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'Recovering Catholics' reveal spiritual journeys
According to a 2008 poll, 31% of Americans were raised Catholic, but only 24% describe themselves as Catholic.
June 19th, 2012
09:36 AM ET

'Recovering Catholics' reveal spiritual journeys

By Jim Spellman, CNN

Denver (CNN) - Kristen Kelly was raised Roman Catholic, attended Catholic elementary school and considered herself a good Catholic, but when she was 21-years-old that changed.

“A coworker asked me if I believe in Jesus Christ,” she says.

Despite spending her entire life in the Roman Catholic Church she couldn’t answer the question.

“I never really got exposed to Christ," she says. "It was more about Mary and the Church and a condemnation of everything I was doing wrong.”

She looked at her coworker and saw someone who appeared to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and decided that was what she wanted. She said this prayer:

“Jesus I accept that you are my lord and savior, and I ask you to come into my life.”

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

And from that moment Kelly, now 41 and living in Florida, considered herself born-again, and an ex-Catholic.

“I like to call us recovering Catholics,” she says with a laugh.

According to a 2008 study by the Pew Forum on Religious Life and Public Life, 31% of Americans were raised Catholic, but only 24% now describe themselves as Catholic. Read the study (PDF).

That means about 1 in 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic. If they were a denomination they would be bigger than Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans and Presbyterians.

The total U.S. Catholic population has remained at about 24%, as immigrants have filled the pews the ex-Catholics have left behind.

Video: Why do some Catholic outsiders remain inside the flock?  

Kathleen Cummings , associate director at the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at Notre Dame, says that some people leave the Catholic Church after a defining event like the priest abuse scandals or because of a disagreement with the Church over social issues, but most leave because they feel their needs are not being met.

“They are not experiencing something that fulfills them spiritually,” Cummings says.

Church supporters are urging wayward Catholics to return to the fold. For example, Catholics Come Home, a nonprofit lay organization formed in 1997, has been putting out the welcome mat via the media.

The group has an interactive website www.Catholicscomehome.org and airs what it calls “evangomercials” on radio and television. The group says that since 2008 more than 350,000 people have “come home” to the Catholic Church through their campaign.

Tom Peterson, president of Catholics Come Home, says some worshipers who've returned to the Catholic Church report leaving because they had disagreements with church officials or had divorced and feared they wouldn’t be welcome. But, he says, the majority never really gave up on the Church.

“They just drifted away and life got too busy," Peterson says. "Most say they didn’t dislike the Church, nor were they opposed to the Church teachings.

“An overwhelming majority of returnees tell our diocesan partners that they came home to the Catholic Church, 'because you invited me,'" he says.

But it may not be so simple to lure back ex-Catholics like Matt Rowe, a 35-year-old married father of two living in Denver. Rowe attended 16 years of Catholic School in Illinois and attended a Catholic university.

But by the end of college, Rowe was adrift. He found himself disagreeing with the Church on everything from the role of women to the concept of original sin and what he saw as the Catholic Church’s dependence on guilt as a motivating factor.

Rowe gave up on religion for most of his 20s but never stopped believing in God. When he got married and had kids, he started feeling a void in his life.

“I wanted my kids to grow up in a religion, but not Catholicism,” he says.

After “church-hopping” for a few years, Rowe ended up at Pathways Wash Park, a multidenominational Christian church in Denver.

After years of feeling disconnected in the Catholic Church where he says sermons rarely connected to his life, he has finally found the connection he has been looking for at Pathways.

“I wanted spirituality. I wanted God. I wanted all those points to go back to what I’m dealing with today,” Rowe says.

Fred Viarrial, 59, grew up as an altar boy at St. Leo’s in Denver. Six days a week he donned his cassock and worked the 6 a.m. Mass.

“Books or bells. You are ringing the bells or moving the books for the priests,” Viarrial says.

But as he grew up he began questioning elements of Catholicism. One day, when Viarrial was somewhere between age 10 and 12, he had something especially embarrassing to confess, so he trekked over to a Spanish language parish where he was unknown.

“The priest pulled me out and spanked me on the spot,” Viarrial says with a laugh. “That got me to question this whole thing of confession.”

When he was just 14 the precocious teenager went so far as to schedule an appointment with Denver ‘s then-Archbishop James Casey to discuss his doubts.

“I took a two-page list of questions starting with the Hail Mary. I wanted to find them in the Bible, their origin … where is that in the Bible?”

Viarrial says the archbishop humored him but ultimately did not answer his questions.

He still believed in God, but was losing faith in the Church.

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By his 20s he was searching for a new church and ended up at Arvada Covenant Church, an evangelical congregation in a Denver suburb.

At Arvada Covenant he says the focus is on a personal relationship with Jesus and that his questions about his faith and the Bible are not met with derision, but with a search for answers through Bible study.

He has found a home at Arvada Covenant, but says he holds no grudge against the Catholic Church and still feels echoes of his Catholic upbringing in his faith today.

“It’s like a spiritual tattoo that you receive as a kid," Viarrial says. "Those roots don’t ever disappear, you just better try to understand them.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Colorado • Faith

soundoff (2,511 Responses)
  1. jimlahey420

    Oh religion...you're so cute and hilarious with all your tall tales, bigotry, and tax-free child molestation. Keep on keepin' on!

    June 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  2. moe smith

    Resistance is futile. you will be assimilated.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  3. RFBJR

    This article articulates how the Protestant Reformation happened. There were many questions about the doctrine of the Catholic Church. Those same questions still loom some 500 years later. Unfortunately, many people that grew up in a Catholic home have never really understood the basics of who Jesus was and why He came. This goes for Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists and many other sects of Christianity. Many that have grown up in this fold are now the staunchest of atheists. It is unfortunate that they have missed out on a relationship with Jesus Christ.

    Many of these religions teach that you have to be a good person or do good deeds to go to heaven. The bible clearly states that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2: 8, 9

    I believe if you accept Jesus as your Saviour, He will save you. You can then begin to live a fruitful life as you grow in that relationship.

    Now for those sarcastic readers that believe I am a nut case that believes in unicorns; so be it. However, you are not denying me or this story, but Jesus Himself. This denial will be on record and you will be held accountable. When the day comes that it has all been said and done in your life, will you hope for that salvation? Are you that convicted in your belief system that when you pass it is the end? You are a logical person; you have a strong sense of reason. Why not get some insurance? Why would you not try and talk to God to find out if He is real? Why would you not ask Jesus to save you? In all logic, what have you to lose? And what have I to gain?

    June 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Colin

      1. Religious parochialism – I'm right, all other religions are wrong; 2. Pascal's Wager – totally discredited; 3. Scientific illiteracy – ya can't fix that.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Len

      Since your god does not exist, all your words are worthless and empty of meaning. You have wasted your life on lies.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • BenderIsGreat34

      >> "Why not get some insurance?"

      Wow. I mean, wow. So what are you really saying here? I should believe in Jesus just in case it might be true? Does this really help anyone return to the church?

      June 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Rynomite

      Why not get some insurance? Why would you not try and talk to Allah to find out if He is real? In all logic, what have you to lose?
      Why not get some insurance? Why would you not try and talk to Thor to find out if He is real? In all logic, what have you to lose?
      Why not get some insurance? Why would you not try and talk to Brahma to find out if He is real? In all logic, what have you to lose?
      Why not get some insurance? Why would you not try and talk to Jehova to find out if He is real? In all logic, what have you to lose?
      Why not get some insurance? Why would you not try and talk to Zeus to find out if He is real? In all logic, what have you to lose?
      Why not get some insurance? Why would you not try and talk to L. Ron Hubbard to find out if He is real? In all logic, what have you to lose?

      June 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • another ex-Cath

      I don't think people need to be 'saved'. I think that's just ancient cultural propoganda to keep the tribe together.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Primewonk

      RFBJR wrote, " Many of these religions teach that you have to be a good person or do good deeds to go to heaven. The bible clearly states that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2: 8, 9"

      Your own bible disagrees with you (and itself) –

      James 2: What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is nàked and destîtute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • RFBJR

      As stated, this denial is on record. It's okay that you don't believe what I believe.

      However, I must say that there can only be one truth. My guess is each of you believes you know it. Or at least you believe that certain things are an untruth and go from there. That being said, I know you think I'm wrong. I accept that. Hopefully you can offer me the same measure of tolerance. I'd appreciate that.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • BenderIsGreat34

      Are you really that sure that "the denial is on record"? Asking "Why not get some insurance?" makes it sound like you're not even quite sure. One buys insurance to mitigate risk. What risk are you mitigating?

      June 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • RFBJR

      I'm trying to be logical from a non-believers point of view. I have no doubt.

      Regarding the "Faith without works is dead" issue, read this if you care. http://www.clarityministries.org/media/pdfs/faith_without_works.pdf

      June 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • BenderIsGreat34

      It's interesting to me that you're "trying to be logical from a non-believers point of view" as it was logic that more or less caused me to drop away from religion.

      Since there's really no empirical evidence to support any religion on the planet, I have a really hard time believing any of it. That coupled with my own substantial distrust of mankind and it's motives, has left me with a fairly agnostic point-of-view. I'm not ready to go full-on atheist, because that, for now, feels too much like the other side of the coin, so until presented with better data, the agnostic "how can we really know one way or the other" thing is going to have to suffice.

      I understand what you're trying to say, but telling people that they need an insurance policy just in case doesn't help convince anyone that's sitting on the fence.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • bernard

      Dear RFBJR,
      I really appreciate yiur faith and your desire to help others find christ but hwat i will really appreciate most from you is to read the bible more to get a clearer understanding of what christianity is all about. i guess you know next to nothing about the so called mormons, JW and adventist that you talked about.
      Be a little bit open-minded about your religion.If you are saved by grace, does it give your the license to continue sining? But your salvation leads you to good works to the glory of God and Christ. It is not your so called "good works" that saved but you are saved for good works, all to the glory of God; If not then your faith is dead and christ might have died in vain.
      I pray that you continue to grow and mature in your Christian faith with time and come to the relaisation of more revealing truth and not this emotional roller coaster of religion and my church is the best and all others are wrong.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      Another Ex-Catholic – That's the beauty of salvation, Jesus chose to save you already because he loves his creations unconditionally. In the present, you get to choose whether or not to accept that gift by following him and his teachings. What about all the poor souls that passed before Jesus walked on earth? Well, he made provisions for them as well when he decended to the dead to free them between his death and resurrection. He now offers up himself (body and blood) daily to his people as a perpetual sacrifice. Where else can you find that kind of love and devotion?

      June 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Pat

      Although I respect that you have faith in Christ, the article you pointed to does not answer for what is clearly said in the James verses. With respect, if you use logic, we must couple our faith with action. Christ said that whatsoever we do to the least of His people, we do unto Him. Therefore to strengthen our relationship with Him, we must take actions.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Grindstone50k

      Not so much "Jesus is fake" but why Christianity over the thousands of other religions out there? Why not choose Hinduism? It's far older than the relatively new religion of Christianity. What about Islam? What about Odinism? Point is, they're all right and none are right. There is no "one true" religion, just another popularity contest.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • bigdil

      Nice job! You repeated it just as you were taught. Was that without notes?

      June 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  4. abbydelabbey

    Was a Catholic - left the church when I caught on to what it was really all about - power and money and trying to control people's lives.....

    June 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Jimmy

      Well put. I gave it all up for Lent when I was 17/ That's over 40 years ago, and I have never EVER looked back, either at the Catholic Church or religious mythology. For the life of me I do not know why we reject the gods of ancient Rome and Greece, but accept this nonsense as if it exists.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • PushingBack

      Jimmy – All hail Zeus!! LOL – I love it!!

      June 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • STLBroker

      Jimmy- That is an easy one. The gods of Greece and Rome were not real. Jesus was a real person that walked the earth. Historians, believers and unbelievers alike, acknowledge that he existed, worked miracles (or magic tricks in eyes of non-believers) and died on the cross at the hands of the Romans. The only question that remains is "do you believe that Jesus is/was the Messiah, the Son of God?" Since there is pretty good evidence for the resurrection as well (hundreds of eye witnesses to the risen Jesus), Jesus appears to have pretty good cedibility as to being who he claimed to be. Zeus or Appollo have no such credibility not to mention that they never existed in the first place. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote about Jesus "drawing people to him" and "doing wonderous things". Those are the words of a non-believer with no skin in the game so to speak. He was just writing about the factual events of history. No Bible necessary for proof that Jesus existed. Worshipping him as God on the other hand, does require some faith which I pray that you will find.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @STL

      There are many who question the existence of Jesus, but let's skip past that and, for the sake of discussion, say that his existence isn't in question. His resurrection is most definitely in question, since all of these so called "witnesses" never bothered to have their accounts recorded in any reliable way. All of the gospels were written at least 30 years (the timeline being the earliest, but by no means the consensus) after his supposed death. In the timeline of word of mouth, this is a very long time, and stories have a known way of exaggeration and spin. We don't even know who really wrote the gospels, not to mention the 7 of the 14 (or was it 12) pauline letters.
      At it's base, just because the bible says it, doesn't mean it actually happened

      June 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @STL

      Also, the passage you are refering to from Josephus is a known forgery, and even biblical scholars admit to this.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • uhh..

      @stl

      How are you able to dismiss the roman/greek gods but not the judeo christian god? Jesus is a whole separate issue, but you are assuming he is the son of this 'god'. What proof do you have that this god is any more real than the god apollo or the god zeus? There are books written about all of these beings, but yet they remain elusive.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • STLBroker

      Oral tradition was a VERY reliable way of preserving information. This was not like people gossiping about who was sleeping with who. This was considered sacred information so they were very careful to get it right.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • STLBroker

      The overwhelming majority of modern scholars consider the reference in Book 20, Chapter 9, 1 of the Antiquities to "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" to be authentic and to have the highest level of authenticity among the references of Josephus to Christianity.] Almost all modern scholars consider the reference in Book 18, Chapter 5, 2 of the Antiquities to the imprisonment and death of John the Baptist to also be authentic

      June 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @STL

      So do you believe all the first hand accounts of alien abductions? You can actually go and talk to people who are claiming these things.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • STLBroker

      Like I said, believing Jesus is the Son of God requires faith. Believing that he existed and did the things that are reported about him only requires reading.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @STL

      The reference to Jesus being a brother to James is considered to be valid, but your assertion of the second passage with the whole John the baptist thing and wonderous works being accepted is patently false and intentionally dishonest.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • STLBroker

      Hawaian- If I told these alien abductees that if they didn't change their story to they weren't abducted or else they would die a very gruesome death, do you think they will stick to their story? Even if they still believe they were abducted, they will probably say they weren't to save their own lives. Well, the disciples had that opportunity but refused to take it and took the gruesome death instead. Leads me to believe that they not only witnessed something extraordinary but knew that it was better to die saying it than to live not saying it.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @STL

      Also, believing he existed and believing he did miracles are two different things. To believe that the jesus of the bible might have been based on a preacher that traveled doesn't really require leaps of faith. To believe he healed the sick and drove out demons requires a leap of faith, and are directly tied to the assertion that he was the "Son of God".

      June 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @STL

      Hindus have died for their beliefs, so have many other people from other religions. That proves absolutely nothing and is merely an emotional appeal with no substance.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • STLBroker

      HawaiiGuest- How many "wise teachers" did the Romans put to death? The answer is thousands. Can you tell me their names? Jesus continues, whether you believe in Him or not, to transform millions of peoples lives even to this day. He was a carpenters son, said some stuff that the Romans didn't like and they killed him. We should not be talking about him 2000 years later and yet here we are. It is because he was more than just a random Jew. Deep down you know it too.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @STL

      Wow, so instead of actually addressing any points, you post assertions and more appeals to anything that you can. A useless post at the least, and an intentionally dishonest post more likely.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • STLBroker

      Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.[44]

      June 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @STL

      Will you continue to just parrot a known forgery and try to pass it off as accepted?

      June 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Jane2u

      @STL Broker, this is the only miracle that I saw before my eyes http://www.milkmiracle.com/

      And no scientists were able to explain it properly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_milk_miracle

      June 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Jesus was not a historical figure and I would be happy to prove it to those who would listen.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • STLBroker

      I think you need to ask yourselves where this animosity towards Jesus is coming from. Do you have the same animosity towards, Zeus, Santa Claus and other mythical figures that never existed?

      Nobody talks as much about God as those that claim that he doesn't exist.

      June 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • STLBroker

      http://www.jesuscompanion.com/Videos_and_Music.html

      June 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @STL

      The more you content yourself with avoiding the points that have been brought up, the more you show your inability to hold honest conversation in a point by point basis.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  5. dmaldana

    Thank you Vatican II and uninspired priests.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Pat

      I agree. Since Vatican II priests have become lazier and less inspiring. Priestly vocation numbers have been increasing in recent years thanks to a movement toward the conservative.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  6. nolimits3333

    The three great evils in the world are Islam, the Catholic Church, and the Republican Party.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Bob

      4. Ignorant hate filled people like you.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Truth = Things as they "really" are!

      Really..?? Please.. How can so many.. be so niave..??

      June 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • moe smith

      not sure i would put islam there. how about these three evils instead:

      An angry woman, the catholic church and republican party.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      The pinnacle is Atheistism.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      You could just reduce that to – religion and the two party system.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Zeke2112

      "Atheistism"

      Thanks for my first true LOL moment of the day. It's "atheism," and if it was so evil, why are all children born atheists?

      June 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  7. Ting

    Many of us here are recovering from the trap of religion. I'm a recovering Baptist. I was religious until around about the time I reached the age of reason.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • PushingBack

      Exactly. I personally had an issue at a very early age with the basis for most Christian religions and was raised Catholic. Well, I was sent to Catholic school but nobody in my family attended mass.

      The assertion that God is all powerful and at the same time all good is what broke me. I would contend that God cannot be both of these things and allow evil to exist in the universe. If God is 100% good, then he would have no tolerance for evil and attempt to remove it. Or for that matter, would never have allowed it to infiltrate his creation in the first place. So therefore God must be less than 100% good. Let's say he is 98% good. That means that all those seeking to live a devout life are trying to be better than God so that doesn't make sense. Why would God hold us to a higher standard than he/she has attained?

      On the other side of the argument, where God is 100% good, he/she must then not be all powerful. If God does not tolerate evil, then he/she must not be powerful enough to eliminate it from the universe. Either that or evil is just as powerful so it is a stalemate – neither can overthrow the other.

      Some think that atheism causes a hole in someone – that they must feel empty inside. I disagree and would say I feel like I have way more answers now then I ever did before. I also take responsibility for my actions and think about how things affect other people. Funny thing is that I feel more "Christian" now than I ever did before. Perhaps for those that find it hard to reconcile the idea of God out of your life, you consider that perhaps this is the real test you are being put to – being a decent human being for your own sake and not for fear of divine punishment.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • The GOP need to pack up and leave

      I went to a fundamentalist baptist school for 9 years. It was so far to the right, they had to look left to see Jerry Falwell. By the time I was 8, I realized they were lying to me repeatedly. Then, when asked the same question over a period of time, they couldn't keep their lies straight.

      I realized very early that religion is a scam that some use to control others and take a position of power.
      I realized very early that that faith is NOT religion. Faith is not a bad thing to have, but religion? They just need to do away with religions altogether. They cause wars and a huge chunk of problems.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      I was Cathjolic until I reached puberty and then the church expected me to confess and say I was sorry. I wasn't sorry and I wasn't about to say I was not going to do it again. I had every intention of doing it again as soon and as often as possible.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  8. HL

    Their "spiritual journeys" are nothing more than a bunch of schizophrenic episodes for these mentally ill people.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Len

      Who can heal the mentally ill? That is one of the questions facing humanity. We should quarantine these people.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  9. 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

    1. At its most fundamental level, Catholicism and, indeed, all Christianity 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 disbelief 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 Christianity 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, Christianity 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 Christian 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 19, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • BobZemko

      Colin, you have a firm grasp of the obvious.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Wanda

      Colin, I think you haven't thought it all completely through yet. 🙂
      I'm also an ex-catholic

      June 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • PulTab

      Couldn't have said it better myself. :^)

      June 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • RRP

      Excellent observation....really appreciate your insightful thoughts of this crazy thing called "catholics". it means something Different for everyone, believing in something to carry you through a difficult time is helpful even if it's as lame as Religions....Thank you again for sharing...

      June 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • JMB3

      Great post.. hopefully some of the folks sitting on the ridiculous religious fence will fall your way. And even some of the crazy folks that still believe in this nonsense will actually grow up and move on leaving the magic man that lives in the clouds nonsense behind them. I am so amazed at the number of people that cannot see through this crap and just apply some simple common sense... great job...

      June 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • johnny damon

      Awesome! While I believe in god, I have my doubts but am afraid to tempt the notion. I still find your write-up fascinating and agree on multiple points.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • FormerCatholic

      You have put everything that I have felt in to beautifully succinct words!

      June 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • PushingBack

      Colin – what an amazing set of arguments!!

      June 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Aaron

      Colin, you are addressing the problems with Catholicism that liberal religion started grappling with in the late 1800's. Go to a Unitarian-Universalist congregation or the United Church of Christ. These are just two of the many denominations that dropped fundamentalism a long time ago and instead practice Christianity for the purposes of spiritual growth, social justice, and community.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • another ex-Cath

      That's why I went to paganism. The gods aren't perfect and neither are we 🙂

      June 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Mortalc01l

      Talking sense, using logic and pointing out the absurdity of Christianity (or ANY religion) will do nothing to sway the "believers".

      Belief, by it's nature is the absence of ALL fact. If something is FACT, you do not have to "believe" in it, because there is actual proof of it.

      Belief in a sky daddy requires the suspension of all rational faculty; it requires a childlike abdication of responsibility to a "higher power" which is really just intellectual laziness... Thinking for yourself, learning what the facts are, trying to understand the World around you is HARD... not having to think, not having to explain, not having to learn anything because you can ascribe it all to "God" is easy and requires no effort.

      Colin, I always appreciate your intelligent, thoughtful and witty post; keep on commenting as often as you can; maybe someone will read what you write and actually engage their brain for a second to contemplate their "belief".

      June 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Well said Collin. VERY well said.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Fred Worth - MN

      I gave up even thinking of religion a long time ago for the reasons that Colin's mentioned. I even tried a liberal Christian sect and I had to leave because of that dogma. I find no validity in ANY organized religion. This does not negate a belief in a SOURCE of power in the universe, but I will not kill to make you believe that.
      Colin, I want to give you another FACT for your list if you want it. While I do not totally believe in spacemen as the creaters of scencient life on Earth I have enjoyed watching ANICEINT ALIENS on Cable/Dish. ( If nothing else the different places the show goes to are fascinating.) As outragious and fanatical as the theories this show presents are to most Christians the theories presented make a lot more sense than the myths/dogma of religion and they have more supporting facts.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Partyman JG

      AMEN Brother! thank you. You should take a collection now!! Just kidding. That was perfect.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      Another Ex-Cath – You settled for paganism because the gods aren't perfect and so are we. The good news for believers in Christ is that we are made perfect like our God because of Jesus Christ. God gave us his own life by creating us with a soul (his life within us) and Jesus has restored that perfectness through his sacrifice so that we can share in God's perfect life for eternity. Why settle for the life of slavery when you can be a son/daughter of a king?

      June 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Re-convert

      Colin

      The God you are describing in your manifesto is NOT the God that I believe in. Good luck in your journey and seek the answers with a truthful heart.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Pat

      "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 disbelief 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." Actually, according to the Catholic Church, you will most likely go to Purgatory for a while before you go to heaven. The RCC believes in Faith AND Good Works. You're halfway there. Talk to a Protestant and they'll tell you that you're going straight to Hell.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Truth = Things as they "really" are!

      Wow..!!! I don't think I have ever read a more arrogant and "I'm justified" because I've now got God (in other words everything) all figured out.. Are you really so naive as to "believe" (I know how much you like that word) that "so called" educated, and/or learned modern day men/scientists (are they not just men like the rest of us) really know when and how the universe, stars and planets, etc., etc., were made..?? Really..??

      Ya it makes much more sense to "believe" these arrogant egotists and there SELF PROCLAIMED "theories" about all such things..!! When as "smart" (I use that term very lightly) as they are, they cannot even make or "create" something as simple as a flower..!!! ..let alone remotely, and definitely not fully, understand the complexities of the eco system, climates, world, planets, stars, the entire universe and beyond..!!! WOW..!!

      It is clearly obvious that these things (and everything!) did not just accidently, or "by chance" (the big bang) fall into place.. how absurd..!! Do you know the odds of this..?? There are none, it's so ridiculous..!!!

      Clearly someone (God) organized (or to put it another way) "created" these and "all" things. And your (and those you profess and "choose" to put your "faith" and trust in) "disbelief" in the only "logical and obvious" truth of organization and/or "creation" will (if not changed) bring the consequences of such a choice.. which is "damnation".. which is by definition a "stoppage" or "damming" of your eternal progression. Or a more "elementary" or simpler way of understanding it.. if your told walking across the street in front of a truck won't cause you any harm.. and you "choose" to "believe" and/or accept that lie.. will you ever make it to the other side of the road..??

      June 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • wazzugreg

      Colin. Beautiful perspective of reason.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  10. Jack

    Good morning. Everyone is welcome to visit ... thestarofkaduri.com

    June 19, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  11. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    Whenever someone tells me they are a Catholic, my response is always "I'm so sorry to hear that. How long have you been that way?"

    June 19, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • kendall1147

      And my question in return – How long have you been an idiot?

      June 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • PulTab

      kendall1147
      And my question in return – How long have you been an idiot?

      Not nearly as long as you apparently, kendall1147

      June 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • JMB3

      To Kendall..

      You have a lot of nerve calling Jacque an idiot when it appears to are the one that believes in this religious nonsense- shame of you for being so gullible and moronic.. very sad

      June 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • evantbyrne

      Seems like a good way to be quickly dismissed as completely arrogant. You should probably continue to do that, because then people will learn to avoid you much more quickly.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  12. Avinash

    "I never really got exposed to Christ"
    Umm what? Eucharist?! You've been in the physical presence of Christ and have even consumed him. His blood has ran through yours. How much more "exposure" could you ask for?

    June 19, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Do you honestly believe that the bread turns into Jesus' flesh and the wine turns into Jesus' blood? Doesn't that make you a cannibal? How much flesh and blood does Jesus have that could feed people for hundreds of years? Do you realize how crazy your belief sounds?

      June 19, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • BRC

      @Avinash,
      Couple things here- you're drinking the "blood" from the eucharist, so it goes to your stomach, not your blood (it would be broken down by the time it reached your small intestine, and only components of it would be extracted into your blood stream).

      Also, do you honestly believe that the wine becomes blood? I mean trully, because that's absurd, and let's be honest here, gross.

      Last but not least, "God" rather explicitly stated that his followers SHALL NOT drink blood... why would Jesus (who depending on your denomination either is "God" or at teh very least his son) come along and directly contradict that?

      June 19, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Bet

      All I got was a stale wafer and some sh!tty wine.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • JellyBean@Bet

      LM AO at Bet! And I thought Avinash was being sarcastic.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Know What

      I think that @Avinash's main point was that the Catholic Church does put its major emphasis on Jesus. They do, however, have a lot of Mary and the Saints stuff too... and some people do get carried away on those tangents.

      My final act on the way out the door of religion after decades of struggling with doubt, was going to Communion and hoping (yeah, praying) that "God" and Jesus would come back into me (and others were praying heartily for me too). Nope. There is no-one there.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Ritual cannibalism is not exclusively a Catholic practice.
      The Aztecs believed in transubstantiation as well. They consumed their human sacrifices in the belief that the dead literally became a part of the God to whom they were given.
      Binerwurs in India ate the sick amongst them to please Kali.
      The Karankawa, an indigenous Texan tribe, ritualistically consumed their enemies to gain their strength.
      The Wari, The Kuru, Fore, Caribs, Fijians, Popayans, Serengipeans, are all fairly modern examples (within the last 500 years).
      Indeed, Christians from the 1st Crusade consumed the fallen Arabs at Maarat.
      Just be thankful that the modern form is limited to wafers and wine!

      June 19, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Ting

      Cannibalism. Mmmmmm good...

      June 19, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • BRC

      Cannabolism, a strange practice oraginating from a time when one man made an unfortunate transpoition error while translating the addage "You are what you eat"

      June 19, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • SPA Knight

      In Matthew 26, it states, "Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to the disciples. 'Take it and eat,' he said, 'this is my body.' Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he handed it to them saying, 'Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

      Jesus was celebrating Passover. He took on the role of the sacrificed lamb for the atonement of sins according to the Jewish tradition. He was establishing a new covenant. Unless you believe Jesus Christ was the son of God, then this will not makes sense.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • BRC

      @SPA Knight,
      They don't drink blood at passover, so it seems a bit strange that Jesus, a Jew, would tell his disciples to do so.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Huebert

      @SPA Knight

      In other words. Yo have to believe that this makes sense in order for this to make sense.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • dmaldana

      Best reply ever!! 😀

      June 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Did you ever come to the conclusion (as everyone else who believes in Jesus has) that it was symbolic and he wasn't really giving people his flesh to eat? Do you realize how idiotic your idea sounds? The simpler answer is usually the correct one.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • PushingBack

      Why would you assume that an organization established long after Jesus would have lived would be the key to providing this spiritual nourishment? In other words, the Catholic Church conveniently created a mechanism for salvation that only they can provide. Keeps you coming back week after week too!

      June 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Zeke2112

      Nothing burps like zombie savior.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Most Americans are way to fatty. I prefer lean meat.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Mmmmmm..... soylent saviour

      June 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      BRC – The Hebrews were required to eat the sacrificial animal after the slaughter. The blood was certainly part of their flesh no?

      June 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • BRC

      @SPA Knight,
      Absolutely not actually. Kosher slaughter and rules requires that the blood is completely drained. Beyond that, there is the pretty clear declaration in Leviticus that "God's" faithful SHALL NOT consume blood. It's in the book, I didn't write it or make it up.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  13. Huebert

    “It’s like a spiritual tattoo that you receive as a kid,"

    Their is a great "spiritual tattoo" remover, It's called an education.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  14. SPA Knight

    "Kristen Kelly was raised Roman Catholic, attended Catholic elementary school and considered herself a good Catholic, but when she was 21-years-old that changed"

    Whenever a person states that they consider themselves "a good Catholic", that is a clear sign that they are in error because it reflects a mindset focused on them rather than on Christ. That is a by product of the "me" culture which contributes to the Cafeteria Catholic syndrome as well as the church shopping trend. Rather than seeking the truth in faith teachings, a person establishes their own personal truth then goes off trying to find a faith community that fits their view rather than conforming to the teachings which requires changing as an individual.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Topher

      I'd say this isn't exclusive to the Catholic church, either. It happens in all the religions. This is what happens when you have denominations and pastors who don't preach the Gospel and who are willing to compromise on what the Bible says.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Delusions 3:15

      If that is true, then the Pope is not Catholic. (It's also a general application of "Special Pleading").
      Thank you Jesus.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • SPA Knight

      Let's remember that the church came before the bible so our faith is not solely based on scripture but on tradition. That's why the Ctholic church says it's apostolic based a succession from the apostles.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Didn't Jesus speak against practicing faith based on traditions instead of the scriptures? Do you know that most of your "traditions" were originally pagan traditions?

      June 19, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • BRC

      @SPA Knight,
      You've touched on an excellent point there. Some denominations DID originate before the New Testament was codified... so, when those denominations say "look here, what we say is supported by the Bible", the response should be "of course it is, you wrote it". I do have to give the Catholic CHurch credit, it is willing to lok beyond the bible, and make jusdgment calls of its own; the problem is, it then takes that decision, that was made by a biased man who in the past nearly always had an agenda, and holds it as holy mandate for the next thousand years; don't know that that's really better.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Topher

      Jacques Strappe

      I have no doubt there were false Christs. There are some here today. The Bible even tells us there will be some in the final days.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • T-Max73

      Ah, self abasement-the first commandment of organized religion. Religion has to make someone truly believe they are bad, evil, deformed, and in need of salvation. And then guess what? They are right there with the cure! How convenient!

      June 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • BobZemko

      The Church's greatest fear is people thinking for themselves.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  15. Delusions 3:15

    And 10 % of Americans describe themselves as ex-Catholic. Now THAT'S huge.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • sqeptiq

      Unfortunately, most of them are still considering themselves as "chrisatian," just not catholic. Noi much improvement there.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  16. Cq

    “I took a two-page list of questions starting with the Hail Mary. I wanted to find them in the Bible, their origin … where is that in the Bible?”

    Any fundamentalist Christian could take a similar list, starting perhaps with the Rapture, and ask where their beliefs come from in the Bible, right?

    June 19, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Topher

      Yes. And fundamentalists would find the answers.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      No you wouldn't,

      You would make the claim you found the answer, there is a big difference.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Topher

      I'd back it up in the scriptures. Then you'd deny that it is true.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • BRC

      @Topher,
      That's because there is no credible evidence to support the miraculous portions of the bible, and plenty of proof that parts of it are false. When you can show the bible is true, we'll take it as evidence in arguments. Until then, it doesn't count.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • DamianKnight

      Where is The Rapture in the Bible? There are several references. 1Thessalonians 4:13-18:

      "Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words."

      June 19, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Topher

      What kind of evidence do you want?

      And there's nothing ever been proven false.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Bo

      @Cq: perhaps you could make a list of beliefs that Christians hold and ask the question: "Where is that found in the Bible?" BTW, the word 'rapture is not found in the Bible, but among other things, rapture means to be carried away. It is a word that refers to those who are"carried away with Jesus at His second coming. Likewise, the word millennium is not found in the Bible, it refers to the thousand years found in the book of the Revelation of Jesus. There are, perhaps other words that have been adopted by Christians. They are not a different doctrine they are words that refer to a doctrine.
      But go ahead, make your list.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      I find it funny that Catholics break one of the 10 commandments every day of their life by having graven images and using them to worship. That cross around your neck? Yeah. I think if Jesus were to come back, the last thing he wants to see is a cross.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • BRC

      @Topher,
      Corroborating evidence of divine intervention through physical evidence or credible historicle recounting by a neutral party.

      And much of the bible ahs been proven false, you jsut don't want to accept it. There have been many conversations on these boards with you explaining why the order and timeline of Genesis is patently wrong, your beliefs will not and cannot accept it. Fair enough, think what you will, but as far as Science is concerned, it's wrong (there are other examples we've discussed as well, but you're going to disagree with those to so why re-hash it).

      June 19, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Delusions 3:15

      Actually Jacques, it's not as irrational as you might think. You are 110 % that the command in Genesis is to create no image, and while they attempt to dacne around that, the real problem raised by the cross, is the allegorical one..that of suffering. The ONLY way the cross answers that is if there is transformation through suffering. There is no possible way a 6 month old is transformed through suffering. It's simply bullsh1t. SO they are correct to have crosses everywhere, cuz they do have a HUGE problem, (that of suffering). Trouble is, they can't answer the question they constantly raise, (except in fundie terms of "salvation", and we know when, why, and how that got cooked up, and grafted onto their cult).

      June 19, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Topher

      That's fine. I don't want to rehash it either. The complaints you and others posted about Genesis were grasping at straws at best.

      Also, there's plenty of secularist writings that prove, at the very least, that Jesus existed. Of course, then you atheists want to try and discredit that, too.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Topher,

      I could show how the bible is false time and time again but it wouldn't matter because you have already decided it is without error. You are like a Holocost denier, no matter how much evidence is piled in front of you, you just close your eyes and stick your fingers in your ears.

      But I would like you to explain how the marsupiels got to Australia after the flood, I am sure you have an answer but I would still like to hear it.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Topher

      Just claims.

      The Bible isn't without error (there are known misspellings and copy errors) but I've yet to hear anything compelling from an atheist on what makes it untrue. You come at me with "who was made first, man or animals." They were both on the same day, so who cares?

      Dude, if you've got evidence, let's hear it. This is, after all, my favorite subject.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Topher, did you know that there were many people around the time of Jesus that claimed to be the Messiah. There were apparently accounts of people healing the sick, raising the dead, walking through walls, being resurrected. All of them have just as much proof that they were the Messiah as Jesus.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • BRC

      @Topher,
      In point of fact I have never denied the existence of Jesus. I believe he was not only alive, I believe he was a very good man, and a philosopher with views that would greatly benefit mankind if more people would listen to them. But there is absolutely no evidence to support that he was divine, and no reason for me to believe he was. I also don't think modern religions trully understand most of what he said, or there would be a lot less condemning and more understanding coming out of the head offices. But that's just my interpretation.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Topher

      Jacques Strappe

      I have no doubt there were false Christs. There are some here today. The Bible even tells us there will be some in the final days.

      (Sorry ... posted this in the wrong spot.)

      June 19, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Topher,

      I asked how the marsupiels got to Austrailia after the flood.

      You claiming I can't prove it is not true does not therefore 'make it true'. I can't prove a lot of things untrue that I don't believe in that have nothing to do with religion and so do you, but you give your religion special consideration over your other beliefs.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Topher

      BRC

      "In point of fact I have never denied the existence of Jesus. I believe he was not only alive, I believe he was a very good man, and a philosopher with views that would greatly benefit mankind if more people would listen to them."

      I'm glad you have at least this foundation, but your problem comes because Jesus claimed to be so much more than that. He claimed to be God. So he can only be one of 3 things. 1. God. 2. A liar. 3. A madman who thought he was god. If he's No. 2, you can't believe ANYTHING he said. If No. 3, again, you can't trust a madman. But if He is No. 1, then we can trust the whole Bible (that He came to pay for our sins, etc. ...)

      June 19, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • BRC

      @Topher,
      You're neglecting option 4) Jesus made no such claim, was a plain and good man who riled a local government and gained a following in doing so. Then several years later, an oportunists name Saul claimed to have a close interaction with this good Man's soul, said he knew him to be the Son of God, and the rest is corrupt and manufactured history.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Topher

      "I asked how the marsupiels got to Austrailia after the flood."

      Sorry, I forgot. I have no idea. I wasn't there and the Bible doesn't say much in the way of animals travels. There could have been a lot of ways ... floating masses, man took them there. I don't know. It would be historical science anyway, and not proveable.

      How do you think it happened?

      June 19, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Know What

      Topher,

      Jesus – Lord, Liar or Lunatic, eh?

      There is another option, you know - Legend.

      If he existed, did he *really* say all/any of those things that the first century evangelists said that he said? People are very imaginative and expansive when trying to further the fame and reputation of their heroes.

      Don't bother with the, "well, why did they die for a made-up story". The fates of most of the followers is unknown or unverified. And many people have died for mistaken beliefs.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Topher

      BRC

      That's silliness. It isn't an option because He did make the claim. That's why He was killed ... for blasphemy for calling himself equal with God. Also all His followers believed Him to be just that, to the point where almost all of the disciples went to their death for it. And then there's the witnesses who saw Him after the resurrection.

      I know you atheists particularly hate Paul, but it couldn't have happened the way you say. Stephen was killed before Paul's vision. In fact, Paul was the one killing the Christians.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Topher,

      Prove Thor is not the cause of lightning. You can't prove it wrong so I am justified to believe it is true.

      This type of argument is fallacious and intellectually dishonest.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Paul was just a Pharisee who got control of the Christians. Nothing more, nothing less.

      Witnesses? What witnesses? The ones in the Bible that is flawed? Using that as evidence is like using a Lord of the Rings book as proof that Sauron and magical rings exist. Well it says it in there so I know it is true.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Topher,

      It does not matter whether he made the claim or not, lots of people made the claim. Jim Jones, David Koresh ect.

      Jesus claimed he would return before and bring judgement to the world before that generation had passed, didn't happen. He was as false as any other guy that claimed to be god.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • BRC

      @Topher,
      No, you think he made the claim, becasue the Bible says he did. A bible that, as was pointed out above, was partially written AFTER the formation of religions that based themselves on his divinity; a New Testament that is based largely on the writings of Paul, who yes, did kill Christians, AND THAT SHOULD BE A GIANT RED FLAG RIGHT THERE. You can spin it howver you want, your evidence comes from an unverified book that was written AFTER the fact in question in support of the story being pushed. That is not a good premise for credibility, the fact that a large number of supersticious people died for the strength of their convictions does nothing to make them more valid. That happens all the time, and still happens today. When a cult commits mass suicide so their spirits can be carried away on a comet, does their willingness make their belief more right? Strength of convivtion does not equal truth of belief; it simply doesn't, no matter how bad you want it to. That's the joy of the universe, what is doesn't care how we feel about it, it just is.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Topher

      Know What

      "There is another option, you know – Legend."

      Like Robin Hood? Lots of people believe Robin really existed, but nobody went to death for it. Those people who witnessed Jesus had plenty of reasons to believe what He said was true.

      "If he existed, did he *really* say all/any of those things that the first century evangelists said that he said? People are very imaginative and expansive when trying to further the fame and reputation of their heroes."

      That's true. But how often to the people who did the imagining make themselves look so bad? Do you really think if they were making it up they'd write such embarrassing things about themselves? Do you think Mark or Luke was like, "Hey, Peter, I've got this great idea. We're going to have Jesus call you the devil and have you betray Him after His arrest." Why would they do this especially when Peter was supposed to be the leader? No, if they were making it up, they'd be like "Oh, I was Jesus' best desciple and I was right there with Him always and even took out a couple of Romans before they captured Him."

      "Don't bother with the, "well, why did they die for a made-up story". The fates of most of the followers is unknown or unverified. And many people have died for mistaken beliefs."

      They are known. They might not have the validity of scripture, but we pretty much know what happened to them. Read Foxe's. It tells you when the story can't be verified and if it is more likely legend.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Topher

      Just Claims, No Truth

      "Prove Thor is not the cause of lightning. You can't prove it wrong so I am justified to believe it is true."

      All you have to do is look up a book on weather. It's pretty easy to understand, positive and negative charges and what-not. I don't have to disprove Thor because I know how lightning works.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Topher

      Jacques Strappe

      "Witnesses? What witnesses? The ones in the Bible that is flawed? Using that as evidence is like using a Lord of the Rings book as proof that Sauron and magical rings exist. Well it says it in there so I know it is true."

      There are plenty of secular sources from the time. Of course you atheists turn on your own people and say we can't be sure if those can be trusted. It must be sad to not believe in anything.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Topher

      Just Claims, No Truth

      "Jesus claimed he would return before and bring judgement to the world before that generation had passed, didn't happen. He was as false as any other guy that claimed to be god."

      "That generation" was the generation of the end ... not the generation standing before Him. Please don't make false claims about what the Bible says.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Topher,

      All you have to do is look up a book on evolution. It's pretty easy to understand, positive and negative changes over millions of years and what-not. I don't have to disprove Bible because I know how evolution works.

      It works both ways...

      June 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      No secular claim has been made that Jesus rose from the dead. It is only found in the Bible. Interesting to note that even in the Bible story, the person who was supposedly the resurrected Jesus, didn't look like Jesus. Even in the Biblical account not one person recognized him when they saw him.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • BRC

      @Topher,
      ""That generation" was the generation of the end ... not the generation standing before Him. Please don't make false claims about what the Bible says."

      And how exactly do you know that what's above, YOUR interpretation of the Bible, is correct? I believe there is a line in that part where Jesus tells the people that before the end of the lives of all those assembled there (or something to that effect), this judgement would come. That sure sounds like he meant THAT generation. How do you know that wasn't what was meant?

      June 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Topher

      Just Claims, No Truth

      "All you have to do is look up a book on evolution. It's pretty easy to understand, positive and negative changes over millions of years and what-not. I don't have to disprove Bible because I know how evolution works.

      It works both ways..."

      That's fine. Evolution is true ... as long as it's micro-evolution. Both chihuahuas and great danes are both dogs. But there is absolutely no evidence for macro-evolution.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Know What

      Topher,

      "Do you really think if they were making it up they'd write such embarrassing things about themselves?"

      –Yes, they put it in there to "fulfill" the OT prophecy of Zechariah (Zechariah 13:7) to indicate that even the denial of the Messiah by his own followers was a fact of Old Testament prophecy.

      -----------------–

      Here is a list (23 PAGES) of martyrs for Islam, with lots of suffering, death, angst and bravado:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Muslim_martyrs

      June 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      @Topher said, "That generation" was the generation of the end ... not the generation standing before Him. Please don't make false claims about what the Bible says."

      "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."

      — Matthew 24:34

      "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."

      — Matthew 16:28

      "And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power."

      — Mark 9:1

      "But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God."

      — Luke 9:27

      Topher, These passages specifically say "THERE BE SOME STANDING HERE", you are now lying and misrepresenting what your god himself said.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Topher

      Jacques Strappe

      "No secular claim has been made that Jesus rose from the dead. It is only found in the Bible. Interesting to note that even in the Bible story, the person who was supposedly the resurrected Jesus, didn't look like Jesus. Even in the Biblical account not one person recognized him when they saw him."

      No secular writers claimed that the resurrection was true (that would make them believers), but they did record that the Christians believed that to be the case, that they said He was alive and that because of those beliefs Jesus "was perhaps the Messiah."

      June 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Topher

      Just Claims

      The verses you quote ... John was standing there. He did see the end when Christ revealed it to him. All that's the book of Revelation.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • The GOP need to pack up and leave

      The Rapture isn't in the bible. That idea came about in the early 1800's by a guy named Darby who decided to take another look at Revelations and come up with a new interpretation. The idea of the rapture is merely a southern baptist or fundamentalist baptist idea that took hold in a few other religious sects, but it's not in the bible.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Topher,

      1. The "John" that wrote Revelation is not the disciple "John" who walked with Jesus. There is not a reputable bible scholar who makes that claim. It is not known for sure who wrote Revelation but it is known that it was NOT John the disciple.

      2. The passages say these thing shall come to pass and be fullfilled, not just be REVEALED.

      You are lying about what the Bible actually says because if you don't your whole argument is shot.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • BRC

      @Topher,
      I got it. So your argument is that the bible isn't wrong, the problem is that everyone who doesn't believe what you and the people like you believe is reading it wrong. Does that really seem that plausible to you?

      June 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Topher,

      That's fine. Lightning is true ... as long as it's micro-lightning. Both static electricity from my sock on the carpet and lightning are electricity. But there is absolutely no evidence for lightning being caused by socks...

      June 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Topher

      Just Claims, No Truth

      1. The "John" that wrote Revelation is not the disciple "John" who walked with Jesus. There is not a reputable bible scholar who makes that claim. It is not known for sure who wrote Revelation but it is known that it was NOT John the disciple."

      EVERY reputable Bible scholar says it's John. Not only that, but it even says it is written by John. C'mon, dude, you can do better than this. Well, maybe not. Your arguments are even an embarrassment to atheists.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Topher,

      The only Bible scholars you consider reputable are the ones who agree with you. I am talking about the scholars that work out of Stanford, Notre Dame, ect.

      Also you did not address the fact that Jesus said these things would be fullfilled, I know now you are going to claim they were somehow fullfilled. Saying my arguments are an embarrasment does not make it so. You continue to make claims you can't back up and when I call you on it you say I can't prove you wrong. It is not my job to prove you wrong. You claim Jesus was god, prove it. All you have is a circular argument that says "the bible is true because it says it is true and you can't prove otherwise." My 10 year old son can reason better than you.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Topher

      Just Claims, No Truth

      "The only Bible scholars you consider reputable are the ones who agree with you. I am talking about the scholars that work out of Stanford, Notre Dame, ect."

      So secularists? So what you are saying is you only believe the "scholars" who agree with you.

      "Also you did not address the fact that Jesus said these things would be fullfilled, I know now you are going to claim they were somehow fullfilled."

      Which things? Which verse? Do you expect me to comment on generalities?

      "Saying my arguments are an embarrasment does not make it so. You continue to make claims you can't back up and when I call you on it you say I can't prove you wrong."

      You can't, but that's not the point. Since you can't prove it wrong, wouldn't it behoove you to at least consider that the Bible might be right?

      "You claim Jesus was god, prove it."

      Creation proves there's at least a creator.

      "My 10 year old son can reason better than you."

      Maybe he can. I'm not a scholar. But it certainly sounds like a 10-year-old when you ask me to prove Zeus or the origins of lightning.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • BRC

      @Topher,
      I don't want to speak for Just Claims, but I can adres a few of your points, as running in circles gets tiring after a while.

      Scholars from Notre Dame are NOT secularists. You may not like it, but there are plenty of religious people who absolutely believe in and follow Jesus, that don't agree with many of the things you've said (for instance the fact that Genesis is an accurate account and not just a story, or that evolution isn't real).

      He did say what Jesus said would be fulfilled- Revalations. All of it. The text says that all of that would come to pass before some of the people there assembled tasted death. That means it should have HAPPENED during that generation, while some of those people were still alive, it doesn't mean, that one man there will have a vision of it. That is a BIG difference.

      There is no value to believing the Bible is true. There is value in taking the good lessons it conatins and applying them to your life, but to accept all of it "on faith" is of no benefit. If you're still worried about the eternal Christian punishment, live a good life, adn believe that Jesus is a loving savior, you don't need the bible to do that.

      Creation of a construct proves a creater, existence of a biological organism does not. There is a flower, does that require that someone planted it? Or could the nature of the plant allowed a pollenated seed to fall where the ground was fertile enough to support growth?

      June 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Topher,

      Notre Dame is not a secular school and most bible scholars that agree John the disciple was not the author because it was not written in Aramaic and they know that John was not educated which means he was not capable of writing, and they are believers not secularists.

      "Which things? Which verse?"

      I listed the verses above, don't play coy.

      "Since you can't prove it wrong"

      I can prove it wrong. You are like a holocost denier, or a flat earther. It makes no difference what proof is in front of you you have a fallacious argument to through out.

      "Creation proves there's at least a creator."

      I said you claim Jesus was god, prove it and this is your answer. It does not address your claim Jesus was god and is proof of your intellectual dishonesty.

      "But it certainly sounds like a 10-year-old when you ask me to prove Zeus or the origins of lightning."

      That is exactly my point, you sound like a 10 year old when you ask me to prove your bible wrong, or that Jesus was not god. I use that example to show how stupid your argument sounds and if you don't get the sarcastic nature of the question you are a dolt.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  17. SPA Knight

    It's sad to see that CNN continues to participate in Catholic bashing along with anyone else that has a gripe about the faith. As a young man I was also challenged by fellow so-called Christians that are born again. Christians should work together to build up the faith rather than destroy one another. There is plenty of evil to confront in the world including within the churches that's for sure but reform will come when we turn back and make Christ the center of our lives. That takes a humble heart, prayer and charity towards others.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Cq

      "Christians should work together to build up the faith rather than destroy one another."
      Isn't that like Coke and Pepsi banning together against the people who just drink water? Born Again churches are in compet.ition with the Catholic Church. It's a rich source of converts for them. Why should they cooperate?

      June 19, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Which God??

      @SPA. No, not catholic bashing, merely pointing out the fallacies of all religions. It's a joke, and a sick one atthat. It gives fales hope that some unseen, inknown sky-fairy will intercede to make you (insert pleas here), what ever it is you are missing in life. GD Dmn, people, wake up and LIVE, for yourself, for your family and close friends. Contribute to life, be a part of it. Life lived isn't in a musty old book of mythology, it is front of you. Grasp it embrace it's wonder, and accept that it is yours to leve, without sin, a weird guilt trip imposed on you.Be a good person to all, this is how you are truly judged, as well as your own self judgement. No big daddy in the sky is going to condemn you.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • BRC

      Reporting is not bashing. It's reporting. The Catholic Churhc is pushing extra hard lately (or at least more publicly), to enforce its doctrines and values. THese doctrines and values aren't resonating with people now like they did for people 2000 years ago, so they seem out of place, and are meeting more resistance than before. Basically , it makes the Church look out of date and out of sync, and their actions get reported as such. If you think that it paints the church in a negative light, maybe that's because the church is doing negative things. They're not making stuff up, they're reporting, if you don't like what you're seeing, convince the Church to change.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Topher

      So you think you're a good person? You've never sinned?

      June 19, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      What a load of garbage, the atricle taked about coming back to the church and included people who had. It was a fair article and you again feel "persecuted", boo hoo. Grow up.

      Just be glad they didn't focus of people who left because of abuse or talked to people like me who are now atheist.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Delusions 3:15

      If god were almighty, and perfect, nobody would have to get busy and build up anything. It would just be obvious. Tricky little god ya got there.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Topher

      Perhaps the reason that they didn't leave religion all together was that they KNEW there was a God but didn't think the Catholics had it right.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • SPA Knight

      Topher – She didn't say she was a good person but a good Catholic which implies that she is defining what it means to be a good Catholic. I consider myself a good person but sin every day but this does not imply that I am a good Catholic.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Topher,

      Perhaps they WANT it to be true like you do. And since there is really no reason to think it is true that is exactly what they did.

      Faith is pretending to know something you don't know and you pretend with the best of them.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Topher

      Good point.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Topher

      Just Claims, No Truth

      Of course I want it to be true. Who wants to think there's no meaning to this life other than living it?

      There's plenty of reason to think it's true. The Bible says it's so obvious that we are "without excuse."

      June 19, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Topher,

      Life has plenty of meaning without god and the flawed, forged, immoral bible. It has more meaning when you realise that this is all there is and this is not a 'dress rehearsa' for the next life. I want to believe things that are actually true and reject things that are false. You want to believe in fairy tales.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • BRC

      @Topher,
      the Bible also says that you can cure leprosy with two birds, a complex ritual, some ashes, and some blood. That's kind of a punch in the credibility. Wanting something to be true, and something actually being true, have nothing to do with one another.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Topher

      Just claims ...

      What, in your secular worldview, gives life meaning ... that isn't also covered in the Biblical worldview?

      I'm not being snarky, I'm honestly curious about your answer.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • pastmorm

      What evil is there in world besides man made evil? I have never seen the devil...and I've never seen god. I'm not an atheist by any measure, but I think that the dark ages are past and we need to start taking responsibility for our own actions instead of blaming some non-existent creature dubbed the devil.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Topher my life affects others, my family, my friends and anyone I happen to interact with during the day, it is up to me on whether that is a positive affect of a negative affect.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Madtown

      Topher
      The Bible says....
      ----
      I personally could never assign ultimate authority to the bible, and I have a natural skepticism against it and anyone who would. It's not the "word of God". God didn't write it, man did. I don't buy the notion that God "inspired" the men to write the words they did. I admit this COULD HAVE occured, but there's no irrefutable evidence aside from the authors themselves telling us they were inspired. Why believe them? They are human beings, full of imperfection, bias, and fallability. Not to be trusted. Along with this, human beings edited the bible, selected the individual works that comprise the bible, left out equally relevant works because those works didn't send the exact message the human beings wanted, and continue to edit the bible by offering new versions. The hand of man is all over the bible, every single word. To attribute the creation of the bible to God is intellectually dishonest.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Topher

      Madtown

      There's a lot of mistruths out there about how we got the Bible. I'll try to address some here, but there's just no way I could get it all here, so if you are interested, please look into it.

      Depends on what you mean about humans editing the Bible. Yes, we do have misspellings and even copying errors that we know about (and none of those compromise scripture.)

      The works included in the Bible were all believed to have been inspired by God, so that's why they are in there. The books not included did not pass the tests. They were written way too late (gnostic gospels) or were never believed to be inspired (apocrypha), weren't written by a Jesus contemporary or the work would conflict with the other scriptures (which would mean it wasn't inspired, either.)

      Depends on what you mean by new versions. Yes, there are new translations, but there isn't anything new being added.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Madtown

      The works included in the Bible were all believed to have been inspired by God, so that's why they are in there. The books not included did not pass the tests.
      ---------–
      Yes, I know they are "BELIEVED to have been inspired by God", that's the point. Says who? The individuals that wrote them say so. Bias? What better way to have your work accepted, than to claim it's the will of God, the actual writing of God? As far as the works that were not included, you make my point for me. They "did not pass the test" of the human beings who put the bible together, meaning those works didn't send the exact message the humans were looking for, meaning........the bible is the word of man. How dare a group of human beings purport to actually speak for God, and create a text that they suggest is the equivalent of God's spoken word?! Arrogance.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Topher

      Madtown

      Can I prove these books are the inspired word of God? Maybe not. But we certainly can prove the ones that aren't in there are not inspired. That's why those tests were a good thing. If someone shows up with the Gospel of Thomas almost 200 years after Christ and says it is scripture, it fails the test. The book couldn't have been written by Thomas (too late), it teaches things contrary to scripture and is also written after the close of canon. The tests were good things.

      And as far as it being arrogance ... It isn't arrogance IF the Bible is true. But the Bible claims to be the word of God and thus it isn't man's doing, but God's.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Madtown

      And as far as it being arrogance ... It isn't arrogance IF the Bible is true. But the Bible claims to be the word of God and thus it isn't man's doing, but God's.
      ------------
      You're a mess, all over the place with your rationale. You've just made the entire point again: "the bible claims to be the word of God"......exactly, AND it was written by men! There's the arrogance. Human beings, purporting to know what God thinks, what God wishes to be written down in text and noted as "his word".

      June 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      "Yes, there are new translations, but there isn't anything new being added."

      Topher,

      Mark 16:16-20 is a known addition that was not in earlier copies.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  18. Bobs

    The sad thing is that the lady considers being a born again a trade up from being Catholic.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Which God??

      @Bobs. You are right, it's sad. Trading one delusion for another.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • JellyBean@bobs and whichgod

      Bingo on both counts.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Add to that she, myself and numerous other "recovering Catholics" have already been condemned to Hell by the Pope because we refuse to recognize him as the sole authority for what God wants from us. Some folks like me are double condemned because I had the audacity to get a divorce and to remarry without paying an exorbitant fee for an Annulment stating my first marriage never existed. I guess the Church never learned its lesson from 1534 when Henry VIII declared Rome had no authority outside of Rome (or at least not in England).

      Now, don't get me wrong. One of my best friends is a Roman Catholic Priest. He knows and understands my reasons for
      not being a part of his Church anymore. And because he is my friend, he does not condemn me. What does bother me is when ex-Catholics suddenly decide that they are now "holier-than-thou" because they claim to be born again, like Kristin. I hate to tell folks this, but I had just as much opportunity to learn about Jesus from within the RC Church as she did. I took the opportunity to learn, which she did not.

      So my problem with the Church has never been about theology, but always about politics and the RC Church still trying to be the Temporal power they ceased being in the 1870s, and the rollback to the pre-Vatican II philosophies forced by Pope Ratzinger back when he was Chief Inquisitioner on Pope Wotylia after the Alzheimer's started to effect his judgement.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Bet

      It's surprising how many ex-catholics end up as born agains. That's what happened to me. You go from an oppressive, Mary and saint based, highly ritualistic service to a singing, hand clapping, praise Jebus service and it's so different. It feels good, people pat you on the back and welcome you. That can be attractive to someone who isn't happy in their present spiritual environment. Plus, born agains read the bible, which isn't encouraged in the catholic church. I liked that. The priests and nuns always hated it when I asked them questions about the bible.

      Except that the more I read and studied the bible, the less I could believe in any of it. The pastor wasn't any happier with me reading and asking questions than the nuns and priests were. The day he told me to stop thinking so much and let the men of the church do the thinking was the day I left church for good.

      After ten more years of private bible study, I left god for good. By that time, none of it made sense and I was done with sky daddies, devils, being told I was born a bad person, and threats of hell.

      I still have catholic friends. All my born again "friends" dropped me when the pastor decided I was persona non grata.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Bet,

      Wow that sounds similar except I didn't go the born again route. Religion and especially Catholics don't like questions because at some point when they run out of answers then the answer becomes either 'faith', 'God's plan' or 'it's a mystery'. I finally realised the 'mystery' was a 'scam'.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Bet

      @ Just Claims No Truth

      I suspect there are a lot of us out there with similar stories.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  19. Rundvelt

    > “It’s like a spiritual tattoo that you receive as a kid," Viarrial says. "Those roots don’t ever disappear, you just better try to understand them.”

    Instead about just accepting that you have them and trying to better understand them, you sit back and say "Is what I believe really true and by what method would I use to determine what is and is not true?"

    If people asked that and honestly looked, we'd have real recovering catholics, not those who are still deluded.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  20. Rundvelt

    I don't know how this is recovering. It's going from believing nonsense to believing slightly different nonsense.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Patel D

      They re-cover their ignorance with a different and more popular layer of ignorant illusions.
      It's not about finding sanity and recovering from the insanity of religion, it's about finding another layer of bs they can use to ignore the real world and pretend everything is okay.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      You are spot on Rundvelt,

      I left the church and when I had kids decided I better figure out which version of Christianity I was going to go with. After actually doing some research into the history, NOT just the beliefs and also looked at the beliefs objectively I realised it is all bunk.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      The Catholic church is one of the most evil organizations in the history of mankind. Anybody who wants to leave it, despite going to another religion, should be encouraged, not insulted.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Rundvelt

      > The Catholic church is one of the most evil organizations in the history of mankind. Anybody who wants to leave it, despite going to another religion, should be encouraged, not insulted.

      Do you really think the born agains would be any different if they had the power? At least the catholics aren't trying to subvert science for their own beliefs.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Primewonk

      Rundvelt wrote, "At least the catholics aren't trying to subvert science for their own beliefs".

      Are you sure this is how you want to roll? Because it is painfully obvious that this is wrong. Look at the lies about condoms increasing AIDs rates. Look at their claims that being gay is wrong, immoral, or a sin.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      > Are you sure this is how you want to roll? Because it is painfully obvious that this is wrong. Look at the lies about condoms increasing AIDs rates. Look at their claims that being gay is wrong, immoral, or a sin.

      Except that this would be the case of the born again christians as well. Read my comments in context.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:35 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.