May 22nd, 2014
07:04 PM ET

Pope Francis in the Holy Land: 5 things to know

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

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(CNN) - So, a rabbi, a sheikh and a pope travel to the Holy Land…

It might sound like the start of a trite joke, but it’s actually the entourage for one of the most highly anticipated papal trips in recent history.

As Pope Francis heads to Jordan, Bethlehem and Jerusalem this weekend, he’s bringing along two old friends from Argentina: Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who co-wrote a book with the Pope, and Sheikh Omar Abboud, who leads Argentina’s Muslim community.

The Vatican says it’s the first time that a pope’s official entourage has included interfaith leaders.

In a region roiled by competing religious and political visions, Francis’ chosen companions communicate an unmistakable message, church officials said.

“It’s highly symbolic, of course,” said the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant to the Vatican press office.

“But it also sends a pragmatic message to Muslims, Christians and Jews that it’s possible to work together - not as a system of checks and balances but as friends.”

The visit to the Holy Land is the first for Francis as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, and just the fourth for any pontiff in the modern era.

With so much at stake - the stalled negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, the plight of Christian refugees - the Pope’s every word, gesture and photo-op will be microscopically examined.

Already, some conservative Israelis are advocating against the Pope’s visit, scrawling anti-Christian graffiti on Catholic buildings in Jerusalem and planning  protests outside papal events in Jerusalem.

While the protesters form a fringe minority, they underscore the tensions that simmer around the Pope’s short but substantial trip.

With those challenges in mind, here are five key things to pay particular attention to.

1. The Pope’s schedule makes Rick Steves look lazy.

It’s a good thing the 77-year-old pontiff rested up this week.

Francis will be traveling to three cities, shaking hands with dozens of religious and political leaders, celebrating several Catholic Masses and delivering at least 13 speeches and homilies – all in less than 36 hours.

In Jordan, the Pope will meet with King Abdullah II, greet refugees from Iraq and Syria, celebrate Mass and visit the Jordan River, where many Christians believe Jesus was baptized.

Crowds welcome Pope Francis to Jordan at start of Holy Land trip

In Bethlehem, he will convene with the President of the Palestinian Authority, celebrate Mass in Manger Square, lunch with Palestinian families, greet children from refugee camps and visit the site of Jesus’ birth.

In Jerusalem, the Pope will meet the city’s grand mufti and chief rabbis, visit the Western Wall and Yad Vashem (a memorial to the Holocaust), lay a wreath on the grave of the founder of modern Zionism, and sign a joint declaration with the head of Eastern Orthodox Christians.

He’ll also confer with Israel’s Prime Minister and President, chat with Catholic seminarians and celebrate Mass at the site of the Last Supper.

Got all that?

“I’m amazed at what they are trying to do in such a short amount of time,” Rosica said.

2. The Pope says the trip is religious, not political.

Francis has called the reasons behind his Holy Land excursion “strictly religious.” Earlier, he had described it as a “pilgrimage for prayer.”

Perhaps the popular pontiff was trying to tamp down expectations that his visit could solve the region’s seemingly intractable political problems. But the trip does have religious roots, church officials say.

At the Pope’s installation in 2013, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of some 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, invited Francis to Jerusalem to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic meeting between their predecessors.

“It’s hard to understand now what a breakthrough that meeting was,” said the Rev. Alexander Karloutsos, an Eastern Orthodox priest who is helping organize part of the Pope's trip.

At the time, the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, the world’s two largest Christian communities, weren’t even on speaking terms, said Karloutsos. Marriages celebrated in one church would not be recognized by the other.

On Sunday, Francis and Bartholomew will sign a joint declaration outlining common principles and a potential path forward to greater unity.

“These people don’t sign things lightly,” Karloutsos said. “This is a very substantial document.”

Francis and Bartholomew also will celebrate a joint religious service at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Sunday, the first time the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic leaders have held such a service in 50 years, according to Karloutsos.

3. The ‘people’s Pope’ will strike again

He has celebrated Masses for migrants who drowned while trying to sail to Europe, visited Brazil’s most dangerous neighborhoods and welcomed homeless men in Rome to his birthday party.

In the Holy Land, Pope Francis is again expected to draw the world’s attention to the poor and downtrodden; he has refused to travel, as most leaders do in the Middle East, in an armored car.

In Jordan, where some 600,000 Syrians have fled since the start of the civil war in 2011, the Pope will meet refugees and disabled young people before delivering a speech at a church in Bethany.

On the West Bank, he will greet children from several Palestinian refugee camps.

Palestinian Archbishop Atallah Hanna, who is Eastern Orthodox (as are most Christians in the Middle East) said he hopes Pope Francis will “see the suffering of the Palestinian people.”

“We are misrepresented and are unfortunately seen by some to be criminals and terrorists,” Hanna said. “I hope they can see that we are a civilized, peaceful and well-educated people seeking freedom and a better future.”

John Esposito, an expert on international relations at Georgetown University, said the Pope’s meeting with Christians in Bethlehem could open some eyes about the Israel-Palestinian standoff.

“It will underscore the fact that it’s not just a Muslim-Jewish conflict,” he said.

4. Conservative Israelis are nervous.

In the weeks before the Pope’s arrival, graffiti calling Jesus “garbage” and calling for “death to Arabs and Christians” has been scrawled on Christian buildings in Jerusalem.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have planned to protest outside the site of the Last Supper - known as the Cenacle - because it is also said to house King David’s tomb.

They believe Christians should not hold religious services, as Pope Francis plans to do on Sunday, so close to a Jewish holy site, and they worry that Israel will turn the Cenacle over to the Vatican during the Pope’s visit, according to reports.

Jerusalem's five most contested sites

On Wednesday, Israeli police issued restraining orders on several right-wing Jewish activists, according to The New York Times, ordering them to stay away from the Pope during his visit.

Rabbi David Rosen, international director for interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Congress, told CNN that the troublemakers are fringe figures who “don’t deserve anything like the attention they’ve gotten.”

“The vast majority of Israelis are looking forward to the Pope’s visit, if they’re even aware of it yet,” said Rosen, who is in Jerusalem to participate in papal events.

The rabbi said he is slightly chagrined, though, that Francis will not hold an interfaith service with Muslim and Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, as Pope Benedict XVI did in 2009.

“I am personally disappointed that this opportunity to demonstrate in actions and not simply in words the possibility of bringing together Christians, Muslims and Jews is not on his schedule.”

The Vatican says that, because the Pope is traveling with Rabbi Skorka and Sheikh Abboud, the whole trip is essentially an interfaith gathering.

5. Muslims view Francis as a welcome change.

Pope Benedict XVI didn’t have the best relationship with Muslims, said Georgetown's Esposito, who is traveling to Jordan to meet with Francis on Saturday.

The former Pope quoted anti-Islamic remarks made by a 14th-century Christian emperor in a speech in 2006, leading to Muslim riots.

Benedict apologized, but later baptized a prominent Muslim-born journalist, which some Islamic leaders called an unnecessary provocation.

In contrast, one of Francis’ first interfaith steps as Pope was to wash the feet of two Muslims during a Holy Thursday ceremony in 2013, a move noted throughout the Islamic world, Esposito said.

“What popes do is as symbolically important as what they say,” Esposito said, “and Muslims have been very impressed with Francis.”

The Pope also called on Western nations to find a peaceful solution to Syria’s civil war, rather than use military force.

On this trip to the Holy Land, Francis is expected to call for a Palestinian state, which has long been Vatican policy, but will surely upset some Israelis.

That can't-please-both dilemma shows how hard it can be to navigate the Holy Land for any world leader, even one with the charisma and political acumen of Francis.

Bringing a sheikh and rabbi along may help buffer the Pope from some criticism, but ultimately, all eyes will be on the man in white.

(CNN's Roba Alhenawi contributed to this report.) 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Foreign policy • Islam • Israel • Jerusalem • Judaism • Leaders • Mass • Middle East • Palestinians • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Religious liberty • Religious violence • Vatican

soundoff (859 Responses)
  1. Sea Otter (Leader Allied Atheist Alliance)

    TV Announcer: Rob Schneider was an animal. Then he was a woman. And now Rob Schneider is a stapler! And he's about to find out that being a stapler is harder than it looks. Rob Schneider is "The Stapler". Rated PG-13.

    May 23, 2014 at 10:39 am |
    • Sea Otter (Leader Allied Atheist Alliance)

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      Rob Schneider: I'm a carrot!
      TV Announcer: It's 24-"carrot" comedy! Rob Schneider is "A Carrot"! Rated PG-13.

      May 23, 2014 at 10:41 am |
      • Sea Otter (Leader Allied Atheist Alliance)

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        May 23, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • Sea Otter (Leader Allied Atheist Alliance)

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          May 23, 2014 at 10:44 am |
  2. Doc Vestibule

    Reminds me of an old Onion article – "Pope Calls for Greater Understanding Between Catholics – Hellbound"

    " Let us, with open hearts and minds, talk to our brethren of every denomination, be they Pharisees, apostates, Mussulmen or assorted other vile abominations upon whom Our Lord casts down his ultimate, eternal punishment amidst the searing lake of fire. Let us strive to understand why they prefer a lifetime of sinful defiance and an eternity of excruciating torment. Let us encourage among them an open exchange of heresies, blasphemies and anathema. For only by fostering a spirit of love and goodwill among all human beings, even the most wayward of the flock, can the Church divert them from their sinful, hellbound path."

    May 23, 2014 at 9:57 am |
  3. Sean

    Biblical history runs for centuries beyond Koran into ages past. What holy land claims are the Muslims making on Israel? The holy land for Muslims is in Saudi Arabia and they can have it with no contest.

    Leave Israel alone!

    May 23, 2014 at 9:47 am |
    • Sean

      Having said that, it is important for peace to prevail in the region and Pope Francis is on the right track in trying to bring together different groups in an effort at reconciliation.

      May 23, 2014 at 9:53 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        The only one who will ever bring a peace treaty to that land will be the antichrist.

        May 23, 2014 at 9:56 am |
        • Theo Phileo


          May 23, 2014 at 10:06 am |
        • Doc Vestibule


          May 23, 2014 at 10:13 am |
        • Science Works

          Hey Theo

          Do not forget the pope will baptize little green martians so they can go to that make believe place called heaven.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:42 am |
      • John316Luke923


        May 23, 2014 at 10:01 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      Although the land was given through the Abrahamic covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and included the land from the river Egypt (Wadi Al Arish) as far as the river Euphrates (Genesis 15:18-21, Genesis 17:2-7) it is because of Ishmael's jealousy that his descendants war with the descendants of Jacob.

      In fact, Genesis 16:12 predicts that Ishmael and his desendants will live to the east, and be against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Interestingly enough, even today, the only people that they tolerate are their own – and even then they tend to slaughter even themselves.

      May 23, 2014 at 9:55 am |
      • Sean

        Ishmael was not Muslim, how did you connect the dots?

        May 23, 2014 at 10:00 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Of course he wasn't Muslim, I never said that he was. But Ishmael's descendants were rebellious, and they foresook the God of Isaac, and much later, Ishmael's descendants became Muslim.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:09 am |
        • Sean

          .....and much later, Ishmael's descendants became Muslim.

          –How did you connect Ismael's descendants to Islam?

          May 23, 2014 at 10:18 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          ...because they are. They even claim that they are Ishmaelites.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:27 am |
      • Madtown

        given through the Abrahamic covenant
        I wonder why God plays favorites? Didn't he create everyone, and equal?

        May 23, 2014 at 11:00 am |
      • SeaVik

        Theo, consider for a moment that your religious beliefs are untrue. If that were the case (as it obviously is to many of us), can you understand how deranged it appears for you to write posts like this where you present stories from the bible as if they are undisputed fact, not obvious fiction? If you want to post that stuff, you need to qualify it by saying, "According to the bible..." or "I believe that..." When you just post this stuff as if it's factual, it comes off as delusional.

        May 23, 2014 at 11:33 am |
    • bostontola

      By your logic we should give the land of Israel to pre-Abrahamic nomadic herders, or should we go back to hunter gatherers?

      May 23, 2014 at 10:01 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      This just in ... "Canaanites demand free state in their historical homeland"

      The Jewish 'ancestral claim' ended with the revolt of CE70 when the Romans extinguished the kingdom of Judea.

      If we are to "leave Israel alone!" as Sean insists it is also time to give Georgia back to the Cherokee, not to mention all the US back to it's native peoples.

      May 23, 2014 at 10:49 am |
    • MidwestKen

      If I understand correctly, Egypt was the first "owner" of the area, barring of course the Neandethals, who apparently aren't around to make their claim.

      May 23, 2014 at 11:16 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        I guess we should hand it all back to the Sumerians, though their chief God is kind of a jerk.
        In the Sumerian flood myth (which pre-dates the Bible), Enlil drowned the world because He got sick of hearing our noise.
        It isn't that we were sinful – just too loud.

        May 23, 2014 at 11:44 am |
  4. Doc Vestibule

    Jews, Muslims and Christians have the same God but different prophets.
    None are going to convert the others. In fact, the only thing middle easterners seem to agree on regardless of their religious affiliation is that they all despise the Ba'hai – the only religion that tries to reconcile all three Abrahamic branches.
    That leaves only a couple of choices – you can all keep fighting each other (a sisyphian struggle ongoing now for a thousand and a half years) or try work together and let your God sort out the righteous from the unrighteous after you're dead.

    May 23, 2014 at 9:38 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I doubt that even a cleansing by nuclear fire would stop them from hating each other... but it would be worth the try

      May 23, 2014 at 9:41 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Just give it time.

        2 Peter 3:7
        But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

        May 23, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Thanks Theo... now I feel dirty because you agreed with me...

          May 23, 2014 at 9:49 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Does reveling in holy schadenfreude help you sleep better at night?

          May 23, 2014 at 9:49 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        I think they should all convert to Mormonism.
        After all, Joseph Smith is the latest prophet to have received enough News from God to write a Holy Book.
        The Deseret people can re-build the Temple and require all visitors to don special underwear and cough up 10% of their net worth.

        May 23, 2014 at 9:49 am |
        • Sea Otter (Leader Allied Atheist Alliance)

          Protestant: Hey, wait a minute, I was a complete and devout Protestant. I thought we got into Heaven?
          Hell Orientation Director: Yes, well, I'm afraid you were wrong.
          Jehovah's Witness: I was a practicing Jehovah's Witness.
          Hell Orientation Director: You picked the wrong religion as well.
          Random Orientation Attendee: Well, who was right? Who got into Heaven?
          Hell Orientation Director: I'm afraid it was the... Mormons were the correct answer.
          Orientation Attendees: [collective groan]

          May 23, 2014 at 9:56 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Thomas: And to think the Jews claimed they were God's chosen people.
          St. Peter: Oh, that was years ago. No, the Lord's finicky.
          Thomas: Finicky?
          St. Peter: Well, it was the Jews for a few thousand years, and God got into Muslims, 'cause He liked their hats; then, when they started slicing off hands, God went with Zen, then there was the Hopi Indians and the Aztecs for a while
          Thomas: What about us Catholics?
          St. Peter: Oh, He never liked them. The closest He got was the Anglicans, 'cause He liked Henry VIII's sense of humor.
          Thomas: So anyone who isn't a Presbyterian goes to Hell?
          St. Peter: No, no, Baptists go to Purgatory.
          Thomas: Oh, God likes Baptists?
          St. Peter: No, God likes to get their hopes up. Then, just when they figure they're in, dispatched to the nether regions.
          Thomas: Wow.
          St. Peter: And God never forgave the Mormons for the Osmonds.

          – The Frantics, "Heaven is for Presbytyrians"

          May 23, 2014 at 10:03 am |
        • samsstones

          I knew it, the planet Kolob is the really really real heaven and I bet they have a segregated area with a str!pper factory and beer volcano for the latter day Pastafairians.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:05 am |
        • Sea Otter (Leader Allied Atheist Alliance)

          'Beer volcano' ... Sweet

          May 23, 2014 at 10:29 am |
    • bostontola

      That is an interesting observation, same God, different human prophets creating different human written books.

      How many wars fought, people killed over human differences and the same God. I guess it's not that shocking since Catholics and Protestants were killing each other just 20 years ago.

      May 23, 2014 at 9:49 am |
      • Akira

        I know; I do not get why some people think it's in any way beneficial to keep the angst going.

        I like the way a Doc put it: reveling in holy schadenfreude.
        It appears many do it.

        May 23, 2014 at 11:04 am |
        • bostontola

          Holy schadenfreude!

          Christians are also the largest case of mass, self inflicted Stockholm syndrome.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:41 am |
  5. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    That the different cults still fight over the same crap hole is fascinating to me. Tel Aviv is nice... but Jerusalem is a crap hole.

    Smelly, dusty, grubby, filled with people that would just as soon kill you as take your tourist money because you don't believe the same nonsense that they do... Yay for the 'Holy' land...

    May 23, 2014 at 9:35 am |
  6. Theo Phileo

    "“But it also sends a pragmatic message to Muslims, Christians and Jews that it’s possible to work together – not as a system of checks and balances but as friends.”
    I would love to know in what manner the pope thinks that he can be ecu.menical with those who deny the deity of Jesus. Sure, we can work together on secular matters, but we cannot come together on spiritual matters since it would be impossible under such an arrangement for things to be done to the glory of God.

    2 Corinthians :14-16a – Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?

    May 23, 2014 at 8:34 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      "Do not be bound together with unbelievers"

      Just proving once again why NOT to turn to the cult activities of Christianity...such a divisive hateful group if you don't share a belief in their imaginary non-existent friend. I'm guessing there are numerous Atheists sitting in the very pews you sit in every Sunday and you wouldn't have the slightest clue. The Pope stated that Atheists get to heaven and the Pope is a far greater man than you could ever wish to be, at least he's not trying to keep people in the dark ages...the only thing he could do now to make the church better is to turn over all the peds over prosecution.

      May 23, 2014 at 8:40 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        "The Pope stated that Atheists get to heaven"
        That is because the pope isn't justified according to the Word of God. The papists believe in a semi-pelagian doctrine that is heretical to the point that they deny the plain reading of the Bible. The papists are as unsaved as the atheist who may occupy the same confessional that they do. May they both one day find repentance, and justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

        May 23, 2014 at 8:45 am |
        • samsstones

          Yesterday you said you like to do various things outside of your work hours, you mean like spending all day quoting bible nonsense on the belief blog. Get out and do something like harassing a nudist colony or an abortion clinic some things you would be good at. You ducked answering if you know the difference between a slave and a servant, do you?

          May 23, 2014 at 8:58 am |
        • Frank

          Here's a tip for you. Do not engage "uglyprevails1", it's a TROLL! The best way to handle a troll is to ignore it!

          May 23, 2014 at 9:02 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Frank: OOPS, you fool...a troll is someone who comes and drops random comments and doesn't engage in anything further. Judge not lest ye be judged. Here's a hint people, don't reply to Frank...he's not educated and he's obviously just as delusional as his boyfriends Theo and Alostscot-see how that works Franky? Grow up!

          May 23, 2014 at 9:07 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "You ducked answering if you know the difference between a slave and a servant, do you?"
          I didn't duck answering it, I just don't use a computer when I'm at home. A servant and a slave can be the same thing, but a slave is one who goes unpaid.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:08 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Judge not lest ye be judged."
          Twist not Scripture lest you be like Satan.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:08 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Satan: an invention by Christians that doesn't really exist outside of their delusions. Grow up Slavery-Supporter-Theo...this is 2014 not 0001...time to join this century!

          May 23, 2014 at 9:12 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          You cannot avoid dealing with an issue by retreating to the idea that they just don't exist. That doesn't make the problem go away.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:14 am |
        • samsstones

          Correct, but you missed that a the servant is a free person and the slave is property that can be bought and sold. Your constant babbling that people chose to be slaves and are at the whim of their masters on how they are treated is ridiculous. A person may want to become a servant to improve their lot in life but not become property.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:18 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Your constant babbling that people chose to be slaves"
          If you don't think that people chose to be slaves for life, then take a look at the word "bondslave" and where and how it is shown in the Bible. It is a voluntary servanthood wherein a person willingly submits themselves to a master.

          See Luke 1:38, 48, and in Colossians 4:12 as a couple of examples.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:29 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Theo: Until you provide evidence that it exists, there is no justification for believing it does. What you deem as truth via the bible has been shown to be fallacious. Buy a dictionary, get a friend to record COSMOS for you and educate yourself instead of keeping up with ignorant, bigoted, slavery-supporting stance you take.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:29 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          A Creator God is a logical necessity based on the contingent nature of the physical universe.

          The argument for a First Cause first looks at the reality of our physical universe being one finite and interconnected causal chain. That is, everything in this physical universe, and this physical universe itself had a beginning.

          Relative to the contingent nature of the physical world, it is logically necessary that something exists whose existence is not derived from something else, and through whom the existence of everything else is derived. The First Cause…

          Infinite causal chains do not exist, since an infinite causal chain could not explain how the causal chain began to be in the first place (think of a line of falling dominoes). Causal chains by definition are a series of causes and effects, and you cannot have an effect without a cause. Therefore the very existence of the causal chain (that is, our physical universe) demands the existence of a first cause. Since infinite causal chains do not exist, then that first cause must itself be eternal. Since the first cause stands outside of physical reality as its creator, and it is thus greater than the creation since the lesser cannot create the greater, and it is eternal, it must also be supernatural. That can be nothing other than God. Furthermore, it cannot be argued that the first cause itself had a cause, or you err in creating an infinite regress – an infinite causal chain that cannot exist. Therefore to deny the existence of an eternal creator who is outside of our physical reality is to dip into an illogical fantasy designed to fictionalize reality so that man may ease into a death without fear of having any contact with a God to whom they will one day be accountable.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:34 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          No a god isn't necessary and you're a fool to think it is. The rest of your post proves further that you're an idiot of huge proportions and probably should not be left unsupervised or un-medicated.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:36 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          "The Pope stated that Atheists get to heaven" So what? The Poop also covers up pedophile priests in his ranks. So his opinion is worthless.

          “I see two problems with heaven and hell. First, heaven supposedly will be full of Christians… so that'll suck. Second, hell will definitely be filled to the brim with "good" Christians and also most likely with creepy Mormons and Scientologists… which will indubitably suck a great deal. So kind of a lose-lose scenario either way.” – LET

          May 23, 2014 at 9:38 am |
        • hotairace

          Dawkins, Hawking, Krauss and many other scientists don't see the need for a creator god. I think they put forth better arguments for how the universe came into being than Theo Puffy Words does. "We don't know" is a far superior answer than "Some alleged but never proven god did it."

          May 23, 2014 at 9:42 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          And Robert J. Smith has published a book with mathematical formulae to model zombie infestations. But just because he's got mathematics that works doesn't mean that zombies are real.

          Being that zombies are fictional, everyone makes as.sumptions about them. Is it a virus? Are they just monsters? Are they cursed into being zombies? Is it magic? It all depends on who you ask, so if a scientist as.sumes that zombification is accomplished through a virus, then he can develop mathematics along those lines.

          The same is true of origins. What as.sumptions are being made that directed the mathematics of those who would make claims to that which can never be observed?

          May 23, 2014 at 9:45 am |
        • samsstones

          Philioidiotism is off and running this delusional jesus freak will spew out the same garbage he does everyday. For a pompous arrogant preacher to again claim that he knows the only "truth" that applies to all mankind is just absurd.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • hotairace

          Seems to me "The same is true of origins. What as.sumptions are being made that directed the mathematics of those who would make claims to that which can never be observed?" is equally applicable to the crap you believe, all you have to is replace "mathematics" with "religious mumbo jumbo."

          So, where can we find your scholarly article successfully making the case that "some god did it" and conclusively show the aforementioned scientists have got it wrong? Which reputable, peer reviewed scientific journal is it published in? Or are you just p!ssing around in a forum where you never have to actually back up your claims, where you think you can simply hide behide the Bullsh!t of The Babble?

          May 23, 2014 at 9:59 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          The scientific method is experimental, observational, and repeatable. A scientific investigator, be he ever so resourceful and brilliant, can neither observe nor repeat origins. This means that though it is important to have a philosophy of origins, it can only be achieved by faith.

          The problem with the purely scientific explanation of our origins is that science assumes that everything that can be known, can be known through the scientific method, but science has no ability to explain the supernatural. Every scientist will admit that at the origins of the universe (where everything supposedly existed as a singularity) the laws of physics break down – the very definition of the supernatural. Try as it may to explain our origins, science can only speculate. Granted, science speculates with impressive sounding mathematics and complicated theories, but unless those theories line up with observable reality and can be tested, then the mathematical formulae and theories are all just so much fiction.

          In short, every scientific paper on cosmgony is merely gesswork at best, and fiction at worst.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:13 am |
        • Theo Phileo


          May 23, 2014 at 10:14 am |
        • hotairace

          A person of your apparent intellect should have no problem straightening out the mentioned and other scientists. Why haven't you? Or any other members of your or other religious cults?

          May 23, 2014 at 10:18 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "A person of your apparent intellect should have no problem straightening out the mentioned and other scientists. Why haven't you? Or any other members of your or other religious cults?"
          Because intellect isn't the deciding factor in whether or not a man accepts or rejects the teachings of the Bible. As Christians, we are required to teach the gospel, as well as to give a reason for the hope that we have, and that is where the field of apologetics come from.

          But since it is not dependant on man, nor his intelligence, but on God alone who chooses who will be saved, there is no amount of reasoning that I, or anyone can do to convince some people. On the other hand, God tells us that one of the ways that He accomplishes His will is through the "foolishness of preaching." So, we preach. And we preach always with a hope that through something that we say, God will illuminate the mind of someone to receive His word through the gift of faith.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:33 am |
        • hotairace

          So you haven't got the goods or the guts to take your preaching fully into the science realm. You are content to take shots at the scientific community from the safety of your computer. I think you are a coward. Theo Puffy Words, nothing but a great big blowhard coward.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "So you haven't got the goods or the guts to take your preaching fully into the science realm. You are content to take shots at the scientific community from the safety of your computer. I think you are a coward. Theo Puffy Words, nothing but a great big blowhard coward."
          I'm saying that the scientific method is severely handicapped and utterly useless when it comes to certain things. Cosmogony is one of those things...

          May 23, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • sam stone

          if god already knows who he will save, what is the point of evangelism?

          May 23, 2014 at 10:53 am |
        • hotairace

          But you apparently have the intellect, the humbleness and the knowledge to correct much of science. Think of the great service you would be performing on behalf of your cult. Think of the number of people, young and old, you would be saving from false science. Think of the number of converts you would recruit. Why are you reluctant to take this on? Because you are in fact, a mighty blowhard, a coward afraid to actually mix it up with scientists, I think, content to be Theo Puffy Words, a Big Man for christ, a legend in your own mind, in a minor blog, hiding from those you attack but won't face.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:53 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "if god already knows who he will save, what is the point of evangelism?"
          Because God has ordained that one of the ways that He operates is through the preaching of the word. To say that preaching is not necessary is the mistake of Hyper-Calvinism.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Regardless of your feelings on the issue, the scietific method is useless in cosmogony.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • hotairace

          So now you are ducking behind the scientific method to hide your cowardliness. If scientists are wrong and you are right, you should be able to convince them of that regardless of the method you use to present your argument. Don't confuse form with content. But if I were you I would be worried about content 'cause I don't think you have any. Certainly none that would stand up to the likes of Dawkins, Hawking, Krauss and many other scientists, who do have the guts and the goods to take on religious blowhards such as yourself.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "Cosmology is the study of the structure and changes in the present universe, while the scientific field of cosmogony is concerned with the origin of the universe."
          – NASA

          May 23, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          How does one determine what is truth when the scientific method fails to be of use?

          May 23, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • otoh2

          Theo Phileo
          "How does one determine what is truth when the scientific method fails to be of use?"

          One says (humbly, ahem) I don't know (yet, or if we ever will know). He doesn't grab onto the fantasy of his choice and preach it as truth with pride and arrogance (without a whit of verified, or even verifiable, evidence).

          May 23, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • hotairace

          First, you would have to show that the scientific method (or generalizing, any method) is not useful for the domain being studied. Whether a certain method is useful or not you can always propose an alternative method that would then be studied and possibly deemed useful, perhaps with limitations.

          But quit ducking the challenge. Why won't you directly take on eminent scientists, using whatever form or method you like? It could be something as simple as an open letter published in a major newspaper, or you appearing on CNN with "Late Breaking News: Science Has Got It All Wrong – The Babble IS True!" Cowardliness seems to the only answer.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:59 am |
    • James XCIX

      "...or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?"

      These often-quoted passages have always struck me as promoting a weak and fearful bunker mentality. Sad, really.

      May 23, 2014 at 9:01 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        No... Having a Christian, a Jew, a Catholic, and a Muslim come together on spiritual matters is like having the meeting of your local chapter of PETA at the local Burger King.

        May 23, 2014 at 9:12 am |
        • G to the T

          Certainty doesn't seem to allow for much comprimise... nor growth.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:16 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          If you have a 2.5 kip load to support, but didn't want to buy a 4×4, would you attempt to compromise with a single 2x4SP?

          And growth certainly is possible when truth is recognized. Compromise only damages growth on certain issues. When one refuses to compromise, that is a key component in personal sanctification.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • sam stone

          G to the T: I don't think growth is what they seek. That is why they celebrate the 2,000 year old comic book they have inserted deep in their rectum. Folks like corn pone, or gopher, or rainy fuhrersucker, or robert brown, etc etc etc all speak for god, and they are sure that anyone who disagrees wth them is at least mistaken, possibly satanic

          May 23, 2014 at 9:24 am |
        • sam stone

          "When one refuses to compromise, that is a key component in personal sanctification"

          So, you sanctify yourself. Isn't that fvcking special?

          May 23, 2014 at 9:32 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          No, I am sanctified through truth – the word of God is truth.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:36 am |
        • James XCIX

          Theo – Interesting how you consider a Christian and a Catholic to be different spiritually.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:36 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Theo – Interesting how you consider a Christian and a Catholic to be different spiritually."
          That's because the papists are semi-pelagians.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:40 am |
        • James XCIX

          Theo – "That's because the papists are semi-pelagians."

          How so? Do you feel the same way about Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Pentecostals, or any other denomination, who all have their own take on what parts of the Bible deserve particular emphasis in their worship practices?

          May 23, 2014 at 9:54 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          They deny such plain scripture as Ephesians 2:8-9 (and MANY more like it). That makes them semi-pelagians because they add works to salvation in defiance of the Biblical text.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:00 am |
        • sam stone

          You have not established that the bible is the word of "god"

          here is suggestion.....if you are sanctified by the word of god, take the first flight to israel (the promisd land) and go to a working class bar inTel Aviv and tell them how their grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers, aunts and uncles deserved the holocaust. just think how they will welcome you with open arms for showing them the Truth (TM).

          May 23, 2014 at 10:27 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          sam stone,
          I'll do that if you go to Tehran, wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Mohammed that says that he was a child-molesting liar.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:38 am |
        • sam stone

          what's the matter, pone? o don't have faith that god is going to protect you while preachng his word? just think what a hero's welcome you will recieve as a martyr who was just trying to bring the hebrews to jesus

          May 23, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "what's the matter, pone? o don't have faith that god is going to protect you while preachng his word? just think what a hero's welcome you will recieve as a martyr who was just trying to bring the hebrews to jesus"
          Have you never heard of Messianic Jews?
          Besides, do you think I've never taught before that the Jews have broken their covenant with God? Do you think that I have never before taught that there are consequences to sin? Do you think that my life has never been threatened before?

          And what in the world is "pone" anyway? I will never understand someone's desire to disrespect and insult someone just because they disagree with them. Atheists tell me all the time that they can be moral without God. Is that an example of atheistic "morality?" Because if it is, I surely hope that you don't teach your children to insult those whom they disagree with.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          Some of the atheists on here are EXTREMELY rude and childish. No question.

          I haven't yet heard one state anything as bad as the subtle bottom line of Christianity: either do exactly as I say or you deserve to spend forever burning in hell.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • Akira

          Well, as long as one is personally sanctified, the hell with compromise that may be beneficial to millions.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • James XCIX

          Theo – "...That makes them semi-pelagians because they add works to salvation..."

          So what? You may think the "works" they are doing are unnecessary, but in general they are things that help others So they're just doing something extra–what's the big deal? Are you one of those who believes one is doomed, even if a Christian who believes in Jesus Christ as their savior, just because one "thinks" the wrong way?

          May 23, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      good idea, corn pone, don't let anyone inject reason into your little fantasy

      May 23, 2014 at 9:19 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        The scholar has a vitally important task to perform within a carefully prescribed precinct. His task is to guarantee the purity of the text, to get as close as possible to the Word as originally given. He may compare Scripture to Scripture until he has discovered the true meaning of the text, but right there his authority ends. He must never sit in judgment upon what is written. He dare not bring the meaning of the Word before the bar of his reason. He dare not commend or condemn the Word as reasonable or unreasonable, scientific or unscientific. After the meaning is discovered, that meaning judges him; never does he judge it

        May 23, 2014 at 9:31 am |
        • sam stone

          more self flagellating nonsense

          May 23, 2014 at 10:33 am |
        • hotairace

          And ripped off from some whacko religious cult site without attribution.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          And your post reminds me of this quote,

          "Philosophy and Science deals with unanswered questions. Religion deals with unquestioned answers."

          May 23, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "And ripped off from some whacko religious cult site without attribution."
          Sorry I neglected to attach a reference for you. Would it have made any difference if I did? I've got quite a few things going on at work here today, so if I forgot to put a reference in there, it was not intentional. I just felt it was pertinent. It's not like I'm writing a book and expecting to receive credit or anything.

          Way to go for you to research what I said though! Right on! I've got a few more along those lines that I can post if you want to check them out too!

          May 23, 2014 at 11:29 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "since it would be impossible under such an arrangement for things to be done to the glory of God."

      And there in less than a sentence, Theo sums up the issue of humanity creating unnecessary problems through BS religious belief.

      May 23, 2014 at 11:15 am |
  7. colin31714

    The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem at Easter is almost comical. Hordes of Christians, drunk of the Jesus juice, hover around the tomb where Jesus supposedly rose from the dead. Now, of course, this “tomb” is itself a fraud. Nobody knows if or where Jesus was buried and, even if one accepts one of the 3 original or one forged (Mark) gospel accounts of his resurrection as true (it is impossible to believe all of them as they are inconsistent) we haven’t the slightest idea where the cave Jesus was interred in is.

    But, that’s Christianity for you. Never let the truth interfere with a good story. Anyway, each Easter, to “prove” Jesus rose from the dead, an unlit torch of sticks is carried to the tomb of Jesus, where it supposedly divinely and magically bursts into flame when placed in the empty tomb. “This should be interesting,” I thought, so I watched it. It was a shameless and open lie. A simple magic trick. The torch is placed in a hidden column that nobody can see, wiggled around a little and then comes back out “magically” burning. Of course, nobody gets to see the “miracle.”

    It helped me realize that, in their core, most Christians don’t care that their faith is all nonsense and collective lies. As long as it gives them some hope, however fleeting and contrary to common sense it might be, that they will live forever, they will go along with it. Hopeless sheep wandering in a swamp of desperate supersti.tions, craving like fools for an eternity that our Universe simply does not grant us.

    May 23, 2014 at 6:13 am |
    • Reality

      Great a-nalysis.

      May 23, 2014 at 7:13 am |
    • samsstones

      It is amazing how the gullible fall prey to the scammers. From the waters at Lourdes, the shroud of Turin to people worshiping some bird sh!t on a statue as a bleeding Virgin Mary, it is incredible. And yet they have pilgrimages to the Vatican and are able to buy a made a made in China snow globe with Mary and baby Jesus for only 10EUR. Such faith=loss of logical thinking.

      May 23, 2014 at 8:25 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      No, the resurrection stories are inconsistent only to those who have never read it.

      Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20

      A cursory reading of the resurrection narratives in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John reveal a few differences in the recorded facts. While these supposed discrepancies sometimes alarm modern readers and excite atheists looking for issues, like all alleged Biblical contradictions, they are easily resolved.

      In each Gospel account, the core story is the same: Joseph of Arimathea takes the body of Jesus and puts it in a tomb, one or more of Jesus’ female followers visit the tomb early on the Sunday morning following His crucifixion, and they find that the tomb is empty. They see a vision of either one or two angels who say that Jesus is risen.

      Despite the different accounts concerning the women’s number and names, the exact time of the morning, and the number of angels, we can have great confidence in the shared core story.

      So how do we account for the seeming discrepancies?

      The differences between the empty tomb narratives are indicative of multiple, independent affirmations of the story.

      In these accounts, they at first seem to vary in the reported time of the visit to the tomb. One writer describes it as “still dark” (John 20:1), another says it was “very early in the morning” (Luke 24:1), and another says it was “just after sunrise” (Mark 16:2). But if the visit was “at dawn,” (Matthew 28:1), they were all describing the same time of day with different words.

      As for the number and names of the women, none of the Gospels even pretend to give a complete list. John writes about Mary Magdalene at the tomb, but Matthew, Mark and Luke cite other women, so there was probably a group of women that included those who were named and probably a few others. Perhaps when the women came, Mary Magdalene arrived first and that’s why only John mentions her. That’s hardly a contradiction.

      In terms of whether there was one angel (Matthew) or two (John) at Jesus’ tomb, have you ever noticed that whenever you have two of anything, you also have one? Matthew didn’t say that there was only one angel. Perhaps only one of the two angels spoke, so that is why only one was mentioned. John was merely providing more detail by saying there were two.

      May 23, 2014 at 8:37 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        You've already lost when all you do is quote the buybull. You're a fooltard who is wasting valuable oxygen...please meet your jeebus friend soon. I get that you're not competent enough to think for yourself and that you never made it past grade 5 but it's no excuse for the amount of ignorance you show in this world.

        May 23, 2014 at 8:43 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "fooltard?" What are you, like 16? You can find no mature way of speaking, so you fall back on childish insults?

          May 23, 2014 at 8:46 am |
        • samsstones

          Just another way of saying Philioidiotism: the condition that allows a person to reject all knowledge that does not agree with that persons a priori beliefs. (also known as Topherism). There I cleared that up for you, your welcome.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:03 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Says the one with imaginary friends...you're what 5?

          May 23, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Your failure to believe in and recognize truth does not make the truth go away.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:16 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          oh silly slavery-supporting-Theo; the same can be said about you. Pull your head out of the bible and get an education.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:31 am |
        • awanderingscot

          oh "truth"
          Christ loves you even though you are at war with Him. I think you are secretly in love with Him too, just angry with Him because you don't understand Him and need someone to blame for all the sorrow in the world. repent and make peace with Him before it's too late. experience His perfect love. don't condemn yourself.

          The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9, NKJV

          May 23, 2014 at 9:47 am |
      • realbuckyball

        I see. That must be why scholars all agree they are inconsistent. What is in that Kool-aid you drank ?
        No human in the history of the planet rose from the dead. As Dr Bernard Brandon Scott, the Professor of New Testament, at the Tulsa Seminary , and FAR FAR more knowledgeable than you, Theoridiculous, has explained in his book, "The Trouble With Resurrection", the Greek work correctly translated does not mean "awakened from the dead" but "elevated" in the sense the OT heroes were "raised up" IN STATUS, (NOT physically "brought back to life"). But then the nuances of language are FAR beyond your simple-minded Fundie brain cells, Theo, as we all know.

        May 23, 2014 at 9:38 am |
      • awanderingscot

        brother, i admire your patience esp in light of gnashing of teeth here on this blog.
        it's because the end is near and it's only going to get louder.
        try not to buy into the lies and evil deceit; and don't blame them,
        their evil father also knows his time is near and is directing them
        to say and do evil. he wants to mute the gospel and discourage you
        so you won't get thru to our Lord's other sheep. I know this myself
        in an experiential way. they will say things to try and bait you into
        saying things you may not want to say and then will accuse you just
        as their father does before our God.
        they will quote scripture out of context, lie about our God, and use
        our zeal for the Lord against us when we reply. But they do the evil
        at the bidding of their father, the evil one. so be strong brother
        but pray for His grace to overcome this evil.

        May 23, 2014 at 10:18 am |
        • hotairace

          Bullsh!t. . .

          The end was allegedly near when some desert dweller called jesus was allegedly stirring up trouble 2,000+ years ago. All evidence is that it is no nearer 'cause your whole story is bullsh!t. You could at least try to be amusing like Marilyn Agee.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • awanderingscot

          thank you for not using your usual profanity in your disagreement with other people's conversation. if you want to disagree it's entirely up to you, and it is you who will kneel before Him in judgment one day unless of course you repent and acknowledge Him as your creator and owner.

          “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” – John 3:18-21, NKJV

          May 23, 2014 at 10:58 am |
        • hotairace

          Fuck Off!

          May 23, 2014 at 11:00 am |
        • observer


          “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already"

          Tough luck for the BILLIONS of people who never heard of God. How totally BARBARIC and HEARTLESS.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • awanderingscot


          There are no excuses, especially for you since you know scripture so well.

          For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools – Romans 1:20-22, NKJV

          May 23, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • hotairace

          Ooh! Aah! More delusional rantings – Bullsh!t from The Babble. That'll teach us!!

          May 23, 2014 at 11:41 am |
        • observer


          "There are no excuses"

          The ENTIRE Western Hemisphere NEVER heard of God until 1492 or MUCH later.

          Please stop reading a 2,000-year-old book long enough to get an education in history.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:45 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        You're quibbling over mythological minutiae.
        The Christian version is but one example of the archetypical resurrected god.
        Asclepius, Orpheus, Mithras, Osiris, Tammuz, Zalmoxis, Dionysus, Odin, Ishtar and Persephone are all gods who died and were resurrected.
        Odin walked the Earth among the people. He was hung from a tree until dead in order to gain the knowledge of the outcome of Ragnarok (Viking armageddon). He was consoled to know that while the Gods would die, they'd take the forces of evil with them and save humanity.
        The parallels between the Odin and Christ crucifixtion myths is likely what gave christianity a head start in northern Europe.

        May 23, 2014 at 11:34 am |
      • Reality

        Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

        From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

        Even now Catholic/Christian professors (e.g.Notre Dame, Catholic U, Georgetown) 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 records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension 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."

        The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

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

        An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


        "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."

        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. "

        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.

        May 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
  8. etiendelamothecassel

    The holy land is a fraud like christianity.

    May 23, 2014 at 5:32 am |
    • saggyroy

      I wonder why the so called "Holy Land" is always in turmoil from the very beginning of time. You'd think after a few thousand years it be all like warm and fuzzy.

      May 23, 2014 at 5:45 am |
      • sam stone

        just an indication that the god of the region is a violent, petty pr1ck

        May 23, 2014 at 6:15 am |
  9. lewcypher

    Religion requires ignorance to perpetuate but there are very educated religious people. That is not to say that educated believers by association validate the religion they subscribe to. Quite the contrary, smart people simply find smarter ways to justify their religious delusion.

    May 23, 2014 at 5:26 am |
    • James XCIX

      Somehow, the more educated believers seem to often fall for the "persuasive" argument that since so many apostles supposedly chose to die painful deaths rather than renounce their story, their story must be true. For some reason they are willing to overlook the likelihood that all of the elements of that argument–the story, the apostles, and their manners of death– are fabrications.

      May 23, 2014 at 8:05 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Or that a willingess to die for an idea doesn't make it true.
        Just ask the Heaven's Gate folk.

        May 23, 2014 at 9:41 am |
  10. trusetufree

    God Bless you Pope Francis!. My prayers go out to you. Pray to God for you to have a safe and fruitful

    May 23, 2014 at 4:42 am |
    • lewcypher

      Nothing fails like prayer

      May 23, 2014 at 5:25 am |
      • saggyroy

        Nothing fails like a pope.

        May 23, 2014 at 5:46 am |
  11. realbuckyball

    What is the "holy land". Oh the real estate contract where Moses looks down and gives his people the land he sees that belongs to others, cuz he likes the looks of it ? The land that Hebrews stole again from the Palestinians, and justified it by their book of mythology ?

    I see some land I want for my house in Beverly Hills. Pardon me while I cook up a holy book in which my war god gives it to me. That will mean it's mine.

    May 23, 2014 at 1:02 am |
  12. Bootyfunk

    the pope gets a lot of credit for being all talk and no action.
    he was Time's man of the year.
    he's said a lot of pretty words,
    but what has he actually accomplished?
    he reconfirmed that women are not equal to men,
    that women cannot be leaders in the church,
    he's done nothing to stem the tide of molester priests in his ranks,
    "oh we're really gonna get those predator priests this time!"
    just like the last pope said,
    but he hasn't released names of known offenders,
    hasn't issued orders that churches help the officers in investigations to bring these monsters to justice,
    he talks about helping the poor and that the church is there for the poor,
    so the poor give their money to the church,
    and the priests and bishops and cardinals buy mansions with the poor's money,
    g.ays are also not allowed to be leaders in the church and h.omos.exuality still a sin,
    the list goes on....

    what has the pope actually done to earn such high accolades?

    May 23, 2014 at 12:39 am |
    • hotairace

      Continued to provide protection to the criminals within his cult who are covering up crimes against innocent children.

      May 23, 2014 at 1:01 am |
    • tallulah131

      He's been a great marketing coup for the catholic church. After all, it's all about image these days.

      May 23, 2014 at 1:38 am |
    • cyprian2

      Hey,"Bootyfunk"!Long time no read! You may be surprised to see that as far as it goes, I actually agree with you; I've asked that question myself:What DOES the so-called pope do? I'm sure to catholics he's very inspiring,but...so what?

      May 23, 2014 at 2:25 am |
  13. TheManShow

    I no longer identify with the atheist community of benevolent know-it-alls, because not all of them are the best folks in the world. In fact, a good percentage of the top ten worst humans I’ve ever met are prominent members of the american atheists. They’re dishonest, mean-spirited, narcissistic, misogynistic. Pick a personality flaw, and I can probably point you to someone who epitomizes it. And that person has probably had a speaking slot at a major atheist conference.

    May 22, 2014 at 11:10 pm |
    • Reality

      Lots of conjecturing. Please reveal some names to prove your contention.

      May 22, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      i think you just proved the ManShow's point there sparky.

      May 22, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
      • hotairace

        Perhaps I was intentionally replying in kind, so that he might clearly understand he's full of sh!t.

        May 22, 2014 at 11:58 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Not all of any group are the "best folks in the world".

      ...have a point when you make a post

      May 22, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      awww don't be sore Wally!

      May 23, 2014 at 12:08 am |
    • James XCIX

      Welcome back... SciFi.

      May 23, 2014 at 12:21 am |
      • otoh2

        Good catch, James.

        May 23, 2014 at 12:24 am |
    • hotairace

      Go forth and multiply, with great vigor!

      May 23, 2014 at 1:03 am |
    • Akira

      Or the RNC.
      Except they're not atheists, are they?

      May 23, 2014 at 10:53 am |
  14. Semper Cogitatus

    Sadly this is the most cogent post here.

    May 22, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
  15. christianguy17

    As the pope is anti-christ, the sheikh and the rabbi better stand rheir distance.

    May 22, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
    • Reality

      Give it a break! Idiocy does not suit you or does it?

      May 22, 2014 at 11:24 pm |
      • christianguy17

        To just scratch the surface (read Luther's 95 thesis for more in-depth analysis), Catholicism believes in purgatory, works are required for salvation, the Word of God has been altered by them, the pope speaks for God? Huh? He actually seems to speak for Satan. Praying to "saints"...run don't walk to nearest exit. Theirs is a false gospel.

        May 22, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
        • observer


          The Pope seems to try to PRACTICE the Golden Rule rather than just PREACH it. No wonder so many Christians are upset with him.

          May 22, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "false gospel" is redundant

          May 22, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          brother, you're going hear gnashing of teeth here on this blog. it's because the end is near and it's only going to get louder. try not to buy into the lies and evil deceit; and don't blame them, their evil father also knows his time is near and is directing them to say and do evil. he wants to mute the gospel and discourage you so you won't get thru to our Lord's other sheep. I know this myself in an experiential way. they will say things to try and bait you into saying things you may not want to say and then will accuse you just as their father does before our God. they will quote scripture out of context, lie about our God, and use our zeal for the Lord against us when we reply. But they do the evil at the bidding of their father, the evil one. so be strong brother but pray for His grace to overcome this evil.

          May 22, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
        • sam stone

          yep, them old end times.

          been coming for years

          the savior must be stuck in traffic

          May 23, 2014 at 6:04 am |
        • christianguy17

          @Sam...2 Peter 3:3-5
          Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

          May 23, 2014 at 9:13 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          LET's Religiosity Law #5 – 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)…

          May 23, 2014 at 9:25 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Hark! The End is nigh! The ancient prophecies are being fulfilled!
          "The age of evil has come to the world . Everyone steals and hoards great wealth, and sensual sin rules the day. The end of the world is at hand – yet men are hard and cruel, and listen not to the doom that is coming . No one heeds the cries of his neighbour, or lifts a hand to save."

          Repent and give your obedience to the King of Gods!
          Ragnarok cometh and only the mercy of Odin can save you!

          But really- Christians have been waiting on tenterhooks for the 2nd Coming for 2,000 years.
          Back in the mid 2nd century, Montanus convinced his followers that the 2nd coming would be during their lifetimes. Despite Christ's no show and the continuation of civilization, somehow the cult lasted for centuries.
          A couple of hundred years later, a North African Christian tribe known as the Donatists tried the same scam, saying everything would collapse in 380CE.
          Around the same time, St. Martin of Tours declared that the anti-Christ had already been born and was on His way to gaining power over the world.
          A mathematical Christian group called the Lotharingians were quite certain The End would be in 970CE becuase in that year, the Annunciation and Good Friday were on the same day.
          Pope Innocent III prophesied the 2nd Coming for 666 years after the rise of Islam., the year 1284.
          Archdeacon Militz of Kromeriz and an ascetic monk named Jean de Roquetaillade both said it would be around 1365CE.
          Melchior Hoffman, an Anabaptist prophet, predicted that the world would burn in 1533CE.
          The Fifth Monarchy Men, a guano insane English terrorist group, said the apocalyptic battle between Christ and Satan would happen in 1666CE.
          George Rapp said it would be September 15th, 1829.
          William Miller predicted October 22, 1844. Jesus’ failure to arrive is known as “The Great Disappointment”. Many of his disillusioned followers went on the found the 7th Day Adventist Church, who are still patiently awaiting His return.
          Charles Russell, 1st President of the Watchtower Society told his fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus would be back in 1874.
          Rudolf Steiner maintained that from 1930 onwards, Jesus would grant certain people psychic powers to enable them to witness his presence in the “etheric plane”.
          Herbert Armstrong, Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God said 1975.
          Bill Maupin managed to convince his followers to sell all of their worldly goods in preparation for Jesus’ return on June 28th, 1981.
          Benjamin Crème stated that on June 21st, 1982 Christ would make a worldwide television announcement.
          Mark Blitz, Pastor of El Shaddai Ministries says it would be September 30th, 2008
          Jerry Falwell said it’d happen between 1999 and 2009.
          Harold Camping told everyone that the Rapture would happen May 21, 2011 after failing in his first predicted date of 1994.

          “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
          —1 John 2:18

          The last hour – give or take 1.75 million....

          May 23, 2014 at 10:57 am |
        • sam stone

          here is an accurate translation, christianguy: "sometime in the future, people are going go see through this nonsense, so we will make our excuses now"

          May 23, 2014 at 11:40 am |
    • James XCIX

      Yep, as soon as I saw there was a new pope article I knew there'd be a post about the anit-Christ. The Christian in-fighting is ridiculous.

      May 23, 2014 at 12:11 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour."
      – 1 John 2:18

      Hey waitaminute! Doesn't that mean the "last hour" was 2,000 years ago?

      A Short List of Anti-Christs

      All Popes, Most Presidents (except Carter!? but especially Reagan), Emperor Nero, Arius of Alexandria, Czar Peter the Great, Caligula, Midrash Vayosha, Armilus, Adolf Hitler, Henry Kissinger, Mikhael Gorbachev, Napoleon Bonaparte, Antiochus IV, Ti.tus, Charlemagne, Benito Mussolini, Javier Solana, Rahmat Ahmad Maitreya, Saint Germaine, Prince Charles of Britain, Prince Felipe of Spain, Adolfo Nicolás Pachón, Miguel Angel Sosa Vasquez,King George, Elvis Presley, Sun Myung Moon, Saddam Hussein, King Frederick the Great, Aleister Crowley, Joseph Stalin, Francisco Franco, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Louis Farrakhan, Karl Hapsburg, Bill Gates, Jacques Chirac, Oprah Winfrey etc. ad nauseum

      May 23, 2014 at 9:42 am |
      • hotairace

        Hey! Barney the Purple Dinosaur warrants more than an etc.

        May 23, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          God is love.
          Barney loves you, you love him – with a great big hug and a kiss from him to you.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:59 am |
      • Woody

        Bill Gates!!! I knew it, I knew it.

        May 23, 2014 at 10:38 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        OZZY!!! How is Ozzy not on this list!!!??

        And that one Teletubby....

        May 23, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Tinky Winky is an abomination, not an anti-christ.
          I think it more likely that Ozzy is possessed by demons, given how he speaks in tongues.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:30 am |
  16. tallulah131

    Oh, just stop it. No one is watching. No one cares.

    May 22, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
  17. hotairace

    I must have missed Pope-A-Dope's announcement that his cult is going to cooperate fully with every investigation into priestly pedophilia and the criminals that covered up child abuse. This fucker is just another in a long line of charlatans. What is he hiding?

    May 22, 2014 at 9:50 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I heard the opposite...that he told the Bishops in Italy that they are not required to cooperate in investigations. They can use their 'discretion'.

      May 22, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
      • hotairace

        That's certainly consistent with their behavior. Pope-A-Dope must be hiding something.

        May 22, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
    • Reality

      The RCC leadership is not alone in covering up priestly abuses. The BSA, Jewish leaders, Jehovah Witnesses and the Southern Baptist Convention have been covering up analogous abuses for decades. And then there are family leaders who have been covering for their members as over 50% of pedophilia cases involve married men.

      May 22, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
      • cyprian2

        "Reality", that just goes to show how pervasive the fallen, sinful human condition is,and the REALITY of that condition!-Hello!!!

        May 23, 2014 at 2:32 am |
  18. Akira

    I like this Pope.

    May 22, 2014 at 9:18 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I think he talks a good game and that is about it. He has done nothing to make actual meaningful changes.

      May 22, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I like him too.

      May 23, 2014 at 10:41 am |
  19. Vic

    While I appreciate the symbolism, for it shows good faith in this case, I believe the differences are of complex ideological nature that cannot be reconciled.

    As a Christian, I believe that all can be reconciled into one body to God ONLY in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    John 10:14-18
    "14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”"

    Ephesians 2:14-16
    "14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity."

    All Scripture Is From:

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation


    May 22, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
    • Madtown

      ONLY in the Lord Jesus Christ.
      "That seems to leave me out of the party. But, God created me also, so what's up?"

      – Bob, your friend in the Amazon rainforest jungle

      May 22, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
    • Reality

      As per many contemporary NT scholars, John's gospel is historically nil. Details previously given.

      And the Epistle to the Ephesians was not written by Paul but by a pseudo-Paul and therefore it has no divine guidance.

      May 22, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
  20. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    It's Pope-apalooza time.

    May 22, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The last Pope Francis piece was April 25, 27 days with no Pope Francis stories is a long time for the Belief Blog.

      May 22, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
      • new-man

        don't know about you, but for once I find it a welcome break from the previous articles.

        May 22, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
      • tallulah131

        I'm sure we'll get four or five fluff pieces about the pope in the next couple of days to make up for it.

        May 22, 2014 at 10:34 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.