Tuesday, June 28

My thoughts on Religion

Well, I know this will be a controversial topic. But after the Supreme Court yesterday, apparently, smoking all kinds of crack. I thought I'd put my 2 cents out there.

1. I am not very religious
2. I do not believe in a "religion" (ex. Baptist, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu)
3. I do not believe God wanted us to have them.
4. God never said he was a "Christian"
5. God didn't say he was anything.
6. God said "I am God."
7. The Ten Commandments are law. There should be more.
8. God should appoint some dude on Earth as his representative, that dude should be over all Governments and Courts, and when a decision gets that high, that dude should turn around and ask God, hey God, whatcha think... and then therefore.. it is.
9. The Bible is the Bible. It's black and white. It's not open for interpretation, it's law, follow it. Although I am sure all of us would love to sit down and talk to God and ask him what he meant by certain things.
10. God didn't write the Bible. Men did. God inspired it.
----------------------
Things I am confused about

1. If Jesus is God's son, how are Jesus, God, and they Holy Spirit, one person? Isn't that physically impossible? And when Jesus died, he said "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit". So Jesus Died. Gave his spirit to God, who again, is a different person. But I thought they were one?
2. Who is the Pope?
3. Who is right?
4. Should we stop interpreting the Bible and start following it?
5. How does the Bible fit into modern society? For example, Abortion.. Bible says it's wrong... Okay... Well Someone rapes your 11 year old daughter, and she becomes pregnant.. is it wrong then? If you say, "Well the Rape should have never taken place in the first place" Good point. I agree.. But it happened... what now?

13 comments:

Steve G. said...

I answer truly, but hopefully my responses are read in the charitable, fun, yet thoughtful way in which written.

1. I am not very religious

I am very religious. :-)

2. I do not believe in a "religion" (ex. Baptist, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu)

I am a faithful/devout/orthodox Catholic.

3. I do not believe God wanted us to have them.

I believe it's fairly clear that He intended for man to have religion. Even modern researchers are finding evidence that our brains are 'wired' with a religious instinct. Even in the most primitive of societies, religion, religious ritual and tradition are found. It would seem a paradox that both nature and culture seem to have the religious instinct present if religion was not intended by the creator of nature and man.

4. God never said he was a "Christian"

He never said he wasn't either. ;-) Seriously, of course He didn't so because he is God. Christian means literally a follower or disciple of Christ. How could God be his own follower? God is simply above a label of this nature.

5. God didn't say he was anything.
6. God said "I am God."


This is true to an extent, yet God also tells us much about himself and the attributes (as far as we can grasp them) that he possesses. Mercy, selfless love, justice, faithfulness, true, creativity, power, etc.

7. The Ten Commandments are law. There should be more.

They are only law in a given society to the extent to which a given society basis there civil law on them. They certainly aren't law in Saudi Arabia. As to ‘more’, ask an Orthodox Jew how many there are and they'll tell you there are well over 500 (Deuteronomy) laws that a Jew must keep in addition to the 10 commandments. What do you mean by 'there should be more?'

8. God should appoint some dude on Earth as his representative, that dude should be over all
Governments and Courts, and when a decision gets that high, that dude should turn around and ask God, hey God, whatcha think... and then therefore.. it is.


He did. He is called the Pope. He is the 265th successor to Peter, the chief apostle of Jesus.

9. The Bible is the Bible. It's black and white. It's not open for interpretation, it's law, follow it. Although I am sure all of us would love to sit down and talk to God and ask him what he meant by certain things.

Ahhhh, herein lies the rub. The Bible after all is a book. Only letters forming words on paper. Inspired by God, yes, but it can't say anything of its own volition. Walk up to the bible and ask it if cloning is OK and you'll meet dead silence. To use it, one must read it. To read it, is to automatically do so from one's own limited knowledge of history, culture, and language; as well as our prejudices and preferences. To read it thus limited, makes it nearly impossible to have two people who can read it and find the same meaning throughout. Interpretation is an unavoidable fact when a single person tries to read and understand it. You admit that it's not always clear. If that's so, how can we simply follow it so easily in the way you suggest?

Acts 8
27 And he rose and went. And behold, an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a minister of the Can'dace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship 28: and was returning; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29: And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join this chariot." 30: So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" 31: And he said, "How can I, unless some one guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.


10. God didn't write the Bible. Men did. God inspired it.

Your point?
----------------------
Things I am confused about
1. If Jesus is God's son, how are Jesus, God, and they Holy Spirit, one person? Isn't that physically impossible?


Physically impossible yes, but since God is by definition supernatural (above nature), and is not limited by physics (time and space), to try to understand God in a purely physical way will be fruitless and worthless. Yet, we can get a shadow of a hint at how this is possible in nature. C.S. Lewis give a wonderful example (condensed here)...

First, imagine a single line.
Next, imagine 4 lines comprising a square.
Now, add the additional lines that turn the square into a cube.

The cube is a single entity in 3 dimensions. Yet you still have the other aspects of the cube that comprise it. The lines are still fully lines. The squares are still fully squares, yet they are also part of the integrated whole of the cube. So if we translate this analog to the Trinity, we can see that each person of the Trinity is truly a person, distinct (as a square is) and are certain aspects of the cube without which the cube doesn't exist. The Trinity comprises all three persons and is God without diminishing their individuality. The main flaw in this analogy is that the progression from line to square to cube implies that there one is higher/better then the other (square is more than line, cube is more than square) when in reality the persons of the Trinity are neither superior, nor inferior to each other. No analogy can do justice to the truth, but I hope it's at least made it more comprehensible. I highly recommend C.S. Lewis' 'Mere Christianity' as a source to answer most of the points you raise in your post.

And when Jesus died, he said "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit". So Jesus Died. Gave his spirit to God, who again, is a different person. But I thought they were one?

Now you are getting into another deep mystery. The classic, orthodox Christian understanding is that Jesus is fully God and fully man. He is the third person of the Trinity and fully divine and co-equal with Father and Holy Spirit. At the same time, he is a fully human. He is a person with a real human soul and body. These two natures are fully integrated, but also distinct from each other. You are not the first one to ask such a question and Christendom has pondered this from the beginning. The two natures of Christ (divine and human) are theologically known as the 'dual nature’, while the union of the two is known as the hypostatic union (that thar is just a fancy term for the mystery of how this exists). It is his human soul/spirit which he commends to his father. I can offer additional resources on both if you are interested.

2. Who is the Pope?

What do you mean by who? The name of the person is Benedict XVI (formerly Josef Cardinal Ratzinger), but I think maybe you mean how do we understand his position and role. Is that correct? Read this section of the Catholic Catechism in answer to your question..
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a9p4.htm

3. Who is right?

God as revealed to us in the incarnation of Jesus Christ and testified by the Church he establish and which has stood through the successors of Peter and the apostles (Pope and Bishops) for nearly 2000 years.

4. Should we stop interpreting the Bible and start following it?

See point 9 above. It's impossible not to interpret that which is read.

5. How does the Bible fit into modern society? For example, Abortion.. Bible says it's wrong... Okay... Well Someone rapes your 11 year old daughter, and she becomes pregnant.. is it wrong then? If you say, "Well the Rape should have never taken place in the first place" Good point. I agree.. But it happened... what now?

It fits into any particular society to the extent that the society basis it's morality on it (or a particular interpretation of it). As to the specific question about rape and subsequent pregnancy, the answer is obvious. We don't not punish the innocent baby for the crime of the biological father. Would we allow the born child to be killed if that born child was the result of a rape? Of course not. The only substantive difference between the born and pre-born is their relative location in space. One is inside the mother body, one is not. But there is no fundamental difference as to their personhood and the right to be protected from being killed.

Joel Esler said...

2. I do not believe in a "religion" (ex. Baptist, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu)

I am a faithful/devout/orthodox Catholic.

---> I don't believe that God wanted us to divide into these little sects and then war with each other about which one is more right.


4. God never said he was a "Christian"

He never said he wasn't either. ;-) Seriously, of course He didn't so because he is God. Christian means literally a follower or disciple of Christ. How could God be his own follower? God is simply above a label of this nature.

----> There is a mainstream understanding that Chrisitanity is different from Judiasim. How can that be if Jesus was Jewish?


7. The Ten Commandments are law. There should be more.

They are only law in a given society to the extent to which a given society basis there civil law on them. They certainly aren't law in Saudi Arabia. As to ‘more’, ask an Orthodox Jew how many there are and they'll tell you there are well over 500 (Deuteronomy) laws that a Jew must keep in addition to the 10 commandments. What do you mean by 'there should be more?'

---> The sentance should read "If the Ten Commandments are law..."

8. God should appoint some dude on Earth as his representative, that dude should be over all
Governments and Courts, and when a decision gets that high, that dude should turn around and ask God, hey God, whatcha think... and then therefore.. it is.

He did. He is called the Pope. He is the 265th successor to Peter, the chief apostle of Jesus.

---> But the rest of the world (read:Atheists, Muslisms, Baptists...) (also read: not Catholics) doesn't believe as such. He should be appointed by God. Pope's aren't appointed by God (you can believe that they are all day) but in all actuallity they are voted into place.


9. The Bible is the Bible. It's black and white. It's not open for interpretation, it's law, follow it. Although I am sure all of us would love to sit down and talk to God and ask him what he meant by certain things.

Ahhhh, herein lies the rub. The Bible after all is a book. Only letters forming words on paper. Inspired by God, yes, but it can't say anything of its own volition. Walk up to the bible and ask it if cloning is OK and you'll meet dead silence. To use it, one must read it. To read it, is to automatically do so from one's own limited knowledge of history, culture, and language; as well as our prejudices and preferences. To read it thus limited, makes it nearly impossible to have two people who can read it and find the same meaning throughout. Interpretation is an unavoidable fact when a single person tries to read and understand it. You admit that it's not always clear. If that's so, how can we simply follow it so easily in the way you suggest?

---> We should not have people interpret it for us. Each of us should find our own meaning in it.

10. God didn't write the Bible. Men did. God inspired it.

Your point?

----> Men are falible.

----------------------
Things I am confused about
1. If Jesus is God's son, how are Jesus, God, and they Holy Spirit, one person? Isn't that physically impossible?

---> But it doesn't say that God is a 3 dimentional Cube, it says that all three are the same person. When Jesus Died, did God die?



2. Who is the Pope?

---> I meant, what is his role? What's his point? (aside from the discussion above). if he truly is God's representative on Earth, then why don't all Governments submit to his "All knowing" judgement. If he has direct communication with God, then why did Pope John Paul embrace Homosexuals? (Which are clearly outlined as forbidden in the Bible)


3. Who is right?

---> So by "Church" you are stating a building, under Peter (read: Pope).. that follows God. How do you know that Jesus, by referring to the Church, didn't want me to have a Church in my living room?

4. Should we stop interpreting the Bible and start following it?

See point 9 above. It's impossible not to interpret that which is read.

---> No it's not. If I said to you, "You're Gay". and you weren't wouldn't you interpret that as incorrect, even though I wrote it, and I believe it to be fact? Are we to believe what is in the Bible just because some guy named Moses wrote it down?

5. How does the Bible fit into modern society? For example, Abortion.. Bible says it's wrong... Okay... Well Someone rapes your 11 year old daughter, and she becomes pregnant.. is it wrong then? If you say, "Well the Rape should have never taken place in the first place" Good point. I agree.. But it happened... what now?

It fits into any particular society to the extent that the society basis it's morality on it (or a particular interpretation of it). As to the specific question about rape and subsequent pregnancy, the answer is obvious. We don't not punish the innocent baby for the crime of the biological father. Would we allow the born child to be killed if that born child was the result of a rape? Of course not. The only substantive difference between the born and pre-born is their relative location in space. One is inside the mother body, one is not. But there is no fundamental difference as to their personhood and the right to be protected from being killed.

---> So your saying the difference between being alive and not alive is whether or not I am outside or inside my mother's body?

Steve G. said...

Joel,
First, I need to state that as a Catholic, I take certain assumption for granted. I do however realize that not everyone shares or accepts those assumptions. I don’t offer my thoughts here as a lecture, or some kind of demand for assent to what I believe, or as an in your face statement that I am right and you are wrong. I humbly present that which I believe and clarify when requested. Please take whatever I say with that in mind.

I don't believe that God wanted us to divide into these little sects and then war with each other about which one is more right.

Of course I agree that God doesn’t want us to war with each other over such. But the fact that we’ve done so is in ‘most’ cases a failing and twisting of the individual adherents rather than the religions per se. Yet for many people who believe that truth is a real and objective thing, it’s not foolishness or simply dividing up into little sects to pursue that truth and believe it to be so. That we often disagree doesn’t mean that all are equally correct, and the dialogue (which should always remain respectful and charitable) between groups is the only way to hash out real truth from speculation or personal interpretation and opinion.

Do you believe there is such a thing as Truth or is truth merely relative to each person?

There is a mainstream understanding that Christianity is different from Judaism. How can that be if Jesus was Jewish?

Assuming that Jesus really was God, even a label such as Jewish is inadequate. It would be true to say that Jesus’ human nature was raised in a strictly Jewish family and culture, and that in that sense his human nature was Jewish.

It’s important to remember however that while Christianity and Judaism are different, there is a vast amount of commonality. Christianity grew out of Judaism and thus has deep roots in it. There is no Christianity without Judaism. Judaism was God’s revelation in history to the Israelites and his covenant with a certain people. Christianity is the belief that Christ was the fulfillment of the promise of the old covenant and the broadening of that covenant to include all peoples (not just the Israelites).

But the rest of the world (read:Atheists, Muslisms, Baptists...) (also read: not Catholics) doesn't believe as such. He should be appointed by God. Pope's aren't appointed by God (you can believe that they are all day) but in all actuallity they are voted into place.

I know the process by which the Pope is appointed / voted into office, and I obviously recognize that he is not accepted by a huge number of peoples. However, the mechanism by which the pope is selected is irrelevant (and has varied over time). As Catholics we believe that the key here is that Christ gave an authoritative office to lead the Church to Peter (this is apparent throughout the NT), and that this authority has been passed down from generation to generation to the successors of Peter (currently Pope Benedict). Whether 99.9% of the world believes that or not is not relevant to its truth. It either is or is not true.

So if God where to pick such a person as you suggest, how (else) would you expect it to be done? Even if it were done in some irrefutable way, do you really think everyone would accept that person?

We should not have people interpret it for us. Each of us should find our own meaning in it.

But what to do when two well intentioned people find it to mean something different on a vital point (which happens ALL the time)? Is each understanding equally valid? If you say that all meanings are equal, it’s the same as saying all of them are meaningless.

Men are falible.

Yes, but you are caught in a bit of a conundrum here that you may not see. Even the writers of the Bible were fallible. How is it that God could take fallible writers and produce an infallible book? This assumes that you agree that the Bible is the inspired inerrant word of God. If you don’t, oh well, my point is moot. 

But it doesn't say that God is a 3 dimentional Cube, it says that all three are the same person. When Jesus Died, did God die?

I admitted several times that the analogy was only that (an analogy) and imperfect.

To answer you question, you have to again understand that Christ had a dual nature. He was fully man, AND fully God. It is Christ’s human nature that was killed. Of course his divine nature can suffer no such fate.

if he truly is God's representative on Earth, then why don't all Governments submit to his "All knowing" judgement.

He definitely has no all knowing judgment (otherwise he’d be God), and any Christian could just as reasonably ask why all people didn’t accept Christ when he came. It’s the nature of fallen humanity that we want to make ourselves our own god and decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. Why would you expect people to suddenly accept God’s representatives if they never have before (from the prophets to Jesus).

And of course the pope isn’t in any direct communication with God anymore than any other individual might be. What he has, is by virtue of his office, the promise of Christ that he will be protected from teaching falsity when it comes to faith and morals. It’s tough to adequately explain in a comment box. If you are interested, read this article as it explains far better than I can…
http://www.catholic.com/library/Papal_Infallibility.asp

If he has direct communication with God, then why did Pope John Paul embrace Homosexuals? (Which are clearly outlined as forbidden in the Bible)

I am extremely confused here. JPII was regularly vilified by the secular culture for not getting with the program in regards to accepting homosexuality. If by embracing them you mean he lived out the ‘love the sinner, but hate the sin.’ philosophy, well yes. But NEVER, NEVER, NEVER did he accept homosexuality as anything other than gravely sinful. He was one of the most vocal opponents of gay marriage and the immorality of homosexuality that the world has seen in recent times. Catholic teaching on this is very clear and can be found in the Catechism here…
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm#2357

I honestly don’t know where you are getting the ‘he embraced homosexuality’ statement from.

So by "Church" you are stating a building, under Peter (read: Pope).. that follows God.
A particular building, no. The faithful throughout the world in union with the teaching of the Pope and Bishops, yes. I’d suggest you read the link on that issue from my previous response if you want to understand the relationship here.

How do you know that Jesus, by referring to the Church, didn't want me to have a Church in my living room?
The location is irrelevant. The important part, as evidence by the earliest teachings of the earliest Christians from the didache to the apostles creed, are that the Church is One (unified in faith and belief), Holy, Catholic (Greek word for Universal), and apostolic (led by the apostles). The key to retaining integrity is that in the NT, Christ clearly commissioned his apostles to teach and lead the Church. And the NT also shows that the authority Christ granted them was passed on from the apostles to their successors. The individualist notion of the believer as his own church is wholly modern and flies in the face of all of Christian history.

>>>It's impossible not to interpret that which is read.

No it's not. If I said to you, "You're Gay". and you weren't wouldn't you interpret that as incorrect, even though I wrote it, and I believe it to be fact? Are we to believe what is in the Bible just because some guy named Moses wrote it down?

Huh? Are you attempting to insult me, or just illustrating?

I didn’t say that the interpretation would always be correct. I said that to read is to interpret. The only question when it comes to the Bible is who (if anyone) has the capacity and authority to interpret it correctly.

So your saying the difference between being alive and not alive is whether or not I am outside or inside my mother's body?

Huh again? I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying (likely my fault for poorly communicating such). I am very pro-life. I was arguing that there is no real difference to the humanity of the baby and that it should be protected whether inside or outside the mothers body. I was arguing that the unborn child should be protected equally as we protect the born baby because there is NO real difference between them as human beings.

Joel Esler said...

Steve,

Thank you for your comments, and in no way shape or form was I at any point, attempting to insult you, ever.

Just wanted to make that clear..

My problem is that I have heard so many different views, from so many different Angles, from the Atheists, from a Southern Baptist upbringing, to Methodist, to Catholic, to Shaman teachings, I have no idea what to believe anymore, I have no one to explain it to me, and what faith am I to have to believe what that person says?

Pilgrim said...

Alright Joel...this is coming at you as a Christian, free from any and all other labels. I've attended Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Weslyan, Pentacostal, and Primitive Baptist "churches" and found them all fulfilling because they all "preached" the same thing. That Jesus is God's Son. That God sent Jesus to Earth as a sacrifice for all my sins. That believing in the previous sentence and accepting the gift that God gave me(Jesus' sacrifice which is often stated as accepting Jesus as my Savior) then I can spend Eternity with God when I die.

After all the discussion on the questions you have, it boils down to that.

I will take a stab at your last comment. Who are you to believe what another person says? How about this. If I told you that IE is an excellent browser you would laugh me off of the web. Why? Because you *KNOW* it's a damnable lie through your experience. You can show me a gazillion ActiveX exploits, W3c and ADA Standards being violated and/or ignored, as well as the fact that it's tied so tightly to the OS that ANY security issue suddenly becomes a r00t'n waiting to happen.

Now, if I tell you that the ONLY way to Heaven is through Jesus why should you believe me? Well, honestly, you shouldn't. What you *SHOULD* do however is take a look around you and read the Bible. Maybe check out a couple churches in your area, talk with Pastors, and EXPERIENCE the Faith lived out in the lives of other Christians. Here's the tough part(at least it was for me), set your pride aside. Open up your mind and heart. The questions you have may well be answered in the words you read and hear or by other words/thoughts that enter your mind. As I'm sure you've already found, God doesn't speak in cloud shattering screams. He has a still, quiet voice that can be overwhelmed by pride just as your reasoned voice won't sway those who have drank from the M$ punchbowl.

I'm more than willing to take stabs at your other questions and I may well do that on my blog. To get an idea where I am on Christian Faith check this out. It's from an earlier incarnation of Confessions that I brought along to the new version.

Lastly, I want to say something about definitions. I don't see Christianity as a "religion" so much but more as a "faith". "Religion" is Man's search for God. "Faith" is what you have when you have already FOUND God. When a Christian claims they are "religious" I get that itch in my throat that, if left unsquelched, results in a rant that reveals I am far more "religious" than "faithful" at the moment. ;)

Pilgrim said...

Steve g. -

Alright...I can't help myself...Thought I could avoid it but it's just eating at me so here it comes. ;)

Steve said:

8. God should appoint some dude on Earth as his representative, that dude should be over all
Governments and Courts, and when a decision gets that high, that dude should turn around and ask God, hey God, whatcha think... and then therefore.. it is.

He did. He is called the Pope. He is the 265th successor to Peter, the chief apostle of Jesus.


I have a slight nit to pick here. There's a HUGE difference between Peter, chosen by Christ his ownself, and the very next leader of the Catholic branch of Christian Faith. Now, I'm not prepared to go down through all of Luther's thesis' and there's no point to refighting the Reformation all over again. For me, as a Protestant, the position of Pope is really no better than my local Pastor. There have been many GREAT Popes, JPII among the greatest in my opinion, but the claim that the Pope is infallable I can't quite grasp. Peter, while being crucified upside down, was no different than the Peter who heard the cock crow that third time, or the Peter who was at Pentacost. Surely, he was Blessed by Christ, but to claim he was SINLESS(infallable) is...well...the difference between my Protestant Faith and your Catholic Faith. ;)

Again, the bottom line is that we both agree that Christ's Sacrifice, and our acceptance of that Gift, is what's important.

Joel Esler said...

wayne, i don't mind if you post my name, just make sure people know it's a friendly discussion, and I am just overwhelmingly confused and would like people's viewpoints.

Pilgrim said...

I'll make the point clear. ;) I'm gonna try and write something up over lunch today...failing that it will be this evening.

steve g. said...

>>>>in no way shape or form was I at any point, attempting to insult you, ever.

I appreciate that. Thanks for clarifying.

>>>My problem is that I have heard so many different views, from so many different Angles, from the Atheists, from a Southern Baptist upbringing, to Methodist, to Catholic, to Shaman teachings, I have no idea what to believe anymore, I have no one to explain it to me, and what faith am I to have to believe what that person says?

I understand your predicament and have traveled a very similar path. I was raised nominally Catholic, then was evangelical, agnostic, studied (from a distance) hinduism, Islam, etc., etc. There are so many voices. For my part, and for what it's worth, the one voice I consistently couldn't shake was that of Christ. The claims and the teachings really were much more than any others claimed and were of a different nature. They weren't based in the revelations of a particular person (Mohammed, John Smith, Buddha, etc.). Rather they were the historical claims of those who followed Jesus. These were facts that were either true or not and did not rely on trusting the revelation of a single person. They rather relied on the witness of these events as attested by many people (that he was risen). I find it amazing that the claims were made, but I find the alternative explanations of the facts weak and unconvincing. Once I accepted the historicity of Jesus, I then started studying the writings of the men whom lived and learned from the apostles and I was stunned to find that the claims of the Catholic church as to structure (bishops, priests, etc.) are already taken for granted that early in Church history. I came to Catholicism begrudgingly, but did so because I was convinced that both the NT and history attested that like it or not, this was what Christ had set up and intended.

It's hard to condense all the study and prayer that was involved in a comment box without writing a book. I'll again refer you to some resources if you are interested in the claims being made. First, for anyone I'd again highly recommend C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. This slim book has been instrumental in answering the question you raise (excellent ones by the way) for a multitude of people over the last 50 years or so. Please, please, please check it out. For my own part, it was the first rational and intelligent defense of Christian orthodox teaching I had encountered.

steve g. said...

Pilgram,
First, while I put a good bit more stock in 'Church' than you do, I want to commend you for your excellent comments and advice to Joel. At heart you are correct that it's about Jesus Christ and his sacrifice.

As for the pope, It's just very difficult (and I have to leave for Jury duty in about 2 minutes!) to address in comments box discussion. Maybe when I get back from jury duty, we can find a way to further discuss it. For now, suffice it to say that I used to think exactly as you did, but it was based largely on a misunderstanding of what infallibility is and what is being claimed for the papacy. Please check out the links at Catholic answers on the topic to discover how Catholics view these issues and maybe that can be a spring board for further discussion as well.

http://www.catholic.com/ (in the library section on the left hit the link for Church and Papacy).

Like I said, I have jury duty, so I may be off line for anywhere from a couple days to a week. Rest assurred, I'll check up when I can as I am enjoying the discussion.

Joel, again Mere Christianity. Read it, please!

Pilgrim said...

You can't go wrong with CS Lewis. Mere Christianity is a great book. Another one that had me laughing my abundant butt off was The Screwtape Letters by the same author. A more modern version of Screwtape is Lord Foulgrin's Letter by Randy Alcorn. Same "world" if you will just updated.

Steve - Please come visit Confessions of a Pilgrim. I'm always up for discussions on Faith. Drives my wife nuts because I'll invite the Jehovah's Witness folks inside for a nice chat...kids and all. ;) My site is listed in Joel's links as "Wayne's IA site".

steve g. said...

Joel, if you are interested in following this particular discussion further, I've commented on Confessions of a Pilgram blog as well and may comment further here at a later time.

Joel Esler said...

Read my follow up article here for more info.