Edward Tarte Discusses the ‘Mysteries’ of Catholic Doctrine

[Link to video]

About Edward Tarte

I am age 78, once a Catholic priest for five years (in the 1960's), then a math teacher for 44 years up to the present day. I became an atheist a few years ago. My hobbies are music and chess.

  • Daniel Schealler

    I never understood the problem with The Trinity.

    If an iceberg with three points is weighted such that only the three tips appear above the surface of the water, then they appear to be separate but we can still justifiably infer, from their common pattern of motion, that they are probably to a single greater mass that we cannot directly observe in its entirety. And we may even be able to infer information about the dimensions and distribution of that mass.

    It’s a good metaphor for the concept of The Trinity.

    Always thought that was kinda obvious.

    Which isn’t to grant credibility to Catholic Theology or anything – it’s fubar insane and unjustified by evidence.

    But in the case of The Trinity I never saw the problem.


    • A3Kr0n

       I think it was for the people who didn’t have an Internet connection back then. They had no way to check!
      Great video Edward!

      • Daniel Schealler

        Oh, yeah. I forgot that part.
        Great video Edward! As always. ^_^

    • Gordon Duffy

       I also never understood what was supposed to be so mysterious about the three faced god. I mean I grew up in a house with someone who was Mom, Daughter, and Sister depending on who was looking at her.

      We all wear many hats.

      • Ibis3

         But your Mom isn’t her own mother and daughter. (Apologies for the late reply.)

    • OverlappingMagisteria

       Part of the problem is that there are multiple times where two parts of the trinity do not move together. For example, in Matt 24:36, Jesus says that the Father knows something that the Son has no knowledge of:

      ““But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,but only the Father.”So they are clearly separate. Yet “mysteriously” they are one.

    • Ibis3

       I know this is an old thread, but part of the problem with the iceberg analogy is that each point is only part of the entire iceberg. According to Catholic theology, each person of the Trinity is not just part of God, but entirely God.

  • Agnostic

    Yah. Why were you so gullible? Most people who go into seminaries do so because they believe in the first place. Most people don’t need to be in any seminary to ask the questions you asked so you will never see people like me in seminaries. Many people do not understand how scientists draw their conclusions based on educated guesswork and yet they believe the scientists. Now with such things called dark energy and multi-universes, one start to wonder whether there is spirituality to man after all. Hhmmm…

    Don’t look so harassed. Since you now do not have a god to forgive you, learn to forgive yourself. Be happy as long as you do not do bad unto others.

  • Octoberfurst

     I never understood the concept of the Trinity. Daniel’s iceberg analogy didn’t help clear it up for me. (No offense Daniel.)  Supposedly there is only one God. But that one God has 3 distinct personalities–Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  They can talk to one another. Jesus prayed to the Father and asked for guidance and at one point in the Bible Jesus talks about sending the Holy Spirit to help the Apostles which I assume means he communicated with it.  But if they are all ONE being then how is this possible? I can talk to my dad because we are two distinct, seperate beings. But if I have conversations with myself and say I am talking to someone else people will say I am crazy.
      The whole free will vs God knowing the outcome of everything concept doesn’t bother me. I just looked at it as if I were watching a movie and knew how it was going to end. Did my knowing how it would end affect the movie in any way? No. So the same could be true of God. He may know the outcome but we are still practicing free will.  (Mind you I don’t believe any of that but I am just saying I understand it.)  

    • Baby_Raptor

      The problem with the whole free will thing is that “god” created us with it knowing full well it would cause us to not live up to his strict, nonsensical standards and he gave it to us anyway, forcing his own  hand into making people rot for eternity.

      We never had a chance. 

      And he’s a sick Fuck for choosing to create people knowing they’d fail, choosing to punish us anyway, and then having the balls to talk about how “horrible” *we* are.

    • Sindigo

      “I just looked at it as if I were watching a movie and knew how it was going to end.”

      Well, it’s more like you wrote the script for the movie and then, when the actors in the movie followed it to the letter, you fired them from the movie and punished them with eternal torture.

      • Liberated Liberal

        Exactly.  Love, indeed.

    • OverlappingMagisteria

       Except… Christians like to claim libertarian freewill (no relation to the political party.) In your movie analogy, this would mean that the characters would be able to freely choose their actions and re-write the script. Indiana Jones could decide sit at home reading instead of going on adventures. Elliot could decide to alert the authorities about E.T.
      If God knows the future, then he knows how the movie ends and were are just actors following the script. And we have no choice about it – we MUST follow the script. Even if we think we are making a conscious choice, the outcome of that choice was already decided and written in the script from day 0ne. In fact, the script would read “John considers his options for 3.2 seconds and then chooses to to wear the red shirt,” and John would do exactly that. This is not what Christians teach at all. (Except maybe Calvinists.)

      • Foster

        Well, speaking from the Catholic perspective, we like to have our cake and eat it too, so to speak.  *We* claim that God is outside of space and time (or space-time. Thanks, Einstein!).  He is in an eternal present that encompasses all our time.  We also claim that ordinary humans really do have free will, they make real choices, and they are responsible for them.  This too is mysterious, but not contradictory.  I do believe there are a good number of Baptists and others who apparently conceive of a God bounded by time and who doesn’t know the future, but the Catholic philosophical position is that God knows all things, including the future (although I don’t think that’s one of the things Catholics have to believe).  He places Indiana Jones into the treasure tomb seeing the whole course of Indie’s life from his eternal perspective, although Indie makes the choices himself.  I don’t think it’s inconceivable that God could weave billions of these free-will endowed lives together to accomplish His purposes while still giving them the dignity to choose.

        • Andrew Bernhardt

           What does it mean to be “outside” space-time?  Why would you event think such a thing is possible?  And aren’t you admitting your position is untenable when you admit you like to “have your cake and eat it, too?” 

          • Foster

            It means independence of the universe.  If I believe that God created the universe, that the universe is not eternal and was created, then it follows he exists independently, or outside of it, unless you believe like Pantheists that the universe *is* God.  

            Why I believe these things is a separate (and longer answered) question from “What do Christians believe?” which was all I was interested in addressing, though I gave some of the motivations for Belief in my reply to 2ginakay above, though I don’t claim any of them as irrefutable.  A theistic Christian world makes more sense than an atheistic one to me.  Others can judge as their wits and senses allow.

            No, I am admitting nothing intentionally by using the phrase.  While usually impossible with a literal cake, I was speaking metaphorically.  It is often possible to “have one’s cake and eat it too,” but if you prefer, you may substitute “have the best of both worlds,” with the same meaning.  

        • OverlappingMagisteria

           I understand the Catholic position on this, but I think that God’s position inside or outside of space-time is irrelevant to this topic.

          The issue is that if our future is knowable (which it must be if God, or anyone else, knows it) then the future is written and cannot change. Whatever “choices” we make, their outcome is already determined – the outcome cannot be anything other than what God already knows will happen. It doesn’t matter where the “knower” sits in relation to the universe. If the future is knowable, then we have Hard Determinism: there is only one possible future. Only one possible choice you can possible make. All your future choices are already set in stone. And the words set in that stone are exactly what God knows will happen.

          For example, if God already knows exactly what I am going to eat for breakfast tomorrow, then I can only eat what He already knows I’ll eat. If I were to choose otherwise it would prove that God did not really know what my choice of breakfast was and, therefore, does not know my future.

          If you want to argue for Compatabilist Freewill, then I’ll agree with you. It is compatible (hence the name) with a future knowing being.  But this is a much different concept of freewill than what the church teaches (and from what you seem to be saying, but correct me if I misunderstand.) I’ve personally never been a fan of the name “compatablist freewill” because it is so far removed from what most people consider freewill (libertarian freewill) that I think it muddles up the conversation.

          • Foster

            Okay, so here’s where I stop being a representative of what all devout Catholics believe, and start being someone trying to hypothetically define the relationship between free will and divine omniscience.  That one cannot logically deduce a contradiction between the two is enough for my Faith.  The rest is just fun.  Although once upon a time I studied these philosophical names for different brands of free will, and even wrote a very long paper on it, I fear they will get me muddled up, as all I am really concerned with here is that we as free agents 1. are shaping our own destinies and are significantly responsible for our actions. And that God as omniscient and outside our world 2. knows everything that we are: all we have done, are doing and will do.  The “power to do otherwise” does not much interest me, because no one ever does (assuming anyone is free in the way I describe (1)), and as they say, exceptional (or non-existent) cases make bad law.

            So I like examples.  Let’s look at yours.  Yes, God knows what you will eat, because he saw you do it from his eternal present. But, God did not influence you to do it beyond placing you in a certain historical context.  Not knowing what God knows, you made your selection perfectly consistently with your character and according to your desire.  Sounds like freedom in every way that counts.

            One problem with this example though is that a moral choice seems to me to be of a very different nature than a choice of utility; choices of utility are influenced by our backgrounds.  One could argue I prefer Johnny Cash to Mozart almost entirely because of my historical setting, but my choice to rob the bank through an elaborate scheme, fully knowing the consequences, despite my good upbringing and education, my yielding to my greed at the expense of justice, that strikes me as more likely a choice arising from the soul that Almighty God would hold me accountable for than my cereal brand.  Although you never know: I really *should* switch back to the raisins and granola as those cocopuffs are doing terrible terrible things to my hypothetical waistline.

            • OverlappingMagisteria

              Well you should go for Apple Jacks. They at least have a type of fruit in their name. That counts for something!

              True, my breakfast example doesn’t have a moral component. But I don’t think it matters. Does God know whether or not I will someday rob a bank? Whether I will someday kill someone for revenge? If God knows the answers to these questions then I can only do what he already knows I will do. Will I or won’t I accept Jesus? Will I or won’t I reject the Holy Spirit? Will I live a life worthy of heaven or one worthy of eternal hell? If God knows the future, then these questions already have answers and I can do nothing but follow  my determined path. My and your eternal fates have been determined. God knows where we are headed and our path there and that’s that.

              You seem to have argued for a compatiblist free will. In that case, I agree that you are probably not being a representative of the Catholic faith. But this means that the future is determined – everyone’s life has only one possible path. As soon as you say that there are multiple possible paths in the future, then you are arguing for libertarian freewill and God can no longer know the future. So if my path leads to rejecting the Holy Spirit (a mortal sin according to the Catholic church) do I deserve eternal torment? Does this make sense even if my path was paved before I was even born?

              • Foster

                You ought to read the final chapters of Boethius’ *Consolation of Philosophy* where he tackles this very issue.  I believe the picture he paints there resembles what I have described quite closely, despite your thinking it un-Catholic.  If you’ve got Catholic sources  that contradict the account I’ve given, I’d be most interested to read them.  Citation?  

                I hardly see how “that’s that,” as you’re still living and the choices you make right now are the causes of your fate.  God’s foreknowledge doesn’t make a wick of difference that I can see.  To answer your final question, yes it does make sense (to me at least), because no, there was no paving involved except your own character, which is what is being judged.  At any moment, if you had wanted to do otherwise, there was nothing stopping you, except your character.  God just watched you pull the shots, so how are you not responsible? 

                Or think of it this way, let’s suppose you’re right, and God’s foreknowing what you’re going to do makes you not responsible for your actions.  You live your life making whatever choices you want, and when you get to the pearly gate, saint Peter says, “Well, actually everybody gets in.” Half the people in line: “Hitler too!?” “Yeah, sorry about that. The thing is, since God foreknew the whole shebang, none of you could have done otherwise, so you’re not responsible for your actions, even though you got to do exactly what you wanted, and everybody gets in.”

                I am not convinced.

                • OverlappingMagisteria

                   My citation is that the Catholic church opposes predestination. Pope John Paul II: ” Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all.” Catachism: “God predestines no one to go to hell.” If God knows our fate, and some peoples fate is hell, then salvation is never concretely available to them.

                  The problem with a deterministic universe is not so much about responsibility. It’s the idea that God punishes people eternaly for simply following the path they were given. Like Sindigo said above: “Well, it’s more like you wrote the script for the movie and then, when
                  the actors in the movie followed it to the letter, you fired them from
                  the movie and punished them with eternal torture.” Sure, Hitler was terrible person who is responsible for atrocities. But his actions (if God knows the future) were determined before he was even born. The correct course of action would be not to reward him in heaven or punish him eternally, but to reform him. Fix his addled brain so he sees the error of his ways and no longer is a problem.

                  If you are comfortable with a God that knowingly creates people only so that they can be tormented eternally, then… that’s really messed up.

                • Foster

                   I acknowledge the authority of both of the sources you quoted, but not the illogical conclusions you draw from them.  Your core contentions are two here:
                  1. If God knows our fate, and some people[']s fate is hell, then salvation is never concretely available to them.

                  2. God punishes people eternaly for simply following the path they were given.

                  In the second argument, you have simply assumed that free will is contradictory to a universe where God exists outside of time and sees from his eternal present the choices people make.  This is not predestination.  This is pre-viewing.  God didn’t make you do it, even though he knew you would.  You did, from no other compulsion than your own character. Predestination would be God in some way actively compelling your choices.  But he doesn’t do that, as I’ve said.  So if you want to make this argument, first tightly and logically, deductively, prove that free will is inconsistent with a God outside of time.

                  In the first argument, again, just because I do not choose to avail myself of help, does not mean it wasn’t concretely available.  Salvation was concretely available to both thieves on the cross with Jesus.  One chose to avail himself of it, and the other did not.  And God foresaw what each of them would choose from eternity, but he did not pre-force either one to choose what he did.

  • 2ginakay

    I can not believe how ignorant you all are. There is definitely a God.  Apparently none of you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit like the apostles did after Jesus died on the cross.  I received the baptism of the holy spirit  and he is very real. I feel sorry for all the non believers because hell is also reel and who wants to be in torment for eternity.

    There will be a lot of priests in hell especially those that deny God. I am a catholic and I will never leave my faith or hesitate to give God all the glory. The trinity is a mystery and man can not figure it out because God says it is a mystery.  

    When Jesus sat with the apostles at the last super ; he changed bread and wine into his body and blood and of coarse it did not taste like flesh or blood. It was a miracle by Jesus and he said do this in remembrance of me. This is a gift given to the priests.

    It is so sad that all of you do not believe in miracles and are so shallow. The devil has put blinders on you and you are considered as the devils children. Either you are for God or against him.  Such ignorance about God is caused by not getting to know him on a daily basis and talking to him daily. Believe me he will reveal himself to you.

    God is the same today as he was when he was with the apostles. That is why when the apostles spoke with other tongues it was by the power of the holy spirit. There are numerous people that have this gift and it is only for those who believe the word of God.

    I hope all of you pray for forgiveness and surrender yourselves to God. God will always take the lost sheep and hold him in his arms. This is truly another thing that man does not understand … How can God love us that much! So shape up and get with God. You are truly undeserving  for the love of God to embrace you. Stop thinking like idiots and allow the Holy Spirit to come inside of you.   I hope I knocked some sense in your Heads!

    • ZenDruid

      Thousands are now facepalming on your behalf.

      Did I say thousands? I meant Legion, of course.

    • Drakk

      By-paragraph summary:

      1: I believe in god because MAGIC WATER
      2: God works in mysterious ways
      3: Magic crackers
      5: Sophisticated theology
      6: Christian love

    • Baby_Raptor

      Even if your god did exist, I wouldn’t worship him. Your god is not a being worthy of worship; he is a sick, twisted, malevolent troll. I have morals, and I refuse to bow to a being that doesn’t. 

      Further, you’re calling us shallow when you’re a Fucking sheep? Shallow people don’t think for themselves. They sit around and let other people think for them. And the fact that you’re singing the praises of a godhead of the religion who regularly rapes children and hides it, and yet your god has done jack shit says everything you should need to know on the matter.

      Lastly, you can’t speak basic English. And you’re a judgmental, close-minded, egotistical wind-blower. You won’t be “knocking some sense” into anyones’ heads.

    • Greenleaves

       I stopped reading after “reel” because already I was reeling with laughter… It took some time before I was able to read on.
      This surely is some soft of satire, right? ;) -  at least I’m reading it as such.
      I mean, nobody would come here, present such utter nonsense and be sure that he / she could convince someone who has an ounce of common sense.

    • Sindigo

      If the “devil has put put blinders” on me, then the fact I can’t see your god is his fault, not mine so I fail to see why I’d be deserved of any punishment whatsoever. And, if that was true it would mean your god was powerless to prevent it which suggests that it is the devil that has dominion over this world, not your god.

      Also, ” allow the Holy Spirit to come inside of you” *snicker*

      • Greenleaves

         *lol* Totally made my day.

      • Glasofruix

        Well we saw what happened to Mary…

    • OverlappingMagisteria

       “The trinity is a mystery and man can not figure it out…”

      Wrong. We DO understand it. We DO understand basic math, and we understand that 1+1+1 equals 3, not 1.
      Calling it a mystery is simply hand-waving to distract from the fact that it is just wrong.

      • Foster

        I think that removing the nouns that the quantifiers modify does tend to misrepresent the claim, no?

        4 quarters = 1 dollar looks a lot more rational than 4 = 1, for example.  Obviously, I’m not saying the Trinity is as self-evident as that, but it is not a mathematical contradiction.

        • OverlappingMagisteria

           If you can provide me with a discernible difference between “God” and “persons” I would very much appreciate it. Perhaps I’ve been talking to the wrong people, but every time I’ve heard the claim that the Trinity is 3 separate persons, but 1 God, each of which IS fully God, any attempt to explain the actual definitions winds down to “it’s a mystery.” Unfortunately that looks an awful lot like hand-waving to me. But feel free to educate me.

          Where I was coming from with the “1+1+1 = 3″ is from the claim that each person of the Trinity is fully God. Jesus is fully God. The Father is fully God. Jesus and the Father are also claimed to be separate (as is evident in the Bible, Matt 24:36 for one example). So if both Jesus and the Father are both God, then adding the units back in:

          1 god + 1 god = 2 gods   
           (We’ll leave the holy ghost out for now. Unless he counts as a negative god, it just makes things worse for monotheism)

          PS: in reply to your other post, yes my nom de plume is in reference to Gould’s NOMA. NOMA was a good intention, but I agree that it is flawed. There is certainly an overlap in the claims of the two magisteria.

          • Foster

            Okay, OM, that’s a fairer critique.  I can’t say any of this is necessarily official Catholic doctrine, but just my own way of thinking that it hasn’t come to my notice goes against the Church and comes from Christians I’ve spoken with.  I think it’s good to note that to many of the Greek philosophers, notably Aristotle, God was not a person at all, but a rational principle, the power or “logos,” independent of the world that sustained the world.  So under that formula, we’d have zero persons and one God.  Also interesting to note is that the worst punishment you can give a prisoner is solitary confinement.  In isolation, the human mind goes gradually insane.  Similarly, it is difficult to conceive of a self or person in isolation of everything else.  How would you know you were anything without something other?  I have read several theologians describe God as a community of love.  All of the three persons participate in God and they all have Godhood, but they are distinct and have different characteristics. In this way, the three persons are one God, and each participates in Godhood, but it would be wrong to describe them as three gods, because they participate in one essence of God.  Kind of like when you have a group of friends together, there is a unique community formed, that would have a different character if one person left or was replaced.  Again recalling, this is not something that we believe could ever be rationally deduced by a person, but neither is it contradictory to reason.  The Athanasian Creed summarizes the Church’s stand on the nature of God and is consistent with my description here, I believe.

            • OverlappingMagisteria

               Thanks for the reply. If I understand correctly, the conception of God you described is more like a relationship between the three persons of the trinity as opposed to a person. God is something formed out of the combination or interaction of the 3.

              This rejects the idea of each member of the Trinity itself being fully God. I’d agree that this version does solve the problem of multiple gods, but also seems quite heretical.

              Jesus, in your description of the Trinity, is no longer God. He is a piece of God or a participant in God, but is not fully God. Just like a Senator is only a part of the Senate. He is not “The Senate.”

              There are as many Christianities as there are Christians. Thanks for sharing yours.

              • Foster

                Judging from what you have said, I don’t think we understand the word “is fully” in the same way, since I see no logical reason why what I have said should lead to the conclusion “Jesus is not fully God.” When you say that “This rejects the idea of each member of the Trinity itself (“himself” would be a more accurate description of what I have said) being fully God,” you seem to be taking “X is fully Y” to mean “X is all of what it is to be Y,” while the doctrine might be understood to mean “X is in no part not Y.”  Under that conception, Jesus would be fully God, no part of him would be not God, and so would the other two persons participate entirely in divinity.  In any case, the point I would leave you with is that while there are different ways to analogize (and mine seem to have just left you doubting my Catholicism, oh great) the doctrine is not a logical fallacy, though you may indeed put it up there in improbability with flying unicorns and Señor Spaghetti Monster if you don’t buy that Jesus is God and the Church speaks his Truth.

                • OverlappingMagisteria

                   So when the church says Jesus is God, they really mean Jesus is a part of God, or a subset of God. Same with the Father and Holy Ghost. Put all three together and you get the full God. Kind of like Voltron. Sure, each one is “fully God” in the aspect that they don’t have any non-God elements to them.

                  Still seems heretical to me. Or, more likely, word games to gloss over the problems.

                • Foster

                  No, the conclusion “Jesus is part of God” does not follow logically from “Jesus is in no part not God” which I gave above.  You are correct.  To say “Jesus is part of God” would be heretical, but fortunately, it is not what I have said, nor does it follow logically from what I have said.

            • Edward Tarte

              I find no credible evidence that any god exists–not Thor, not Zeus, not Poseidon, not Ra, not Baal, not Allah, not your god that you are going on and on about–no god whatsoever.  Nor do I find any credible evidence that Santa Claus exists, nor the Easter Bunny, nor the Tooth Fairy, nor the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  So until you or someone on the planet will offer me credible evidence, I simply dismiss everything you are saying as complete nonsense, not worthy of any rational person’s credence nor attention.

              • Edward Tarte

                (continued) Of course the main person to whom we could request such evidence is your god himself.  But your god always remains hidden, a status which is apparently the same as not existing.  I hereby call upon your god–or any god:  Show yourself to us.  Give us unmistakable, solid, persuasive evidence that you exist.  Then, I will not become a believer; I will become a knower.

                • Foster

                  Mr. Tarte, as to my going “on and on,” I understand this to be a forum for free expression of thought, and I would think you’d be glad to have some real live theists around to answer people’s honest questions.  While I understand an echo chamber can be more ego-boosting, I find that interacting with others of opposing views can be mind opening, particularly when one does not descend to mocking the opponent with pasta straw men. In my replies to 2ginakay and Antinomian above, I outlined some reasons for Belief in my own life, things that I find a little out of place in a materialistic universe, but more in line with a God created one.  If God did come down from His throne, you like Baby_Raptor above would probably just despise Him anyway if you could.  So why should He bother? particularly as I believe He already came down 2,000 years ago, and look at the welcoming party he got.  I know of course that you do not believe these things, but I offer them as reasons why God might not fulfill your request if He did exist.

                • Liberated Liberal


                  By the way, I was WAY more devastated to find out that Santa Clause wasn’t real than God wasn’t.

                  As I say to my mom all of the time when she tells me I need God in my life:  all he has to do is ask.  Seriously. He’s God, after all.  JUST.ASK.  I am a big girl enough to ask for what I need/want/require of others; if God can’t do it, then I must come to the conclusion that he’s either not a big girl :P or he doesn’t exist.

    • Mmaxum2002

       Unfortunately for you, most atheists have much biblical knowledge. You are handicapped by being catholic because you’ve probably seldom cracked a bible open. I can’t believe how ignorant and uninformed you are

    • Foster

      Like you, 2ginakay, I am a Roman Catholic.
       I was part of a campus Catholic Apologetics ministry at my university, so
      I hope you will not take offense.  I think that your apologetic (or
      rational defense) for the Faith above has some things that I would do
      differently.  First of all, I would not threaten atheists or priests with
      hell or call them shallow and ignorant (paragraphs 2 and 4 above).
       Secondly, I would not refer as justifications for Belief to such things
      as baptism and the authority of the scriptures. Atheists do not accept these
      things as authoritative, so if the goal is to convince the reader, you must
      appeal to them with things from their own experience.  I would direct
      atheists to some of the “crazy” things they and I both believe, like
      the idea of all things being at the same time a wave and a particle (wave
      particle duality of Physics) and the idea that time flows at a different
      speed depending upon how fast you travel (a consequence of special relativity)
      and the idea that scientific results can change depending upon whether a person
      is observing the experiment or not. 
      These are all scientifically true and very mysterious.  If you just told them to someone on the
      street without telling them that the world’s leading minds believe them to be
      true, the person would laugh at you (if he even grasped what you were
      suggesting).  The Christian
      mysteries are similar in that we do not believe them on their own merits, but
      because authorities that we trust have informed us that they are so.


      Belief comes from other sources when it is come
      upon rationally.  It comes from dissatisfaction
      with the idea that apparent monsters like Hitler are just going to get away
      with their evil.  It comes from
      wondering why we all have a sense of what “ought” to be the way things are and
      the wrongness of suffering and death, a desire to understand why such beings as
      we are, capable of self-reflection and qualitative experience should exist in a
      world supposedly completely material.


      But a universe exotic and unexpected enough for
      wave-particle duality is also exotic enough in my book to have been created by
      one God in three persons, even if I myself am unlikely to have come to either
      of those conclusions on my own.

      • Foster

        Sorry for the funky paragraphs, all.  I copied this from word into the box, so I’m really not sure what happened.  Another of life’s mysteries (for me anyway), I suppose.

        • Brian Westley

          Your comparison between counterintuitive physics and the existence of a god is a non-sequitur.  Wave/particle and time dilation can both be demonstrated by experiments; your comparison is trying to draw a parallel between these experiments and some undetectable “being” with magical powers, by just saying they’re all unusual.

          But why stop there?  Why not believe in a god with an elephant’s head?  Wouldn’t that be exotic too?

          • Foster

            On the contrary, Brian, if you bother to read, I was comparing counterintuitive physics with the existence of truths about God that the human mind cannot grasp on its own, for example the Trinitarian nature of God or the Real Presence in the Eucharist, which are the topic of the post, *not* His existence.  

            There is no *non sequitur* with regard to proving God’s existence in my argument above, because I was not attempting to prove God’s existence at all in the above comment, but to show how the fact that Christianity entails some highly counterintuitive things (i.e. mysteries) should no more discount it than the conclusions of Modern Physics discount it.  Contradiction is the only thing that discounts an argument absolutely. That is, “A = not A.”  But “one God = three persons” is not a contradiction.  It’s just highly counterintuitive.  Kind of like  “This particle of light = This waveform of light.”  So if the former priest above is making the implicit argument, “It is irrational to hold systems of thought that commit you to counterintuitive results,”  Physics provides many good counterexamples that might cause you and your ilk to scoff a little less loudly when someone makes an unusual claim.  That’s all I am suggesting.  
            Why not believe in a god with an elephant’s head? Because I have no good reason to do so, from pure reason, observation, or from any authority I trust.

            • Liberated Liberal

              So you’ve observed your white-bearded God?  And if you haven’t actually observed him, then what exactly is your reasoning for not believing he doesn’t have an elephant head? So observation out, reasoning, not so much.

              What your argument is boiling down to over and over again is that you’re told to believe in Catholicism by “authorities”, therefore you do.

              • Foster

                Your sad attempt below to debunk the scholarly consensus that Jesus really lived seems indeed to suggest that *you* lack respect for *any* authority, no matter where the evidence leads.

                • Glasofruix

                  What evidence exactly?  There is as much evidence about Jebus as about Papa Smurf…
                  Christian mysteries? Oh please, just a way to disguise ignorance.

                • Foster

                  You’re telling me that you think the amount of historical evidence for Jesus’ existence equals that of a cartoon character, and *I’m* the ignorant one?

                • Glasofruix

                  Actually there’s more evidence about papa smurf than about jebus…

                • Antinomian

                  As I said above, the church is feeling it’s authority slipping and fears for its relevance in the face of knowlege and facts.

                  And, no Foster, any respect for authority has to be earned by said authority. The RCC has not given  or demonstrated any reason for anyone to respect them.

      • OverlappingMagisteria

         Thank you, Foster, for pointing out some of the ineffective ways of convincing others of your faith to a fellow Catholic. I, for one, am interested in hearing why others believe and the bad arguments can get tedious (hey, if it turns out you guys are right, I certainly want to know!)

        It is not easy to confront someone on your “side” of the debate, especially in the lion’s den of an Atheist site. Your efforts are appreciated!

        • Foster

          I take it your *nom de plume* is a tribute to the late Stephen J. Gould’s NOMAs.  I agree that he was mistaken, and the two fields of theology and earth history have much to say about one another, though not in the same way Literal 7-Day Creationists would suppose.

      • Antinomian

        “The Christian mysteries are similar in that we do not believe them on their own merits, but because authorities that we trust have informed us that they are so.”

        This is where your whole argument jumps the rails Foster. It still all boils down to providing real evidence, not magical explanations with the conclusion that it will always be a mystery…. If that’s the best that your ‘trusted authorities’ have, I suggest you look elsewhere for your answers.

        • Foster

          As I suggested when I said “Belief comes from other sources when it is come upon rationally,” the real evidence for believing these authorities is from elsewhere.  You believe the scientist who tells you PV = nRT (for approximately ideal gases), because he makes your AC work.  I believe the Church when it teaches me about God’s Triune nature (and other exotic stuff) because it makes sense of other problems that a materialist world cannot solve like the ones I mentioned.  The weirdly advanced and different creation myths, of a God who speaks the world into existence rather than achieving it through bloodshed (the usual way in these myths), kosher laws that almost resemble modern antiseptic practices when their neighbors were eating raw pig flesh, and the way they often and uniquely paint themselves and their kings in a bad light (i.e. honestly) in their scriptures is also very strange in the Jews, a materially backwards people among their neighbors.  The idea that so many early Christians made into a god and died for a man they knew to be dead, killed by the Romans, is also strange.  I mean, calling a guy like Julius Caesar a god, that’s pretty understandable if you want to rise in the world, but a dead Jewish carpenter?  Who exactly stood to gain by starting up a lie like that?  The endurance of the Church long after the destruction of the Roman empire, most of Europe’s monarchies and through her own corruption and the explosion of Islam in the Seventh and Eighth Centuries, is also strange.  Finally, miracles like apparitions of Fatima and Zeitoun, or incorruptible bodies like that of  Saint Bernadette and other miraculous happenings are strange.  With all of these strange things going on, no materialistic explanations that satisfy me forthcoming, and no reason to think otherwise, I find it helpful to believe the Catholic Faith.  No need to look elsewhere so far, thanks.

          • Liberated Liberal

            Well, let’s get one thing clear:  There was no contemporary recording of Jesus’ existence anywhere.  None.  Zero.  Original christians believed that Jesus was an ethereal spirit ONLY (represented by a lamb, by the way, not a shepherd), and only much later “became human” when the stories needed to become much more exciting and gory (around the time of Constantine who loved to justify his bloodshed).  

            There were many instances of people considered more gentle spirits to be gods.  Not everybody aligned themselves gods that were in power and to get them to the top.  I mean, Zeus never existed, right?  But people worshipped him anyway (though he wasn’t meek).  So your rationale that Jesus must be real because nobody would worship just a carpenter is bunk, especially considering that people were worshipping “christ” the ethereal before he was ever “Jesus.”  That isn’t a real argument.

            If you look into the history of gods, you’ll see that many of them stood no real purpose.  Nobody stood to gain much of anything from many of the gods, but they “lied” about it anyway.  Once again, not a real argument.  

            Kosher laws probably align very well with the possibility that people who were smart enough to observe proper hygiene over centuries.  There were groups of people who were very astute and learned from their surroundings, as well as cause and effect.  Just because the whole world didn’t adopt it doesn’t mean they weren’t right about it.  The fact that these things eventually found their way into “Law” doesn’t mean much.  Many civilizations knew a startling amount that we don’t give them credit for.  

            And yes, we believe scientists regarding a great deal – the main reason being that the experiments that “prove” these things can be recreated by a great number of people, PV = nRT being one that most chemistry and physics students can verify in the lab in their first year of school.  The harder things that are part of Quantum Physics are not as easily understood and even more difficult to recreate, but they ARE recreated and studied and confirmed by a wide variety of people.  People of all backgrounds, cultures, religions, genders and interests can and have recreated these studies and found them to be “true” as much as they can be so.  They are weird and strange and awesome, but as long as they are verifiable by other sources, well, I’m more likely to believe them.  And just because they are difficult to understand doesn’t mean God did it.  Maybe he did, mostly likely he didn’t.  There are many things that 100 years ago humans thought to be so incredible that they simply couldn’t understand how it wasn’t created by God or the Devil that now seem completely normal.

            The difference is that the  stuff the Catholic Church holds as truth isn’t verifiable by anybody.  You consider it to be true simply because somebody said it to be true.  It cannot be studied, recreated, verified, felt or heard.  You want it to be true, therefore you claim it is.  Even Catholics aren’t able to recreate it, not even the most studied and faithful Catholics.  Priests themselves aren’t.  At least, I haven’t met one yet who has.  You won’t convince anyone who isn’t a theist that these things are true, because they don’t make any sense in any context.  They only make sense when you want to believe it so badly that you’re willing to ignore all evidence in order to do so.  I also don’t consider Catholic clergy to be trustworthy in most senses.  

            • Foster

              Well aren’t you snarky, Mr. Liberal, with your aspersions against priests?  I wonder if you are as comfortable taking your children to public school, as public schoolteachers are statistically less “trustworthy” than priests are.  

              I must admit that I have never read your version of the History of Jesus’ coming into the popular imagination before, but I have read Josephus, who lived in the first century, and writes of Jesus as a real person whom the Romans crucified.  This Jewish historian disposes me to doubt your tales of a fabled gnostic past of Jesus as an ethereal spirit.  And you may not like it, my dear Mr. Liberal, but the scholarly consensus today is that Jesus of Nazareth was a Jewish teacher of the first century who really lived.  But I am open to any reading you suggest that might enlighten my more classical tastes as to new historical evidence of which only you are aware.  Please include citation of where exactly you get *your* historical beliefs if you respond.The unique advancements of the Jewish culture are not irrefutable evidence that they had a little help, but they do make me wonder, when none of their neighbors were anywhere near their level  in many ways.  Your points are admitted in this area, though.  It could be an anomaly.If you think I was attempting to create a “God of the Gaps” argument on technology, you need to reread what I wrote on Physics. “And just because they are difficult to understand doesn’t mean God did it” suggests you misunderstand my point, which was *not* that mystical fairies make air conditioners work.

              • Glasofruix

                For a historical event to be regarded as accurate there must be several corraborating and contemporary (from the time of the events) sources about it, which not the case about jebus. Every document relating his existence was written several dozen or hundreds of years after his supposed resurrection.

                • Foster

                   G, Contemporary evidence is the best evidence for something or someone’s existence, I agree.  But when it is not available, a rational person does not say that its evidence drops to zero, i.e. the probability that Papa Smurf was a historical person, as you have.  The scholarly consensus today is that he lived.  Not being an historian, I am willing to trust their judgment.  Are you?

                • Glasofruix

                  Events can be deduced from evidence left behind, but to confirm that a person actually existed it takes more than some dude writing about him a hundred years later. Following your logic i could write about the awesome dude who lived 200 years ago and who invented magic disappearing powder, go on, prove he never existed. Oh and i don’t trust your scholars, knowing that they use lies and deceptions to advance their mind numbing ideology doesn’t play in their favor…

              • Antinomian

                “Well aren’t you snarky, Mr. Liberal, with your aspersions against priests?  I wonder if you are as comfortable taking your children to public school, as public schoolteachers are statistically less “trustworthy” than priests are. ”

                Citations and proof strongly requested.

                • Foster

                  Here you go:  http://wizbangblog.com/2011/07/08/sexual-abuse-of-students-in-schools-is-likely-more-than-100-times-the-abuse-by-priests/

          • Antinomian

            “”Belief comes from other sources when it is come upon rationally,” the real evidence for believing these authorities is from elsewhere.  You believe the scientist who tells you PV = nRT (for approximately ideal gases), because he makes your AC work.  I believe the Church when it teaches me about God’s Triune nature (and other exotic stuff) because it makes sense of other problems that a materialist world cannot solve like the ones I mentioned. ”
            Thank you for the spin cycle, but lets put this out on the sun to dry and expose the wrinkles.
            Of course I believe the scientist, I believe because the scientist’s claims are repeatable and observable. Equations are a language of the laws that explain our natural world. These equations hold up everwhere. Your authorities have always tried to explain our natural world
            as the mysteries of a god of  some sort and your authorities claim the final word, no other explaination is possible. However, science, over the last four centuries has wittled your authorities authority of natural phenomenon down to next to nothing.
            In the end you say:
            “With all of these strange things going on, no materialistic explanations that satisfy me forthcoming, and no reason to think otherwise, I find it helpful to believe the Catholic Faith.  No need to look elsewhere so far, thanks.”

            Intellectual obtuseness and bankruptcy at it’s finest folks.
            Foster, it is people like you, blindly following and apologising, because it is easy, that make this world a less rich place than it could be. You may feel that your long posts of apologetics are smart and convincing, but in a place like Hemet’s blog they hold no water and we see you for what you and the rest of the backward looking christian world truly are. You and your kind feel your position of power slipping away and you’ll do anything to preserve it instead of doing the hard work of critical thinking and working for the facts instead of the easy route of blind comfort.

            • Foster

              “Intellectual obtuseness and bankruptcy at it’s [sic] finest folks.”

              I’m sorry you don’t find my reasons persuasive, but rather than insult you, I have laid out why I think otherwise based on what we both know.  People reading this blog may judge for themselves which of us is more closed-minded or careful-thinking.  I have no problem with your believing what you think is true, so “the power of my position” is not relevant.

    • Raymond

      I think you’re a little confused about speaking in tongues too.  The Apostles spoke in their own language and others who spoke different languages heard it as if it was in their own language. No one today has that ability. What the deluded of today think of as speaking in tongues is babbling that cannot be recognized as any coherent language. I can do that too, but I would have the decency to admit that I was just messing with you.

      I hope I knocked some sense into your head. Lower case h.

    • Barbara

      And this, folks, is a prime example of someone who’s been thoroughly brainwashed by the RCC. Another human intellect bites the dust. We can only hope people like 2ginakay come to their senses soon; hard-headed bigots don’t serve humanity well.

  • John_in_Vegas

    Come on now, he makes it all seem ridiculous… 

  • Ida Know

    The only “mystery” of Catholicism is why anyone with a conscience is still Catholic.

    • Foster

      I converted to Catholicism, and I have a conscience.  I can understand your dislike of some of her representatives.  I freely admit some of her pastors have been pedophiles and done other bad things, and I agree that I don’t think they should be shielded.  But public schoolteachers are far worse statistically on *that* score, and you don’t hear the media decrying their profession, or calling for the resignation of the head of the Department of Education.  People sin, including priests, and they have a bad natural tendency to do so: that’s one of our doctrines.  But what do you have against what the Church *teaches*?  Because for me not to be able to have a conscience and be a member, there must be something it teaches that you think is immoral.

      • Edward Tarte

        Foster, your church teaches that birth control is sinful.   Your church teaches that women are inferior to men.  Your church teaches that homosexual behavior is grievously sinful, and that gays should not have the right to marry.  Your church is pathologically preoccupied with sex in ways that seriously harm its own members as well our entire human species.  Your church opposes the Death With Dignity movement and therefore is potentially my mortal enemy, in case as I near the end of my life I would have to endure prolonged agonizing suffering until “my time comes”.  For these and for many other reasons, your church is evil, and I now do what I can to oppose it.

        • Foster

          The man himself.  Well, Mr. Tarte, I’ve seen
          your videos and I am sincerely very sorry the seminary was as intellectually
          suffocating as you describe.  I respect your evangelistic spirit (you’re
          defending what you believe in) and admire your personal commitment to science
          and learning. I want to respond to the five specific charges you laid.  Correct me if I get anything
          wrong.  Laying bare the moving rhetoric,
          you say that
           1.    The
          Church teaches wrongly that women are inferior to men. 
          The Church teaches wrongly that homosexual
          behavior is sinful.
          The Church teaches wrongly that gays
          should not be able to marry.
          The church is preoccupied with sex. 
          5.The Church teaches wrongly that euthanasia and suicide are

          1:     The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not
          teach that women are inferior to men, and I’m sorry if you misunderstood that
          in your seminary.  Rather, the
          Church is a historical force behind what has become an equally sincere humanist
          belief in the inherent equality of all people in the sight of God and the law.  “In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no
          slave or free, no male or female.” 
          We believe that men and women are different and have been given
          different, equally important roles to play in helping God’s church on Earth.  The greatest of all created beings in
          Catholic theology is Mary, the Mother of God, as you know.  So I dispute your claim as I think will
          any devout Catholic.  The saints,
          our greatest examples and highest honored, have been both men and women fairly
          2., 3., and 4:  The Church teaches that sex, sexual love, and
          openness to children should all happen together, without fear, productively
          inside a marriage and promotes Natural Family Planning as a safe alternative to
          artificial estrogen and condoms.  We think that humans will be happiest if they either abstain
          from sex or enjoy it inside of a marriage, which has always in every culture
          been understood to exist between men and women, and in Catholic culture between
          one man and one woman.  As for the
          grievousness of it, homosexual sex is no worse than heterosexual sex outside of
          marriage.  Neither is what we
          believe to be God’s ideal for us. 
          Specifically 4: I think that the commitment
          of the Church to encouraging that children are born as much as possible into
          traditional families with a married mother and father, instead of being
          “pathological” has been beneficial to the happiness and development of Western
          Civilization, and “the entire human species.”
          5:     Suicide is a crime.  It is murder against the self, and it cheapens the gift of
          life.  The church does not require
          unnaturally prolonging life with extraordinary measures, but neither can it
          support suicide when life becomes difficult.  If there is chronic pain, there are (thank God) anesthetics
          like morphine that the church does not object to.  Lethal injection and other forms of intentionally inflicting
          death for death’s sake are wrong for infants, wrong for murderers, and wrong
          for the elderly.  We should cherish
          life while it lasts.

          Now if you don’t like any of this, you don’t have to
          do it.  The Church doesn’t force
          anyone to do anything, and has apologized for times in history when it *was*
          violent.  The Church today condemns
          violence against anyone, gay or straight, including those who disagree with us
          and officially calls for love towards everyone.  The Church preserved what advancements of the Romans and
          Greeks it could after Rome’s decadent  fall, developed farming in its monasteries,
          invented the universities, and endowed and endows so many hospitals and schools,
          I hate to think what the world might look like otherwise.  Although it is run by men and women with
          their own faults, it continues to be a force for good in the world.  I respectfully disagree.    

          • Deepak Shetty

             Now now you almost came across as reasonable till this reply.
            1. Equality is equality. Spare me the different roles for men and women rubbish (you can justify anything if you fall for the they are equal but “different” canard). So get back to us when a woman can be pope.
            2. “We think that humans will be happiest if they either abstain
            from sex or enjoy it inside of a marriage”
            You are ofcourse free to think it and free to practise it. Where your church (And you) cross the line is when you enforce it on other people. When your church spend money and pressures politicians to enforce your outdated definition of marriage and a nonsensical view of contraception , when you cause real pain and hurt to lgbt folk its time to stop pretending that it actually makes other people happy. Acknowledge the harm your church and its views have caused scores of human beings. Any decent human being would have looked at his religion and said what the fuck difference does it make to me if two gay people get married -but it does make a difference to them , emotionally, legally – and so any decent human being would conclude that he should be in favor of gay marriage .. irrespective of what his religion teaches – Now you can bury your head in the sand and pretend that gay people would be happiest if they were heterosexual or if they abstained – or you know you can just speak to some of them and see what makes them happy.

            • Edward Tarte

              Dee…, thank you so much for your comment. Foster, at YouTube please search Edward Tarte live and let live. Please watch it and then do the “homework” that I “assign” at the end of the video. Thank you.

              • Foster

                I agree with your video that homosexuals should receive equal treatment under the law in American society, although I disagree that Ratzinger was wrong to say what he did.  So long as we intend to do so through rational argument and persuasion, rather than through violence, Catholics have the right to try to dissuade people from sodomy if we like.  I offered a solution to that problem of equal treatment under the law in response to another post on this site, here: 


            • Foster

              Deepak, what you have said is verifiably incorrect.  The church does not “pressure politicians” to do anything I am aware of, outside of providing religious liberty to them not to directly enable behavior of their employees that they consider to be sinful.  The church does not endorse any political candidate. If politicians wish to please their constituents who are Catholic, you cannot reasonably blame the Church, which makes a point of endorsing no one.  It is a verifiably apolitical organization to which people from both of America’s dominant parties belong.

              We do not enforce our views on other people.  People voluntary come to the Church asking the question, “How shall we live?” And the Church tells them what she thinks.  The Church is not imposing a theocracy upon you, so please stop speaking as if it was.

              • Deepak Shetty

                 “what you have said is verifiably incorrect.”

                Is there something in your religion that prevents you using Google?
                In the state that i currently live in – California , for Proposition 8, you can check whether the RCC supported it or was against it. Whether they provided money for it or against it. You can find many many examples – so you are being willfully ignorant.

                • Foster

                  If you’d like to provide a citation that I can comment on, I’d be happy to read it and modify my views if the evidence merits it, but not the Mormons, not the Catholic Church, are notable for financing the (for the moment) successful campaign against “gay marriage” in California, and I am unaware of the Church providing money for that political campaigning. Citation?

                • Foster

                  I meant to say “the Mormons, not the Catholic Church” so please disregard the first “not” above as it was an error on my part.

            • Foster


              Regarding 1.    
              Are you making an argument here?  I mean, I get why atheists complain
              because the Church is saying a woman can’t just kill the little human being
              inside of her.  That little human
              is a HUGE inconvenience upon her for NINE MONTHS. That’s a long time.  I get that.  I disagree, but I think I get where you’re coming from.  But you, Dee, are complaining that women
              aren’t allowed to hold up a cracker at Mass and declare it to be Jesus, whom
              you don’t believe in, and you need a woman to be allowed to be in charge of all
              of the (so-you-think) cracker-worshippers.  First of all, why do you care?  In secular life, Catholics believe a woman can do whatever a
              man can.  As far as you’re
              concerned, my atheist friend, I’d think that equality would do it, since I
              doubt that you’d want your daughter to be Pope of the cracker-worshippers
              anyway.  If you respond, please
              answer this question, it’s not rhetorical.  Don’t just spout a tautology and look at me like I’m
              supposed to understand. 

              But here’s the thing.  We think Jesus was God, and therefore
              he did things exactly the way they should be done.  He never cow-towed to anyone and almost seems to make it a
              point to anger the authorities by what he did in the Gospels.  So if he had wanted women to be
              priestesses, regardless of the cultural circumstance, he would have instituted
              it.  Mary certainly would have been
              a priestess, holy woman that she was. 
              But she wasn’t, and he didn’t. 
              So, we’re going to go with Jesus on that one, not with you, or what is
              politically correct.  


          • Glasofruix

            1) How about that part of timothy (new testament) that says that women should stfu? How many female catholic priests have you seen? What about the sickly fixation on how women should treat their own bodies?

            2,3,4) How is that a church’s business exactly? Someone’s sexuality is his/her own business, not the pope’s or Papa Smurf’s.
            We think that humans will be happiest if they either abstain from sex or enjoy it inside of a marriage, which has always in every culture been understood to exist between men and women
            Wrong, so so wrong… Sex inside marriage is a fairly recent thing and did not exist until xtians got to power and homosexual relationships were common in ancient times.
            5) It’s a crime in your little imaginary world, but that doesn’t give you the right to dicate your own (sick as fuck) conception of morality to everyone else. You don’t want to able to end your life in dignity, fine, but i want to be able to chose when to pull the plug if living becomes unbearable.

            The Church today condemns
            violence against anyone, gay or straight, including those who disagree with us
            and officially calls for love towards everyone.

            Wrong again, remeber the order to pray the gay away on august 15th?

            The Church preserved what advancements of the Romans and
            Greeks it could after Rome’s decadent  fall

            Wrong, many advancements such as medecine/surgery, hygiene, architecture, engeneering, sewer systems (and many more) have been lost or discarded by the church.

            I hate to think what the world might look like otherwise.

            You’d probable be living on another planet…

            Although it is run by men and women with
            their own faults, it continues to be a force for good in the world.

            It’s a force for world domination by ignorance, nothing more and certainly nothing good.

            • Edward Tarte

              Glasofruix, thank you so much.

            • Foster


              G: How about that part of timothy (new
              testament) that says that women should stfu?


              The Church has female readers as well as
              male today in the Mass, so we do not interpret Timothy in the same way that you
              apparently do.


              G: How many female catholic priests have you


              How many male Catholic nuns have you
              seen?  We believe that while we are
              equal, we each have different functions to fulfill in our different roles.


              G: What about the sickly fixation on how women
              should treat their own bodies?


              I don’t think it’s specifically on women at
              all: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy
              Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” 

              But you are, of course, talking about
              abortion, and I can only say that if you believed that a person with an equal
              right to live as yourself was being murdered in an abortion, you would probably
              think the same as we do.  The
              “fixation” is not upon the woman, but upon the right of the little human inside
              of her to live.


              G: Someone’s sexuality is his/her own business,
              not the pope’s. 


              You are quite right.  The pope is not storming people’s
              private homes looking for gays, but just as you have the right to express your
              opinion on the matter, the pope and the Church have theirs, no matter how “wrong,
              so wrong” they may be.


              G: I want to be able to chose [sic] when to
              pull the plug if living becomes unbearable.


              If it really comes down to “pulling a
              plug,” your friends/family/the hospital/you are probably “unnaturally
              prolonging [your] life with extraordinary measures,” and the Church doesn’t
              object to your not pursuing them, as I said.  So pull, if you choose.

              If on the other hand you want to inject a
              deadly toxin into your veins because life has become “unbearable” for your
              psyche but not your body, then yes, I’m afraid we just disagree on whether
              that’s an action that physicians should be compelled to assist you in carrying
              out, particularly seeing as they swore to do no harm.


              G: The Catholic Church does not teach that
              women should stfu, although we might not be able to say the same of the
              atheistic regime of China (where everyone must).


              F: The Church today condemns
              violence against anyone, gay or straight, including those who disagree with us
              and officially calls for love towards everyone.

              G: Wrong
              again, remeber [sic] the order to pray the gay away on august 15th?


              I am not wrong. Praying is not violence. Try reading a
              book.  The Catechism maybe.


              F: The Church preserved what advancements of
              the Romans and
              Greeks it could after Rome’s decadent  fall

              G: Wrong,
              many advancements such as medecine/surgery, hygiene, architecture, engeneering,
              sewer systems (and many more) have been lost or discarded by the church.


              advancements…it could,” tends to imply “not all,” so again, I am not
              wrong.  You need to read more

               That concludes my responses to your seemingly substantive

      • Ida Know

         Reply delayed by being away from the internet…

        The Catholic Church’s “teachings” are irrelevant (although misogynistic, bigoted, and psychologically harmful to its followers, as Mr. Tarte pointed out).  What I’m concerned with is its actions.

        An organization that uses its vast wealth and power to help, not the victims of crimes but the perpetrators — yes, I am talking about predator priests — by covering them up, moving the priests around to give them fresh fields of victims, and blocking investigations of those crimes is NOT a force for good.

        There are numerous other well-documented atrocities that the church is responsible for (the stealing of babies from “unsuitable” mothers, the lying to Africans about condoms which has caused the deaths of millions, etc., etc.), but even if the child rapes were the ONLY thing, *that would be enough*.

        People who are still members of the Catholic church and who still give them their money may be nice people individually for the most part, but they are contributing to evil.

        • Foster

          I respectfully disagree.  What you are implying is guilt by association.  To draw a parallel from recent events,
          what you are saying would be the same as saying, “I can’t believe anyone with a
          conscience is still a student at Penn State.”


          No doubt, Penn State’s enrollment is going to suffer as a
          result of Joe Paterno’s misconduct in the recent scandal, and their football
          team particularly has suffered and will continue to suffer.  But it is still possible to be a
          conscientious person attending Penn State or working there, despite the
          misconduct of high officials at Penn State in covering up what should have been


          So unless you are suggesting that the University should
          disband, give its endowments to the poor, let go its thousands of employees and
          return the tuition of its thousands of students, it hardly makes sense to
          suggest the same thing of the Church. 
          Should Penn State dissolve itself, or where is the lack of parallel?  

          On the other hand, as I said, if what the Church *teaches* is evil, then I could see your point.  If Penn State *taught* that it’s okay for quarterbacks to rape other students, then we could talk about the moral necessity of disbanding it, but the Church officially condemns this behavior just as Penn State does. 


          As to the other events you refer to, regarding African baby-stealing,
          and lying about condoms, please cite your sources, as I am unaware of exactly
          what you are talking about and each allegation should be judged on its own

  • C Peterson

    In Catholicism (and many other Christian sects, as well) “mystery” is just a synonym for “internally inconsistent bullshit that you aren’t allowed to examine”. Since these things cannot be explained (not because they are deep or complex, but because they are nonsense), and are also core tenets, the only option is to pretend that only a god can make sense of them.

  • Samizdat45

    “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” -Marcus Aurelius