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Pope Francis: Church could support civil unions
Pope Francis speaks at St Peter's square on December 11, 2013.
March 5th, 2014
10:04 AM ET

Pope Francis: Church could support civil unions

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage on Wednesday, but suggested in a newspaper interview that it could support some types of civil unions.

The Pope reiterated the church's longstanding teaching that "marriage is between a man and a woman." However, he said, "We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety."

States, for instance, justify civil unions as a way to provide economic security to cohabitating couples, the Pope said in a wide-ranging interview published Wednesday in Corriere della Seraan Italian daily. State-sanctioned unions are thus driven by the need to ensure rights like access to health care, Francis added.

A number of Catholic bishops have supported civil unions for same-sex couples as an alternative to marriage, including Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010, according to reports in National Catholic Reporter and The New York Times.

Behind closed doors, pope supported civil unions in Argentina, activist says

But Wednesday's comments are "the first time a Pope has indicated even tentative acceptance of civil unions," according to Catholic News Service.

Later on Wednesday, a Vatican spokesman sought to clarify the Pope's remarks.

"The Pope did not choose to enter into debates about the delicate matter of gay civil unions," said the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant to the Vatican press office.

"In his response to the interviewer, he emphasized the natural characteristic of marriage between one man and one woman, and on the other hand, he also spoke about the obligation of the state to fulfill its responsibilities towards its citizens."

"We should not try to read more into the Pope’s words than what has been stated in very general terms," Rosica added.

Pope Francis, who marks his first year in office on March 13, has sought to set a more tolerant tone for his 1 billion-member church and suggested that a broad range of topics are at least open for discussion.

In January, the Pope recalled a little girl in Buenos Aires who told her teacher that she was sad because "my mother's girlfriend doesn't like me."

"The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which sometimes are difficult for us to understand," the Pope told leaders of religious orders, adding that the church "must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them."

The Vatican later denied that those comments signaled an opening toward same-sex unions.

Last June, Francis famously refused to judge gay priests in comments that ricocheted around the world. He has also said that the church should not "interfere" in the spiritual lives of gays and lesbians.

Pope Francis' greatest hits of 2013

Support of same-sex unions of any type is fiercely contested by many Catholic church leaders.

In Wednesday's interview, Francis also addressed several other controversial issues, including the Catholic Church's ban on contraception, the role of women and the devastating clergy sexual abuse scandal.

On contraception, the Pope praised Pope Paul VI for having the "courage" to "go against the majority" when restating the ban in 1968. But, Francis said, the church must also be "merciful" and "attentive to concrete situations."

Contraception and church's ban on divorced Catholics receiving holy communion, will likely be addressed at major meetings of Catholic bishops in Rome in 2014 and 2015.

“We must give a response. But to do so, we must reflect much in depth,” the Pope said Wednesday.

On the role of women in the church, an issue of particular concern to Catholics in the United States, the Pope hinted that changes could be in the works.

"Women must be present in all of the places where decisions are taken," Francis said in the newspaper interview, but the church must consider more than "functional" roles for women. To that end, Catholic leaders are engaged in "deep reflection" on women's role in the church, he said.

On the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy, a scandal that has rocked the church in the United States, the Pope said the abuse has left "very deep wounds" on victims.

In response, the church has done more than other institutions to be open and transparent about sexual abuse by its employees, Francis said. “But the Church is the only one to be attacked."

A United Nations panel criticized Catholic leaders last month in a hard-hitting report on clergy sexual abuse.

The report said the Vatican "has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.”

The Vatican said it would study the U.N. report.

Kick out those who sexually abuse children, U.N. panel tells Vatican

On Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who has surprised church-watchers with public appearances after saying he would live a cloistered life in retirement, Francis said he considers his predecessor a "wise grandfather."

"The Pope Emeritus is not a statue in a museum," Pope Francis said. Rather, the two men have decided that Benedict should participate in the church's public life rather than live a shuttered life.

"I thought about grandparents who with their wisdom, their advice, strengthen families and don't deserve to end up in an old folks home," Francis said.

Finally, he may sometimes wear a cape, but don't call Pope Francis a Superman, the popular pontiff said.

"To paint the Pope as a sort of Superman, a kind of star, seems offensive to me," Francis told Corriere della Sera. "The Pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps soundly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person."

Earlier this year, graffiti depicting a muscle-bound and flying Francis appeared on walls near Vatican City, but the Pope said Wednesday that he doesn't like the "mythology" surrounding his papacy, which marks its first anniversary on March 13.

For instance, Francis debunked the idea that he sneaks out of the Vatican at night to feed the homeless.

"It never occurred to me," he said.

(CNN's Delia Gallagher assisted in translating Pope Francis' remarks from the Italian.) 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Culture wars • Discrimination • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (3,591 Responses)
  1. thefinisher1

    Atheism is a cult. Plain and simple. We should treat as it should be-a laughable cult that deserves public mockery.

    March 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
    • bostontola

      Did you have a change of heart, you used to call atheism a religion. This move is in the right direction, I commend you.

      March 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        Atheism is a religion and a cult. Look at all the atheist rallies. Atheism is indeed a stupid cult and should be treated as so.

        March 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • bostontola

          How can it be both? A religion can have a cult within it, but if the whole thing is a cult, what does that mean?

          March 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Atheism is dangerous and should be banned?

          March 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • bostontola

          We don't ban religions or cults in the US, we ban/punish behavior with laws. Do you think that the US should outlaw some religions and all cults?

          March 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          They should outlaw just atheism unless you wish to build your own atheistic country where all brainwashed atheists can live. Maybe North Korea is a wise choice for American atheists. You don't have to hear about Christianity(seems that's typically what faith atheists are deeply attached to). Go live there😜

          March 6, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • bostontola

          What country are you from? It can't be the US, The US Consti.tution doesn't allow religions to be banned.

          March 6, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          And thus the atheist dream is a fantasy. American atheists are becoming aggressive and delusional😜😀😊😀😊😜😄

          March 6, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Delusion is belief in something in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. How could that apply to not believing in gods? There is no evidence for any god and all the evidence contradicts the religious creation myths; that puts believers firmly in the delusional column.

          March 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • bostontola

          Wait, are you an American? Do you think a religion should be outlawed?

          March 6, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
    • doobzz

      Christianity is a cult. Plain and simple. We should treat as it should be-a laughable cult that deserves public mockery.

      Wow, that was easy.

      March 6, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
      • bostontola

        I'd go with; Christianity is an amalgamation of cults.

        March 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • doobzz

          True, so many varieties of Christianity, each thinking they have it right.

          March 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        Atheists make up their own beliefs, their own rules, what to worship(themselves), and their own dogma. Atheism is indeed a cult.

        Wow, that was easy.

        March 6, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Easy if making sense is not your objective.

          March 6, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • bostontola

          If atheists make up their own rules, why aren't they all in jail somewhere?

          March 6, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • doobzz

          Christians make up their own beliefs, their own rules, what to worship(themselves), and their own dogma. Christianity is indeed a cult.

          Wow, that was easy.

          March 6, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      Taking an atheist comment about belief and substituting atheist for theist really makes more a ridiculous comment.
      What does your handle refer to?

      March 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
  2. Apple Bush

    If I believed in a god, I would imagine him with large laughing eyes that twinkled each time a new star burst into existence.

    If there were a god, then I would have to believe there are many gods. We know nothing of alternate or additional universes or bubbles or whatever other unimaginables exist in the larger places.

    Now if there are gods they had to come from somewhere so now I’ve trodden too for through the neighbor’s grass.

    Before I was born, there was only the nothingness. Now I believe in this reality, but once the remembering is shut off, it is back to the nothingness. My imagination is the only truth.

    hasa diga eebowai

    March 6, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
  3. Apple Bush

    The truth is; we all know exactly the same thing relative to why we are here. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    It is with that lack of knowledge that empires and governments have flourished. Churches have gained foothold and prey on weakened minds.

    It is in this context that the Truth is most important. Before we were born, there was nothing. It stands to reason then that death (the absence of existence) would produce the same result.

    There is nothing.

    hasa diga eebowai

    March 6, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • derado8

      Why are we here? Why does there have to be a why?

      March 6, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
  4. Apple Bush

    Every living and non-living thing on this or any planet or heavenly body is of equal value. Humans hold no special status. This is clear to me based on the facts surrounding world history. Humans, if anything, have a low status due to their propensity for destruction. The Earth would be a cleaner, more balanced habitat without people. Gods or no gods, humans seem to be out of control and might very well qualify as an evolutionary accident gone very wrong.

    hasa diga eebowai

    March 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • derado8

      All mammals have most of the same stuff, fingers (even in paws still five digits), heart beat, eye lids, neurology. Cats and dogs have expressions and emotions and memory. A dolphin brain is larger than ours and I wonder if maybe more complex.

      March 6, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
      • ausphor

        derado8
        You left out mammary glands, t!ts are very important to me.

        March 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • derado8

          Kind of a shame people only have two each? 😉

          March 6, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
  5. Apple Bush

    I went to see The Book of Mormon last night. Hysterical!

    hasa diga eebowai

    March 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • joey3467

      I already have my tickets, but it doesn't come here until like June. I am not sure if I can wait that long.

      March 6, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        I saw it in Hollywood. It is worth the wait!

        March 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
  6. neverbeenhappieratheist

    In general, all humans breathe air. Now what if some scientists invented a way for humans to breathe water as well. Would that effect those who only want to breathe air? No. It would have no effect on those who don't want to try the new breathing liquid. Now what if some of those believed that it wasn't natural for humans to breathe liquid so they try to pass laws against anyone trying to use this new technology? Would you support their right to try and block others rights? Or would you use common sense to see that if it's not forcing you to breathe water then you don't have a dog in the fight and shouldn't be making a vote at all on this matter. The same goes for gay rights. No one is forcing you to be gay so you don't have any real interest and shouldn't even be allowed to vote to take away rights from other citizens. Why can't the religious get this simple fact through their dense skulls?

    March 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
    • igaftr

      They already have liquid for breathing...developed by/for the USnavy for deep water exploration...it prevents the bends. See the movie "the Abyss" where it's use was demonstrated.

      March 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        Sort of where I got the concept though it's not really commercially available and still has some flaws. My point is of course, regardless of what my feeelings are on whether it's "natural" or not unless they are trying to get me to breathe the stuff I shouldn't get a say in its use.

        March 6, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • derado8

          Governments shouldn't be involved in marriage at all, not even as an instrument of profitability.

          March 6, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          @derado8, not even pertaining to family health insurance?

          March 6, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • observernow

          derado8,

          Marriage is a LEGAL matter with OPTIONAL religious involvement.

          March 6, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • Akira

          Derado, if we left it up to religion, there would be significantly fewer marriages.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • derado8

          There are too many laws as it is. Health benefits for example could be yourself + one person or + two people whatever you paid for. They do not need to know the relationship between you and that person. They make that up so that they can save money.

          Whatever relationship you decide to be in (friends, grand parents, domestic partner,) very few of those things need legal involvement. Maybe estate law if someone dies without a will, but even that has a work around if a will became mandatory to avoid confusion after the person's passing.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
    • Russ

      @ never:
      your argument could be equally applied to things I doubt you support (i.e., racism, hate crimes, automatic gun rights, etc.). would you support those causes (via the exact same logic)?

      also, it actually dodges the main objection by your opponents: we are a human community and immorality affects us all. the real question is: who has the authority to define morality? are there things that are *always* wrong?

      March 6, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
      • the0g0to0the0t

        " who has the authority to define morality? are there things that are *always* wrong?"

        We define morality as a society, group, family, etc. I have yet to encounter anything that has been found to be "always" wrong in every society throughout time, though some "taboos" such as incest (which may have biological backing) come close.

        March 6, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • Russ

          @ g to the t:
          1) so you are making a communal appeal? do you submit to a particular society's laws – even if you disagree (i.e., was MLK wrong in his 'civil disobedience')?

          2) so you believe that racism & pedophilia might equally be considered 'good'?

          March 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Racism was taken for granted and considered normal and healthy in much of the world until very recently.
          The eugenics movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was extremely popular in "civilized" countries, especially the United States. The leading proponents of this kind of "scientific" racism openly called interracial marriage s "social and racial crime" and that societal acceptance of it would lead America toward "racial suicide" and the eventual disappearance of white civilization.

          There have been societies in which pederasty was an accepted, even noble practice – most notably in ancient Greece.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Doc: i'm hearing your history, but i'm not hearing your assessment.
          are you saying "it is what it is" – as if to say, "that's the way it will continue to be. c'est la vie."?
          [a position that would seem to argue against the g.ay lobby here]

          or are you saying those views were flawed and we are ever improving?
          do you make any judgment about those past moralities?

          March 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • the0g0to0the0t

          "1) so you are making a communal appeal? do you submit to a particular society's laws – even if you disagree (i.e., was MLK wrong in his 'civil disobedience')? " – MLK wasn't wrong, but he als knew that going against those laws is sometimes the only way to get unjust (immoral) laws repealled. Even more important, he believed that you should take responsibility for your actions, when you disobey the law, you will be arrested. That doesn't mean you were wrong though.

          "2) so you believe that racism & pedophilia might equally be considered 'good'?"
          I believe that racism and pedophilia (as we define them today) have both been considered completely acceptable in some societies in the past.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • Russ

          @ g to the T:
          1) you can't have it both ways.
          either "we define morality as a group" as you said before (making MLK wrong & ALL laws necessarily just by that definition) OR there is some greater justice to which you are appealing (not defined by the group).

          2) you said: "I believe that racism and pedophilia (as we define them today) have both been considered completely acceptable in some societies in the past." and potentially in the future, right? that's something your position would have to allow – and why not now? are you indifferent to such things?

          3) it presses the issue here: if you are indifferent to such things, why come to the belief blog? why support any ethical stance – such as g.ay rights?

          March 6, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
        • the0g0to0the0t

          @ Russ
          "you can't have it both ways" – I agree. It's always defined by the group. And here's the important part, the opinion of the group can change over time. It can be changed at the point of the sword as in wars, it can be changed by courageous people willing to sacrifice their own freedom and/or lives, it can be changed by new evidence casting away old assumptions. And when viewed as a general trend, it appears to be a positive one (i.e. more liberty and justice for more people on average than ever before in the history of the world).

          "and potentially in the future, right? " – Certainly, who knows? But barring some truly catastrophic event destroying the "world" as we know it (ex. mad max), I think the trend has and will continue to be a positive one.

          "and why not now? are you indifferent to such things?" Because we've moved on. Our morality has evolved (quite rapidly in the last century to be sure). Indifferent? What a horrible thing to say. I believe the basis of a prosperous society is to provide the maximum liberty to the maximum number of people. Both racism and pedophilia (which is a fairly modern taboo btw) are in direct opposition to that belief.

          As I said, I'm certainly not indifferent to morality, I just don't believe it exists in some platonic realm. I think it's built, brick by brick as a communal effort. I support gay rights because I support civil rights in general. I don't believe it's a "sin" so why shouldn't I believe they should have equal liberties and protections under the law? And I come to the belief blogs because I've study history, philosophy, religion, biology and anthropology for most of my life, and I enjoy seeing the and discussing the beliefs of others.

          March 6, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
      • igaftr

        It has never been an issue of morality, except for the immorality of claiming that being gay is immoral.
        How exactly again is two consenting adults being in love or expressing love immoral?

        March 6, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • Russ

          @ igaftr:
          you are making my point for me. either way it is a moral discussion. either:
          a) ho.mo.se.xuality is immoral... OR
          b) standing against ho.mo.se.xual rights is immoral.

          regardless, morality is the discussion at hand.
          the central point of disagreement: who defines morality? on what basis?

          March 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Who defines morality? That is an easy one, humans do. Right, worng, good, bad, evil, sin, all these are purely subjective as there is no objective morality. We can subjectively say that blowing up a child is a bad thing, but blowing up a star? Well, it can't really object in any way we can understand so we don't really think of it as immoral unless it was to destroy a planet of humans in the process. If as I claim, morality is subjective, then we would see an adjustment of accepted morality over time with the definition of morality changing as the people defining it change. And this is just what we see in human history, so I would have a hard time believing anyone who claims morality is objective.

          March 6, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • Russ

          @ igaftr:
          1) you said humans define morality.
          do you thus submit to human proclamations of morality or not? how do you distinguish?

          2) you claimed morality is ultimately subjective.
          so, as i asked 'g to the t' above, you believe *nothing* is ultimately *always* wrong? or put more directly: racism, r.a.pe, pedophilia are actually 'good'? and therefore, that there is no real basis for 'moral outrage' in the face of injustice (because there is no such thing as justice)?

          March 6, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Akira

          If people cannot differentiate between crimes against non- consenting children/adults and two consenting adults, no book is ever going to be able to tell them, no matter WHO it's written by.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • Doris

          Russ:

          [ "@ igaftr:
          1) you said humans define morality.
          do you thus submit to human proclamations of morality or not? how do you distinguish?" ]

          Both – we agree or expression disagreement with what others think regarding previously established ideals arising from consensus. Collectively, laws evolve from consensus.

          Russ [ "2) you claimed morality is ultimately subjective.
          so, as i asked 'g to the t' above, you believe *nothing* is ultimately *always* wrong? or put more directly: racism, r.a.pe, pedophilia are actually 'good'? and therefore, that there is no real basis for 'moral outrage' in the face of injustice (because there is no such thing as justice)?" ]

          Playing on words such as "ultimately" or "always" makes no difference. An act is not "wrong" if our minds are not there to claim it so. "Wrong" "bad" "good", etc. These are constructs of the mind, individually or collectively. We probably agree on many things that we collectively realize we also associate with harming someone, some animal, some thing, the planet. But I don't see that such assessment means anything without us to have such assessment. I don't see any evidence that any moral "truths" exist on their own in the world.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Akira:
          1) you've moved the goalposts. the discussion was the basis for morality. i simply pointed out that the morality igaftr was advancing here – if consistent – had no basis for moral outrage. but you're responding in moral outrage. on what basis? it must be a different one than igaftr is arguing for.

          as i said above, i think either way this is a discussion of morality (either in defense of traditional marriage or in defense of g.ay rights) – but that presupposes an objective morality. so, you can mock the Bible, but you must have supplanted it with another objective basis for your moral outrage (since subjective morality would necessarily be indifferent here). on what basis are you outraged?

          2) "consenting adults" still do immoral (or even criminal) things as defined by our justice system. the fact that they are 'consenting' does not bypass the question of morality. again, to what basis are you appealing?

          March 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Doris: so, if Hitler had won, he would've been right?

          March 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • joey3467

          I look at it this way. Gay people are not hurting anybody by getting married, and therefore there is no reason to consider it immoral.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • Russ

          @ joey: extend that logic to your opponents...
          the same reasoning for them is:
          "I look at it this way. Traditional marriage advocates are not hurting anybody by standing for what they believe, and therefore there is no reason to consider it immoral."

          from either side, your logic is a refusal to hear what the other side is saying.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • Doris

          Russ: "on what basis are you outraged?" (re: discussion with Akira)

          One thing that outrages me is what has transpired in Uganda in recent years. I'm not keen on people being jailed or killed based on their se-xual orientation. I'm not keen on evangelicals being behind the violence there for that issue, and I'm not keen on the complacency of the Catholic and Anglican churches that are predominant there. But I do not claim that the basis for my view of such atrocities exists on its own in the world separate from human minds (or divine). My view is shaped by observing justice, freedom and lack thereof in the world; by observing that I have a more natural affinity with parts of society that don't attempt to judge and harm one another in such ways.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • joey3467

          I would say that by not allowing gay people to get married they are in fact being harmed.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • igaftr

          russ
          "@ igaftr:
          1) you said humans define morality.
          do you thus submit to human proclamations of morality or not? how do you distinguish?

          2) you claimed morality is ultimately subjective.

          When did I say anything of the sort?

          March 6, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • Doris

          Russ [ @ Doris: so, if Hitler had won, he would've been right? ]

          Well, two things about such a suggestion. (Relating to the possibility of such occurrence, and again – the way you assume things with terms.)

          1. If Hitler had won, it would not have been the first time in history that people would have had to endure life under a madman. Would you venture to speculate on what would happen next and for how long?

          2. More importantly here is again – you're use of "right". If he had won, it means he had won. Again, it would have a moral value judgment in the minds of individuals and collectively for people to consider. So you again here it seems to me you are trying to assess a situation appealing to the idea of an objective "truth" to lend validation that such a type of "truth" exists. A bit circular don't you think?

          March 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • Doris

          I'll clean up this next-to-last sentence from my last post.

          So it seems to me you are again trying to appeal to a common societal value as if it were an objective "truth" in trying to validate that such a type of "truth" exists (on its own).

          March 6, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Doris:
          1) you said: "My view is shaped by observing justice, freedom and lack thereof in the world; by observing that I have a more natural affinity with parts of society that don't attempt to judge and harm one another in such ways."

          so, since your basis is admittedly subjective (and potentially ethnocentric?), why is their 'justice' any less legitimate than yours?

          2) in your other post, you pressed my word 'right' (as circular since i was appealing to an objective framework). good point, so let's consider both avenues.

          within an objective framework, Hitler's winning or losing is immaterial. he would still be wrong morally. however, within the framework you appear to be espousing ("laws evolve from consensus"), if the consensus changes... so does the morality. it appears that ethical 'winners' in history (by which you appear to mean some form of 'permanence' or longevity in regard to acceptance) define what is 'right' or 'just.'

          in other words, there is no basis for outrage for future 'successful' regimes of racism & the like.
          a) pragmatically: don't you find that an exceedingly troubling venture – especially given humanity's historic tendencies?
          b) logically: doesn't that invalidate your outrage with Uganda?

          March 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Russ

          @ joey:
          you said: "I would say that by not allowing gay people to get married they are in fact being harmed."
          based on... your view of morality.

          again, that's failing to hear your opponent's objection – which is exactly the same from within their view.
          the real issue is the moral basis.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • Russ

          @ igaftr: my apologies. that should have been directed at "neverbeenhappieratheist"

          March 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • Doris

          Russ [ 1) you said: "My view is shaped by observing justice, freedom and lack thereof in the world; by observing that I have a more natural affinity with parts of society that don't attempt to judge and harm one another in such ways."

          so, since your basis is admittedly subjective (and potentially ethnocentric?), why is their 'justice' any less legitimate than yours? ]

          legitimate? well legitimate against what? legitimate against what I or similarly-minded people like me (that I may or may not know – maybe even, for instance, people who voted like me); or legitimate against something else you may have in mind (something divine perhaps...)? I think at this point you understand which camp I fit into.

          Russ: [ 2) in your other post, you pressed my word 'right' (as circular since i was appealing to an objective framework). good point, so let's consider both avenues.

          within an objective framework, Hitler's winning or losing is immaterial. he would still be wrong morally. however, within the framework you appear to be espousing ("laws evolve from consensus"), if the consensus changes... so does the morality. it appears that ethical 'winners' in history (by which you appear to mean some form of 'permanence' or longevity in regard to acceptance) define what is 'right' or 'just.'

          in other words, there is no basis for outrage for future 'successful' regimes of racism & the like.
          a) pragmatically: don't you find that an exceedingly troubling venture – especially given humanity's historic tendencies?
          b) logically: doesn't that invalidate your outrage with Uganda? ]

          I can see why you would think that based upon your belief, but since I have considered and don't buy into the alleged evidence for the Abrahamic God (and all the attributes that come with it, such as free will, objective morality, etc etc.), I would contend that both of our moral value judgments for all matters throughout human history have been subjective. Therefore the differences you have constructed are moot. This gets back also to the 41,000 different sects of interpretation on various issues from theists. So we certainly do see some inconsistency of "objective moral truths" both across time and type of theist. That some people claim objective moral "truths" doesn't in itself make them real, therefore I would view claims of such just as another method of collective grouping of such ideals. I just don't attribute the ideals for which I hold an affinity to a divine source.

          Until theists can provide more concrete evidence for their God and all that comes with that, trying to prove some characteristic of said deity, such as moral truths against some perceived historical pattern seems pointless to me.

          March 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Russ,
          I'd posit that there is no objecteve morality simply because there is no objective test of right and wrong. Sure, you can ask everyone their opinion, but that is still just everyones opinion. Without some objective test how can one determine an objective right or wrong?

          As to what the basis is for "moral" outrage, i'd posit empathy and reciprocity, not as objective bases but as common human bases.

          March 6, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Doris:
          1) no, i did NOT mean "legitimate" based upon *my* view, but rather specifically based upon *yours.* clearly you consider Uganda's stance illegitimate (for that matter – for very different reasons – so do i) – but subjective morality poses two problems...
          a) technically, it has no reason for being upset with someone else's morality
          b) it has no basis for calling another ethical system's views to change

          so, no, that's not an argument from *my* position, but from *within* the logic of subjective morality itself. being "upset" or calling others to account does not comport with the definition of 'subjective.'

          2) here again, you bring up the "Abrahamic" faith – something i purposefully did not in attempting to engage you on your own grounds. however, for the sake of discussion, i'll respond to your contentions here.

          a) you said: "I would contend that both of our moral value judgments for all matters throughout human history have been subjective."
          that begs the question.

          b) you said: "...41,000 different sects of interpretation on various issues..."
          you said theists, but as this number is often cited specifically regarding Christianity's denominations, i'll respond in that vein.

          it is a scandal that there would any division in Christ's church other than geography. i'm not going to deny that. however, you seem to cite those numbers as evidence of disunity. but that misses two huge contingencies:

          i) Christians all agree on the majors

          there are 2 billion people who call themselves "Christians" on the planet (in the classically orthodox understanding of the word: Catholic, Orthodox & Protestants). what does that even mean? what banner unites them? it's not even simply "i follow Jesus" (since many non-Christians groups claim that). there's a more complex set of beliefs here.

          for example, the Apostles' Creed (c.AD 180) is almost as old as the Bible itself. it is rather complex compilation of Christian belief according to what the Bible teaches – and an early catechetical answer to "Christians, what is it that you believe?" in that regard, ALL 2 BILLION Christians on the planet assent to those beliefs (at least in terms of denominational doctrine).

          therefore, your argument for variance as an example of disunity actually demonstrates the opposite. across those 41,000 denominations, the central beliefs are agreed upon.

          ii) 41,000 is not substantial in comparison to 2,000,000,000. each subset is still remarkably large.

          to find limited variance within such a large number is not surprising. again, what is surprising is to find such unity in the primary teachings of the faith.

          March 6, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
        • Russ

          @ midwest ken:
          you said: "I'd posit that there is no objecteve morality simply because there is no objective test of right and wrong."

          that's what we're debating. you decided the argument by assuming there is no argument.

          March 6, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Russ,
          "that's what we're debating. you decided the argument by assuming there is no argument."

          I thought the debate was the existence of an objective morality, i.e. where some set of behavior would always be "good" or "bad". If everyone's opinion is not definitive then how would you suggest one test for the "goodness" of a behavior? Or, are you saying that some people's opinions are definitive?

          March 6, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
        • Doris

          Russ [ "1) no, i did NOT mean "legitimate" based upon *my* view, but rather specifically based upon *yours.* clearly you consider Uganda's stance illegitimate (for that matter – for very different reasons – so do i) – but subjective morality poses two problems...
          a) technically, it has no reason for being upset with someone else's morality" ]

          Sure it does. Because one can draw a parallel between what would be legally acceptable here versus there; what would be likely to occur here now versus there now. If some old person is were to be thrown in jail in the U.S. because of their orientation, it doesn't take moral objectivity to see how that could be harmful, possibly physically harmful to the person and likely against some law. It's quite easy to imagine some people in Uganda having to live out a reality that would not likely occur here today. Differences in basic rights and scientific information. No need for objective absolutes to in order to discuss, consider and arrive at some point of view of that (that may eventually effect some change through legislation, treaties, withholding of aid, etc. etc.).

          Russ [ "b) it has no basis for calling another ethical system's views to change" ]

          yes it does. in the same way i just mentioned. Now be clear, by "basis" i obviously do not mean objective moral grounding which I don't believe exists on its own. One would call another's ethical system to improve based on the evidence we see – the harmful effects inflicted on people. If we feel they are missing facts, we do our best to provide them with the information we feel would benefit them. No need for absolutes for that. Again, I contend that it's represented by each of us as social beings.

          Again, I have not been shown evidence to make me think that religions, for the purpose of establishing moral law, have not, in actuality, used anything divine. I don't claim that I can't be wrong, but that it how I see it so far. So, under the assumption that religions have not, in actuality, used anything divine in establishing moral law, then for me it appears that, although manifested through methods that appear different, the actual process is still a subjective one – using consensus.

          Russ [ "so, no, that's not an argument from *my* position, but from *within* the logic of subjective morality itself. being "upset" or calling others to account does not comport with the definition of 'subjective.'" ]

          Sure it does comport. We see something harmful going on that we associate as illegal, we know that it would be illegal here (while knowing how our law to some degree is an extension and representation of our views many of which we share with people close to us). All subjective.

          Russ [ "2) here again, you bring up the "Abrahamic" faith – something i purposefully did not in attempting to engage you on your own grounds. however, for the sake of discussion, i'll respond to your contentions here.

          a) you said: "I would contend that both of our moral value judgments for all matters throughout human history have been subjective."
          that begs the question." ]

          Assuming that divine morality exists begs quite a question imho.

          Russ: [ "b) you said: "...41,000 different sects of interpretation on various issues..."
          you said theists, but as this number is often cited specifically regarding Christianity's denominations, i'll respond in that vein.

          it is a scandal that there would any division in Christ's church other than geography. i'm not going to deny that. however, you seem to cite those numbers as evidence of disunity. but that misses two huge contingencies:

          i) Christians all agree on the majors

          there are 2 billion people who call themselves "Christians" on the planet (in the classically orthodox understanding of the word: Catholic, Orthodox & Protestants). what does that even mean? what banner unites them? it's not even simply "i follow Jesus" (since many non-Christians groups claim that). there's a more complex set of beliefs here.

          for example, the Apostles' Creed (c.AD 180) is almost as old as the Bible itself. it is rather complex compilation of Christian belief according to what the Bible teaches – and an early catechetical answer to "Christians, what is it that you believe?" in that regard, ALL 2 BILLION Christians on the planet assent to those beliefs (at least in terms of denominational doctrine).

          therefore, your argument for variance as an example of disunity actually demonstrates the opposite. across those 41,000 denominations, the central beliefs are agreed upon.

          ii) 41,000 is not substantial in comparison to 2,000,000,000. each subset is still remarkably large.

          to find limited variance within such a large number is not surprising. again, what is surprising is to find such unity in the primary teachings of the faith. " ]

          Do you think the person sitting in jail in Uganda today because of the recent bill passed there cares about the "majors" of Christian agreement? Do you think it was the "majors" that compelled Madison, Jefferson, etc. to find themselves needing to implement a wall of separation?

          March 6, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          @Russ
          "do you thus submit to human proclamations of morality or not? how do you distinguish?"

          I do submit to human proclamations of morality, aka, laws. I distinguish them by reading posted signs, studying insurance law in my state for my job, as well as discussed civil and federal law with many friends and co-workers throughout the years. That along with the lessons taught by my parents, teachers and peers is what I have used to distinguish my morality. And I understand it is very subjective. I don't follow any laws that I know of that are in essence based on objective morality. Something like don't eat dog meat because the universe doesn't want me to. I don't eat dog because it is not socially acceptable in my country (that and the thought is appalling) but in some places it's perfectly acceptable. For some the thought of eating a pig is worse than that of eating a dog because of their religious beliefs. For me I couldn't imagine going the rest of my life without ever again tasting bacon. Morality is subjective.

          "so, as i asked 'g to the t' above, you believe *nothing* is ultimately *always* wrong? or put more directly: racism, r.a.pe, pedophilia are actually 'good'? and therefore, that there is no real basis for 'moral outrage' in the face of injustice (because there is no such thing as justice)?"

          As I said, morality is subjective, and when the subject is a human the morality is very real and apparent to us and only us. It is only ever perceived by the living, breathing humans who are in some way informed of the offense. We as a society have placed great importance on the investigation and resolution of law breakers in an attempt to provide as good a form of justice as humans can manage. I believe the gap between the justice we are able to provide and the justice each individual feels they are entltled to is where the ultimate origin of God comes from. Man has invented a hero to believe in that will always dole out perfect justice so even when the human system falls short those who were wronged can feel as if the suspects won't get away with it. I understand their childlike wish for a magic fairy to fix any and all injustice, but the fact is that if we expect to actually make progress in society we have to all work together building what we can see.

          March 6, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
        • joey3467

          NO Russ, it is based on the FACT that they are treated differently under the law, and for example would be taxed differently and are thus harmed. If you do away with all of the benefits afforded straight couples then you might have an argument.

          March 7, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • Vic

          "Perfection" and "Objectivity" are independent of the human caliber.

          Just like we detect "Perfection" and yet imperfect, we detect "Objectivity and yet subjective.

          "Perfection" and "Objectivity"—so follows "Objective Morality"—are independent paradigms that are outside the human being, and we scale to.

          March 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
  7. Bootyfunk

    "In response, the church has done more than other inst.itutions to be open and transparent about s.exual abuse by its employees, Francis said. “But the Church is the only one to be attacked.""

    open and transparent? what a joke. the church has done next to nothing to stem the tide of molester priests in their midst. and pope francis cries that the church is being attacked for hiding child molesters? that's b.alls.

    March 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      sorry for the double post.

      March 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
      • Austin

        un acceptable! thats twice in three days you double posted.

        March 6, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
        • observernow

          Austin,

          That's still FAR better than being afraid to respond at all.

          March 6, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
  8. Bootyfunk

    "In response, the church has done more than other inst.itutions to be open and transparent about s.exual abuse by its employees, Francis said. “But the Church is the only one to be attacked.""

    open and transparent? what a joke. the church has done next to nothing to stem the tide of molester priests in their midst. and pope francis cries that the church is being attacked for hiding child molesters? that's balls.

    March 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    Why do you Christians keep posting the translated, edited, re-edited, ancient hearsay from your book as if it proves a point?

    I saw a painting of a mammoth on a cave wall and 3 hunters were chasing it with spears. Should I post it on this blog? Does that somehow prove a point?

    March 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • colin31714

      The APCHP (Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Hairy Pachyderms) would be all over you.

      March 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • joey3467

      I bet it would prove that humans have been around longer than the Bible claims.

      March 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • igaftr

      That only proves that mammoths could draw, and drew their greatest fear.

      March 6, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        🙂

        March 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
  10. nickcady

    Reblogged this on The Longmont Pastor and commented:
    Pope Francis... There are some things he has done that I've liked. For example, when liberal media has pressured him to change the church's stance on issues of church dogma or practice, he has changed the conversation, and basically said: "We're not going to change. Just accept that. Now let's talk about something more important – like issues of how to live as Christians in the world, how to care for the poor as God would have us do, etc..." That, in my opinion, is what we as Christians need to do more of, rather than always getting caught in the fray of defending our Biblical positions, at the cost of being distracted from the call of following Christ and His world mission – not to mention that we end up being known for arguing our position rather than for compassion and love. Jesus himself had a lot of strong positions, which would not be popular today by any means – but he didn't spend his days arguing with those who disagreed with him, rather he was actively pushing forward all the time to do the will of the Father.
    What do you think about this statement that the church could be supportive of civil unions? My thought is that this is the first step towards one day seeing the church actually affirm gay marriage as the Episcopalian church has done. Obviously, Pope Francis' doesn't speak for me, but as the leader of 1 billion Catholics, anything he does will be somewhat of a bellwether for Christianity as a whole.

    March 6, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Yeshua ben Josef, (if he even was a real historical person ... and there is not a shred of evidence he actually was, and a lot of reason to think he didn't), would have been one of a pack of apocalyptic preachers. You actually have no clue what his "opinions" were on much of anything, except he was CERTAIN the end-time was immanent, (and was wrong about that, as were all the others). I applaud your good intentions, (which religion is not necessary for), but really ALL these ancient cults are so outdated, they all must go. 10,000,000 years from now, no one is going to even remember or care what an ancient, possibly mythical, wandering, one-of-many miracle worker/preachers said or did.

      March 6, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
      • nickcady

        Quite a lot of research has gone into determining if Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical figure, and the result being that there is more reason to believe in the historicity of Jesus than there is to believe in almost anything else in antiquity. You are free to stick your head in the sand if you'd like – but understand that if you do so, then you are what you so clearly disdain.
        Furthermore, yes, Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher. The difference is that 2000 yrs later nobody knows any of the other preachers. Why Jesus? Because he alone resurrected from the dead. This is something, which had it been disproven, would have immediately ended Christianity – and made it indistinguishable from all the other followings of apocalyptic preachers.
        Of course, you and I are both free to have our opinions, but the stakes on this one are quite high. You'd better hope you're right! I, in the mean time, will pray for you.

        March 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Unfortunately you are totally wrong. IF you actually believe that you have ONLY read biased sources.
          I need no prayers. (Nice try. You never heard of Pascal's Wager. Do try to get an education.)
          I also noticed YOU have provided NOT ONE BIT of evidence.
          [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwUZOZN-9dc&w=640&h=360]

          March 6, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • nickcady

          The purpose of this blog post is not to prove that Jesus existed. That work has been done by others before me – a great resource for you might be Lee Strobel's book The Case for Christ or Timothy Keller's The Reason for God.

          March 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          And BTW, why would you "pray" for someone. It makes no sense. IF your deity is omniscient it already knows the future. You actually think you can change what your deity already knows what is going to happen ? God has a plan. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.

          March 6, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • nickcady

          If God has a plan that I can't change, then how am I screwing it up with my prayers?
          I base my doctrine of prayer on the words of the Bible. It says that if we ask, God will answer. I hope you have a great day.

          March 6, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Lee Stroebel ? Hahahahahahahaha I've read them both. They're complete nonsense. Stroebel is a JOURNALIST, with NOT ONE CREDENTIAL in either History or Religion. No wonder you are so deluded. You STILL have not presented ONE argument. Stroebel is a hack amatuer who thinks interviewing believers is evidence for something. Complete garbage.
          There is no "reason" for a deity. Einstein, Heisenberg and Dirac have PROVEN what appears to be logical and reasonable is NOT the way the universe works. Your argument is circular. You base you notion of prayer on something that says to pray. That is no "reason". It REFUTES the omniscience of your deity.
          I see you have not a shred of education on the topic.
          What a waste of time posters here are. The atheists know more about their cults, and their "experts" than they do.
          You didn't watch the video, and you can't refute anything Carrier says.

          There is BETTER evidence the Salem Mass. witches were actually witches, than there is for the resurrection.
          [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xv_Iklb1V4&w=640&h=360]

          March 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          nick
          "I base my doctrine of prayer on the words of the Bible. It says that if we ask, God will answer."

          Will you accept the amputee challenge then? Basically you nominate an amputee, post "before" pictures then at intervals log the amount of prayer and post pictures showing the growth. That way we can verify the efficacy of prayer and the amputee gets a great benefit. Think how many converts there would be if you proved that to the world.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • Russ

      @ nick:
      you said: "but he didn't spend his days arguing with those who disagreed with him, rather he was actively pushing forward all the time to do the will of the Father."

      so how do you interpret his MANY "discussions" with the Pharisees – if he wasn't "arguing" with them? seems to me he argued vociferously with those he thought should know better (the religious right & educated left [Sadducees]) but was gentle with those who had been cast aside by society.

      March 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
      • Akira

        I dunno, Russ; did He do that day in and day out? No.

        March 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Akira: i'm not saying it's the ONLY thing he did. but it is noteworthy that it is given a LARGE amount of concern & detail in the Gospel accounts. yes, he spoke through his actions – but he equally used his words.

          March 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Akira

          Which tends to support what nickcady said.

          March 6, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Akira: no, it's agreeing with his thought that actions were important, but pressing that his words were EQUALLY important (the place where nick seems to shy away).

          March 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
      • nickcady

        That's a valid observation. The thing to know about the Pharisees, is that really, nobody had MORE in common with Jesus than the Pharisees. They were conservative in theology and in practice. They took the law seriously and tried to truly live out their faith. When Jesus argued with the Pharisees, it was a man arguing with those who were most similar to him, but in his opinion, missed the point on a few issues, which to Jesus were incredibly significant. If they could only correct those views, then they would be right on.
        Who you don't see Jesus arguing much with are the Sadducees – the liberals in theology and practice. Furthermore, he doesn't argue with atheists (who existed in that day), nor with those who held to Hellenistic mystery religions or pagan philosophies.
        The equivalent today would be of me – as a pastor – arguing points of theology with other Christian leaders which I believe to be crucial, rather than spending my time trying to argue people who are adamantly opposed to my faith into the fold. There is a difference between spreading seed and shining light, and shouting into the wind.

        March 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Nick: yes, i agree the Pharisees were much closer to Jesus' theology (conservative) but not his progressive/liberal outworking of that theology (loving the poor). he broke their categories.

          however, i'd press you on your statement about the Sadducees. he called them out both in regard to the Sanhedrin and rather pointedly when they challenged him on marriage & the resurrection.

          as for your comments on atheists/etc., do you then consider Acts a departure from Christ's teachings? clearly Paul & the apostles engage in *many* different forms of evangelism with *many* different groups (esp. Acts 14-17, with conservative Jews, religious pagans, atheist philosophers, etc.). either they were correct to do so (following Christ), or they were corrupting the faith. which do you think it is?

          March 6, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • nickcady

          Yes, Jesus had interactions with the Sadducees and called them out – but my point is that he spent a lot less time challenging them. However, although they were not as close to him as the Pharisees, they still had a lot of common ground.

          I in no way consider Acts a departure from Christ's teachings, but the outworking of them. When Paul and others engaged in many forms of evangelism with many different groups, they followed the same basic formula that Jesus had given the 70 when he sent them out: go, preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. If anyone rejects you and your message, shake the dust off your feet and move on to the next place – in other words: preach the Gospel everywhere to everyone, but don't get bogged down arguing with people who don't want to hear the message of the Gospel, rather spend your time pouring into those who hunger and thirst for it.

          March 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • Russ

          @ nick: sounds like we're down to semantics then. i'd press you some on your view of "arguing" in light of what Paul did in Athens, etc. [he clearly had deep awareness of their philosophical teachings & knew where to press. he adjusted his content accordingly with varying groups – but he spent time engaging those points (even if simply ruminating in advance how best to engage them)], but we are saying something ultimately very similar. you mentioned Keller before. i'm a fan as well. i think much of his ministry in NYC does this.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • nickcady

          I am a big fan of Keller and believe in engaging culture as Paul did in Athens. I agree we're saying something similar.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
  11. joeyy1

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_F9nIps46w&w=640&h=360]
    .

    March 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
    • observernow

      Just more SPAM.

      March 6, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
  12. Doris

    “Even if you believe that every human being harbors an immortal soul, the problem of responsibility remains: I cannot take credit for the fact that I do not have the soul of a psychopath.” –Sam Harris

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqpbsKLd3-E&w=640&h=360]

    March 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      it's a shame there aren't a few billion more minds like Sam Harris' in the world. What a wonderful place it would be!

      March 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • derado8

      Doris this is amazing. I'm watching it now and in the first 3 minutes he just said a lot of what I've been thinking about and summed it up very well. It'll be about an hour before the end of the video. Thank you for posting it.

      March 6, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
    • derado8

      That was a really good video and I watched it all, and it was enthralling. Mindfulness meditation is a great practice.

      However, one criticism. He is assuming that our absence from the present moment into the world of ideas happens because of dissatisfaction with the present moment.

      What if someone has an idea that they are so passionate about they are willing to trade the present moment for that idea. Even at the expense of knowing full well the present moment is all they have?

      March 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
  13. Woody

    " Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to g.ay marriage on Wednesday, but suggested in a newspaper interview that it could support some types of civil unions."

    "A number of Catholic bishops have supported civil unions for same-$ex couples"

    Doesn't the church consider $ex outside of marriage a "mortal sin"? Just what does the church think is going on in the residences of "civil union" couples? I love it when they change the rules that make something was once a horrendous activity that would send a person plummeting into hell for all eternity, to something that's not so bad after all. Much like the eating meat on Friday deal. How does that work, anyway? Does the person burning in hell for a sin that was once considered "mortal" get a pardon, now that the status of the sin has now been reduced? Does the person get yanked out of hell, all charred and smoking, to his new residence in paradise? Are there any church experts out there that can enlighten us?

    March 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      The short answer is, there is no heII. The long answer is, all religious persons now live in a heII of their own making. Instead of looking for the good and looking for ways to improve life, happiness and opportunity for all they would rather stick their heads in the sand and whine about sin and how change is terrible and must be a sin. It's sad to me to think of all the people who have died being told they were wicked solely because they didn't worship the same brand of deity as the ones doing the telling.

      March 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
      • Woody

        I wholeheartedly agree with you short answer. I'm simply trying to point out the absurdity of the whole thing and the amazement that normally intelligent, educated adults believe such medieval nonsense and let a group of robe wearing snake oil salesmen control their lives.

        March 6, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          It is pretty sad when one thinks about the amount of time some have spent thinking about, worrying about and hoping never to go to an imaginary place. I know millions of children grew up reading the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe and might dream about finding Narnia in the back of a closet but most kids grew out of that around age 10... To think nearly every one of our elected representatives at least publicly claims to still worry about a burny, firey, tormenty place they call heII, I cannot help but wonder what negative effects that is having on our nation.

          March 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • derado8

          Hell would be an instrument of social control, but the thought of heaven could be a tool in comforting the dying and bereaved.

          March 6, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      It is too bad the RCC is no longer in the business of selling indulgences.
      I bet you could make a ton of cash going to a gay club and selling brand name forgiveness at discount prices.

      March 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
  14. thefinisher1

    Why do atheists hate it when believers thank God for the good in their life and get upset when they don't blame him for the evil? Are atheists just jealous or something? Why must believers say God is responsible for the evil? What makes their opinion valid and right? Maybe they are just jealous spoiled brats. Nobody listen to atheists. Just ignore them.

    March 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
    • igaftr

      "Nobody listen to atheists"

      Then you are nobody.

      March 6, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      If an omnipotent god is responsible for creating the universe and all in it then it must be responsible for evil as well as good.
      An omnipotent, omniscient god could remove evil or prevent evil acts.
      Clear now?

      March 6, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      It's like praising the Nazi's for their ingenuity and amazing oven building skills without mentioning how they used them...

      March 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
    • Doris

      You obviously don't understand atheism. It's not atheists who allege an omnipotent, omniscient being as guilty or corrupt. It's the believers' conflicted descriptions of their God that bring such obvious ethical considerations into view for those who want to know just how dangerous a particular sky fairy fan is. Troll harder dufus.

      March 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        "Sky fairy". I see atheism breeds immaturity and does not provide logic or reason. It does the opposite😜😀😊😙😜😃😜

        March 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Kind of like christianity breeds hate and bigotry??

          March 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • Doris

          tf1: " I see atheism breeds immaturity and does not provide logic or reason. It does the opposite"

          You are correct, it does the opposite – it breeds maturity and provides logic and reason. 😜😀😊😙😜😃😜

          March 6, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @thefinish...,
          For someone who started the thread with name-calling, why are you offended by "sky fairy"?

          March 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
    • derado8

      If you thank God for the good, you are grateful.
      If you curse God for the bad, you are upset.
      If you say there is no God, I can't see one either.

      Marilyn Monroe had a beautiful dress, it was made entirely of religion. Philosophy is what the unemployed have left over to pay their mortgages.

      March 6, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
      • Akira

        Finger snaps.

        March 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        shouldn't it read:

        If you thank God for the good, you are grateful.
        If you curse God for the bad, you are hateful.
        If you say there is no God, you are distasteful.

        March 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
        • derado8

          Lol. I'll own that. I still do think it's a sensitive topic.

          March 6, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • derado8

          Let me elaborate on this too, because I think it is important. But it's going to bring up a heavy subject.
          .
          If you were the nurse for a dying Christian, or if you were the doctor at the bedside of a devout Muslim you wouldn't blurt out, "Oh DMT cause this, and oh that's just the brain it does this because of hypoxia and no you are not getting visits from your dead aunt Lilly."

          No you 'd want your patient to be comfortable

          I also wouldn't want to bring it up around someone who just lost a loved one and was convinced they'd see them again.

          March 6, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "I also wouldn't want to bring it up around someone who just lost a loved one and was convinced they'd see them again."

          Isn't that like telling Christian Bale to keep his chin up and maybe he'll win the best actor Oscar for American Hustle next year?

          Why give people false hope? Why tell children there is a bearded fat guy who brings them presents from the North Pole? All it breeds is more lying and distrust. Sure we all mean well, but just doesn't cut it anymore and we should be more worried about how our kids will turn out if they think lying is just something you do to make people feel better and when you have no better explanation for something.

          March 6, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • derado8

          Sadly, yes to be frank about it lying is something I've done to give people false hope. My rationale would be in a few hours, days weeks, they would never know any different.

          March 6, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • derado8

          If you are uncomfortable with little white lies there is always silence, head nodding and selective agreement.

          March 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Another great advert for why people should not join your cult...keep it up.

      March 6, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
  15. Reality

    Once again:

    Too little, too late !! The RCC is fast becoming irrelevant in today's world as the pedophilia scandals have opened up our eyes and minds to the crumbling theological and historical foundations of the RCC and all religions in general.

    See p. 3 for added details.

    March 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
  16. Doris

    “If faith is what you have to go on, if faith is the link between your beliefs and the world at large, your beliefs are very likely to be wrong. Beliefs can be right or wrong. If you believe you can fly, that belief is only true if indeed you can fly. Somebody who thinks he can fly, and is wrong about it, will eventually discover there's a problem with his view of the world.”

    –Sam Harris

    March 6, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Doris,

      I think Sam has a very narrow mind. With all the belief he focuses on flying. Why not helpong the poor? Would that be a greater accomplishment?

      Peace

      March 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
      • Doris

        PA – who said belief was required for helping the poor? On the other hand, for many, belief is a justification for flying planes into buildings, for sacrificing a baby thought to be an antichrist, for inciting violence against people in another country, for allow a child to die rather than seek medical care.

        March 6, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
      • snuffleupagus

        Nice job of deflecting there, PA. You know exactly what Sam was speaking about, but chose to ignore it, then tried to twist it. My, aren't you the disengenous one.

        March 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
  17. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    We face two issues today: The toleration of gay people and gay couples in the churches, and the legalisation of gay life-style in general civilian life.

    What is the more severe issue?

    Certainly, the toleration of gay people and gay couples in the churches.

    Why?

    Gayness is a kind of fornication. According to the biblical evidence somebody who persistently commits fornication has to leave the Church. Persistant fornication indicates that someone has abandoned his faith in Jesus Christ. The Church is the place where believers dwell in unity. The Church is not the place where evildoers are allowed to dwell.

    1. Corinth. 5, 9-13

    I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

    This passage is clear eneough. There is no room for persistant evildoers in the church.

    Therefore it is a calamity that very many churches of today tolerate gayness in their midst. At any rate that is against God's declared will, and will cause his wrath. Never in history churches turned apostate like today. That could be a sign that Jesus will return soon in order to judge.

    Concerning the civil life:

    There must be a place where people which don't belong to the Church can orderly live (rather exist) together. The best state would be that all people belong to the Church through faith, the well organized City of God. But, as many people hesitate to join the Church, there must be an emergency-system where they can live (rather exist) as long as God's patience is waiting (for their conversion to Jesus). Yet, seemingly, according to the biblical evidence, even if this emergency-system, the place of patience with the sinners, becomes too evil, it can cause God's wrath. When the sinners become to bold, God can put an end to their system because he is the ruler of the whole universe, not only the Lord of the Church.

    Nevertheless, the more severe issue is the toleration of gayness within the churches.

    The pope tolerates mandatory celibacy. That promotes child abuse by Catholic priests.. Therefore the pope is as guilty as the clergy of the churches tolerating gayness in their midst.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    March 6, 2014 at 11:37 am |
    • observernow

      Rainer,

      Corinthians (I 11:6) also has nonsense like “For if a woman does not cover her head (while praying), let her also have her hair cut off”.

      So what is your point, if any?

      March 6, 2014 at 11:44 am |
    • igaftr

      The only issue re: gay people, is religious zealots like yourself justifying your bigotry through the unfounded, baseless propoganda that is the bible.

      THAT is the issue rainman.
      Your Jesus character should have taught you better than that.

      March 6, 2014 at 11:47 am |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Rainer,

      I would say let God ne the judge, we should show compassion and tolerance.

      You may be right but are not perfect neither.

      Peace

      March 6, 2014 at 11:59 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        I show compassion and tolerance towards sinners outside the Church. I only reject the toleration of evildoers within in the churches. The Church is the place where are people which voluntarily want to act according to God's will.

        March 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Rainer,

          I would think inside or outside the church matters but the sincerity to follow Gods teachings. If the person is sincere to spread the good word, why not? Who are we to judge if the person has sin or not? Let the judging be done by God.

          March 6, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Just read the passage of 1 Corinthians above: It is God's will that fornicators are excluded from the Church.

          It really plays a role if we are inside the Church or outside. Our acting really depends on this.

          March 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • observernow

          Rainer Helmut Braendlein,

          So do you BELIEVE and SUPPORT EVERYTHING that the Bible said about marriage or just hypocritically PICK and CHOOSE?

          March 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • Akira

          Being gay is not doing evil. What rot.
          Better stay out of church because you break a commandment every time you spam your website, no matter how you may try to rationalize it in your mind. Stealing is stealing. The Bible is quite clear on that.

          March 6, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Has Christ saved Christ? Was the church saved by herself?

          A likeness of that nonsense would be gay marriage.

          March 6, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • observernow

          Rainer Helmut Braendlein,

          You don't seem to be doing well at answering questions. Do you have problems with English or just AFRAID to answer?

          Do you BELIEVE and SUPPORT EVERYTHING that the Bible said about marriage or just hypocritically PICK and CHOOSE?

          March 6, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • ausphor

          C'mon Rainer
          What happens in the confessing church if one of the congregation or clergy comes out as gay? Simple question, why duck it?

          March 6, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Do you really assume that the CC would still exist?

          You have no clue in which time we live.

          March 6, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • Akira

          And as usual you make little to no sense.
          Gay marriage will not impact you at all, Rain, so why do you even care?

          You are here to show your bigotry against Catholics, as you do on every single Catholic-related article, and to steal advertising from CNN for your website.
          I have a feeling that Christ wouldn't approve if your tactics, but that's just me.

          March 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          It affects God's holyness. There are sins against our fellow human beings but also against the invisible God – they are as severe as the sins against our neighbours.

          March 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • ausphor

          Akira
          and me also. There is this all encompassing Christian trait when they can't formulate an answer that makes them look good they just STFU, all of them.

          March 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • observernow

          Rainer Helmut Braendlein,

          Do you have any idea why there are so many Christian HYPOCRITES who love to tell everyone that the Bible has all the answers, but yet are AFRAID to answer questions about how they feel about it?

          March 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • Akira

          "It affects God's Holiness."

          No, it doesn't. That is the STUPIDEST reason ever to give fir your bigotry against a whole slew if people that will never impact your life at all.

          Where is it written anywhere that God says "you sinning reflects badly on me , so knock if off?" Absurd. Ridiculous.

          March 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Akira – Dark Helmut is the king of the absurd and ridiculous.

          March 6, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What of divorcees who remarry? That's fornication too – and living in a persistent state of unrepentant sin.
      Should they all be kicked out of church? Should they be "allowed" to exist in the same kind of place that you're proposing for gay people?

      As for "The pope tolerates mandatory celibacy. That promotes child abuse by Catholic priests.. Therefore the pope is as guilty as the clergy of the churches tolerating gayness in their midst."
      Gay and pedophile are not interchangeable terms.
      Not all pedophiles are gay, not all gays are pedophiles, nor does celibacy have anything to do with it.
      Do you seriously think that if someone doesn't get laid enough that they'll automatically turn to ra/ping children?
      Child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as hom.ose.xuals, heterose.xuals, or bise.xuals (in the usual sense of those terms) because they are not really capable of a relationship with an adult man or woman. Instead of gender, their se.xual attractions are based primarily on age. These individuals – who are often characterized as fixated – are attracted to children, not to men or women.

      March 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        I guess the basic problem is that we have forgotten that marriage (between a man and a woman) is a likeness of the relation between Christ and his Church as the Apostle says.

        Consequently, marriage must be a very holy state when it depicts the relaton between Christ and his Church,

        Every faithful married couple or family is a little church.

        March 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • observernow

          Rainer

          There's LITTLE to no chance that you agree with ALL of the Bible's positions on marriage, so this is all seems like hypocritical nonsense.

          March 6, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • Akira

          So, according to you, there were no marriages before Christ and His Apostles.

          Mary and Joseph were not married? Do you possibly see the wee bit of a problem that may pose?

          March 6, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • ausphor

          Rainman
          So what happens to gays that come out in the confessing church? Are they allowed to remain whether clergy or the laity, interested in your response?

          March 6, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
    • Doris

      Corinthians – Ah yes, chatty cathy Paul -the Joseph Smith of his day.

      March 6, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
    • Akira

      The celibacy "rule " isn't mandatory. Since you pretend to know everything about a church you cannot stand, get that straight.

      The rest is supposition from a mind who preaches what HE thinks is correct, but often isnot; is there any reason one should heed your words while you blatantly break the 8 th Commandment every time you post?

      Pfft.

      March 6, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
    • observernow

      Rainer,

      When Jesus was asked what the MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENT was, he did NOT mention:

      (a) The Golden Rule
      (b) S3xual practices of heteros (adultery), or
      (c) S3xual practices of gays

      Please help some of the Christians on here who aren't familiar with this very important statement from Jesus.

      March 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
    • Reality

      And RHB's wayward USA Lutheranism continues to ooze out of his text.

      March 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
  18. observernow

    Austin,

    When dealing with gays, is it better to CHOOSE negative verses that Jesus never mentioned or CHOOSE the MORE IMPORTANT Golden Rule.

    You can't have it both ways. SO which is it?

    March 6, 2014 at 11:27 am |
    • Austin

      Yep. Good question.

      The gospel message to the adulteress and every other sin is trust and obey.

      You are freed and there is a battle .

      Repent -to turn away from..

      Christ did not say."i love.you now keep sinning."

      We sre commanded to confess.and repent .there is no other gospel.

      Salvation is a process. Not an insurance policy.

      March 6, 2014 at 11:43 am |
      • observernow

        Austin,

        Are you going to answer the question?

        Is English a problem for you?

        March 6, 2014 at 11:46 am |
  19. Doris

    “Religious moderation is the direct result of taking scripture less and less seriously. So why not take it less seriously still? Why not admit the the Bible is merely a collection of imperfect books written by highly fallible human beings.”

    –Sam Harris

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWJfdRpHWuk&w=640&h=360]

    March 6, 2014 at 11:24 am |
  20. Austin

    Did jesus preach a seperate sermon on beastiality or child molestation?

    March 6, 2014 at 11:11 am |
    • Austin

      High priest didnt need to mention gays
      Because it was beyond the relavent concern. It was ouside of any speculation.

      March 6, 2014 at 11:15 am |
      • Austin

        Derado? Can you change the church?

        Why this blog about the cjurch?

        Infiltrating doctrine? Over a se.xually idolatrous sin? You attack god with gay?

        Oops.

        March 6, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • derado8

          Austin, I'm not trying to change the church. If your church doesn't want gay people in it then I won't be part of that church. That's all.

          March 6, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
      • Doris

        Just one view out of the many that make up the over 41,000 sects of insanity. Some are just a sect on one.

        "Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth." –Thomas Jefferson

        March 6, 2014 at 11:21 am |
    • observernow

      Austin,

      No he didn't. He apparently didn't consider them to be as HUGE a problem as Christian ADULTERERS.

      March 6, 2014 at 11:24 am |
    • Akira

      No, Austin, he didn't. And you are well aware that he preached about heteros the most. Ask yourself why and leave gay people, whose lives impact you not one iota, alone.

      "High priest didnt need to mention gays
      Because it was beyond the relavent concern. It was ouside of any speculation."

      I would posit that Jesus thought it equally irrelevant, otherwise there would be some read letters in the NT devoted to it.

      March 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
    • derado8

      Those two acts you mentioned are nonconsensual and damaging. Those are my reasons for thinking those two things are wrong.

      March 6, 2014 at 1:12 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.