The Bible And Moral Guidence.

If the Bible provided moral guidence, one would think it would guide those who use it most (I’ll bore you with just a few this time, many more at the source):

Arrested/Charged:

Leo Koppala, Blue Earth, MN, pastor, Saint Paul/Peter Catholic Church, molesting an 11 year old girl.

James Napler, Alfred, ME, Director, Beginnings Christian Mission, possession of child porn.

Ronald Peterson, Brighton, ME., associate pastor, Hope Recovery Center, fraud by false impression of providing substance abuse treatment.

Clyde Downs, Arlington, TX, pastor, New Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, possession of marijuana.

Donald Fregeau Sr. Hydesville, CA, former pastor, Hydesville Community Church, suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with child.

Megan Garland, Waudesha, WI,  science teacher at a Milwaukee Catholic school, fellating a 14 year old male student in a car in the school parking lot.

Thomas Cllement, Clifton, VA, retired teacher during Centerpointe Church campout, sexual battery of a child.

Daniel Doherty, Tunkhannock, PA, Scranton Catholic Priest, open lewdness.

Geronimo Aguilar, Richmond, VA, senior pastor, Richmond Outreach Center, aggrevated assault of 2 girls under 14.

David Dzermjko, Braddock PA, pastor, Mary, Mother of Church in Charleroi, child porn.

Michael Gothard, Beaufort, NC, minister, New Community Church, 7 counts of indecent liberties with a child, 6 counts of 1st degree sexual offense.

Cedric Cuthbert, Sanford, FL, pastor, St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church, solicitation of a minor via computer.

Johnny Murff, Lakeland, FL, pastor, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, stole $5,561 from church.

Civil Lawsuits Settled

Catholic Diocese of Kansas City, $600,000, for Fr. Shawn Ratigan’s porn photographs of 2 year old girl.

Removed/Resigned

James Collins, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, priest, abuse allegations while a teacher at Holy Family University.

Source: Freedom From Religion, Freethought Today, June/July 2013

 

49 Responses

  1. Michael Ross

    I guess we are all made out of the same flesh and sinful nature. Putting a “Rev.” in front of one’s name doesn’t change that. We are all affected by the culture we live in. That’s why I believe that the Bible’s moral guidance is a cultural mandate as well as individual. America is the most Bible influenced culture in history. If you want to know if it makes a difference, go live in North Korea for awhile.

    1. Simple

      I can’t tell you how many times that I have heard such statements as “Jesus will set you free from your sin”. It sure didn’t seem to work out that way. Just like god did not exist, or did not have any power.

    2. Apples and oranges, Michael. North Korea is governed by a dictator. You really can’t judge the culture of the nation by the one maniac who is in control.

  2. Brad

    I love how people simply dismiss this behavior as just being typical human behavior. Based on typical Christian belief, the closer and more thoroughly dedicated one is to scripture (i.e. clergy) the more holy and pure one will be. But it doesn’t seem to work that way. Those who are closest and most dedicated are just as warped as anyone, and certainly no better than atheists. And conversely, the LESS dedicated one is to the Bible, the more deviant and evil one is supposed to be. Again, reality just doesn’t seem to reflect that at all.

    1. Henry

      Brad:“Those who are closest and most dedicated are just as warped as anyone, and certainly no better than atheists.”

      Why would this be surprising? If you had actually read the Bible with comprehension, you would have noted the Bible is filled with accounts of sinners from the front cover to the back cover. The Bible is for the sinner. Christ is for the sinner.

      1. Henry 12:30 “The Bible is for the sinner. Christ is for the sinner.”

        They are both there to justify whatever behavior individuals and society happen to prefer. It is human logic and experience that keeps societies functioning is patterns of reasonable behavior. I can imagine preachers performing child rape thinking God gave them the green light.

        1. entech

          That is why this kind of topic really gets attention. As Henry says, sin is Biblical, sin is Christian. Christian love sin, they are fascinated by it, not surprising that so many fall by the wayside.

          The Christian attitude to the atheists and sin is one of total contradiction and confusion. One one hand they say that without God there can be no morality, therefore atheists are intrinsically immoral. On the other hand that atheists don’t believe in sin but that people like Jon keep bringing it up, why? because your reactions are interesting – hopefully makes you think. On a third hand they say we were all born in sin, even Christians suffer from the same condition as the atheist they are intrinsically immoral and sinful.

          There are different ways that we can escape from this sinful nature, each cult/sect/denomination has a different idea of how.
          You could have all the faith in the world, live a blameless life trying to do the best for everyone and still go to hell because you weren’t one of the chosen ones the were preordained to be saved, that is about the hardest to take but all the others have their faults and failings.
          Or perhaps you could be bound to fail until you are saved by grace. Is there really that much difference between Calvin and Luther?

          1. Wanna B Sure

            “…bound to fail until you are saved by grace”; Poor wording. Correctly; “Bound” to fail by rejecting the Holy Spirit, through whom Grace is received. That is your only choice. We’ve been here before many times. More manifestation of your bound will.

          2. entech

            Henry, what is the context?

            The Bible is for the sinner what does this mean, is it a handbook, a beginners guide. A DIY manual, oops, DIY is a sin as well. Does this mean that the people listed have passed an advanced course in sinning, one must wonder how many have done the advanced course in cover up and denial.

          3. entech

            Wanna, here we go again with that Holy Spirit business, Lacrima Christi is the only one I know of.
            Deuteronomy 6:4 (King James Version)
            Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: From the beginning of Biblical writing, God is one, a single entity, not the three of Christianity or the 32 of the Gnostic but one and indivisible.

          4. Wanna B Sure

            And you equally as well, as evidenced by your false statement in the last two sentences of your 2;16. See my 5;25.

          5. Wanna B Sure

            For the sake of eliminating your opportunity to twist the context; A misrepresentation on your part.

        2. Henry

          Jon:“They are both there to justify whatever behavior individuals and society happen to prefer.”

          I would disagree. The Christ and the Bible do not give license to sin, and that behavior is certainly not encouraged.

          1. Henry 3:22 “I would disagree. The Christ and the Bible do not give license to sin, and that behavior is certainly not encouraged.”

            We all have our opinions on what the Bible says or means. The Bible gives some people licence to do things others think are sins. That’s why there are so many denominations and free-lance Christians all believing, as a Johnny Cash song says, “God is on their side”.

      2. Brad

        The difference is that when atheists do something awful, it’s because they are non believers. When a Christian does the same thing, it’s dismissed because “we are all sinners”.

        1. David

          I don’t think that’s true. I think theologically speaking Christians would argue that we are all sinners – regardless of religious affiliation. This is sort of a straw man argument in picking the worst attack against atheists – they are bad because they don’t believe – and juxtaposing against rationale for the fall of humanity.

  3. Brad

    “America is the most Bible influenced culture in history.”

    There is some truth to that. Slavery was defended through quoting right out of the Bible, as is anti-gay bigotry today. In fact, a lot of the atrocities that this country has committed has been justified in the name of the Lord and use of the scripture.

  4. Ray

    For those of us who are faithful Christians, nothing harms our cause more than high-profile leaders who do not practice what they preach. There’s no doubt that the folks on this list have done great harm to the community of believers.

    However, I do take issue with atheists compiling such lists and carrying them around as if they are trump cards. What they want is for Christians to be judged by the worst of their kind, by their lowest common denominator. Would it be fair to characterize atheists by the worst of their kind? Of course not.

    The list is accurate and it is a humbling reminder that our church leaders are all human and are all flawed – and a tiny percentage are dangerously flawed – but ultimately the list does not disprove Christian teaching.

    1. Wolfy32

      Well Said Ray. We always hear the bad, (of everything) whether it’s the corruption of political leaders, or the flawed church leaders, or the sick school teachers. Anyone in a position of power / authority whether secular or religious is subject to scrupulous judgement.

      If it were only Christian leaders we could be thankful that it’s only Christian leaders. However, it’s School teachers, politicians, university policies and frat parties, what have you there’s a level of corruption that is hypocritical to the position people hold. It’s worse because the people that screw up, that fail us, that join the ranks of hypocrasy are those that we look up to to care for our kids, to run our governments, and so much more. To be honest, I wish it were just religious leaders, then we could know who to avoid to protect children, yet, there’s many more than just religious leaders that are corrupt and wanting to exploit children.

      Yes, it’s bad that religious leaders whom are held to a higher moral standard, that in my opinion, is beyond human. A religious leader is a human being, with the same flaws, strengths, and limitations of being human. That said, there’s no excuse for the exploitation and Christian leaders or politicians, or Human trafficking lords, whatever and whomever that exploits children needs to be punished to the full extent of the law. And most likely beyond the extent of the law. Religion should not be a protection, nor should schools, or government offices.

    2. Ray 12:35 “I do take issue with atheists compiling such lists and carrying them around as if they are trump cards.”

      I think this is the third time I’ve written one of these lists. I try to explain why I publish them. It is not to suggest preachers/Christian teachers are bad people, or, that criminal activity is any more a part of that group than any other. I publish it to point out the Bible does not provide a moral compass for anyone, that nonbelievers have the same moral compass as Christians, their own reasoning and experience.

      To explain it another way, from time to time, someone says, “Atheists have no moral compass.” By showing this list, I try to illustrate moral compasses are something independant from religion.

      The list is not a judgement of Christians.

      1. StanB

        The bible does not provide a moral compass for EVERYONE……fixed that. Even those who read it don’t always follow it, including clergy.

      2. David

        Clearly atheists can have a moral compass. However, their belief is not constrained by morality other than of their own making or what they may find as useful. I think that is the point that most try to make. For instance an atheist who is a dictator of a country is bound only by the consequence of the loss of his/her power. He/she may choose to be benevolent or choose to be tyrannical. There are no moral boundaries. A Christian dictator, adhering to Christianity, would require a society where the least among us are first, turning the other cheek, etc. The Christian leader would be bound to Christianity. That a professed Christian leader would fail to be bound by his religion is no surprise as we know that power corrupts. However, the notion of corruption would be meaningless to atheist dictator if he/she wanted to view the world in such a manner.

        Unfortunately I think this gets interpreted into – since your an atheist you have no moral compass or you cannot have a code by which you live. That I think is incorrect.

        I’m always a little puzzled why this would bother atheists that they have a choice on what morality to adopt. Perhaps one could argue that choosing to be moral is more honorably than being bound by a code passed on down through the ages.

        1. entech

          The business of what is right and what is wrong is an interesting philosophical question, you are more nuanced than many Christians, black and white seem to be colours to you (and me) where to many they are mental attitudes.
          I don’t any “normal” person would disagree that sticking pins in babies to see them cry is close to be evil in a way that theist and atheist can agree.

          Dictators do what dictators do, a simple and simplistic truism. Look up some synonyms for dictate – command, direct, mandate, ordain, order.

          Merriam-Webster has: Definition of DICTATOR
          1 …
          2 : one that dictates

          Clearly many atheist or secular dictators rule on an ideology, the interpretation can eventually become a personal whim or simple self interest.
          Religious dictators are not immune. Ferdinand and Isabella in Spain didn’t ask for the turning of the cheek, they asked for the turning of the belief with the alternative being the turning of the embers. The justification that got the monks to take part was that they were saving people from hell, only Christians are spared hell. In the case of Spain there were large overtones of a land grab.

          Both forms of dictator ship can find their own justifications, very often expressed as we are doing this for your own good:
          a. we are saving you from eternal hellfire and damnation.
          b. it is for the good of the state, you are the state, a little hardship now will bring lasting benefit to you descendents.
          Not to discount the possibility of a benevolent dictatorship, just that there does not appear to be a precedent.

          There is a strong case for “the moral compass” being a physical thing, The discovering of “mirror neurons”, while not definitive, gives a strong possibility of an explanation for empathy, for putting oneself in another’s shoes, of seeing another’s point of view, perhaps even a basis for not doing to another what you would hate having done to you (Rabbi Hilali’s version of the golden rule). This could explain why most people are good and some others are deficient in this connection and just don’t care, or perhaps are unaware of the effect of what they are doing.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0pwKzTRG5E

          I am a little puzzled by your last paragraph, what choice does an atheist have about “which morality”, how many are there. To me there seems to be you do the right thing because it is the right thing, care for other people, don’t deliberately do anything harmful or hurtful. From my point of view this is the basis for the ‘code passed down through the ages’. Perhaps when advocates of the without god there can be no morality people, Craig et.al. who would have as their final justification “morality is engraved upon the human heart by god” , when they wheel this out, when every other argument turns out be inadequate, perhaps they should consider that the presupposition of a creator god is not required, that morality is engraved on the human heart by evolution (and mirror neurons).

          1. David

            I cannot speak to mirror neurons. I must bow out of that discussion.

            I didn’t mean to suggest that Christian dictators are good and atheist dictators are bad. I only used dictators because they typically would be immune from prosecutions and the fear of authority. My point is simply that a Christian cannot choose what types of morality they wish. If they are true to their belief, they should follow their Christian beliefs. Muslims would have this same argument as well. Perhaps that would make a better argument. We are so conditioned to discussing religion in only the context of Christianity . . . I get off track. So my point is that a religious person if true to their faith must follow the moral code of their beliefs – good or bad. An atheist is not moored to any such belief. This in theory would allow them to do things we traditionally think as being bad – pins in the babies eyes – as well as being very good or what we would traditionally think as being good. Both moral codes would have equal value to the atheist as it is their choice.

            I think many Christians or religious folks don’t describe this very well. They come off as indicating that atheists have no morality. I don’t think that’s the case. I think there is simply a choice of how one wishes to behave with atheists. Some could argue this is admirable considering how generally moral (traditionally what we see as morality in the West) atheists are. Some would argue that this lack of anchor to a code can allow for very bad behavior. Either way in my opinion I don’t know if it speaks to any truth about the existence of God. Morality as a useful social construct could certainly exist without a god. I think that C.S. Lewis delves into this and comes to a conclusion that this is an argument for God. Perhaps. We are still just left with arguments.

          2. entech

            I appreciate what you mean about dictators being good or bad independently of the ideology or philosophy behind the dictatorship, The French revolution started with the best of intentions, but it went horribly wrong when the wrong people gained dominance, similarly with the different religious aspects of say the Salem Witch trials which were blown out of all proportion by a leader quite obviously disturbed with thoughts of if you not with me you are against, if against you must be for Satan – getting late here and my bedtime calls I won’t look up my notes suffice to say all sides are capable of extremes. As in Salem the ‘dictatorship’ does not have to be a totalitarian state but dominance in a local area or even an institution can lead to some awful things happening.

            In your last paragraph I think you don’t take sufficient account of the apologists who make a big issue of this point and their influence on less sophisticated followers. Bill Craig is a good example when he talks about it being impossible to have absolute moral values without God, but he is a professional apologist and public debater. You often see some of his ideas presented by people that are enthused by his (or other speakers words) but when you get down to it they often have more enthusiasm than knowledge. I enjoy watching a lot of these debates but I do think so many do not do their cause a lot of good Dawkins and Myers or D’Souza and Strobel are examples

          3. David

            You probably are correct. I think my argument is the better one – which is more of a curiosity (apparently my word for the day) than an indictment. I’ve often thought my explanation is closer to what most apologists are getting at, but I could be taking them wrong. I think the easy response by an atheist is “so what. We are what we do not necessarily what we think is right or wrong. Good atheists make better citizens than child molesting preachers. While the evidence on both sides is mixed, there is little evidence that a religious belief system leads to better behavior.” I’m not sure if that last bit is true, but that’s what I would argue were I an atheist.

  5. Casey Crandall

    We know that the law is spiritual but I am un-spiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives within me, that is in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do-this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in Gods law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to Gods Law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Apostle Paul, the book of Romans chapter 7, verses 14-25

    1. Casey 12:43 Thanks for taking time to post. Your posts are welcome here.

      I, myself, can skip Romans, Chapter 7, as an explanation of human behavior. Some people just understand if everyone takes advantage of everyone else, eventually they will be taken advantage of themselves. Others don’t understand this, so, we have laws against some kinds of behavior. The concept of “sin” was just tossed in there to serve the purposed of those who wrote the Bible.

      1. David

        The concept of “sin” was just tossed in there to serve the purposes of those who wrote the Bible.

        So now are you suggesting that the writers of the Bible were atheists? I think that’s a bit of a stretch.

        1. entech

          Make up your minds, Christians say one of the failings of atheists is that they don’t believe in sin. If you can’t blame Satan find an atheist seems to be all the rage, even when it is difficult to get anyone to define what an atheist is, still it is better to spread the muck when you leave the definition ambiguous.

          1. entech

            David, a small apology, I just saw the D and confused you with Dan. I think my point is valid be you do not deserve the sarcastic overtone.

          2. David

            No worries – I’m sure I’ve been snarky when someone clearly does not deserve it.

            I’m not sure I think one of the failings of atheists is not to recognize sin. I think most atheists recognize right from wrong. Christians would argue this is inherent from God. I think a good atheist might argue that it is an evolutionary by-product.

  6. Dan

    This is an old arguement. Here’s how I guess we’re supposed to react…

    Oh my gosh, so many religious people doing terrible things! They’re really not religious. How can religious people actually stoop as low as normal (perhaps nonbeliving) people? I mean, they say they are on a higher moral platform so how could this be? Maybe I’ll stop being religious and just do what every I want. Now I see the light…wait a minute…I mean’t darkness. There isn’t a light.

    1. entech

      The problem is not so much that your normal everyday Christian succumbs to temptation sometimes, sometimes falls away from the path. I am sure that most Christians try to do the right thing and live a good life. I am also sure that most Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (not many left), Sikhs and the adherents of so many other moral/religious systems. Atheists too have a moral code and try to live up to it.

      The problem is that so many arrogate to themselves a position of superiority and a title priest/pastor/vicar and so on. So many of these go astray and so often in the most egregious and hypocritical ways, and so often taking advantage of the ‘flocks’ they are supposed to be protecting.

      Respect needs to be earned, it does not come automatically because you call yourself by some title which theoretically increases you status, or even simply because you are “of faith”. Incidentally Dan, there are more and better reasons to question belief other than that not everyone who adopts it cannot live up to it.

  7. David

    Jon, I’ve always thought this argument is sort of silly. What does it say? Are you suggesting the bible indicates this sort of behavior is okay? That most preachers don’t believe the bible and thus, they engage in horrible acts? Or are you saying that Christianity in general is so noxious that it attracts only the worst of the worst? Surely you don’t believe any of that. So what is the point? Are you saying that belief in Christianity does not automatically make one pure and holy? I think that’s in the captain obvious territory, and certainly right in line with Christianity. That there are bad people in positions of power is a tragedy – religious or not. Belief in Christianity is no guarantee that one adheres to its principles. Being an atheist is no guarantee of reprehensible behavior. I’m at a loss as to who might be arguing this. This sort of list is to me an unthinking way in which to bring guilt by association. Clergy are religious. Some clergy are bad. Religion is bad. That’s a poor argument.

    1. Wolfy32

      Yes, I’d like to see a similar lists of the following:

      1. public school teachers across the nation that prey on vulnerable kids.

      2. Politicians across the nation that have committed scandilous affairs?

      3. Policemen and other secular community leaders that have abused their powers?

      No, christianity does not make one more than human! or exempt from human failings and horrendous crimes!!!

      1. entech

        Google and cut and paste same as all the rest. Don’t be shy make your own lists.

        People with particular interests make particular lists, particular lists represent particular biases.
        Lists like statistics can be massaged to say whatever you want.

      2. David

        Wolfy, I understand the idea, but I think it furthers a feeling of validity to this sort of list where in my opinion they are really without value.

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