Stop being surprised that the pope is not your friend


All last week I had to listen to reporters falling all over themselves to praise Pope Francis’s performance in front of Congress. And then Francis had a private meeting with prominent anti-gay activist Kim Davis, and all of a sudden everyone is feeling confused and betrayed.

I feel the need to remind people occasionally that you should be listening to The Non-Prophets, because we’ve talked plenty about Pope Francis’ “progressive” persona, and we’ve been openly skeptical of him since the beginning. So here’s your reminder, because even Bill Maher used to gush about this guy:

I think the pope might be an atheist like I think Obama is. He said this week, ‘Pope Frank’ said the Lord has redeemed all of us, not just Catholics, even the atheists. And I was like, I’m going to book my flight to heaven right now.

The fact is that the Catholic Church was not ever becoming as progressive as anyone media seemed to think. On day 1, the pope hired a PR guy who used to work for Fox News. No, seriously, read all about it here. Francis was really good at saying platitudes that sounded like forward movement on certain issues, but were really just repackaging of traditional Catholic dogma.

So for instance, Francis would say something like this:

If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?

Which sounds really nice and open minded, except that a few days later some Bishops scurried up behind him to “clarify” this remark:

Pope Francis’ remarks reiterate Catholic teaching that the Church is open to all people, including those with same-sex attractions, but homosexual activity is contrary to the Gospel of Christ — just as all sexual activity outside of marriage would be. A priest must be able to live a healthy, celibate lifestyle, whether or not he has ever experienced same-sex attractions.

Which is absolutely nothing new! What did you think that “love the sinner but hate the sin” stuff was that you’ve been hearing from every Christian, ever? It means that we are all fallen, depraved, unclean, terrible… but don’t worry. By accepting the salvation of Jesus, you can be forgiven. Homosexuality is still bad, but the pope’s not the judge of that. God’s going to judge you. Just recognize that it’s a sin.

Let’s try another one!

The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all!

I don’t even need to a link to decipher that one, do I? Oh all right, here’s catholicism.org’s Brian Kelly.

If you read the article here you will see that the Pope was simply reminded the faithful that there can be, and is, goodness, or natural virtue, outside the Church. And that Christ’s death on the Cross redeemed all men. He paid the price so that every man could come to God and be saved. If Catholic Online is insinuating that Pope Francis has “reformed” the irreformable dogma, outside the Church there is no salvation, then that is shameful and disingenuous.

Again… the Pope was not saying anything new. He was just reiterating the standard church doctrine that atheists can be saved once they become Christians. Remind me how this was revolutionary, again?

Okay, I’m gonna give this one more shot. “Pope Francis says all priests can forgive women who’ve had abortions!” screamed the headlines.

Pope Francis shook up the Catholic world — again — on Tuesday by announcing that priests around the world will be authorized to forgive the “sin of abortion” when the church begins a “Year of Mercy” this December.

“The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented,” the Pope said, adding that he has met “many women” scarred by the “agonizing and painful” decision to have an abortion.

Francis’ announcement will give all priests full authority to absolve Catholics contrite about their role in a procedure that the church considers a grave “moral evil.” In the United States, many priests already have that power, but Vatican officials portrayed Tuesday’s announcement as “a widening of the church’s mercy.”

Are you seeing the pattern yet? Pope Francis didn’t “shake up the Catholic world.” He didn’t “widen the church’s mercy.” All he did was repeat the fact that if you are a sinner — which you definitely are — you can be forgiven by acknowledging and confessing your sins to priests. And hopefully giving them money. That is essential Catholic doctrine, and has been for many centuries. Come on!

But the things he regards as sins are the same old tired social issues that right wing Christians in this country all hold dear. When you come right down to it, the bottom line is that in the eyes of the Vatican, you are a bad person if you have abortions. Or have sexual relations with people of the same sex. Or deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. All Francis has ever said is that as long as you admit that these things make you bad, and you tell a priest that you are very, very sorry, then you may be forgiven and still go to heaven. That’s it. Business as usual.

But I don’t admit that any of those things are bad, so the Catholic church is still wrong on all counts. Are we on the same page here?

One silver lining in all this is: It’s very good news indeed that the Catholics recognize that the social climate of the modern world has shifted beneath them. Pope Francis doesn’t really hold progressive ideas, but he does at least recognize that he has to pander to progressives. That means that we’re gaining ground; traditional church positions are not culturally acceptable to many people anymore, and they know it. But Francis gets zero credit for causing that cultural shift. He’s just trying to cram Catholic doctrine into a package that is more palatable to people. Don’t fall for it.

Comments

  1. BogStandardAtheist says

    Whenever shit hits the fan, a new CEO is appointed. This one is a media whore saying the right things, and he even looks the part. The only thing missing is a beard, red jacket and reindeer. Lovely man, what a humanitarian using all the money the church has to cure world hunger and poverty. Oh, no sorry. I thought he did because he’s said some wonderful things. I could almost forget about the child rape, murder and genocide his organisation has done over the years. It’s amazing how the Catholic church has done the unthinkable (and them some) and STILL they come out smelling of roses. This PR guy they’ve hired must be getting a seat next to Jesus. Maybe Volkswagen could hire him.

  2. otrame says

    I tried to explain this to a poor dude on Youtube recently (yes, I know, but I get a case of SIWOTI real bad sometimes). He kept taling about how “liberal” Francis was. “More liberal than most American Liberals!” Yes. That is a direct quote. Sometimes the stupid burns in a text pattern so you never forget.

    I finally told him “Look, he’s said all this stuff. What has he DONE? What has he CHANGED?” The answer is nothing, of course. He’s better at the PR than old Palpatine. But then, almost everyone in the world is.

  3. StonedRanger says

    My mother I Puerto Rican and was raised by a stern catholic father. When she married my father she was ex-communicated from the church because my father was not a catholic. That was in 1946. Her first child was a boy who was born dead. When the priest came to tell her that her son had been born dead she asked him if the baby would go to heaven. The priest told her ‘No. The baby never knew jesus so he would spend eternity in purgatory. Neither in heaven nor hell.’ She told me that story when I was eight or nine. That’s when I knew the catholic church was bullshit if for no other reason than that in my mind, no one could say that to women whose first child was still born something like that. He couldn’t out of compassion lie to her and tell her her baby would go to heaven? I wanted no part of anything that could be that cruel. I look at this pope and nod and smile when people gush about how great he is. Same person, different clothes.

  4. mond says

    Kudos to the Non Prophets posse.
    They have called out the papal PR bullshit from the very beginning.
    Not a single piece of doctrine has changed and is likely to change any time soon.

  5. Jay Dee says

    I’m not so sure. I think he may have progressive ideas, but whether he desires to or is able to do anything about them are other questions. I think anyone who expected the latter possibilities to occur tomorrow was seriously deluding themselves, but I still think it’s a positive development. Change doesn’t often happen overnight in an organization like the Catholic church, but change can and does happen. I don’t expect it to ever be a liberal bastion, but I think Francis represents that it’s moving in a generally positive direction. It’s not like the Catholic Church is just going to disappear tomorrow or in our lifetimes. If I get one ace in a crappy poker hand the hand still sucks, but I have some cause for optimism at least.

  6. =8)-DX says

    Two good things he’s waffled on are climate change and the poor. But still no significant change nin RCC doctrine there: poverty and disaster to be averted by snatching away women’s (and men’s) contraception, legislating forced birth and everyone becoming Catholic.

    He had a bash or two at big corporations, but that’s about it.

  7. mond says

    @ Jay Dee.

    Just don’t see this ‘moving in a positive direction’ and ‘ace in a crappy poker hand’.

    The church as a institution has been and currently is in the business of promoting many harmful ideas and practices, just because the head man is a bit more personable that the previous incumbent doesn’t change that.
    The catholic church is a weird paradox. Socially very conservative. But politically fairly liberal.
    The gay is bad but save the world from global warming. No contraception but be evolution real.
    If liberals and conservatives ignore the bit they don’t like then the church is just wonderful.
    .

  8. L.Long says

    It is easy to evaluate the nature and value of the RCC & pope! They have SAID many things, so what!!!! They have NOT DONE ANYTHING NEW to solve ANY real problems!!!
    Has the dimwit said condoms are useful to reduce disease? No? Wow! Am i surprised.

  9. says

    “All last week I had to listen to reporters falling all over themselves to praise Pope Francis’s performance in front of Congress.” you

    No you didn’t. Don’t listen.

    She has every right to follow her conscience as each one of us does and he was correct to honor her willingness to do so.

    At close range in St Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca, a former member of a Turkish far right group known as the Grey Wolves, shot Karol Józef Wojtyła four times narrowly missing his heart. After 5 hours of surgery, he survived the attempt on his life and forgave Agca, seeking his release from prison.
    Agca became a christian and years later placed two bunches of white roses at his tomb.

    I do agree that it was a riot to see people who detest god, prayer, forgiveness, holiness and brotherly love get swept up in teenage-like hysteria over some aged human symbol who strives to live a life representing just about everything they hate, all to pump up arbitron and nielsen ratings to sell air time to the highest bidder.

  10. says

    “He had a bash or two at big corporations, but that’s about it.”
    =8)-DX says

    On his last day in the United States, Jorge Mario Bergoglio tried to comfort inmates inside this city’s largest prison, telling them “that confinement is not the same thing as exclusion.”

    Meeting with about 100 inmates and their families in a cinder-block gymnasium at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, Bergoglio implored Americans to remember prisoners, who are part of his global mission to tend to the poor, forgotten and neglected.

  11. mond says

    This is not original to me but I like this quote and it applies to the pope and his criminal organisation

    “If you can convince the world that you are an early riser,
    then you can sleep until midday, every day.”

  12. Jay Dee says

    @mond You may be right Mond, but I think you may underestimate the degree to which Catholics are influenced by the pope. The more liberal ideas the pope espouses, the better. Even if they are mamby-pamby faux-yet-liberal-sounding ideas, I think it will tend to have an effect over time. Maybe this analogy is better. When I woke up there was a monster standing there that kept make threatening noises and peeing in my African violets. It won’t go away no matter how hard I hope it might and I know it’s going to be there every morning when i wake up whatever I do. If one day it starts saying nice things to me, my plants will still keep dying, but hey maybe it will start listening to reason a bit more. No Francis worshiping from me, but I’ll take the nice sentiments and be just a little more optimistic than I was yesterday.

  13. mond says

    @ Jay Dee

    On the monster analogy. There seems to be disconnect between the monster saying nice things and it starting to listen to reason. One does not necessarily follow from the other.

    The monster adopting the say nice things strategy may allow for more successful monstering.

  14. says

    “Lovely man, what a humanitarian using all the money the church has to cure world hunger and poverty.”

    How much charity work have you done compared to the organization for whom he works?

  15. Monocle Smile says

    @urkidding
    Let’s examine this.
    – Funding the construction of churches is not charity.
    – Running hospitals that refuse to perform essential medical services for the worst reasons is not charity.
    – Opening adoption agencies that would rather close up shop and screw over the kids than follow the law is not charity.
    – Sending missionaries to third-world countries to spread lies about contraception and drastically increase the spread of AIDS is not charity.
    – Using donated funds to protect and hide child-raping priests is not charity.

    The Catholic church has effectively done jack shit to alleviate world hunger and poverty, especially in proportion to its wealth and influence. I still have no clue what your first post means, either.

  16. says

    You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

    Who can live up to that standard and who in the hell does this guy think he is demanding that people must achieve the impossible in order to qualify for heaven?

  17. Jay swanso says

    His PR man was a good hire, i was convinced that this pope was going to change some things with a liberal leaning yet all of his messages have led to no action. I was happy to hear him accuse bishops of hiding pedophile priests and am waiting for some priests to be tried in court and sent to prison along with the enabling bishops, i have no faith that this is what the pope intends, just a feel good sound byte.

  18. corwyn says

    ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    Am I the only one who hears the subtext of “So, might as well go for it.”

    I have never understood how this was supposed to be a force for good behavior.

  19. raefn says

    urkidding @ #9 wrote: She has every right to follow her conscience as each one of us does and he was correct to honor her willingness to do so.

    Not in this case. As a representative of the government, she MUST be neutral about religion when she is at work. She is not allowed to deny anyone services that they are legally entitled to receive. If she does anything else, she is breaking the law.

    If her conscience forbids her from putting her name on those marriage licenses, then the only recourse she has is to resign her post. Her religion does not place her above the law.

  20. says

    “I have never understood how this was supposed to be a force for good behavior.”

    It wasn’t. It was intended to demonstrate the utter futility of trying to be good.

  21. says

    “If her conscience forbids her from putting her name on those marriage licenses, then the only recourse she has is to resign her post. Her religion does not place her above the law.”

    Her recourse is to go to jail. Her conscience belongs to her and she is free to base her life on it. Her belief in god and/or to follow a “religion” is her constitutionally protected right as an American.

  22. says

    Who can live up to that standard and who in the hell does this guy think he is demanding that people must achieve the impossible in order to qualify for heaven?

    The question was, Who? Not why or what was his motivation. Who, who? was this guy not only to to think of such a thing but to go around telling people that? From where did he derive such an unusual, esoteric concept and the brazenness and conviction that he needed to announce it to people wherever he went? The leaders of religious practices weren’t saying things like that, we know, because they were astounded by him.

  23. says

    “Lovely man, what a humanitarian using all the money the church has to cure world hunger and poverty.”

    How much charity work have you done compared to the organization for which he works?

    That is the question. You who are without sin, you, yes you, be the first to shell him with all you’ve got.

  24. StonedRanger says

    @urkidding #9
    I don’t detest your god or any god, I just don’t believe it exists. I don’t detest things that haven’t been shown to exist. The same with prayer, I you want to waste time talking to yourself I have no issue with that. Why would I? I don’t detest prayer either. I am all for forgiveness. The only difference between us on this is that when I seek forgiveness its from the people ive harmed not some vague promise of an afterlife. I realize when ive harmed others I need to do better by them not a god in order to be forgiven. I don’t know what you mean by holiness. And last but not least, I am definitely in favor of brotherly love although not the brand that is purportedly practiced by most religions Catholicism included. The selective brand that they practice is hard pressed to truly be called brotherly love when it excludes so many.

    As to what Ive done, I spent five years doing volunteer work helping the sick, injured and dying find support and help getting the medicine that helps them live. Six days a week at least six hours a day. No monetary remuneration. I helped them and they helped me in ways that I didn’t foresee in the beginning. What have you done sir? Your lying characterization of atheists is nothing short of shameful, and you trying to compare yourself to your head holy guy is , hell I don’t know what it is, mind boggling I guess.

  25. Monocle Smile says

    @urkidding
    I responded to your question, but your cowardice has apparently caused you to ignore all of my posts.

  26. says

    Your hatred for him destroys you and those you love.

    “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.”

    You who are without sin, you, yes you, be the first to shell him with all you’ve got.

    And you obliged.

    Now, because you claim by your actions to be without sin, having hurled invectives at others, your soul, you, your essence, is in the worst danger possible. Of all the precarious positions, you are in what is by far the most treacherous.

  27. says

    “All last week I had to listen to reporters falling all over themselves to praise Pope Francis’s performance in front of Congress.” some atheist

    No you didn’t. You didn’t have to listen to a word they spoke.

    She has every right to follow her conscience as each one of us does and he was correct to honor her willingness to do so.

    At close range in St Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca, a former member of a Turkish far right group known as the Grey Wolves, shot Karol Józef Wojtyła four times narrowly missing his heart. After 5 hours of surgery, he survived the attempt on his life and forgave Agca, seeking his release from prison.
    Agca became a christian and years later placed two bunches of white roses at his tomb.

    I do agree that it was a riot to see people who detest god, prayer, forgiveness, holiness and brotherly love get swept up in teenage-like hysteria over some aged human symbol who strives to live a life representing just about everything they hate, all to pump up arbitron and nielsen ratings to sell air time to the highest bidder.

    I don’t have time to keep correcting folks. So, I can’t promise to expend much more energy here. Nothing personal. For example, when I agreed with a poster that the media was making quite a spectacle of themselves, it was toward them I directed my apropos critique and not to or at all atheists. From the text it is quite obvious and I need not have to explain that. Most atheists are not being paid to drum up demos to influence commercial rates for making market buys.

  28. says

    some context re kim davis: though elective, kim’s post was previously held by her mom while kim’s son currently works in the office. for the davises, this is about protecting nepotism and patronage. this is the family business we’re talking about — basically the maximum grift and influence her family can aspire to with minimum effort — so resigning in dignity is not an option.

    but “religious freedom” sounds so much sexier, don’ it?

  29. says

    I do agree that it was a riot to see people who detest god, prayer, forgiveness, holiness and brotherly love get swept up in teenage-like hysteria over some aged human symbol who strives to live a life representing just about everything they hate, all to pump up arbitron and nielsen ratings to sell air time to the highest bidder.

    You really are breathtakingly stupid. If you’re referring to our show, it’s an internet stream. Nielsen and Arbitron ratings don’t apply, nor do we sell ad time.

  30. Monocle Smile says

    @urkidding
    You repeated the baffling story from your first post, and I still don’t know why. It appears to be utterly irrelevant.
    Most of that entire post is copied and pasted, so you expended a negligible amount of time.
    Also, I seriously doubt your time is valuable.

  31. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Her recourse is to go to jail. Her conscience belongs to her and she is free to base her life on it. Her belief in god and/or to follow a “religion” is her constitutionally protected right as an American.

    Or resign. Resigning works too.

    And just like any other American elected representative, they are expected to do their duties in accordance with constitutional principles when those principles contradict their religious principles, and like any other citizen, she can cooperate, resign, or go to prison.

    How much charity work have you done compared to the organization for whom he works?

    I’ve voted against the party that wants to end food stamps. Fucking food stamps. The Republican policy would have people starve. Has the pope come out publicly in favor of food stamps and admonished the Republican party? I think no. Thus, I declare moral victory.

    Now, because you claim by your actions to be without sin, having hurled invectives at others, your soul, you, your essence, is in the worst danger possible. Of all the precarious positions, you are in what is by far the most treacherous.

    I do not recognize “sin” as a moral concept. The Christian doctrine of the crucifixion – redemption-by-proxy – is morally repugnant. The core Christian teaching is morally abominable.

    The redemption-by-proxy doctrine makes sense only on the supposition that sin is a substance that one accrues as one does bad things, and that it is just and necessary to punish those with sin. In other words, it rests on the supposition that we should punish criminals for no other reason than they are criminals. In other words, it rests on the supposition of the retributive theory of justice. The retributive theory of justiec morally abhorrent, and so is sin, and thus so is the crucifixition, and thus so is the whole Christian enterprise.

    Allow me to make myself perfectly clear. If it was within my power, I would give Hitler the best eternal afterlife that he could want, subject to the conditions that he could not harm others, and my ability to confidently guarnatee this, and assuming I lose little to no deterrence value by doing so. (Plus a few other considerations – this is the short version.)

    Someone once make the rhetorical point that if their child was killed, they would be more than happy to torture the person, kill them, bring them back to life to do it all over again, but after a dozen times, even the most hardened-yet-reasonable person would say “that’s enough, stop it”. We should not punish in retaliation. That kind of thinking is barbaric, and we should move beyond it. Christian redemption is barbaric. Your religion is barbaric. Your morality is barbaric.

  32. says

    The question, who was he that demanded such purity of the human heart? From where did he get that concept and why did he proclaim it? remains unanswered. Why?

    You are absolutely correct. His cross is repugnant to those who reject him.

  33. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The question, who was he that demanded such purity of the human heart? From where did he get that concept and why did he proclaim it? remains unanswered. Why?

    You are absolutely correct. His cross is repugnant to those who reject him.

    Jesus was almost certainly just a normal non-magic man whose acts were greatly exaggerated over time (or he didn’t exist at all – see the work of Richard Carrier). A very large part of the gospels is fiction invented to serve for religious-political purposes. Your question relies on the assumption that the gospels are in any way reliable, and I reject that assumption, and I assert the opposite.

  34. says

    The question, who was he that demanded such purity of the human heart? From where did he get that concept and why did he proclaim it? remains unanswered. Why?

    Jesus was almost certainly just a normal non-magic man whose acts were greatly exaggerated over time (or he didn’t exist at all

    How do you know?

  35. says

    Jesus was almost certainly just a normal non-magic man whose acts were greatly exaggerated over time (or he didn’t exist at all – see the work of Richard Carrier). A very large part of the gospels is fiction invented to serve for religious-political purposes. Your question relies on the assumption that the gospels are in any way reliable, and I reject that assumption, and I assert the opposite.

    BTW, why do you mention jesus, at all? I didn’t.

  36. Monocle Smile says

    @urkidding
    Are you even comprehending what’s being said? Most of your posts are total non sequiturs and some of them don’t even parse. We’re trying to communicate and you’re trying to ignore us, it seems.

  37. says

    October 5, 2015 at 8:24 pm
    “A very large part of the gospels is fiction invented to serve for religious-political purposes.”

    Well, maybe so, but, who said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. “’If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.'” Who?

  38. says

    “EnlightenmentLiberal” I asked you a question and Monocle answered.

    You said, “Your question relies on the assumption that the gospels are in any way reliable, and I reject that assumption, and I assert the opposite.”

    But not non sequitur

  39. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Well, maybe so, but, who said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. “’If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.’” Who?

    You know that I know who is purported to have said that. Your question and feigned upset for me not answering the question – that is disingenuous.

    I also don’t care who said that because it’s equal parts good advice, bad advice, and pizza. For example, there is no hell, so any advice that talks about avoiding hell is bad advice because it’s based on a false premise.

  40. says

    Whether what he said was good, bad or indifferent, you recognized the individual’s words even though he wasn’t identified. That is fascinating. His words, 2,000 years after he spoke them, are instantly attributed to a non-magician. This character, who may or may not have lived, but was definitely mostly referred to in a fictional story, spoke and you know what he said.

  41. StonedRanger says

    @urkidding #45
    So what? You recognize that the bible is fiction the same as we do. Whats your point? I know passages from a book about spiderman, does that mean it has any bearing on the current conversation? People ask you questions, and you act as if nothing was said. You are not interested in having a conversation, all you are doing is quoting a book of fiction. I ask again, so what? Yes, we all recognize what is purported to be the words of jesus, because guess what? We read your book too. We don’t agree with it, don’t think it has any basis in fact so whats your point? You keep posting the same thing but you wont actually answer us. You havent made any gotcha points here. Your pope is a man. Chosen by other men to pretend he knows whats on gods mind, but the truth is he is just a mouthpiece for the church. You aren’t here to have an actual conversation, you just want to point at your book and try to shame us. Not going to work. How about answering my question from my post #26? I answered yours.

  42. Wizard Suth says

    His words, 2,000 years after he spoke them, are instantly attributed to a non-magician.

    Q: Who said, “The square of the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides”?

    A: Pythagoras, who lived more than 2500 years ago. His statement has been proven correct. Can you say the same for any of the supernatural claims made about Jesus?

    Claims should be evaluated on their merits, not on their age, popularity, or alleged source.

  43. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @urkidding
    I also know who said “the die is cast” even though it’s also been about two thousand years, and I know who said it, in what context, and it also had a huge effect on the direction of western civilization to this day. Many people know that (though perhaps not as much those who know Jesus).

    tl;dr The story of Jesus is amazingly popular, and it’s had a profound impact on western civilization. What’s your point?

  44. says

    At close range in St Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca, a former member of a Turkish far right group known as the Grey Wolves, shot Karol Józef Wojtyła four times narrowly missing his heart. After 5 hours of surgery, he survived the attempt on his life and forgave Agca, seeking his release from prison. Agca became a christian and years later placed two bunches of white roses at his tomb

    They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

    For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’

    The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’

    But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

  45. says

    Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” [Lk 13:2-5]

    The ruins are a circular foundation approximately 6 metres across— wikipedia

  46. Monocle Smile says

    @urkidding
    I’m increasingly bewildered by your posts.

    @others
    Is this better or worse than steele?

  47. says

    Q: Who said, “The square of the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides”?
    A: Pythagoras, who lived more than 2500 years ago. His statement has been proven correct. Can you say the same for any of the supernatural claims made about Jesus?
    Claims should be evaluated on their merits, not on their age, popularity, or alleged source.

    Pythagoras was real, not like the one who spoke the words you recognized, at least that’s what was said. To me, it is fascinating that these words, and thousands more, spoken by a non-magician, in a fictionalized story, stand out as they do, 2000 years after they were said. To me, that is remarkable.

    I’ve noticed that he stirs up trouble everywhere. Folks get very uncomfortable, often times, just mentioning his words or actions. It seems he is either hated with great bitterness or he’s loved and admired; little neutral ground for him.

    When anyone is condemned, as you have condemned Jorge Mario Bergoglio, (at least many of you have) I wonder why he chose such a despicable lifestyle. Why does someone choose a life of crime, especially at such a high level? Why did he do so many horrible things? What in his background (or was it simply genetics) that influenced him to deny women’s medical needs, to head a massive criminal enterprise, to deprive hungry children of food, to cheat corporations and feign concern for the poor and the prisoner? I don’t know the answer. I don’t think that’s what he set out to do with his life. Maybe, even as he is berated, we could look closer at the experiences he had, just to try to understand what pushed him into a life of crime, as we often do with mobsters and serial killers.

    “A very large part of the gospels is fiction invented to serve for religious-political purposes.”

    Why do you say that?

  48. says

    “The story of Jesus is amazingly popular, and it’s had a profound impact on western civilization. What’s your point?”

    It is fun to learn what people think about him and why. I have a lot of curiosity. Like, how did this guy have such a profound impact on Western civilization when he was just a fictional/political dude and no one knows what he said or what he was about?

  49. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’ve noticed that he stirs up trouble everywhere. Folks get very uncomfortable, often times, just mentioning his words or actions. It seems he is either hated with great bitterness or he’s loved and admired; little neutral ground for him.

    We’re getting annoyed because you’re wasting our time. Do you have a point?

    How would you feel if I started reciting the script of a Star Trek episode? You would feel bewildered, wouldn’t you? Also, odds are that the Star Trek episode does a better job teaching a moral lesson than the bible.

  50. Monocle Smile says

    In addition to the multiple unnecessary sock accounts, why are you here? If you don’t want to have a discussion, you should piss off, because that’s what this forum is for.

  51. says

    You’re waiting for more but you’ve already had your share
    The witch’s promise is turning
    So don’t you wait up for him, he’s going to be late

  52. says

    “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…”
    No man or woman qualifies as the mediator between god and mankind, except one, so the Catholic Church is wrong.

    “… the social climate of the modern world has shifted beneath them. Pope Francis doesn’t really hold progressive ideas, but he does at least recognize that he has to pander to progressives. That means that we’re gaining ground; traditional church positions are not culturally acceptable to many people anymore, and they know it.”

    I am not a Catholic. Just remember, as you proclaim that you are gaining ground on traditional church positions, that throngs of people shouted in one voice demanding that a carpenter’s son die a criminal’s death having been found guilty no crime. Many who chose to follow him were murdered as well. Society’s mores come and go. True followers of his often experience contempt by their peers and their surrounding communities and the culture in general. Despising him and the faithful is a sign of genuine discipleship. Rejoice and be glad, says he.

  53. Monocle Smile says

    @urkidding
    You DO know that there’s no evidence any of that actually happened, right? And that we in fact have good reason to think those parts of the story were straight-up invented?
    I still don’t get it. Either you’re a weirdo or you’re fucking with us.

  54. says

    I don’t know what you physicists think about entanglement, but it is now pretty well accepted among your colleagues. IOW, Einstein was wrong and the consequences are staggering. Spooky action at a distance, indeed! Teleportation may very well be the next quantum leap and it may not be that far off. Star Trek here we come.

    The NYTs, “Entanglement concerns the behavior of tiny particles, such as electrons, that have interacted in the past and then moved apart. Tickle one particle here, by measuring one of its properties — its position, momentum or “spin” — and its partner should dance, instantaneously, no matter how far away the second particle has traveled.

    The key word is “instantaneously.” The entangled particles could be separated across the galaxy, and somehow, according to quantum theory, measurements on one particle should affect the behavior of the far-off twin faster than light could have traveled between them.

    The evidence for something so beyond our comprehension flashes across the universe entirely outside of space time, at least according to the most advanced theories proposed by quantum mechanics.

    Witches make promises they don’t keep and that don’t arrive exactly at the moment we expect them. Poof! They vanish

  55. says

    The legends (worded in
    the ancient tribal hymn)
    lie cradled in the seagull’s call.
    And all the promises they made are ground beneath the sadist’s fall.

    And all the promises they made are ground beneath the sadist’s fall.

  56. says

    “By accepting the salvation of Jesus, you can be forgiven. Homosexuality is still bad, but the pope’s not the judge of that. God’s going to judge you. Just recognize that it’s a sin.”

    Why did this guy say that he could forgive sin? Who did he think he was to travel around town telling people that through him, their sins, no matter how big and horrible, were forgiven, through him, then and there? What kind of person does that?

  57. says

    Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    Who (what fictional character) came up with those silly thoughts? Why persecute a fictional character–or some kind of nut–who for some strange reason thought he merited being singled out for harassment and those foolish enough to think he was worth following? You’d have to be a little “out there” to believe you were that special, or to create such a ridiculous figure, especially two thousand years ago when just surviving each day was an arduous task.

    All “because of Me” as if he thought his fame would spread, because he was just such a big deal; he considered himself to be just so terribly important? He was kidding, right? This guy had to be more than just your average, run of the mill narcissist.

  58. StonedRanger says

    Dear urkidding:
    Aside from the one on top of your head, do you have a point?

    Sincerely,
    Everyone else

  59. says

    I must admit I’m fascinated to see just where urkidding’s stream of barely-consciousness ramblings will go next. I’m hoping for some e.e.cummings-style free verse where the words form a shape on the page.

  60. says

    Who? Who would tell others if you lust in your heart, you’ve already done the deed? Was he suggesting, obviously, that he lived above the crowd? Had he never had lust in is heart? How would anyone know whether or not someone is lusting? And, I don’t mean “who” as in a name. But, “who” in his right mind says stuff like that?

    No wonder they killed him, even though he never committed a crime. I guess they had lust in their hearts and they weren’t about to let some unknown straggler tell them anything about religion. But, I don’t see him discussing religious stuff. He was talking about the contents, the motivations, that live inside the heart of man. Like, “Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.…” which isn’t a religion.

  61. corwyn says

    “even though he never committed a crime.”

    The police blotter lists:
    1) Destruction of private property (2001 counts)
    2) Assault (multiple counts)
    3) Terrorism
    4) Blaspemy

  62. says

    He didn’t have one thin dime. No where to lay his head. No military power. He offended both secular and religious leaders. He healed sick people on the Sabbath. He said the holy things of God were made for man, not man for holy things. He said all men were sailors until the sea would free them and only drowning men could see him. His wisdom sinks inside you like a stone.

  63. says

    “Theists are essentially the unquestioning gestapo of whatever monster

    manufactured the universe. Or rather, whatever monster some men

    made up and duped them into thinking it made the universe. Which

    means, they are essentially the gestapo of whatever random ignorant

    madmen wrote their scriptures and now thumps their pulpits with

    sufficiently fiery claims of special divine communications at bedtime.”

    I thought a Columbia PhD in ancient history would proffer serious,

    astute, mature and intellectually honest conclusions in this context.

    Humor doesn’t describe the work either, it is so rudimentary. I was

    hoping for something genuinely stimulating and insightful.

    And lest we forget, that’s the Jesus who has nothing to say against

    slavery or the subjugation and disenfranchisement of women or the

    execution of homosexuals, other than, at best, that you shouldn’t invite

    sluts and homos to legally murder the sluts and homos because that

    would be hypocritical (John 7:52-8:11, a forgery)

  64. JD and Co. says

    @Urkidding #38

    Jesus was almost certainly just a normal non-magic man whose acts were greatly exaggerated over time (or he didn’t exist at all
    How do you know?

    Okay, I’ll bite. I can’t answer for Monocle Smile or anyone else here, but here’s the shortened version
    from my perspective.

    The New Testament was written in a superstitious Bronze Age rife with people who claimed to be the messiah.
    The first gospels were written forty years after the supposed event and the first one (The Gospel according to
    Mark) didn’t mention any miracles or resurrection. The other gospels were certainly written based on this, and
    embellished on it. Not to mention, the originals are long lost, written by people who most likely never met him,
    due to the average mortality rate at the time and the lapse between the actual event and the writing. No other
    non-canonical source which dates from that time mentions him–and if he really did do miracles and rise from the
    dead, etc., I would expect there would be gazillions. Many people cite Richard Carrier but the article that
    impressed me the most was http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm where Jim Walker talks about what makes for
    authentic historicity and how the Bible fails at it.

    All of the above doesn’t mean I would categorically state that I think the New Testament was a fraud, but it’s
    enough for me to pretty much dismiss out of hand. When someone comes along and presents some hot new evidence
    that Jesus as the Son of God actually existed on earth around 33 CE., then I’ll reconsider.

    You’re impressed that Jesus seemed to have made such a stir? Well, so did Mohammed. Does that mean Islam is
    true?

    You have also noted that people who claim to not believe in him get mad about it? Well I think that if everyone
    around you belonged to the Magic Religion of the Tooth Fairy, based laws on it and discriminated against large
    swaths of people because of it, you’d be pretty mad too. Much more articulate people than I have spoken about
    it, my favorite being Greta Christina “Why are you atheist so angry” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUI_ML1qkQE.

    But enough about me…why do *you* think the Bible is true?

  65. says

    “The New Testament was written in a superstitious Bronze Age rife with people who claimed to be the messiah.”

    Therefore?

    “The first gospels were written forty years after the supposed event…”

    Proof? And, therefore?

    “…the first one (The Gospel according to
    Mark) didn’t mention any miracles or resurrection.”

    Are you sure?

    Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.

    But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”

    So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

    Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. (Does anyone here wrestle with his/her personal demons?) She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

    After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.

    Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

  66. says

    At close range in St Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca, a former member of a Turkish far right group known as the Grey Wolves, shot Karol Józef Wojtyła four times narrowly missing his heart. After 5 hours of surgery, he survived the attempt on his life and forgave Agca, seeking his release from prison. Agca became a christian and years later placed two bunches of white roses at his tomb.

    Karol, now deceased, was the head of a massive criminal enterprise devoted to depriving children of food and women of low-cost, life-saving surgery, and of spending vast sums on constructing ornate buildings in the name of charity. His efforts to free from prison the man who shot him at close range four times?

    He who lusts after a woman in his heart has already committed adultery with her.

    Who can live up to that standard and who in the hell does this guy think he is demanding that people must achieve the impossible in order to qualify for heaven?

    Who? A fictional character created for religious-political purposes submitting his conviction to and for all the world to see and to understand the need for absolute purity within our hearts.

    And just like any other American elected representative, they are expected to do their duties in accordance with constitutional principles when those principles contradict their religious principles, and like any other citizen, she can cooperate, resign, or go to prison.

    Ghandi preached civil disobedience. Nazis were bound by a universal moral code not to murder innocent Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and the mentally infirmed, despite what their laws required.

    I do not recognize “sin” as a moral concept. The Christian doctrine of the crucifixion – redemption-by-proxy – is morally repugnant. The core Christian teaching is morally abominable.

    Is stealing sin? Is murder? Is slander? Rape? Is lusting for women? (Jimmy Carter thought so and dealt with his lust by confessing (owning) it.

    The question was/is, who was he that demanded such purity of the human heart? From where did he get that concept and why did he proclaim it?

    His cross is repugnant to those who reject him. Its stench lingers and reminds those who don’t know him of the stale aroma of death and the dying.

  67. Monocle Smile says

    @gibbering fool
    That ending of Mark is a known forgery. We have early versions of Mark where that ending does not appear. Some early church fathers in the third century actually knew it was a forgery already, like Origen.

    I’m still mostly perplexed by your posts.

  68. says

    urkidding:

    Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

    Uh, which of the four conflicting versions of the resurrection story are you referring to?

    If you’re reduced to nothing but preaching at this point, dude, it might be a good idea to leave. That didn’t work on us in Sunday School, and why you think regurgitating the same stories we’ve all heard a million times will be more persuasive to us in these blog comments is a mystery.

  69. says

    “That ending of Mark is a known forgery.”

    Proof?

    “If you’re reduced to nothing but preaching at this point, dude, it might be a good idea to leave.”

    “The redemption-by-proxy doctrine makes sense only on the supposition that sin is a substance that one accrues as one does bad things, and that it is just and necessary to punish those with sin. In other words, it rests on the supposition that we should punish criminals for no other reason than they are criminals. In other words, it rests on the supposition of the retributive theory of justice. The retributive theory of justiec morally abhorrent, and so is sin, and thus so is the crucifixition, and thus so is the whole Christian enterprise.” EnlightenmentLiberal

    Who disagrees that EnlightenmentLiberal earnestly advocates her belief above? Anyone?

  70. JD and Co. says

    @79 Martin,

    To be fair, I think he was responding to my assertion that The Gospel According to Mark contained no miracles or story of resurrection. Or perhaps he was addressing my question “why do you believe the Bible is true?” It’s hard to tell.

    @80, 81 urkidding
    Preach as defined by Merriam Webster:

    1) to make a speech about religion in a church or other public place : to deliver a sermon

    2) to write or speak about (something) in an approving way : to say that (something) is good or necessary

    3) to write or speak in an annoying way about the right way to behave

    Perhaps you were referring to the second definition, while pretending not to understand that Martin was clearly referring to the first (and most popular) definition. In any case, you really nailed the third.

  71. says

    Matthew 5:2
    And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
    Matthew 5:3
    Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    5:3-12 Our Saviour here gives eight characters of blessed people, which represent to us the principal graces of a Christian. 1. The poor in spirit are happy. These bring their minds to their condition, when it is a low condition. They are humble and lowly in their own eyes. They see their want, bewail their guilt, and thirst after a Redeemer. The kingdom of grace is of such; the kingdom of glory is for them. 2. Those that mourn are happy. That godly sorrow which worketh true repentance, watchfulness, a humble mind, and continual dependence for acceptance on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, with constant seeking the Holy Spirit, to cleanse away the remaining evil, seems here to be intended. Heaven is the joy of our Lord; a mountain of joy, to which our way is through a vale of tears. Such mourners shall be comforted by their God. 3. The meek are happy. The meek are those who quietly submit to God; who can bear insult; are silent, or return a soft answer; who, in their patience, keep possession of their own souls, when they can scarcely keep possession of anything else. These meek ones are happy, even in this world. Meekness promotes wealth, comfort, and safety, even in this world. 4. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are happy. Righteousness is here put for all spiritual blessings. These are purchased for us by the righteousness of Christ, confirmed by the faithfulness of God. Our desires of spiritual blessings must be earnest. Though all desires for grace are not grace, yet such a desire as this, is a desire of God’s own raising, and he will not forsake the work of his own hands. 5. The merciful are happy. We must not only bear our own afflictions patiently, but we must do all we can to help those who are in misery. We must have compassion on the souls of others, and help them; pity those who are in sin, and seek to snatch them as brands out of the burning. 6. The pure in heart are happy; for they shall see God. Here holiness and happiness are fully described and put together. The heart must be purified by faith, and kept for God. Create in me such a clean heart, O God. None but the pure are capable of seeing God, nor would heaven be happiness to the impure. As God cannot endure to look upon their iniquity, so they cannot look upon his purity. 7. The peace-makers are happy. They love, and desire, and delight in peace; and study to be quiet. They keep the peace that it be not broken, and recover it when it is broken. If the peace-makers are blessed, woe to the peace-breakers! 8. Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake are happy. This saying is peculiar to Christianity; and it is more largely insisted upon than any of the rest. Yet there is nothing in our sufferings that can merit of God; but God will provide that those who lose for him, though life itself, shall not lose by him in the end. Blessed Jesus! how different are thy maxims from those of men of this world! They call the proud happy, and admire the gay, the rich, the powerful, and the victorious. May we find mercy from the Lord; may we be owned as his children, and inherit his kingdom. With these enjoyments and hopes, we may cheerfully welcome low or painful circumstances.

    Commentary of a scholar centuries ago

  72. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @urkidding
    One of things that I think Martin is trying to say is: We’re here for a productive conversation, where one side makes an intellectual point, and the other side makes an intellectual counterpoint, and in this method of back and forth, attack and defense, hopefully both sides might learn something.

    If you merely copy-paste bible quotes, that’s just as irritating and useless as if a spam bot came in here to post links to websites that sell Viagra. We’ve seen it many times before, and it’s simply not interesting.

    While I lack any authority to ban you or threaten you for it, it is a fact that you may find yourself banned from here if you engage in antics are that indistinguishable from a Viagra spambot.

  73. says

    Bart Ehrman and his Bible
    Misquoting Jesus reviewed by Michael Marlowe

    “Bart Ehrman’s book Misquoting Jesus was published seven years ago, but I have just now gotten around to reading it. I was already familiar with this author, because some years ago I read a book by him called The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (1993). I disagreed with much of his earlier book, and I doubt that most scholars will think his handling of text-critical questions is sufficiently sober and sound. Ehrman is a “character” and a bit of a “bad boy” in the field. He obviously enjoys being provocative. He loves far-fetched theological explanations for variants which other scholars explain much more plausibly in other ways. But Orthodox Corruption was not unscholarly, it was unusually interesting, and, in my opinion, it was worth reading. So I supposed that this new book would at least be worth a look.

    This is a popular-level book, which purports to be a layman’s introduction to textual criticism: “written for people who know nothing about textual criticism but who might like to learn something about how scribes were changing scripture and how we can recognize where they did so” (p. 15). But it soon became obvious to me that the book is really just Ehrman’s attempt to popularize the most peculiar and questionable ideas that he labored to make a scholarly case for in his Orthodox Corruption book. As an introduction to the field it is very skewed and inadequate, and it simply ignores scholarly criticism of his views, and so I cannot recommend it as an introduction. It also includes discussions about his own personal problems with Christianity, and some theological ruminations, which may be found interesting to some laymen, but which are not relevant to the subject of textual criticism. The theological portions of the book, in which he wanders far from his rather narrow area of expertise, consist mostly of snarky rhetorical questions, which are apparently designed to justify (to an audience of confirmed atheists) his own personal rejection of Christianity. But his remarks on this subject do not amount to any substantial argument that would impress someone trained in theology. Ehrman thinks that the mere possibility of an error in copying destroys the whole idea of the Bible’s inspiration. He repeatedly urges this notion on the reader, as if it constituted an unanswerable argument. He seems to have little education in such theological questions. In fact the book does not bring before us any considerations that would impugn the traditional Christian doctrine of inspiration. I did not expect Ehrman to be so theologically naive, intellectually shallow, and merely annoying, as he so often is in this book.”

    “Misquoting…” is a misnomer. Bart isn’t sure we have any assurance that the N.T. contains a single word spoken by Christ. How then can he claim he’s been misquoted in any fashion whatsoever?

  74. says

    urkidding, this is a courtesy notice to inform you that future comments from you are going to be held for moderation, as you’re simply copy-pasting at this point (at least you gave Michael Marlowe credit) and not offering any original ideas or views of your own. You’re also doing a bit of a Gish Gallop, with each new comment covering a different area of apologetics and immediately moving on to another one, with minimal interaction if any with other commenters here. This isn’t how productive and meaningful discussions are held.

    If you can address, in the simplest terms, why you believe in God, and why you think we should believe in God, that will be immeasurably more meaningful than the disjointed obfuscation you’ve been clogging up the place with so far.

  75. says

    Who? Who would tell others if you lust in your heart, you’ve already done the deed? Was he suggesting, obviously, that he lived above the crowd? Had he never had lust in is heart? How would anyone know whether or not someone is lusting? I don’t mean “who” as in his name a name. But, “who” in his right mind says stuff like that?

    I find it utterly and absolutely fascinating to learn about this guy, what he said and what he did. No other figure described anywhere whether in non-fiction, fiction, comic books, or anywhere else, is similar to him. No other account of a person’s life and no one I’ve ever known is anything like this guy at all.

    Unfortunately, it appears that no one is able or willing to answer these questions I asked some time ago.

    No wonder they killed him, even though he never committed a crime. He threatened to expose their hypocrisy. They had a form of religion, but not love for god. They worshipped the opinions of others. That was their true religion. (It is easy to do.) He knew and they knew that he knew that they lusted for power and position, for status. He kept backing up his strange sayings with various proofs that he was not your average nut. He was perceived as a real threat to everything they worshipped and indeed he was. He continues to threaten everything that is unlike him.

    Refer quietly to the name Buddha in a conversation with a small group of people or Confucius, Hare Krishna or Gandhi. Watch for noticeable reactions. Mention Jesus Christ casually and see if there’s a difference. I believe people respond dramatically differently at the mere mention of his name. (People even use his name as a curse word.) Something profound stirs within many just hearing that name. Why? What is it that has made him the most controversial, the best known, most loved and despised human being in all of history?

    Thank you for allowing me to share some thoughts with you. I appreciate it.

  76. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Unfortunately, it appears that no one is able or willing to answer these questions I asked some time ago.

    Which questions? I’m pretty sure several people answered them. Your “questions” are also disingenuous.

  77. says

    “Blessed are the pure in heart. for they shall see GOD.”

    How does he know? When, upon death? Once and never again? No one has a pure heart. Why make such a stupid comment? Again, where does he get these ideas and who does he think he is to make such outlandish and unprovable claims?

    IMO, he is saying that with a pure heart, a person will see GOD in everything, every minute of every hour of every day of every week, year, etc.

    “Listen, God love everything you love – and a mess of stuff you don’t. But more than anything else, God love admiration.

    “You saying God vain? I ast.

    Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.

    What it do when it pissed off? I ast. Oh, it make something else. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”
    ― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

    I agree. IMO, seeing a patch of purple flowers in a field and recognizing GOD in that beauty is an example of how the pure in heart will see GOD everywhere.

  78. says

    I think looking at a patch of flowers and seeing made-up gods is delusion. And it would give you nowhere near the kind of appreciation of the beauty of flowers that you’d get from, say, understanding botany or practicing gardening.

    Your whole point: People who believe in God equate God with beautiful things. Big deal. So what? Delusion isn’t a sign of being “pure in heart,” it’s a sign of not caring about how ignorant you are of the world around you.

  79. says

    No, urkidding, you’re in moderation. I’ll look at your comments on a case by case basis. Can I just say that posting lengthy Sunday school and church flyer “true” stories about ladies in concentration camps contributes nothing of value to the discussion? Save that for your email spam lists.