The New Pope Won’t Like This.

It is understandable some complain about what I write here.

I’m not sure any nonbeliever’s criticism of Christianity can be as biting as the criticism which occurs within the faith.  Today, Albert Mohler Jr. of the Southern Baptist Convention, pointed out very clearly why his branch thinks the Pope has no legitimate theological claim to a lofty perch.  To accept the legitimacy of the papacy, he said, would be to compromise biblical truth and reverse the Reformation.

To explain the error Mohler finds in Catholic theology, he goes deep into the big words people in theology use.  It has to do with whether you are absolved of your sins by the simple expression of your faith in the Jesus, as his church teaches, or, whether a Pope has some role to play in this.

Catholics, he says, claim the Pope has the power to absolve sin.  That error is something of an anatheme, absolutely foreign and in direct opposition to what Mohler believes the scripture says.  He continues on to criticize other more liberal branches of Protestantism who treat the Pope and Catholicism as equals in the faith.

Some claim these differences are not important.  It is true the two branches agree on the meaning of some events in the Bible.  But, they are miles apart on the basic part of the faith that is imprinted in peoples’ heads, “How do I get to heaven?”

Without that agreement, there is nothing called, “the truth”.  There are only meaningless turf battles.

Red River Freethinkers Spring Equinox Potluck, Sunday, March 17, 1 PM, Fargo Public Library, Fercho Room.  Visitors welcome.


49 Responses

  1. Brad

    The Pope is essentially a god in the Catholic regime. Functionally he is a king or a dictator within their quasi-government, but there is nobody higher up in that regime so in addition to the dictator role, he plays a god role as well. To Catholics, he is the highest power on the planet that can be seen and heard. The invisible version of God is less tangible, so the Pope in a way is actually more important than God himself.

          1. Brad

            Sorry, I was just being facetious. I have never been Catholic, nor do I ever plan to be.

            In any case, it’s just my view of how the Catholic regime is structured. Can you show me where I’m wrong?

  2. entech

    So many points, so many views, whichever way you look at it you get a different answer. Is it any wonder that a simple soul who can’t hold so much difference in one little head without being overtaken by so much cognitive dissonance must just run away from having to choose, and fall back to the position that says,”They can’t all be right, they are often so different, so contradictory, so mutually exclusive, so inimical, that the only conclusion is that they are all wrong”.

    1. entech 2:03 “ contradictory, so mutually exclusive, so inimical, that the only conclusion is they are all wrong.”

      With a small army of Ph.D’s in religion, a gazillion preachers and experts by the boat load such as those here on this site, one would think they will all arrive at the truth any day now. It’s just been a few thousand years so maybe we are rushing it.

      1. entech

        Jon, Stanta and his 2:44 reminded me of an old story which could show almost any subject as being the same just transpose priest for economist .
        Successful economist visiting his aging professor on retirement, asked to see the most recent exam papers. These are the same as the ones I sat all those years ago he said. The professors reply
        “The questions are always the same, just the answers that change”.

        1. Stanta

          I think I would place my post as asking the question, if we can’t come up with a consensus on economics, why expect it to happen with anything else we do?

          1. Stan 10:53 “ post as asking the question, if we can’t come up with a consensus on economics, why expect it to happen with anything else..”

            Economics is a behavioral science, based on observing and trying to understand human behavior. Their is no invisible force that claims to be all knowing. No matter how much a particular economist is admired, no one has ever gone to his knees over that economist.

            If you would concede religion is a behavioral science and comes only from the human mind, as I think it is, than you we could agree change would be expected. But, if you hold to the notion there actually is an invisible all powerful god that knows all, change makes it not credible.

        2. entech 10:03 “almost any subject”

          In economics their are two major parts, microeconomics and macroeconomics. Most entry level courses touch on both. Macroeconomics, roughly described as the study of how to reach full employment without inflation, has the problem of human behavior learning what happens and anticipating it. This means some things work under some conditions but maybe not forever and not in every set of circumstances. The field changes a little at time goes by.

          Microeconomics has not changed all that much since Adam Smith wrote his thoughts in An Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations, 1776. It was the micro and macro of its time.

  3. Morgan Christian

    Raised in the presbyterian church, I seem to recall something in the liturgy about recognising the authority of the “holy roman church”. I don’t think it was the holy roman presbyterian church so it would seem to be the pope they were refering to.

    1. entech

      Just looked up the latest version of the apostles creed, last few lines are the same. Couple of lines earlier seem to have been modernised – used to be the “quick and the dead” .

      I believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the holy catholic Church,
      the communion of saints,
      the forgiveness of sins,
      the resurrection of the body,
      and the life everlasting

      If I remember catholic means universal, as in someone who likes many different things could be said to have catholic tastes or perhaps eclectic. And of course this being Church of England the Rome bit was gone a few years ago. But after saying this every day at school and twice on Sunday is it surprising that it becomes meaningless rote? How many remain Christian out of habit?

      1. Wanna B Sure

        The question should be asked; Why wouldn’t a Christian take the time to learn what these words mean?

        1. entech

          Thought about it for a few hours, it still means the same as it did 55 years ago when I walked away from it: wasn’t a Christian then either.

          1. Wanna B Sure

            Of course it means the same as it did 55 yr ago. What you believe it means, I don’t know. If it became meaningless to you, it is your personal experience. If you weren’t a Christian, would explain it.

          2. Wanna B Sure

            That said, it really shouldn’t make a difference if you are a Christian or not to destinguish the different contexts of a capital C or a amall case c. A non Christian simply may not appreciate the difference or think it is important. That’s your nickle.

    2. Wanna B Sure

      Morgan; Nope, sorry. The wording was; “The holy catholic church” (small c in the catholic). “catholic”, (small c) means “universal”. Capital C means the Roman Catholic Church. Some denominations avoid the “catholic” in their statements, and insert “The Holy ((Christian)) Church” to avoid confusion. That being said, the context of the part of the liturgy (confession of faith) that contained “the holy catholic church” did not refer to “authority”, or the exercise of authority, but belief contained in the Apostles Creed; “I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic (or Christian) church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen”.

      1. Wanna B Sure

        On a related term; “the communion of saints”, is not a bunch of good dead people sitting around eating bread and drinking wine.

  4. Michael Ross

    I agree with Albert Mohler on the papacy and that there is serious error in Roman Catholicism but it can’t be worse than the constant warmongering of conservative protestants. We are about to “celebrate” the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. 1.5 million Iraqis have perished and 4 million are still displaced. It was very much a conservative Christian (87% favored invasion) war on the basis of WMDs which have never been found. Has there ever been any remorse expressed? Not by a prominent leader such as the late Fallwell, Robertson, Dobson, Hagee, or the like. I have never heard a hint of repentance from those that so enthusiastically supported the war.
    On the other hand Popes John Paul and Benedict did condemn the war. I would have like to see the popes more outspoken in their condemnation and hopefully Francis will be a man of peace who is not afraid to rebuke his protestant brotheran and U.S. aggression when appropriate.

  5. Blasphemer

    The meaningless turf battles are worth millions, (billions?). But I know what you mean. I got so sick of hearing about their friken pope that I shut the news off for awhile there. Now just when it turns to the them and their self-serving non-news.

    1. Henry 2:14 “Sounds kind of religious, almost pagan. Hmmm…”

      Pagans look at the sky and take some meaning, so I understand. Christians look at the sky, rain, floods, storms and see them as punishment for sin. Freethinkers are like that in one way, we look at the length of daylight and decide to throw a potluck. 🙂

      1. Henry

        I wouldn’t know. However, you assess some importance to it by mentioning it. 50/50 light/dark conditions carry importance for you.

  6. Stanta

    Jon, you wrote this post like it is news. I am afraid you are a little late to the game. You see there was this thing a couple of years ago called the Reformation…….

    1. Stan 3:38 You are right in one sense, the big split was the Reformation. I think there are still two post Reformation stories to talk about. One is Protestants reform every ten minutes or so, discovering errors in each other’s theology. The other is Catholics still haven’t learned anything from the Reformation and continue doing corrupt things.

      1. Henry

        Jon: “the Referendum”

        Careful there, Jon. Mr. T will accuse and criticize you of playing word games.

      2. Stanta

        I bet you never heard of the Counter-reformation in the Catholic Church either. Which wasn’t to attack the protestants who broke away, but to address many of the worst problems facing the Church. Unfortunately politics, war and human greed get in the way but slowly many of the problems addresses by Martin Luther in his 95 Theses.

        Like your Bible Scholarship, your religious history lacks also.

        1. Stan 7:19 …Counter-reformation in the Catholic Church..”

          I suppose at any moment in history there are many groups meeting trying to change the Catholic Church. I know there are lots of parents of gay children in a group.

          1. Henry

            Jon: “gay children”

            Gay children now? How is that possible? Apparently there is gay sex before puberty. Pretty far-fetched.

          2. Henry 9:03 “How is that possible” Apparent there is gay sex before puberty.”

            Were you aware children grow up and become adults? They are still referred to as one’s children, maybe offspring or descendents is used by other people.

          3. Henry

            Jon: “They are still referred to as one’s children, maybe offspring or descendents is used by other people.”

            I am sorry, Jon. I didn’t initially understand what you were saying. You call some adults “children”. Ok. Fair enough.

          4. entech

            Henry makes a very “questionable comment” @9:03 and in spite of his “apology @ 9:31 I emphasise apology because of the way he emphasised “children”.

            When I read Jon’s remark about parents of gay children it reminded me of my mother in law (even though none of her children gay), even after many years of being married to her daughter she would still be very protective, saying something like I know you always do the right thing, but you will have to forgive me, they will always be my babies to me.

            From this point I question why an intelligent fellow like Henry would make such a questionable comment, such a stupid comment, what is wrong with his mental processes that he would make n interpretation like that simply to attack Jon because Jon is an atheist? Probably. The alternative answer to the question is unthinkable, it would imply a dirty twisted little mind that sees filth and sin and sex in everything; I know this is not true as Henry is a fine upstanding Christian.

            I do admire the way Jon is always so polite, a simple OK in acknowledgement.

    2. Stanta

      So like I said, does the Pope care what a southern Baptist says about him? Probably not. You seem to think it would.

      1. Stan 7:21 “..does the Pope care what a southern Baptist says about him? Probably not.”

        My take on the Papacy is a very public relations conscious organization. I think its mission is to portray the world as loving the Pope and the Pope loving the world, all peoples.

        1. Stanta

          You have a very narrow take on the Pope. While evangelization is one of the things Pope Francis will be emphasizing, being part of a popularity contest is not part of it.

          Being loved by the world isn’t something a Pope expects, during most of history being the Pope has been a dangerous job. Few in the first 1500 years ever made it to a peaceful death.

          1. Stan 9:11 “Being loved by the world isn’t something a Pope expects…”

            I wish I had saved for a link an article I read the day after the old Pope was helicoptered out. The question was asked what the Pope did the first evening of retirement. The answer was the Pope spent the evening reviewing the press coverage of himself.

          2. Stanta

            Since he happened to be in the middle of all that, it must have been nice to see what had happened from the outside.

            You keep projecting your ego onto what the Pope was doing.

  7. Wolfy32

    We’re all using writing mechanisms to try to convince the other. I get nothing from convincing anyone. However, I like the expression that’s here. So, the thing I noticed here was “since no one can agree everyone must be wrong….” Very few scientists agree on anything in science, so they must all be wrong.. Certainly some are proven wrong over time, Peole are still trying to prove Einstein’s theories wrong for personal fame or fortune or who knows what. Maybe just simple satisfaction.

    what if we took the approach of something a little more constructive. Maybe they’re all partially right? Why do we have to assume they’re all wrong? What if religious organizations have some things right but a lot of things wrong? Is it possible there’s a middle road here somewhere? That this isn’t a black and white issue? a Clear cut right /wrong answer? Maybe there’s different factions beyond our site all vieing for our worship. Maybe it’s a game to them. See how many humans we can win over to our faction? It’s just a numbers game to them. After a few eons, they’ll destroy us and start over…

    I still assert that believing that there’s nothing out there more supreme than us is just as, if not more terrifying than believing there is something out there more supreme than us.

    Why are we so arrogant to prove that there’s nothing but humans in the universe? And if we admit there could be something out there, why is it so hard for us to believe there could be someone smarter than us out there? Why does religion have to be comletely right or completely wrong?

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