March 13th, 2014
09:49 AM ET

soundoff (374 Responses)
  1. jaydavid666

    "Three members of Pope's extended family die in Argentina car crash"

    In the Post-historic period in which we live, I imagine that even the death of the Pope's former dog will also make the "news."

    But 60 second is almost all the time we have, or need to have, to analyze the life of any "important" post-historic figure.

    August 19, 2014 at 10:56 am |
  2. joeyy1


    March 21, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
  3. observer


    As ALWAYS, you didn't give a true answer. Just flack. It's a YES or NO question. Too complex for you?

    (Ex. 21:7-8) “If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do” [God]

    Not one command requiring the daughter be of any minimal age. Not one word that she must agree to be sold.

    Do YOUR morals approve selling, say, 8-year-old daughters into slavery? YES or NO?


    March 16, 2014 at 12:06 am |
  4. hearthetruthonline2014



    March 15, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
    • observer

      If you had truth you'd say it instead of spamming a website.

      March 15, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
  5. hotairace

    I've been away for a while. Did Pope-A-Dope issue orders for everyone of his cult's members to cooperate fully with all ahthorities investigating priestly pedophilia and its coverup?

    March 15, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
  6. Reality

    Saving Christians including Francis from the Resurrection Con :

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    o An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
    o "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    o p.168. by Ted Peters:
    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    o So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    March 15, 2014 at 7:07 am |
  7. joey3467

    I would also like to know why god's wife was written out of the bible?

    March 14, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
    • observer

      Still no answer from Christians.

      March 14, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      She's not. She's there a lot actually.

      March 15, 2014 at 12:27 am |
      • colin31714

        interesting. Where Bucky?

        August 19, 2014 at 10:58 am |
  8. joey3467

    I asked this yesterday, but never got a response so here it goes again. If god can't defeat an army with iron chariots what does he think he is going to accomplish when he returns and has to face off against tanks and F-16s?

    March 14, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • otoh2

      I know, joey - if this "God" character wasn't such a jerk, you'd almost feel sorry for him and his Walter Mitty fantasies... and his frustration at being totally stymied about how to make his existence verified ("If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”– Luke 16).

      March 14, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Are you talking about Judges 1:19? OK, here's seminary 101... The "they" in the text refers to Judah, in that Judah could not drive off... They had been promised by Joshua that they could not conquer the lowland (Joshua 17:16-18) and should have remembered Joshua 11:4-9. This is a recurring failure among the tribes to rise to full trust and obedience for victory by God's power. Compromising for less than what God was able to give (Joshua 1:6-9) began even in Joshua's day (Judges 2:2-6) and even earlier (Numbers 13, 14). In another sense, God permitted enemies to hold out as a test to display whether His people would obey Him (Judges 2:20-23, 3:1-4). Another factor involved keeping the wild animal count from rising too fast (Deuteronomy 7:22)

      When you READ the Bible instead of quoting from atheist's websites, it all makes sense.

      March 14, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
      • joey3467

        Yes, but it says that god was with Judah, and as we know from Matthew when god is with you anything is possible, except for defeating an army with iron chariots apparently.

        March 14, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
      • joey3467

        So I guess either the part that says anything is possible with god was wrong, or is the part that says the Lord was with Judah wrong.?

        March 14, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
      • joey3467

        I have read the bible, and have decided that most of it doesn't make sense. I'm sure you don't believe that, but whatever.

        March 14, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        You have asked for a response and I have given you one. Questions like this come up over and over again even after legitimate answers are given to those who doubt – the same questions keep coming up. To the honest seeker, an introduction to basic hermeneutics will suffice to answer 95% of that which is difficult to answer about scripture. To the one who has no interest in eternal affairs – the natural man does not understand the things of the spirit, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually understood.

        March 14, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • joey3467

          So was god with Judah or not? If you say yes, then why can't god defeat iron chariots? If you say No, why did the Bible lie about it?

          March 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Yes, God was with Judah CONDITIONALLY... They broke that condition. Didn't you read that?

          March 14, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • joey3467

          Yeah, but I'm not buying it. It reads pretty clearly that the lord was with Judah. Where in that verse does it say conditionally? The fact that you have to go to previous books in the bible to make this verse make any since whatsoever means you have failed miserably.

          March 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "The fact that you have to go to previous books in the bible to make this verse make any since whatsoever means you have failed miserably."
          So I guess understanding addition and subtraction before you can understand multiplication and division doesn't make sense either?

          March 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Theo Phileo,
          "spiritually understood."

          Please explain what, exactly, is spiritual understanding?

          March 14, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Nope. Yahweh told Noah he would never again break the covenant. The point about the chariots is valid.

          March 15, 2014 at 12:57 am |
      • observer

        Theo Phileo

        "the natural man does not understand the things of the spirit, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually understood."

        Basically, this argument is the same as used for reading bad science fiction and requires the elimination of intelligence, common sense, and all the known laws of math and science.

        March 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "cult logic".... where an ideology or belief claims "certainty" abut only through accepting that belief can one know "true" knowledge. It can't be demonstrated to non-believers until they accept the belief. And non-believers cannot be taken seriously in their criticism of the belief BECAUSE they are non-believers adn do not have access to the "true" knowledge. It is religious babble.

          March 14, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
      • joey3467

        I like how you believe that the bible should be taken literally right up until it is proven to be in error on something, and then you just accept any crazy thing you can come up with to explain it away.

        March 14, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Complete nonsense. Joshua, (and Moses, and all the "patriarchs") never really existed. They were myths from the Northern Kingdom's myth traditions. Too bad you went to a funie school, and never realy learned anything about the Bible, or when and how it was written.

        March 15, 2014 at 12:55 am |
  9. Vic

    I am really flattered to see genuine posters here discerning the True Message of the Gospel of Salvation by the Saving Grace of God through Faith ALONE in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the "Gift of Salvation," the "Unmerited Favor," and apart from the works of law. God's Saving Grace is serious business.

    We certainly hope that with this Pope the Catholic Church really reforms.

    March 14, 2014 at 11:53 am |
    • bacbik

      Too much unnecessary capitalization.. too boring.. too much BS.. but not too long!

      March 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      QUESTION: How do you know if you are a 'faith' blogging christian loon? ANSWER: Vic agrees with whatever Catholicy thing you just posted.

      March 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      Wow, Vic: Capitalizing all those letters sure makes you message that much more powerful

      March 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      Why would you be 'flattered'? Do you think that reflects on you somehow?

      March 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
      • Vic


        March 14, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
      • Vic

        It just came out wrong, my bad.

        March 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        Fair enough

        March 14, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
  10. Sean


    March 14, 2014 at 11:47 am |
    • Doris

      WL Craig -the one who borrows just the right portions of words from great scientists such as Vilenkin to attempt to leap from a theorem about the unlikelihood of a past-infinite universe to "God dun it" ? LOL

      You know and another thing – people who sound like Dr Phil with a sinus infection should not become apologists – just imho.

      March 14, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • Doris

        Also, WLC can't even get Ehrman's doctoral alma mater correct. Ehrman earned a PhD (magna cum laude) from Princeton Theological Seminary, not Princeton University.

        March 15, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • Sean

      There are six videos of Prof. Craig.That is part 1 of a six part series refuting Ehrman.


      For every claim there is ample refutation by Craig.

      March 14, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
      • Sean

        That was part 2 of a six part series refuting Ehrman.

        March 14, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      WLC? One of the most dishonest apologists around.

      March 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
    • joey3467

      He doesn't refute anything, he just makes up stuff, and tries to rationalize the obvious errors and contradictions. If you have read the bible and don't think there are any contradictions then I can only question your ability to read.

      March 14, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
    • Sean

      The trolls commenting on this thread have a false sense of themselves 😉

      March 14, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
      • midwest rail

        Not all people who disagree with you and Mr. Craig are "trolls". Snarky emoticons do not help your case.

        March 14, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
      • doobzz


        March 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Opposition to your BS does not make one a "troll".

      March 14, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
  11. Doris

    Bart Ehrman gives Critical Academic Analysis of the Bible Errors & Contradictions


    Published on Jun 22, 2013

    Bart Ehrman is an American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ehrman is a leading New Testament scholar, having written and edited over twenty-five books, including three college textbooks. He currently serves as co-editor of the series New Testament Tools, Studies, and Documents (E. J. Brill), co-editor-in-chief for the journal Vigiliae Christianae, and on several other editorial boards for journals and monographs. He received his PhD (magna cum laude) from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1985.

    During his graduate studies, Ehrman became convinced that there are contradictions and discrepancies in the biblical manuscripts that could not be harmonized or reconciled and became an agnostic.

    March 14, 2014 at 11:17 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      So? You take HIS word over that of the writings of the early church fathers who knew the Apostles and researched what it was that they said? It's like reading a book about George Washington written by one of his close friends versus reading a book written about him yesterday, and claiming that it somehow has more authority.

      It's historical revisionism. Not unlike those people who claim that the Confederate States of America won the War of Northern Aggression in America in 1865.

      March 14, 2014 at 11:21 am |
      • Doris

        "the writings of the early church fathers who knew the Apostles"

        like Polycarp? Josephus? Some other hearsay "historian" that you have in mind? Verification of the Gospel stories has enough holes in it to make swiss cheese look like brie..

        March 14, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Well, you are of course enti.tled to your opinion, but I doubt that you have decades of self-study to back up your opinion. But I won't make any as.sumptions so I'll ask – How many years have you been studying textual criticism and theology proper?

          March 14, 2014 at 11:31 am |
        • Doris

          Stop trying to foolishly obtain personal info in a medium such as this. If you have an issue, then address and point and back it up.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:38 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          That is like arguing unless "one has studied Astrology" he/she does not have enough information to dismiss the claims of Astrologists. It is a very poor argument.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:38 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          So you're saying that it is possible to make definitive statements about subjects that you know nothing about?

          March 14, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • Doris

          "So you're saying that it is possible to make definitive statements about subjects that you know nothing about?"

          Now Theo, lol. You're just sounding silly now.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "So you're saying that it is possible to make definitive statements about subjects that you know nothing about?"

          What you are saying is unless one has studied the original text in the original language one does not have the information to render an opinion on the veracity of the claims....

          Hmmmm....I guess going by that logic most (99.9%) of Christins are not justified to believe.

          It cuts both ways.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          That would probably be 0 as we don't have originals.

          March 14, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Good point Santa, but i was referring to the idea that unless one has the knowledge and education level of a scholar that one is not properly able to render a decision. It is an absurd position for a Christian to take....

          March 14, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        "early church fathers who knew the Apostles"... wishful thinking at best.

        March 14, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          I'll ask the same of you. Is that your opinion, or have you taken the word of others? If it's your opinion, how many years of intensive study into textual criticism do you have under your belt to make such a statement?

          March 14, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • Doris

          "I'll ask the same of you. Is that your opinion, or have you taken the word of others?"

          Who has not taken the word of others when it comes to the "Word of God"? Who has not employed subjectivity for religious belief? Can you prove objectively a divine "truth"? You know, something that comes to you directly from your God? Can you even demonstrate it objectively?

          March 14, 2014 at 11:41 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          So, your opinion is to discount my opinion because you don't like it? Okay. Well, I guess that is as useful a tact as studying your bible for 'truth'

          March 14, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Can you even demonstrate it objectively?
          Yup. But it would take too long in this format. I had earlier recommended the book "Jesus Among Other Gods," by Ravi Zacharius. He walks you through it.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • Doris

          "Yup. But it would take too long in this format."

          LOL – yeah – I thought so.... 🙄

          March 14, 2014 at 11:51 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        "So? You take HIS word over that of the writings of the early church fathers who knew the Apostles and researched what it was that they said?"

        Yes, just like I trust today's historians regarding Mormon claims over the claims of the Mormon "church fathers".

        March 14, 2014 at 11:34 am |
      • joey3467

        You don't have a single thing that mentions Jesus that was written while he was alive.

        March 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        @Theo Phileo,
        I'm confused, the earliest church fathers didn't have today's "bible" to research for contradictions, and by the time it was compiled, no one who was a witness would have been alive, nor even the hearsay of the Apostolic Fathers.

        March 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          The Old Testament was put together by the scribe Ezra in the 400's BC. By the time the church fathers started writing, the letters of the Apostles had already been copied and circulated as scripture. Remember, it is the historic revisionists who would have you believe that the Bible was put together by some church council. Rather, the Apostles themselves dictated what scripture was, and the church fathers had access not only to the letters, but the authors themselves, since some of the early church fathers were students of the apostles.

          March 14, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Theo Phileo,
          1) the "fathers" had no advantage in regards to the OT, why mention it.
          2) many of the writings in the NT may have been around, but you don't know to which each "father" had access, nor how much "research" they were capable of /willing to do.

          March 14, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "but you don't know to which each "father" had access, nor how much "research" they were capable of /willing to do."
          This statement tells me that you have never read even one of their writings. A man cannot quote entire chapters from Moby Di.ck unless he has intimate knowledge of it. We could piece together all but a few verses of the New Testament from the quotations of the early church fathers. In fact, it is thought of as a major source when doing any textual criticism.

          To say that they never had access to, or did research on the apostles letters is to attempt to revise history.

          March 14, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Theo Phileo,
          1) I did not say that they "never had access".
          2) you started this with the "apostolic" fathers, I.e. the ones who supposedly knew the apostles, do not now expand that to all "early" church fathers. Can the NT be recreated from clement, ignatius, polycarp alone?

          March 14, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          3) just because they may have had access does not imply that they fully objectively researched the full text.

          March 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • otoh2


          You seem to be quite enamored with "textual criticism". Fact is, even IF you had the originals, their contents are unverified... and they are not evidence of some kind of god or supernatural events.

          March 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Oh really. The LYING church fathers who admitted they used deception when it was useful ?

        March 15, 2014 at 12:32 am |
    • truthfollower01

      Doris, you should go watch Bart Ehrman's debate with Michael Liconia concerning the historical resurrection of Jesus. Also, I hope you hear not just Dr. Ehrman's side of your above post. Go listen to Dr. James White give an analysis of New Testament reliability.

      March 14, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
  12. Theo Phileo

    Roman Catholicism places an undue stress on human works. Catholic doctrine denies that God "justifies the ungodly" (Romans 4:5) without first making them godly. Good works therefore become the ground of justification. Roman Catholic doctrine and liturgy obscure the essential truth that the believer is saved by grace through faith and not by his own works (Ephesians 2:8-9). In a simple sense, Catholics genuinely believe they are saved by doing good, confessing sin, and observing ceremonies.

    Adding works to faith as the grounds of justification is precisely the teaching that Paul condemned as "a different gospel" (see 2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6). It nullifies the grace of God, for if meritorious righteousness can be earned through the sacraments, "then Christ died needlessly" (Galatians 2:21). Any system that mingles works with grace, then, is "a different gospel" (Galatians 1:6), a distorted message that is anathematized (Galatians 1:9), not by a council of medieval bishops, but by the very Word of God that cannot be broken. In fact, it does not overstate the case to say that the Roman Catholic view on justification sets it apart as a wholly different religion than the true Christian faith, for it is ant.ithetical to the simple gospel of grace.

    March 14, 2014 at 10:36 am |
    • Doris

      "the true Christian faith"

      LOL – what are we up to now – over 41,000 sects?

      "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

      "I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history." –John Adams (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson)

      "During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution." –James Madison

      March 14, 2014 at 10:45 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Since when do we quote politicians as if they are shining examples of godliness and morality? Would we dream of quoting John Kerry, Barry Obama, or Bill Clinton as if they could school us on right from wrong?

        March 14, 2014 at 10:52 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          The founders of this nation quoted above not only have more moral authority than you or your sniveling hidden God but they actually created a better system of government than any theocracy had ever been able to achieve, so yeah, i'll take their word over yours any day.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Of the 55 delegates to the Const.itutional Convention, 49% owned slaves. You still hold them in high regard, just because they happened to write a doc.ument that works??

          March 14, 2014 at 11:13 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Weak counter-argument...

          March 14, 2014 at 11:22 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          If it's a weak counter argument, then why do atheists use it all the time to try to discredit the Bible? "They had SLAVES!"

          March 14, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • doobzz

          The document they wrote served as the basis for abolishing slavery in the USA one hundred years after it was written.

          Which "document" was used as an argument against the Emancipation Proclamation, and to show that slavery was, indeed, sanctioned by the deity who supposedly "wrote" the "document"? Which "documeant" was used to justify segregation until the 1960s?

          Which "document" is still being used to deny civil rights to individuals who wish to marry someone of the same gender to this day?

          It isn't the one written by the members of the Constituitional Convention.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • Doris

          So did many Christians then. So what. No one's idolizing the government framers as perfect examples. What was highlighted was their attention in not ignoring how religious sects around them were tearing the fledgling country apart already; and subsequently their brilliance in creating a government by the people and not by any one religious sect.

          "The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

          Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind."

          –John Adams

          March 14, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Thank you doobz for saving me from explaining why it was a weak counter-argument

          March 14, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Do you think that Nixon, Reagan, and George W Bush are any better?

          March 14, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Do you think that Nixon, Reagan, and George W Bush are any better?"
          Of course not. My point was that we need to be careful when we quote someone. For instance, we don't want Barry Obama to tell us that it is wrong to lie. And we don't want Jefferson to tell us about interpreting the Bible.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • midwest rail

          It is always interesting to note which posts the apologists refuse to address – and Theo's choice to skip past the post by doobz is quite interesting.

          March 14, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • Doris

          Jefferson was quite knowledgeable on the Bible. Even wrote his own version. So was the one who crafted the Constitution and eleven of its Amendments that are our primary basis of common law today in the U.S. Madison knew Latin and Greek and learned to read and speak Hebrew while at Princeton. When he could have graduated, Madison remained at college for an additional year to study ethics and Hebrew in greater depth.

          March 14, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Theo Phileo,
          Just curious, why do you think that slavery statistic matters? As long as they loved their slaves as they did themselves, what's the issue?

          March 14, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • Sean

      On the topic of salvation, this is what Catechism teaches:

      2017 The grace of the Holy Spirit confers upon us the righteousness of God. Uniting us by faith and Baptism to the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, the Spirit makes us sharers in his life.

      2018 Like conversion, justification has two aspects. Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, and so accepts forgiveness and righteousness from on high.

      2019 Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man.

      2020 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God's mercy.

      2021 Grace is the help God gives us to respond to our vocation of becoming his adopted sons. It introduces us into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life.

      2022 The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man. Grace responds to the deepest yearnings of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom.

      2023 Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it.

      2024 Sanctifying grace makes us "pleasing to God." Charisms, special graces of the Holy Spirit, are oriented to sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. God also acts through many actual graces, to be distinguished from habitual grace which is permanent in us.

      2025 We can have merit in God's sight only because of God's free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man's collaboration. Man's merit is due to God.

      2026 The grace of the Holy Spirit can confer true merit on us, by virtue of our adoptive filiation, and in accordance with God's gratuitous justice. Charity is the principal source of merit in us before God.

      2027 No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.

      2028 "All Christians . . . are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity" (LG 40 § 2). "Christian perfection has but one limit, that of having none" (St. Gregory of Nyssa, De vita Mos.:PG 44, 300D).

      2029 "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mt 16:24).

      Source:Catechism of the Catholic Church

      March 14, 2014 at 10:51 am |
      • Sean

        I think the term "repentance" is often overlooked when people speak about salvation. To be saved one needs faith in Christ and faith without works is dead according to the scriptures.

        March 14, 2014 at 10:55 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, had this to say about repentance... (sorry for the length)

          “Repentance and forgiveness are riveted together by the eternal purpose of God. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder. Repentance must go with remission – it cannot be that pardon of sin should be given to an impenitent sinner. This would be to confirm him in his evil ways and to teach him to think little of evil.

          If the Lord were to say “You love the sin and live in it, and you are going on from bad to worse, but, all the same, I forgive you,” this would proclaim a horrible license for iniquity. The foundations of social order would be removed and moral anarchy would follow. I cannot tell what innumerable mischief would certainly occur if you could divide repentance and forgiveness and pass by the sin while the sinner remained as fond of it as ever.

          If we believe in the very holiness of God, then it must be so that if we continue in our sin, and will not repent of it, then we cannot be forgiven, but must reap the consequences of our obstinacy. According to the infinite goodness of God, we are promised that if we will forsake our sins, confessing them, and will by faith receive the grace that is provided by Jesus, God is faithful and just to forgive us of all our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But so long as God lives there can be no promise of mercy to those who continue in their evil ways and refuse to acknowledge their wrongdoing.

          Surely no rebel can expect a king to pardon his treason while he remains in open revolt – no one can be so foolish as to imagine that the judge of all the earth will put away our sins if we refuse to put them away ourselves.

          Moreover, it must be so for the completeness of divine mercy – the mercy that would forgive the sin and yet let the sinner live in it would be scant and superficial mercy. It would be unequal and deformed mercy, lame upon one of its feet and withered upon one of its hands.

          Which do you think is the greater privilege? Cleansing from the guilt of sin? Or deliverance from the power of sin? I will not attempt to weigh on the scales two mercies so surpassing… Neither of them could have come to us apart from the precious blood of Jesus. But it seems to me that to be delivered from the dominion of sin, to be made holy, to be made like to Christ, must be reckoned the greater of the two if a comparison has to be drawn.

          To be washed, and yet to lie in the mire, to be pronounced “clean!” and yet to have the leprosy white upon one’s brow would be the very mockery of mercy. What is it to bring the man out of his tomb if you leave him dead? Why lead him into the light if he is still blind? We thank God that He who forgives our iniquities also heals our diseases. He who washes us from the stains of the past, also uplifts us from the foul ways of the present, and keeps us from failing in the future. We must joyfully accept both repentance and remission together – they cannot be separated.”

          March 14, 2014 at 10:58 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        2020: "It is granted us through Baptism."
        Just another example through their own writings that cannot be backed up by any scripture that the performance of some works grants grace... But Paul tells us that if our salvation IS by works, then that nullifies grace, and places us into the precarious position of needing to keep the WHOLE of the law to be saved – which, of course, no man can do.

        March 14, 2014 at 10:55 am |
        • Sean

          2020 is encouraging baptism, Christ Himself was baptized, there is nothing of dispute when it comes to Christians being baptized, in fact the Bible says: John 3:5

          Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

          Everyone that is saved will go to heaven, doesn't matter whether you are Catholic, Methodist or Lutheran. As stated earlier "repentance" is key and often overlooked. The Catholic doctrine seems to explain God's salvation very nicely.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          The word "baptidso" is transliterated as "baptise" and means an "immersion" but not necessarily into water. For instance, being "Baptised into Christ" means literally to be "immersed into Christ." Catholicism has taken that to mean that one MUST be baptised by water in order for grace to be imparted to man.

          Baptism is a symbol of grace, not a means of grace, so baptism itself does not save you. If it was a means of grace, then grace would be of WORKS, and we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone APART from works.

          1 Peter 3:21 – Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…

          John 3:5 – Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

          Jesus here was figuratively referring to the need for cleansing, not from literal water – obviously, literal water has no ability to spiritually cleanse. He refers to the spiritual washing or purification of the soul accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God at the moment of salvation. Jesus meant a believer is purified in spirit, and this becomes evident through a purified life of repentance. This is backed up by the following scriptures:

          Ezekiel 36:25-27 – Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

          Ephesians 5:26 – so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word

          T.itus 3:5 – He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit…

          March 14, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • Sean

          Christians draw from the example Jesus set for them, Christ Himself was baptized.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:13 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Yep. And because we're commanded to.

          Matthew 3:13-17 – Baptism of Jesus. Christ was here identifying Himself with sinners. He will ultimately bear their sins; His perfect righteousness will be imputed to them. (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:21-26)

          This act of baptism was a necessary part of the righteousness He secured for sinners:
          1)It pictured His death and resurrection (Luke 12:50)
          2)It therefore prefigured the significance of Christian baptism in that sinners would relate to Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection through baptism (Romans 6:3-11, Colossians 2:12)
          3)It marked His first public identification with those whose sins He would bear (Isaiah 53:11, 1 Peter 3:18)
          4)It was a public affirmation of His Messiahship by testimony directly from heaven

          March 14, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • joey3467

          Wait, I thought we were supposed to just take the word of the early church fathers. Why do you believe what they had to say in some cases and then declare them to not even be Christian in others?

          March 14, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • joey3467

          It seems entirely possible that the early church fathers had access to things that have since been lost, and that the Catholic Church is following every part of the original scriptures, and that every other church is wrong. The only way to prove they aren't is to find the original copy of every single book in the bible. Short of that there is no way to prove who is right and who is wrong.

          March 14, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • Sean

          In other words, what you are trying to explain in your last post is what "2020" of the catholic doctrine is stating. ie, Salvation-Law and grace as explained in the Catechism text that was posted earlier.

          March 14, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LET's Religiosity Law #13 – The highest form of ignorance... is one dumbass Christian telling another dumbass Christian that they are not really Christian... because (insert whatever dumbass thing they believe differentiates them from each other)…

      March 14, 2014 at 10:53 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        You err in thinking there is no "right" answer when speaking of God. Just because many have differing opinions, that does not automatically exclude the possibility for a correct answer. You wouldn't say that in math class, and it doesn't happen in theology.

        The search for true theology is handled just as any search – systemmatically, logically, and experientially.

        March 14, 2014 at 11:03 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          “Religion: the word of man trying to convince other men that it is the word of God” ~LET

          March 14, 2014 at 11:10 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Except of course when Jesus was on the earth, and He SPOKE the word of God.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          How would you know the correct answer as logic and reason are not used to derive it? That's why there are hundreds of religions and thousands of sects.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @Theo Phileo,
          Even if there is. A Single Correct answer, do not you err in thinking that only you have the correct answer.

          Comparing math and theology is incorrect unless ther is an objective test for theology which would include NO dependence on interpretation.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          "Except of course when Jesus was on the earth, and He SPOKE the word of God." Your fictional account does not impress me...

          March 14, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Read the book: Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharius to see a systemmatic approach to finding the "right" God. It's not THE method, but one of many that could be used.

          March 14, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          I have no need to find any god, much less the 'right' god... so no thanks.

          "I ain't lookin' for help from on-high. That's a long wait for a train don't come." – Malcolm Reynolds, “Serenity"

          March 14, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • joey3467

          Unless you can present some objective evidence from outside the bible that proves you are right there is no reason to think that you are.

          March 14, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          So he "was" the word, and spoke the word. The word speaks itself. Un-huh.
          Kinda "wordy" I'd say.

          March 15, 2014 at 12:36 am |
    • MidwestKen

      @Theo Phileo,
      Only those who know exactly how many angels can dance on the head of a pin will get into heaven!

      March 14, 2014 at 11:22 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Yeah right. A "true Christian" is always one that agrees with ME.
      The No True Scotsman fallacy. What a joke.

      March 15, 2014 at 12:34 am |
  13. Theo Phileo

    Catholicism believes that salvation is a combination of grace and faith PLUS works. The idea here is that justification follows sanctification – that justification comes through a man's works. This idea is foreign to scripture, and counter to it, thereby putting catholicism outside of Biblical Christianity, and all those caught up in it are not saved.

    The Council of Trent, 1545 to 1563 – convened to affirm and codify this teaching of the Catholic Church in response to the Reformation and said “To those who work well unto the end, and trust in God, eternal life is to be offered." And "It is given as a reward, promised by God Himself to be faithfully given to their good works and merits.” Salvation in the Catholic Church is something that one earns: “By those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life and to have truly merited eternal life."

    This is in total contradiction to the word of God. No works done by the believer can redeem him before God; no priest has the power to forgive sins, and no indulgence bought can hold back the due punishment for sin.

    God’s Word says that “by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight;” we are justified to God as a gift by grace through faith in Jesus. Indeed, we are justified by faith apart from works of the law (Romans 3:20-31, Romans 4:1-25, Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:6, 11) And Ephesians 2:8-10 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”


    March 14, 2014 at 10:33 am |
    • Doris


      There, I fixed that for you.

      March 14, 2014 at 10:39 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        My comment was directed to those within the catholic church whose points were provable with references to the book that they too claim to subscribe. Since you subscribe to no deity, and merely made an unresearched, biased, and unprovable comment, your comment is a non sequitur – a troll. And I don't feed trolls.

        March 14, 2014 at 10:47 am |
        • Sean

          Well said!

          March 14, 2014 at 10:49 am |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    This Pope is being run like a US Presidential campaign.

    March 14, 2014 at 9:24 am |
    • joey3467

      In that case which lobbyists do you think own the Pope?

      March 14, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
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About this blog

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