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Pope Francis is 'person of the year': So what’s new?
Pope Francis was named Time magazine's Person of the Year on December 11.
December 11th, 2013
05:58 PM ET

Pope Francis is 'person of the year': So what’s new?

By Ben Wedeman, CNN

ROME (CNN) - When the white smoke billowed from the chimney in the Sistine Chapel, we ran, along with thousands of others, up the Via della Conciliazione to Saint Peter’s Square to hear the announcement. We waited around 45 minutes, then heard the name “Bergoglio”

“Who?” was my first reaction. I looked around in confusion. CNN Rome cameraman Alessandro Gentile shrugged his shoulders, as did producer Livia Borghese. Others around us, with the exception of an older English woman, who must have been an amateur Vaticanista, were equally mystified.

In the nine months since that night in March, we’ve come to know Jorge Bergoglio, otherwise known as Pope Francis. He keeps us busy almost every day, with his latest pronouncement, his latest gestures, large and small. I have a pile of books about Francis on my desk. The Google news alert I set up months ago for “Pope Francis” now fills up my e-mail box, exceeding other alerts for Italy, Rome, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Israel, Iran, etc. I regularly listen to podcasts about Francis on my phone.

For foreign journalists based in Rome, Pope Francis has in fact been our “person of the year” long before Time magazine settled on him. He quickly eclipsed the noisy, chaotic game of musical chairs called Italian politics. And Francis has turned out to be a balm for those who for year after year had to cover flamboyant scandal-drenched former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as their like-it-or-not Italian “person of the year.”

At home, my lapsed Catholic Italian wife has put Francis’ picture on the wall. Italians are notoriously cynical when it comes to public figures, but ask them about “Papa Francesco” and their reaction is almost invariably positive and effusive.

“He has a humble heart, he’s great, he’s beautiful,” gushed a giddy middle-aged woman from the Naples area when we asked her Wednesday what she thought of Francis becoming Time’s Person of the Year.

And regardless of who wins the title next year, at this rate we can assume, at least here in Rome, Francis will be person of the year for several years to come.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (612 Responses)
  1. lunchbreaker

    Robert Brown

    Hey Lunchbreaker, what do you think of this?

    http://blog.carm.org/2011/04/the-bogey-man-called-euthyphros-dilemma/

    I read the blog, and I was not specifically citing this dilema. But the question would still stand to a trinity. The fact that God is not a "monad", does not eliminate the question when posed to the trinity. Either the trinity is bound to a higher law or makes the law.

    December 13, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Hey lunchbreaker, I didn’t see a problem with the question so I went and read some stuff including the link I posted. I was really looking to see what the problem was. I’m ok with God being the lawmaker because I believe he is good. I realize that creates other problems in some peoples minds, but it doesn’t in mine. God is good and his mercy endures forever.

      December 13, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
      • So your god was good when he slaughtered 42 children with a bear

        And what was their HEINOUS crime?

        They called one of god's pathetic, fat, slovenly priests "BALDY".

        The poor priest. He got his feelings all hurt and stuff. So your "ALL LOVING and ALL MERCIFUL" god sent two bears to rip apart 42 children.

        Cuz he "SO LOVED THE WORLD".

        You're a putz for believing in fairy tales – and fairy tales that can't even be self-consistent within its own delusional framework.

        December 13, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
      • bushgirlsgonewild

        And the Nazi's were OK with Hitler setting the rules too. Only based on what one person days it's just, not based on a system.

        December 14, 2013 at 12:01 am |
      • sam stone

        His mercy? For what? Us doing what he KNEW what we were going to do before we did it?

        Neither you nor any other christian blogger have demonstrated that free will can co-exist with an omniscient god

        In fact, Gopher and Larry of Arabia have stated that god knows who will be "saved" and who will not before they are born, but they allow those who will not to be born KNOWING full well they face eternity in hell.

        Apparently, to satisfy some delusion over his own justice

        Sounds like a vindictive punk to me

        But, people will continue to worship him, largely out of fear

        Snivelling sycophants

        December 14, 2013 at 4:36 am |
  2. Realist

    ------–
    ------–

    ... http://www.GodIsImaginary.com...

    ... and thank goodness because he ...

    ............. emanates from the .............

    ... http://www.EvilBible.com

    ------–
    ------–

    December 12, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  3. Lionly Lamb

    It is a goodness of social meanderings to lift up the world's spotlights having many people to get a sensation from many candles aflame and lit with scrutiny or adoration... This Pope is just a man with nothing but positive perceptivity...

    December 12, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      amazing that you talk this funny when you're NOT high

      December 13, 2013 at 5:55 am |
    • and has his POSITIVE PERCEPTIVITY actually changed any of the hateful things Catholics do?

      No. They do not.

      You're still all hateful hypocrites.

      December 13, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
  4. Bender Bending Rodriguez

    EXCELLENT selection. The Pope rules!

    December 12, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
  5. Over 3 million views

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSR4xuU07sc

    December 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
  6. hearties

    God is the being of eternity. Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the Son of God, sent by God to offer those that believe him, an eternity in heaven. I would rather have this, it is an excellent offer, much better than a pope.

    December 12, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • igaftr

      Nogomain is more powerful. Not only did he create everything, he created himself out of nothing.

      December 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • The Easter Bunny copulated with the Tooth Fairy

      and Jeebus popped out.

      December 13, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  7. Free Nuts

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-xYnbi3efg

    December 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Odd that so many of those insane people are black women?

      Do they have a monopoly on being insane? NO – they're brainwashed to be in a cult. They're easy marks due to their backgrounds.

      December 13, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
  8. Noel

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ozVmO5LHJ2k

    .

    December 12, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • isaiah 7

      Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman* is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.*

      December 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
      • JamesK

        So, how is this a prediction related to a guy named "Jesus"?

        December 13, 2013 at 10:15 am |
        • Immanuel is Jeebus spelled backwards

          if you're high.

          December 13, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Max

      What a powerhouse of talent! Amazing!!!

      December 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLCxbXfyXCo

      December 13, 2013 at 8:09 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        TRY AGAIN

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLCxbXfyXCo

        December 13, 2013 at 8:11 am |
  9. Rainer Braendlein

    I have Muslim and Catholic next-door neighbours. I don't despise them because of their belief. However, in my sight Islam and Catholicism are heresies. I only despise the false doctrine.

    I see my neighbours more as poor people having gone astray, seduced by evil heretics. The problem are the heretics, not my naive neighbours.

    (this is for "question mark")

    December 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Lord's Prayer

      “‘Our Father in heaven,
      hallowed be your name,
      10 your kingdom come,
      your will be done,
      on earth as it is in heaven.
      11 Give us today our daily bread.
      12 And forgive us our debts,
      as we also have forgiven our debtors.
      13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
      but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’
      Amen.

      December 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
      • C

        It's odd that your guy, Paul of Tarsus, didn't even know that prayer... being as it allegedly came right from the lips of "Jesus". Paul said "we don't know how to pray...".

        (hint: It wasn't even composed until after Paul died)

        December 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
        • cpt fantasdoc

          Newbies. FYI, athies flood this dump with lies. ask for proof and they disappear

          December 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • Russ

          @ C:
          1) seeing as how NONE of the disciples repeat it in formulaic fashion (in also honoring the other the other things Jesus says about prayer in the Sermon on the Mount), doesn't the lack of repeti.tion signal a model for prayer rather than rote recitation?

          2) in Rom.8, it seems rather clear that Paul is speaking in response to intense suffering and not having words in the midst of suffering (note well v.18, as well as even the 'weakness' mentioned in v.26, which you cited). considering how OFTEN he prays & invokes prayer, your reading (that Paul doesn't know the 'how to' of prayer from a technical standpoint) requires ignoring the rest of the vast Pauline corpus.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
        • cpt fantasdoc

          Dorothy, u realize of course that your lack of sound reasoning here is an example y no one takes u seriously.

          December 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Got to love dodo. I never realized that the Lord's prayer was given after Jesus died. How does dodo no? No one mentions it.

        The funnirest thing about it is, she's serious.

        Lord have mercy on these idiots.

        December 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • MATTHEW 5:21

          "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[worthless] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell."

          TELL ME WHY YOU HATEFUL CHRISTIANS CAN'T EVER SEEM TO FOLLOW THE COMMANDMENTS OF YOUR HOLY JEEBUS?

          December 13, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • me2

      I have arrogant and smug next-door neighbours. I don't despise them because of their belief. However, in my sight arrogance and smugness are horrible traits. I only despise their at}tude.

      December 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
      • cpt fantasdoc

        I think athies r by far the funniest boobs on earth, bar none. In fact, no one comes close.

        December 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
        • cpt fantasdoc

          course when i says bar none i means bar me i'm the biggest boob around

          December 12, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I have to agree. We r a bunch of idiots

          December 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
        • cpt fantasdoc

          no i bes the biggest boob

          December 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Agreed. Point being, athies lie all the time and think no one notices. That's y I renounced atheism as of 5 minutes ago and reconvert to Jesus. He loves me.

          December 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
        • Pastor Colin

          Welcome back, my son.

          December 12, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Free Nuts

      free nuts every day on the BB.

      December 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • ?

      So? You're showing religious bigotry, and it is decidedly un-Christ like.
      You can certainly disagree with them. What you post, however, isn't a disagreement in doctrine, it's flat out bashing other Christians and other faiths.
      I am sure your neighbors see you as the neighborhood bigot.

      December 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
      • Russ

        @ ?
        you may want to re-read the Gospels. Jesus is often particularly & purposefully exclusive ("I am the way... no one comes to Father except through me..." etc.) yet radically inclusive in unexpected ways ("sinners" come to him, racial / moral / gender / physical outsiders are purposefully included). while his exclusive statements may not apply to Catholics (as a Christian denomination), it certainly DOES apply to Muslims & many other religions.

        also: consider what a bigot is (paraphrase of Webster's):
        someone who has uninformed or unfair dislikes/ideas/etc. about another group, etc...

        i have found that most often those who are fastest to throw that label around often equally fit that definition themselves.

        December 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
        • igaftr

          Astute observation there Russ.
          I have often found, and had it re-affirmed countless times...the first one to cry racism, is normally the racist...it shows the way their mind works. I never think along those lines, so never consider race as an issue.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
        • ?

          Russ, do me a favor. Read the whole conversation below, and then comment to me.
          Thanks.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ?
          which conversation?

          December 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Absolutely false. As usual, athies heard what ain't said and don't hear what is.

          He sees our hearts, not labels, u idiot.

          December 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
        • MATTHEW 5:21

          PRIDE IS A SIN, RUSS. So is insulting people:

          "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[worthless] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell."

          TELL ME WHY YOU HATEFUL CHRISTIANS CAN'T EVER SEEM TO FOLLOW THE COMMANDMENTS OF YOUR HOLY JEEBUS?

          December 13, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Rainman
      And they probably see you in the same light as you see them, as a poor lost fool that got sucked into your choice of the delusions. You do not get the fact that if you were born into a different culture you would be of another faith system?

      December 12, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @Charm Quark : You do not get the fact that if you were born into a different culture you would be of another faith system?

        This is the logic fallacy of non sequitur. You've assumed that religious people don't bother to think about their beliefs and then use it to prove they believe because that is what they were taught to believe. If we were to breakdown your conclusion into the component premises, they would be as follow below.

        1) People dont' think about their religious beliefs
        2) You were born in a Christian culture, so you are a Christian

        Therefore, you're a Christian because you don't utilize critical thinking skills in your beliefs.

        However, premise #1 is patently false. After all, using your argument, you're atheist because you were raised in an atheist culture. But, you argue that you've thought about your position, thus falsifying premise #1. Once premise #1 is falsified, the conclusion is likewise falsified.

        December 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
        • Madtown

          This is the logic fallacy of non sequitur.
          ---–
          This is not a fallacy at all, but fairly close to a logical certainty. Location, location, location. You did not pick which country and culture you were born into, none of us have. The region, country, and culture we grow up in by birth, has a tremendous impact on a variety of our choices. This is not the only reason why someone selects a particular religion to follow, if they follow one at all, but it is a MAJOR reason. It may be reason #1. Where were you born? What's the dominant religion in that country/region?

          December 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Lie4Him
          Someone that can be brainwashed as easily as you if born in Afghanistan would be a Taliban freedom fighter/terrorist, hell liar, you do not even have respect for the rights of woman in this freedom loving culture.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Madtown:
          “Suppose we concede that if I had been born of Muslim parents in Morocco rather than Christian parents in Michigan, my beliefs would be quite different. [But] the same goes for the pluralist...If the pluralist had been born in [Morocco] he probably wouldn't be a pluralist. Does it follow that...his pluralist beliefs are produced in him by an unreliable belief-producing process?”
          ― Alvin Plantinga

          December 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
        • Madtown

          Russ, if you were born into a tribe that inhabited the rain forest jungle of Ecuador, you'd be neither christian or muslim. You'd be something else. Are you any less a child of God? Are you any less in God's eye's? Will you not be given the same options when you leave this life, that your North American brothers are given? I say no.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Madtown:
          1) you preclude the obvious: how did Christianity spread? note well: especially in its critical first 300 years (when it went from obscure & marginal to dominating the Roman urban centers), Christianity primarily spread NOT at the end of a sword or through political maneuvering, but rather through personal, life on life care and discussion.

          for more on that, read Rodney Stark's "the Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries"

          2) more pointedly, re-read Plantinga's quote. he's attacking your logic. you are equally susceptible to your critique (the same can be said of a pluralist, etc., regarding his/her own beliefs). it's self-defeating.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
        • K-switch

          This may be a logical fallacy, but I sure would love to see statistics that could give us the ratio of (raised a certain religion and stayed that religion) vs (raised a certain religion and converted later)

          December 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Madtown: regarding being a "child of God," the Bible rather demonstrably states the opposite:
          "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." (Jn.1:12)

          We are not BORN children of God, but only those who believe in Christ are given the right as adopted children.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
        • Madtown

          you are equally susceptible to your critique
          ---–
          Absolutely, it applies to everyone. I was raised in an American Lutheran household by my parents, who were raised under the same traditions as their parents, who were raised under the same traditions as their parents, etc. In the United States, chrisitianity is an abundantly availble religion. It's no accident that my parents, and their parents, and their parents, etc, attached to these traditions. That isn't the least bit self defeating, it reinforces my point.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
        • Madtown

          but only those who believe in Christ are given the right as adopted children.
          ----
          Yes of course, rely on the human-crafted book to tell you that you are special in God's eyes, that even though God created other humans equal to you, he prefers YOU because you follow these specific ways and those other lowly humans don't follow these ways. Nevermind that those other lowly humans have no idea your specific ways even exist!! Why don't they know these ways exist? God wants it that way, he set it up that way. That doesn't matter to you, only that God prefers YOU matters, the rest of those lowly humans(your equals) can be without God for eternity. You arrogant a_s. Tell us again genius, how someone with NO IDEA CHRIST EXISTS can can "belive in Christ and become an adopted child of God"?

          December 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Madtown:
          1) it is self-defeating. ironically, you are projecting your own experiences (another critique often levied against Christians) without considering the opposite scenario: MANY people have had the exact opposite experience (from pluralistic to Christian). your argument is contingent on the notion that it operates one way.

          again, note well Plantiga's final question: "If the pluralist had been born in [Morocco] he probably wouldn't be a pluralist. Does it follow that...his pluralist beliefs are produced in him by an unreliable belief-producing process?" the inverse is true, thereby invalidating your argument because it defeats ALL positions (making it moot).

          2) you appealed to the idea of "child of God." you can't be incredulous about my appeal to God when you raised the topic yourself. i simply gave you the biblical answer.

          maybe a more directed question: why do you mean by "child of God" if you yourself do think you are equally making a metaphysical appeal (something which you seem incensed that I am doing)?

          3) your critique (what about people w/ "no idea Christ exists"?) fails to understand Christianity's self-articulation. Jesus commissions his disciples to share this news. at that point, only about 120 of them knew it. now over 2B claim the name of Jesus.

          also, the distinctive content of the Gospel goes directly against your projection of a superiority complex onto Christians. the central claim of Christianity is that we ALL need a savior. he had to die for every one of us. to be a Christian requires – at the outset – admitting you are as bad (if not worse) than everyone else on the planet. the beauty of the cross is that the very place that tell us we are worse off than we ever dared admit (he had to die) is the same place that tells us we are more loved than we ever dared hope (he was willing to die). no, i'm not better than you. i'm simply a totally loved moral failure.

          in sum, i'm not a child of God because i'm so good – but only because HE is. there's no room for superiority at the foot of the cross.

          December 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
        • Madtown

          your argument is contingent on the notion that it operates one way
          ---–
          Then you're not understanding what I'm saying, or I'm not framing it adequately. I've been very consistent here, saying none of us really know the answers to any questions debated. In this instance, that origin of birth is a prime factor in our development, of couse this applies to me! Need to hear me say(write) it specifically? Ok....If "I" was born in Egypt, "I" likely would've been raised under muslim traditions. Same as for you, same as for Topher, same as for everyone. It's not self defeating, in no way have I indicated this notion goes one way. I'm not even talking about people who transition...."pluralistic to christian" as you say, or back. I'm simply saying that there's a large degree of arbitrariness that goes into whatever process takes place when each human settles on selection of religion. Arbitrary because that selection needs to have options to choose from, and many humans don't have the options you and I have. Conversely, you and I don't have the options that other humans have. Why? Different cultures, different cultural forces. It can't have anything to do with picking the "correct" religion, if you never have an option to choose it in the first place. People choose the correct religion FOR THEM, not correct in general and correct for everyone else.

          In regard to the phrase "child of God", I'm using that as a descriptor of a human being. A creation of God. True, you may settle on a different definition, because you want the biblical definition of that phrase to be the correct one, but I am not interested in what the bible says in this instance. I think of all humans as EQUAL creations of God. Each human life valuable, equal. You accept the division that religion subjects us to, because of this biblical definition. You're ok with the fact that God creates humans that will never learn the first thing about Christ, you still stick with the biblical definition of a "child of God" as this only being a person who accepts Christ. Again, accepting Christ will be an impossibility for many human brothers of yours and mine, and thus eternal salvation is impossible for these humans. You are ok with this, I am not.

          December 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Madtown:
          1) then i think you are not hearing the critique...

          a) you said "none of us really know the answers..." this position has been classically called the via negativa (what can't be known). however, it is equally (if not more so) problematic. consider, on what basis do you declare these things as unknowable? the 'strong' stance here (so-called "strong atheism") requires omniscience – or at least precluding all possibilities (such as whether or not the Infinite can reveal him/her/itself). true agnosticism never takes as strong of a stance as you do. instead, it is an admission that *you* do not know. but much to the contrary, it certainly sounds as if you are taking the position that we *cannot* know – or as some have said on this blog: "at the least none of the current religions have it right."

          often people appeal to the blind men & elephant parable here. for clarity, here is Lesslie Newbigin on that very point:

          "In the famous story of the blind men and the elephant… the real point of the story is constantly overlooked. The story is told from the point of view of the king and his courtiers, who are not blind but can see that the blind men are unable to grasp the full reality of the elephant and are only able to get hold of part of it. The story is constantly told in order to neutralize the affirmations of the great religions, to suggest that they learn humility and recognize that none of them can have more than one aspect of the truth. But, of course, the real point of the story is exactly the opposite. If the king were also blind, there would be no story. What this means then is that there is an appearance of humility and a protestation that the truth is much greater than anyone of us can grasp. But if this is used to invalidate all claims to discern the truth, it is in fact an arrogant claim with the kind of knowledge which is superior that you have just said, no religion has."

          b) you claim it's arbitrary. if it's arbitrary, that equally applies for a pluralist or atheist position, thereby defeating the argument. it has no distinctive bearing. it answers NO questions. and that's a major "if"...

          worthy of note here: the root of arbitrary is arbiter. certainly from a theist's perspective, the Arbiter in question only appears random to the subjects, but reason is fully in his/her/its grasp – if not outright defined by the Arbiter. otherwise, reason is something *above* the Arbiter (as though there were a greater god/infinity/etc. overruling).

          c) you seem to be describing social determinism. even from a sociological standpoint, that is a seriously flawed way of viewing existence. do you really believe that, or are you simply attempting to use it against the notion of God? do you understand that God's sovereignty does not violate human responsibility?

          2) your objection to my biblical use of "child of God": you can't have it both ways.

          a) you make a metaphysical appeal to God, but you are incensed that i equally make that appeal.

          to apply what has been said above: on what basis do you make your authoritarian appeal? i've been very clear that i *do* believe God has revealed himself in a way that *i* cannot contradict what *He* has said. that's consistent with Christian theology. but consider what you are doing: you say no one can know this. yet then you speak of God's creation. on what basis? how is that not directly contrary to *your own* position? along those same lines, on what basis do you claim there is equality (which, for the record, i *do* believe we have)? and how do you delineate humanity as creation from any other form (animal, plant, mineral)? on what basis do you give primacy?

          b) also for the record: i'm not "ok with the fact that God creates humans that will never learn the first thing about Christ."

          first of all, if the Bible says that's the way it is, it's not a matter of "are you ok with that? can i get your approval, Russ? otherwise, i'll change that." it fails to understand the infinite, qualitative difference between humanity and God, creation and Creator. we don't dictate terms to God.

          secondly, you are forgetting my prior point regarding the Great Commission: even God calls us to share it with the world. that's the plan. that's the point. Jesus said to go to ALL nations, people groups, tribes, ethnicities, etc. but the reason he did that IS because his message is distinctively different from any other message... and therefore it is exclusive while it is also incredibly inclusive.

          December 12, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
        • Madtown

          true agnosticism never takes as strong of a stance as you do.
          --–
          Label me as you wish, I'm not athiest. I call myself agnostic. In fact, I call everyone agnostic, because it's my position no one really knows for certain. I think you're an agnostic, though you won't admit to it.

          "first of all, if the Bible says that's the way it is, it's not a matter of "are you ok with that?" Right. Well, we're just at a stalemate here. You believe the bible to be the infallible word of God, and therefore won't accept any position that turns from that. I think that's beyond silly. You have a nice holiday.

          December 12, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Madtown: consider the opposite...
          you believe there is something else greater out there... but you presume you can dictate the terms upon which the Infinite might reveal him/her/itself. and – ironically – that is not claiming "not to know" (literally, agnosticism), but rather is claiming something you *can* expressly know about God...

          i'm not calling you silly in return. rather, i'm saying your position – from WITHIN – is illogical. you can mock Christianity for believing God has revealed himself, but that position in & of itself is not self-contradictory from within. your position is.

          December 12, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
        • Madtown

          you presume you can dictate the terms upon which the Infinite might reveal him/her/itself
          -----
          LOL. I have "dictated no terms". I have asked logical questions based on what people like you claim. You, on the other hand, presume the terms that other human beings have dictated are evidence of a divine revelation.......but only to a chosen few special folks like you. The rest of those unfortunate souls can waste away for eternity. Who's dictating terms?! LOL...

          December 13, 2013 at 10:02 am |
        • Russ

          @ Madtown:
          1) you may object to my semantics, but the meaning is the same. you want to rule out the possibility that God has revealed himself in this fashion (or ANY OTHER known religious fashion). that most certainly *is* dictating terms. it requires a very clear set of givens about God... something most would call doctrine, if not *dogma* (especially when so categorically applied). you evidently have a clear sense of what God is not. on what basis?

          you say "I asked logical questions" – which presumes a few things (in light of what you've said so far):
          a) all organized religion is illogical (how is that not equally, if not more, exclusive?)
          b) your logic is sound (though you've yet to respond to Plantinga's devastating critique of your logic)
          c) you think like God (if such a thing exists) thinks

          it's the last one that is most clearly dictating terms. why assume God cannot or would not act in ways contrary to your set of assumptions? again, you are doing theology here, but you seem to want to avoid admitting that for obvious reasons (namely, it brings you under your own critique).

          2) you said (about me): "you assume the terms other human beings have dictated..."
          here again, your logic is not from *within* the system (unlike Plantinga's critique from within your position's logic). you are presupposing religion (in this case, Christianity) has no transcendent basis. that's begging the question. your remark presupposes Christianity is a farce (man-made) when that's the entire debate.

          3) Jesus called for all of his followers to share this *good* news (it's not what we do that saves us, but what he did for us) with every nation, tribe, tongue, etc. it's not as if it's something that is to remain the secret knowledge of a select few.

          December 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
        • Madtown

          Jesus called for all of his followers to share this *good* news (it's not what we do that saves us, but what he did for us) with every nation, tribe, tongue, etc
          -------
          Pack your backcountry backpack, you're going for a long trek in the Amazon rain forest. True, you have no idea where you're going, or how to contact the humans of different tribe and tongue, but this is what you have to do. I wonder how they'll receive you? Since they have their own notions of spirituality and religion, they may not take kindly to someone showing up out of nowhere, telling them their religious ways are wrong, and also being told they should immediately convert to your religious ways. That may no go so well for you. Good luck.

          December 13, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Madtown: you said "pack your backpack."
          it amazes me how unaware you are of a religion you are so quick to scathe. how do you think Christianity came to be so widespread in the first place? like many europeans, my ancestors used to paint their faces blue and eat one another in pagan rituals. then some Christian missionaries came to share the Gospel... many of them would die reaching out to my ancestors. and, many still do today: just google "voice of the martyrs."

          we still believe in missions. we still financially support, pray for, go ourselves and/or send our loved ones to do that very same thing. it's the Great Commission (Mt.28:19-20; Acts 1:8; etc.). and honestly, long before it was co-opted as a political term, it was the Greek meaning of the word "evangelical." it was the last thing Jesus said before ascending, so yes – we take it seriously.

          December 13, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
        • Bla bla bla bla blaaaaaaaaaa

          That's all you spew, in your PRIDEFUL spewings.

          You're hoisted by your own petard.

          December 13, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
        • Russ

          @ bla bla: go back & read the thread. it's not pride that leads someone to say i'm such a moral failure i deserve death and needed someone to die in my place. i have a feeling you're only reading the end of the discussion. unless of course, this is madtown under an alias...

          consider: in every other religion (as well as secularism), only the good people get in/are accepted/favored/etc.
          in Christianity, only the bad people get in... those who would admit that is their condition.

          the cross says 2 things clearly:
          1) i'm worse off than i want to admit (he had to die)
          2) i'm more loved than i ever dared hope (he was willing to die for me)

          no Christian who gets that can stand & say: "I'm better than such & such..." because the cross states so bluntly that we are utter moral failures apart from Christ. biblical missions does not happen from a sense of superiority, but a sense of awe that God would so completely love such a moral failure as me. and if God can do that for me (as Paul said: the chief/worst of sinners), he can do that for anyone...

          December 13, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
        • Madtown

          we still believe in missions.
          --–
          The very idea of missionaries of one of arrogance. Who are YOU to tell someone else that their accepted methods of spirituality and religion are incorrect, and they need to follow yours? Yes, I'm sure you do believe in missions, as you are arrogant. Got your bags packed? When are you leaving?

          December 13, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Madtown:
          1) here's a short video from Penn Jillette (in case you don't know, he's a famous atheist). notice how he argues the exact opposite point. i'll include the transcript in case you can't watch the video...

          “I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?

          “I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owZc3Xq8obk

          2) again, you assume to know so much about me. i left home long ago to follow God's calling on my life. it doesn't make me special – it's simply one of the things God calls Christians to do. after all, we believe Christ lost his home in order to give us his... he was the ultimate missionary.

          but you should also note: being missional doesn't necessarily mean leaving your immediate context – especially in America. after all, we are the melting pot. the nations are coming here. so both forms are needed.

          December 13, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • *

      "Seduced by evil heretics"
      Let me guess... You're a big hit at block parties, amiright?
      What's that? You're not invited to any? Wonder why?

      December 12, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Reality

      To all the misguided "believers" out there, your salvation is at hand:

      Tis mind boggling that your religions can be brought down to earth in less than ten seconds. With this in mind should not the moderators of this blog and their buddy Stevie P be looking for new jobs?

      Again for the new members:

      To wit:

      Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      Added details available upon written request.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      December 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Realist

      ------–
      ------–

      ... http://www.GodIsImaginary.com...

      ... and thank goodness because he ...

      ............. emanates from the .............

      ... http://www.EvilBible.com

      ------–
      ------–

      December 12, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
  10. Corinth

    1. The apostle Paul, in the second reading, taken from the letter to the Colossians, offers us a profound vision of the centrality of Jesus. He presents Christ to us as the first-born of all creation: in him, through him and for him all things were created. He is the centre of all things, he is the beginning: Jesus Christ, the Lord. God has given him the fullness, the totality, so that in him all things might be reconciled (cf. Col 1:12-20). He is the Lord of creation, he is the Lord of reconciliation.

    This image enables to see that Jesus is the centre of creation; and so the att/itude demanded of us as true believers is that of recognizing and accepting in our lives the centrality of Jesus Christ, in our thoughts, in our words and in our works. And so our thoughts will be Christian thoughts, thoughts of Christ. Our works will be Christian works, works of Christ; and our words will be Christian words, words of Christ. But when this centre is lost, when it is replaced by something else, only harm can result for everything around us and for ourselves.
    Pope Francis

    December 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Corinth

      3. Finally, Christ is the centre of the history of humanity and also the centre of the history of every individual. To him we can bring the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and troubles which are part of our lives. When Jesus is the centre, light shines even amid the darkest times of our lives; he gives us hope, as he does to the good thief in today’s Gospel.

      Whereas all the others treat Jesus with disdain – “If you are the Christ, the Messiah King, save yourself by coming down from the cross!” – the thief who went astray in his life but now repents, clings to the crucified Jesus and begs him: “Remember me, when you come into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42). Jesus promises him: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43), in his kingdom. Jesus speaks only a word of forgiveness, not of condemnation; whenever anyone finds the courage to ask for this forgiveness, the Lord does not let such a pet/ition go unheard. Today we can all think of our own history, our own journey. Each of us has his or her own history: we think of our mistakes, our sins, our good times and our bleak times. We would do well, each one of us, on this day, to think about our own personal history, to look at Jesus and to keep telling him, sincerely and quietly: “Remember me, Lord, now that you are in your kingdom! Jesus, remember me, because I want to be good, but I just don’t have the strength: I am a sinner, I am a sinner. But remember me, Jesus! You can remember me because you are at the centre, you are truly in your kingdom!” How beautiful this is! Let us all do this today, each one of us in his or her own heart, again and again. “Remember me, Lord, you who are at the centre, you who are in your kingdom”.

      Holy Mass, Pope Francis

      Jesus’ promise to the good thief gives us great hope: it tells us that God’s grace is always greater than the prayer which sought it. The Lord always grants more, he is so generous, he always gives more than what he has been asked: you ask him to remember you, and he brings you into his kingdom!

      December 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
      • Fulton

        Amen!

        December 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • ?

      Beautiful. Keep going.

      December 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Why does paul NEVER quote a single word Jeebus said?

      Oh yeah, because he never met him, never heard about anything he said, and only got into it as his new gig after the whole tax-collector thing fell through.

      December 13, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
  11. Live4Him

    @ME II : If God makes the rules, then they are arbitrary. If not, then whence do the rules come.

    First, we need to level-set the discussion.
    1) What is God? God is Love. The Biblical passage below defines love. So, love is antithesis of selfishness.
    2) What is our purpose here? Those who accept the offer are to be the bride of Christ (i.e. Rev 19)
    3) When will this occur? After Christ's return.

    Historically, brides were to be spotless / blameless before the alter. Only two entities of like mind can be joined together. So, if we are to be joined to Christ, then we must put selfishness aside. If you consider the ten commandments, then each of them address a specific area of selfishness. Since mankind is not without sin, Christ made a sacrifice to atone for our actions of which we repent. This will allow Mr. Love and Mrs. Love to be joined together forever. So, the 'rules' are to prepare us for the next stage – becoming selfless. Those who insist upon remaining selfish will be excluded from the wedding. Thus, the rules are not arbitrary.

    1 Cor 13:1-8a, 13:13 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    Revelation 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

    December 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      I haven't heard the gospel presented that way before... Hmmm, I think I can get a Sunday school message out of that one!

      December 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • ME II

      @Live4Him,
      "level set", hardly.

      "So, the 'rules' are to prepare us for the next stage – becoming selfless. Those who insist upon remaining selfish will be excluded from the wedding. Thus, the rules are not arbitrary."

      So what I think you're saying is that the supposed God's rules are not right or wrong, but are just instructions to join with God/Jesus?

      December 12, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        What we read in the Bible is that God is the very standard for righteousness. He tells us "Be perfect for I am perfect." And since God is the standard for righteousness, His moral law reflects that – perfection. Therefore any violation of that law is a violation against the holiness of God Himself. That's why the fine for disobeying is so high.

        The penalty for punishment is determined by the importance of the one violated. For instance, if I lie to a child, probably nothing is going to happen to me. If I lie to my boss, he can fire me, and if I lie to the government, they can try me for treason. Same crime, different one offended.

        God's righteousness is infinite, therefore any crime against His righteousness is also infinite. This explains why hell is eternal, and no man can in any way perform any work to satisfy God's wrath. That is why God Himself had to pay the penalty of those whom He elects to show mercy.

        December 12, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Madtown

          He tells us "Be perfect for I am perfect."
          ---–
          correction: "HUMANS tell us....".

          December 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Madtown,
          So is your opinion. The is ample proof however in textual criticism over the last 2,000 years to prove otherwise.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • G to the T

          Righteous doesn't necessarily equal good. It's means to be in a right standing, to be correct and justfied in your belief. It doesn't say why your are justified, it just assumes that you are.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • Madtown

          So is your opinion.
          --–
          My opinion, LOL. No, human authors wrote the different books that comprise the bible, and other humans selected the different books that made the final cut. There's no debate about this. You can argue that the human authors were inspired by God if you like, but that argument is 100% subjective and you then have to attempt to get around the huge logical problems in the way. Problems such as why God didn't inspire other humans in other parts of the world to write the same message, so all would have it and there'd be no arguing about which variation is correct, or why God's word would need to be written by humans to begin with, as God is certainly powerful enough to create word himself, and distribute it equally, etc, etc. Questions and problems you have no answer for, outside of scripture. When you answer these questions with scripture, it nullifies your answer.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "There's no debate about this"
          --------
          Actually, no church council and no assembly of men ever "chose" what books to include in the Bible – the Apostles themselves did this. All that church councils did was to affirm after the fact what the Apostles had first done centuries before. They did this in response to gnosticism and other heresies that decided to attempt to creep into the canon. I can list the scriptural references if you want, but you'd discount them anyway.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          L of A
          "Actually, no church council and no assembly of men ever "chose" what books to include in the Bible – the Apostles themselves did this."

          This is not true. The apostles did not decide – that was done later. Also why are the gospels of Thomas and Judas not included (and for that matter Mary)?

          December 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
        • Joey

          Yes Lawrence and if the other side had been in power at the time their views would be in the bible and your beliefs would be considered a heresy.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "This is not true."
          -------–
          Well, I hate to call you out on this, but...
          The New Testament was not compiled by any church council or by any decree of a ruler, rather, the apostles themselves dictated what the Scripture was (2 Peter 3:1-2, 15-16, Jude 17-18, Galatians 1:1-2, Acts 2:42).

          December 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          "The New Testament is an anthology, a collection of Christian works written in the common Greek language of the first century, at different times by various writers, who were early Jewish disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. In almost all Christian traditions today, the New Testament consists of 27 books. The original texts were written in the first and perhaps the second centuries of the Christian Era, generally believed to be in Koine Greek, which was the common language of the Eastern Mediterranean from the Conquests of Alexander the Great (335–323 BC) until the evolution of Byzantine Greek (c. 600). All of the works which would eventually be incorporated into the New Testament would seem to have been written no later than around AD 150.

          Collections of related texts such as letters of the Apostle Paul (a major collection of which must have been made already by the early 2nd century) and the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (asserted by Irenaeus of Lyon in the late-2nd century as the Four Gospels) gradually were joined to other collections and single works in different combinations to form various Christian canons of Scripture. Over time, some disputed books, such as the Book of Revelation and the Minor Catholic (General) Epistles were introduced into canons in which they were originally absent. Other works earlier held to be Scripture, such as Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Diatessaron, were excluded from the New Testament. The Old Testament canon is not completely uniform among all major Christian groups including Roman Catholics, Protestants, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Slavic Orthodox Churches, and the Armenian Orthodox Church. However, the twenty-seven-book canon of the New Testament, at least since Late Antiquity, has been almost universally recognized within Christianity "

          December 12, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
        • sam stone

          Righteousness?\

          Your god is a vindictive, petty pr1ck

          December 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
        • Ben

          So, God supposedly calls himself "perfect" and it never occurs to you to question that? I see plenty of reasons not to call your God anything even remotely close to "perfect".

          December 13, 2013 at 1:04 am |
      • Live4Him

        @ME II : So what I think you're saying is that the supposed God's rules are not right or wrong, but are just instructions to join with God/Jesus?

        It is more like trying to make water. You can mix any two elements together, but only hydrogen and oxygen will produce water. So, 'rules' requiring that only hydrogen is elgible to be joined with oxygen for the 'water' wedding is 'right' – i.e. there is no other alternative. The same is true of heaven's wedding. Only followers need apply.

        December 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • G to the T

          Still sounds like you're saying there's a layer of reality beyond god that he has to conform too.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @G to the T : Still sounds like you're saying there's a layer of reality beyond god that he has to conform too.

          It's just logic (Law of Excluded Middle). With the Biblical standard, when two are married they become one. So, if selfless marries selfish, then the resulting entity would be selfish. However, God cannot be both selfish and selfless (i.e. logic), so selfish must be excluded.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him,
          "So, 'rules' requiring that only hydrogen is elgible to be joined with oxygen for the 'water' wedding is 'right' – i.e. there is no other alternative. The same is true of heaven's wedding. Only followers need apply."

          While it may be the only correct recipe for water, it does not make following the recipe the morally right thing to do. It just makes it the right thing to do in order to get to the wedding. The corollary being that there is nothing morally wrong with not following the recipe, except that the supposed God will torture you for eternity if you do.

          In other words, God is not just, He's just bigger than anyone else. What I say goes, eh?

          December 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
        • G to the T

          "It's just logic" I think you misunderstand my meaning. Why would god be bound by logic? Again, it sounds like you are assuming there is a layer of reality beyond the one in which god resides.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him,
          "It's just logic (Law of Excluded Middle). With the Biblical standard, when two are married they become one. So, if selfless marries selfish, then the resulting enti[]ty would be selfish. However, God cannot be both selfish and selfless (i.e. logic), so selfish must be excluded."

          I think you need to review that law again.
          1) it only applies to one thing at one time i.e. a thing cannot be both true and not true at the same time.
          2) Even in your example, why would "selfish" be excluded?

          December 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @ME II : While it may be the only correct recipe for water, it does not make following the recipe the morally right thing to do.

          Of course not, it just makes water. 🙂

          @ME II : The corollary being that there is nothing morally wrong with not following the recipe

          Okay, lets use another allegory. If you were to mix white and black in equal proportion, is there ANY way that you can get white again? No. Likewise, you cannot mix selfless (i.e. white) with selfish (i.e. black) and get selfless. Its an issue of logic.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
        • Joey

          Of course you pick white as the good thing and black as the bad thing.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
        • ME II

          "Okay, lets use another allegory. If you were to mix white and black in equal proportion, is there ANY way that you can get white again? No. Likewise, you cannot mix selfless (i.e. white) with selfish (i.e. black) and get selfless. Its an issue of logic."

          You are missing the point, completely. Why should one want to get all white again or be selfless? If there is no inherent morality to the recipe, then why follow it? (Other than for bribes or avoiding torture of course.)

          December 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @ME II : Why should one want to get all white again or be selfless? If there is no inherent morality to the recipe, then why follow it?

          You've got it backwards. Morality doesn't produce selflessness, but selflessness produces morality. As you cast off sin, you become content in your situation.

          Sin is like a fire – always consuming and never satisfied. Sin always leads one to the next BBD (bigger, better deal). No matter how big this deal was, you will only be satisfied for a short while. Sin controls the individual – driving him/her to the next level just to be as satisfied as when he/she had reached the current level. Thus, the 'goal' is the journey rather than a destination. It always keeps you distracted to keep you from reflecting on what is causing your dissatisfaction.

          On the other hand, selflessness yields synergy – everyone is satisfied and everyone benefits. You're satisfied regardless of your current circumstances.

          December 12, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Madtown

      What is God? God is Love.
      ---
      Many human beings who have never heard of christianity would also define it this way. Curious. It's almost as if religions came forth from the human mind........

      December 12, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Ernie

      I don't think dinosaurs and men walking together would exactly be love.... if such a preposterous idea were possible...

      December 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    I was once a Catholic but in the Catholic Church I have never been told the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ, that he died and rose for us. Ain't that the core task of a church to pronounce the Gospel? I am quite sure that up to the current day even that seemingly kind pope did not preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is actually very simple.

    Concerning politics I am an very adherent of religious freedom according to the opinion of Frederic the Great, King of Pruzzia who as a Protestant believer but nevertheless supported the construction of a Catholic Church Building in his capital Berlin in order to show his conviction of tolerance. However, certainly Frederic did not want the Protestant churches to deny the truth of the Gospel, or to play down the spiritual danger of the Catholic Church. Frederic only knew that if he would prefer the Protestant churches too much, they would also become a kind of Catholic hierarchy.

    It is good that today the pope has no more worldly power in contrast to former times, and it is good that the Catholics are not persecuted. However, we must be and remain aware of the danger of the Catholic heresies – and how many of her members suffer, deprieved of the truth of Jesus.

    I myself would never return to the Catholic Church, also Luther forsake her. She has forsaken the simple discipleship of Jesus on the basis of the sacramental baptism. She has added on many rites, Eucharist, worksrigheousness, etc. which displace the simple truth of the Gospel:

    God, the Father, delivered God, the Son, Jesus, for our sins, and raised him from the dead for our justification. Believe that, get sacramentally baptized, or remember your infant baptism, and follow Jesus right now through the releasing power of his sacrifice which was dedicated to you through baptism. Is that so complicated Francis?

    December 12, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Rainer, you must have been asleep in the pews. As I understand it, the Catholic Church is pretty big on the "Jesus suffered and died for our sins and rose on the third day". It's kind of their thing – Catholic guilt and all.

      December 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        Possibly sometimes the wording of the Gospel is to hear even in the RCC but they don't understand it, and it goes down, and its meaning is obscured through the thousands of errors they preach.

        December 12, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • ?

          Or, possibly, you are a religious bigot.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
        • G to the T

          "thousands of errors [I believe] they preach" – there you go. Fixed that for you.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • ?

      Tsk, tsk. Projecting again?
      You have made your displeasure of the RCC well known. Sorry if your hatred is getting in the way of Francis's message getting through to you; it is a message fir the entire world, not just you chosen little sect.

      December 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • P-e-t-e-r P-o-p-o-f-f

      Nonsense. Without miracle water right at hand each and every day, you are nothing in His eyes!

      December 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Topher

      I had the same experience with the Catholic church. I attended one off and on while in college. Never once did I hear the Gospel. Too much standing, kneeling, sitting, chanting. In fact, there really wasn't much in the way of preaching God's Word at all.

      December 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        It's all about the sacraments – that is, justification following sanctification. A righteousness gained by works.

        December 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        Nobody can preach about something he does not understand. That is the problem of the RCC. They lack the divine Spirit.

        December 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
        • Doris

          Over 40,000 sects, Rainy. Each one says it's right.

          In other words, blah blah blah blah blah

          December 12, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • ?

          You lack understanding, period.
          You don't like the RCC. We GET it.
          Your constant slamming of 1.2 BILLION Christians is getting tiring. You are, in other words, a religious bigot.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
        • ?

          You hear what you want to hear; A BILLION Christians disagree with you.
          Want dry? Attend a Presbyrterian church service.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
      • ?

        And thus is why we know you have never attended a Catholic Church, Topher. In EVERY mass, the read from the NT. Just because you were hung over and napping doesn't mean it wasn't read.

        I'll repeat it. THEY READ FROM SCRIPTURE AT EVERY MASS.

        December 12, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          If you read the Bible in English, thank a Protestant. 😉

          December 12, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • Rainer Braendlein

          The mentioning of the mere wording of something does not mean that it really finds entrance. They lack the presence of the Holy Spirit, the divine teacher, and therefore all there sermons remain dry straw.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Doris

          For Larry. On January 24, 2013, the traveling exhibition Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible opened at the William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University.

          The keynote talk for the opening: "What Kind of a Text is the King James Bible? Manuscripts, Translation, and the Legacy of the KJV" was presented by Dr. Bart Ehrman.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehnEZtqj2Mo

          Dr. Ehrman, author of over 25 books including three college text books, received his PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary (magna cum laude). He is currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

          Dr. Erhman just concluded an all-day seminar entitled "The Other Gospels: Accounts of Jesus Outside the New Testament" which was held Dec. 7 at Smithsonian Institution's S. Dillon Ripley Center on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
        • ?

          Yes, King James gave us unicorns. I know.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • Doris

          Rainer: "therefore all there sermons remain dry straw."

          The word you want there, Rainer, is "their".

          Golly, Christians do have to keep saving up straw. One day they just might figure out how many stables Solomon had. It's knd of too late to outfit them, though.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
        • Thanks

          Lawrence of Arabia,
          "If you read the Bible in English, thank a Protestant."

          If you can read this thank a teacher. If you're reading this in English thank a soldier.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
      • Topher

        Very true. They did read from the Bible. But I can do that at home. We need preaching/teaching.

        December 12, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • ?

          Then what you said above was a lie.
          I'll remind you again OF that lie: "Never once did I hear the Gospel."
          A. LIE.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
        • Rainer Braendlein

          Topher meant that he only heard the wording of the Gospel but, of course, it must be explained through a pastor having the Holy Spirit in order to get it.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          ?
          The one thing LofA, L4H, Topher and Rainer have in common is lying, they are actually quite adept at that art. If Topher was ever in college it must have the lowest admittance standards in the country.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
        • ?

          That's not what he said. Spin it anyway you can, but the truth is, what he stated, and what YOU state, is a LIE.
          EVERY SCRIPTURE read us explained immediately after it is read.
          EVERY ONE.
          LISTEN with your heart and mind open, and you may learn something besides hatred in your heart for the RCC.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
        • Topher

          What I'm saying is that though passages were read, they never explained that I deserve hell; why Jesus died; what that means; how I can be saved ...

          December 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
        • Science Works

          Saved from WHAT topher – the dreaded dust ball monster under the bed ?

          December 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • Topher

          I don't hate Catholics. I just think they're wrong. Why should I hate them?

          December 12, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • ?

          No, that isn't what you said at all.
          You SAID, "Never once did I hear the Gospel.", Topher.
          Backtracking now makes you look absurd.
          Because they didn't bring up Hell in the few services you attended doesn't mean they weren't brought up in other Masses.
          I get it. You are a die hard fire and brimstone kind of guy. However, your constant derision at other Christians, and worse, LYING ABOUT THEM, doesn't reflect well on you, and worse, goes directly against the teachings of Christ.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
        • ?

          My 2:58 was meant for Rainier.

          And, Topher, you DID lie.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • Topher

          I'm not backtracking on anything. They never taught the Gospel while I was there. I had no idea that I needed anything other than to claim to be a Christian and go to church when in truth, neither of those things help me.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          The most judgemental of the Christian sects are the Baptists and Evangelists. They sort of missed the judge not lest that ye be judged passages in their oh so precious bible, hypocrites all.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
        • ?

          Yes, you are. You said, "Never once did I hear the Gospel."
          That is a blatant LIE. You heard it, because THEY READ FROM THE GOSPELS AT EVERY MASS.
          You are just jumping on the Ranier wagon, and your trying to backtrack now.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • Topher

          ?

          I stand by what I said.

          Charm Quark

          Evangelists? Also that passage doesn't say not to judge. It's saying HOW to judge. Read the verses around it so that you take it in context.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
        • Topher

          Reading from the Gospels and teaching THE GOSPEL are NOT the same things.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          You lied, period, as ? said. You read the verses in Luke 6 37to 42, Mathew 7 1 to6 and many more, you have to be an idiot not to understand the meaning...oh wait..

          December 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
        • Topher

          You're saying you know those verses were read to me in that church? How do you know that?

          December 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          I am telling you to read those passages and tell me you still believe that they do not instruct believers not to judge others, how obtuse are you?

          December 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
        • Joey

          Topher I went to a Catholic high school where we were taught all about why everyone deserves hell; why Jesus died; what that means;and how one can be saved.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • Topher

          You need discernment, my friend. Those passages are not saying to not judge. They are saying you will be judged by the same standard you are judging with. Besides, aren't YOU judging ME by saying I shouldn't judge? Who's the hypocrite?

          December 12, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
        • Joey

          Jesus said let he who is without sin cast the first stone and nobody did, then he said go and sin no more. To me this means that Jesus being perfect has the right to judge others and nobody else does. So until you are sin free you probably shouldn't be telling others how to live their lives.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
        • Topher

          Joey

          Go live your life in whatever way you feel you should. I can't force you to do anything otherwise outside of the law. All I can tell you is what Christ said about how to live. If you reject Him, that's up to you.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          How simple are you? Of course I am judging you and your ignorant child like beliefs. I do not claim to be a follower of jesus, I do not turn the other cheek, I give back as good as I get and I call out liars that claim to follow the teachings of jesus as hypocrites when they come nowhere close to the teachings. I like your Christ but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. Gandhi. You are a fraud Topher, you needed the crutch, just keep the damn thing to yourself.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
        • Topher

          So if you like Christ, why don't you follow Him?

          December 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          One example of why you are over the top would be your stand on the right of a woman to choose what to do with her body. Where in the bible or jesus' teachings is it even mentioned? I admire jesus on a very low level, buddha, confucius and many others are just as believable why don't YOU follow them (hint none of them are gods).

          December 12, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
        • Topher

          Charm Quark

          "One example of why you are over the top would be your stand on the right of a woman to choose what to do with her body. Where in the bible or jesus' teachings is it even mentioned?"

          The Bible mentions over and over again 1) not to murder and 2) how highly He regards the life in the womb.

          "I admire jesus on a very low level, buddha, confucius and many others are just as believable why don't YOU follow them (hint none of them are gods)."

          Well, "none of them are gods" is a good start. They have no power. They did not Create everything we see. They have no power to forgive my sins. They do not rule the afterlife.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          Enough for today. You are a hoot but some other time. Your homework assignment is to get hold of JW and figure out how many TRUE Christians there are or have been since jesus was snuffed, to the nearest 100,000 will be fine.

          December 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
        • sam stone

          you take edited, translated hearsay and bloviate on it as if it were fact, gopher

          come on, boy, make some more empty proxy threats

          does it make you feel all god like?

          i don't know if it is more funny than pathetic that you are going to infect your progeny with your absurd nonsense

          December 13, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • sam stone

          if you deserve hell, gopher, why don't you stand up like a man and take it?

          other than your cowardice being more comfortable

          December 15, 2013 at 9:10 am |
  13. Ernie

    I detest religion, but you know, it's the holidays, so I I'll say it anyway: Happy Kwanzaa! OK, let the criticism fly!

    December 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      A joyous Xmahanukwanzisisturnalivus to you!

      December 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
      • Spock

        kunli(-) uzh-keshtu r'tas!

        December 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It's a festivus miracle!

      December 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • doobzz

      It's a Saturnalia miracle!

      December 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Canaan Drum

      Saw a great sign the other day:
      "Christmas Trees, $5.00 per foot.
      Holiday Trees, $10.00 per foot."

      December 12, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
      • G to the T

        "Trees for white people – $5 a foot"
        "Trees for coloreds – $10 a foot"

        Don't see the problem here?

        December 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
        • Canaan Drum

          Hello!!! It's CHRISTmas. If you want to celebrate it without Christ, then choose another day and GET YOUR OWN NAME.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
        • Joey

          Jesus is not the son of god, but I will still take my day off work and celebrate a holiday with my friends and family.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          God Jul!

          Or literally translated from the three Scandanavian languages who share this greeting:

          Good Yule!

          Happy Yuletide one and all!

          December 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
        • Ben

          Canaan
          Cutting down a tree and dragging it into your home is a pagan practice, like most things about this holiday, you know?

          December 13, 2013 at 1:00 am |
        • Canaan Drum

          Ben,
          Nope. It has meaning that I assign to it.
          I'm sure that somewhere in the world, picking your nose means that you salute some deity. But I still pick my nose. (Oh, there's a GOOD one... Saving that one for later)

          So I take it you don't have plants in your house then? If you did, BOY would people ever be confused about you!!!! I mean, on the one hand, it used to be a pagan practice so you'd feel right at home there, but now, most people do it this time of year to celebrate the incarnation of God into the world. I'm sure that presents quite a dichotamy for you? Seriously, what ARE people going to think of you? That you've become a Christian? Hmmm, maybe.

          December 13, 2013 at 7:44 am |
        • Ben

          Canaan Drum
          I have plants, but my evergreen trees I leave outside. I even have one that I put lights on in December. I'm not a Christian, as you've gathered, but lights during the month of the shortest days is just so uplifting, and has been since the time the Druids first started hauling large stones to a field near Salisbury.

          Sure, you've assigned your own meaning to the tree, but my point was that Christians have adopted this practice and pretty much everything else jolly and fun about the season from pagan precursors. Upon close inspection, yours is a faith that has probably borrowed more ideas, holidays, and even saints from other traditions that it's come up with on it's own. That's why claims of it's being the "Only Way" are so comical.

          Christmas has always been a pagan holiday with a thin coat of Christian paint slapped onto it. That's why I laugh every time I ear the term "War on Christmas". Like many things, these Christians are just feeling frustration that their efforts to force something away from it's natural inclination is doomed to fail.

          December 13, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  14. 2 dangerous sections of America

    – New Atheists peddling under the guise of enlightenment and reason and science.

    – Christian Right peddling under the guise as a form of Christianity.

    December 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      So you consider reason and science to be dangerous?

      December 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
      • 2 dangerous sections of America

        "under the guise of enlightenment and reason and science."
        New atheists do not act reasonable. They just insist they do.

        December 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
      • 2 dangerous sections of America

        New atheists do not use science. They just insist they do.

        December 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
      • 2 dangerous sections of America

        Science and reason are great. I wish more atheists on the board would pursue them.

        December 12, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        So I guess it depends on what you mean by "new atheists".

        By this I presume you don't mean all atheists? Your intent here is abundantly unclear.

        December 12, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • Some Antics

          I think he was clear about his message, he hates atheists and conservatives who have infiltrated the Christian agenda in America. He believes there are "Real Christians" and he counts himself among them. He believes his thoughts and emotions and feelings are correct and everyone else is wrong. He thinks he knows better and has hijacked reaon and logic and redefined them to mean whatever it is he feels at the moment and that there is no empirical science or evidence showing our DNA links to neanderthals and the geological evidence that the biblical flood never happened. You know, his science, his reason, his logic.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • 2 dangerous sections of America

          I'm not Christian. That was ignorant. Most Christians and most atheists are cool.
          Some on both sides act just like you. You and they need to be educated.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
      • 2 dangerous sections of America

        New Atheists peddling under the guise of enlightenment and reason and science. Not all atheists.
        The atheists that spend all day long on here playing the "search and refute" game with the Religious Right. They will often make snobby attempts to annoy or insult ALL (Not just the RIght) religious people, sometimes calling them names, but will immediately condemn someone who bothers atheists.
        Come on. Google "Atheists against atheists" to read about the disease that plagues atheism. It is harming the good atheists.

        December 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          OK, I'll agree that atheists who pick a flame fight by initiating an attack on believers do atheists in general a disservice.

          This is not a definition of "new atheism". It's trolling.

          And how is what you are doing any different from that?

          I submit that responding to a post that begins with an attack on anyone is different.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
        • 2 dangerous sections of America

          We have a lot of atheist trolls on this site. And some Christian ones too.
          And 1 agnostic one (me).

          December 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
        • G to the T

          Ok I get it know – you don't know what "agnostic" actually means.

          Any specific instances of when "science" was misrepresented? You sound supsicisouly like a "scientists" we had on here previously...

          December 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
        • Ben

          2 dangerous sections of America
          Any and all who believe in a god are equally silly, but you're right that those who go under the banner of "Conservative", and use their belief as license to bully and marginalize others, need more of our ridicule.

          To us, the two dangerous sections of America are the Conservatives who know that they're hurting people, but think they're justified, and the moderates who think they're not hurting anyone, but who are still not standing up to the Conservatives because they're afraid of being told that they're going to hell. The overly strong Christians and the overly weak ones: our society would be better off without either.

          December 13, 2013 at 12:57 am |
    • Alias

      That first group ig growing rapidly, and the second one getting smaller each day.
      I think that even by your logic therer is only one threat there.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
      • 2 dangerous sections of America

        There are not that many New Atheists. (I don't have a problem with atheism -i'm agnostic-) (Most atheists don't post on religious blogs all day long)

        December 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • Alias

          Wrong. the younger generations are turning away from religion in large numbers.
          They know science, and ask the right questions.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • 2 dangerous sections of America

          Scientists are awesome. New Atheists that pretend like they know science are lame.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Some Antics

      What you seem to be saying is that there is real enlightenment, reason and science but there are also real Christians, but the first conclusion dismisses the second.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
      • 2 dangerous sections of America

        I've seen Christianity carried out well. The Religious Right does not.

        December 12, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
      • 2 dangerous sections of America

        real enlightenment, reason and science ≠ New Atheism

        arrogant statements and being offended by my OP = New Atheism

        December 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • Some Antics

        I'm not offended at all, I am a bit shocked at the level of stupidity that the religious display around the world. It is sad but it's a bit like trying to figure out what 3 year olds find facinating about Barney the Dinosaur.

        December 12, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • 2 dangerous sections of America

          Atheists have proven they are just as capable at being stupid. Look at the proof.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
        • Some Antics

          Are there stupid atheists? Of course there are, though the fact they know that there is no evidence of God/gods is not among the stupid parts of their understanding.

          I believe areodynamics can make planes fly but I certainly don't know all the calculations and math to make my own airplane, does that mean arodynamics don't work just because I can't rerpoduce their equations?

          December 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • 2 dangerous sections of America

          Any idiot can say there is no God. That doesn't prove one is smart. And you can have stupid reasons for not believing in God.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Howzitgoing, lol???

      I guess we'll add this new moniker to your ever growing list of Trolltastic pseudonymns

      December 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • don't forget about people who post by using the statement they are making as thier name

      .

      December 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
      • 2 dangerous sections of America

        too shay

        December 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • ?

      Just another thread Nanny expressing derision for people who dare post an opinion s/he doesn't agree with.
      Noted and discarded

      December 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Realist

      ------–
      ------–

      ... http://www.GodIsImaginary.com...

      ... and thank goodness because he ...

      ............. emanates from the .............

      ... http://www.EvilBible.com

      ------–
      ------–

      December 12, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
  15. Alias

    Since no one seems to be reading the article today,
    Could someone please tell me where the bible saya the old testament no longer applies in its entirety?
    I've heard a lot of people say some rules are out of date, or only applied to some people – but where does the word of your god mention it?

    December 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Alias,

      A lot of the OT rules were given to the children of Israel as a condition of them remaining in the land that God gave them. I won’t post it here, but if you are a really interested read Leviticus 26.

      John 1:17, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

      Romans 6:14, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

      2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

      December 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • Alias

        That does not answer the question. It is a list of reward for obedience.
        Where does it say that we do not have to follow all the rules, or that we are not supposed to obey the entire bible?

        December 12, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
        • Topher

          Well, first, there's a new covenant. So the old one is out. True, some of those laws for specifically for those people at that time (for instance, certain foods or wearing combinations of clothes.) For food specifically, read Acts 10 and, I think, Mark 7. Also, you can throw out all the priestly laws (sacrificing, etc.) because Jesus became our sacrifice.

          December 12, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
        • Joey

          I thought god never changes. So if he wanted you to stone adulterers to death 3000 years ago, he still wants you to stone them to death to day, or has god changed over time?

          December 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Alias,
          If you think Leviticus 26 is just a list of rewards, I don’t think you read it.
          The rules in OT are commonly referred to as the law. The verses I quoted say we aren’t under the law.
          The 8th and 9th chapters of Hebrews explain it pretty well too.

          But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Galatians 4:4-5 KJV

          December 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • Joey

          So you can't come up with a verse that says we no longer have to live under the Old Testament laws? I don't want a verse that you have interpreted to mean that, but instead one that directly says it. If you can't supply it then it is possible that you are wrong and that the Old Testament still applies.

          December 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
          – Matthew 5:18

          December 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
        • Alias

          Acts 10 – story about Cornelios. Mark 7 – Defilement from within.
          You may argue that these have something to do with eating kosher, but that does not cover all the priestly laws you want to ignore.

          December 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • Some Antics

          If God wanted the ancient Hebrews to live by a certain moral code but now has different requirements for Christians there can be only a few reasons why. The one the Christians claim is that Christ fulfilled the old law that no one could actually live up to other than the perfect son of God (who also happens to be God in disguise) and once he lived his life and fulfilled the law the new law of Love your God and Love your neighbor took over and the old rules were thrown out. The problem with this is that it doesn't change the fact that this God they worship consider the laws in Leviticus as "Perfection" that they could not live up to and no longer have to. So did God change his views on lobster, slavery, multi-material fabrics or having accused adulterous women drink floor dust in water to prove they were faithful? No, it is the same unchanging God. The same one that wanted the Samaritan children killed and pregnant mothers torn apart for their disobedience. That is the same God Christians woship, in fact it is the same God of Abraham that Muslims worship as well for they are cousins in faith. Sure most Christians don't understand this because they don't read their own bibles, but it's all there if any of them actually cared.

          December 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • Alias

          Robert Brown
          You are also forgetting that jesus told us to obey the Torrah, every word. Th ebible says jesus saved us from sin, but how does that nullify all the rules?

          December 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • Topher

          Joey

          God didn't change, the covenant changed. We continuously broke the old one.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
        • Topher

          You clearly didn't read it all ... let me help you ...

          "And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,

          11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:

          12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

          13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.

          14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

          15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."

          December 12, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          The covenant changing would demonstrate that morality changes and cannot be absolute would it not?

          Empirically this is what we see. There is no such thing as moral absolutism, which I see as being Joey's point.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • Alias

          Topher
          Like I said, you can apply that to what can be eaten, but it does not have anything to do with sacrifices or stonings.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
        • Topher

          And this from Mark ...

          "And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?”[f] (Thus he declared all foods clean.)"

          December 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
        • Topher

          Alias
          "Like I said, you can apply that to what can be eaten, but it does not have anything to do with sacrifices or stonings."

          Of course, I said it was specifically about food. Though what it does show is that some of that OT stuff is no longer in play. And as I said before, you no longer need to do animal sacrifices because Jesus was "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world." He was our perfect sacrifice, our spotless lamb. And the stonings would have been for those people at that time. It is not mentioned in the new covenant.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Alias

          Topher,
          I know arguing with you is pointless, but you still don't want to address the actual issue:
          "And as I said before, you no longer need to do animal sacrifices because Jesus was "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world."
          YOU said it animal sacrifices are no longer needed. WHERE DOES THE BIBLE SAY SO?

          December 12, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
        • Topher

          There's plenty ... for instance the one I already gave you. Or perhaps Hebrews 10 "For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." In fact, just read all of Hebrews 10 ... here's another piece ... "

          For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

          5 Consequently, when Christ[a] came into the world, he said,

          “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
          but a body have you prepared for me;
          6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
          you have taken no pleasure.
          7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
          as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

          8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

          11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ[b] had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

          15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

          16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
          after those days, declares the Lord:
          I will put my laws on their hearts,
          and write them on their minds,”

          17 then he adds,

          “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

          18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

          Galatians 3:23-25, “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

          Ephesians 2:15, “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;”

          December 12, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • Alias

          Jesus orders Christians to follow the Law of Moses in the Old Testament: "Do not think that I [Jesus] have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)" It is quite clear from these verses from the New Testament that Jesus peace be upon him did honor the Old Testament and did say that every single "letter" of it has to be honored, followed and fulfilled.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • Alias

          But therre are no contradictions in the bible, RIGHT!

          December 12, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • Topher

          Alias

          Correct. There are no contradictions.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Russell

          Well played.
          And the fundies ran away as soon as they were proven wrong, as usual.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • Topher

          I'm a "fundie" and I haven't run away. I proven my stance. Even Robert contributed versus. How have we run away?

          December 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Alias,
          That is good. Jesus fulfilled the law by being the perfect sacrifice. He fulfilled the prophets by being the messiah.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
        • Raymonde

          As I have heard it from a Jewish friend of mine, the laws are not guidelines for reward. What God wants is our love, and the OT is the blueprint for how to love him. The relationship itself IS the reward.

          December 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
        • Alias

          You cited passages that said the old law did not apply.
          I cited a passage where jesus says the old laws will always apply.
          How is that NOT a contradiction?

          December 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
        • Topher

          As Robert said, Jesus fulfilled those laws. And because of that, those of us in Christ are not under those laws. But you are. How many of the 10 Commandments have you kept? You'll have to answer for each on Judgment Day.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
        • Alias

          Are you saying christians don't have to follow the christian laws, but everyone else does?

          December 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • Topher

          Alias

          No. I'm saying that when we do brake them (as Christians are still sinners even though we're saved) we are forgiven for them. We will not face the same judgment a non-Christian does.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
        • Alias

          Acts 10 and Mark 7 say the rules no longer apply.
          Matthew 5:17-18 say the old rules do apply.
          contradiction.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
        • sam stone

          gopher: neither you nor robert could come up with a rational argument if your lives depended on it

          December 13, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • sam stone

          christians are not going to face the kind of judement non christians are?

          judgement is a hoax, designed to trap the gullible

          you are a coward, gopher

          December 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • lol??

        God doesn't change you morons. The morons are suppose to change.

        December 12, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
        • Ernie

          nonsense. gods have changed much over the years. perhaps not as much as your Depends, but there has been change nonetheless.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • ?

          Then why haven't you, lol??

          December 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
      • G to the T

        In other words – Jesus never said the OT laws didn't apply (indeed, I'm seem to recall the opposite). Not sure why most "christians' don't call themselves "Paulians". Seems to me that would be more accurate.

        December 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  16. Robert Brown

    Lunchbreaker said this a few days ago,

    “If God is omnipotent, then He cannot be bound by a higher law, He makes the law. If he makes the law independent of any other rules the law is 100% arbitrary. Any sin in the Bible is only a sin because God says so. He created the flesh and all the desires that came with it and at His own whim decided which of those desires are sins. Or He is bound to a higher law and is not omnipotent.”

    He does give us desires with a purpose. For example, we are attracted to others in a physical way. He gave us this appeti.te so that we can be fruitful and multiply. It can lead to sin, but it is our choice. You see someone attractive, other than your spouse, and the thought crosses your mind, you choose whether to dwell on this thought or dismiss it immediately. If you dwell on it, you have sinned, because by dwelling on it, you are sinning in your heart and committing the act becomes more likely.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Avid1

      "Self will run riot"

      December 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • Avid1

        "So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kill us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God's help. "

        December 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • ME II

      @Robert Brown,
      Perhaps there is a bigger point being made. If God makes the rules, then they are arbitrary. If not, then whence do the rules come.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        ME II,
        What do you mean by arbitrary?

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arbitrary
        ar•bi•trary
        adjective \ˈär-bə-ˌtrer-ē, -ˌtre-rē\

        : not planned or chosen for a particular reason : not based on reason or evidence

        : done without concern for what is fair or right

        Full Definition of ARBITRARY

        1

        : depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by law

        2

        a: not restrained or limited in the exercise of power : ruling by absolute authority

        b: marked by or resulting from the unrestrained and often tyrannical exercise of power

        3

        a: based on or determined by individual preference or convenience rather than by necessity or the intrinsic nature of something

        b: existing or coming about seemingly at random or by chance or as a capricious and unreasonable act of will

        December 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • ME II

          @Robert Brown,
          Mostly, I was referring to 3a and/or 3b, but the others almost fit, to varying degrees.

          December 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          ME II,
          So, the creator makes the rules, which makes the rules arbitrary. What is the problem?

          December 12, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • ME II

          @Robert Brown,
          It makes the rules arbitrary, i.e. not right because they are right, but right because "I said so..."

          This leads to issues of conflict similar to the divine right to rule where the king is the law and despotism takes hold. In other words arbitrary morality is not just.

          If God said it is okay to torture young children, does that make it okay?

          December 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          All divinely given Law is, according to Scripture, embodied in love for God and one’s neighbor.[3] And within the Godhead itself we see this Law exemplified eternally. The Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father, and these Two love the Spirit, who loves them equally. Each Person of the Godhead is both God and Neighbor. As these interrelations are Divine, however, they differ from the manner in which mankind is to love God and neighbor. God cannot go against His very own nature which is embodied in the moral law, and which He has written upon the hearts of all bearers of His image; therefore, there is absolutely no possibility of God (a.)commanding what is essentially good apart from Him (i.e. in relation to Him as a superior code of conduct) or (b.)that God is commanding something arbitrarily. God is good; therefore, there is no higher Good under the authority of which He stands. God perfectly loves Himself; therefore, He has made man in His own image to reflect this love for God and neighbor; therefore, no command given by Him is ever given arbitrarily.

          http://blog.carm.org/2011/04/the-bogey-man-called-euthyphros-dilemma/

          December 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
        • ME II

          @Robert Brown,
          "Euthyphro’s Dilemma is, therefore, a false dilemma, since it completely fails to take into consideration the fact that Christianity teaches that God is not a monad; He is a Trinity of Persons. As Father and Son and Holy Spirit, the One God of the Bible is not subject to Euthyphro’s dilemma, ..." – your CARM link

          So, basically CARM is saying that its God gets out of this logical conundrum, by postulating another logical conundrum, i.e a being that is one being and three being at the same time.

          I think this is called 'special pleading'.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          That was their first point. I copied the one I liked the best.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
        • ME II

          @Robert Brown,
          "That was their first point. I copied the one I liked the best."

          Ah, sorry, the God is love and love is good argument. But the same response applies, CARM is just postulating another conundrum of a being that *is* an emotion.
          In other words, the rules don't apply this special case because this special case is defined so as not to applicable.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Madtown

      He gave us this appeti.te so that we can be fruitful and multiply
      ----
      Is this the only reason God gave us this appet.ite? Should couples who cannot conceive divorce immediately? Are they actually "sinning" in God's eyes, because they express attraction for each other yet are not multiplying? Should older couples never marry?

      December 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        No, it isn't the only reason.

        December 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
      • Alias

        According to the RCC you should only have se.x to make children.
        No other se.x is appropriate.
        That is why they are against birth control even for married couples.

        December 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • jed clampett

      If you desire more than one woman just marry them all. God 101.

      December 12, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      And still no reponse as to how an omnipotent being can refrain making rules arbitrarily. God is either held to a law higher than Himself or all law is arbitrary, can't be both.

      December 12, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Hey Lunchbreaker, what do you think of this?

        http://blog.carm.org/2011/04/the-bogey-man-called-euthyphros-dilemma/

        December 12, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • G to the T

      "For example, we are attracted to others in a physical way. He gave us this appeti.te so that we can be fruitful and multiply." But not a built in mechanism for ONLY being attracted to one person at a time. Seems like a hell of an oversight...

      December 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  17. igaftr

    ?

    December 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  18. Heroes of Faith

    Will be nice to see the Pope take on the anti-Christian persecution that has spiked in the Middle East and is spreading to other what was known to be religiously moderate countries such as India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Brett

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=zbhhNyiDouk

      December 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Would be nice to see the Pope use the vast wealth of his church to do anything substantial.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
      • cpt fantasdoc

        How much of its wealth do catholics spend on charity? How ma y hospitals do they subsidize?

        No one will do e ough to satisfy an athy. Y? They r here to spread hate.

        December 12, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • Gordo

          Overall, Christian charities are far less efficient than secular ones, at getting resources out to the people who need them.

          December 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      India and Indonesia, religiously moderate?

      Are you familiar with what happened during the part!tion of India. The root of most of the violence was religious. It's still there, under the surface.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      No body like missionaries. They set themselves up as arbiters of truth. It's kind of arrogant don't you think?

      December 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Realist

      ------–
      ------–

      ... http://www.GodIsImaginary.com...

      ... and thank goodness because he ...

      ............. emanates from the .............

      ... http://www.EvilBible.com

      ------–
      ------–

      December 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  19. guest

    One of the biggest mistakes the Protestants made is not is to accept all the paganistic practices of the RCC like: Christmas, there are so many pagan practices surrounding Christmas it is mind boggling including the tree, the lights and other ordainments, the wreath, Santa, even gift giving, plus other things. Easter in itself is a pagan name. Where do they think the Easter Bunny idea came from? Where do they think the Easter egg and the Easter egg hunt came from? Halloween, where did it originate? Sunday worship, why is it called Sunday; maybe because it isn’t the Sabbath and they don’t know anything else to call it? Most of them think that the Sabbath was changed by the apostles; o’ yeah; Where and when? Think how ridicules, “Easter Sunday Services”, sounds. Easter: a pagan holiday, Sunday the day to worship a pagan god: the Sun. These are only a few paganistic practices brought in by the papacy. The idiotic thing is they excuse these paganistic practices by saying: “The meaning of these practices have changed. Oh really? Can they justify that with the Bible? No! These are practices the RCC picked up from the pagans they were trying to convert to Christianity.
    There is a lot of theology the Protestants accept that isn’t Biblical, but originated with the RCC.
    Some of them do not even know why they call themselves “Protestant”.
    No! The biggest thing that the Protestants protested was the pope and they adore this Pope.
    What puzzles me is that for all the criticism the atheists, who claim to be so well read in the Bible, haven’t picked up on this.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • igaftr

      40,000 versions of christianity....too many differences in their "word" to count.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
      • guest

        Right, but a huge number of them accept theology or beliefs that originated with Catholicism; that is the point.

        December 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
      • cpt fantasdoc

        Ridiculous. 40,000 versions. There r a billion. He ain't ur book of rules. He's NOT the kind u have to wind up on sundays

        December 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Avid1

      The pagans didn't invent winter and spring celebrations. Lots of cultures had them. It was ok for pagans to keep some of their customs and traditions.
      Not all Christians celebrate Christmas, have a tree or play Santa Claus. The first Christians to settle in North America did not.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
      • G to the T

        I believe in this instance, "pagan" is being used to describe all of the polytheistic cultures that existed at that time.

        December 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        "Pagan" is borad term that encompasses all non-abrahamics.
        So pagans did indeed invent the solstice celebrations.
        The very word "Easter" comes from the Saxon goddess Eastre and the Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility, Eastra.
        Cybele, the Phrygian fertility goddess, had a consort, Attis, who was believed to have been born via a virgin birth. Attis was believed to have died and been resurrected each year during a three day period at the end of March.
        Sound familiar?

        December 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
        • Avid1

          Doc V,

          Can you post your sources to back up your claims? Hopefully not "Zeitgeist" movie, which some of those claims were made.They have been proven wrong.

          December 12, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
        • Avid1

          Attis conception and birth:

          “The gods, fearing Agdistis, cut off the male organ. There grew up from it an almond-tree with its fruit ripe, and a daughter of the river Sangarios, they say, took the fruit and laid it in her bosom, when it at once disappeared, but she was with child. A boy [Attis] was born, and exposed, but was tended by a he-goat.” – Pausanias, Guide to Greece 7.17.8

          Not like Jesus' conception and birth at all. Lots of cultures had stories like this. Native Americans had virgin birth stories. Did Christians steal those, too?

          December 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • Avid1

          "Attis was believed to have died and been resurrected each year during a three day period at the end of March."

          There are multiple stories:

          – Attis changed into a firtree.

          – Attis found expiring, tried to be restored by the priests but that went in vain. Death, with no resurrection.

          – Attis is killed by a wild boar and buried in Pessinus, No crucifixion, and no resurrection.

          – Zeus in his cruelty sent a boar that killed Attis.

          – Attis goes mad, hacked his own body with a jagged stone and dragged his long hair in squalid dirt and cropped his groin’s weight. Cut of(put to death) the parts which have ruined him(His male s..x organs) Suddenly no signs of manhood remained.

          ~~~Is Christ Jesus another Attis? Nope, not at all.~~~~

          December 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • Avid1

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attis

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus

          I don't see the similarities you claim.

          December 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Virgin birth was a common element to many myths – not just Attis and Jesus. I didn't say the myths were precisely parallel.
          The "Festival of Joy" that celebrated Attis' death and resurrection was most assuredly real and did indeed occur over 3 days during the vernal equinox. The resurrection of the god was hailed by his disciples as a promise that they too would issue triumphant from the corruption of the grave.

          The born of a virgin, martyred, resurrected god is a mythological archetype.
          I'm not saying that Christ is an exact mirror image of the other god myths that came before with these characteristics – merely that many of the supernatural elements of the Jesus tale are not original or unique.

          December 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • Avid1

          Yea. Not one is quite like Jesus' story. It is unique in that sense.
          And a virgin story exists in cultures that had no connection to Egyptians, Hebrews or Christians. So, yea, concluding that Jesus is a copy or influenced by Attis is not wise.
          I still can't find anything that says Attis was the product of a virgin birth...

          December 12, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          No one is quite like that Angus, Belenos, Brigid, dana, Lugh, Dagda, Epona, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Atehna, Demeter, Dionysus, Eris, Eos, Gaia, Hades, Hekate, Helios, Hephaestus, Hera, hermes, Hestia, Pan, Poseidon, Selene, Uranus, Zeus, Mathilde, Elves, Eostre, Frigg, Hretha, Saxnot, Shef, Thuno, Tir, Weyland, Woden, Alfar, Balder, Beyla, Bil, Bragi, Byggvir, Dagr, Disir, Eir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigga, Heimdall, Hel, Hoenir, Idunn, Jord, Lofn, Loki, Mon, Njord, Norns, Nott, Odin, Ran, saga, Sif, Siofn, Skadi, Snotra, Sol, Syn, Ull, Thor, Tyr, Var, Vali, Vidar, Vor, Black Shuck, Herne, Jack in the Green, Holda, Nehalennia, Nerthus, endovelicus, Ataegina, Runesocesius, Apollo, Bacchus, Ceres, Cupid, Diana, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Maia, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Pluto, Plutus, Proserpina, Venus, Vesta, Vulcan, Attis, Cybele, El-Gabal, Isis, Mithras, Sol Invictus, Endovelicus, Anubis, Aten, Atum, Bast, Bes, Geb, Hapi, Hathor, Heget, Horus, Imhotep, Isis, Khepry, Khnum, Maahes, Ma’at, Menhit, Mont, Naunet, Neith, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Ptah, ra, Sekhmnet, Sobek, Set, Tefnut, Thoth, An, Anshar, Anu, Apsu, Ashur, Damkina, Ea, Enki, Enlil, Ereshkigal, Nunurta, Hadad, Inanna, Ishtar, Kingu, Kishar, Marduk, Mummu, Nabu, Nammu, Nanna, Nergal, Ninhursag, Ninlil, Nintu, Shamash, Sin, Tiamat, Utu, Mitra, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Tsukiyomi, Inari, Tengu, Izanami, Izanagi, Daikoku, Ebisu, Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Fu.kurokuju, Jurojin, Hotei, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, Inti, Kon, Mama Cocha, Mama Quilla, Manco Capac, Pachacamac, Viracoc.ha, or Zaramama either.

          Every God myth has unique elements, but in the end they are nothing more than stories that say more about the cultures that came up with them than they do actual reality.
          If a story relies on supernatural elements, it is fiction.

          December 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • Avid1

          Jesus Christ actually existed and lives. It is not fiction. To you it is, sure. But to many other reasonable, logical and sound minded human beings it is not. They have experienced Jesus Christ alive in their life. I have. You can copy and paste a list of all the fictional characters in human history. I know they have been written about. I've learned about some of them. And none of them are being followed like I see Jesus Christ being followed today.

          December 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Avid
          I agree that there likely was a radical Rabbi who rebuked the beaurocracy of the Jewish priesthood and wanted to spread the God of Abraham to the gentiles.
          While the legend of Christ probably has a historical basis, the supernatural aspects of it make it fiction.
          That many people believe it doesn't make it true – until recently, everybody knew that the Earth was flat and/or the centre of the universe – those who disagreed were at least mocked and often executed.

          December 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
        • Avid1

          And now everybody *knows* there is no God. And those who disagree are mocked. Some even talk about having those who disagree locked up or even executed for being delusional and mentally retarded.
          Not much has changed.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          So first you say that you know Jesus is real becuase so many people believe in and follow HIm – and then you say that everybody knows there is no God?

          If you would like to discuss persecution, please peruse my posting on page 1 of the Pope Francis' greatest hits of 2013
          story from yesterday.
          There are many countries with laws the officially discriminate against the irreligious and/or give privilige to religion (notably Christianity and Islam).

          December 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • Avid1

          You missed my context.

          Everyone (by the world's standards of what was smart) used to *know* the world was flat.

          Everyone (by the non-believers posting here's standards as to what is smart) *knows* there is no God.

          If you stand up to that belief around here, some people are unkind toward you. I'm not persecuted by anyone here. Just the recipient of unkind hostilities at times.

          December 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
      • igaftr

        Yes, the pagans did invent the celebrations. Considering that EVERYTHING is pagan except for Judaeism, Christianity and Islam...the pagans are EVERYTHING else. Since those celbrations had been going on longer than any of those religions, thank the pagans for your holidays.

        December 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
        • Avid1

          There is nothing wrong with the holidays. It is not like anyone is trying to hide the fact that Christians and their pagan predecessors shared similar holiday traditions. I think I learned about that fact in 3rd grade. At Sunday School. In the Bible Belt.

          December 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
        • igaftr

          shared?
          Wrong word. Christians came MUCH later, and took over the celebrations as their own, renaming them as well.
          The remnants of them are still in those "holidays", there really is no such thing as a holy day.

          December 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Responding to the Pride

      Guest...I think the biggest problem with your argument is your loose use of the word "theology." Christians don't consider "Christmas" or "Easter" a part of their "theology"–in other words, its not a part of their belief system. Sure, I celebrate Christmas (all the trappings), and I choose to celebrate it as the birth of Christ (although I doubt He was born 12/25), but my faith has nothing to do with that day (or any other day). Does my having a tree (previously a pagan ritual) have any influence over what I believe about God, Jesus, etc.? Of course not-its simply a holiday decoration–nothing more and nothing less.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I think you'll find that atheists are well aware of the fact that the Catholic church co-opted a number of pre-existing festivals and 'Christianized' them.

      Why is Christmas on December 25?

      December 12, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Maddy

      Oh, I know many, many Protestants who celebrate Christmas and Easter in the same manner as their Catholic counterparts.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Kev

      Isn't that what protestant churches are? Modified or even remodified versions of the RRC?

      December 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
      • Kev

        I mean RCC.

        December 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Pre-Christian Gaelic / Celtic festivals:

      Imbolc ....... (Feb 2) ................. St. Brigid's Day
      Ostara ........ (~Mar 20) ............ The vernal equinox – Also Ēostre (Easter) and where rabbits come from. The Feast of the Annunciation is Mar 25 (9 months before Christmas)
      Beltane ...... (Apr 30 / May 1) .. May Day in Europe
      Samhain ... (Oct 31) ................ All Saints Day eve
      Yule ............ (~Dec 25) ........... Christmas also Saturnalia, Feast of Mithras all of which are in the same period

      December 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Alias

      Is it really that important?
      Will god ignore all your good deeds and sins and focus on the origins of holodays and if/how you celebrate the birth of jesus on his approximate birthdate?
      I wish the christians would focus on the important things for once.
      Things like how they treat others instead of judging them, and helping the less fortunate.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:48 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.