Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chesterton: Why I am a Catholic



G.K. Chesterton, from The Catholic Thing:

Why I am a Catholic

Nine out of ten of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes. The Catholic Church has for one of her chief duties that of preventing people from making those old mistakes; from making them over and over again forever, as people always do if they are left to themselves. The truth about the Catholic attitude towards heresy, or as some would say, towards liberty, can best be expressed perhaps by the metaphor of a map. The Catholic Church carries a sort of map of the mind which looks like the map of a maze, but which is in fact a guide to the maze. It has been compiled from knowledge which, even considered as human knowledge, is quite without any human parallel.

One of the things that drew me to the Church is the depth of the wisdom of its Magisterium. The sublimity of its teachings is astonishing. It is a tapestry of wisdom-- the sacramental nature of marriage, the unalienable worth of every human being, the mystery of the Incarnation, the sagacity of its ethical teachings.

The Church is a map to a maze, a map to life, and a way through life to genuine freedom. 

33 comments:

  1. Freedom is slavery. The Christian death cult is life. Ignorance is knowledge.

    Orwell would be proud.

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    1. Red is hot. Green means go. The Euclideans were a bunch of squares.

      Adrian Gonzalez can hit the ball a mile.

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    2. Anon,
      "Orwell would be proud"
      What on Earth are they teaching you kids about Orwell these days?
      Orwell was a social critic by means of his literature. Even if, as you erroneously analogize, these concepts DID jive - why would Orwell be 'proud'?
      Where is God or the Church in his '1984'? WHO is still permitted (state) religion?
      What is the whole purpose of the 'oranges and lemons' rhyme?

      Delete
  2. Michael,

    Let's see now... Chesterton starts off with a dubious statistic. How does he know that 9 out of 10 'new' ideas are just old mistakes. And then he uses the metaphor of a map to 'prove' what he is asserting without any proof whatsoever.

    The excerpts on 'Catholic Thing' don't exactly make Chesterton seem like much of a thinker, theologian or writer. The excerpts titled 'alcohol' and 'democracy' are even worse.

    From what I've read of Chesterton, I subscribe to the view that all 3 apply.

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    1. Seriously, bach, don't you ever have even an atom of humility in your body? You have no more logic than any of the rest of us, but your comments are filled with sneering and scorn based on how illogical everyone else is.

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    2. KT Cat,

      I have more logic than you do, with your attempt in a previous thread to prove that I don't exist, as a back door ploy to prove that your god exists.

      Chesterton's writings on religion are wooly, illogical and full of metaphors. He never completes his thought processes and jumps from a metaphor to a conclusion without justification. Rather like a lot of theologians.

      Why don't you look at the other excerpts on 'the Catholic Thing', and tell me that you still think that he's a great writer or thinker.

      Delete
  3. I like being a Catholic because it allows me to relax about existence and the meaning of life. Every time I've felt the need to dig deeper into the topic, I've found sound answers. It allows me to stop worrying about such things and go take care of my daisies in peace.

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    1. Yep - for the entire span of human history, "God did it" has always been an easy default response in cases where searching for an actual answer was too difficult or potentially unpleasant.

      One of the great powers of religion is its ability to provide structure in a chaotic world, making people feel more comfortable. Most humans, like other mammals, are more at ease living within a high degree of structure. So one can draw a parallel between the work of the leaders of the early Catholic Church, and the work of Dr. Temple Grandin.

      Fortunately, there has always been a restless core of humanity that isn't satisfied with "revealed" answers as presented by the self-interested politicians running the churches. And it is that core that allows us today to enjoy much greater life expectancy, an Earth that can support its enormous population, and the leisure to debate such topics in relative comfort.

      An interesting aside... I never realized the Nazi labelling of Jews with yellow stars was actually copying the Papal orders of Innocent III. "The Swerve" by Greenblatt is a fascinating read. It can be argued that the various incarnations of the Catholic Church were, over the course of 1000 years, responsible for the greatest act of destruction of human knowledge perpetrated by any group in recorded history.

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    2. RickK,

      "I never realized the Nazi labelling of Jews with yellow stars was actually copying the Papal orders of Innocent III."

      You're almost right. The yellow badge is an old tool for religious segregation resurrected by the National Socialists in Germany.
      But you're 250-300 years or so off, and in the wrong culture. Innocent III was actually mimicking a much older means of visually marking and marginalizing religious minorities.
      The actual YELLOW BADGE that you mention is thought to date back to Caliph al-Mutawakkil of Baghdad in the late 800's.

      So, while very similar tactics where used in the west, the idea is not to be credited to any western Pope. It was in fact a way to single out subjugated religious minorities within that Islamic Empire.

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  4. @RickK:

    [Yep - for the entire span of human history, "God did it" has always been an easy default response in cases where searching for an actual answer was too difficult or potentially unpleasant.]

    The reason is that "shit happened" didn't explain much.

    "God did it" is primary cause. Science is secondary cause. Tey are complimentary, not contradictory. That distinction is the gift of Christian civilization, which is the source for all modern science.

    [Fortunately, there has always been a restless core of humanity that isn't satisfied with "revealed" answers as presented by the self-interested politicians running the churches. And it is that core that allows us today to enjoy much greater life expectancy, an Earth that can support its enormous population, and the leisure to debate such topics in relative comfort.]

    Modern science and Western civilization are Christian accomplishments.

    [An interesting aside... I never realized the Nazi labelling of Jews with yellow stars was actually copying the Papal orders of Innocent III.]

    Jews and others (Muslims, Christians) have been labeled in many different cultures for thousands of years.

    No ideology has oppressed humanity as massively as state atheism. Atheists generally found it unnecessary to label their enemies, as their enemies didn't live long enough to make labeling relevant.

    [It can be argued that the various incarnations of the Catholic Church were, over the course of 1000 years, responsible for the greatest act of destruction of human knowledge perpetrated by any group in recorded history.]

    Modern science, medicine, government, arts, etc are products of the Catholic Church. Compare these accomplishments to those of civilizations that didn't have the church.

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  5. Michael,

    Repeating your argument about atheism over and over again multiple times without evidence doesn't make it true.

    Atheism is the simple statement that there's no god. Atheism doesn't have an ideology.

    To have totalitarianism, you need an ideology, with the delusion of a future utopia, A utopia which is going to benefit millions, if not billions, of humans, so anyone seen to be against the ideology is evil and needs to be dealt with harshly. Such as with pogroms. And the Inquisition. And the Holocaust. And the gulags.

    To have totalitarian governments, you need ruling ideologies. Such as Christianity, Islam, National Socialism or Communism.

    Western science really took off with the Catholic church lost its hegemony over much of Europe. And it's been fighting against science for much of that time since then.

    Western science owes more to its preeminence in Europe to the fact that Europe is divided by large rivers and mountain ranges into many regions that are impossible to unite into one, so many independent countries and language groups occurred. If one country refused to develop science and technology, then others would.

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    1. Bachfiend,

      Totalitarian ideologies can be atheist in nature. In fact, they usually are.

      Communism is the first one to leap to mind. You almost seem to understand the communist mind with your astute observation:

      "To have totalitarianism, you need an ideology, with the delusion of a future utopia, A utopia which is going to benefit millions, if not billions, of humans, so anyone seen to be against the ideology is evil and needs to be dealt with harshly."

      That's pretty spot on. The communists certainly thought so. They believed that they had a better system to offer. Well, to say that they were 'offering' it is not very accurate.

      But they also considered religion to be an obstacle to the eventual victory of their ideology, as it was. They believed that religion kept the poor docile and accepting of their situation, and that it was itself a network of power that was used to exercise control. Ergo, it must be eliminated.

      And so they went on many murderous rampages trying to stamp out belief in God in favor of belief in the state. Atheists can have totalitatian governments, and they can be killers. Ask Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, and Stalin. The atheists' lack of an ideology--according to you, not me--doesn't preclude such a thing.

      Jay

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  6. @bach:

    Atheism is obviously an ideology, in the sense that it entails a set of viewpoints (No God, no heaven, no angels, no life after death, no transcendent morality, no accountability after death. etc).

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  7. And another thing, Bachfiend. Why is atheism a "lack of an ideology"? It's a belief system grounded in the idea that there is no God.

    I think you're suffering from extreme hubris here, as if you've convinced yourself that all the other people in the world have an ideology, but not you. You see things clearly, in all of its nakedness. Not ideology, just reality. You, and those who happen to agree with you, are objective, while other people are subjective. If they would just adopt your objectivity lenses for a moment, they'd see their errors and just "admit" how right you are.

    "Atheism is the simple statement that there's no god."

    Yep. That's the basic idea. And ideologies are built on ideas. Christianity is the simple statement that there is a God and he sent his only son to die for us and rise again. Communism is the simple statement that the state and private property ought to be abolished in favor of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

    What makes you think that because you can sum up your ideology in one sentence that it isn't an ideology?

    Jay

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  8. Jay and Michael,

    Michael has previously linked to the Wikipedia article on 'totaliarianism' to justify his belief that atheism is the cause of totalilitarianism. The table contrasting 'totalitarianism' and authoritarianism' specifically lists having an ideology as being necessary for totalitarianism.

    A worldview isn't the same as an ideology. An atheist can have an ideology, such as Communism or National Socialism, and it's the ideology that's causing the atheist to act in a certain way. Atheists can also be democrats or humanists too.

    Atheism is the simple statement that there's no god. Atheism doesn't have an ideology (and if you have ANY references for your claim that atheism has an ideology, Michael, then list them please).

    If Christianity was just the simple statement that there's a god, then it wouldn't be an ideology. But it's got a lot of additional features, such souls, the afterlife including heaven and hell, original sin, acceptance of Jesus being necessary for salvation, the evil of heretics, corruption of believers by evil heretics, who need to be eliminated ... The list goes on and on ...

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  9. Atheism entails the denial of every supernatural claim by Christianity. Both are, therefore, ideologies.

    Jay makes an excellent point. There's a real arrogance to your claim that only atheists lack a metaphysical ideology. Come to think of it, your assertion that you alone lack an ideology is an ideology.

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  10. And the motivation for your assertion that atheism isn't an ideology is painfully obvious. You understand that atheism in political practice has been a nightmare, and you can't defend it. You can't bear any accountability for what your ideology has done in practice.

    So rather than deal with reality with some humility and with some honest introspection, you dissemble.

    Typical atheist.

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  11. The fact is everything is indeed made of atoms and void (and energy, but you can turn that into atoms). The fact is nature is made up of small changes over long spans of time. The fact is that natural processes can design without divine intervention. The fact is the "pursuit of happiness" is what people should fundamentally be doing.

    The fact is philosophers had already figured out all of the above 2000 years ago before Christianity went to work suppressing the ideas and destroying the books. "De Rerum Natura" is a fascinating read.

    The fact that a few monks (and many Muslim scholars) managed to preserve one classical work in a hundred does little to make up for the destruction of the other 99.

    It took Christianity to institutionalize ignorance, to make ignorance a virtue and to systematically ban ideas. Those ideas didn't appear again until the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. It is because of the ideas of the Epicureans, that are now expressed in the U.S. Constitution, that you are able to freely exercise your minority faith in this country with no legal oppression from the Protestant majority. In fact, the ACLU will even jump to your defense and use that Epicurean-based Constitution to protect your rights.

    Just because the Catholic Church maintained a 1000+ year monopoly on the Western written word doesn't make science a Christian creation. Science happened in spite of the best efforts of the Church, not because of them. Imagine where the intellectual approach of the classical scholars could have taken us if they hadn't been labeled heretical and all but obliterated.

    From the destruction of Roman libraries to the burning of people who printed the Bible in English, no single organization in history has been more responsible for the violent suppression of ideas than the Catholic Church.

    I'm not expressing an opinion, I'm just stating readily available facts of history.

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  12. Michael,

    If the non-belief in your god and the denial of your ideology is an ideology, then non-stamp collecting is a hobby.

    I realize that communism was a dreadful ideology. I also realize that inserting ideologies with delusional Utopias into government is an insane idea. I'd hate to see communism make a comeback. It's been defeated in almost all countries. Even in China, which is now an authoritarian capitalistic country.

    I'd also hate for Christianity with its divisive ideology to again regain state power.

    I'd love to call you a typical Christian, but you're not. You're meschugge.

    You still haven't provided references for your assertion that atheism has an ideology. Repeating the assertion is pointless.

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  13. I oppose theocracy, as should any Christian. Theocracy is not a part of genuine Christian theology, which has always asserted that Christ's Kingdom is not of this world and that Caesar and God are owed different things.

    I strongly believe in civil society, in which non-governmental relationships (religious, family, commercial, social) play a large role in life. I want small limited democratic government.

    Atheist ideology is political poison because it destroys the religious counterbalance to state power and weakens moral constraints.

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  14. And the meschugge comment is pretty funny, coming from a guy who adheres to a fringe viewpoint most people consider practically insane and directed at a member of a very mainstream religion.

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    1. I am sure that is the irony that presents itself to ANY regular reader of this blog, Mike.
      Meschugge?
      The (cracked) pot calling the refrigerator black.

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  15. Michael,

    You still persist in asserting that there's an atheist ideology. Provide some references to back up your assertion that there is one.

    And you aren't a typical member of a mainstream religion. You're very atypical, in having a very minor blog which spouts very bizarre ideas.

    Most Christians are more laid back in their beliefs. Christmas Christians in fact.

    You're committing the no true Scotsman fallacy when you assert that anything that's objectionable isn't true Christianity.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Sorry I am late to the match, but I will respond here.

      "You still persist in asserting that there's an atheist ideology."
      Pick your ISM, Bach. Communism, Scientism, Positivism, Objectivism, Humanism, Secular-Progressivism?
      Atheist is how these people identify themselves.

      "Provide some references to back up your assertion that there is one."
      It is the core of their broader ideology, and facilitates their reasoning to discard history and morality when required. Atheism 'frees' them from the moral guiding force of religion and the 'chains' of history.


      "And you aren't a typical member of a mainstream religion."
      Well, if by that you mean Dr Egnor is highly educated and well respected - you're right. HE has name reignition his own wiki page. Most of us do not.
      For one, I am glad I do not. If you mean his ideas regarding atheism, you're dead wrong.


      "You're very atypical, in having a very minor blog which spouts very bizarre ideas."
      Well here you're wrong again. His ideas are not atypical or strange, and most blogs ARE minor (hence a blog and not an official site) and many are, in fact, quite bizarre by comparison to Dr Egnor's rather clinical forum.
      The most 'bizarre' aspect would be the commentaries.



      "Most Christians are more laid back in their beliefs. Christmas Christians in fact."
      1) All Christian are Christmas Christians. It is just the date that varies. (HINT: CHRIST - Mass)
      Not a very good means to identify a group of Christians by... in fact it is a STUPID way to do so. Akin to saying 'water bound fish'. But that is the type of banality Atheists do generally seem comfortable with.


      2) 'Laid back'? I am assuming he is sitting up while writing. Most Christians (and humans) will. Maybe you mean relaxed? If this blog is a thing that Dr Egnor does for a bit of fun and stimulation in his free time: He IS relaxing.

      "You're committing the no true Scotsman fallacy when you assert that anything that's objectionable isn't true Christianity."
      Theocracy is antithetical to Christ's commandments. It is not Mike's suggestion that makes this true, but the 'red ink' itself. Christ himself was executed by a religious mob after being handed over by complacent and incompetent secular authorities.
      The early Christians fed ALIVE to beasts to entertain the very 'pious' Roman pagans, Ruled by a theocratic GOD-Emperor.

      But YOU, however, seem fine with the Scotsman stuff:
      "I'd love to call you a typical Christian, but you're not."
      Thanks for clearing that up Your (arse)Holiness.

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  16. "Atheist ideology is political poison because it destroys the religious counterbalance to state power and weakens moral constraints."

    Utter BS. Societies had strong moral codes before Yahweh ever danced in the heads of desert tribesmen. You cannot deny this.

    All your attacks on "state atheism" are completely irrelevant to me. I see Communism as just another religion, repleat with holy scriptures, prophets, and a demand to make personal sacrifice for a "belief" that has no basis in evidence. I don't believe in "belief" - my brand of educated, skepticim-based atheism has no relationship whatsoever to any state-gone-wild. You're just trying to hurl insults at anybody with the balls to deny the existence of your deity, and the insults aren't sticking.

    Without exception, the totalitarian states you rail against utilized strong military, police and bureaucracies populated with people raised to BELIEVE. The Nazi engine was 94% Christian - 54% Protestant and 40% Roman Catholic. Russia was largely Eastern Orthodox. North Korea was such a hotbed of Christian belief that Pyongyang was called the "Jerusalem of the East".

    If you believe in one set of absurd ideas, history tells us you're more likely to accept another set of absurd ideas.

    Michael, you keep making the "moral" argument for religion rather than the "evidence" argument for God. You're saying "we must have religion or our society will fall into moral decline." But if the Bible is in fact NOT literal truth, if God in fact DOESN'T exist, how can we say we're building a moral society if we start with a lie?

    Maybe that's your version of morality, but it's not mine.

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  17. "You cannot deny this."
    Of course we can. It is implicitly deniable.

    "I see Communism as just another religion, repleat with holy scriptures, prophets, and a demand to make personal sacrifice for a "belief" that has no basis in evidence."
    It is. It is a form of counter-religion. No MONOtheist, POLYtheist, or DEist, but Atheist in nature

    "I don't believe in "belief" - my brand of educated, skepticim-based atheism has no relationship whatsoever to any state-gone-wild."
    How many types oxymoron can you fit into a sentence? You should email this to Guiness, RickK!

    a)"I don't believe in "belief""
    That is a firm position, hence a belief.

    b)"my brand of educated, skepticim-based atheism"
    How can it be branded if it is the result of educated scepticism (??)

    c) education is not the result of scepticism, but of learning what others related to you. Are you sceptical of your scepticism? Or did you learn that?

    d)"atheism has no relationship whatsoever to any state-gone-wild."
    Of course it does. Everyone knows it. But to use your relative analogy: Communism is the male, adult sibling of your progressivism (or objectivism?)

    So why would an intelligent man chain all these ideas together?

    "If you believe in one set of absurd ideas, history tells us you're more likely to accept another set of absurd ideas."
    Are you referring to 1776? No I don't think so.
    Are you suggestion Koreans are 'absurd' people? No. Not your style at all. You don't come off as a racist or elitist.
    So you must mean that these ideas are unimportant. That they are absurd because they have no effect?
    Communism is not absurd in this respect.
    It is very real, and at it's heart is a NEED to replace religion with a 'no law higher than (the strong) man'.

    "Michael, you keep making the "moral" argument for religion rather than the "evidence" argument for God. "
    Dr Egnor does not have to prove reality or morality. He is discussing organized religion's role.
    God and morality? They exist. Most humans accept that.
    Nihilists (including modern Atheists) have the onus on them to prove otherwise.
    This is a very difficult task for you folks, as you cannot rely on anything immaterial or unexplainable to make your case.
    So without language, numbers, or any mental abstraction (ie universals) please do it RickK: PROVE that matter is all that exists in this universe.

    Do that, and you will hear my own proof for God.
    Until then, we have not gotten that far.

    God's (Prime Mover) existence is a given. Obvious. Scientific, and the ONLY rational explanation.

    On a personal level, I am glad to see you find such evil regimes and ideals utterly distasteful, RickK.

    On this last point, at least, we can agree.

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    1. **So why would an intelligent man chain all these ideas together?
      In order to defend his ideology, his dogma.

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    2. "PROVE that matter is all that exists in this universe. "

      :-)

      First they said "prove that the spirits of the ocean don't control the tides", then someone noticed the correlation to Moon phases.

      Then they said "prove that Zeus/God/Allah don't hurl the lightning", and someone learned about weather patterns, electricity, and even had the temerity to put up lightning rods. By the way, conservative religious people railed against Ben Franklin for his lightning rods, claiming they would thwart the will of God.

      Then someone said "prove Pele doesn't control the volcanoes", and someone figured out magma convection and plate tectonics.

      Then someone said "prove God didn't magic all the animals into existence" and someone discovered all those pesky fossils and all that annoying DNA.

      This pattern has repeated more times than comment limits allow.

      Sorry mate - God is no longer a "given". You don't get a free pass.

      With an unbroken 2000-year losing streak, supernatural expanations have utterly failed to correctly explain anything ever. So the burden is now firmly on you.

      Oh, and one more thing - a regime is operated by people - by a percentage of the population, not by robots manufactured by a couple evil atheists at the top of the government.

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  18. @RickK:

    ["[Egnor] Atheist ideology is political poison because it destroys the religious counterbalance to state power and weakens moral constraints."

    [RickK] Utter BS. Societies had strong moral codes before Yahweh ever danced in the heads of desert tribesmen. You cannot deny this.]

    The desert religions provided a moral code. The unique lethality of atheism is that it removes moral checks on state power. That's why atheism in power is always totalitarian. Atheism isn't like the plague. It's like AIDS-- it leaves a society defenseless against other ideological infections.

    [All your attacks on "state atheism" are completely irrelevant to me.]

    Unfortunately.

    [I see Communism as just another religion, repleat with holy scriptures, prophets, and a demand to make personal sacrifice for a "belief" that has no basis in evidence.]

    Communism is the only organized form of state atheism. Show an ounce of integrity-- deal with it.

    [I don't believe in "belief" - my brand of educated, skepticim-based atheism has no relationship whatsoever to any state-gone-wild.]

    Of course it does, and it has for a century. That is not to say that you are a totalitarian (although your support for censorship of religious expression is certainly a drift in that direction), but it is to say that political ideologies based on atheist metaphysics have been hellish.

    [You're just trying to hurl insults at anybody with the balls to deny the existence of your deity, and the insults aren't sticking.]

    For atheism, facts are insults. Sorry. Not my fault.

    [Without exception, the totalitarian states you rail against utilized strong military, police and bureaucracies populated with people raised to BELIEVE.]

    Atheist totalitarians understood that Christianity was their biggest obstacle, and feverishly repressed it.

    [The Nazi engine was 94% Christian - 54% Protestant and 40% Roman Catholic. Russia was largely Eastern Orthodox. North Korea was such a hotbed of Christian belief that Pyongyang was called the "Jerusalem of the East".]

    None of these regimes-- Nazi, Soviet, NK-- were Christian in any way. Nazis were pagans, not practicing Christians, and Soviets and NK thugs were explicit communists, which means atheists.

    [If you believe in one set of absurd ideas, history tells us you're more likely to accept another set of absurd ideas.]

    History tells us that state atheism is always totalitarian.

    [Michael, you keep making the "moral" argument for religion rather than the "evidence" argument for God.]

    I make both arguments.

    [You're saying "we must have religion or our society will fall into moral decline." But if the Bible is in fact NOT literal truth, if God in fact DOESN'T exist, how can we say we're building a moral society if we start with a lie?]

    We must have Christianity in our society for we will fall into moral decline. I'm no fan of Islam, in case you haven't noticed. I have respect for Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, etc, but in my view Christianity is the basis for the deepest morality.

    [Maybe that's your version of morality, but it's not mine.]

    On what do you ground your moral beliefs, other than your personal opinion? If you have no objective ground other than your opinion, why is your opinion more right than that of others?

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  19. How many times do we have to go though this? I get my morality from EXACTLY the same place you do - from a mixture of evolution-instilled instincts and various societal influences.
    You SAY you get your morality from Christianity, backed up by the fear of God. But Christianity doesn't offer a moral code. Whatever morality you wish to pursue, you can find support for it in Christianity. The Bible isn't a guide to morality, it is a Rorschach test. YOU (in your case you and various Popes) are choosing what to follow, and very often you are going against what God teaches in the Bible. That's why the Catholic church tortured and killed people for translating the Bible into comprehensible languages - the last thing they wanted was people to actually READ the thing.
    That's why there are so many different Christian sects, all believing they have a lock on truth. This diversity is precisely because "Christian morality" is such a muddle.
    Now you claim to be a conservative Catholic, so you accept what your popes tell you. But your Popes just go with the flow of society as well. They pick and choose what teachings they wish to follow, and impress those teachings on the masses. So the popes forbid contraception, or accept the truth of evolution of species, or launch Crusades, or initiate the Inquisition, or force all Jews to wear yellow badges and funny hats. Whatever they want to do for social and political reasons, they do.
    If you were actually taking your morality from Judeo-Christianity, you would:
    - punish people for the sins of others (Gen 3:16-18)
    - not hesitate to commit genocide (Gen 6:7, Num. 21:2-3, Jos 1-12, and on and on)
    - punish several generations of offspring for the sins of a father (Ex. 20:3-5)
    - punish innocent civilians for the sins of their leaders (Ex 7:3)
    - murder children to demonstrate your power (Ex 11:5)
    - murder children for a variety of minor crimes (2 Kings 2:23-24, Hos 13:16, Lev 20:9, Mat 10:35-37, Mark 7:9-10)
    - break families apart (Mat 10:35-37, Mat 19:29, Mark 10:29-30, Luke 18:29-30)
    - the list goes on and on - slavery, adultery, torture,
    And if you happen to get any of this wrong, you get to be on the wrong side of the silly gory abomination that is the Book of Revelation.
    So Michael & Crus, how do you navigate through this contradictory morass you call "Christianity"? You pick and choose, using something quite independent from "Christianity" to determine which path to follow. Even within Catholicism, Michael is quite clear about which Catholic teachings he accepts and rejects.
    When you guys are brave enough to face the fact that you, not God, not your church, CHOOSE your morality, then you'll have an answer to your question about where I get my morality.

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    1. [How many times do we have to go though this? I get my morality from EXACTLY the same place you do - from a mixture of evolution-instilled instincts and various societal influences.]

      I get my morality from several places-- God's will in my heart (conscience), my personal decisions, Church teaching, societal influences. You don't get your morality directly from Church teaching, but we share the others.

      [You SAY you get your morality from Christianity, backed up by the fear of God. But Christianity doesn't offer a moral code.]

      Obviously Christianity offers a moral code.

      [Whatever morality you wish to pursue, you can find support for it in Christianity.]

      What a stupid thing say.

      First, the Catholic Church does not teach a "scripture only" morality. Catholic morality is taught in the Magesterium, which is comprehensive and quite specific. It does not condone murder, rape, slavery, adultery, etc.

      Protestants don't abide by the Magesterium, but there is no significant Protestant sect that condones those evils.

      Christians (and Jews) do not take historical stories in the Bible as literal moral prescriptions.

      If you're going to argue against Christian morality, you'll have to represent that morality accurately. Your representation is crazy and irrelevant to actual Christian belief and practice.

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    2. Yes, that's it - represent my post as if I completely left out the part about popes and the church deciding moral codes. Leave out the part where I mention several examples of things not in scripture that the popes (and obviously their supporting organizations) decided.

      Just misrepresent my post to make it seem like I was referring just to Biblical literalism.

      Go ahead - display that lack of intellectual integrity that we all know and love.

      But at some point, if you do bother to read my whole post, then answer me this - if not scripture, then on what did the popes and church leaders base their moral codes? If not on the word of God, then on what? Divine revelation?

      Or is it possible that they, like you, like me, take our morality from a combination of our own instinctive/inherent/evolutionary natures combined with a variety of societal influences.

      So in the end, the sources of your morality - directly or indirectly - are the same as mine. You pick and choose, I pick and choose. All if it is done without any interjection by any gods of any sort.

      So returning to your question - the basis for my morality is the same as yours. You just tart yours up with ritual, bureaucracy and mythology, and then you proactively disparage others from the lofty pedestal you've set yourself upon.

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