Let me start off by saying that I don’t know too much about Catholic theology as it differs from other Christian denominations. Growing up, there were no Catholics where I lived (or at least, I never knew any until at least my teenage years, and there still is no Catholic Church within 20 miles of my childhood home); Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians a-plenty, along with smaller segments of many various other denominations, but no Catholics. In school (private, Christian school), we mostly stuck to things that all Christians had in common, though in our history lessons of Western civilization, of course we had to get into religious wars and Catholic dominance of Western Europe, etc., so I had a good overview of Catholicism generally. Since growing up, I’ve learned more about Catholicism, even engaging in a couple of online forums (fora?) for a short while, but never delving very deeply into it; and most of what I learned was from an anti- or at least non-Catholic position (or from pop culture, like the christening scene in The Godfather, and the Christmas Day Mass in While You Were Sleeping).
However, now I have several Catholic friends on facebook, and am currently living in an area that is predominantly Catholic, so I don’t want to unnecessarily offend Catholics, even if I do think they’re wrong; and at one point I previously said something to a Catholic about “praying to saints”, and she said that they don’t “pray to saints” as if praying to God, but rather asking them to intercede, just as you might call up a friend and ask them to pray for you about something; therefore, in order to meet Catholics where they are, I can’t go based on what I have read from non-Catholic sources about what Catholics believe, because they tend to reject such language. Yes, the non-Catholics are right in that Catholics pray to dead people, but Catholics reject the unbiblical insinuations of it, and put a Biblical (or quasi-Biblical) twist to it, so that they can hold what seem to be two contrary opinions at once. [I say “quasi-Biblical”, because I do agree that it is Biblical to ask people to pray for you, but that it is unbiblical (perhaps even demonic or approaching witchcraft) to communicate with the dead, and that there is nothing in the Bible that indicates that living Christians should ask dead Christians to intercede for them.]
So, Catholics claim they don’t “pray to dead people” in a bad/unbiblical sense, and they also claim they “don’t worship Mary” (another common charge leveled against Catholics by non-Catholics). No matter how many non-Catholic resources I could quote confirming Mary worship, Catholics wouldn’t accept them as truly understanding Catholicism, and they would brush off any such statements as being inaccurate, so I decided to go to the source. Just about every movie that depicts Catholics or Catholicism at all includes one person with a rosary necklace and/or praying the rosary, but I never knew exactly what it was; at some point I learned that the necklace is used as a reminder of the form of the prayer, with every bead being a different thing to say or think about, so that once you go all the way around the necklace, touching each bead and saying the right prayer attached to each bead, you were done. But here is the rosary from a Catholic source.
It starts off good enough with the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, but then comes three Hail Marys. So God gets one prayer, while Mary gets three. Okay…. The first part of “Hail Mary” is taken from the Bible in which the angel Gabriel visits Mary and tells her that she will become pregnant and give birth to Jesus, but then it devolves into asking a dead person to intercede on behalf of the living — again, perfectly acceptable to Catholics, but nowhere said or implied in the Bible. Continuing the rosary is again something that no Christians so far as I know would have a problem with, “Glory be to the Father”, followed by the first “mystery” (there are 4 different types of mysteries, with 5 mysteries in each type — more on that later), then “Our Father”, then while contemplating the “mystery”, the person is to say 10 Hail Marys followed by another “Glory be to the Father”, then repeat the cycle with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th mysteries, saying each mystery followed by “Our Father”, 10 Hail Marys and “Glory be to the Father”. Does anybody else see the problem of the ratio of praying to and hailing and honoring Mary vs. praying to and honoring God?
Now a brief sidetrack into the discussion of the “mysteries”. Most of the things in the “mysteries” are taken directly from the Bible, and are basically just a recitation or repetition of stories in the Bible, although with some occasional non-Biblical/extra-Biblical things thrown in — but for the most part, are things that no Christian would disagree with until… the last two of the “Glorious Mysteries”, “The Assumption” and “The Coronation”. Having read that, I just have to say, “WOW!!” Whoo, boy!
The Fourth Glorious Mystery: THE ASSUMPTION
- After the apostles have dispersed, the Blessed Mother goes to live with John, the beloved disciple.
- Mary lives many years on earth after the death of Christ.
- She is a source of comfort, consolation and strength to the apostles.
- As she had nourished the infant Jesus, so she nourishes spiritually the infant Church.
- Mary dies, not of bodily infirmity, but is wholly overcome in a rapture of divine love.
- Her body as well as her soul is taken up into heaven.
- After her burial the apostles go to the tomb and find only fragrant lilies.
- Jesus does not permit the sinless body of His Mother to decay in the grave.
- Corruption of the body is an effect of original sin from which Mary is totally exempted.
- The bodies of all mankind, at the last judgment, will be brought back and united again to the soul.
Spiritual Fruit: To Jesus through Mary
The Fifth Glorious Mystery: THE CORONATION
- As Mary enters heaven, the entire court of heaven greets with joy this masterpiece of God’s creation.
- Mary is crowned by her divine Son as Queen of heaven and earth.
- More than we can ever know the Hearts of Jesus and Mary overflow with joy at this reunion.
- Only in heaven will we know the great majesty of that coronation, and the joy it gave to the angels and saints.
- Even the angels, who by nature are greater than humans, hail Mary as their Queen.
- Mary shares so fully in the glory of Christ because she shared so fully in His suffering.
- Only in heaven will we see how central is the role of Mary in the divine plan of redemption.
- The angels and saints longed for the coming of her whose heel crushes the head of the serpent.
- Mary pleads our cause as a most powerful Queen and a most merciful and loving Mother.
- A great sign appeared in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
Spiritual Fruit: Grace of Final Perseverance
Really? First, there is nothing in the Bible of this; it’s just Catholic additions. Secondly, if Mary were sinless (4th mystery, #8 & 9), why does she need a Savior and Redeemer? — Luke 1:47. Thirdly, the “spiritual fruit” that is supposed to come from this 4th mystery is “To Jesus through Mary”?? In a recent discussion with a Catholic friend of mine on facebook, I told her that one of the problems I had with Catholicism is that it puts the priests as a mediator between God and man, while the Bible says that there is One such Mediator, Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5). She basically said that priests weren’t mediators in that sense, and affirmed that Jesus was the only Mediator. I still insist that Catholic priests are mediators in a way that the Bible forbids, and now after reading this, I must add in that Mary is another such mediator. If we have to go through anybody but Jesus to get to God, whether that is priests or as this says, “through Mary to Jesus”, then that is putting an unbiblical mediator between God and man. Now Catholics may say that it’s not putting a mediator between God and man, but it is. Fourthly, aside from the blatantly unbiblical nature of all this (except #10, which is a quote from the Bible and may or may not refer to Mary at all), #7 — “only in heaven will we see how central is the role of Mary in the divine plan of redemption”?? Oh, dear! And #8 is not just “extra-biblical” (meaning, outside of the Bible, like the existence of the Mayans and Incas) but absolutely **UN**Biblical. The Bible says that it is the heel of the Son, the offspring of the woman, that crushes the head of the serpent, *not* the woman’s heel!! — Gen. 3:15.
Okay, enough of the “mysteries”. Back to the rosary, which is technically finished, but after the end of the rosary, this is supposed to be said:
HAIL, HOLY QUEEN, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
So now MARY is “our hope”??? We cry to Mary, and “send up our sighs, mourning and weeping”? Why not just straight to God? Why this other mediator between God and man? And MARY is our advocate? How unbiblical can it get!?
Finally, I also take issue with them saying that we are “poor banished children of Eve”. While technically true in that Eve is the mother of all living, it is through Adam that we have our federal headship, and we sinned in Adam, not in Eve. That is just one more twisting of the Bible by misplacing the emphasis that the Bible gives, putting it on something that is not emphasized.
I just read this post from Freedom’s Journal, and have mixed feelings about it. While appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, evangelist Franklin Graham was asked whether he believed Barack Obama was a Christian; he responded, “I cannot answer that question for anybody.” Then he was called a liar and forced to apologize for that. This author calls him weak for his apology, saying, “Anyone with any insight can see Obama is not a Christian”, going on to reference many things, including his opposition to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.
I think a different response would be better, and I propose two possibilities, that could be used separately or together, instead of refusing to answer or giving a mealy-mouthed response.
1) Ask the questioner why he’s asking the question. It’s possible that the questioner prefaces the question by referencing others who have called Obama not a Christian, but even then, it’s a valid question for Graham or others to ask: why is my opinion on this matter important? what the Bible says about it is more important. If I say yes or if I say no, will you believe me to be correct? or will you attack me if I say no and praise me if I say yes? Are you asking me only to make me look bad, or cause controversy if I don’t say yes? In short, put the attacker on the defensive, and show his bias and true colors.
2) Answer the question with a question: “Do *you* think he is, and why?” If the questioner cannot answer smoothly and quickly, with good evidence of Christian fruit and Christ-like behavior from Obama, then he has impaled himself on his own question, while the intended victim goes free. And if the questioner responds with things like, “He’s taking care of the poor, with things like expanded food stamps” (or whatever social programs he might come up with), Graham or whoever could respond that the true Christian response is to do these things yourself, not to take money from one group of citizens to give to the other. And to point out that there are many other things (like, the rest of the Bible that talks about moral issues that are conveniently forgotten by liberals) that are also hallmarks of being Christian, and these are not hallmarks of Barack Obama. Then maybe quote “by their fruit ye shall know them”, and say that I am not being a judge of the heart, because only God can do that, but Jesus said we *are* to judge/discern/know people based on their actions, so if Barack Obama wishes not to be questioned as to his Christianity, then he should be bearing more Christian fruit.
Another possible response by the questioner-turned-questioned, is that he might say something like, “I’m not a Christian, while you are, therefore I’m not qualified to judge”, or “I’m wanting to know your opinion, not mine”, or “you’re a leader, looked up to by fellow Christians, so people will follow you”, etc. While that wouldn’t be as satisfying as successfully being able to impale the impaler, being questioned probably will throw off the questioner, and cause some confusion; and Graham (or whoever the person is) can still point out the Biblical hallmarks of Christianity, and say, “I do not — cannot — judge his heart, but based on the fruit he evidences in his life, he is at best very weak, and at worst a false professor. Jesus said that there would be people who claimed to follow Him, and even believe to follow Him, but they would be disappointed to find out at the end of their lives, that Jesus would say, ‘I never knew you.’ I hope Barack Obama — and for that matter, I hope that I myself — will not find ourselves in that position; indeed the Bible tells each of us to ‘examine yourselves, to see whether you be in the faith or not.’ While Barack Obama’s positions on abortion and the sanctity of human life, as well as the God-given definition of marriage, trouble me, I am more concerned about myself, and examining myself to see whether I be in the faith, rather than examining others, to see if they are.”
Many Christians, overwhelmed by the so-called “scientific evidence” put forth by evolutionists, have kowtowed to them, and, unwilling to make a complete break with the Bible, have accepted both God and a godless evolution, mingling them into the incoherent “theistic evolution.” Basically, God created everything (which is the “core” of what Genesis really says [according to them]) but he did so using evolutionary means, just like the secular, atheistic scientists say.
This article blasts that position, showing it to be not just Scripturally untenable (despite the protestations of the theistic evolutionists I encountered after writing this post), but also to be intellectually untenable as well. It includes quotes from various atheists about theistic evolution, including,
Our best allies for defending evolution are members of the mainstream clergy groups.
This is because, as atheist Frank Zindler said,
The most devastating thing though that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of … evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation there is no need of a saviour. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed.
As this mother found out (first comment), once people accept evolution as a fact, with a bit of theology thrown in (God started the Big Bang and worked to “create” the universe including this planet and everything on it via materialistic processes and over the course of billions and billions of years), then it is but a small step to discard the idea that God had anything to do with it, because of the logical inconsistency of holding onto billions of years with one hand, and holding onto the Biblical creation account (which clearly shows just a few days of creation, and that only a few thousand years ago) with the other hand. Having accepted “the fact” of long-age evolution, the only thing left to challenge is the “theistic” part of it.
Atheists know this; too bad more Christians don’t. Even Dr. Dobson, of Focus on the Family, whom I generally agree with, is a long-age theistic evolutionist. Sad to say.
There are some religious people who claim to believe the Bible (or at least the Old Testament), and say that abortion is not wrong, is not murder, is justifiable, is not prohibited by the Bible, etc. They will usually “argue from silence” and note that abortion as such is never mentioned, much less prohibited. Or they’ll take the passage in the Law of Moses that talks about if a pregnant woman is struck and “her fruit pass from her”, that it is not a murder charge — there is no taking of the striker’s life for causing the fetal demise — they assume that “her fruit pass from her” is a miscarriage, and the “evil” that may happen afterward is maternal injury. Others will note that this passage could easily (and, they say, more properly) mean that this is talking about a preterm birth in which the baby lives, and the “evil” that happens afterwards could be either maternal or neonatal injury. Obviously, in those days, there was precious little that could be done to save preterm babies, so it could easily mean that if the baby was big and old enough to survive, then the person that struck the woman and caused the premature birth would only receive a mild sentence for endangering the pregnant woman and by extension her fetus/neonate; but if the baby could not survive and/or the mother was injured or killed, then the person would pay with his life, if a life was taken, or he would pay some sort of restitution for the injury.
That’s about the sum total of so-called “Biblical support” for abortion that I’ve seen. If there are others that I’ve missed that you’ve heard of, feel free to add them.
Most Christians that try to answer this question or argument basically give the explanation I outlined in the first paragraph, in response to the “her fruit” passage; and say things like, “Of course abortion as such isn’t mentioned — it’s obviously murder, so wouldn’t need to be specially mentioned, any more than a specific type of rape or child molestation would need to be mentioned, other than a general prohibition against any sort of sexual conduct outside of marriage.”
While I agree with this, it doesn’t go far enough, because all the opponent has to say is, “The fetus is not a person and therefore cannot be murdered. It is not obviously murder.” Then the two people just end up in a stalemate.
The line of reasoning I’m about to put forth will only work for people who believe the Bible. The others will find some carnal excuse to continue to support abortion.
In the creation story, God created Adam and Eve in His image, and also the animals, and said that they each would reproduce “after their kind.” [Kinds are not necessarily “species” as we define them, but probably could be a “family” or “genus” as we classify them. All dog types, including domestic dogs of all breeds, wolves, foxes, dingos, etc. would have been originally one “kind,” which speciated after the flood.] But, using species that are familiar to us, it’s obvious that dogs produce other dogs — they don’t give birth to cats; cats give birth to cats; mice give birth to other mice; cows don’t give birth to horses; humans give birth to humans, etc.
Later on in Genesis (perhaps even a few different times, plus other times in Exodus), capital punishment for murder is not just allowed but even required. Gen. 9:6 is one such passage. But more than just being a law given, this verse also contains the reasoning for the law: namely, “for in the image of God created He man.”
To kill a man is to kill God in effigy, which is why the murderer is required to lose his own life. He has, one might argue, made the ultimate insult to God. This is also, I would argue, why Satan loves murder so much. He would love to kill and/or dethrone God; but since he can’t, he will do as much as he can — and this includes killing men himself (perhaps by subtly encouraging them to do self-destructive things, including suicide, promiscuous behavior [becoming infected with lethal diseases such as AIDS], addictions to drugs and alcohol, etc.), and inciting them to kill each other — on a large scale like the Holocaust, or on a small scale like drive-by shootings. Also by abortion.
Because, as I said before, man produces after his kind. This has been proven by genetics — at conception, the male and female gametes come together, and their genes mix to produce a genetically new human. If that “conceptus” is taken and analyzed, it would show that it was definitely human, even though it was only a one-celled creature. It is also most certainly alive, biologically speaking, so to kill this life would be to kill a genetically unique human. To kill a man, a human, one of the human kind, one of the creatures made “in the image of God,” is to commit murder.
What to do when your plans don’t coincide with God’s plans? This couple had to face that challenge when their baby was diagnosed prenatally with lethal birth defects. The doctors suggested she have an abortion. They refused. Although they didn’t plan on having a baby with a birth defect, or any abnormalities, they graciously accepted what God gave them. Their baby was born and died on April 7, 2008. Yes, just a few weeks ago. Yet they tell their story with more smiles than tears. While they prayed for a miracle until the end, they accepted “Plan B” (which is always God’s “Plan A,” as the mother said), as what was best from them, given to them from the hand of a loving Father. I’m in awe.
Next Friday, April 25, schools all over the nation are observing this pro-homosexual event in which students and/or teachers are encouraged not to speak the entire day at school, as a show of solidarity with homosexuals who “suffer in silence” on a daily basis. Click here to find out if your child’s school is participating. I’m proud to say that not one school in my state is on this list! Somehow it doesn’t seem as if the homosexuals and those who support them are ever very silent about it, so this event rings hollow with me.
Our family doesn’t have a television. Shocking? Probably. We keep up with things on the internet — news, weather, that sort of thing. Our computer can play DVDs, so we can watch movies if we wish. It’s been very beneficial for us. Our kids would probably do nothing but watch TV if we let them (they already watch their DVDs as much as we allow, and pretty much stay glued to the tube at my mom’s).
My family only had one TV when we were growing up, and we didn’t have cable. It disturbs me that so many people have so many televisions. I’m not passing judgment on them; nor do I think that owning a television is one of the “seven deadly sins” or anything — but it can’t be good. TV is such passive entertainment. It actually bores me to have to watch it now. I like Wheel of Fortune, which my mom tapes for us to watch together when I go there; and I’d enjoy Jeopardy! if she taped that, too. But just sitting down and channel-surfing, trying to find something to watch… well, it’s just boring!
A former co-worker got her 5-year-old daughter a TV for her bedroom (this was about 7 years ago), complete with cable. She did this because her daughter wanted to watch her shows, while the mother wanted to watch her shows. Actually, the girl just wanted to spend time with her mom, but she was too busy. Anyway, one night the mom woke up in the middle of the night, and heard the TV on in her daughter’s bedroom. She went in to turn it off, thinking she had fallen asleep with it on, and found that her daughter was wide awake and watching MTV. At two in the morning. Day-time MTV is bad enough, but night-time?!?! So she lectured her daughter, but kept the TV in her room, and cable as well. Sad, I think.
You may think it’s shocking that we don’t have a TV, but I’ll tell you what’s really shocking — the commercials that are allowed on TV these days. Not to mention the TV shows! Wow!
Previously, I mentioned Fred Heeren’s book Show Me God, in which he discusses the Big Bang Theory of the beginning of the universe. The good side of the book demonstrates that the world’s top scientists in their fields have no explanation for the origin of the universe other than a creator of some sort — something outside the universe must have started it at some point, must have created the matter at some point, and must have minutely controlled everything in the Big Bang in order to get the universe as we know it today. In my other post, I mentioned some of my problems I had with this theory, and this Christian man accepting this theory, along with the theory of evolution including millions of years of death prior to man’s existence (and subsequent sin, which according to Romans is what brought death into existence in this world).
Now, I’ve come across an excellent resource from the standpoint of creation. It’s a book available online, or you can buy a hard copy. Anyway, I’ve just gotten to the point where the author discusses the Big Bang, and the many problems and errors it has with it. Since just glancing at it revealed so much of the same terminology and predictions that Mr. Heeren used in his book to show that the Big Bang theory is scientifically sound (which I didn’t believe), but does so in a way to disprove it, I thought I’d link to it.
I read a really great post on abortion today, but the first comment just totally flummoxed me. The woman said that she considers that abortion is a sign of the End Times, and to fight against abortion is to fight against the Rapture. Do WHAT?! Is this kind of unbiblical nonsense actually being preached in so-called Christian churches? Whatever happened to being a light to the world? This was not the attitude of the early Christians. This is nothing more than, “Let us do evil, that good may come” (Rom. 3:8). And what does the next line say?–“Whose damnation is just.” Now that’s a scary place for someone to be in! Paul unequivocally says that if your attitude is this, then you will be condemned. For someone who looks forward to “the Rapture,” it should be quite a shock to hear the Word of God declaring that this person should be in expectation of hell.