Fifty Reasons to Boycott the Catholic Church

This article was originally published on AlterNet.

Last year in Ireland, Savita Halappanavar died, and she shouldn’t have. Savita was a 31-year-old married woman, four months pregnant, who went to the hospital with a miscarriage in progress that developed into a blood infection. She could easily have been saved by an abortion of the already-doomed fetus. Instead, her doctors did nothing, explaining that “this is a Catholic country,” and left her to suffer in misery for days, only intervening once it was too late.

Savita’s life and death is just the latest in a long line of tragedies directly attributable to the doctrines and beliefs of the Roman Catholic church. I acknowledge that there are many good, progressive Catholics; but the problem is that the church isn’t a democracy, and those progressives have no voice or vote in its governance. The church is a petrified oligarchy, a dictatorship like the medieval monarchies it once existed alongside, and it’s run by a small circle of conservative, rigidly ideological old men who make all the decisions and choose their own successors.

This means that, whatever individual Catholics may do, the resources of the church as an institution are bent towards opposing social progress and positive change all over the world. And every dollar you put into the church collection plate, every Sunday service you attend, every hour of time and effort you put into volunteering or working for church organizations, is inevitably a show of support for the institutional church and its abhorrent mission.

When you have no voice, there’s only one thing left to do: boycott. Stop supporting the church with your money and your time. For lifelong Catholics, it’s a drastic step, but more than justified by the wealth of reasons showing that the church as an institution is beyond reform, and the only meaningful response is to part ways with it. Here are just a few of those reasons:

  1. They fight against equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. It’s not enough for the Catholic church hierarchy that they refuse to perform church weddings for gay and lesbian couples; they want to write that prohibition into the civil law and deny marriage equality to everyone who doesn’t fit their religious criteria, and have invested vast amounts of money and effort into doing so. In the 2012 election cycle alone, the church spent almost $2 million in an unsuccessful fight to defeat marriage-equality initiatives in four states. Most of this money apparently came from the collection plates of parishioners around the country.
  2. They’ve compared gay sex to pedophilia and incest and called for it to be forbidden by law, saying that “states can and must regulate behaviours, including various sexual behaviours”.
  3. They’ve shut down adoption clinics rather than consider gay people as prospective parents. The church’s official position, apparently, is that it’s better for children to remain orphans or in foster care than to be placed in a loving, committed same-sex household.
  4. They barred an anti-LGBT-bullying group, anti-teen-suicide foundation from a Catholic school ceremony, explaining that the group’s mission is “contrary to the teachings of the Catholic church”.
  5. While they’re at it, they also told a teenager that he wouldn’t be allowed to go through confirmation because he posted a pro-gay-rights status message on Facebook, and expelled a preschooler from a private Catholic school because his parents were lesbians.
  6. They threaten to cut off funding for immigrants’ rights advocates because they sometimes work together with gay-rights advocates. Helping immigrants get legal and medical aid is less important than ensuring the church isn’t contaminated by even indirect contact with anyone who helps gay people.
  7. In a sign of how ridiculously disproportionate and unhinged the church’s martyrdom complex is, the previous pope compared expanding the rights of women and gay people to the murderous anticlerical violence of the 1930s Spanish civil war.
  8. They’ve used their official UN observer status to team up with Islamic theocracies like Iran and Libya to oppose calls for family-planning services to be made available in the world’s poorest nations.
  9. They’ve gone to desperately poor, AIDS-ravaged regions of Africa to spread the life-destroying lie that condoms don’t prevent transmission of HIV.
  10. In the mid-20th century, they appointed a special papal commission to study whether Catholicism should permit the use of birth control. When the commission almost unanimously recommended that they should, they ignored that recommendation and doubled down on their absolute ban on contraception.
  11. They excommunicated the doctors who performed an abortion on a pregnant 9-year-old who’d been raped by her stepfather.
  12. They didn’t excommunicate the stepfather.
  13. Savita wasn’t the first: In Catholic-run hospitals, they’re willing to let women die rather than get a lifesaving abortion, even when a miscarriage is already in progress and no possible procedure could save the fetus.
  14. They refused to provide contraception or abortion to women who were abducted and forced to work as prostitutes, and then filed a lawsuit and complained that it was violating their religious freedom when the government took away their contract for this social work.
  15. In Poland, they ordered politicians to vote for a law banning IVF and threatened to excommunicate any who didn’t comply.
  16. They were a major source of the pressure on the Komen Foundation that led to their disastrous decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood.
  17. They’ve announced an inquisition into the Girl Scouts to get to the bottom of their association with morally suspect groups like Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam.
  18. They’ve been one of the major forces attacking Obamacare, filing lawsuits which argue that non-church Catholic employers should be able to decide whether or not employee health insurance plans will cover contraception. This is effectively an argument that a woman’s employer should be allowed to force her to pay more for medical coverage, or even place it out of her reach altogether, based on his religious beliefs.
  19. In Australia, they allegedly derailed a police investigation of an accused pedophile by putting pressure on higher-ups to get an investigating officer removed from the case.
  20. They demanded that Sunday school teachers sign a loyalty oath agreeing to submit “will and intellect” to the proclamations of church leaders.
  21. Some top church officials, including the previous pope, have advocated denying communion to politicians who support progressive and pro-choice political ideas. Notably, although the church also opposes preemptive war and the death penalty, no conservative politician has ever been denied communion on this basis.
  22. They’ve cracked down on American nuns for doing too much to help the poor and not enough to oppose gay marriage, condemning them for displaying a seditious “feminist spirit”.
  23. In Germany, where parishioners pay an officially assessed tax rate to the church, they’ve tried to blackmail people who don’t want to pay the church tax, threatening to fire them from jobs in church institutions. In some cases, if the person opts out but later loses the paperwork, they demand on-the-spot repayment of decades of back taxes.
  24. In America, bishops have compared Democratic officeholders, including President Obama, to Hitler and Stalin and have said that it jeopardizes a person’s eternal salvation if they don’t vote as the bishops instruct them to.
  25. Throughout the world, Catholic bishops have engaged in a systematic, organized effort going back decades to cover up for priests who molest children, pressuring the victims to sign confidentiality agreements and quietly assigning the predators to new parishes where they could go on molesting. Tens of thousands of children have been raped and tortured as a result of this conspiracy of silence. As far as I’m aware, there’s not a single case on record where a bishop who learned of a pedophile priest did the right thing voluntarily and called in the police.
  26. Strike one: “What did the pope know and when did he know it?” The previous pope, when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was personally implicated in a case from the 1970s in which at least three sets of parents reported that a priest in his diocese had sexually abused their children. In response, Ratzinger assigned the priest to therapy, without notifying law enforcement, and washed his hands of the matter. That priest was back on duty in just a few short days and went on to molest more children.
  27. Strike two: In 1981, again when the previous pope was Cardinal Ratzinger, he got a letter from the diocese of Oakland asking him to defrock a priest who had acknowledged molesting two children. Ratzinger ignored this letter, and several follow-up letters, for four years. Finally, in 1985, he wrote back saying that more time was needed, and that they had to proceed very slowly to safeguard “the good of the Universal Church” in light of “the young age of the petitioner” – by which he meant not the victimized children, but the pedophile priest. (By contrast, when a rogue archbishop ordained married men as priests, he was laicized six days later.)
  28. Strike three: In 2001, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote a letter, De Delictis Gravioribus, to all Catholic bishops advising them how to handle accusations of sex crimes by priests. There was no recommendation to contact the police, but rather an instruction for them to report such cases only to the Vatican and tell no one else: “Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret.
  29. Some church officials, like the American friar Benedict Groeschel, have blamed the epidemic of child molestation on sexually wanton boys who tempt priests into assaulting them.
  30. They have a history of dumping known pedophile priests in isolated, poor, rural communities, where they apparently assumed that local people wouldn’t dare to complain or that no one would listen if they did.
  31. They’ve given huge payouts – as much as $20,000 in some cases – to pedophile priests, to buy their silence and quietly ease them out of the priesthood, after specifically denying in public that they were doing this.
  32. When the Connecticut legislature proposed extending statute-of-limitations laws to allow older child-abuse cases to be tried, the bishops ordered a letter to be read during Mass instructing parishioners to contact their representatives and lobby against it.
  33. To fight back against and intimidate abuse-survivor groups like SNAP, the church’s lawyers have filed absurdly broad subpoenas demanding the disclosure of decades’ worth of documents.
  34. In the Netherlands, some boys were allegedly castrated in church-run hospitals after complaining to the police about sexual abuse by priests.
  35. When a Catholic official from Philadelphia, William Lynn, was charged with knowingly returning predator priests to duty, his defense was to blame those decisions on his superior, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua – thus acknowledging that the corruption reaches to the highest levels of the church.
  36. When confronted with hundreds of complaints about child-raping priests spanning decades, a Dutch cardinal used the same “we knew nothing” excuse once given by Nazi soldiers. Several months later, it was reported that this same cardinal had personally arranged to move a pedophile priest to a different parish to shield him from accusations.
  37. In one case, Mother Teresa successfully persuaded the church to return a suspected pedophile priest to duty because he was a friend of hers. Eight additional complaints of child abuse were later lodged against him.
  38. In yet another case, they appointed a priest with a history of child molestation to a board that advises the church on what to do when they get reports of priests molesting children.
  39. And after all this, they’ve had the audacity to plead for money and ask parishioners to pick up the tab for legal costs and settlements.
  40. They abducted tens of thousands of babies from unwed mothers who gave birth in Catholic-run hospitals all over the world throughout the 20th century, forcing drugged or helpless women to give their newborn children up for adoption against their will.
  41. They’ve tried to have the Indian skeptic Sanal Edamuruku charged with blasphemy and imprisoned for debunking a claim of a miraculous weeping statue.
  42. They’ve publicly supported the Russian Orthodox church’s decision to have the punk band Pussy Riot charged and imprisoned for blasphemy.
  43. Their finances are a disorganized mess, lacking strong accounting controls and clear internal separations, which means parishioners who give to the church can have no assurance of what the money will be used for. For example, according to an investigation by the Economist, funds meant for hospitals, cemeteries and priests’ pensions have been raided to pay legal fees and settlements in several diocesan bankruptcies.
  44. They’ve said in public that the sexist prohibition on women priests is an infallible part of Catholic dogma, and hence can never be changed.
  45. They’ve silenced priests who call for the ordination of women and other desperately needed reforms, exhorting them to instead show “the radicalism of obedience”.
  46. They’ve excommunicated at least one priest for advocating the ordination of women.
  47. They lifted the excommunication of an anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying bishop who also thinks women shouldn’t attend college or wear pants.
  48. At the same time, when it comes to the question of who’s financially responsible for compensating the victims of sex abuse, they incredibly argue that priests aren’t employees and therefore the church bears no responsibility for anything they do.
  49. They canonized Mother Teresa for doing little more than offering a squalid place for people to die. Outside observers who visited her “Home for the Dying” reported that medical care was substandard and dangerous, limited to aspirin and unsterilized needles rinsed in tap water, administered by untrained volunteers. The millions of dollars collected by Mother Teresa and her order, enough to build many advanced clinics and hospitals, remain unaccounted for.
  50. They’ve announced that voluntary end-of-life measures, such as a terminal patient’s directives for when they wished to have a feeding tube removed, won’t be respected at Catholic hospitals.
  51. Image credit: Shutterstock

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • L.Long

    Forget the boycott on the CC, no one will really care.
    It don’t matter what a person SAYS they believe, if they are supporting members of the CC or the Mormons then they are true blue BIGOTS. So when I see people who are catlicks then I know at least they are bigots or at least actively support bigotry.
    What we should be doing is putting pressure on the crooks in congress to enforce the business laws that that we have to follow and make sure the religious fascist do as well. There are numerous ways that this can be done without VIOLATING (said with intense sarcasm) individual morals.
    “But the catlicks will close their hospitals!!!!” Who cares! If there is an economic gain to have the hospital someone will open one. Which is better, travel to a hospital that will do what it takes, or a nearby hospital that will let you die????

  • GCT

    In more rural areas of the country, it may be impractical (to say the least) to have to travel to another hospital in order to receive what should be routine care. This is doubly so if you are already having health issues and are already at the hospital, only to find out that you need to pack up and go somewhere else, which may no longer be a viable option (even in places with more densely spaced hospitals). I also frown on the idea that the free market will provide, especially when it comes to things that should be seen as a right.

  • Kat

    George Carlin: I don’t know how you feel, but I’m pretty sick of church people. You know what they ought to do with churches? Tax them. If holy people are so interested in politics, government, and public policy, let them pay the price of admission like everybody else. The Catholic Church alone could wipe out the national debt if all you did was tax their real estate.

    Separation of church & state (in the US) isn’t very separate. Religious organizations recieve public funds (YOUR tax money) for all kinds of social/humanitarian programs. Granted, the wording of the funding bills is supposed to prevent use of those moneys in unconstitutional ways but who’s really minding the books?

    Churches are exempt from most business law (and taxes) simply by virtue of being religious organizations. This has been a way to shield wealth for decades; got cash you want to hide/keep? Declare yourself a church & write off everything! What started out as an attempt at a level playing field for all religions has morphed into our current mess where powerful, wealthy churches have crossed into the secular world and are trying to enforce their beliefs on the lot of us.

    As far as finding another hospital if the one nearest is Catholic/religious, good luck. Outside of major cities, hospitals are few and far between. My county has about 200k people living here and one (Catholic-owned) hospital with a level III trauma center. Next nearest one is a medevac flight away.

    What confounds me is the disconnect in Catholic parishioners. Does the emerging extent of collusion in the upper reaches of the Vatican regarding pedophiles and rape mean nothing to them? Do they think it’s not real? Not happening in THEIR town?

  • http://ragingleftie.blogspot.co.uk/ Raging Leftie (@ragingleftie)

    Brilliant, definitive article!!

  • Adam Lee

    reports show that she had an infection that would have killed her even if they had aborted the baby.

    Citation needed. I’d like to read these reports: Who wrote them? Where can I see them for myself?

    By the way, don’t mention the case of the US woman who died after going into a clinic and getting an abortion.

    No surgical procedure, including abortion, is entirely free of risk. However, in the case you’re referring to, we know nothing about the woman’s circumstances or what she actually died of. Unlike in Savita’s case, her family hasn’t chosen to make those details public.

  • Adam Ozarski

    I agree with JoFro. Much of the information is distorted, and just not true. If we want to have a discourse about these issues lets at least get the information right. The Catholic Church teaches that if the child dies while trying to save the mother (not a direct attack on the child) than this is an unavoidable consequence and is morally justifiable. The key here is to understand that the Catholic Church believes that the child and the mother both have a right to life.

  • GCT

    …reports show that she had an infection that would have killed her even if they had aborted the baby.

    An infection she obtained through the complications of her non-viable pregnancy. Good try though.

    But please, don’t let research and facts get in the way of your pathetic bigotry.

    Bigotry? He’s presented facts and made a case as to why people who are moral and decent should leave behind an institution that has been shown to cover up pedophilia/sexual abuse of children, other abuses of children, enacts policies that are harmful to people, especially women, and all the other things he listed. It’s not enough for you to simply claim, “Nuh uh, MSM!!!!!!” and think that you’ve made a cogent and coherent counter argument.

  • Joe

    “The Catholic Church teaches that if the child dies while trying to save the mother (not a direct attack on the child) than this is an unavoidable consequence and is morally justifiable.”
    – The church might teach that, but in practice, that’s apparently not what’s been happening, and the church seems to be in no hurry to disabuse anyone. As Garry Wills points out in a recent article in the New York Review of Books, the popes never officially endorsed anti-Semitism, either, but that didn’t keep Jews from being burned. The problem with the CC, and with Christianity in general, is its deep-seated sadomasochistic streak. It’s central myth is an act of torture, after all, and it sees pain as redemptive. In the long run, it would rather see you miserable and doctrinally pure than and happy and doctrinally compromised.

  • Joe

    Phooey. I misspelled its. Yes, I know, no apostrophe in the possessive.

  • Azkyroth

    The key here is to understand that the Catholic Church believes that the child and the mother both have a right to life.

    First, this is simply not true. Second, it’s irrelevant.

  • Adam

    Joe, I don’t want to sound corny, but I appreciate the comments and I think this is an interesting discussion. First of all I don’t know what you mean by “that’s apparently not what has been happening” are you basing that on the Savita case? I am by no means an expert at what goes on in Catholic hospitals around the world, but as a Catholic, I know what I am taught by the church, and it is definitely that every effort should be taken to save the mother.

    As to your comment about burning Jews, I have not read the article, and so I cannot comment on what you are referring to.

    “The problem with the CC, and with Christianity in general, is its deep-seated sadomasochistic
    streak. It’s central myth is an act of torture, after all, and it sees pain as redemptive. In the long
    run, it would rather see you miserable and doctrinally pure than and happy and doctrinally
    compromised.”

    The historicity of Jesus is not disputed. There are more credible sources both secular and scriptural than almost any other figure in history. Saying Jesus is a myth is like saying Julius Cesar is a myth.

    The “sadomasochistic streak” is something that I think is misunderstood. Think of high school athletes training for a football game, two a day practices in 100 degree temperatures. That sounds masochistic, but we understand why they do it, and we don’t call it masochistic. We certainly don’t call the coach a sadomasochist. If we would do it for football, what about our everlasting soul.

    The long run in a sense is what Christianity is all about. Jesus wants us to join him in Paradise, but he also speaks of the Kingdom of God here on earth. We can have glimpses of that Kingdom here and now. That doesn’t sound to sadomasochistic to me.

    I get where you are coming from by saying the Church “would rather see you miserable and doctrinally pure than happy and doctrinally compromised.” I think this depends on what you mean by happy. The happiness Jesus offers is not a fleeting happiness but a deep seated everlasting happiness.

    Maybe I sound a little preachy, but I just want to at least give a basic idea of what we believe.

  • Pattrsn

    The historicity of Jesus is not disputed.

    Except when it is. However even if you could prove that a Jewish apocalyptic cult leader by the name of Jesus existed, there’s no more evidence for his divinity than there is for Cesar’s.

    I agree with you that calling the relationship between the church and it’s followers sadomasochistic is inaccurate. As I doubt the followers take pleasure in the sadism of the church. I think a more accurate description of the relationship would be predatory or parasitic.

  • Pattrsn

    Great post by the way, I’m definitely bookmarking this one. I like how the best response the trolls can come up with is basically ‘this is a load of crap’.

  • GCT

    First of all I don’t know what you mean by “that’s apparently not what has been happening” are you basing that on the Savita case? I am by no means an expert at what goes on in Catholic hospitals around the world, but as a Catholic, I know what I am taught by the church, and it is definitely that every effort should be taken to save the mother.

    The church’s actions don’t align with what you claim they are teaching. Whether it’s Savita or any of the other examples brought up by Adam Lee.

    As to your comment about burning Jews, I have not read the article, and so I cannot comment on what you are referring to.

    Are you really unaware of the centuries of oppression that the catholic church has propagated against Jews?

    The historicity of Jesus is not disputed. There are more credible sources both secular and scriptural than almost any other figure in history. Saying Jesus is a myth is like saying Julius Cesar is a myth.

    This is factually incorrect. There are no contemporary accounts of Jesus. None. The accounts of his life are certainly fabrications as they were written by people who weren’t there well after the events they supposedly record. Jesus may or may not have existed, but even if he did, the accounts we have are certainly not correct and we can’t really claim to know anything about this figure. Even if he did exist, he may as well have been mythological.

    The “sadomasochistic streak” is something that I think is misunderstood.

    I believe Joe was referring to the idea that the story of Jesus is cruel, sadistic, and empty of redeeming quality. Why does one have to be tortured in order to obtain salvation? Xianity is built upon a supposed loving god that craves torture and blood. Additionally, I would suppose that Joe was also thinking of more modern examples like mother theresa who ran a clinic that absconded with millions of dollars in order to provide little to no care because she thought that pain was good.

    I get where you are coming from by saying the Church “would rather see you miserable and doctrinally pure than happy and doctrinally compromised.” I think this depends on what you mean by happy. The happiness Jesus offers is not a fleeting happiness but a deep seated everlasting happiness.

    I’m sure all the children who have been abused by your religion’s priests will be happy with this sentiment.

  • L.Long

    @Adam–The “sadomasochistic streak” is something that I think is misunderstood. ????
    Really??? You have not been paying attention to the CC in general. Yes here in the USA there are many milk-toast catlicks. As catlick for many years and having drop seminary school I do know.
    You want “sadomasochistic streak” just one name for example— mother teresa!!! (no caps for names of people like her.) Don’t take my word for it just read the story of one of her ex-nuns(google it) or go look for your self.
    Yes the nuns also taught us that one must suffer in this world our various tribulation to gain heaven(ya know that fictional place NO ONE can prove exists.)

  • Improbable Joe

    And the problem with Catholics is that they can simply declare some things true and other false, not only without evidence but in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once you’ve accepted fantasy as reality it is easy to then change the fantasy to suit you. So even though Catholics reject whatever Vatican rules they feel like as is convenient for them, they also reject criticisms of their religion with a wave of a hand. They like the comfort of the Jesus myth, or they enjoy feeling superior to others, or whatever… they keep the religion even while they reject whatever bits they prefer not to deal with.

  • Adam

    Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed. There are numerous references to Jesus by writers outside of the bible, who were hostile to Christianity and showed no sympathy to Christians. One of the most famous is the Roman Historian and Senator Tacitus, who writes in his book Annals, book 15, chapter 44, about the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate. There is also the Romano-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus who writes “Jesus, who was called Christ” in Book 20, Chapter 9, 1 of the Antiquities. This is only scratching the surface regarding the historicity of Jesus.

  • Adam Lee

    Regarding the historicity of Jesus:

    There are more credible sources both secular and scriptural than almost any other figure in history. Saying Jesus is a myth is like saying Julius Cesar is a myth.

    This claim is completely fictitious. The existence of Jesus is attested by no physical or eyewitness evidence, only by late, second-hand documents of uncertain provenance which are thin on historical detail and long on mythology. The evidence for Julius Caesar, by contrast, is abundant and rock-solid, as Richard Carrier explains:

    First of all, we have Caesar’s own word on the subject. Indeed, The Civil War has been a Latin classic for two thousand years, written by Caesar himself and by one of his generals and closest of friends. In contrast, we do not have anything written by Jesus, and we do not know for certain the name of any author of any of the accounts of his earthly resurrection.

    Second, we have many of Caesar’s enemies, including Cicero, a contemporary of the event, reporting the crossing of the Rubicon, whereas we have no hostile or even neutral records of the resurrection until over a hundred years after the event, which is fifty years after the Christians’ own claims had been widely spread around.

    Third, we have a number of inscriptions and coins produced soon after the Republican Civil War related to the Rubicon crossing, including mentions of battles and conscriptions and judgments, which provide evidence for Caesar’s march. On the other hand, we have absolutely no physical evidence of any kind in the case of the resurrection.

    Fourth, we have the story of the “Rubicon Crossing” in almost every historian of the period, including the most prominent scholars of the age: Suetonius, Appian, Cassius Dio, Plutarch. Moreover, these scholars have a measure of proven reliability, since a great many of their reports on other matters have been confirmed in material evidence and in other sources. In addition, they often quote and name many different sources, showing a wide reading of the witnesses and documents, and they show a desire to critically examine claims for which there is any dispute. If that wasn’t enough, all of them cite or quote sources written by witnesses, hostile and friendly, of the Rubicon crossing and its repercussions.

    Compare this with the resurrection: we have not even a single established historian mentioning the event until the 3rd and 4th centuries, and then only by Christian historians. And of those few others who do mention it within a century of the event, none of them show any wide reading, never cite any other sources, show no sign of a skilled or critical examination of conflicting claims, have no other literature or scholarship to their credit that we can test for their skill and accuracy, are completely unknown, and have an overtly declared bias towards persuasion and conversion.

    As for the late mentions in the writings of non-Christians, they’re dealt with in my essay on the historicity of Jesus.

  • 2-D Man

    This is only scratching the surface regarding the historicity of Jesus.

    No, Adam, that’s pretty much the entirety of it.

    You might want to go back and read that Tacitus quote one more time (or more likely, for the first time). He’s not describing what he sees; he’s describing what Christians believe. (Rhyming unintentional.)

    You also might want to go back and read what Josephus allegedly wrote about Jesus. It’s… curious… language for a religious Jew.

    These things aren’t hard to find, thanks to Wikipedia. If you still can’t figure it out, I can post links for you.

  • Adam

    You guys sound like people that deny global warming. There is mounds evidence and all serious scholars agree about the historicity of Jesus, even if they are non believers. We can get in a posting war of information if you want, primary and secondary sources. The historicity of Jesus was settled in the 18th century, you are seriously barking up the wrong tree. If you are really serious about learning about the evidence regarding Jesus, a few sources I recommend are: Jesus and Christian Origins outside the New Testament, F.F. Bruce; Christianity: The Witness of History, J.N.D. Anderson; The Historical Jesus, chapter nine, G. Habermas; Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews; Suetonius, Life of Claudius.

  • 2-D Man

    When you say that non-Christians agree that Jesus existed you are either:
    1) lying
    2) denying the divinity of Jesus.

    I heard that Jesus doesn’t forgive the second one.

  • GCT

    There is mounds evidence and all serious scholars agree about the historicity of Jesus, even if they are non believers.

    This is demonstrably false, and Adam Lee has already demonstrated it.

    We can get in a posting war of information if you want, primary and secondary sources.

    Go ahead, but you’ve already been given all of those sources and arguments as to why they are not credible. Oh, you didn’t even bother to read Carrier’s words or check out Adam Lee’s link? Typical. Of course, you already know what answer you’ll accept, and if anyone disagrees with you, they can be safely ignored and brow-beaten. Nice religious privilege you got going on there.

    The historicity of Jesus was settled in the 18th century, you are seriously barking up the wrong tree.

    Yes, Xians were very sure of it back then. Of course, with new evidence that has come to light we must certainly never examine that new evidence and come to a different conclusion, especially not one that already presupposes the existence of Jesus ahead of time and simply looks for anything to confirm what we already believe.

    If you are really serious about learning about the evidence regarding Jesus…

    It’s quite clear that Adam Lee (and others here) have already done quite a bit of research on the subject, yet here you are dismissing it with a hand-wave and some crack about denialism. Yet, you’ve been supplied with evidence and arguments that you simply ignore, which is closer to denialism than our position.

    …Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews; Suetonius, Life of Claudius.

    This is just rank dishonesty on your part, since these were already dealt with.

  • Adam

    Come on GCT you can’t be serious! Adam Lee has refuted the historicity of Jesus, with a copy/paste from Richard Carrier, who is referring to the resurrection of Jesus, not even the historicity of Jesus. Adam Lee knows he has no ground to stand on regarding the historicity of Jesus. This is an old tactic to try and claim Jesus was a myth. Even your beloved Wikipedia states “Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.” You can have your Richard Carrier, I will go with the 99% of historians who say there is overwhelming evidence that Jesus existed. I want to get to the truth as much as you do, but let’s be honest about the evidence, and the fact that historians who are much more informed than us, agree that Jesus existed.

  • Dorfl

    @Adam

    As for as I know, most historians agree that a man named something like Yeshua lived somewhere around that time, preached an unusual form of Judaism, got some number of followers, and was eventually crucified. There is a very large step between acknowledging that and thinking that the New Testament is even slightly accurate in describing either what he did or what he taught.

  • Adam

    Dorfl, fair enough.

  • GCT

    @Adam,

    Come on GCT you can’t be serious! Adam Lee has refuted the historicity of Jesus, with a copy/paste from Richard Carrier, who is referring to the resurrection of Jesus, not even the historicity of Jesus.

    1) Although Carrier was speaking of the resurrection story, his points can just as easily be used on the historicity of Jesus.
    2) Adam Lee also provided a link where he went through all of the material that is usually listed from the general time period and showed why it is not evidence of a historical Jesus.

    Adam Lee knows he has no ground to stand on regarding the historicity of Jesus.

    You seem allergic to actually looking at the argument provided to you, instead hoping that sneering will be a suitable rejoinder. It is not.

    This is an old tactic to try and claim Jesus was a myth.

    There may have been a person named “Jesus” but the accounts of that person’s life are certainly mythological at least in part, and certainly fabrications.

    Even your beloved Wikipedia states “Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.”

    Where did I say anything about Wikipedia? Secondly, based on what evidence? The evidence for Jesus is not as robust as you claim, plain and simple. The idea of a historical Jesus is mostly based in tradition – that Xian historians took it for granted and it has not been allowed to be challenged for so long that it’s hard to find people who do. But, some do challenge it and they make arguments based on the dearth of actual evidence we have.

    You can have your Richard Carrier, I will go with the 99% of historians who say there is overwhelming evidence that Jesus existed.

    It should not be hard, then, to present this evidence. You simply cannot do so, however, in that all you’ve been able to present so far is not compelling.

    I want to get to the truth as much as you do, but let’s be honest…

    Yes, let’s be honest here. You can start by retracting your statement that you want to get to the truth as much as I do. You don’t. You’re obviously married to the idea that Jesus existed and are unwilling to look at any evidence that contradicts or casts doubt upon that idea. There are no contemporary sources that record a single detail about Jesus during his lifetime. None. There aren’t any mentions of him at all during his lifetime. None. For you to claim that he is as better attested to than any other historical figure is simply balderdash. Yet, when this is pointed out, you ignore it while simultaneously claiming to be interested in the truth? Rubbish.

  • http://neilallen76.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/why-adam-lanza-massacred-children-at-sandy-hook-newtown-a-theory/ Bernard Law

    A-men. The Catholic church can only survive in countries with minimal education and mass communication. This was even true in the US until the availability of the Internet and the child sex crime scandal in 2002. Many US Catholics are still ignorant, and most just won’t seek the truth.

    However, mass communication will improve world-wide in the next generation, and the world will know that that world’s largest child rape cult isn’t God’s church.

    The Catholic church will be gone in one or two generations. It isn’t God’s church, and those who followed it are doomed to hell.

  • David Hart

    Bernard Law:

    The Catholic church … isn’t God’s church

    Are you trying to imply that some other church is? Citation extremely needed.

  • 2-D Man

    I said it upthread, and I’ll say it again: there are two kinds of historians who study the region and time of Jesus: those who think Jesus is well attested to in secular literature, and those who don’t.
    The first group consists mostly of Christians.
    The second consists mostly of people who think divinity is integral to Jesus’ character.


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