Jesuits Sold Slaves To Raise Money

Georgetown University was in a financial bind back during the slave era. The Jesuit brothers who owned it saw an opportunity to fix their financial problems. It was selling  272 of their slaves in 1838. Families were broken up and over 100 descendants today know the tragic human events that followed.

The Jesuits deserve credit for owning up to their past and trying to make amends. It would be a stretch, however, to say that the Catholic faith, or most other branches of Christianity, learned a lesson from this terrible mistake. We only need look at how the Corporate Catholic Church handled the child abuse crisis to see that little has changed.

Just as the Jesuits of a previous era did not have the interests of their human brothers and sisters, slaves, at heart, neither did Corporate Catholicism have at heart the interests of children. Its interests were at first about protecting the criminal priests. It did this by not turning them over to the government legal authorities.

Later, the Church’s preoccupation was with preserving its real estate empire. This, too, was more important than paying money to offset the damage done to humans under their care. Money was moved around and efforts were made to make put  money out of reach from legal charges.

Somehow in all of this the rest of us are to take seriously the Catholic moral imperative against abortion and gays. It leaves one with no hope we will ever see the Church as a moral leader.

86 Responses

  1. entech

    A very moving speech, an admittance of error, even wrongdoing, and a sincerely contrite attitude. Well said.

    How unlike so many others, like those here who refuse to acknowledge anything and spend so much time telling us that “Others did it too, others were often worse”. What do you think Matt?

    1. nemo82

      Tech, somewhere today you stated, disparagingly, that I believe in absolute, objective moral standards. Which I do but not in the way that you imagine. That aside, you then tell us (if I decipher your ramblings aright) that you think that slavery is everywhere and always unjust and that pedophilia is always and everywhere wrong. Good thinking there old chap.

  2. dean gunderson

    Have a friend who is a Jesuit and California Order owns some of the most expensive real estate in Silicon Valley.

  3. Henry

    Jon:“The Jesuit brothers who owned it saw an opportunity to fix their financial problems. It was selling  272 of their slaves in 1838.”

    Bad Jesuits. Right?

    Well, not according to atheist Chief Justice John Marshall. He also offered to pay his own debts with his own slaves. Not only did atheist Marshall dabble in his own slave trade, but he did a very poor job at settling the slavery issue during his term presiding over SCOTUS. Atheist Marshall did not do much to help get rid of slavery, affecting hundreds of thousands. Here was an opportunity for an atheist to get out ahead and make some change for the better. The atheist failed the slave issue despite making other very significant changes.

    1. Different era, different ways of viewing things. I am not judging what is right and wrong by the Jesuits or Marshall. What is clear is that Jon has nothing good to say about Christianity, especially the Catholic Church. He won’t respond about Marshall. He is flummoxed whenever his narrative is destroyed. If he responds it will be to take a piece out of what Henry or I just wrote and divert the subject matter in a different direction.

      I believe the Church strives to do right at all times. I believe their are sinners, some awful ones, that have existed and do exist in the Church. But Jon and his lapdogs have little to add to the moral fiber of society. That will be his legacy. Free thinking? Ha, no. It’s a mask he hides behind as he throws daggers at people and institutions so far above him it boggles the mind.

      1. Matt 8:45 Different era, different ways of viewing things.

        I had to laugh at that sentence. That is what I have been writing here for five years. The church’s values have always reflected society’s values, not the other way around.

        I believe the Church strives to do right at all times.

        So do atheists. And Wiccans, Muslims and Hindus. The Catholic Jesuits changed from believing the slaves it owned were what God gave them to exploit until society changed. When society changed the Jesuits decided to change. The church follows society’s direction like a puppy dog.

        1. Atheists, wiccans and muslims do not strive for goodness. Atheists like yourself are only interested in divisiveness and hatred. Wiccans are devil worshippers. Muslims tend toward complete intolerance of others including muslims who don’t think like their brand of Islam. Hindus are a different story.

          You have no idea what the Jesuits were thinking at the time of slavery. I imagine the Georgetown Jesuits are nearly as clueless as you. Your pet theories tied to an econ background astound me. How did the Jesuits treat their slaves? Did they use and abuse them like typical slave owners? Do you or entech have any idea? Proof! Show us proof of your theories or they are as useless as your beliefs about Jesus Christ and his divinity.

          1. entech

            Matt you really should stay away more, when you come back you go in strange directions. It really seems as if you are justifying slavery, it does not matter how they were treated as lave is a slave and it is wrong. Just as a choir boy is a child and to treat them any other way is wrong.
            Matt has begun a new career, excusing the inexcusable if it has something to do with his Church and abusing Jon for being breathing.

          2. entech 6:27 Matt has begun a new career, excusing the inexcusable if it has something to do with his Church and abusing Jon for being breathing.

            You have Matt figured out perfectly. When he thinks he might be doing OK in an argument, he sticks to the argument. When he feels victory is slipping away, he knows the only choice is to kill the messenger. He changes the subject by taking out after me.

          3. Matt 11:19 How did the Jesuits treat their slaves? Did they use and abuse them like typical slave owners?

            WHAT? How did they treat their slaves? Like cattle. They sold them. If the Jesuit slaves had better food and housing than cotton field slaves it doesn’t count. They sold them like cattle.

            You still don’t get the point. The church holds itself as the authority on morals. But, this example shows they get their morals not from a god but from the public. When the public’s view of slavery was positive, the church’s view of it was positive. When the public’s view changed, alas, the church changed it views.

          4. entech

            Jon @ 8:24 am.
            I know we often suggest that people like Henry and Matt are overcompensating and being excessively defensive to strengthen their position against developing doubts. The way Matt is carrying on of late you really have to consider the possibility/probability. When the Society of Jesus make a beautiful admission and statement of regret and Matt can only attempt to defend what they are asking forgiveness for, when they recognize wrongdoing and Matt only sees the need for denial you really need to wonder.

          5. unregenerate

            Matt Noah 04.19.2017 @ 8:45 pm & 11:19 pm

            Following entech’s invocation, “What do you think Matt?”, Mr. Noah enters the fray, recharged from a much needed respite and on the attack. Welcome back. It’s like you never left.

            Mr. Noah’s post @ 8:45 pm resumes his tireless defense of some tired religious dogma. At 11:19 pm he assaults specific belief systems. Is this just another attempt at apologetics by this devout Christian? I read it as a revealing self-disclosure, an admission of ascribing his own attitudes to others, a confession.

            Some of us have witnessed Mr. Noah’s own loss of balance when his ‘narrative’ is dissected and contradicted. He can and will on occasion, as a ‘good’ Christian, resort to direct insult, a feint, or a needless repetition of his assertions. In desperation sometimes he will offer a storm of scripture or even a prayer. He insists that the Catholic Church is an inexhaustible source of ‘moral fiber’ yet admits its fallibility in harboring some really bad actors throughout its history. Without reservation Mr. Noah touts his sense of personal superiority and that of his Church as SO far above others it “boggles the mind”.

            I hear your confession Matt and harbor no ill will. As with most Christians and Catholics we others, Atheists, Agnostics, Muslims, Wiccans, Zoroastrians, Nones, et al. all have the capacity to do the right thing, no matter the circumstance. Unlike ‘original sin’, the source of this endowment, this moral fiber, does not require your god.

      2. entech

        Matt, thank you so much for confirming what I said @ 7:03 pm.
        I especially love the bit about you believing “I believe the Church strives to do right at all times.” The Jesuits are here setting a marvelous example while you continue with with your insane denial that the Catholic Church ever did anything wrong or even could have. You waffle on about “sinners” and make specious sounding comments about some awful ones that have existed and still do in you your church. What comes through always from you is that you think anything in the name of your Church is justified — and then you have the audacity to refer to anyone that agrees with Jon as a lap dog — you are the epitome of the brainwashed wandering around in blinkers.

        Different era, different ways of viewing things. You should have a chat your friend Nemo he will tell you about absolute morals and such like. It was wrong then, it would still be wrong now just as you defense of the indefensible always is and always will be. I do not need any divine lawgiver to tell me this.

    2. Henry 8:36 The atheist failed the slave issue despite making other very significant changes.

      You seem to know a lot about John Marshall. Was he preaching about his superior moral standards like Christianity does? Was he saying his book was given us from God? I’m aware Christianity does these things, do not know about Marshall.

      1. Henry

        His biggest claim to fame was inventing more power for the judicial branch in Marbury v.Madison. SCOTUS was relegated to a basement room below the legislature. That changed as SCOTUS assumed more power for itself not specified in the Constitution.

        With M v.M. under Marshall’s belt, there was no reason the atheist shouldn’t have solved the slavery issue. The atheist could have also prevented the bloodiest war in American history. He didn’t. He failed, with lotsa people remaining in chains to the atheist’s approval and satisfaction.

  4. Henry Clay

    We’ve come so far in the USA since slavery, ahem. Blacks were once herded together and forced to work for nothing, being owned by another. They were cared for as a utility. Today, they are free but many live together in low income housing, working for little, not working at all, falling in to crime and welfare. Very rare is a Ben Carson but very common are professional black athletes. These are the extremes and the black middle class exists. But still, were slaves of old better or worse off then the impoverished inner city blacks of today? And who killed more, the sl as ve owners or Planned Parenthood?

    1. Matt Noah

      While free people are better off in terms of liberty than slaves, it is entirely possible that slaves had better situations in terms of living conditions their free counterparts up north. But freedom is a drug one gets addicted to quickly. Thank goodness. Ending welfare except in the most difficult cases will empower more poor people to self-sufficiency. As for your Planned Parenthood vs. slave owners question, the answer is obvious.

  5. Adam Heckathorn

    Reading Matt’s response reminds me of the first time I heard anything about the child abuse scandal among JW’s. I showed up at the Kingdom Hall and there were whispered discussions about JW’s losing a lawsuit to the tune of millions in San Diego. The Idea that the organization could have done something that would have resulted in losing a lawsuit seemed preposterous. We were going around teaching people all about morality how could our leaders possibly be held accountable in the abuse of Children? Preposterous!

  6. David E

    Ah yes, the whole, there is nothing special about the Catholic Church argument. You certainly can pick facts that would make the argument, but isn’t it a fallacious argument? Your argument: that because Jesuits of old and some subset of priests today are incapable of moral leadership, the entire Church is incapable of moral leadership. It’s the same fallacy used with Hitler or Stalin – one bad atheist means all atheists are bad. Surely the selling of slaves is a tragedy. Sexual abuse is also horrible. Should we condemn teachers now because of the seeming increase in teacher sex abuse claims? The public education system is breeding predator teachers?

    I know that your argument goes further in its claims against the “corporate” structure of the Catholic church. However, if you have ever been in a lawsuit you will know that things aren’t always what they seem. If someone accuses a Catholic priest of sexual abuse and the Church settles then it appears that the priest is admitting guilt. However, people settle lawsuits all the time for the sake of avoiding legal fees and the uncertainty of juries. Sometimes juries get things wrong. Sometimes people organize their assets to protect innocent parties – other family members. How much do we understand as a society how the Catholic Church is organized.

    In my experience we see pockets of corruption, but rarely systemic corruption. Usually people that are predisposed to have an unfavorable view of something will cherry pick facts to make an argument for systemic corruption, but they make the same fallacious argument as noted above.

    I think wide sweeping arguments railing against the Catholic Church are so entirely bereft of completeness that most don’t take them seriously. Couldn’t someone just as rightly point out the millions of good the Catholic Church does, millions of sermons on love, trillions of dollars spent on behalf of the poor, the message of being last in order to be first – that these are more indicative of the Catholic Church’s mission and moral authority? I mean if you disagree with the Church’s teaching on gays and abortion – fine. Make the argument. To try and take down the Church to diminish the standing of the organization making the counter argument doesn’t make your argument any better.

    1. entech

      Of course you are essentially correct. A couple of points – the number of priests who have confessed and been jailed does not add to your argument about priests only appearing guilty because of settlement. The cover up that has been going on for a long time does make it seem that it is a least to some extent a systemic problem; or at least until Francis.

      My own posts, while generally in support of Jon’s position are mainly from utter contempt at Matt and all of his acolytes who are effectually condoning all the horrors by denying them, excusing them and saying that it is all right because others are worse.

  7. Henry

    So far we have not heard one apology from an atheist over the substantial atheist wrongs with slave ownership in this country. All we hear from them is pompous self-righteous drivel condemning others for their actions. It has become good sport for them. I wonder what the slave descendants would think of this atheist sport.

    1. Matt Noah

      Who are the atheist equivalents – there are no equals – St. Teresa of Calcutta or Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty? For that matter, what were the ideological or spiritual make-ups of the people who ran the Underground Railroad? Quakers opposed slavery and aided the UR. The greatest of all involved in the UR was Harriet Tubman, a devout Christian; not an atheist. Frederick Douglass, also famous in the UR movement, was a Christian. Where are those renowned atheists in the fight against slavery?

    2. entech

      I don’t think there were that many atheist slave owners in those days in America, not that many atheists at all, quite a few called themselves deists, probably not a good idea at that time. Not only that if you want to call it a Christian nation, founded on Christianity you can’t have it both ways.
      I don’t know of any atheist book that gave it as much wholehearted support as your Christian bible, even down to how they should be treated.

      Got any stats on the percentage of slave owners that were Catholic, Methodist, atheist and so on or are you just blowing it all out of your backside again. The only sport I can see is you using something atrocious to make your stupid comments about. You do score points on subjects any decent person would avoid like the plague.

      If any of my ancestors were involved in any way then I apologize for them.

      1. Henry

        10:22, there you go. Full of self-righteous excuses and qualifications.

        Now that atheist slave ownership becomes an issue, the atheist cannot find one atheist in all of early America. Prior to this discussion, there were no Christians in early America, just atheists and deists. The atheists do a good job at lining up to receive credit, but only for the good stuff.

        I think you owe an unqualified apology to all the descendants of slaves.

        1. Matt Noah

          It is a great feeling to kill an enemy combatant with their own weapon. Yes, either no atheists back then or no Christians. Replace “no” with “few” if you will. The implication is explicit. Trapped by their own logic.

        2. entech

          OK. I apologise to all descendants of slaves. I apologise to all descendants of abuse by Christianians.

          I apologise for Henry over his deliberate lying distortion of what I said about there being few atheists in the early days of America.

    3. Henry 9:56 It has become good sport for them. I wonder what the slave descendants would think of this atheist sport.

      There were representatives of the 100 or so descendants of the sold slaves at the ceremony. They had nothing bad to say about atheists–nothing good to say about their ancestors being sold like cattle.

      1. Matt Noah

        I imagine they had nothing bad to say about Wiccans, Muslims or Druids, either. What do you think that means?

  8. David E

    Jon this is a fallacious argument. Because some Christians do bad does not make all Christians bad or the entire organization bad. You simply cannot take one part that suits your prejudice and extend it to the entirety. The same argument fails against any bad acts of John Marshall. It doesn’t make the entirety of atheism bad.

    1. David E 10:08 Jon this is a fallacious argument. Because some Christians do bad does not make all Christians bad or the entire organization bad. You simply cannot take one part that suits your prejudice and extend it to the entirety.

      Let’s start from square one here. The church claims it is needed because it is a source of moral enlightenment. Without the church, the argument goes, our morals would be rudderless–changing as society’s values change. (Now, there may be liberal parts of the faith that do not make this claim–but conservative parts do.) Slavery was practiced by people of the faith in the Bible. It was practiced by people of the faith in the U. S. It was even practiced by the faith institution itself, the Brothers of the Catholic church.

      This is not a case of “bad people”. It is simply a case of the faith following the values of society around like a puppy dog. (A disclaimer, there were parts of the faith in the U. S. that opposed slavery earlier than other parts, Quakers.)

      People on this thread keep trying to change the subject–and for good reason. It is impossible to make the case that Christianity provides us with superior moral values. The faith provides us with moral values which were in turn provided it by society.

      It would help this thread if someone would come up with a refutation of my argument instead of talking about other stuff.

      1. nemo82

        faith following the values of society? not infrequently faith stands up against the values of society: e.g. Bonhoeffer in Nazi Germany. Sure, Christians and others, often bow to the wishes of a powerful ruler or the opinions of a debased society. So much the worse for that kind of “faith”. As to the slavery issue, the abolitionists, mostly Calvinists, had to face a mostly indifferent, even hostile society. Ditto, Martin Luther King. Or, to digress, the Christians who brought an end to the gladiatorial games in the late Roman Empire. Bottom line, if the opinions of the majority (read society) is all that we have to count on, we are in big trouble.

        1. nemo82 11:54 not infrequently faith stands up against the values of society: e.g. Bonhoeffer in Nazi Germany.

          You get some points today for addressing the actual issue. In good U. S. Catholic conformity you did not mention the social justice Jesuits in South America. They put themselves in harms way for principled positions.

          Bottom line, if the opinions of the majority (read society) is all that we have to count on, we are in big trouble.

          I think you would agree after reflection that “majority” is not the same as “society” or my term social values. I think one would have to agree that gay marriage did not come directly from the “majority”, but it appears to be the majority now. It came from somewhere other than the majority. That other source is human reasoning. Human reasoning is where religious values come from as well–at least so far as we know.

          So far as we know, there has never been a god. Thus, what we call gods and religion came from the minds of humans. The moral values we attribute to religion came from the reasoning of the same human minds. Human reasoning led to religious endorsement of slavery and later to rejection. There is no reason to reject human reasoning as a source of values because we have relied on it for 200,000 years. It has been dark in many periods but it is all that we have.

          1. nemo82

            I don’t know what you mean by good US Catholic conformity. I could have mentioned a plentitude of instances of faith standing against society: the Spanish clergy that spoke out against the rapacious practices of the Conquistadors, Ambrose and Theodosius, Oskar Romero, etc. As to the human reason bit, I know that you had to say what you did: you have no other way of explaining human behavior and human history. I understand that. I would add, however, that if that’s all we have, we are in trouble. Human beings make piss poor gods.

          2. nemo82 2:22 I would add, however, that if that’s all we have, we are in trouble. Human beings make piss poor gods.

            I have to agree human gods, at times, make piss poor gods. The human gods who ordered the crusades and most every war since were lousy. Right now we are polluting the globe and the human gods seem indifferent. The exception is the human god the Pope listens to who is sounding the alarm. Human gods are good at coming up with ideas humans like. These gods came up with a good afterlife for the humans who don’t want to die and a bad one for everyone they dislike.

          1. Matt Noah

            No thanks. I’ll leave some heavy lifting to others who have already done so. This is getting very silly with your pointing out the sin of individual Church members and the Church’s teaching. When do you anticipate you will come to some conclusion on your research?

          2. nemo82

            as I recall, it was the English that toasted Joan. Besides your list seems to be rather selective. I could add quite a few names: do you think that we are so stupid as to not know of the crimes committed by humans, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Turks, Marxists, Americans, and so forth. Incidentally, by what standard are you judging the crimes of the past? Weren’t all of our ancestors, just doing “what came naturally” in their times?

        1. Henry Clay 12:35 The Church is from God, not man. God instituted the Church. The Church follows God.

          I have to ask how you know that to be true. My guess is you believe it to be true because it says this in the Bible. Further, the only claim that the Bible is true comes from the Bible itself. This is called circular reasoning.

          1. Henry Clay

            Christ established His Church on earth. Peter, you are tock and upon this rock I will build my Church.

            The rest of the theology is left to the reader to research.

            Circular, no. But rooted in sacred Tradition, reinforced in the Bible and standing for 2000 years. Faith is required.

          2. Henry Clay 4:04 Christ established His Church on earth. Peter, you are tock and upon this rock I will build my Church.

            We have no information for the source of this other than the Bible. There is no independent source. The Bible was written to persuade. That is, it is marketing propaganda. If you come up with an independent source that can verify Jesus actually told Peter he was to start a church, etc. please post it here for us.

          3. Matt Noah

            I think what Henry Clay is saying is that sacred Tradition declared all of this from the moment when Christ said this to Peter. This started the Christian Church which for centuries was the Catholic Church. It took a long time for this Tradition to be embodied in the Bible. The New Testament was not added the day after the Resurrection despite the fact that much of what was written in the NT occurred during the life of Christ.

            I fail to see how these simple facts escape you. Do you know the timeline of when the when the Bible was written?

            Faith is faith. It can’t be proven in the way you wish it to be proven. Actually, I know you are happy it can’t be proven academically. For me, I see people live out their Faith, die for their Faith, sacrifice for their Faith. To me I see Christ in those people and it inspires me to believe, to have Faith and to live my Faith. I see nothing gratifying or inspiring or difficult about atheism. Plus, atheism just doesn’t make sense. You obviously think we were put here to die, that ends it. I believe we have an earthly purpose and a life after that.

            I imagine Henry, Henry Clay and a few others believe the same.

          4. Matt 4:56 I fail to see how these simple facts escape you. Do you know the timeline of when the when the Bible was written?

            I’ve posted here many times when the various books of the NT were written. Those approximate dates are the reason so many do not believe the Bible represents anything but the opinions of wealthy goat herders. No Biblical author claims to have seen a living Jesus. No Biblical author claims to have seen an empty tomb or a risen Jesus. No Biblical author claims to have heard Jesus speak and written it down.

            The most damaging to the faith is the pattern of “quotes” of Jesus. The further from his alleged time of being alive the writing was done the more specific quotes we read of what he was supposed to have said. The earliest writing, Paul, has no quotes or information about the “living Jesus”. Mark, Matthew and Luke were written next without a lot of quotes. Then, 80-100 years later the Book of John was written. Guess what? By that time writers remembered a grazillion exact quotes from Jesus! How could writers remember more of the exact words of Jesus 80-100 years later than they could 40-50 years after he was supposed to have died.

            The timing of Biblical authors makes a mockery of the Bible.

          5. Catcher

            @ 4;04; “but rooted in sacred tradition, reinforced in the Bible…”
            There it is. “rooted in sacred tradition” (the source), and cherry picked “reinforcement” from the bible. Bass ackward. Big rock- little stone. masculine-feminine.”
            Starting at Mat; 16;15. “He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”16- And Simon Peter answered and said, “thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”. 17.- And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but my Father who is in heaven. 18- And I also say to you that you Peter, (Petros, a stone) and upon this rock (petra , large rock, bed rock) I will build my church…”
            Revealed what? the confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. By whom? The stone.(Peter) The object being the Petra, (Large rock, bed rock). Peter’s confession is that which Christ will build His church. on the Petra, large rock, bed rock.
            In short, Peter (petros) is not upon which the church will be built, but on ,but his confession of the Petra, (big rock, bed rock). The RCC is taking liberties to assume authority and position- – – continuing through Apostolic succession. It’s the message, not the messenger..

          6. Catcher

            @ 5;20; To anticipate the standard RCC defense on this old saw, (which I have encountered with priests on this very subject) of Petros/ Petra, which goes as follows; “It does not make any difference, It is the same thing”; To that I reply; BS ! The difference is substantial, and if it truly did not make any difference, Petra would have been used in both instances. There is a distinctive difference. Also as previously noted, petros is feminine and petra is masculine. This was no mistake, so as to “makes no difference”.

          7. Catcher

            @ 5;52; Oh darn, Wasn’t correct on the masculine/ feminine. Petra is feminine, and petros is masculine.

          8. Catcher

            @ 7;31; Yes, most emphatically. I relish either or both Matt and/ or Henry Clay to bring another revelation “rooted in sacred tradition”, but with no “reinforcement in the Bible”, declared Dogma by the magicsteerium. Bring it on boys, if you have the stones.

          9. Catcher

            @ 8;03 pm; No takers. Looks like Peter the stone isn’t as defendable as thought. And the surprise dogma @ 8;03 remains undefended.

            All mouth, no teeth.

          10. entech

            @ 7:42 am Perhaps they are not used to talking to anyone except their leaders who tell them what they have been taught to hear, a bit confronting when they get someone who knows what they are talking about and that something is quite different from their dogma.

  9. nemo82

    Jon, as to your latest: at least we agree that humans make piss poor gods. and the more godlike they claim to be, the worse the crimes. as in Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon, Attila the Hun, Genghis Kahn. Oh my, too many to name. And then there are the little gods roaming about these days, telling us that we must do bad things in order to save the world.

    1. nemo82 4:40 Jon, as to your latest: at least we agree that humans make piss poor gods. and the more godlike they claim to be, the worse the crimes. as in Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon, Attila the Hun, Genghis Kahn.

      I think we are talking of two different things here. I was not necessarily talking about humans who have been made into gods, or made themselves into gods. I was referring also to imaginary gods made up by humans. These also have made for piss poor gods. I’ve mentioned before there was a god that sent employees of a Christian branch to slaughter Muslims and their children. The same one smiled on slavery.

      1. nemo82

        yes, I was talking about humans and human behavior. If there are no gods in the transcendent sense, then each of us becomes his own god (or society becomes our god, whatever). thus, left to ourselves to be our own gods, relying on our reason alone (it’s all that we have going for us), we certainly don’t make good us of it. Apart from the godlike monsters that periodically pop up amongst us, consider this: our reason at best is a weak reed to rely on. it is easily deceived, it is easily turned toward mere rationalization (I can rationalize just about any of my many shortcomings), it is easily put to frivolous or even evil uses, it sees through a glass darkly, etc. in fine, how much do we really, really know about the universe, about ourselves, even about the technology that we are so proud of (and which we have a tendency to “worship”). BTW, your frequent references to Wealthy goat herders, is a masterful piece of what we call chronological arrogance, the belief that nobody knew anything until our present enlightened generation come on the scene. talk about the follies of reason.

        1. nemo82 8:37 BTW, your frequent references to Wealthy goat herders, is a masterful piece of what we call chronological arrogance, the belief that nobody knew anything until our present enlightened generation come on the scene

          “nobody knew anything…”?? Who said that? Certainly not me. Those were in many ways sophisticated societies with knowledge about plants, animals and complicated human relationships. I refer to them as “wealthy” because that is what they were. Only a tiny percentage of people were literate. That the authors of the Bible were wealthy gives us some context and insight into what they wrote. Referring to them as goat herders is not inaccurate either–those were mostly agrarian societies.

          You have to admit there are many things we know now they did not know–weather, medicine and on and on. From what we know they were very superstitious societies. We know also those who wrote the Bible wanted to control others. If those who wrote the Bible were not unknown wealthy goat herders please tell us who they were. My sarcasm would have you saying, “They were ordinary people who cupped their hands back of their ears listening to what God was telling them. They wrote down what he said.”

          1. nemo82

            nobody knew anything .just a little hyperbole. hype or not, I think that it well reflects the attitude of folks who think that our remote ancestors were ignorant, superstitious idiots. it is a rather off putting attitude: displays both a lack of respect for our ancestors and an exalted view of our own capabilities and accomplishments. worse perhaps: a way of diverting attention from our follies and crimes.

          2. nemo82 2:42 displays both a lack of respect for our ancestors and an exalted view of our own capabilities and accomplishments.

            Hmm, now it’s a sin the say the ancients knew less about science than we know today. It’s hard to have rational discussion of ideas if one assumes right off the bat that the ancients knew as much about the science and the world’s variety of cultures and religions as we know today.

            I’m granting you permission to believe any strange ideas you choose to believe. I’ll take a pass on believing what you believe about ancient wealthy goat herders.

        2. nemo82 8:37 our reason at best is a weak reed to rely on. it is easily deceived, it is easily turned toward mere rationalization , it is easily put to frivolous or even evil uses, it sees through a glass darkly, etc. in fine,

          Excellent religious propaganda. The message is, rely on an ancient book by unknown authors and on an invisible god who tells different things to different people. Oh, and send money–don’t forget the money.

          1. nemo82

            that’s a monumently silly response. what I wrote has nothing much to do with Scripture as such. just look around you, look at human behavior, read history, read a good book on ethics, whatever. as to goat herders, that’s a pejorative, dismissive term. and I think that you are using it as such. as to your assumption that the writers of Scripture just wanted to control others, well. guess you assume that the only relationships/motives in this world are “power” motives. if so, remember that that includes atheists as well as believers. sounds to me that you are a follower of Hobbes and certain well known German philosophers as well.

          2. entech

            Jon, our friend recommends reading a good book on ethics, may I suggest Practical Ethics by Peter Singer. 🙂

          3. entech 11:28 Jon, our friend recommends reading a good book on ethics, may I suggest Practical Ethics by Peter Singer. ?

            Yes, required reading in ethics classes around the world. Our Catholic friends here stroke their chins and say, “I am so ethical. I amaze myself.”

            Singer gets under the skin of such folks by pointing to the assumptions, based completely on religion, they make but are seemingly unaware they are making them. I don’t know how many times I have discussed the concept of competing interests here and been told (parahrasing), “It is a sin to discuss competing interests. There is no such thing.”

  10. Terry J Kuntz

    I just ran across this thread and there is so much I could say to all the Catholic bashers but I don’t have the time or the energy to refute all their false claims. The only thing I will say about that is it strikes me that atheists always want to throw in there 2 cents when it comes to religion something they think they know about but do not have a clue,it doesn’t all come from books boys (thank you father for reveling this to the poor & simple and keeping it from the learned). My real reason for commenting on this post is for”the catcher”, pretty smug there old boy, for some one just taking the protestant talking points on PETER THE ROCK. Matt. 16:18. Your argument that Jesus did not mean that his Church would be built on Peter but on something else, even though the Greek word for “this” (touto) means “this very” you argue that there is a minor difference between the Greek term for Peter(petros) & the term for rock (petra) yet you ignore the obvious explanation: petra a feminine noun , has simply been modified to have a masculine ending, since you would not refer to a man (Peter) as feminine, the change in the gender is purely for stylistic reasons.
    But the main flaw in your & every other protestant argument is the fact that Jesus did not speak Greek he spoke Aramaic, and as john tells us 1:42 in everyday life he actually referred to Peter as Kepha or Cephas (depending on how it is transliterated), it is THAT term which is is then translated into the Greek as petros. Thus,what Jesus actually said to peter in Aramaic was: ” you are Kepha and on this very Kepha I will build MY CHURCH .There are many passages by the early Church fathers the ones closest to the Apostles in time culture and theological background that clearly understood that Jesus promised to build his Church on Peter. Look up Tertullian, the Clemintine homillies and many more.

    1. Terry 11:28 Thanks for coming on to comment. Your comments are always welcome.

      Thus,what Jesus actually said to peter in Aramaic was: ” you are Kepha and on this very Kepha I will build MY CHURCH

      Those called critical scholars would ask, “What if Jesus never said this?” We do not know what Jesus said in Aramaic. No Aramaic native speakers wrote this down, at least nothing survived. What we have is something later wealthy literate writers wanted us to believe a Jesus said. These writers had local audiences of that time period in mind–not those of us living centuries later. Mostly, they wrote in another country at another time in another language. They wanted to deliver a specific message to a specific audience.

      1. Terry J Kuntz

        Well Jon I have never heard that one, I am going to have to look into it & get back to you, but I would imagine that there is plenty of Aramaic from that time that was kept or translated in the archives somewhere. Jon I was wondering seeing you taught @ NDSU did you know FR. Bill Sherman? & if you did did you two ever have any discussions on any religious topics? You two I am sure did not agree on these things (that is if you did even know him & talked to him) but you would have to admit he was very intelligent but more than that one hell of a nice guy.

        1. Terry 4:02 but you would have to admit he was very intelligent but more than that one hell of a nice guy.

          I consider him good friend and agree with you completely.

          but I would imagine that there is plenty of Aramaic from that time that was kept or translated in the archives somewhere

          There is no writer in the Bible who says, “I was present with Jesus and here is what he said.” All of Jesus “quotes” fall into the category of hearsay. The Book of John is wall to wall quotes of Jesus–pages of red. It was written nearly a century after Jesus was supposed to have lived. And, when you get to the Book of John you find Jesus “quotes” declaring he is a god. He did not do this in “quotes” of the first three gospels.

        1. nemo 4:39 Aramaic is a dying language. but as far as I know there are still some Aramaic speakers around.

          I did not say there are no Aramaic speakers today. I said we know of no Aramaic speakers who were present when Jesus was supposed to have said things. Those who “quoted” him were in other places in other languages at later times.

          Further, whatever they put into the mouth of Jesus was calculated to influence other people who spoke the languages of the writers in the countries of the writers at the times of the writers.

          1. nemo82

            I was not speaking to your point, such as it was. I was merely pointing out that the language is still alive. thus we have a good source of information re the meaning of Aramaic words. As to your point, it seems reasonable to hold that the words were, in fact, heard by people who understood them and repeated them. I am. to be sure, no Scripture scholar. but I think that I am correct in holding that the NT quotes were written down a short time after Jesus’s death. And that, like many folks of that time, the writers relied heavily on memory. a cultivated/disciplined memory. Of course, given your views, you have to say that they garbled it. Or worse, made it up.

          2. nemo82 6:08 It could have been there were people who heard a Jesus, remembered what he said and passed it along a short time later to someone literate who then wrote them down. Then, again, it could have been Jesus’ words were completely made up. Without knowing which, I chose not to believe the Bible is “The Word of God.” Religious people like yourself make a different choice.

    2. Catcher

      @ 11’28; Oh yes, I am more aware of your claim. Nothing new here. Yet, the little stone remains the little stone, and the big rock means the big rock. If Jesus meant “this Kepha” to be upon which the church was built, he should have said ; ” Thou art Peter,and upon THEE will I build My Church.” No, your twist does not stand up. Although it is a typical Jesuit and Vatican philosophical exercise, and superficially convincing, the thrust is false and strained. The very Kepha being the confession of the Christ. Not Peter.

      As the context shows, Peter here did not act as an apostle at all, but only as a believing Christian. That Peter himself was meant to be the rock upon which the Church is built, but his confession, is unmistakably indicated by the words of the text.

      Again, it is right in saying that this passage Christ clearly distinguishes between Peter and his confession; for had he meant to make Peter the rock of the Church, He should have said: “Thou art Peter, and upon thee (you personally) will I build my Church.” —–Redundantly so for the sake of your understanding.

      Re. clementine; (and all the questionable attributes), The chair saying the chair is the chair.

      Thanks, but no cigar. Keep trying.

      1. Catcher

        @ 3;06 In addition, I find your knee jerk defense with the “Catholic bashing” interesting. Not bashing at all. Consider it constructive criticism. As in the past, starting in 1517, your former leaders rounded up the wagons, and were not open to suggestions, and placed a ban on the opposition, demanded a recant, or boiled the ones they caught. Followed by Trent. Nothing has changed since. If you wish to go on a pitty party, that’s on you.

      2. Terry J Kuntz

        Just like a protestant, tell Jesus what he should have said, make up things to fit your own little way of interpretation be your own little holy spirit. Now you should no why that private interpretation is strictly forbidden. And yes give the boy a cigar this had absolutely nothing to do with Peters confessions.

        1. Catcher

          @ 4;16; Just like a Catholic. Having Jesus say things he didn’t say to justify a whole book of ecclesiology. Now you should (no?) KNOW why the deposit of faith is to be questioned, and not taken at face value. Including private interpretation / revelation of the Magisterium.

          1. Catcher

            Actually, there are to be no new revelations. Except for the Mormons and JWs plus a few inconsequential sects. You would seem to wish to be included with them. You have had a couple dogmatic doozies in the not too distant past.

        2. Catcher

          @ 4;16; re. “to be your own Holy Spirit.” Aw contraire. The Holy Spirit is indeed alive and well, in spite of the Magisterium usurping, (assuming) itself as the sole authority. According to your position, one could come to the conclusion the Holy Spirit is bound only to the Magisterium, which includes the Pope.. History proves this is not possible. From the chair, or out of it.

          Any other excuses?

        3. Catcher

          @ 4;16; In addition re. the Holy Spirit (Large H and S), It also needs to be said the Holy Spirit has been severely hampered and damaged by the systemic, and systematic abuses of the last many years world wide on the issue of sex abuse on the vulnerable. Included in this are all the cover-ups from the top- down. You will not convince me the cardinals and Popes were / are not aware of it as it was going on. The souls lost to the faith entirely cannot be numbered.
          No, don’t talk to me about the Holy Spirit. It rings hollow. Your history also proves that.

  11. nemo82

    jon 927, you really sailed off into the wild blue yonder on your latest post. I didn’t say anything even remotely relevant to your comment. of course, we know much, more in the scientific, economic, perhaps even in the philosophical sense than those old goat herders did. unfortunately for your goofy view of the world those old goat herders contributed a great deal to what we now call western civilization. so did those old Greeks (they probably herded goats, too). but I don’t have time just now to go into the matter further except to repeat: I find you at once both maddeningly frustrating and highly amusing,

  12. nemo82

    jon 608.you assume that the people who authored the NT were illiterate goat herders. au contraire: it seems that most of them were quite literate. moreover, several of them probably had literate scribes.

    1. nemo82 you assume that the people who authored the NT were illiterate goat herders.

      That is not my assumption, though I may have left that impression. I meant to always write “wealthy goat herders” not “wealthy illiterate goat herders.” What is known about that period is that a tiny percentage of the population was literate. Those very few who knew how to write had more training and education than a few more who could read. In the rural areas where the Jesus story is set, even if fictitious, would have had few literate people. Thus, I wrote who ever might have heard a Jesus was probably illiterate and the stories would only have been written down by someone who was wealthy. I have to repeat, no where in the Bible does a writer say, “I heard Jesus say this.” The societies were agrarian and wealthy people would have come from there. Whether the Jesus stories were passed down through time until written or made up, they ultimately came from the pens of the one percent of that time.

      The one percent of today like to keep their money. Why would that not have been true back in ancient time? I make the assumption the Bible was written by wealthy people who wanted others to knuckle under. What better way than to scare them with invisible gods and hell.

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