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7 reasons Catholics leave church (in Trenton, #1 is sex abuse crisis)
One in 10 Americans is a former Catholic.
March 30th, 2012
01:52 PM ET

7 reasons Catholics leave church (in Trenton, #1 is sex abuse crisis)

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Even though Roman Catholics are the second-largest religious group in the United States, the tradition has seen an exodus of members in recent decades. One in ten Americans is an ex-Catholic.

If ex-Catholics were counted as their own religious group, they would be the third-largest denomination in the United States, after Catholics and Baptists, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

If it weren’t for the infusion of Catholic immigrants, especially from Latin American, the American Catholic Church would be shrinking pretty fast.

A recent study by two college professor tries to get at a simple question: Why are they leaving?

Conducted William J. Byron, a professor of business at St. Joseph’s University and Charles Zech, founder of the Center for the Study of Church Management of Villanova’s School of Business, the anecdotal study conducted in late fall of 2011 processes the opinions of 300 non-churchgoing Catholics in Trenton, New Jersey.

The scholars, working at the request of Trenton’s Catholic bishop, asked parishioners who have drifted away not just why the left, but what church teachings they disagree with and whether they ever truly considered themselves part of the Catholic community.

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Though the study paints a picture of a church with some characteristics that rub people the wrong way, the researchers – both at Catholic schools in Pennsylvania – argue that the study presents new ways in which church leadership can reconcile with ex-Catholics.

"We need a more pastoral approach to people," Zech says. "There are two types of issues that appear. One revolves around church beliefs and frankly those won’t change. But we have to do a better job explaining some of the issue that the church might not change and why that is."

The report is based on one particular diocese, but its authors say it gives a good picture of challenges facing the broader church. "I think the same seven items would show up for the most part," in other areas of the country, Zech says.

The 7 biggest reasons Catholics from Trenton are leaving the church, according to the study:

1. The sex abuse crisis

Byron and Zech asked ex-Catholics to cite their main reason for leaving: “If you could communicate directly with the bishop, what would you say?”

The most common answer: the church’s inadequate response to clergy sex abuse. “The bishop’s refusal to list pedophile priests on the diocesan Web site and his non-support of the effort to lift the statute of limitations for bringing sexual abuses cases forward in the courts” did it for me, one man said, according to the report.

Several respondents said they had been victims of sexual abuse by church leadership.

2. The church’s stance on homosexuality

The second most cited reason for leaving the church was that former worshipers felt homosexuals were unwelcome in the church.

As recently as March 9, Pope Benedict XVI denounced what he categorized as the “powerful” gay marriage lobby in the United States. In the same speech he noted these views would be seen as “countercultural” to young people, but told bishops to not back down to “powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage."

When those surveyed were asked if there were any religious beliefs in the Catholic Church that troubled them, a number cited views on same-sex marriage. “The church’s view on gays, same-sex marriage, women as priests and priests not marrying, to name a few,” said one respondent, explaining her departure from the church.

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“Hypocrisy,” said one person. “History of discrimination against women, anti-gay stance, unwelcoming attitude.”

William D’Antonio of the Catholic University of America recently published a study called “Catholics in America: Persistence and change in the Catholic landscape.” found that even though the church and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has come out against homosexual relationships, only 35% of Catholics surveyed said the church’s opinion on homosexuality is “very important.”

The same survey found that 86% of respondents believe a Catholic “can disagree with aspects of church teachings and still remain loyal to the church."

3. Dissatisfaction with the priest

About half of those surveyed in the Trenton report were not supportive of the pastor they had left behind.

According to Byron and Zech, words like “arrogant,” “distant,” “aloof” and “insensitive” were all used by respondents to describe their priest.

4. Uninspiring homilies on Sundays

A number of people responded that homilies, weekly Sunday messages from the priest, did not relate or “speak to” them.

“I stopped going regularly because the homilies were so empty,” one respondent said. “And whenever the church wanted to raise money, they dropped the homily and talked money.”

“I would advise the bishop to make training in public speaking mandatory for every priest,” said another. “They should also be trained in how to relate their homilies to the people and inspire them.”

“As much as I wanted to get involved and expand my faith, there were no clear avenues to do that,” replied one person. “So it was just a place to attend Mass. And because attending Mass was a guilt-ridden obligation, I was always alone in a crowd where I knew no one and no one knew me.”

5. Perception that church hierarchy is too closely tied to conservative politics

Politics was a mixed bag, according to the survey.

Though some people wanted the church to become more conservative – “change the liberal-progressive political slant to a more conservative,” said one person – others responded differently.

“Eliminate the extreme conservative haranguing,” said one person. Another respondent said politics and the church shouldn’t mix: “I feel the church should stay out of politics; it should certainly not threaten politicians.”

6. Church’s stance toward divorced and remarried Catholics

Catholicism’s stance on divorce and remarriage were also highlighted, especially by divorced females.

The churches stance on divorce is closely tied to their stance on adultery. Without getting a marriage annulled, any marriage after a divorce is considered adulterous. Therefore, divorced people who have not had their marriage annulled or remarried are not able to receive Holy Communion.

“Please find a way not to exclude me from the Catholic community,” said one 56-year old divorced female. A 59-year old divorced female said she would tell her bishop to “petition the church to expand its view on divorce.”

In November of last year, Pope Benedict XVI responded to a German bishop who questioned the Church’s teaching on divorce and remarriage. “A pastoral approach which truly wants to help the people concerned must always be grounded in the truth… in the end, only the truth can be pastoral,” the Pope wrote, signaling a reluctance to change church teachings on divorce and remarriage policy.

“Instead of making every Mass a form of humiliation for Catholics who cannot receive communion,” one respondent to the Trenton survey said, “do something like a private blessing at communion time, to include everyone.”

7. The status of women

With the political debate over religious conscience and contraceptive coverage, women’s rights and the church have come to the forefront of debate in American politics. According to the Trenton study, a number of people who have left the church cite a “history of discrimination against women,” as one reason for leaving.

Respondents also took issue with the fact that while other churches allow women to become ordained priests, the Catholic Church does not.

“If the Catholic Church does not change its archaic views on women, it is going to become a religion that survives on the fringe of an open-minded, progressive society,” one person who was surveyed said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sex abuse

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  1. Федор Михайлович Достоевский
    Я человек больной... Я злой человек. Непривлекательный я человек. Я думаю, что у меня болит печень. Впрочем, я ни шиша не смыслю в моей болезни и не знаю наверно, что у меня болит. Я не лечусь и никогда не лечился, хотя медицину и докторов уважаю. К тому же я еще и суеверен до крайности; ну, хоть настолько, чтоб уважать медицину. (Я достаточно образован, чтоб не быть суеверным, но я суеверен.) Нет-с, я не хочу лечиться со злости. Вот этого, наверно, не изволите понимать. Ну-с, а я понимаю. Я, разумеется, не сумею вам объяснить, кому именно я насолю в этом случае моей злостью; я отлично хорошо знаю, что и докторам я никак не смогу "нагадить" тем, что у них не лечусь; я лучше всякого знаю, что всем этим я единственно только себе поврежу и никому больше. Но все-таки, если я не лечусь, так это со злости. Печенка болит, так вот пускай же ее еще крепче болит! Я уже давно так живу – лет двадцать. Теперь мне сорок. Я прежде служил, а теперь не служу. Я был злой чиновник. Я был груб и находил в этом удовольствие. Ведь я взяток не брал, стало быть, должен же был себя хоть этим вознаградить. (Плохая острота; но я ее не вычеркну. И ее написал, думая, что выйдет очень остро; а теперь, как увидел сам, что хотел только гнусно пофорсить, – нарочно не вычеркну!) Когда к столу, у которого я сидел, подходили, бывало, просители за справками, – я зубами на них скрежетал и чувствовал неумолимое наслаждение, когда удавалось кого-нибудь огорчить. Почти всегда удавалось. Большею частию все был народ робкий: известно-просители. Но из фертов я особенно терпеть не мог одного офицера. Он никак не хотел покориться и омерзительно гремел саблей. У меня с ним полтора года за эту саблю война была. Я наконец одолел. Он перестал греметь. Впрочем, это случилось еще в моей молодости. Но знаете ли, господа, в чем состоял главный пункт моей злости? Да в том-то и состояла вся штука, в том-то и заключалась наибольшая гадость, что я поминутно, даже в минуту самой сильнейшей желчи, постыдно сознавал в себе, что я не только не злой, но даже и не озлобленный человек, что я только воробьев пугаю напрасно и себя этим тешу. У меня пена у рта, а принесите мне какую-нибудь куколку, дайте мне чайку с сахарцем, я, пожалуй, и успокоюсь. Даже душой умилюсь, хоть уж, наверно, потом буду cам на себя скрежетать зубами и от стыда несколько месяцев страдать бессонницей. Таков уж мой обычай. Это я наврал про себя давеча, что я был злой чиновник. Со злости наврал. Я просто баловством занимался и с просителями и с офицером, а в сущности никогда не мог сделаться злым. Я поминутно сознавал в себе много-премного самых противоположных тому элементов. Я чувствовал, что они так и кишат во мне, эти противоположные элементы. Я ахал, что они всю жизнь во мне кишели и из меня вон наружу просились, но я их не пускал, не пускал, нарочно не пускал наружу. Они мучили меня до стыда; до конвульсий меня доводили и – надоели мне наконец, как надоели! Уж не кажется ли вам, господа, что я теперь в чем-то перед вами раскаиваюсь, что я в чем-то у вас прощенья прошу?.. Я уверен, что вам это кажется... А впрочем, уверяю вас, что мне все равно, если и кажется... Я не только злым, но даже и ничем не сумел сделаться:ни злым, ни добрым, ни подлецом. ни честным, ни героем, ни насекомым. Теперь же доживаю в своем углу, дразня себя злобным и ни к чему не служащим утешением, что умный человек и не может серьезно чем-нибудь сделаться, а делается чем-нибудь только дурак. Да-с, умный человек девятнадцатого столетия должен и нравственно обязан быть существом по преимуществу бесхарактерным; человек же с характером, деятель, – существом по преимуществу ограниченным. 3то сорокалетнее мое убеждение. Мне теперь сорок лет, а ведь сорок лет – это вся жизнь; ведь это самая глубокая старость. Дальше сорока лет жить неприлично, пошло, безнравственно! Кто живет дольше сорока лет, – отвечайте искренно, честно? Я вам скажу, кто живет: дураки и негодяи живут. Я всем старцам это в глаза скажу, всем этим почтенным старцам, всем этим сребровласым и благоухающим старцам! Всему свету в глаза скажу! Я имею право так говорить, потому что сам до шестидесяти лет доживу. До семидесяти лет проживу! До восьмидесяти лет проживу!.. Постойте! Дайте дух перевести... Наверно, вы думаете, господа, что я вас смешить хочу? Ошиблись и в этом. Я вовсе не такой развеселый человек, как вам кажется или как вам, может быть, кажется; впрочем, если вы, раздраженные всей этой болтовней (а я уже чувствую, что вы раздражены), вздумаете спросить меня: кто ж я таков именно? – то я вам отвечу: я один коллежский асессор. Я служил, чтоб было что-нибудь есть (но единственно для этого), и когда прошлого года один из отдаленных моих родственников оставил мне шесть тысяч рублей по духовному завещанию, я тотчас же вышел в отставку и поселился у себя в углу. Я и прежде жил в этом углу, но теперь я поселился в этом углу. Комната моя дрянная, скверная, на краю города. Служанка моя – деревенская баба, старая, злая от глупости, и от нее к тому же всегда скверно пахнет. Мне говорят, что климат петербургский мне становится вреден и что с моими ничтожными средствами очень дорого в Петербурге жить. Я все это знаю, лучше всех этих опытных и премудрых советчиков и покивателей знаю. Но я остаюсь в Петербурге; я не выеду из Петербурга! Я потому не выеду... Эх! да ведь это совершенно все равно – выеду я иль не выеду. А впрочем: о чем может говорить порядочный человек с наибольшим удовольствием? Ответ: о себе. Ну так и я буду говорить о себе. II Мне теперь хочется рассказать вам, господа, желается иль не желается вам это слышать, почему я даже и насекомым не сумел сделаться. Скажу вам торжественно, что я много раз хотел сделаться насекомым. Но даже и этого не удостоился. Клянусь вам, господа, что слишком сознавать – это болезнь, настоящая, полная болезнь. Для человеческого обихода слишком было бы достаточно обыкновенного человеческого сознания, то есть в половину, в четверть меньше той порции, которая достается на долю развитого человека нашего несчастного девятнадцатого столетия и, сверх того, имеющего сугубое несчастье обитать в Петербурге, самом отвлеченном и умышленном городе на всем земном шаре. (Города бывают умышленные и неумышленные.) Совершенно было бы довольно, например, такого сознания, которым живут все так называемые непосредственные люди и деятели. Бьюсь об заклад, вы думаете, что я пишу все это из форсу, чтоб поострить насчет деятелей, да еще из форсу дурного тона гремлю саблей, как мой офицер. Но, господа, кто же может своими же болезнями тщеславиться, да еще ими форсить? Впрочем, что ж я? – все это делают; болезнями-то и тщеславятся, а я, пожалуй, и больше всех. Не будем спорить; мое возражение нелепо. Но все-таки я крепко убежден, что не только очень много сознания, но даже и всякое сознание болезнь. Я стою на том. Оставим и это на минуту. Скажите мне вот что: отчего так бывало, что, как нарочно, в те самые, да, в те же самые минуты, в которые я наиболее способен был сознавать все тонкости "всего прекрасного и высокого", как говорили у нас когда-то, мне случалось уже не сознавать, а делать такие неприглядные деянья, такие, которые... ну да, одним словом, которые хоть и все, пожалуй, делают, но которые, как нарочно, приходились у меня именно тогда, когда я наиболее сознавал, что их совсем бы не надо делать? Чем больше я сознавал о добре и о всем этом "прекрасном и высоком", тем глубже я и опускался в мою тину и тем способнее был совершенно завязнуть в ней. Но главная черта была в том, что все это как будто не случайно во мне было, а как будто ему и следовало так быть. Как будто это было мое самое нормальное состояние, а отнюдь не болезнь и не порча, так что, наконец, у меня и охота прошла бороться с этой порчей. Кончилось тем, что я чуть не поверил (а может, и в самом деле поверил), что это, пожалуй, и есть нормальное мое состояние. А сперва-то, вначале-то, сколько я муки вытерпел в этой борьбе! Я не верил, чтоб так бывало с другими, и потому всю жизнь таил это про себя как секрет. Я стыдился (даже, может быть, и теперь стыжусь); до того доходил, что ощущал какое-то тайное, ненормальное, подленькое наслажденьице возвращаться, бывало, в иную гадчайшую петербургскую ночь к себе в угол и усиленно сознавать, что вот и сегодня сделал опять гадость, что сделанного опять-таки никак не воротишь, и внутренно, тайно, грызть, грызть себя за это зубами, пилить и сосать себя до того, что горечь обращалась наконец в какую-то позорную, проклятую сладость и наконец – в решительное, серьезное наслаждение! Да, в наслаждение, в наслаждение! Я стою на том. Я потому и заговорил, что мне все хочется наверно узнать: бывают ли у других такие наслаждения? Я вам объясню: наслаждение было тут именно от слишком яркого сознания своего унижения; оттого, что уж сам чувствуешь, что до последней стены дошел; что и скверно это, но что и нельзя тому иначе быть; что уж нет тебе выхода, что уж никогда не сделаешься другим человеком; что если б даже и оставалось еще время и вера, чтоб переделаться во что-нибудь другое, то, наверно, сам бы не захотел переделываться; а захотел бы, так и тут бы ничего не сделал, потому что на самом-то деле и переделываться-то, может быть, не во что. А главное и конец концов, что все это происходит по нормальным и основным законам усиленного сознания и по инерции, прямо вытекающей из этих законов, а следственно, тут не только не переделаешься, да и просто ничего не поделаешь. Выходит, например, вследствие усиленного сознания: прав, что подлец, как будто это подлецу утешение, коль он уже сам ощущает, что он действительно подлец. Но довольно... 3х, нагородил-то, а что объяснил?.. Чем объясняется тут наслаждение? Но я объяснюсь! Я-таки доведу до конца! Я и перо затем в руки взял... Я, например, ужасно самолюбив. Я мнителен и обидчив, как горбун или карлик, но, право, бывали со мною такие минуты, что если б случилось, что мне бы дали пощечину, то, может быть, я был бы даже и этому рад. Говорю серьезно: наверно, я бы сумел отыскать и тут своего рода наслаждение, разумеется, наслаждение отчаяния, но в отчаянии-то и бывают самые жгучие наслаждения, особенно когда уж очень сильно сознаешь безвыходность своего положения. А тут при пощечине-то – да тут так и придавит сознание о том, в какую мазь тебя растерли. Главное же, как ни раскидывай, а все-таки выходит, что всегда я первый во всем виноват выхожу и, что всего обиднее, без вины виноват и, так сказать, по законам природы. Потому, во-первых, виноват, что я умнее всех, которые меня окружают. (Я постоянно считал себя умнее всех, которые меня окружают, и иногда, поверите ли, даже этого совестился. По крайней мере, я всю жизнь смотрел как-то в сторону и никогда не мог смотреть людям прямо в глаза.) Потому, наконец, виноват, что если б и было во мне великодушие, то было бы только мне же муки больше от сознания всей его бесполезности. Я ведь, наверно, ничего бы не сумел сделать из моего великодушия: ни простить, потому что обидчик, может, ударил меня по законам природы, а законов природы нельзя прощать; ни забыть, потому что хоть и законы природы, а все-таки обидно. Наконец, если б даже я захотел быть вовсе невеликодушным, а напротив, пожелал бы отмстить обидчику, то я и отмстить ни в чем никому бы не мог, потому что, наверно, не решился бы что-нибудь сделать, если б даже и мог. Отчего не решился бы? Об этом мне хочется сказать два слова особо. III Ведь у людей, умеющих за себя отомстить и вообще за себя постоять, – как это, например, делается? Ведь их как обхватит, положим, чувство мести, так уж ничего больше во всем их существе на это время и не останется, кроме этого чувства. Такой господин так и прет прямо к цели, как взбесившийся бык, наклонив вниз рога, и только разве стена его останавливает. (Кстати: перед стеной такие господа, то есть непосредственные люди и деятели, искренно пасуют. Для них стена – не отвод, как например для нас, людей думающих, а следственно, ничего не делающих; не предлог воротиться с дороги, предлог, в который наш брат обыкновенно и сам не верит, но которому всегда очень рад. Нет, они пасуют со всею искренностью. Стена имеет для них что-то успокоительное, нравственно-разрешающее и окончательное, пожалуй, даже что-то мистическое... Но об стене после. )Ну-с, такого-то вот непосредственного человека я и считаю настоящим, нормальным человеком, каким хотела его видеть сама нежная мать – природа, любезно зарождая его на земле. Я такому человеку до крайней желчи завидую. Он глуп, я в этом с вами не спорю, но, может быть, нормальный человек и должен быть глуп, почему вы знаете? Может быть, это даже очень красиво. И я тем более убежден в злом, так сказать, подозрении, что если, например, взять антитез нормального человека, то есть человека усиленно сознающего, вышедшего, конечно, не из лона природы, а из реторты (это уже почти мистицизм, господа, но я подозреваю и это), то этот ретортный человек до того иногда пасует перед своим антитезом, что сам себя, со всем своим усиленным сознанием, добросовестно считает за мышь, а не за человека. Пусть это и усиленно сознающая мышь, но все-таки мышь, а тут человек, а следственно..., и проч. И, главное, он сам, сам ведь считает себя за мышь; его об этом никто не просит; а это важный пункт. Взглянем же теперь на эту мышь в действии. Положим, например, она тоже обижена (а она почти всегда бывает обижена) и тоже желает отомстить. Злости-то в ней, может, еще и больше накопится, чем в l'homme de la nature et de la verite. Гадкое, низкое желаньице воздать обидчику тем же злом, может, еще и гаже скребется в ней, чем в l'homme de la nature et de la verite, потому что l'homme de la nature et de la verite, по своей врожденной глупости, считает свое мщенье просто-запросто справедливостью; а мышь, вследствие усиленного сознания, отрицает тут справедливость. Доходит наконец до самого дела, до самого акта отмщения. Несчастная мышь кроме одной первоначальной гадости успела уже нагородить кругом себя, в виде вопросов и сомнений, столько других гадостей; к одному вопросу подвела столько неразрешенных вопросов, что поневоле кругом нее набирается какая-то роковая бурда, какая-то вонючая грязь, состоящая из ее сомнений, волнений и, наконец, из плевков, сыплющихся на нее от непосредственных деятелей, предстоящих торжественно кругом в виде судей и диктаторов и хохочущих над нею во всю здоровую глотку. Разумеется, ей остается махнуть на все своей лапкой и с улыбкой напускного презренья, которому и сама она не верит, постыдно проскользнуть в свою щелочку. Там, в своем мерзком, вонючем подполье, наша обиженная, прибитая и осмеянная мышь немедленно погружается в холодную, ядовитую и, главное, вековечную злость. Сорок лет сряду будет припоминать до последних, самых постыдных подробностей свою обиду и при этом каждый раз прибавлять от себя подробности еще постыднейшие, злобно поддразнивая и раздражая себя собственной фантазией. Сама будет стыдиться своей фантазии, но все-таки все припомнит, все переберет, навыдумает на себя небывальщины, под предлогом, что она тоже могла случиться, и ничего не простит. Пожалуй, и мстить начнет, но как-нибудь урывками, мелочами, из-за печки, инкогнито, не веря ни своему праву мстить, ни успеху своего мщения и зная наперед, что от всех своих попыток отомстить сама выстрадает во сто раз больше того, кому мстит, а тот, пожалуй, и не почешется. На смертном одре опять-таки все припомнит, с накопившимися за все время процентами и... Но именно вот в этом холодном, омерзительном полуотчаянии, полувере, в этом сознательном погребении самого себя заживо с горя, в подполье на сорок лет, в этой усиленно созданной и все-таки отчасти сомнительной безвыходности своего положения, во всем этом яде неудовлетворенных желаний, вошедших внутрь, во всей этой лихорадке колебаний, принятых навеки решений и через минуту опять наступающих раскаяний – и заключается сок того странного наслаждения, о котором я говорил. Оно до того тонкое, до того иногда не поддающееся сознанью, что чуть-чуть ограниченные люди или даже просто люди с крепкими нервами не поймут в нем ни единой черты. "Может, еще и те не поймут, – прибавите вы от себя, осклабляясь, – которые никогда не получали пощечин", – и таким образом вежливо намекнете мне, что я в мою жизнь, может быть, тоже испытал пощечину, а потому и говорю как знаток. Бьюсь об заклад, что вы это думаете. Но успокойтесь, господа, я не получал пощечин, хотя мне совершенно все равно, как бы вы об этом ни думали. Я, может быть, еще сам-то жалею, что в мою жизнь мало роздал пощечин. Но довольно, ни слова больше об этой чрезвычайно для вас интересной теме. Продолжаю спокойно о людях с крепкими нервами, не понимающих известной утонченности наслаждений. Эти господа при иных казусах, например, хотя и ревут, как быки, во все горло, хоть это, положим, и приносит им величайшую честь, но, как уже сказал я, перед невозможностью они тотчас смиряются. Невозможность – значит каменная стена? Какая каменная стена? Ну, разумеется, законы природы, выводы естественных наук, математика. Уж как докажут тебе, например, что от обезьяны произошел, так уж и нечего морщиться, принимай как есть. Уж как докажут тебе, что, в сущности, одна капелька твоего собственного жиру тебе должна быть дороже ста тысяч тебе подобных и что в этом результате разрешатся под конец все так называемые добродетели и обязанности и прочие бредни и предрассудки, так уж так и принимай, нечего делать-то, потому дважды два – математика. Попробуйте возразить. "Помилуйте, – закричат вам, – восставать нельзя: это дважды два четыре! Природа вас не спрашивается; ей дела нет до ваших желаний и до того, нравятся ль вам ее законы или не нравятся. Вы обязаны принимать ее так, как она есть, а следственно, и все ее результаты. Стена, значит, и есть стена... и т. д., и т. д.". Господи боже, да какое мне дело до законов природы и арифметики, когда мне почему-нибудь эти законы и дважды два четыре не нравятся? Разумеется, я не пробью такой стены лбом, если и в самом деле сил не будет пробить, но я и не примирюсь с ней потому только, что у меня каменная стена и у меня сил не хватило. Как будто такая каменная стена и вправду есть успокоение и вправду заключает в себе хоть какое-нибудь слово на мир, единственно только потому, что она дважды два четыре. О нелепость нелепостей! То ли дело все понимать, все сознавать, все невозможности и каменные стены; не примиряться ни с одной из этих невозможностей и каменных стен, если вам мерзит примиряться; дойти путем самых неизбежных логических комбинаций до самых отвратительных заключений на вечную тему о том, что даже и в каменной-то стене как будто чем-то сам виноват, хотя опять-таки до ясности очевидно, что вовсе не виноват, и вследствие этого, молча и бессильно скрежеща зубами, сладострастно замереть в инерции, мечтая о том, что даже и злиться, выходит, тебе не на кого; что предмета не находится, а может быть, и никогда не найдется, что тут подмен, подтасовка, шулерство, что тут просто бурда, – неизвестно что и неизвестно кто, но, несмотря на все эти неизвестности и подтасовки, у вас все-таки болит, и чем больше вам неизвестно, тем больше болит! IV – Ха-ха-ха! да вы после этого и в зубной боли отыщете наслаждение! – вскрикнете вы со смехом. – А что ж? и в зубной боли есть наслаждение, – отвечу я. – У меня целый месяц болели зубы; я знаю, что есть. Тут, конечно, не молча злятся, а стонут; но это стоны не откровенные, это стоны с ехидством, а в ехидстве-то и вся штука. В этих-то стонах и выражается наслаждение страдающего; не ощущал бы он в них наслаждения – он бы и стонать не стал. 3то хороший пример, господа, и я его разовью. В этих стонах выражается, во-первых, вся для нашего сознания унизительная бесцельность вашей боли; вся законность природы, на которую вам, разумеется, наплевать, но от которой вы все-таки страдаете, а она-то нет. Выражается сознание, что врага у вас не находится, а что боль есть; сознание, что вы, со всевозможными Вагенгеймами, вполне в рабстве у ваших зубов; что захочет кто-то, и перестанут болеть ваши зубы, а не захочет, так и еще три месяца проболят; и что, наконец, если вы все еще несогласны и все-таки протестуете, то вам остается для собственного утешения только самого себя высечь или прибить побольнее кулаком вашу стену, а более решительно ничего. Ну-с, вот от этих-то кровавых обид, вот от этих-то насмешек, неизвестно чьих, и начинается наконец наслаждение, доходящее иногда до высшего сладострастия. Я вас прошу, господа, прислушайтесь когда-нибудь к стонам образованного человека девятнадцатого столетия, страдающего зубами, этак на второй или на третий день болезни, когда он начинает уже не так стонать, как в первый день стонал, то есть не просто оттого, что зубы болят; не так, как какой-нибудь грубый мужик, а так, как человек тронутый развитием и европейской цивилизацией стонет, как человек, "отрешившийся от почвы и народных начал", как теперь выражаются. Стоны его становятся какие-то скверные, пакостно-злые и продолжаются по целым дням и ночам. И ведь знает сам, что никакой себе пользы не принесет стонами; лучше всех знает, что он только напрасно себя и других надрывает и раздражает; знает, что даже и публика, перед которой он старается, и все семейство его уже прислушались к нему с омерзением, не верят ему ни на грош и понимают про себя, что он мог бы иначе, проще стонать, без рулад и без вывертов, а что он только так со злости, с ехидства балуется. Ну так вот в этих-то всех сознаниях и позорах и заключается сладострастие. "Дескать, я вас беспокою, сердце вам надрываю, всем в доме спать не даю. Так вот не спите же, чувствуйте же и вы каждую минуту, что у меня зубы болят. Я для вас уж теперь не герой, каким прежде хотел казаться, а просто гаденький человек, шенапан. Ну так пусть же! Я очень рад, что вы меня раскусили. Вам скверно слушать мои подленькие стоны? Ну так пусть скверно; вот я вам сейчас еще скверней руладу сделаю..." Не понимаете и теперь, господа? Нет, видно, надо глубоко доразвиться и досознаться, чтоб понять все изгибы этого сладострастия! Вы смеетесь? Очень рад-с. Мои шутки, господа, конечно, дурного тона, неровны, сбивчивы, с самонедоверчивостью. Но ведь это оттого, что я сам себя не уважаю. Разве сознающий человек может сколько-нибудь себя уважать? V Ну разве можно, разве можно хоть сколько-нибудь уважать себя человеку, который даже в самом чувстве собственного унижения посягнул отыскать наслаждение? Я не от приторного какого-нибудь раскаянья так теперь говорю. Да и вообще терпеть я не мог говорить: "Простите, папаша, вперед не буду", – не потому, чтоб я не способен был это сказать, а напротив, может быть, именно потому, что уж слишком способен на это бывал, да еще как? Как нарочно и влопаюсь, бывало, в таком случае, когда сам ни сном, ни духом не виноват. Это уже было всего гаже. При этом я опять-таки душою умилялся, раскаивался, слезы проливал и, конечно, самого себя надувал, хоть и вовсе не притворялся. Сердце уж тут как-то гадило... Тут уж даже и законов природы нельзя было обвинить, хотя все-таки законы природы постоянно и более всего всю жизнь меня обижали. Гадко это все вспоминать, да и тогда гадко было. Ведь через минуту какую-нибудь я уже с злобою соображаю, бывало, что все это ложь, ложь, отвратительная напускная ложь, то есть все эти раскаяния, все эти умиления, все эти обеты возрождения. А спросите, для чего я так сам себя коверкал и мучил? Ответ: затем, что скучно уж очень было сложа руки сидеть; вот и пускался на выверты. Право, так. 3амечайте получше сами за собой, господа, тогда и поймете, что это так. Сам себе приключения выдумывал и жизнь сочинял, чтоб хоть как-нибудь да пожить. Сколько раз мне случалось – ну, хоть, например, обижаться, так, не из-за чего, нарочно; и ведь сам знаешь, бывало, что не из-за чего обиделся, напустил на себя, но до того себя доведешь, что под конец, право, и в самом деле обидишься. Меня как-то всю жизнь тянуло такие штуки выкидывать, так что уж я стал под конец и в себе не властен. Другой раз влюбиться насильно захотел, даже два раза. Страдал ведь, господа, уверяю вас. В глубине-то души не верится, что страдаешь, насмешка шевелится, а все-таки страдаю, да еще настоящим, заправским образом; ревную, из себя выхожу... И все от скуки, господа, все от скуки; инерция задавила. Ведь прямой, законный, непосредственный плод сознания – это инерция, то есть сознательное сложа-руки-сиденье. Я уж об этом упоминал выше. Повторяю, усиленно повторяю: все непосредственные люди и деятели потому и деятельны, что они тупы и ограничены. Как это объяснить? А вот как: они вследствие своей ограниченности ближайшие и второстепенные причины за первоначальные принимают, таким образом скорее и легче других убеждаются, что непреложное основание своему делу нашли, ну и успокоиваются; а ведь это главное. Ведь чтоб начать действовать, нужно быть совершенно успокоенным предварительно, и чтоб сомнений уж никаких не оставалось. Ну а как я, например, себя успокою? Где у меня первоначальные причины, на которые я упрусь, где основания? Откуда я их возьму? Я упражняюсь в мышлении, а следственно, у меня всякая первоначальная причина тотчас же тащит за собою другую, еще первоначальнее, и так далее в бесконечность. Такова именно сущность всякого сознания и мышления. Это уже опять, стало быть, законы природы. Что же наконец в результате? Да то же самое. Вспомните: давеча вот я говорил о мщении. (Вы, верно, не вникли.) Сказано: человек мстит, потому что находит в этом справедливость. Значит, он первоначальную причину нашел, основание нашел, а именно: справедливость. Стало быть, он со всех сторон успокоен, а следственно, и отмщает спокойно и успешно, будучи убежден, что делает честное и справедливое дело. А ведь я справедливости тут не вижу, добродетели тоже никакой не нахожу, а следственно, если стану мстить, то разве только из злости. Злость, конечно, могла бы все пересилить, все мои сомнения, и, стало быть. могла бы совершенно успешно послужить вместо первоначальной причины именно потому, что она не причина. Но что же делать, если у меня и злости нет (я давеча ведь с этого и начал). 3лоба у меня опять-таки вследствие этих проклятых законов сознания химическому разложению подвергается. Смотришь – предмет улетучивается, резоны испаряются, виновник не отыскивается, обида становится не обидой, а фатумом, чем-то вроде зубной боли, в которой никто не виноват, а следовательно, остается опять-таки тот же самый выход – то есть стену побольнее прибить. Ну и рукой махнешь, потому что не нашел первоначальной причины. А попробуй увлекись своим чувством слепо, без рассуждений, без первоначальной причины, отгоняя сознание хоть на это время; возненавидь или полюби, чтоб только не сидеть сложа руки. Послезавтра, это уж самый поздний срок, самого себя презирать начнешь за то, что самого себя зазнамо надул. В результате: мыльный пузырь и инерция. О господа, ведь я, может, потому только и считаю себя за умного человека, что всю жизнь ничего не мог ни начать, ни окончить. Пусть, пусть я болтун, безвредный, досадный болтун, как и все мы. Но что же делать, если прямое и единственное назначение всякого умного человека есть болтовня, то есть умышленное пересыпанье из пустого в порожнее. VI О, если б я ничего не делал только из лени. Господи, как бы я тогда себя уважал. Уважал бы именно потому, что хоть лень я в состоянии иметь в себе; хоть одно свойство было бы во мне как будто и положительное, в котором я бы и сам был уверен. Вопрос: кто такой? Ответ: лентяй; да ведь это преприятно было бы слышать о себе. Значит, положительно определен, значит, есть что сказать обо мне. "Лентяй!" – да ведь это званье и назначенье, это карьера-с. Не шутите, это так. Я тогда член самого первейшего клуба по праву и занимаюсь только тем, что беспрерывно себя уважаю. Я знал господина, который всю жизнь гордился тем, что знал толк в лафите. Он считал это за положительное свое достоинство и никогда не сомневался в себе. Он умер не то что с покойной, а с торжествующей совестью, и был совершенно прав. А я бы себе тогда выбрал карьеру: я был бы лентяй и обжора, но не простой, а, например, сочувствующий всему прекрасному и высокому. Как вам это нравится? Мне это давно мерещилось. Это "прекрасное и высокое" сильно-таки надавило мне затылок в мои сорок лет; но это в мои сорок лет, а тогда – о, тогда было бы иначе! Я бы тотчас же отыскал себе и соответствующую деятельность, – а именно: пить за здоровье всего прекрасного и высокого. Я бы придирался ко всякому случаю, чтоб сначала пролить в свой бокал слезу, а потом выпить его за все прекрасное и высокое. Я бы все на свете обратил тогда в прекрасное и высокое; в гадчайшей, бесспорной дряни отыскал бы прекрасное и высокое. Я сделался бы слезоточив, как мокрая губка. Художник, например, написал картину Ге. Тотчас же пью за здоровье художника, написавшего картину Ге, потому что люблю все прекрасное и высокое. Автор написал "как кому угодно"; тотчас же пью за здоровье "кого угодно", потому что люблю все "прекрасное и высокое". Уважения к себе за это потребую, преследовать буду того, кто не будет мне оказывать уважения. Живу спокойно, умираю торжественно, – да ведь это прелесть, целая прелесть! И такое себе отрастил бы я тогда брюхо, такой тройной подбородок соорудил, такой бы сандальный нос себе выработал, что всякий встречный сказал бы, смотря на меня: "Вот так плюс! вот так уж настоящее положительное!" А ведь как хотите, такие отзывы преприятно слышать в наш отрицательный век, господа. VII Но все это золотые мечты. О, скажите, кто это первый объявил, кто первый провозгласил, что человек потому только делает пакости, что не знает настоящих своих интересов; а что, если б его просветить, открыть ему глаза на его настоящие, нормальные интересы, то человек тотчас же перестал бы делать пакости, тотчас же стал бы добрым и благородным, потому что, будучи просвещенным и понимая настоящие свои выгоды, именно увидел бы в добре собственную свою выгоду, а известно, что ни один человек не может действовать зазнамо против собственных своих выгод, следственно, так сказать, по необходимости стал бы делать добро? О младенец! о чистое, невинное дитя! да когда же, во-первых, бывало, во все эти тысячелетия, чтоб человек действовал только из одной своей собственной выгоды? Что же делать с миллионами фактов, свидетельствующих о том, как люди зазнамо, то есть вполне понимая свои настоящие выгоды, отставляли их на второй план и бросались на другую дорогу, на риск, на авось, никем и ничем не принуждаемые к тому, а как будто именно только не желая указанной дороги, и упрямо, своевольно пробивали другую, трудную, нелепую, отыскивая ее чуть не в потемках. Ведь, значит, им действительно это упрямство и своеволие было приятнее всякой выгоды... Выгода! Что такое выгода? Да и берете ли вы на себя совершенно точно определить, в чем именно человеческая выгода состоит? А что если так случится, что человеческая выгода иной раз не только может, но даже и должна именно в том состоять, чтоб в ином случае себе худого пожелать, а не выгодного? А если так, если только может быть этот случай, то все правило прахом пошло. Как вы думаете, бывает ли такой случай? Вы смеетесь; смейтесь, господа, но только отвечайте: совершенно ли верно сосчитаны выгоды человеческие? Нет ли таких, которые не только не уложились, но и не могут уложиться ни в какую классификацию? Ведь вы, господа, сколько мне известно, весь ваш реестр человеческих выгод взяли средним числом из статистических цифр и из научно-экономических формул. Ведь ваши выгоды – это благоденствие, богатство, свобода, покой, ну и так далее, и так далее; так что человек, который бы, например, явно и зазнамо вошел против всего этого реестра, был бы, по-вашему, ну да и, конечно, по-моему, обскурант или совсем сумасшедший, так ли? Но ведь вот что удивительно: отчего это так происходит, что все эти статистики, мудрецы и любители рода человеческого, при исчислении человеческих выгод, постоянно одну выгоду пропускают? Даже и в расчет ее не берут в том виде, в каком ее следует брать, а от этого и весь расчет зависит. Беда бы не велика, взять бы ее, эту выгоду, да и занесть в список. Но в том-то и пагуба, что эта мудреная выгода ни в какую классификацию не попадает, ни в один список не умещается. У меня, например, есть приятель... Эх, господа! да ведь и вам он приятель; да и кому, кому он не приятель! Приготовляясь к делу, этот господин тотчас же изложит вам, велеречиво и ясно, как именно надо ему поступить по законам рассудка и истины. Мало того: с волнением и страстью будет говорить вам о настоящих, нормальных человеческих интересах; с насмешкой укорит близоруких глупцов, не понимающих ни своих выгод, ни настоящего значения добродетели; и – ровно через четверть часа, без всякого внезапного, постороннего повода, а именно по чему-то такому внутреннему, что сильнее всех его интересов, – выкинет совершенно другое колено, то есть явно пойдет против того, об чем сам говорил: и против законов рассудка, и против собственной выгоды, ну, одним словом, против всего... Предупрежду, что мой приятель – лицо собирательное, и потому только его одного винить как-то трудно. То-то и есть, господа, не существует ли и в самом деле нечто такое, что почти всякому человеку дороже самых лучших его выгод, или (чтоб уж логики не нарушать) есть одна такая самая выгодная выгода (именно пропускаемая-то, вот об которой сейчас говорили), которая главнее и выгоднее всех других выгод и для которой человек, если понадобится, готов против всех законов пойти, то есть против рассудка, чести, покоя, благоденствия, – одним словом, против всех этих прекрасных и полезных вещей, лишь бы только достигнуть этой первоначальной, самой выгодной выгоды, которая ему дороже всего. – Ну, так все-таки выгоды же, – перебиваете вы меня. – Позвольте-с, мы еще объяснимся, да и не в каламбуре дело, а в том, что эта выгода именно тем и замечательна, что все наши классификации разрушает и все системы, составленные любителями рода человеческого для счастья рода человеческого, постоянно разбивает. Одним словом, всему мешает. Но прежде чем я вам назову эту выгоду, я хочу себя компрометировать лично и потому дерзко объявляю, что все эти прекрасные системы, все эти теории разъяснения человечеству настоящих, нормальных его интересов с тем, чтоб оно, необходимо стремясь достигнуть этих интересов, стало бы тотчас же добрым и благородным, – покамест, по моему мненью, одна логистика! Да-с, логистика! Ведь утверждать хоть эту теорию обновления всего рода человеческого посредством системы его собственных выгод, ведь это, по-моему, почти то же... ну хоть утверждать, например, вслед за Боклем, что от цивилизации человек смягчается, следственно, становится менее кровожаден и менее способен к войне. По логике-то, кажется, у него и так выходит. Но до того человек пристрастен к системе и к отвлеченному выводу, что готов умышленно исказить правду, готов видом не видать и слыхом не слыхать, только чтоб оправдать свою логику. Потому и беру этот пример, что это слишком яркий пример. Да оглянитесь кругом: кровь рекою льется, да еще развеселым таким образом, точно шампанское. Вот вам все наше девятнадцатое столетие, в котором жил и Бокль. Вот вам Наполеон – и великий, и теперешний. Вот вам Северная Америка – вековечный союз. Вот вам, наконец, карикатурный Шлезвиг-Гольштейн... И что такое смягчает в нас цивилизация? Цивилизация выработывает в человеке только многосторонность ощущений и... решительно ничего больше. А через развитие этой многосторонности человек еще, пожалуй, дойдет до того, что отыщет в крови наслаждение. Ведь это уж и случалось с ним. Замечали ли вы, что самые утонченные кровопроливцы почти сплошь были самые цивилизованные господа, которым все эти разные Атиллы да Стеньки Разины иной раз в подметки не годились, и если они не так ярко бросаются в глаза, как Атилла и Стенька Разин, так это именно потому, что они слишком часто встречаются, слишком обыкновенны, примелькались. По крайней мере, от цивилизации человек стал если не более кровожаден, то уже, наверно, хуже, гаже кровожаден, чем прежде. Прежде он видел в кровопролитии справедливость и с покойною совестью истреблял кого следовало; теперь же мы хоть и считаем кровопролитие гадостью, а все-таки этой гадостью занимаемся, да еще больше, чем прежде. Что хуже? – сами решите. Говорят, Клеопатра (извините за пример из римской истории) любила втыкать золотые булавки в груди своих невольниц и находила наслаждение в их криках и корчах. Вы скажете, что это было во времена, говоря относительно, варварские; что и теперь времена варварские, потому что (тоже говоря относительно) и теперь булавки втыкаются; что и теперь человек хоть и научился иногда видеть яснее, чем во времена варварск
    March 30, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Thanks so much for...nothing.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Федор Михайлович Достоевский

      Just curious as to how long a post you can put on this blog. Went for Russian so the no-no-word filter wouldn't trip. It's "Notes From Underground."

      March 30, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gee, so glad you've achieved a life-long goal.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Bizarre

      Федор Михайлович Достоевский:

      Oh goodie... now we know that we can just type in "суеверен" instead of that clunky, "superst-ition"! 🙂

      March 31, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Well, at least we now know what Prayer Troll has instead of brains

      дерьмо

      But you don't need to know Russian to know the answer to that.

      March 31, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Henry Gibson

      Wow, look at that! Reality will be very jealous!

      March 31, 2012 at 12:32 am |
  2. Reality

    The "vomit-inducing" ped-ophilia and coverup will simply hasten the decline of all religions as they finally go extinct from their own absurdity.. It is time to replace all religions with a few rules like "Do No Harm" and convert all houses of "worthless worship" to recreation facilities and parks.

    http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

    Religion………………………… Adherents

    Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion

    Islam…………………………… 1.5 billion

    Irreligious/agnostic/atheism.... 1.1 billion (and gaining fast based on the topic's statistics)

    Hinduism 900 million
    Chinese traditional religion 394 million
    Buddhism 376 million
    Animist religions 300 million
    African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
    Sikhism 23 million
    Juche 19 million
    Spiritism 15 million

    Judaism…………………………………….. 14 million

    Baha'i 7 million
    Jainism 4.2 million
    Shinto 4 million
    Cao Dai 4 million
    Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
    Tenrikyo 2 million
    Neo-Paganism 1 million
    Unitarian Universalism 800,000
    Rastafari Movement 600,000

    March 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  3. mike

    It's a false religion anyway.

    March 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • It's like this

      They're all false religions. There is no such thing as a true one.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      are you crazy?!? have you not been touched by His noodely appendage?

      all hail the FSM!

      March 30, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • It's like this

      Okay, I do admit that Flying Spaghetti Monster's heaven is much better than anyone else's. I mean, given a choice between spending the rest of eternity hanging out with Christian zealot-dingbats doing their speaking-in-tongues jive as they kiss the big guy's derriere endlessly, or going to a place with a beer volcano and a stripper factory – no contest.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • mandarax

      In the beginning he created the mountains, and some trees...and a midget.

      March 31, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  4. Clay Vollers

    Let's see...they wear togas, diddle little boys, prefer the colors red and gold, speak Latin, drink wine, pray to a pantheon of gods (saints) and their headquarters is in Rome. When was the Roman Empire supposed to have fallen? It's pretty clear that Paul (Saul) hijacked the early christian religion (the Gnostics) for the Roman Empire and ditched all the parts relating to a direct relationship with god in favor of a system that worked for an Empire based on keeping the slaves submissive...turn the other cheek...do what the Emperor (Pope) says...you'll get your reward after you're dead. Maybe we'll live to (finally) see the fall of the Roman Empire.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Knocking down the straw-man

      If you are going to make asertions, try to actually use facts. The core Gnostic beliefs predates Christianity (Aeons, the demiurge, Archons, etc.) and Paul couldn't have anything to do with Gnostic Christianity because the Gnostics didn't adopt Christian concepts until aproximately fourty years AFTER Paul's death. In addition, if Paul was subjugating slaves for the Roman Empire, why did the same Empire outlaw Christianity and slaughter Christians off and on for nearly two hundred years?

      You are making a straw-man argument for your opponents. Try to actually use facts rather than your own imagination.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  5. Bootyfunk

    of course the underlying reason that encompasses all the above reasons is that people are realizing religion is a scam, mostly offering bigotry and ignorance.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  6. cosmicsnoop

    Well, I was dragged to church as a kid and pretty much figured out by 10-12 that it was all a bunch of cr@p. It made no sense and I got nothing from it but guilt when I couldn't come up with any good sins to confess to the priest. Well, lying of course since that what I was doing right then. Anyway, I logically figured out at about 12 that there could not possibly be a Hell so then the whole ruse was up. I do believe in God though and I suggest people read the "Conversations with God" books. That's pretty much how the Universe works. There's plenty of books actually that tell the real deal. Check it out yourself. You need no intermediary to God. All religion is simply a power and money grab.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      i had the same "this is a bunch of crap" experience at that age with the orthodox church. once i was 15 or so, i stopped going. i have gone a few times for weddings and funerals, but that was to be with family, not the church itself

      March 31, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • sam stone

      i just finished a.j. jacobs' The Year Of Living Biblically. i liked it. if you have any room on your recreation reading schedule, i would recommend it

      March 31, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  7. cira22

    I left the catholic Church at age 21. I found the Wiccan religion at the age of 25 in 2002, , and have never been happier about the faith I have found. I am pagan, and I’m proud
    I am pagan, gonna shout it loud
    I am pagan, want the world to know
    That I follow the Goddess
    and she rocks my soul

    Don’t need your bible
    I’ve got the wisdom of the crone
    Don’t need your heaven
    Into this life I’m reborn
    No ten commandments
    One fills the bill
    An’ it harm none, do what you will

    Don’t need your churches
    The world’s my sacred space
    Don’t need your angels
    I’ve got fairies in their place
    We raise the spirit
    Most every night
    When we dance the fire
    in the pale moonlight

    Well you take your path
    And I’ll take mine
    A little tolerance
    And we’ll both be fine
    Keep an open mind
    It’ll set you free
    And Goddess bless,
    so mote it be

    Are you pagan? Are you proud?
    Are you pagan? Then shout it loud!
    If you’re pagan,
    let the whole world know
    That you follow the Goddess
    ‘cause she rocks your soul !

    Blessed Be!!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      blessed be
      go marry a tree,
      now that has got to be
      a serious woody

      March 30, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • John B. Schroeder

      Right on, Their flag has way to many holes in it. But then I can believe that some of us find solace in religion. That's OK for them, I've got my doubts.

      March 31, 2012 at 2:04 am |
  8. Kurt Vonnegut comments on the prayer troll

    “If your brains were dynamite there wouldn't be enough to blow your hat off.”

    March 30, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Prayer changes thingys

      I am not the sharpest knife in the knife-thing.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • just sayin

      Kurt? Dead author guy?

      March 30, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • just sayin

      I'm not the brightest bulb in the, uh, ceiling light thing.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • just sayin

      Everybody wants to be me.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • just sayin

      I'm a taco short of . . . something Mexican.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • eeyore

      a fart.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • eeyore

      One of those really foul ones that makes you think you're going to suffocate.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • just sayin

      Okay. I'm a taco short of a really foul fart that makes you think you're going to suffocate. Proven.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oxygen, STAT!

      March 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • just sayin

      Everyone wants to be me, except me

      March 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  9. Ed Walsh

    It time to thin the pews out. The truth doesn't change because everyone wants to be at a cafeteria! The truth is hard to follow! The reasons above why people are leaving is the total disregard of reason and is choice!

    March 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  10. Bootyfunk

    there's just so many reasons to leave the church these days! and they've only listed 7 - there's many, many more. like severing the mental shackles of religion, become a free thinker. try it, you won't regret it.

    anyway, i love seeing uplifting stories like this one. really warms my Humanist heart.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  11. Jennifer Ironsmith

    I've been a Catholic for all my 45 years. Yes, I left the church for a year or two in college as I discovered whether I was going because I wanted to, or because my parents told me to go. As an adult, I found my way back and spent lots of years just going to Mass and learning bits and pieces of the Bible from this or that priest/deacon. What made the difference for me was when I started learning the real reasons why the Catholic Church teaches what it does. The way I did that was by listening to Lighthouse Catholic Media CDs (www.lighthousecatholicmedia.com, especially by Dr. Scott Hahn) and doing Bible studies by Catholic Theologian Jeff Cavins (see http://www.biblestudyforcatholics.com). I now know that I'm not just following what the Church teaches. I'm following what the Bible teaches. It's us that should change, not the Church.

    I wish CNN.com had given the Church leaders the chance to defend itself. CNN.com, contact Cardinal Timothy Dolan or at least get the input of more than 300 ex-Catholics to represent the opinions of the 3rd largest denomination before you slam the 2nd largest denomination. Thanks!

    March 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • strongbelief2

      I agree Jennifer. I was away from the Church for many years but went back when I was in my late 20s and I have been going ever since. The second time around was really enlightening. I had the maturity at that time to really comprehend and appreciate the bible.
      The article above had comments about priests being "insensitive" and "arrogant'. Heck!–most men are like that too!

      March 30, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  12. mandarax

    What about because they are fundamentally wrong about reality. Isn't that enough?

    March 30, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  13. Rscan1

    Well, if the church was wrong about the solar system in 1610, how could it be right today?
    I can't think of a single reason to join in the first place.
    "Just because dad did" is not a reason. Dad was molested by those guys in the theatrical costumes at church.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  14. Haitianus

    Colin, I think you post this somewhere before.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Colin

      I have, at various times, posted most of its content. I sort of rolled it all togther when I wrote to them to leave.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Ronald Reganzo

      Piling bull sh it on horse sh it so to speak.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • George

      You are a pathological liar

      March 30, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • preacherman

      apparently not.....

      March 30, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • just sayin

      Truth Wonderful Truth

      March 30, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Dean Wormer

      Fat, stupid and dishonest is no way to go through life, son.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • just sayin

      Be gentle with George, dean you just met it.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Albert Einstein comment on just sayin

      “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”

      March 30, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Don'tBelieveTheLiesOfReligion

      Let's see...if by "prayer changes things" you mean that prayer is an effective tool for obtaining what you wish, I'll say that is obviously false. There are many people praying right now that their disease will be cured, that they will live forever, that they will be the winner of the 640M lottery, etc., etc. For all of those people praying, very very few of them will see the result they are seeking, and those that see their disease regress or that win the lottery are explained by mechanisms other than a sky-daddy. So, prayer clearly is ineffective. It does "change things" but not in the way you mean. It results in people wasting quite a bit of their lives chasing a fantasy and dumping their hard-earned resources into the hopeless effort. "Prayer is an expression of ignorance" would be a more accurate aphorism.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • TR6

      The bullet proof pope mobile is irrefutable proof that prayer does nothing

      March 30, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • just sayin

      Prayer does change things – dead Einstein talks.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • yup

      Maybe you are refering to the countless studies showing that religious people are happier, healthier and generally better off than non-religious people. Of course that might also explain why so many atheists seem bitter, self righeous and angry all the time.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • just sayin

      @tr6
      ?

      March 30, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts or goblins

      If god and jesus were real, and Pope-A-Dope had faith, especially if he or others prayed that he lived a long life, he wouldn't need nor have a bullet proof vehicle.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Mary

      As a Catholic, prayer does not change "things." The loss of self and mediation to a power higher than ourselves changes US! God does not "change" things.. He allows it to happen through us. This is why I cannot pray for a million dollars to appear. All I can tell you is when I was losing a job 10 years ago (when I was not attending church or being full of devotion and prayer) it was a miserable experience. When I lost my job this week (and now I am very faithful and have become a more knowledge and devout Catholic) not so miserable. I will be alright! I am not of this earth. This is temporal. Everything changes but God. I will make the most of this time because there is more to life than this temporary moment in time. I was poor before. I can be poor again. I can't take any of this life with me where I head to next. (Think of this life a just a level we must complete before heading to the next)

      March 30, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Time for truth, buddy

      Oh I'd love to see those studies, yup. Do provide a few. Should be easy if they are countless in number.

      I have seen studies about the education, prosperity, reported happiness and peacefulness of atheists versus religious people, and they seem to contradict you assertion totally.

      Provide those "coountless" studies.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • just sayin

      Mary
      Prayer changes lives

      March 30, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  16. latherian

    The only people more self-righteous and unaccepting of other people's points of view than the Catholics are the Atheists.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • yup

      True dat.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Don'tBelieveTheLiesOfReligion

      The religionists can't come up with a viable argument so they resort to ad hominem attacks...how impressive!

      March 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • yup

      He was not attacking anyone. Merely stating a fact with a touch of humor.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  17. Haitianus

    Uninspiring homilies are the main reasons. Other than that, people should remember that the catholic Church and teachings were handed down straight from Christ and the apostles to the Church Fathers down unto us through the centuries. Our Church put the Bible together........we teach that God is Love.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Easy E

      Uh, no, the teachings were NOT handed down directly by Christ. You've apparently never heard of the Nicean Council. Emperor Constantine and a hand selected few were the ones who basically decided which books and which liturgy were going to make it into official church orthodoxy.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • TR6

      Yes, this is true. You can read in the bible how Christ said his mother was immaculately conceived and would ascend into heaven. You can also read the many times he said to eat fish on Friday.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • TR6

      “we teach that God is Love.”

      No you don’t. You teach that god is an agree monster that will burn you in hell for all eternity if you don’t tow the church’s line. And that you should feel guilty for everything you have ever done.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  18. Master Allan

    As a 32 year old I'll tell you why I have left the church 6 years ago after attending regularly as a child:

    The church has no interest, care, or support for anyone single between the ages of 18 – 40. The Catholic church wants kids or married families. Singles seem to under mind their "value system". I grew impatient, embarrassed, and lonely sitting by myself in a pew as a young adult in college, so I left. Nobody appears to have even noticed. Sure they have their quarterly singles dance or a monthly dinner & drinks get together. Inane & dull. I have seen a few catholic church's singles groups. I suggest attending one if you are seriously considering the alternative of jumping in front of a moving train.

    Clearly I am not in the demographics for the church, so I left. Find someone else to donate to your legal bills.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  19. philtration

    You know.... the same people that lied to you about Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny being real are the ones that taught you about God and Jesus being real too.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Bow-legged Bob

      What!?!?!?! Santa is not real!?!?!?!?! He must be real! I sat on his lap many times at the mall, and he would give me his "special hug." I always remember his whiskey breath as he said "This is just our little secret, okay?"

      Santa is real. He's just like Father Chester teaching choir at the church, and Father Chester is real. Though they did transfer him to another parish one night . . .

      March 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Karolyn

      My parents taught me about Jesus...and we did not celebrate with Santa, Easter bunny, etc. because they were, indeed lies.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • No Credibility

      Someone that calls himself "philtration" says that God isn't real. He has no way of proving his point. He simply makes a declarative statement and we're supposed to give him credibility. Well, credibility is the one thing he does not deserve and has not earned. No one knows who "philtration" is. Maybe "philtration" isn't real. Anyway, there is plenty of evidence, actual evidence, that Jesus was a real human being. The rest is all about faith - you decide if you want to believe or not.

      As for "philtration," a prayer for him is in order.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • AGuest9

      The irony, Karolyn, is absolutely stunning.

      March 31, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  20. Colin

    Here's why I left (slightly redacted to preserve anonymity) This is my letter to the RCC formally renouncing my Catholicism.

    To: The Roman Catholic Archbishop of _________; and
    To: The Parish of _________

    Dear Sirs:

    I was baptized in Saint Mary’s Church, _______, in _____. I now wish to formally renounce my Catholicism. I have too many fundamental objections to both the Catholic faith and the position of the Church on social issues for me to maintain membership of the organization. In brief:

    1. At its irreducible minimum, Catholicism requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,700,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,700,000,000 years for Ho.mo Sapiens to gradually evolve from Ho.mo Er.ectus, then, at some point gave them eternal life and a soul and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

    While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of anything outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies.

    Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.

    2. This “all loving” god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers, so as to know if they think bad thoughts, so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die. However, the one thing this god will never, ever do, is reveal himself. It is almost as if he didn’t exist, we invented him and have been scurrying for excuses as to his constant absence ever since.

    3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is reasonably and honestly not believe in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me. Given that about 110,000,000,000 people have lived on Earth over the past 100,000 odd years, there must be literally billions of people burning in hell – some for thousands of years by now. About 100,000 people die every day. These all have to be processed between heaven and hell each day. Meanwhile, the 7 billion living people must be kept under constant surveillance and have their prayers “listed to”.

    It all gets a little silly doesn’t it?

    4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze Age and Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, which was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.

    5. The Bible is literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

    6. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Hor.us, Apollonius of Tyana and Dionysus (including the virgin birth and turning water into wine).

    7. The whole Adam and Eve original sin story is one we now know to be a myth. Yet the Catholic Church still teaches that Jesus died to save us from it! We are asked to believe that a god impregnated a virgin with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to forgive an act that never happened. That is the problem when one claims a monopoly on the truth during the Dark Ages. Maintaining the fiction as science rolls on makes one look absurd.

    8. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Catholicism does not require a rejection of all of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream liberal Christianity. To the extent we reject Catholic morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of se.xual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

    Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

    9. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

    10. When backed into a corner, Catholicism admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Catholic based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more universal than the language you speak or the football team you support.

    Social Objections.

    In addition to the above reasons to reject the supernatural elements of Catholicism, I find the Catholic Church a chokingly bureaucratic insti.tution whose position on many social issues, including:

    (i) abortion;
    (iii) medical immunization of teen girls against HPV;
    (iv) assisted suicide;
    (v) equality of the se.xes;
    (vi) gay marriage;
    (vii) my right to read books and view art and theatre deemed “offensive,” “blasphemous” or “obs.cene” by the Church;
    (viii) basic se.x education for older school children;
    (ix) treating drug abuse as principally a medical issue;
    (x) population control;
    (xi) buying alcohol or otherwise conducting business on a Sunday;
    (xii) use of con.doms and other contraceptives; and
    (xiii) embryonic stem cell research.

    Are diametrically opposed to my own. I cannot conceive of exposing a young African girl to AIDS due to my opposition to con.dom usage! That is an act of obstinate and barbaric cruelty, given the influence the Church has over these poor people. The Catholic Church expects people to risk their health and otherwise subordinate their well being to the religious views and se.xual norms of the Church. I find this primitive and, quite frankly, disgusting.

    I do appreciate the education I was given at ___________ school in _________. I now know it was first class by World standards. I also appreciate many of the good things done by the Church in general and, more specifically, to support and comfort my mother when her son (my brother) died. However, given how deeply I am convinced that there is no god and given that I do not see any social benefit to the positions taken by the Catholic Church on most issues, I wish to formally leave the Church.

    Please confirm my removal.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • JT

      Wow...Did you get a response?

      March 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Colin

      Yes, a short note to confirm my removal.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • preacherman

      Good for you. Congratulations!

      March 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • The Short Form

      I think I would have just written "Fuck off."

      March 30, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • TR6

      WOW! That pretty much says it all and says it better than I have ever heard. Thanks

      March 30, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Chad

      so, what do you do with these four historical facts agreed upon by liberal and conservative scholars?
      1. Jesus was a real historical person that lived
      2. Jesus was crucified by Roman authorities for claiming to be the Jewish Messiah, he died and was buried
      3. After three days the tomb was found to be empty by some women followers
      4. Following that groups of people; followers and persecutors, reported meeting a resurrected Christ. This meeting so convinced them that they were then willing to go to their death proclaiming the truth of that.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • eeyore

      Ignore them. They aren't facts. Really, dude, grow a brain.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Chad

      1. One mayfly talking to another, “did you see that human?? My entire life, he just sat on the front porch!!”

      2. God is all omniscient and omnipresent, yes.

      3. God will allow us to reject Him and live with the consequences of that action.

      4. Gods word has endured for 4500 years. Pretty amazing isn’t it

      5. Contradictions? Chapter/verse please (stay away from infidels.org, that nonsense is easily clarified simply by providing the entire verse in context).

      6. Of course it’s easy to find commonality in any event no matter what.

      7. We know Adam/Eve to be a myth? Do tell, how do you know this?

      8. Being “moral” isn’t going to help you (or me) at all

      9. Extensive scholarship (more than has ever been applied to any other book in the history of all mankind) supports the authorship claims as they are stated. First person content is the critical thing and that of course has been demonstrated to be reliable and historically accurate.

      10. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11

      March 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And Chad proves...nothing whatever. As usual. As always. Yawn.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "First person content is the critical thing and that of course has been demonstrated to be reliable and historically accurate."

      Bwaahahahhhhahhhaha! OMG, are you kidding?

      Historically accurate? Proven?

      What are you, stupid or simply delusional?

      March 30, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Chad

      "A similar type of textual criticism is applied to other ancient texts.[106] There are far fewer witnesses to classical texts than to the Bible, and unlike the New Testament where the earliest witnesses are often within a couple decades of the original, the earliest existing manuscripts of most classical texts were written about a millennium after their composition. For example, the earliest surviving copies of parts of the Roman historian Tacitus' main work, the Annals of Imperial Rome (written in 116 AD), come from a single manuscript written in 850 AD, although for other parts of his work, the earliest copies come from the 11th century, while other parts of his work have been lost.[104] The earliest copies of The Jewish War by Josephus (originally composed in the 1st century AD), in contrast, come from nine manuscripts written in the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries.[104] After the bible, the next best preserved ancient work is Homer's Iliad, with 650 copies originating about 1,000 years after the original copy.[104] Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War (written in the 50s BC) survives in nine copies written in the 8th century.[107] Thucydides' history of the Peloponesian War and Herodotus' history of the Persian War (both written in the 5th century BC) survives in about eight early copies, the oldest ones dating from the 10th century AD.[107] Biblical scholar F. F. Bruce has said "the evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical authors, the authenticity of which no one dreams of questioning...It is a curious fact that historians have often been much readier to trust the New Testament records than have many theologians."[108]"
      – wikipedia

      🙂

      March 30, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Citing Wikepedia? Really? That's the best you can do, Chard?

      Really, you disappoint me. And my expectations for you are so low a snail couldn't crawl under them.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Chad.. agreed upon is not "proven" ..we might agree the moon is made of green cheese but is it? Sadly you still have no proof of any of any jesus or God...no drawings, nothing in any other publication....even the prehistoric ( pre god deluded ) cave men could draw animals on the walls of caves.. yet nothing of JC...not even a wooden bowl or cup from his workshop why is that? There are 3000 yr old wooden dug out logs still in existence..

      March 30, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • mandarax

      Poor Chad. You get no love. Have you ever considered maybe you have it all wrong? Maybe that's why you are consistently on the wrong side in arguments with educated people.

      March 31, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Gokubi

      Chad

      The mark of a good debater is a person who can find info and debate a point IN THEIR OWN WORDS and being able to back up with reputable sources. You on the other hand can only quote wikipedia which means two things. 1) you don't understand what you're quoting and so you blindly throw out quotes hoping that people will come to a smarter conclusion than one you can provide yourself and 2) Using wikipedia as a reliable source is like going to a 7th grade bio class. If you want people to take you seriously, use your own words and use reliable sources.

      March 31, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Chad

      @Gokubi "The mark of a good debater is a person who can find info and debate a point IN THEIR OWN WORDS and being able to back up with reputable sources."

      =>you mean, like this?
      1. Jesus was a real historical person that lived
      2. Jesus was crucified by Roman authorities for claiming to be the Jewish Messiah, he died and was buried
      3. After three days the tomb was found to be empty by some women followers
      4. Following that groups of people; followers and persecutors, reported meeting a resurrected Christ. This meeting so convinced them that they were then willing to go to their death proclaiming the truth of that.
      -See wikipedia, N.T. Wright, Gerd Ludemann,

      March 31, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Gokubi

      @ Chad

      A little better, and yet you aren't really making a point but just trying to slip in "facts" and slip bias in there. I can agree with you that a person going by the name of Yeshua Bar Nazareth probably lived and very well may have been crucified by the Romans for sedition. Those facts aren't hard to accept and considering the commonality of the name yeshua coupled with the Romans like of crucifixtion, I bet there were probably multiple times this happened to people named Yeshua in nazareth. (Also as a side note, The jesus you're referring to was crucified for treason, not for claims of being the messiah).
      It's also not hard to accept that the specific jesus you're talking about may have disappeared from a tomb after 3 days, as grave robbing is a pretty old pastime and if this guy had angered as many people as he said he did, it's not too hard to jump to the conclusion that someone may have gone and done stuff with his corpse. Where you start getting in hot water is your fourth point, which isn't really a point, it's a statement in which you want people to draw the conclusion that since these people, having been followers of jesus (so they had already dedicated their lives to him and given up a lot) died proclaiming jesus' truth, that this holds merit, and enough merit at that, that this is all true and people should consider believing in christ because people have died for it. Is that correct?

      So, like I said before, make the point and back up with reputable sources. Part of the little word games you like to play is that you say something and when an atheist or anyone else debates the point with you, they argue the point they as.sume you're making and your only counter is "I didn't say that" because you don't really saying anything at all. Get it?

      March 31, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Chad

      @Gokubi "Its not too hard to jump to the conclusion that someone may have gone and done stuff with his corpse. "
      @Chad "indeed, that's what the authorities of that time said exactly.
      "When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day." Matthew 28

      ==============
      @Gokubi "you want people to draw the conclusion that since these people, having been followers of jesus (so they had already dedicated their lives to him and given up a lot) died proclaiming jesus' truth"
      @Chad "No.. you are missing a crucial point.
      The disciples didnt "proclaim Jesus' truth", they proclaimed that Jesus had risen from the dead.
      They went to their death refusing to recant the statement that Jesus had physically been resurrected, and that they had seen Him".

      March 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Colin

      Chad, first I am sorry that so many atheists are rude to you. I, personally, enjoy speakig with you. To address your points:

      1. Jesus was a real historical person that lived

      Quite likely, yes. Although many of the acts attributed to him are no doubt later additions to the story by his followers and quite often borrowed from other mythology of the time, such as the stories of Hor.us and Appolonius of Tyanna, I think it is more liekly than not that the individual we call Jesus did in fact exist.

      2. Jesus was crucified by Roman authorities for claiming to be the Jewish Messiah, he died and was buried.

      Again, tend to agree. The gospels difffer oon the specifics, but yes, I would put this as about as likely as your point above.

      3. After three days the tomb was found to be empty by some women followers

      No, I think this is where legend kicks in.

      4. Following that groups of people; followers and persecutors, reported meeting a resurrected Christ. This meeting so convinced them that they were then willing to go to their death proclaiming the truth of that.

      Again, no, I cannot believe he rose from the dead and went around meeting only his followers. Also I think the "willingness" with which early Christians went to their deaths is a little bit apocrophal.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Gokubi

      @Chad

      Please make a point, I'm not going to debate a point I think you're making so you can tell me I'm misunderstanding you. To the quote you gave me, from a book compiled to directly support jesus was god doesn't really hold water, and furthermore how could Matthew have known a story still circulates 2,000 years after he wrote it?

      Second, and please instead of saying its a crucial point, make the crucial point. There are Jihadi's who go to their death refusing to recant that Mohammed is the prophet and allah is god, so why are they wrong and christians right?

      March 31, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Gokubi

      @Colin

      APOCRAPHAL! That's the word I was looking for. I was going crazy.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin "After three days the tomb was found to be empty by some women followers" No, I think this is where legend kicks in."
      @Chad "The empty tomb is attested by all Gospels, the fact that women are recorded as finding it clearly lends credence as women in that day had little credibility, their testimony wasnt even allowed in court.
      Most convincing however to my mind, is that early Jewish authorities were relentlessly persecuting this (as they viewed it) heretical sect and there is simply no way a movement based on a physically resurrected Jesus would have survived in the face of a non-empty tomb. As the entire movement was based on the reality of the resurrection, it would have been a simple
      thing to merely point to the dead body."

      =================
      @colin "Again, no, I cannot believe he rose from the dead and went around meeting only his followers. Also I think the "willingness" with which early Christians went to their deaths is a little bit apocrophal."
      @chad "I didnt claim that it could be factually demonstrated that he was physically raised, rather that the resurrection was the best explanation for the 4 facts.
      All four gospels record discouraged disciples leaving town and hiding from authorities following the crucifixion, a fact hardly to have been made up as it clearly puts them in a bad light (see "Jesus Seminar").
      That the movement suddenly and dramatically took a turn is also well attested (see N.T. Wright, Gerd Ludemann)

      Clearly, something happened to so dramatically change the behavior of the disciples.

      those are the four facts, my assertion is that the resurrected Jesus is the best explanation.

      March 31, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Chad

      @Gokubi:

      the crucial point is that Jesus' followers didnt die because they "believed in Jesus", or that they refused to "deny the deity of Christ", or deny that "Jesus is Lord" they died rather than recant the statement that they had met a physically resurrected Jesus Christ.

      There is a HUGE difference.. People die for Islam for whatever reason, later Christians died rather than recant their belief in Jesus Christ, but those first disciples died stating that they had met a resurrected Jesus.

      March 31, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Gokubi

      @Chad

      That's getting into the spirit, you're finally making a positive argument, good for you! However, you believe it to be a crucial difference in that people are claiming to have met a resurrected christ, but people STILL say that today, so what's the difference between them? Furthermore, if you're saying it's a testament to jesus actually being real because some people died after having met him and wouldn't recant is pretty flimsy evidence. 1st) Like I said before, people have died for crazier things, but just because a person is willing to die for their beliefs doesn't lend the belief more credence, the only thing is does is convince me that he's an idiot. 2nd) Unless you are able to name every single person who died because of this insistence, using the general term "people" could mean anywhere between 2 and a million. If only 2 people died specifically because they were unwilling to not give up their belief in meeting jesus, how convinced would you still be? What's the magic number of followers willing to die for a single statement to make something believable vs. say watching a cult of 30 people die after drinking Kool aid because they're in a cult and clearly crazy? and 3rd) People were willing to die because they believe that the Kokhba was the messiah, people who actually met him before he disappeared and they never found his body, does that mean the Kokhba is the messiah too? What about the inception of the Sunni sect when people were willing to believe that Mohammed had chosen his wifes father to be the next Caliph and died because of it, does that mean he should have been caliph instead of Mohammeds cousin?

      If you want to focus on the people that directly followed jesus's crucifixion as a way to prove jesus's veracity, the same still holds true for any religion following a specific persons appearance in history and their believes who were killed because of their insistence of belief. The real reason is not because they stuck to their guns but because its only a recent development in the world that someone can disagree with public opinion and not be killed for it, but I as.sure you that people still disagreed with roman gods, with greek gods, with assyrian gods, and so on and died because of that. It doesn't make them right just because they disagreed.

      April 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Chad

      @Gokubi "you believe it to be a crucial difference in that people are claiming to have met a resurrected christ, but people STILL say that today, so what's the difference between them?"
      @Chad "People today experience a resurrected Christ yes, absolutely. They dont actually, physically meet Him (His body, with the nail scarred hands. There obviously is a big difference between actually meeting Jesus in bodily form as the disciples did after He was resurrected and before He ascended to heaven, and experiencing Jesus in spirit which is what happens today. Both are equally real, but one is physical, the other spiritual.

      ==============
      @Gokubi " Furthermore, if you're saying it's a testament to jesus actually being real because some people died after having met him and wouldn't recant is pretty flimsy evidence. 1st) Like I said before, people have died for crazier things, but just because a person is willing to die for their beliefs doesn't lend the belief more credence, the only thing is does is convince me that he's an idiot"
      @Chad "People believe all kinds of crazy things to be true, however, no one is going to die for something they know is a lie.
      Those people that die for crazy things actually believe them to be true.
      The disciples died rather than recant the statement that Jesus was physically resurrected from the dead.
      The belief they died for was that they had met a physically resurrected Jesus.
      What created that belief? They certainly believed it.
      How do you explain it? Some kind of group hallucination?

      ==============
      @Gokubi " Unless you are able to name every single person who died because of this insistence, using the general term "people" could mean anywhere between 2 and a million. If only 2 people died specifically because they were unwilling to not give up their belief in meeting jesus, how convinced would you still be?
      @Chad "Even if it was just one person, that would still require an explanation. In this case, I have never actually counted them, but we can name 10 or 11 people who witnessed a resurrected Christ and died for that (the disciples except John).

      ==============
      @Gokubi " If you want to focus on the people that directly followed jesus's crucifixion as a way to prove jesus's veracity, the same still holds true for any religion following a specific persons appearance in history and their believes who were killed because of their insistence of belief. "
      @Chad "Only one person that I know of has a following because He was resurrected, obviously many people have created followings, but Jesus is unique as the following was created due to His resurrection, without the resurrection, there is no following. "

      Again, the KEY POINT is that a resurrected Jesus is the central point of Christianity. Without it, there is no Christianity. That is not a new central tenant, this is and has been the ONLY thing since three days after His death, the ONLY reason we and they worship Him. The ONLY reason THEY died rather than recant that truth.

      All of Christianity hangs on the resurrection.
      Not the good ideas, or worthy sayings, or prophetic beliefs. Christianity stands alone in this belief. No other religion in the world has at its core a resurrected leader.

      April 1, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Gokubi

      @Chad

      First and foremost you have to understand just because I and many other people realize that a a resurrected christ is probably a lie, that doesn't mean I'm saying that the people who died claiming jesus was resurrected means they believed it, but just because they believe it doesn't make it true. I can agree that people aren't going to go willingly go to their death to protect their belief in something they know to be a lie, but who says what they believe happened was true?

      As for an explanation of why they would do this if it didn't actually happen? Well there's been recorded events of mass hysteria and hallucinations, there were many hallucinogenic drugs being taken and used in religious ceremonies (still are), there's also the equal possibility of them saying they spiritually saw jesus or saw him in a dream and it was only later that it was tweaked to mean physically instead of spiritually by Paul or anyone else to further the christian cause. There are many reasons, to believe in the most unbelievable and unverifiable explanation seems pretty nutty.

      Next, why do you think that 10-11 people claiming something to be true points to something believable? Again, what about the cults of 30-40 people who died with Koresh, or drank the poison before the comet? More people who firmly believe in what they're dying for and yet you have no problem calling them crazy and wrong in their beliefs and yours are right because the people that died to further your religion died thousands of years ago? Do you really not see the inherent ridiculousness of that way of thinking?

      "Only one person that I know of has a following because He was resurrected" – So? Why does jesus being the only one who has a following because he was resurrected give his following more credence and relevancy? Seriously? That's your case for christianity, What about say, Buddhism that holds a similar idea that the Buddha gets reincarnated and comes back to spread more of his teachings? That's pretty much resurrection. Now before you say it isn't and so it's different and thats why christianity is right and buddhism is wrong, please think for a moment, really think about the idea of a an entire religion resting on the fact of the resurrection is one of, if not the most, flimsy foundation of a religion in general.

      April 2, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Chad

      @Gokubi "I can agree that people aren't going to go willingly go to their death to protect their belief in something they know to be a lie, but who says what they believe happened was true?As for an explanation of why they would do this if it didn't actually happen? Well there's been recorded events of mass hysteria and hallucination"
      @Chad: "That explanation has been tried and really fails as any kind of explanation. To many different people, to many different situations, "happened" to disciples and enemies alike

      =========
      @Gokubi "Next, why do you think that 10-11 people claiming something to be true points to something believable? Again, what about the cults of 30-40 people who died with Koresh, or drank the poison before the comet? "
      @Chad "One has to examine what exactly they are dying for. Do they die rather than leave Koresh's side? Are they dying because they are convinced they will be rewarded with 40 virgins? Or are they dying rather than recant the statement that they had witnessed a physically resurrected Jesus Christ.

      =========
      @Gokubi ""Only one person that I know of has a following because He was resurrected" – So? Why does jesus being the only one who has a following because he was resurrected give his following more credence and relevancy? Seriously? That's your case for christianity, What about say, Buddhism that holds a similar idea that the Buddha gets reincarnated and comes back to spread more of his teachings? That's pretty much resurrection. Now before you say it isn't and so it's different and thats why christianity is right and buddhism is wrong, please think for a moment, really think about the idea of a an entire religion resting on the fact of the resurrection is one of, if not the most, flimsy foundation of a religion in general."
      @Chad "The difference is, the Buddhist belief isnt falsifiable, same with any other religion that has at its center someone claiming to be a prophet.
      "God told me so-and-so" is not a falsifiable claim. There is nothing that you can say to prove it is incorrect.
      Christianity however is vastly different, it makes a claim about the resurrection of a physical person. That is a falsifiable event, the Jewish authorities 2000 years ago attempted to falsify it (but couldnt).

      I encourage you to seriously attempt to falsify it.

      Do what I tried to do, Investigate it with an eye towards debunking this stupid thing fairly quickly..

      April 2, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Gokubi

      @Chad

      Point 1) I was only offering up a couple of different theories of how these people could have come to believe they met a physical incarnation of jesus christ. Another likely option is that these people could have had dreams and met him spiritually and it was only until the canon was closed that it became essential that all the disciples met him in physical form and so the bible was tweaked. Group mentality, peer pressure are very powerful pressures on a person to go with the flow. I'm not saying that is the only other way, I'm just giving you very likely, more likely, possibilities of how a small group of people could come to believe they met a walking dead man.

      Point 2) People die to protect something they believe is truth but which may be false. for instance the buddhist massacre in which a bunch of buddhist nuns were killed rather than give the location of the reincarnated buddha.... a man, mind you, who was walking and talking and saying he was THE buddha, not a prophet of buddha (I don't think such things exist within buddhism). Why are they less right compared to the 9-10 holy people who died rather than recant a resurrected jesus. I'm honestly trying to wrap my head around why you believe the "uniqueness" of why these people died over other crazy cult people somehow legitimizes your religion without someone legitimizing these other cults?

      Point 3) Honest question, how is it possible in your mind to falsify an event that happened 2,000 years ago. For instance, I can use logic, reason and observation of physical laws to know that no one has been able to be resurrected from the dead after 3 days, aside from that it's virtually impossible given current science to go back in time and actually witness the event, or find a text that would deny the event because you understand, no one 2000 years ago would take the time, paper, ink, etc... to write down something that didn't happen. In this day and age of twitter and Facebook updates about non events, it's easy to fall into the trap that people would do the same thing, but I would highly doubt there's going to be anything uncovered anytime soon that can be dated to exactly to when jesus was resurrected around that area where someone wrote down either "no one resurrected today" or " today I ate a piece of toast, milked my goat, etc...". So to wrap up, what sort of evidence would you consider legit to falsify a claim that jesus was resurrected?

      April 3, 2012 at 2:26 am |
    • Chad

      @Gokubi "Another likely option is that these people could have had dreams and met him spiritually and it was only until the canon was closed that it became essential that all the disciples met him in physical form and so the bible was tweaked. "
      @chad "physical resurrection was the central part of the earliest narratives, 10-20 years after. That textual authenticity has been demonstrated and is accepted among the vast majority of liberal and conservative scholars. Also note that accusations of grave robbery by the disciples were lodged by the Jewish authorities in the month's following resurrection.
      Council of Nicaea was in 325 AD, there are over 30 extant manuscripts from prior to that date.

      ========
      @Gokubi "People die to protect something they believe is truth but which may be false. for instance the buddhist massacre in which a bunch of buddhist nuns were killed rather than give the location of the reincarnated buddha....I'm honestly trying to wrap my head around why you believe the "uniqueness" of why these people died"
      @Chad "Those people died for their refusal to recant the statement that Jesus was physically resurrected from the dead.
      They could have said "Jesus was enthroned at the right hand of God" or any number of other honorifics that didnt require a physical resurrection.
      but, they didnt
      they died proclaiming His physical resurrection. Quite obviously, they believed they had met with a resurrected Christ.

      The uniqueness is in what they believed to be true.
      They didnt just think Jesus was great, that He was worthy of following. They believed He was resurrected.
      The buddhist followers believed in him, that's what the died for.
      Jesus followers believed He had been resurrected, that's what they died for.
      that's the difference.

      ========
      @Gokubi "Honest question, how is it possible in your mind to falsify an event that happened 2,000 years ago"
      @chad "Historical analysis of the various data sources, the same thing every historian around the world does every day when determining what really happened. You do realize that being a historian is actually a profession, and many extremely bright people have developed sophisticated methodology for doing precisely that.

      Dont forget, there was a strongly motivated group on the scene precisely at that time and they tried extremely hard to falsify the resurrection story but were unable to (Jewish authorities).

      April 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • I wonder

      Chad: – "Or are they dying rather than recant the statement that they had witnessed a physically resurrected Jesus Christ."

      WHO is VERIFIED to have done that?

      April 3, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • I wonder

      p.s. no legends from wikipedia or Christian websites, please.

      April 3, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Gokubi

      Chad

      One thing that should be made clear, people lie I know this might the new for you but it's true. I say this because people have lied since we had language in which to lie in and any number of lies could have been told immediately after jesus's supposed "resurrection" up to the council of Nicea 325 AD, not to mention for over 20000 years since. If you agree to that then I hope you can agree how likely it is that any number of people could have easily lied about seeing jesus, say through peer pressure, group think, etc....

      Next point you clearly missed, These buddhist people who died to protect the buddha didn't believe the guy they were protecting was great or on purely ideological grounds, it was to protect the legit reincarnation of buddha. They didn't believe in a random guy, they believed in THE buddha just as much as the disciples believed in THE jesus. They are one in the same, talking semantics isn't going to help you, I wouldn't say they are exactly identical because they clearly aren't, but what can be gleaned from these two occurrences is that the main separation is by location more than anything else. What I'm pointing out to you is simple enough, people dying because they believe something to be true, no matter how outlandish it might sound, does not give them relevancy or veracity. I still don't understand why you think because a group of people chose to die rather than recant somehow leads to some sort of proof of why what they died for should be taken seriously. Do you believe Joseph Smith met jesus in physical form?

      Last point, you didn't answer my question, you stalled, what would be evidence in your mind. For instance, what I find perfectly acceptable and so do many jews is grave robbery, but thats just one of the many different theories of what could have happened to jesus's body if it was indeed missing after being checked on days later. You also need to understand that there might have been some motivated groups that wanted to prove jesus wrong, but not as intent as you think, considering jesus was one of the many messianic figures to come on the scene and claim being the messiah, You do realize that for a while after jesus's death a lot of people just looked at his small cult of followers as a group that would die off quickly and that would be that. Jesus was no more a famous figure during his time than say..... his best friend Levi called Biff

      April 4, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • Chad

      @Gokubi "One thing that should be made clear, people lie I know this might the new for you but it's true"
      @Chad "Sure, but those same people dont go to their death rather than admit it was a lie. People simply dont die for something that they know is a lie.. it's simple.

      =========
      @Gokubi "Next point you clearly missed, These buddhist people who died to protect the buddha didn't believe the guy they were protecting was great or on purely ideological grounds, it was to protect the legit reincarnation of buddha."
      @Chad "that's fine, how did that belief come into being? I couldnt find any news on that incident, so I'll speculate that they were told that this person was a reincarnation of Buddha? They believed that powerfully enough to die for it.

      How did the disciples, friends and foes, believers and non believers, all independently, at different times and places, all report meeting a resurrected Christ, and subsequently experience a radical reversal of their belief system. That's the question to ask. You arent appreciating the dramatic turn I'm talking about. When a purported Messiah is crucified, that's it, no more Messiah, the crucifixion proves according to the Old Testament that that person was literally cursed by God. ALL of the disciples were leaving town, scattering and hiding from authorities. Then.. something truly amazing happened.

      As well, reincarnation isnt really falsifiable is it? I could claim to be George Washington reincarnated and there isnt much you could do to refute it.
      resurrection of course is an entirely different matter though, isnt it.. That is certainly a falsifiable claim.

      =========
      @Gokubi "Last point, you didn't answer my question, you stalled, what would be evidence in your mind"
      @Chad "what would be necessary, would be to demonstrate that the resurrection was logically inconsistent with the events recorded. I wouldnt speculate on what evidence might do that, as I honestly can think of none.. One has to keep in mind the mountain of existing evidence we do have.

      =========
      @Gokubi "For instance, what I find perfectly acceptable and so do many jews is grave robbery"
      @Chad "you mentioned that before, and that was what early Jewish authorities contended, but that fails in light of the "no one dies for a lie" argument..

      =========
      @Gokubi "You also need to understand that there might have been some motivated groups that wanted to prove jesus wrong,"
      @chad "not clear how stealing the body would accomplish that..."

      =========
      @Gokubi " jesus was one of the many messianic figures to come on the scene and claim being the messiah"
      @Chad "indeed, but the only one that actually turned out to be the real messiah. Just as there are many fake elvis presleys, that doesnt imply there wasnt a real one.

      =========
      @Gokubi ", You do realize that for a while after jesus's death a lot of people just looked at his small cult of followers as a group that would die off quickly and that would be that. Jesus was no more a famous figure during his time than say..... his best friend Levi called Biff"
      @Chad "indeed
      :
      "But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”" – Acts 5

      April 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Gokubi

      @Chad

      You made some valid points, you also clearly missed a lot as well:

      1) When I said people lie, I'm not saying the people claiming to meet jesus were lying, I'm saying the people who believed these accounts or later during the council of Nicea would have reason to lie either by accident to make it sound more impressive or on purpose. A story only told by word of mouth for years after an event WILL change, that really isn't up for debate. I can pretty much guarantee you that if you tried to tell me a story from your own past 35 years ago beat for beat you would get details wrong, you would make mistakes. Now try doing that with someone else's story and put your life on the line, it's easy to lie, emphasize or tweak a story.

      2) The buddhist incident was that the buddha himself was teaching buddhists learnings and people came to this conclusion on their own, but that's besides the point because you're getting too bogged down in the specifics of the story and how they differ and not the underlying point of; people dying instead of recant a story they believe to be true. You keep relying on this point as if it's the crux of your entire argument, but can you not understand why this isn't persuasive at all, if anything it's even less convincing.

      3) "One has to keep in mind the mountain of existing evidence we do have." – Mountains? Hardly, on the specific resurrection there's about a books worth, but again that's besides the point. If you can't think of something that would count as evidence against proving the resurrection wrong, that you're doing exactly what you claim atheists do, by rejecting the possibility of being wrong you can't see the illogical and downright silliness you profess to be correct. For instance, I understand that some theories in science seems downright counter-intuitive. I also understand and can wrap my head around theories being wrong. I've given you the proof needed to sway me and it seems pretty easy for a god thats omnipotent...

      4) How does grave robbing fail in light of "no one dies for a lie argument"? Jesus says he'll "rise" 3 days after his death, 3 days later his followers go to his tomb and find it empty and claim he's risen after having a vision or meeting him a dream when it clearly could have been grave robbery.

      5) Please read the who sentence instead of taking it out of context next time, when I said, " You also need to understand that there might have been some motivated groups that wanted to prove jesus wrong" the next part being " but not as intent as you think". These are the small groups that would either just disbelieve that eople claiming to see jesus risen or just call it like they see it and say "grave robbery", the groups wanting to prove jesus wrong and the grave robbers are two separate groups.

      6) You're elvis presley analogy was asinine to say the least. Impersonators do not claim to be the real thing, didn't think I needed to explain that but apparently I needed to. As for saying there hasn't been a real messiah, who knows which one was right or, which jews believe more likely, the messiah has come yet. It's pretty simple. Out of the amount of people claiming to be the messiah from 2,000 years ago and longer, all of them could be wrong. Obviously you've chosen to believe that jesus was the real deal on a flimsy foundation, but don't think that there just has to be a real one just because of the amount of fake ones.

      7) Your last point, if anything it only strengthens my point but suffice it to say that quoting the bible does not strengthen your case as it's complete veracity is highly suspect. It does however point out that there have been a lot of other people who gained larger followings who weren't, there are also still followers of the Kokhba even after he led a revolt against the romans a while ago, he fits more of the prophecies than jesus does, so..... why don't you give equal weight that these people could be as right as you?

      April 5, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • Chad

      @Gokubi “When I said people lie, I'm not saying the people claiming to meet jesus were lying, I'm saying the people who believed these accounts or later during the council of Nicea would have reason to lie either by accident to make it sound more impressive or on purpose. A story only told by word of mouth for years after an event WILL change, that really isn't up for debate.
      @Chad “We have original manuscripts from the first century, ~250 years prior to Nicea. The resurrection narrative didn’t change, the belief on the part of the early disciples that they met a physically resurrected Jesus didn’t “morph” over time, that has been clearly demonstrated.

      =============
      @Gokubi “ I can pretty much guarantee you that if you tried to tell me a story from your own past 35 years ago beat for beat you would get details wrong, you would make mistakes. Now try doing that with someone else's story and put your life on the line, it's easy to lie, emphasize or tweak a story.
      @Chad “I might get details wrong, but I certainly wouldn’t get wrong the essential fact that I had met a resurrected person.
      And again, the evidence for the resurrection is the radical change in belief that the original disciples had. NOT people that came along later.

      =============
      @Gokubi “ people dying instead of recant a story they believe to be true.”
      @Chad “look, it’s very simple. You simply cannot lump all people who die for a belief into the same bucket, then smear the people who died for true beliefs with the same paint brush as that which was applied to people who died for false beliefs. Right? Using your logic, there’s no such thing as dying for a true belief as there are people who die for false ones.

      =============
      @Gokubi “"One has to keep in mind the mountain of existing evidence we do have." – Mountains? Hardly, on the specific resurrection there's about a books worth”
      @Chad “you are just simply uninformed as to the scholarly research out there, there are quite literally 10’s of thousands of books written over the past 1000 years or so reviewing the resurrection data.

      The bible is the most heavily peer reviewed doc in the history of mankind. Right?

      =============
      @Gokubi “"If you can't think of something that would count as evidence against proving the resurrection wrong, that you're doing exactly what you claim atheists do, by rejecting the possibility of being wrong you can't see the illogical and downright silliness you profess to be correct.”
      @Chad “read my post again… “"what would be necessary, would be to demonstrate that the resurrection was logically inconsistent with the events recorded. I wouldnt speculate on what evidence might do that, as I honestly can think of none.””

      I clearly don’t reject the possibility of being wrong, correct?

      =============
      @Gokubi “"How does grave robbing fail in light of "no one dies for a lie argument"? Jesus says he'll "rise" 3 days after his death, 3 days later his followers go to his tomb and find it empty and claim he's risen after having a vision or meeting him a dream when it clearly could have been grave robbery.”
      @Chad “That would mean someone other than the disciples robbed the (guarded) grave.
      In that scenario, one would have to explain:
      – why someone other than one of His followers would rob the grave, what was the motivation?
      – how they got past posted guards (who faced the death penalty for dereliction of duty)
      – how multiple people in different locations at different times, followers and skeptics ALL had hallucinations of a resurrected Jesus.
      – Remember, the disciples didn’t say that “Jesus had been exalted”, or some other type of spiritual incident. They reported they had meet a physically resurrected Jesus.

      =============
      @Gokubi “"Out of the amount of people claiming to be the messiah from 2,000 years ago and longer, all of them could be wrong. Obviously you've chosen to believe that jesus was the real deal on a flimsy foundation, but don't think that there just has to be a real one just because of the amount of fake ones.”
      @chad “you are making a fallacious argument. No matter how many people pretend to be the messiah, that has no bearing positive or negative on the fact that there is really a true messiah. Right?

      =============
      @Gokubi “"there have been a lot of other people who gained larger followings who weren't [the messiah], there are also still followers of the Kokhba even after he led a revolt against the romans a while ago, he fits more of the prophecies than jesus does, so..... why don't you give equal weight that these people could be as right as you?”
      @Chad “because they weren’t resurrected, and as such didn’t receive Gods endorsement, simple 🙂

      April 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Gokubi

      Chad

      1) The Manuscripts you speak of WERE changed, that was what Nicea was all about, you keep ignoring Nicea as a seminole event in which christianity was shaped and carved into the basic form its in today. Any evidence pointing to the contrary of this decision was destroyed to protect the belief.

      2) You keep talking about radical changes in people's beliefs, but most of jesus's disciples already were monotheists, and messianic monthesists at that. It's not hard to jump from there to believing in a specific person as the messiah. Secondly, you'd be surprised at what can change over X amount of years when you retell it, especially when faced with skepticism, it's easy to embellish. Now I know you're going to say these people wouldn't have died for a lie (you keep saying this over and over and over and over) but it's easy to embellish a detail and then to start believing in it. When you admit you might get the details wrong, which details? Who's to know after years and years what's fact and what's fiction. When you being to admit that there may have been some tweaking to a story and it's not all pure fact, you start wading into dangerous waters.

      3) The bible is not " the most heavily peer reviewed doc in the history of mankind." as that implies that the peer review pre modern times was done to test the bibles veracity. People who denied the bible were murdered for it, there are jews, muslims, hindu scholars, etc... who all deny it one way or another by either pointing out that X city didn't exist, or X event couldn't have occurred. To use the bible as being peer reviewed and tested as a way to show how right it is, is downright silly. It's still highly contended by many people and one of the only reasons you and most christians don't really get that is because the book tells you that faith is a virtue and that believing in it even when shown it's falsehoods is a good thing.

      4) I apologize for taking you out of context, you don't deny the possibility of being wrong, but you remove anyway in which to prove you are wrong. It's like an atheist who says they don't believe in god and even if god himself came down from the heavens tomorrow and announced he was real they still wouldn't believe. Telling me if there were inconsistencies in the resurrection would be proof enough is also silly. Any person with two brain cells to run together knows that if you're going to lay down a new religion, you got to get your story straight. Keep in mind how many sects of christianity were around before Nicea, think about that for a moment. In such a short time after Jesus was here on earth and his followers were around to continue his teachings, the following itself split into a lot of very different sects only to be united at Nicea. Shouldn't that be enough to show you there were clearly inconsistencies right from the get go?

      5) Grave Robbing senario"
      – motivation? Easy, anywhere from doctors looking to learn more about the human body to using the body for more nefarious purposes like selling crushed up organs.
      – Getting passed guards could be as easy as simple bribe. It was pretty common, ridiculously so if you had enough coin.
      – Dreams are a powerful thing, drugs are also. Hallucinations have happened to more people than just the 9-10 men, that's really not that many people.

      6) You are right that "No matter how many people pretend to be the messiah, that has no bearing positive or negative on the fact that there is really a true messiah" – which was exactly my point to YOU. Just because there were many false ones does not mean one has to be the real one. They could all be false including jesus, regardless of the different stories, mythologies and lore surrounding their reasoning on why they are the messiah. Please do not try to counter with jesus was right because his story of a resurrection was different than the other people claiming to messiahs, that has no bearing nor does it back up the argument in any way.

      7) Don't have to say much on your last comment, the "simple" part now comes down to opinion and belief, both things that aren't provable nor persuasive. If you were to at least admit, like I think most christians do, that their jesus being the messiah is strictly based on belief and with evidence, at least then you could understand that there are logical inconsistencies in which you choose to ignore in order to believe in christ than say, you trying to use the bible as a way to actually physically prove your belief as correct.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Chad

      @Gokubi “The Manuscripts you speak of WERE changed, that was what Nicea was all about”
      @Chad “incorrect, certain manuscripts were discerned to be true and others weren’t (they are known as apocryphal), but NONE were altered or modified.

      You might argue that by selecting some and not others the message was shaped.. but you can’t argue that manuscripts were altered, there simply is abundant evidence to the contrary, and NO evidence supporting your claim.

      ========
      @Gokubi “ You keep talking about radical changes in people's beliefs, but most of jesus's disciples already were monotheists, and messianic monthesists at that. It's not hard to jump from there to believing in a specific person as the messiah. Secondly, you'd be surprised at what can change over X amount of years when you retell it, especially when faced with skepticism, it's easy to embellish.”

      @Chad “Two major problems with that logic:
      1. Jews of that day had NO NOTION of a crucified messiah, crucifixion in fact demonstrated that Jesus was literally accursed of God. That is precisely why all of the disciples scattered immediately following the crucifixion.
      2. The change in belief didn’t occur over time, it occurred very abruptly

      “He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
      They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
      19 “What things?” he asked.
      “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel“ Luke 24

      ========
      @Gokubi “The bible is not " the most heavily peer reviewed doc in the history of mankind”

      @Chad “Yes it is.. 🙂

      ========
      No disrespect, but the remainder of the arguments have been dealt with prior, let me know if you disagree

      April 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Gokubi

      @Chad

      I think I could argue the manuscripts were altered, but I'd have no way to back that up, so I'll let that one hang, but at least you recognize that the message was shaped and that they were picking and choosing which ones were true and which ones were "apocryphal", does that not cast doubts on what could have gotten thrown out that maybe didn't match up with the other accounts but may have been devastating to the religion itself....

      2) No notion of a CRUCIFIED messiah, yes, no notions of a messiah? wrong, of course they believed a messiah was coming, modern judaism is basically messianic judaism that believes a messiah will come, one way or another. That being said, a change from believing a messiah will come to the the messiah came isn't a crazy, abrupt change the way you make it sound. It's not a big jump. Again, there have been many different instances where this has happened with jews since jesus up till even the 1960's, an abrupt change in someones beliefs does not mean much.

      3) Peer reviewed implies that people have tried to prove its veracity, it's probably one of the most heavily studied books of all time, but most scholars on the subject begin study believing that the foundation is truth. The review itself could not safely be done until not too long ago. and even then when ever competing evidence is found, the church denies it. The bible is not above scrutiny and not only has been scrutinized but come out wanting.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Chad

      @Gokubi " No notion of a CRUCIFIED messiah, yes, no notions of a messiah? wrong, of course they believed a messiah was coming, modern judaism is basically messianic judaism that believes a messiah will come, one way or another... "
      @Chad "The point is that once a claimant to be the messiah was crucified, that meant (according to all Jewish thought) that he wasnt the messiah.
      that's my entire point.
      the crucifixion would have been viewed as proving Jesus wasnt the messiah.
      but, then he was resurrected, which demonstrated He actually WAS.

      That is just another demonstration of how incredible and abrupt the reversal in the disciples belief system was.

      ===========
      @Gokubi " Peer reviewed implies that people have tried to prove its veracity, it's probably one of the most heavily studied books of all time, but most scholars on the subject begin study believing that the foundation is truth."

      @Chad " utter, utter nonsense.. you arent speaking from any position of understanding of what is out there and how exhaustive the assaults on the bible has been over the past 1500 years.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Gokubi

      @Chad
      Well you're sort of getting it at least, he was no more a messiah than the others who were crucified or more often than not who just vanished.

      We disagree on the resurrection, clearly, so considering I think he wasn't resurrected just makes him another fake messiah in the long list of messiahs.

      Yes, there have been assaults on the bible, and it hasn't withstood them except through faith and faith alone. I mean, many posters here have understand and accept that the bible is truth in the sense of certifiable, physical truth, but moral truth which is why they want to accept the bibles teaching. Personally I believe differently again, but thats more a matter of opinion than anything else.

      You on the other hand have tried to prove the bibles truthfulness which is a losing battle

      April 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @Gokubi "We disagree on the resurrection, clearly, so considering I think he wasn't resurrected just makes him another fake messiah in the long list of messiahs."
      @Chad "so you're back with:
      1. Jesus was buried in a tomb
      2. After 3 days that tomb was found to be empty by a group of women followers
      3. Many people(followers, skeptics and enemies) subsequently reported witnessing a resurrected Jesus.
      4. Those people went from:
      – a discouraged, despondent belief that the person whom they thought was the messiah had actually been demonstrated by God NOT to have been the messiah, leaving town and hiding from authorities
      to:
      – a group of people whom would willingly go to their death rather than renounce the truth that they had witnessed a resurrected Christ.

      so, how do you explain those facts universally as true by the overwhelming majority of scholars and historians?

      you have tried all of the common attempts at explanation, and as demonstrated all fail to explain the facts as we know them.

      The best and only explanation, is that Jesus actually was resurrected from the dead, and He is the Messiah.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Gokubi

      Ha! So we're back to this again? Really? After this entire thread you wind up exactly back to where you were before, thus proving my earlier point you might be open to being wrong but you do not intend on accepting any alternative.

      Also, give it a rest with the whole "people dying rather than recant", that doesn't prove anything as I have well shown through many different examples of more people dying throughout history for the same reasoning. and those "facts" that are supposedly "universally true" is not the case, 1 probably is, 2, possibly (the women followers thing might a stretch) and after that it's all hear say and not accepted as fact insofar as these people being right or wrong (unless you're a christian and a specific type at that).

      I have also given you many different senarios in which these different "facts" can be explained and through more believable, logical and possible means as well. Just because you've decided the "best" explanation is a guy rising 3 days after death is the right one, does not make it the only one nor does it, in many peoples opinions, make it the best one.

      You call my attempts "common", well I'm sorry I couldn't come up with a crazy tale that would satisfy your need for mystery and magic the way the bible does, but as I'm sure you've experienced as most people do, life can at a lot of times be boring and there are many mundane explanations for something that may at first seem extraordinary.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Chad

      @Gokubi "give it a rest with the whole "people dying rather than recant", that doesn't prove anything as I have well shown through many different examples of more people dying throughout history for the same reasoning
      @Chad "again, you seem to miss this point every time, not sure if it is willfully refusing to acknowledge it or not..
      Yes, people die for all kinds of closely held beliefs.
      What is the closely held belief?
      In the early disciple case, it is that they met a physically resurrected Jesus.
      What caused them to come to this belief?

      that's the question you keep ignoring or missing..

      The four facts are nearly universally held, that's just reality. Even the "Jesus Seminar" and "atheists for Jesus" accept them.. 🙂

      @Gokubi I have also given you many different senarios in which these different "facts" can be explained and through more believable, logical and possible means as well.
      @Chad "sorry, no.. 🙂
      See above..

      You should get familiar with some of the volumes of literature on the subject of the resurrection.. I dont think you have a clear picture of the centuries of debate on the topic..

      take 45 minutes and listen to this to get a survey.. (you'll have to google it, the naught word filter on this blog wont let me copy it in)
      Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment? Craig vs Gerd Ludemann

      April 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Gokubi

      Ugh Chad, give a rest already, really, it's just sort of sad. Just because others accept something does mean I have to is one thing and the second thing is, the "atheists for jesus" that you prattle about do NOT, and I think this bears repeating, DOES NOT accept the "facts" you just stated. The facts are there was probably a guy named Yeshua Bar Joseph, and it's possible he lived and then was killed by crucifixion for sedition and treason. It's also quite likely that his tomb could have been found empty 3 days later. All of those can be easily accepted. Any more detail, any implication, inference and ridiculous statements you add to it is opinion and NOT fact, nor will it ever be just because you insist that it is. Whatever could have caused disciples to come to a belief and become willing to die for it does not make it anymore palatable or true. Not sure why you can't wrap your head around this but if you were to hear a group of men tomorrow talk about meeting the messiah who was a guy who just arose out of the ground, would you start believing them too? TYou have to take them purely on say, not seeing it for yourself but just from a group of people say... in Brazil who said it happened and no matter how hard you tried to prove them wrong they would go to their graves saying exactly that....

      "@Gokubi I have also given you many different senarios in which these different "facts" can be explained and through more believable, logical and possible means as well.
      @Chad "sorry, no.. " - Yes, yes I have. grave robbery, hallucinations, lying, story tweaking, pure fiction, there are a lot of different senarios, now whether you choose to believe is your business, but considering I've given you a bunch of different ways that this "resurrection" could have really happened, it's pretty ridiculous for you to deny that I have done this when it's literally written directly above the previous post.

      I'll listen to what you posted when I have time and try with an open mind. I promise you though this isn't the first time I've heard the argument for jesus and his resurrection and so far none has swayed me,.

      April 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Chad

      @Gokubi "I'll listen to what you posted when I have time and try with an open mind. I promise you though this isn't the first time I've heard the argument for jesus and his resurrection and so far none has swayed me,."

      =>please do, and let me know what you think

      The book that convinced me (in conjunction with reading the Gospels in parallel) was "Who moved the stone" – Frank Morrison. Which is really a very light weight treatment of the subject. I have since then been introduced to vastly more in depth scholarly analysis such as
      "The Resurrection of the Son of God" – N.T. Wright

      April 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.