA gone astray by chemical/physical means. It can be reversed in many cases.

    Not long ago, people thought mental disease was the work of Satan. They thought there were witches controlled by Satan. There is nothing left that Satan does. It was all hogwash.

    May 12, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
    • workingcopy12

      but jesus never equated disease with the devil...he treated the sick because their bodies failed them, not because the devil did it.

      May 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
      • bostontola

        Perhaps, but not the point. The point is, many people thought that. All of the deeds attributed to Satan, have been explained. There is and was no Satan.

        May 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
  18. tallulah131

    There is something truly sad about adults in this age hiding under their bed from the bogeyman. It's sad that they make an issue about communion wafers when you can get a box of 1000 of them on eBay for $16.99 (free shipping). It's sad that they use respect for diversity as an excuse to condemn a group that chooses to do something different for the sake of education.

    But mostly it's sad that some adults in this age still believe that there is a devil out there, waiting to steal their souls. For them, it's like the last 2000 years never happened.

    May 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
  19. Salero21

    Just one more piece of Evidence of the Absolute, Complete and Total NONSENSE [stupidity] of Idolatry/atheism/evolutionism/cultism/paganism and now satanism. Which for any practical purposes they're all one and the same.

    May 12, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
    • tallulah131

      blah blah blah blah trollcakes.

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

      Daniel....I know you are monitoring these posts. Salero21 contributes absolutely nothing of any value and continues to throw nonsensical ramblings out. I implore you....please ban this person. Thanks in advance from all the intelligent members of this blog.

      May 12, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        I concur. Sadly I think sally will find a way around it though.

        May 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
  20. Science Works

    Hey Theo – Vic – finisher

    You gave it your best it looks like – but the Comedy Gold award has nto go to the Pope !

    ‘Modern’ Pope Francis turns to old-school exorcism to fight the scourge of secularism
    By Sophia Deboick, The Guardian
    Monday, May 12, 2014 10:33 EDT

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/05/12/modern-pope-francis-turns-to-old-school-exorcism-to-fight-the-scourge-of-secularism/

    May 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      It provides humor to those who have no understanding of the supernatural. But if the papists would but read the Bible, then they would know that the power to remove demons exists only in Christ, and then He gave the apostles a portion of that power that they may prove to be true apostles.

      The word "exorcist" is used only once in scripture (Acts 19:13-16), and then it describes men who, like the papists, had no understanding of the teachings on this matter. Matthew 17:19-21 tells us that demons are removed only by prayer and fasting. In other words – by the person being saved.

      In the case of society as a whole, if people try to "save the planet" then they are doing nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the T.itanic, but it is possible to get some to come on the lifeboat with you, and that is only done through the preaching of the word, and the working of the Holy Spirit. NOT through the performance of some so-called religious rite.

      God is not some encantation, and He will not hold those unpunished who use His name as such.

      May 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
      • bostontola

        Why does your God feel impelled to punish a weak human for not worshiping him, or even mocking him? Is a human a threat to your God?

        May 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Why does God punish humans for not worshiping him, or even mocking him?"
          ---------------------–
          No, we're not a threat to God...

          God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13). God requires holiness out of us as well (1 Peter 1:16). God's holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: "The soul who sins will die" (Ezekiel 18:4).

          That's hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, as.suming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires, and all sins are worthy of punishment.

          May 12, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • bostontola

          Theo,
          Then why does your God feel impelled to punish a weak human?

          May 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Because that "weak human" willingly rebels against the God who created him. Even secular governments crush rebellions and punish those who willingly partake of them. The difference is that a rebellion against men are finite in nature and can be atoned for, even if it is paid for by their life, for how can a man be held guilty of harming another man after he is dead? But an offense against infinite God is an infinite offense that the man himself can never atone for. That atonement requires a miracle of God alone.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • bostontola

          Theo,
          I see it differently.
          1. The US Govt does not punish people for speaking out against it, for saying the pledge of allegiance, etc.
          2. An all powerful God wouldn't use that power to punish. That would be treating it's creation like we treat children. You can't claim humans have free will, then punish them for using it. That's not free will, that is forced compliance under duress.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "That's not free will, that is forced compliance under duress."
          --------------–
          God has never taken an innocent man, instilled an evil desire into his heart and made him evil. As I have stated before as an example, in the case of Judas, the betrayer of Christ, he "was a devil" at the time when Jesus chose him as one of the twelve. God may ordain that a particular act take place, say, the crucifixion of Christ, but He then chooses a wicked man who would perform that particular deed out of a desire in his own heart to perform the deed for his own devices.

          I'm sorry, but God does not force anyone to do anything.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Theo – "I'm sorry, but god does not force anybody to do anything".

          That's because he is not real.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • bostontola

          Theo,
          Even us frail, imperfect humans recognize that a contract is voided if it is signed under duress. An omniscient God must recognize the same. Threatening eternal punishment is the highest duress imaginable. Under such duress, no free will is possible.

          The Christian notion of a loving God, asking humans to love it or face eternal punishment, is not consistent. Either maost Christians are misinterpreting hell, or their God is not loving but is sadistic.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • redzoa

          "I'm sorry, but God does not force anyone to do anything."

          2 Chronicle 18:22 – "Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee."

          Seems the Lord made people lie to serve a purpose.

          May 12, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          redzoa,
          Back up a few verses to verse 12 to see the interpretation. This is a demonstration of how God does NOT make one evil. Rather, God ordains what shall come to pass, and then chooses the one who will do the deed according to their own will and devices. Thanks for making my point. That was beautiful!

          May 12, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • Madtown

          This is a demonstration of how God does NOT make one evil
          ------
          Sorry, biblical scripture does not describe how God acts. The human authors of this scripture were guessing, just like every other human.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • bostontola

          Theo: "God ordains what shall come to pass, and then chooses the one who will do the deed according to their own will and devices. "

          How is that free will if God chooses?

          May 12, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          How is that free will if God chooses?
          ---------------–
          “By the term: ‘Free Will,’ we men that man’s will is not coerced. Man is not forced by some external force greater than himself to do something he does not want to do. Man is free to do what he wants to do within the limits of his ability… The Bible consistently teaches that 1) that man is free to do good or evil, that he is at liberty to do either, but 2) that he is able to do only evil because of his fallen condition. (Deuteronomy 30:19, John 6:44)”

          Westminster Confession of Faith

          In the example given, that in 2 Chronicles 18:18-22, God ordained that the wicked king Ahab should die. He then asked of all in the heavenly court "Who will entice Ahab king of Israel to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?" And there was a wicked spirit who came up and said that he would be a lying spirit in the mouths of his prophets. Did God make that spirit evil? Did God make him go down and do wicked things? No, God didn't make him do any of that, but through his wicked deeds, God's sovereign will was accomplished – the death of the wicked.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • bostontola

          If God chooses you to act, it doesn't get more coercive does it?

          Also, threat of eternal punishment is coercion, isn't it?

          May 12, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "If God chooses you to act, it doesn't get more coercive does it?"
          ---------–
          Did you not read the passage at all? God doesn't coerce anyone – angel or man.

          "Also, threat of eternal punishment is coercion, isn't it?"
          ------------
          Does secular law coerce you to stay within the law by punishing the breaking of the law? Maybe to some. But to others, they stay within the law because they WANT to do what is right.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "In the case of society as a whole, if people try to "save the planet" then they are doing nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the T.itanic"

          This is the largest problem I have with most Christians. One of their primary tenets of belief is that humanity, society as a whole, is already condemned to die by their Gods hand and thus they feel no responsibility to invest in current solutions. They have no reason to be responsible inhabitants of this planet since they think they already have their plane tickets to heaven in hand. It makes me sick to see and I feel sorry for the fools standing in line to get off this amazing and beautiful planet for the promise of some cloudy existence in another dimension. They are as crazy as those heavens gate fools, but at least the heavens gate people didn't try staying around using their vote while they are here to add more pipelines and promote tar sand excavation and vote against legislation intended to slow adverse climate change.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • bostontola

          Theo,
          You avoided the question by citing a passage. If an omnipotent God chooses you act, you have no choice, that is the ultimate coercion.

          Secular law/punishment does coerce us. We agree to live by the law or face the consequences. Most agree with this. I'm not saying laws and punishment are bad, I'm saying God does it in a way that is inconsistent with free will.

          May 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • G to the T

          "God has never taken an innocent man, instilled an evil desire into his heart and made him evil."

          Perhaps, but he surely did harden the heart of the Pharoah and at least hundreds died as a result. Where was the king's free will there?

          May 12, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • redzoa

          "Rather, God ordains what shall come to pass, and then chooses the one who will do the deed according to their own will and devices. Thanks for making my point. That was beautiful!"

          I'm not sure how God decreeing that a lying spirit cause Ahab's prophet's to falsely predict his survival supports an exercise of the prophets' own free will, nor does it bode well for the problem of divine deception. The text doesn't say "suggest" or "recommend" that the prophets lie; rather the lie was directly "placed" in their mouths by Jehovah via the command to the lying spirit.

          May 12, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • sam stone

          "No, we're not a threat to God..."

          Yet he punishes people for rejecting him

          Yet more evidence that the god of the bible is a vindictive, petty pr1ck

          Thanks for the heads up, corn pone

          May 12, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
      • samsstones

        Philioidiotism the condition that allows a person to reject knowledge that does not agree with that persons a priori beliefs. (also known as Topherism).

        May 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          I thought that was called Darwinism...

          May 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • samsstones

          Theo
          Blindly ignorant out or reaf.
          Blindly ignorant out of sheer arrogance.
          Blindly declare that you are right and all others are wrong by default even though you have no evidence or proof to back up your a$$ertions.
          You and Topher fit all three, but the second one is your strong suit, Theo the Great, LOL.

          May 12, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • samsstones

          out of fear, did a D goD there.

          May 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Theo, If you mean evolution – that is supported by a vast quantity of evidence; whereas there is none to support the biblical account of the origin of species.

          May 12, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        "If the papists would but read the Bible" ...
        Really ? Seriously ? just proof you actually have not the first clue about how the world actually works.
        They read the Bible. They have departments of Biblical Studies. They just don't agree with your fundie take on it and you think your ignorant interpretation is better than those in Catholic schools with PhD's in Biblical Studies.
        You really do live in mommy's basement don't you ?

        May 13, 2014 at 7:42 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.