home
RSS
Vatican intensifying crackdown on American nuns
The Vatican and the American Catholic Church have issued three reprimands of Catholic nuns since last year.
June 5th, 2012
02:34 PM ET

Vatican intensifying crackdown on American nuns

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Vatican denies there's a connection, but its reprimand of an influential American nun, at a moment when the Holy See is already engaged in an intense fight with most American nuns, sends a clear message: The Catholic Church’s leaders think America’s nuns have gone rogue and must be reined in.

The Vatican on Monday censured Sister Margaret A. Farley, who teaches at Yale Divinity School, over a 2006 book she wrote that the church said is out of step with official church teaching on human sexuality.

Just weeks before, the Vatican issued a major report condemning the groups that represent most American nuns, saying those organizations had promoted “radical feminism” while neglecting teachings against homosexuality and abortion.

“The Vatican believes that there is a climate of dissent in some quarters of the women’s religious life in America,” said John Allen, CNN’s Vatican analyst. “They are trying to deal with that, and both these developments speak to that.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

In its reprimand of Farley, the church focused on her book “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” which it said condones masturbation and homosexuality.

“Masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action,” the church said in a statement Monday that characterized “homosexual acts” as “acts of grave depravity.”

The reprimand warned church officials not to use Farley’s book, raising eyebrows in Catholic circles because she is one of the country’s most respected female Catholic theologians.

The Rev. Brian Linnane, a Jesuit priest and president of Loyola University Maryland, did his doctoral work in theology under Farley.  He said the notification could have a chilling effect on academic freedom at Catholic institutions.

“There’s a sense that the vocation of the theologian is diminished in this notification to where it’s just, ‘Keep repeating what we’ve already said and don’t question it, don’t critique it, don’t try to help us make it more adequate.’  And I think that’s troubling,” he said.

Linnane said people who read the book knew that Farley was departing from Catholic teaching in certain areas.  

“She did not write a book about sexual practices.  She wrote a new framework to think about sexual ethics, which looks at justice, instead of procreation or abstinence, which have been part of the tradition,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s a question of right or wrong so much as I think it is of the ability to raise critical questions, to try and develop new understandings of the theological tradition and in this case of the moral tradition.”

Linnane said the Vatican is right to be sure that public ministers such as priests and nuns be on the same page doctrinally as the church leaders, and he noted the rebuke was specifically against the book, not the author.

“There’s no silencing of Sister Farley in the notification, there’s no threat to her membership in her religious community; it’s just about the book, which everyone agrees probably shouldn’t be taught in Catholic seminaries, certainly shouldn’t be taught in religious education classes for young persons. Everyone agrees it’s theological speculation,” he said.

The censure came days after the leadership that represents most American nuns concluded a meeting in Washington to devise a response to an April Vatican assessment that accused the nuns of hosting speakers who preached “radical feminism” at an annual gathering of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The group represents about 80% of American nuns.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

The report also said the nuns were too focused on social justice and not enough on opposing abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage.

The recent reprimands come about a year after U.S. Catholic bishops rebuked another nun, Sister Elizabeth Johnson at Fordham University, for her writings.

The bishops said that Johnson falsely claims the Catholic Church’s names are “metaphors that do not apply to the reality of God within the traditional Catholic understanding.”

“In the last 12 months you’ve seen two of America’s leading Catholic nuns who are theologians in the cross hairs,” Allen said. “I’m not sure there’s anyone left of their stature to go after.”

Many parts of the American nuns’ community and the Catholic academic world have come out swinging against the Vatican critiques. In a statement, Farley defended her work, saying it was not meant as an official church teaching.

Farley said she feared the Vatican “misrepresents (perhaps unwittingly) the aims of my work and the nature of it as a proposal that might be in service of, not against, the church and its faithful people.”

On Friday, the leaders of the American nuns whom the Vatican had criticized said the Holy See’s report was “based on unsubstantiated accusations and (was) the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency” and that the report had “caused scandal and pain throughout the church community.”

Representatives of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious are flying to Rome this week to try to chart a course forward with Vatican officials. Church experts said that the nuns could accept the assessment, negotiate or resign en masse and form a new group outside the watchful eye of the Vatican.

The reprimands originate from the Vatican’s powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Pope Benedict XVI led for decades before his elevation to the papacy.

In interviews conducted while he held that earlier post, Benedict spoke often about growing the church by pruning - becoming smaller but more devout before expanding.

It is hard to know what the reaction to the fight between American nuns and the Vatican is within the American Catholic community, but there have been some pockets of protest against the Vatican’s actions.

“It’s one thing when the Vatican goes after a theologian, because most rank-and-file Catholics don’t know any theologians,” Allen said. “But so many have been educated by sisters in a school, taken care of by a sister at a hospital or know a nun in their parish that is running the office."

He added, “When there’s a perception that sisters are under fire, there’s a tendency to support them.”

There is evidence that the reprimand against Farley has raised her profile as a theologian. Her "Just Love" was the best-selling religious studies book Tuesday on Amazon.com.

- CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sexuality

soundoff (2,186 Responses)
  1. sharon

    If the Church does not allow legitimate questions and academic discussion, it will stagnate– and eventually–die. We wouldn't have been created with minds if G-D wanted robots. I think the Catholic Church is afraid that it will lose its influence over people if it allows them to think for theselves. On the contrary, a church which allows honest questioning is likely to become even more inflential because the lively discussions that follow will allow that church to grow and adapt to our changing society.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Nilkinggary

      Nicely put, but you're dressing up a situation that is essentially a small group of old, testy men who wish to push around a much larger group of women. I favor the women myself.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  2. alltruth

    Atheists (read naturalists) claim that we are nothing but a bunch of chemicals. This necessarily implies no free will, no choice, etc. How then are we making arguments now on this discussion board? If there is really no free-will and are brains are just a bunch of chemicals, then how can we "marshal" them to understand, reason, think, etc. Also, how can anyone try to win anyone over to their position, so to speak. That would require being able to explain, reason, understand, and CHOOSE!
    But there is no choice, no free will in naturalism....

    However, being made in the image of God, the theist does not have to "take a leap of faith" or borrow from the athests philosophical position to make their point. But the atheist must borrow from the theistic (rational, free-will) world view to argue that free-will doesn't exist. This is self-contradictory by nature!

    June 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "However, being made in the image of God, the theist does not have to "take a leap of faith" or borrow from the athests philosophical position to make their point"

      Of course you take a leap of faith when you adhere to what a bunch of fallible humans wrote in that book. Men said we were created in the image of god. God did not say that.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Some atheist philosophers rejected the idea of sin because we were completely at the mercy of our surroundings, thus no free will and therefore no sin.
      An atheist will insist that his brain is merely a biochemical machine which reacts only to outside stimulii gathered by the five senses. He will dismiss "intuition" as just a gut feel sort of thing and not reliable. Yet the same atheists accuse Christians of being brainwashed. Being "brainwashed" means that we have no freedom to think. Yet the atheist says the same thing. About 3000 years ago, the author of the book of Sirach had this to say: When, in the beginning, the Lord created human beings, he left them free to do as they wished (free will).... He has placed fire and water before you; reach out and take whichever you want. You have a choice between life and death; you will get whichever you choose. Sirach 15:14-17 Free thought and decision has been part of the Judeo/CHristian tradition from the beginning.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Mywillisfree

      Wow. I wonder how you came to such an antagonistic conclusion without getting a knot into your brainwires...

      June 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      @religion weak minded Religious people are people of faith. But atheists are people of ASSUMPTION. They assume that all information that exists is available to them through their five senses, and is processed by the infallible reasoning function of the brain (usually, their own. To admit that some other atheist has superior reason is to be a follower) . THe atheist ASSUMES that all that exists can fit under the umbrella of his reason.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • alltruth

      Responses, yes. But no one has answered my quesiton.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • TR6

      “Atheists (read naturalists) claim that we are nothing but a bunch of chemicals. This necessarily implies no free will, no choice, etc”

      Typical as-shole Christian, couldn’t reason his way out of a paper bag. Starts with a false premise so he can reach his stupid conclusion. Being made exclusively of chemicals does not negate free will. Most Christians claim their pets do not have a soul and are truly just a bunch of chemicals; but, the honest ones will admit that their pets demonstrate free will, choice, etc.

      June 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • TR6

      @PrimeNumber:” Free thought and decision has been part of the Judeo/CHristian tradition from the beginning.”

      So has burning people at the stake for thinking and deciding things the church disapproved of

      June 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • TR6

      @PrimeNumber;:” THe atheist ASSUMES that all that exists can fit under the umbrella of his reason.”

      Ok name something that is not part of your religion (since we disagree on it) that exists; but, is not subject to logical investigation

      June 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Kay

      Your questions are invalid.

      In the first place, there is no such thing as a universal atheistic belief system. The single thing atheists have in common is that they lack theistic belief. That's it. They lack theistic belief. Nothing to do with free will whatsoever. Or chemicals in the brain. Nothing but a lack of theistic belief.

      Maybe you ought to actually read about atheists? Talk to some of them? Not just draw your conclusions from a few posters on Internet forums? If you did, you'd learn that, contrary to your own personal biases, countless atheists believe in free will...they simply don't believe it's something given by God. Or based on the existence of a "soul". I mean, like it or not, believing that all of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are just chemical processes within the brain (something which is very much supported by current scientific knowledge, by the way) doesn't mean that people don't actually *have* thoughts, feelings and emotions. Or that atheists don't have them. Or don't notice that other people have them. (Surely you don't believe that thinking, reasoning, understanding, etc. have absolutely nothing to do with the brain???)

      And maybe you ought to actually read about free will? About the different philosophical, ethical, religious, and scientific approaches to it? It's quite fascinating. Since you don't seem to realize that there is no one single meaning of "free will", I think it would be good for you to expand your knowledge.

      By the waym the fact that people actually DO "understand, reason, think, etc." does *NOT* prove your God gave them free will. That is simply what *you* believe...and you believe it's your God-given "free will" that led you to that belief. However, just as strong a case could be made that you actually had NO "free will" in believing that you do. That this conclusion was predetermined by the chemicals in your brain and how they responded to previous stimuli, leaving you no choice but what to believe 🙂

      I personally believe that people do have at least a certain degree of free will, although I certainly don't believe it's "given" to us by some deity. But that doesn't matter.

      To me, what is *FAR* more important is what people do with the free will they *do* have. After all, it doesn't matter in the slightest how much "free will" a 4 year old has when her daddy is exercising his *own* free will and doing horrible things to the child and telling her she has to keep her mouth shut or something bad will happen to her kitty cat.

      Ad hominem attacks against atheists. Ad ignorantiam arguments about chemical processes in the brain. If you have to resort to logical fallacies to make your case, you're better off not saying anything. I mean, do you really think that's what your God wants you to do with *your* free will?

      June 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • areyoukiddingme

      EXISTENTIAL NIHILISM....look it up, your reasoning do not compute...

      June 8, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • areyoukiddingme

      EXISTENTIAL NIHILISM anything else is laughable.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • youdon'tsay

      If we were made in the image of god, he looks nothing like modern man. That's not the word of god, but by egotistical male mind.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • youdon'tsay

      Primenumber..You to ASSUME there is a god because you were told so. You point the finger at Atheists when you do the exact same thing ! Religion wants the person to accept their teachings without question, so you ASSUME way more than we do.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • lostboy

      Alltruth...you really need to spend more time with Atheist ! They see to put up more evidence than the church.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • mothernature

      @TR6 and everyone... Not only do animals demonstrate free will, many creatures act identical to humans. Ants, build condos, they have an army, a queen, they will attack, kill, and steal from another colony to support their own. Termites are smart enough to air condition their mounds. Look at elephants, they mourn death, often staying behind to hold and pass around the bones of a loved family member or a fallen friend, even returning to the same spots many years later to mourn, again. Even PLANTS evolved weapons against attackers . Most animals and reptiles, fish, exhibit the exact protective, caring for offspring, often willingly risking their own lives. I can go on and on about the attributes of other living species acting the same way humans do, so why do people believe they haven't a soul? If any species evolved the ability to speak as we do, things would definitely, be extremely different, by the way it is proven that most species "CAN" communicate to each other among their own species, Whales, porpoises, dogs, birds,etc.etc.etc, and many can tell what the voice and actions of another species mean. So why do we think we are so special and grand? Because man decided so. Nature begs to differ, and I stand by nature. The living beings, plants and animals, on this planet are so intrinsically designed, that it has to be evolution. The combinations are so complexed, no creator would have spent time to make it all click. The genes, network of veins, nerves, and reproductive system, the way our most minuet details all work together. He would have made us and other living things, much more uncomplicated. Like no need for oxygen, digestive, or other things we now need to live. Why would a creator also include defects, disease, retardation, etc. etc. EVOLUTION of everything living ! There would NOT be the enormous number of different plants, animals, or planets, or even different races. Why do we need black holes, other universes, dead planets, stars, sec, etc. Only by evolving did we acquire so complicated bodies, even now the appendix is worthless, and eventually disappearing completely from our bodies in time, just like body hair, and tails and rough skin. We are, simply put, NOTHING SPECIAL. Our highly developed EGOS just demand we are so extremely superior. Scientist placed a species of lizard, on a remote island, devoid of his natural surrounds, and in just a few decades, it's mouth, stomach, digestive system, and diet completely evolves to sustain it's life. Did god do this, or evolution? I think you know the truth. We evolve. It's so sad that we developed too quickly with our gigantic egos and lack of caring for the planet, and life, even quicker. With the as*anine behavior and ridiculous fighting so carelessly about who's god is greater, We need to put religion in it's place, not end it as every individual has the right to choice, but concentrate on preserving our precious planet and all it's grandeur. Imagine for just a second, what our planet would be like with no religion. What would we be fighting for? And if there would be discord, our wars would be short, small, and most likely insignificant. Religion has led to more unnecessary deaths than other combination of control put together, such as land grabbing, acquiring slaves, power or wealth etc. Apparently your god needs our help, very quickly. He is entirely to busy, to handle it on his, her, own. The quicker we realize, the planet is slowly dying, by our hands, the quicker we set in stone our continuance of our lives and generations to come. Religion is detrimental to children and all living things.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • mothernature

      Everyone should Google, "FAMOUS ATHEIST" alive and dead. Atheist HAVE added greatly to advancement of our society. Oh you religions mongers are quick to point out Hitler (who was Roman Catholic) Stalin, Mao, etc, only because a "FEW" radical, inhuman beings did the world wrong. 24% of Americans are Atheist, and that's up from 5% in 1946, we are growing quickly as we become more aware and educated. 15% of the world is also Atheist. There are 10 times more Atheist than Mormons, and I must say 100% more moral. Susan B. Anthony was one, not to mention 18 of our great countries founding fathers. The birth of your rights of freedom to worship, came from Atheists. Sigmund Freud, George Carlin, Issac Asimov, John Lennon, Ernest Hemmingway, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet, Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, Richard Branson, Edgar Allen Poe, Marie Curie, Hellen Keller, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Stephen Hawkins, George Clooney, Bill Mayer, John Steward, and of course Darwin, Hawking, Hitchens, Harris, on and on etc. Are you trying to say that not one of these Aheists have contributed 0% of good to society, or have never touched you in a positive way, ever? I thought so. An Atheist led you out of the darkness. how about that. Judge and criticize only after you inventory the skeletons stashed away in your secret closet.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  3. sjalsevac

    "the Holy See is already engaged in an intense fight with most American nuns." Whoa! This is far from accurate reporting.

    The Church is acting on the situation of certain out-of-control, dissident nuns who have been openly rejecting crucial Catholic teachings for decades. Finally, they are responding to many faithful Catholics, including many faithful nuns persecuted by their sisters, who have been pleading for someone to hold these rebels accountable. They are in control of and spending millions upon millions of dollars of assets, donated in good for faithful Catholic good works, and using those assets to tear down and distort the real faith as their orders are decimated of new vocations. And you know, they really don't care that the orders are dying, as long as they get to use as much of the assets as possible for their personal agendas and comfort. Any and all faithful nuns are not the target of these long overdue Vatican actions.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Drew

      The catholic church has always been required to adapt its teachings in order to survive. The nuns are actually helping in this process

      June 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • alltruth

      Drew,

      Could you please list some of the teachings that the Church has adapted? And by this do you means ones specfically that are considered infallible, such as councils rarified by the Pope or Ex cathedra pronouncements?

      June 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Brian

      Responding to "Could you please list some of the teachings that the Church has adapted?"

      In its wisdom the Church did adapt their view that the earth was the center of the universe and accepted the now common sense opinion relative to the solar system. This came quickly (several centuries, I believe) after they threatened every astronomer within reach with death by burning at the stake. They will come around to birth control in about 2 hundred years...just hang on.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • alltruth

      Brian,

      Burned scientists at the stake...the falsehoods and myths continue on.

      And I asked for a change on teaching in terms of infallibility, which extends only to faith and morals, not scientific discoveries.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Kay

      80% of American nuns...rebels?? Good for them!!

      June 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • areyoukiddingme

      Alltruth, the only myths are in your bible.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  4. Wrong!

    Atheists are wrong.Oh wait they hate being told their wrong.

    Case closed!

    June 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Drew

      Well there are a lot of religions in the world, and at the very best only one is correct.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • A Serpent's Thought

      One who knew God knows about God's wants and desires for we, the people to aspire towards! No "Gospels" needed to know God and persue our Godliness ideals. We are the food-chains topmost consumers and yet we jostle about in rudiments of trivial consternations regarding whose Godliness ideals are better than others' Godliness ideals! Unrighteous sanity turns many toward insanity's meadowlands. For example, those who shout out the loudest will be heard where it matters the most! Why then do gays hate the 'heteralists'? Are gays proclaiming their battle the loudest? The USA may well do what Canada has done and give these socially adorned their civil unionization rights! Hoorah and hip hip! Get along lil doggies! Get the hell along!

      June 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "Well there are a lot of religions in the world, and at the very best only one is correct."

      LOL yup.....and the chances are that none are correct.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • altic

      @ Drew. please tell me which one is the correct one. PLEASE

      June 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Kay

      Do you actually *KNOW* any atheists? You certainly don't sound like you do.

      As an aside, the fact that you "believe" atheists are wrong doesn't make it true. Doesn't make it false, either. But it seems to me like you're having a wee bit of difficulty with the concept of "faith".

      June 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • areyoukiddingme

      Religious nutz...oh wait they hate being told they are wrong..case closed !

      June 8, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  5. alltruth

    To the athesits:

    But what caused the big bang? It didn't happen on its own. That is absurd. The big bang clearly points to a creator. One can arrive at a creator from reason alone (the big banhg is not required), but it sure argues in favor of it.

    Even a prominent atheistic believe it or not (I believe it was Frncis Crick, but cannot recall for certain; but the statment was made nonetheless) looking at the evidence for the big bang concluded that aliens must have seeded the planet!

    Atheists exercise a remendous amount of faith to arrive at their belief!

    June 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Drew

      Why are you relating the big bang to the origins of life on our planet? They are separated by a huge amount of time.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      If you want to go with "what caused", then what caused your god? Why is it more of a leap to think that matter (in whatever form) has always existed, especially since as far as we actually know, matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed? Why does your "god" get a pass on being created? All it is is special pleading.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      The god of the gaps is an intellectually lazy argument. Just because you don't know what 'preceeded' the big bang, absolutely does not, in any way, necessitate or even suggest a creator. The concept of causality doesn't even make sense here. Causality requires movement in time in a single direction. Time didn't exist at the singularity we refer to as the big bang.

      'I dunno, god musta done it' didn't work for our ancestors when trying to explain the tides, the rising of the sun, natural disasters, or diseases. Why do you insist on continuing such tremendously flawed and lazy reasoning?

      June 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Wrong!

      they hate "goddidit" but..that has NOTHING to do with them at all?

      They breed ignorance and hate faster than they realize

      June 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Colin

      So, all truth, a point then two quick questions.

      First, it actually could all happen on its own. Quantum fluctuations are sufficient to bring a Universe into existence provided the overall energy in the system is zero. With the discovery of dark matter and dark energy, it appears that is very plausible. Second, there are other alternatives; (i) the Universe we live in is one of an infinite number stretching back in time with no start in time, but a series of expansions and contractions; (ii) we are one of an infinite number of universes in a multiverse.

      But, none of this necessitates a resort to magic and gods.

      Now, my questions.

      Let's pretend you are right and there is no alternative other than a superior intelligence in creating the Universe 13, 720,000,000 years ago. How in hell do you get from there to Bronze Age Palestinian mythology about Yahweh and Jesus? This is just one of thousands of beliefs on one of 2 billion planets in one of 2 billion galaxies. I mean, come off it!!

      Second, if a universe required a creator, who created the creator. If your answer is "he was always there" why not just say the Universe was always there.

      I am sorry, but far from presenting a conundrum for atheists, the Big Bang pretty much rules out your Bronze Age Palestinian sky-fairy as the answer.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Snow

      "Second, if a universe required a creator, who created the creator. If your answer is "he was always there" why not just say the Universe was always there. "

      one of the best philosophical debate points I heard today.. wonder what the response of the pious ones is for this..

      June 6, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • alltruth

      Colin,

      Parallel universe theory is a pie-in-the-sky jokes dreamed up by atheists trying to explain the data.

      If it is so obvious, why did someone as leanred as Francis Crick feel compelled to posit the existence of aliens?

      Furthermore, atheists (read naturalists) claim that we are nothing but a bunch of chemicals. This necessarily implies no free will, no choice, etc. How then are we making arguments now? If there is really no free-will and are brains are just a bunch of chemicals, then how can we "marshall" them to understand, reason, think, etc. Also, hoqw can you try to "win me over" to your position. That requires being able to explain, reason, understand, and CHOOSE!

      The God of Christianity is by definition eternal, all-knowing, all-loving, etc. That would mean that he existed eternally. Which also means, if the universe began with the big bang, then time came into existence, and then he also existed before and transcends time. If he is outside of time, then to say what happened for all those years is totally irrelevant. And by definition God is all powerful, so therefore, nothing could create Him, otherwise He would have limitation.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      alltruth: how do you make the logical leap from a creator to a being that judges human interaction?

      June 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Chris

      The Big Bang happened about 14 billion years ago if it happened at all. If it does "prove" a god it definitely wouldn't be the one from the Bible. Maybe Hinduism would be a better candidate religion, which says the universe is continuously created and destroyed around every 8 billion years in a series of Yugas.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • alltruth

      Sam:

      Because of God's attributes. Christians believe He is all loving, all-knowing, all merciful, yet also just. So He possess all of these virtues perfectly. And He was not compelled to make us, but simply did so out of love. When he made us in his image (gave us a soul; the body can come from evolution, but the soul cannot), with the soul came the intellect and reason and also an understanding of natural law. These things tell us what is right and wrong. While people can certainly make error and consciences can be corrupted, we have a sense about what is right and wrong. Furthermore, he gave us the 10 commandments (I think most people would tend to agree its not good to steal, cheat of a neighbor's wife, etc. amd further elaboration with the New Testament. So we have these things to help us know right from wrong. Therefore, there is a responsibility that comes with it.

      I would sincerely like to spend more time on editing and developing the response a bit more carefully, Sam, but I have to step out for a while. My apologies!

      June 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Dukejames

      You can give your god any attributes "by definition", I can do the same with an invisible pink unicorn. Claims do not equal truth or evidence. Provide empyrical evidence and we will consider it, otherwise: "that which is asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence".

      June 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @alltruth

      Something that is all-knowing excludes any concept of free will.

      June 6, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • alltruth

      DukeJames:

      By empirical evidence I assume you mean that which is baased on observation, or that which is obtained via the scientific method. Since the scientific method only works in the material universe, and God by definition is immaterial, it is impossible to observe God under a microscope (I am choosing microscope here, but other instruments could work as well). Your argument appears to be the following: A priori, we will only accept truth as that which can fit under a microscope. I cannot observe God under a microscope, therefore He doesn't exist. But this is entirely circulular, and the premise has not been shown to be true.

      We do not observe "love" under a microscope, yet it exists. How about happiness – how do you slice that up? Right and wrong? (assuming you believe in free will)

      Acquinas wrote brillantly on proofs for the existence of a creator, and he also wrote on God's attributes (inclusing those in question here) which can be derived purely from reason alone. I encourage anyone who is interested to start with Acquinas' 5 ways.

      June 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • TR6

      “But what caused the big bang? It didn't happen on its own. That is absurd. The big bang clearly points to a creator. One can arrive at a creator from reason alone (the big banhg is not required), but it sure argues in favor of it.”

      To all theists: I don’t care if the big bang was caused by something or not. I maintain that the chances of your god existing and causing it are no more likely than any other god existing and doing it. Please provide evidence that shows that (if the universe was created) it was created by your god. Note: the bible does not qualify as evidence

      June 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Kay

      Actually, alltruth...*NO* prominent atheist "looking at the evidence for the big bang concluded that aliens must have seeded the planet!"

      I think you might very well be thinking of a Washington Times "Communities" column written by a Christian author back in April. The author, Vasko Kohlmayer, wrote about his thoughts about the big bang and atheist/agnostic views towards it and then, in the very next paragraph, wrotre "Richard Dawkins suggested that it [life] may have been seeded on this earth by aliens".

      (Oh...and Wrong!...what on earth are you trying to say??? "they hate "goddidit" but..that has NOTHING to do with them at all? They breed ignorance and hate faster than they realize". Sorry, but that makes zero sense to me.)

      June 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      alltruth: so, creation is not necessarily proof of a god. it is christians (and other religions) that see this being as something other than a creator. believing it doesn't make it so. and, i do not see the god described by most christians as loving and such. i see this god as a tyrant. but, peace be to you

      June 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • youdon'tsay

      well who created god, everything has a beginning, your hiding behind a question that no scientist or religion has an answer, ask a relevant question.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • lostboy

      Juggling squirrel-Jesus and Colin I think your blogs are fantastic.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  6. Archie Bunker III

    The Vatican is trying to draw attention away from its pedophile priests.They are all criminals there and need to be locked up away from society.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  7. Deb Browell

    Doc...I don't give a f*** what degrees you have...anyone with a normal high school education can see that the Bible was written by man on order to gain wealth, property, status, and control of everything, especially women...Man egos can't take the fact that women "ARE" their equal..(and we aren't talking body features) Thats like comparing a wren to a hawk....In fact women posses much more than most males, like compassion, instinct for family, beauty and deep emotions...things much more valuable than strength, egos, status, power, things most men value most. you need to educate yourself on more important things than fairy tales, like humanity. Only when this nonsense written in the Bible by men with tiny attributes and tinier minds, will our planet be able to evolve more deeply in humility...

    June 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Topher

      Hi, Deb.
      I'm not sure I understand what you are angry about. In Christianity we hold women equal to men. You have a different role than us, but you are equal.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Drew

      I think it's certainly true that believers aren't willing to engage with the bible critically and recognize its more obvious agendas

      June 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      Topher, what in the following passage from the bible puts men and women on an equal footing:

      "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."

      Have you not read your book, or are you just that dense?

      June 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Drew

      Topher:
      "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."

      1 Timothy 2:12

      June 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • areyoukiddingme

      You can say your religion holds men and women equally, but it does not exist in society, or the bible, which clearly was written by man,

      June 8, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Deb

      Tolpher...you will never understand what we really go thru. You can say we are equal, and truly feel it in your heart, but society and most men think and act differently. In 1991, I was 45 years old, I worked at a Mack Truck facility, building cylinder heads and pistons, extremely hard and heavy work for a 150 lb. woman. I went thru 5 years of severe harassment by a 39 year old black male. I know his race isn't important, but he used it to torment me. He would always bring racism into the picture to scare the company manager and union. He would walk by me whispering "OJ" is my hero. He would grab his crotch and blow kisses at me, stare directly at my breasts, wink and whisper threats, all because I would not go out with him. I suffered this all day long for 5 years. The union UAW was all males, and they would do nothing. He was the union presidents good friend. What I went thru was devastating, and I still need medication, suffer depression, insomnia, and anxiety since 1994. You have to be on the other side of the fence to really feel and see what really happens. This wasn't the only incident, this kind of behavior was in almost every work place I worked. I had to scratch and claw my way for equality almost my whole life, and I always made sure I carried my fair share. Until more men stop this kind of behavior, we remain cast aside. and stagnant. Lucking I found my soulmate, who respected me and really treats me equal.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  8. Sighko Sis

    Can't wait for the new "Nuns Gone Wild!" video.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  9. jack

    Who would Jesus bomb?

    June 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  10. Jim

    Colin
    I, too, was raised Catholic and am now an atheist. You've done an excellent job of summarizing the primary reasons Christianity makes no sense to me.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Colin

      thanks Jim, spread the word. Copy and past if you wish, but let's help others get above their silly beliefs that inhibit growth.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  11. Rudy

    Justice is a civil right and runs apart from religious doctrines. Justice and civic morality change from time to time and place to place.It is like the weather. Religion doeanot have that luxury. The nun is wrong and her mind is clouded by feminism and lust. Obviously,to her, being a nun is a job like any job and if this is so then she has no place in the religious body of Catholicism.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Drew

      Actually, Catholic teachings have changed quite a bit over history. It is a complete illusion that any religion embodies some fixed set of moral standards

      June 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Lewis Keseberg

      Exactly, Rudy, just like Galileo had no business being Catholic!

      ...oh, wait...

      June 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Deb Browell

      Just like a man, lets put femininity and lust in there...Maybe just Maybe she is sick and tired of a man sitting on his ass, acting like he's god, telling every woman what he wants, and forgetting that he's to be fair with all people...put a man in a high position and thats how high the bulls*it stacks..

      June 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Deb Browell

      Just like a man, lets put femininity and lust in there...Maybe just Maybe she is sick and tired of a man sitting on his brain acting like he's god, telling every woman what he wants, and forgetting that he's to be fair with all people...put a man in a high position and thats how high the bulls*it stacks..

      June 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Religion doeanot have that luxury"

      You do know that the pope stated that being gay isn't a sin which proves they change their minds. LOL!

      June 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      There has been no change. The Church doesn't condemn hom o se xuality It condemns acting out ho mo se xual behavior.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Drew

      What about limbo, Deacon? The pope made it disappear with a single pen stroke

      June 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "There has been no change. The Church doesn't condemn hom o se xuality It condemns acting out ho mo se xual behavior."

      lol the biggest crock of $hyt ever....what makes someone hom..os...e..xual? hom..os..ex..ual behavior.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • youdon'tsay

      The Pope has also stated that to believe in extra-terrestrials is not a sin...and the church isn't changing ?

      June 9, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • lostboy

      Bill Decon-That has got to be the stupidest remark I ever read. The pope is an a** and that's defending him?

      June 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  12. BuleriaChk

    Atheist

    Science suggests that after the Big Bang, god smoked a cigarette and went to sleep and hasn't been heard from since. However, the Bibble teaches that when he woke up, he knocked up a poor carpenter's fiance, convinced the locals that it was a virgin birth, and then threw his illegitimate son under the bus when he turned out to be a liberal. The locals testfied that the son appeared to them after his death, a story that perserveres to this day, often as images on the crusts of toasted cheese sandwiches. Good, strong Republican CEO core values...

    June 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • ScottEriugena

      It's a free country, and there's no legal requirement that you have to make sense.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Les

      You forget one thing. Mary was only 12 yrs. old at the time of her marriage to Joseph. That is a fact.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • G

      I never heard someone calling upon holiness of atoms & molecule on his/her deathbed. Trading science for religion is the weak man's survival strategy. In a world of instant sense-gratification, few choose the long-term pathway to everlasting freedom, which is belief in God.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Hinduism rules

      @G – actually the way to everlasting freedom is only achieved through Vishnu

      June 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Paganism rules

      You're both wrong, it's through Zeus. You're both deluding yourselves.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Drew

      That's the funny thing about religious people; unlike atheists, they conveniently forget about the existence of all other religions but their own

      June 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Ancient Egyptians rule

      Silly, simplistic humans. Ra is obviously the only true god. Have fun getting devoured by Ammit.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • alltruth

      But what caused the big bang? It didn't happen on its own. That is absurd.

      Even a prominent atheistic (I believe it was Frncis Crick, but it may be a different one; but it is true nonetheless) concluded that aliens seeded the planet becuase he realized that something can't come from nothing.

      Atheists exercise a remendous amount of faith to arrive at their belief!

      June 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Drew

      We don't know that life can't come out of inanimate matter. Just because we have never observed it does not mean it isn't possible

      June 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "It's a free country, and there's no legal requirement that you have to make sense."

      But when you begin to make legislation based on nonsense, that is where your freedom stops.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "In a world of instant sense-gratification, few choose the long-term pathway to everlasting freedom, which is belief in God."

      complete and utter speculation. Congrats...now provide proof of your claims. Doubt you can

      June 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • TR6

      @Les:”You forget one thing. Mary was only 12 yrs. old at the time of her marriage to Joseph. That is a fact.”

      OK I call BS on you, please provide evidence or references that support this fact

      June 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • lostboy

      You have that wrong. God smoked some wicked As* marijuana.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  13. mityoshi

    Seriously, does anyone care what the pope thinks anymore? Attacks like this one just make it clear how stuck in the ancient past the Vatican really is. This kind of censorship is straight out of China, or Iran. Catch up or get lost.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Not sure about Iran but China.... Lets see they have held a major olympics and have accieved things such as high speed trains and other advances.

      ... It took how many years to complete the twin towers back in the 70s? Its been how many years since the attacks and we can not finish a solo tower in over a decade, let alone two.

      Sorry to say but America is in catch up mode.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • RM13

      But when it comes to religious matters of belief, the Pope is infallible..and if you do not believe that then you are not a catholic..right???? I don't Remember, did Jesus ever say people were not allowed to think?

      June 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Nathaniel

      Agreed. These basic human desires only cause problems when subdued and intentionally neglected. Why can't everyone be happy in the choices of their own free will?

      June 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Drew

      Jesus would be absolutely horrified if he could come back and see what he inadvertently created

      June 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • ScottEriugena

      Not ven practicing Cathokics care that much anymore on hese issues.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • ironwolf56

      Mark from Middle River? More like Manchu from the Yangtze River. 50 Cent Army striking again?

      June 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      It's not about what the pope thinks, neither as an individual or from his office. It is about the admitted departure by the author from Catholic teaching.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Drew

      Catholic teachings are subject to change, as history proves. The dissent of these nuns is actually helping that process, which is essential to the church's survival

      June 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      @Bill Deacon – kinda like Galileo. But we all know how that turned out, don't we. I guess we'll just have to wait a few hundred years for the church to admit it was wrong.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  14. ironwolf56

    I wonder if someday soon there might be a split? Sort of a New World Orthodoxy much like there are other sub-divisions of the Catholic Church (Greek Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox etc)

    June 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Drew

      there will almost certainly be a split at some point. Religions are always growing then dividing, just like organic cells

      June 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Topher

      There's already been a major split with the Catholic church. It was called the Protestant Reformation. Many believed the church had gone too far away from the Bible with its doctrines and teachings, so it split.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  15. Bemused

    "TOO focused on social justice"??? Go eff yourself, Pope Adolf.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • john

      ditto

      June 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Brad

      This is their standard diversion to distract us while they are molesting children.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  16. alltruth

    In the Christian West, the definition of marriage has always been:

    1. Two people
    2. Age of Adulthood
    3. One man and one woman

    Once the definition of marriage is changed in society by removing #3, 1 and 2 will go as well. It is only a matter of time. I encourage all to give this serious thought. Do you want two women to marry a man, a man to marry his goat, and so on? And then two minors (or much worse a minor and an adult). nambaites will then have a field day. (God help us all.) This will happen eventually, because once this boundary is crossed, there is no legitimate argument for stopping there. The only way to prevent this is not to cross the boundary in the first place. Refuse to acccept so-called "gay marriage"!

    True marriage in the eyes of God can only consist of one adult man and woman, irregardless of whether people try to say otherwise.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • sam

      Idiot.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • ironwolf56

      I'm a Christian but also a Libertarian. We have no right to enforce our personal beliefs upon others. As long as the activity is being engaged in by consenting adults (so there goes your child marriages right out the window) I see no reason why I should say "you can't do this" to someone else.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • ScottEriugena

      Why don't you spend some more time dreaming up all the possible combinations, and then write a book about it? I'm sure it will be a bestseller.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Get Real

      Which marriage? The 70% divorce rate ones?

      June 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Drew

      Canada has had gay marriage for a while now. So far no calls for legalized bestiality or pedophilia. Why don't you try an original argument that actually makes sense?

      June 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • just sayin

      Your God has no bearing in this matter and the Const i tution is above your bible.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • A Serpent's Thought

      This world we now find ourselves in alltruth, is fastly turning assunder God and God's desires for His people which are becoming fewer and fewer as the days march by. True God-Fearing people are now becoming the minority. I see the world as being soon void of religious absolutes. Just watered down beliefs carrying little to no weightiness and core value is fast becoming the norm. Fewer and fewer God-fearing people verses the ever growing God-less masses is where the line is now drawn.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      I've given it very serious thought, and it's clear you haven't the foggiest idea what you are talking about.
      If god doesn't like gays, she should STOP MAKING THEM.
      You want to DEFEND hetero marriage? OUTLAW HETERO DIVORCE!!

      June 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • ironwolf56

      A Serpent's Thought: Wasn't it Jesus who taught us that ministry comes not by the sword or force of law but rather by compassion and humility? A true "fundamentalist" would not rage against gays but rather would treat them as Jesus treated other outcasts and minorities: with respect and acceptance.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Thinkstr8

      That's funny!

      June 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Gavin

      I'm not even going to bother with the idiotic content of your "argument" that has already (countless times) been thoroughly destroyed.

      I'll leave you with this: Irregardless is not a word, regardless of whether or not you think it is.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Sigh

      This argument is such garbage. I don't think anyone, anywhere, is arguing that consent doesn't matter. Which means there goes your children/animal argument. I also don't think most people would have that much issue with polygamy, as long as the tax structures around polygamy makes sense. The idea that you couldn't love two people at once and have the same commitment that you would to one really doesn't hold water, unless you think you can prove otherwise.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Brad

      That's what the pedophiles are saying.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Drew

      Brad, no one cares what the pedophiles say, because children can't legally give consent

      June 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      "Once the definition of marriage is changed in society by removing #3, 1 and 2"

      Epic. Logic. Fail. *facepalm*

      June 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Lewis Keseberg

      Looks like someone (@alltruth) has been drinking a wee bit too much of the Jesus-blood.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Clayton Colwell

      Ah, the slippery-slope fallacy.

      Herein is the false premise: "This will happen eventually, because once this boundary is crossed, there is no legitimate argument for stopping there."

      But hey! If you want to go there, let's climb *up* the slippery slope and get rid of marriage entirely, since, "once this boundary is crossed".... There - problem solved.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • A Serpent's Thought

      Where ironwolf56, did I make mention of "gay"? All I said was that God-Fearing People are going by the wayside of becoming the minority and the God-less are fast becoming the amassed majority!

      June 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • G

      You don't 'impose' your 'personal beliefs' since you are a weak man who rather wishes his human brother hell than to stand up for the Truth. Go to sleep my little time bomb. Your share in the all of it will catch up with your childish sense of Christianity.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Topher

      Here's my argument, take it or (as most of you will) leave it. Marriage was created and designed by God. It says so in the OT and confirmed by Christ in the New. So no, you can't have marriage. Go create something new yourself, then we'll talk.

      Second, marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church (His bride). The man plays the role of Christ and the woman plays the role of the Church.

      ironwolf56 ... "A true "fundamentalist" would not rage against gays but rather would treat them as Jesus treated other outcasts and minorities: with respect and acceptance."

      I'm a fundamentalist and I'm not disrespecting anyone. They have the right to sleep with and live with anyone they want and it's none of my business. But what they can't do is take a Christian covenant and make it into whatever they want. Secondly, Jesus did not go around saying it's ok to do whatever they want and "accept" them. He repeatedly told people to "go and sin no more."

      June 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Drew

      Topher, your premise rests on the faulty assumption that marriage is a purely religious ceremony. In this country it is in fact a legal contract, and thus Christian theology shouldn't define marriage in any way

      June 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      @Topher – if god created marriage and displays what he thinks of marriage in the OT, then you will necessarily not have any issue with polygamy.

      Or maybe you should actually READ your book before you comment.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • DJ Farkus

      In case you didn't realize it, your notion of #3 (One man and one woman) was never true in the bible. Marriage in the bible is most often one man and as many women as he can convince to marry him. So your entire premise is incorrect right out of the gate.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Once the definition of marriage is changed in society by removing #3, 1 and 2 will go as well. It is only a matter of time" – alltruth

      "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" chicken little

      notice the similarity?

      purporting to speak for god is incredibly arrogant

      June 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Topher

      "@Topher – if god created marriage and displays what he thinks of marriage in the OT, then you will necessarily not have any issue with polygamy."

      Yeah, there's a lot of polygamists in the OT. But you point out to me where God condones it. Since you know the Bible betteer than me it shouldn't be hard for you. Also, if you read I Kings, you'll see that God strips Solomon of the kingdom because of his multiple wives.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Over It

      Topher,

      You are talking about the religious ritual of "Holy Matrimony". Your churches are free to conduct this ritual and bestow it on whomever they please. The civil contract is a different ent'ity.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      Wait .. so everything not explicitly condoned in necessarily condemned? The bible doesn't explicitly say you can use a computer. You must be a heathen for posting on these boards.

      Epic. Logic. Fail

      Also, please try actually reading Kings. The only problem your god had with Solomon's multiple wives is that they were pagan and that they 'turned him away from god'. If god actually had a problem with polygamy, one would presume that he would have condemned all polygamy, not just that of Solomon. Please read your book.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Topher

      Over it ... but even that isn't enough. They already have civil unions in this state but now they want full marriage. And it isn't stopping there. The agenda is seeping into schools. Did you know there's a school in Texas, I think, where the school board put some pro-gay lessons into the elementary schools and have denied parents the right to take their kids out of school that day? They had a father arrested. In Hawaii, a wedding photographer denied a couple his services and so the government is suing them. We are losing all religious rights.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Deb Browell

      You are discussing to say the least...I have many many gay people in my life..Do you really think they can help it? Do you think they just decide one day that they would love to be ridiculed, beaten, cast aside, murdered, exiled, shunned, removed from the family, laughed at, pointed out, spit on, etc.. It is genetically built into their being, just as you have for a woman.. No one chooses this..Do you think anyone chooses to be disabled, or retarded, or a murderer? It is a defect in them..And if you believe in your little Bible, well let me tell you God is the fault then...I am Atheist so I don't believe in your delusion....but I must inform you, the truth is slowly emerging that the Bible is lies written many eons ago....Where is your god when millions of children suffer and die, Is this his plan, to watch death, destruction, and mayhem prevail..What purpose to use a child to make a point for another to gain...you god is sick, pathetic, and heartless...We are just a reality show for his own perverse pleasure.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Topher

      Squirrel

      I can point to verses in Genesis and Matthew where it says marriage is between a man and a woman, but you'll just tell me how much smarter than me you are anyway. So what's the point? It is quite clear marriage is between a man and a woman, just two people. It isn't hard.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      @Topher – you can point to passages where it states that marriage is between man and woman, but you can not point to any passage that states that marriage is only to one man and only to one woman. Please try. I won't be holding my breath.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Drew

      Topher, you haven't even addressed the fact that your argument is based purely on theology and thus not applicable to our legal system

      June 6, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Topher

      Deb

      I'm sure that it is natural for them. I won't debate it. But just because they have that proclivity doesn't mean they should act on it. I could be completely wrong here, but I don't think being gay is the sin. It's the act. I think it is horribly sad when they are ridiculed, beaten and so on. I wish they weren't treated so. But it is God's rules and I have to warn them of the coming day of wrath. I do this in love, not to keep them down. All I care about is telling them or even you that you have sinned, as I have, and that God will forgive you of those sins if you repent and trust in Him.

      We have all sinned. Don't blame God because we have broken His rules.

      If you have proof the Bible is all lies I'd love to hear it. Atheists on these boards have been saying the same things for weeks and I've yet to read one piece of evidence.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Topher wrote, " Here's my argument, take it or (as most of you will) leave it. Marriage was created and designed by God. It says so in the OT and confirmed by Christ in the New. So no, you can't have marriage. Go create something new yourself, then we'll talk."

      Here's the problem – your version of a god was cobbled together from various minor deities worshipped by various tribes in the Middle East 6,000 years ago. Marriage existed long before your version of a god crawled onto the scene. Ergo, your point is moot.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Silver

      @Real – FYI, the Catholic Church does NOT recognize divorce either.

      Frankly-speaking, I don't understand why people want to change the Catholic Church. You can remain "Christian" and practise some other form of Christianity. These nuns and their supporters may have interesting ideas but that's not what the Catholic Church is about. So grow up and act responsibly, either follow what the Vatican says or leave the Catholic Church – you can still be a good Christians, just not a Catholic. There are others who believe in the Catholic Church's values and you shouldn't spoil it for them. No one is forcing you to stay. A reasonable and fair adult would just leave.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • TR6

      Once you allow kissing you’ve opened the door to prost1tution. Everyone knows that every prost1tute started by experimenting with kissing. Once you legalize kissing there will be no stopping it

      June 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • youdon'tsay

      If god is against the union of a man to man or woman to woman, that blows your theory of God loves everyone. You can't have it both ways even tho the church has a bad habit of trying !

      June 9, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • lostboy

      Fred evil....I wanna shake your hand, but I can't so heres to you HURRAAAHHHHHHHH !

      June 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Deb

      Topher, right back at ya. You prove he does exist. There is no solid proof for believing or not, but I think the Atheists have science on their side, and that's more than what religion has. Please try this little test...In 60 seconds write down as many significant men of the bible, next do the same but name all the significant women (excluding the mention of so-in-sos wife or daughter, mother etc. I mean real women that God gave an important, significant task or high position to. If your honest, the lists are many vs. nill. Now tell me why did god do this to us? Is he a se*ist, racis*t, egotistical god? don't think so, I think the male scholars who wrote the bible did exclude, burned scrolls, and twist the facts so they would be looked at and treated superior, or god-like, including a promise of living forever. Using scate-tactics (HELL) to seal the deal. Why would god approve of owning slaves? Or did the scholars have slaves and wanted to keep them? Why would he condone and order the slaughter of innocent children? This kind of mumbo jumbo contradicts everything you described god as. Loving, caring, forgiving etc. I just can't swallow it. I think we are just part of the equation of evolving the same as any other living creature or plant on this planet. We are just the top of the food chain, now. We are really nothing special, although most people think so.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  17. Colin

    I was brought up a Catholic, but after repeatedly seeing pretty fundamental holes in the belief and never being given a satisfactory answer, I ended up an atheist. Here are some of my issues that caused me to stop believing. They have nothing to do with the behaviour of the Vatican, they are MUCH more fundamental than that

    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 13,720,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,720,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life 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. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as coveting their neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

    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 harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelieve 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.

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

    5. 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 Apollonius of Tyana, Ho.rus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

    6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.ape and the complete subjugation of women. 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.

    7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Catholicism does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian 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 $exual 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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) 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. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 359 degrees.

    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 substantial than the hope for a good future and no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • James

      Wow – you read my mind. I was brought up catholic too and after 13 years going through the teachings, you pretty much hit on every point why I don't believe in it today. Can't imagine how long it took you to write that but good post.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • InTheKnow

      Yep.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • I AM

      Simply brilliant!!!! Everyone with the a working capacity should read and ponder the statements presented by COLIN.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • G

      Start thinking about God for your own. If you rely on everyone to feed you preaching like a little baby then you are going to end up nowhere in the faith, son. That you are an atheist now means you are even in a worse state than before as there is nothing liberating about believing in molecules & atoms.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      @G – one does not 'believe' in atoms or molecules. Why do you limit you perspective only to those concepts which you find 'liberating'? What in the world does that even mean to you?

      As an atheist, I find pondering the nature of the universe far more awe-inspiring than I ever did as a Christian pondering the nature of a deity. Speak for yourself, please.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • kr

      Nothing NEW in Colin ideas. They are in some atheists books and seminars. What I know is Christianity has contributed so much in the development and progress, among others, of education, culture, civilization, science, morality, medicine, and social work. Atheism has not contributed anything good for society. Atehism most recent contributions were communism and socialism which were total fiascos in mankind's history.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      @kr, that you think atheism is synonymous with socialism or communism only exposes your own ignorance.

      And yeah, religion has done oh-so-much for science. All you have to look at are things like astronomy or biology to see where adherence to an ancient text really doesn't hinder exploration of the world from an unbiased stand. oh, wait...

      June 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • ScottEriugena

      Beliefs fashioned from parochial school are never going to work well for an adult. If that's where your spirituality stopped developing, then you're better off as an atheist.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      As per usual, replies to Colin's posts from believers only involve ad-hominem attacks and never actually address the issues that are raised. Only those who don't have a counter argument resort to pathetic insults.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • kr

      Juggling: You are the one who's ignorant of history. The proponents of Marxism and Socialism: Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao are all ATHEISTS.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Dont give up

      Most of your points are well thought out, especially against the teachings of Catholicism. However you almost make a good argument for a higher being, which presents itself to humans in many ways and at different times, leadings to multiple religions. Yes they have been used for horrible purposes, but that is mans fault and not the higher being. If I were you I would keep an open mind to being more agnostic than atheist.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      @Don't – nothing prevents one from being both an agnostic (I don't know) atheist (I have no belief). I've meet very few atheists who are not also agnostics.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      @kr – By your supreme logic: Kennedy was a Catholic, therefore America is founded on catholicism.

      How, exactly, do you explain Cuba?

      June 6, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Don't Give up

      Agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive concepts, you can be both.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • kr

      Juggling: Kennedy did not start Americanism. Your comparison and logic are distorted.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Colin

      kr -even if you were right and that athsiem somehow led to a propensity for despotism, that is irrelevant to the fundamental question as to whether there is a god.

      Second, line up all despots in history who were theists against those who were atheists, I think you will find the theist line significantly longer – for the simple reason that, throughout history, 99% of people have believed in the supernatural in one form or another.

      Your ponit is neither correct, nor compelling irrespective of its veracity.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Dont give up

      yes you can be an agnostic atheist or theist, but when one declares themselves atheist then you would assume they do not believe in a deity, not just they dont think one exists. You either believe, dont believe or are agnostic.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      @Don't – agnostism doesn't cover belief. It covers knowledge. I have no belief. Therefore I am an atheist. But I don't have knowledge whether or not there is a god. Therefore I am an agnostic.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      @kr – that you think the idea of communism or socialism started with Marx is, of course, laughable. You also present Stalin and Mao as representative of your argument, for which the Kennedy analogy is very relevant.

      Here's a clue – correlation does not necessitate causality.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • A semi-atheist

      Perfectly stated and explained.

      I agree completely.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • kr

      Juggling: You are the one whose thinking is ludicrous. All history textbooks and webpages call Marx the "father of communism or socialism." And he is an atheist.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Which God??

      @ Colin. Where's a clapping smiley when you want one? Good job there.

      June 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • youdon'tsay

      Colin your blog is priceless, to say the least. I'm sure many religious heads are spinning, now.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Deb

      Kr.........what do you mean Atheism has done nothing good for society, You must not know many Atheist. We would have acquired the "SAME" set of moral laws and laws as the bible set forth, or are you so insecure to think we would act like animals? Angelina Jolie (Pitt) has done many many acts of goodness for the world, donating millions to charities every year, despite the haters, who are jealous. Brad has donated millions Jody Foster, oh I can go on..Look in the mirror and see if there's a reflection of a person, who is satisfied that he has done all he could. Your remark is simply ridiculous. Adolf Hitler was a Roman Catholic before he cowardly went Atheist to get what he wanted. Religion is whats bringing society's downfall. If you took away all the religions in the world, history surly would be different since most wars are based on religious values. You need to do a little research before you idiotically make such a remark.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  18. Ancient Curse

    Crackdown on nuns? How about a crackdown on priests??

    And also, "rogue nuns" sound really cool. "I'm in the habit - of killing." Awesome.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  19. erich2112x

    They've acquired such dirty habits here in the U.S.....Hopeful but doubtful I'm the first one in with that one.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Ancient Curse

      Ha!! Excellent!

      June 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  20. epluribus22

    Excomunicate them !!!

    June 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Colin

      Nobody today cares about that Dark Ages nonsense. Might as well threaten to "punch them in their auras"

      June 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Is more like, no one you know Colin? Catholic church is still growing as of last years stats. I am not even Catholic but it does appear that the Faithful of that denomination do. 🙂

      June 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      @Mark – yup, it's growing ... in uneducated, poor third world countries. In industrialized educated nations, you'll find the opposite. The ONLY reason why the RCC's membership numbers stay relatively flat in the US is because of a relatively uneducated immigrant influx.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • kr

      Juggling: There are probably some uneducated Catholic immigrants but many Catholics who passed through US immigration are well educated and many are doctors, nurses, computer programmers, and with M.As, and Ph.Ds. And by the way, many Catholics probably were uneducated when they came here in the 1800s but their descendants are now graduates of Notre Dame, Georgetown, Fordham, Loyola, and many outstanding Catholic universities and schools, not counting the many graduates of ivy league universities.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      @kr – yes, some catholics are very well educated. But the data clearly shows that Catholicism is only growing noticeably in relatively uneducated populations.

      Are you really arguing that the majority of immigrants (legal or otherwise) are more educated than the average american?

      Feel free to educate yourself and read the studies conducted by the Pew if you don't believe me.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • kr

      Juggling: I never wrote that the Catholics are more educated. I am simply against your arrogant dowgrading and labeling of Catholics and Catholic immigrants as uneducated. Maybe some mmigrant Catholics from the South of the border are uneducated but to pass through US immigration nowadays legally, one has to be educated with certain excellent knowledge and skills on something valuable to the United States.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • kr

      Juggling: In Europe, there are Catholics who do not attend church on Sundays, but they still consider themselves Catholics. And they do not attend church anymore not because they are more educated, they are simply lazy, materialistic, or engrossed in many other things. Low population growth too in Europe can be a cause for the non-growth of any religion. Education has nothing to do with belief in God. There are people who are educated and undeducated who believe in God. But whether educated or undecated, there are still more people who beleive in God than those who do not beleive in God. And most Christians in the world are Catholics, Roman Catholics and Eastern Catholics combined.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Kay

      kr...are you serious??? "...but to pass through US immigration nowadays legally, one has to be educated with certain excellent knowledge and skills on something valuable to the United States".

      You don't know a darned thing about US immigration requirements, do you??? This is the 21st century and you're on the Internet...and you couldn't even be bothered to check? Wow. Sounds like maybe you take *everything* on faith.

      June 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
Advertisement
About this blog

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