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I take my non-Catholicism seriously: Reflections on not receiving the Eucharist

If you don’t agree with or abide by the teachings of the Catholic Church, you aren’t Catholic. Clinging to the label when the substance is gone is like cherishing wrapping paper after discarding the gift.

(Image: Josh Applegate/Unspash.com)

I take my non-Catholicism seriously. This is, in part, because I have good reasons to become Catholic. My wife is Catholic, as are many of my friends and colleagues. I sometimes write for Catholic publications. Additionally, I am drawn to aspects of Catholicism, especially its magnificent intellectual and aesthetic traditions, which were absent in the non-denominational evangelicalism I was raised in. Thus, I cannot drift along in unreflective Protestantism, but must consider the claims of the Catholic faith.

Having done so, I remain not Catholic because I am not Catholic. To explain the tautology, I am not Catholic because I do not believe essential Catholic doctrines such as transubstantiation. Therefore I cannot, in good conscience, join the Catholic church, even though it would please my wife, simplify Sunday mornings and allow me to claim the Catholic aesthetic and intellectual heritage as my own. Being Catholic means believing and attempting to live by the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Not everyone agrees. For many self-proclaimed Catholics, including the current President, Catholic identity is not about belief manifest in faithfulness to church teaching. Rather, Catholicism is treated as an inherited identity, and devotion is measured by attendance, not adherence. Catholicism of this sort is compatible with a life conformed to the ways of the world. And in our culture of consumption, autonomy and expressive identities, many believe they have a right to claim the religion of their choice, even if they deny its teachings and disobey its commands.

Of course, as a Protestant, I do not think it is wrong per se to reject the Catholic Church and its authority—it depends on what specifically is being denied. What is definitely wrong is the deception (including self-deception) of claiming to be something one is not.

Though there is room for limited dispute within Catholicism, some doctrines are settled. And though everyone falls short of the perfection of the Gospel, the penitent Catholic will go to confession for the sacrament of reconciliation. There is a great difference between those whose sin is followed by repentance, and those who remain in rebellion and deny that they have anything to confess.

Thus, in cases of significant sin and rebellion, especially in public, Catholic leaders have a responsibility to discipline members for their own good and the good of all the Church. This is meant first to bring the wayward to repentance. Those who are rebelling against the Church should be warned of their spiritual peril; if they persist then refusing them communion is for their own good, in light of the Biblical warning that to take communion unworthily is to bring judgment upon oneself, an admonition also heeded by many Protestant churches.

Denying communion to those publicly defying the Church also protects the rest of the congregation from scandal. A church that does not enforce its teachings indicates that they are not worth taking seriously, thereby leading others astray. The higher the profile of the disobedient, the greater the risk of such scandal, and the greater the need for public rebuke.

Nonetheless, public excommunication is only perceived as a punishment if the target still wishes to be Catholic and partake of the Eucharist. For example, it would be pointless for the Catholic Church to declare that I should be denied the Eucharist, because I am not seeking it. But many people want to defy the Catholic Church and have communion too.

Efforts to bar prominent disobedient Catholics, especially pro-abortion politicians, from receiving the Eucharist have therefore provoked pushback. For instance, a New Mexico politician recently made headlines when he complained about being denied communion for a pro-abortion vote—after having been warned repeatedly on the subject. But from the faithful Catholic perspective, this backlash only confirms the need for firm Church leadership to preach and practice the teachings of the Catholic faith. The alternative is to allow lies about the faith to flourish, to the damnation of souls.

For example, the New York Times recently published an essay by Garry Wills arguing, as the headline summarized, “The Bishops Are Wrong About Biden—and Abortion.” This dishonest piece was promptly torn to bits by various writers. The problem is that Wills’ essay was not written and published to persuade, but to reassure. Its target audience does not read National Review or any of the other outlets that ran rebuttals. The point of the piece was not to advance arguments in a good-faith debate, but to provide spiritual plausible deniability to sympathetic readers who wish to avoid the truth of Robert George’s observation that, “If on every issue on which the Catholic Church and the NY Times differ, one is sure the Times is right and the Church is in grave moral error, why claim to be a Catholic? One is a Timesian.”

From a Protestant perspective, this is obvious: if you don’t agree with or abide by the teachings of the Catholic Church, you aren’t Catholic. Clinging to the label when the substance is gone is like cherishing wrapping paper after discarding the gift. But many Timesians want to think of themselves as Catholic. This identification many have many sources, such long habit or the emotional attachment engendered by the memory of a saintly relative. Indeed, ignoring doctrine would naturally lead to emphasizing the personal and emotional basis for Catholic identity.

But no man can serve two masters. Joe Biden, for instance, can support taxpayer-funded abortion on demand until birth, or he can be Catholic. He cannot be both, try though he and his apologists may.

And they certainly do try. It is not just that defending the President is a political imperative. It is also that Biden comes from an era of American Catholicism that seems particularly prone to trying to have it both ways. For a generation or two of postwar American Catholics, the ordinary temptations to rebellion and apostacy were joined to a Catholic culture that was eager for acceptance and determined to fit in with the world. These generations were often poorly catechized—as a Protestant, it is often shocking how little Catholics, older ones in particular, know about their faith.

That the younger Catholics I meet seem to take the faith more seriously may be nothing but coincidence or selection bias, but I suspect that there has been a winnowing. Those who drift with the culture now tend to drift out of the Church altogether, preferring sleeping in and brunch to attending a church service they don’t really believe in. This is not without its costs, but it provides needed clarity.

The point of the Catholic Church is to be the Catholic Church, and some of us appreciate that, even in disagreement. As for those who want Unitarian beliefs with Catholic ceremony, they are welcome to join the Episcopalians. I understand there are literally dozens of them left.


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About Nathanael Blake 11 Articles
Nathanael Blake, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. His primary research interests are American political theory, Christian political thought, and the intersection of natural law and philosophical hermeneutics. His published scholarship has focused on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Alasdair MacIntyre and Russell Kirk. He is currently working on a study of J.R.R. Tolkien’s anti-rationalism. He writes from Virginia.

90 Comments

  1. A well defined assessment of what it really means to be Catholic by a non Catholic. Often the intellectual non believer, although it seems with a better appreciation of Catholicism, the doctrine of transubstantiation he may become Catholic nevertheless has that intellection freedom that’s derived from unattached objectivity. Apparent to Blake is the mindset of the nominal Catholic perhaps most evident in politics, “Rather, Catholicism is treated as an inherited identity, and devotion is measured by attendance, not adherence. Catholicism of this sort is compatible with a life conformed to the ways of the world”. Although I would add for consumption, if disbelief in the real presence is what leads to this vacuous practice, why then should belief in the real presence [transubstantiation merely man’s description of that reality] effect a transformation that defies logic? A man prepared to take heroic measures of compassion and justice were it not a reality.

  2. I would be remiss if I didn’t add that non Catholic Nathaniel Blake gives us among the best arguments, loss of credibility among the faithful of essential doctrine, here the Eucharistic real presence – why the Church should refuse communion to pro abortion politicians.

    • Great explanation and argument by a non-Catholic that many professed Catholics don’t understand or don’t want to understand. Thank you Dr. Blake

  3. I have been following the Trad’s, the Liberal’s, the N.O’s and they all have valid points about Catholicism. MR Blake has another great point of view .At the end of the day, what we are matters not,who we are does. We are Catholics. There is no middle ground on Communion, we respect life, feed the poor, have no need to be woke, acknowledge the sins of ourselves, of our priests, of our church. If our President cannot vote his faith which is understandable, then he needs avoid presenting himself for communion. If the speaker of the House feels she understands her faith better than the doctrine we all follow, then she is a problem that needs to be addressed by the church Bishops. We cannot let Satan misdirect our energies, steal our children, and crumble the walls of our church. We are a Historical Church as well as a Living Church. The living church can look back on the past, see the chaos and ruin left in the Pagan’s wake and see also how the core of faithful rebuilt the church even stronger.We the quiet faithful who are Catholic first will continue to survive and though we will diminish in numbers, we are the foundation of Peters Church

    • The CWR comments are usually very good, many are excellent. Occasionally I flag excellent comments. This comment caught my attention, the points made are so true. Thank you for comment.

  4. Nathanael Blake, you need to become a Catholic. You express an understanding of the Catholic Church’s teaching absent in so many Catholics in the pews today. Transubstantiation is not an intellectual exercise on the part of the recipient, it is taken on faith. Jesus said it. I believe it. I am a cradle-convert, raised sort of as a Methodist but without much instruction. I have been fascinated by the Catholic Church all my life and, looking back, I can see the working of the Holy Spirit in my life drawing me to the Church. Here I am, a 72-year-old, 52-year-Catholic and still converting and seeking to understand the teaching of the Church. I have benefitted from the four-year Catholic Biblical School and the two-year Catechetical School offered by the Lay Division of the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. I always seek more knowledge and understanding of the faith. I am privileged to have made Her acquaintance. You demonstrate a knowledge of Church teaching absent in so many lifelong Catholics. Please join and continue to convert for the rest of your life. It’s a journey worth everything you have, everything you are, and everything you hope to be.

  5. Your article hits the nail on the head. I do agree that older Catholics were not catechized properly but I think this is all changing. Since I see you are already studying Tolkien I would like to recommend a book by Peter Kreeft called SYmbol or Substance:Dialogue on the Eucharist with CS Lewis,J.R.R.Tolkien and Billy Graham. It is not easy being Catholic or Christian today but if you dont agree with the Church’s rules feel free to leave. Thank you so much for this awesome article.Praying for your conversion

  6. A prideful Protestant celebrating his closed mind on the Eucharist and the Gospel of John.

    Willful ignorance on history.

    • “A prideful Protestant celebrating his closed mind….” That’s really what you got out of this essay? Good grief.

      • You’re not familiar with Blake’s scholarship outside of this piece which is just a repeat of the obvious by a Protestant?

        I am.

        • Translation: Take my word, my opinion, my conclusions as the correct ones and ignore whatever the author says, or whatever thoughts on it you may have yourself. End of discussion. Signed: ‘Ramjet’

  7. Mr Blake, what a lovely article. Are you certain that Ms. Farrell above and I cannot convince you to give us a try?? Yes, it is required to believe in transubstantiation. You didnt say if you have attended Catholic Mass much or at all , your marriage to a Catholic aside. At my church, that transubstantiation moment is accompanied by dead silence, in which you can almost touch the respect and awe-filled feelings of those there. I take that for an expression of faith. Jesus did in fact say this IS His body. Most Protestants take the bible literally yet make an exception for this, for reasons I dont understand. I was impressed a few years back to read the conversion story of Theologian Scott Hahn. The book is called “Rome Sweet Home”. Prior to his conversion to Catholicism, he spent much of his life in strong dislike of the Catholic religion and was converting Catholics to Protestantism. He decided to go to a Catholic Mass one day well into his career, just for “research” purposes. And what he saw and felt hit him like a sledgehammer. His unexpected conversion created quite a stir at the time. I recommend the book. Meanwhile I am hopeful that you will keep an open mind about us. I imagine that many readers here ( along with your wife??) will now pray for your conversion.

  8. “I am not Catholic because I do not believe essential Catholic doctrines such as transubstantiation.”

    Perhaps Dr. Blake needs to carefully read the 6th Chapter of John’s Gospel (‘The ‘Bread of Life Discourse’) along with the writings of the early Church Fathers. As pointed out by Scott Hahn, if the Eucharist is not the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, then it becomes one of the worst forms of idolatry.

  9. I can give Dr. Blake a much better reason for not becoming a Catholic than pondering whether a commercially baked wafer magically becomes the body of a mythical deity from 2000 years ago. How about not being part of an organization that supported pedophiles and covered up their vile deeds for decades? How many lives were damaged irreparably?

    If Hades actually exists it has a wing reserved for many of the Catholic hierarchy.

    And don’t get me started on the hypocrisy of the US church politicizing communion.

    • Yo, Randy, get in line…

      As for your most original wing reserved in Hades, it was likely the 4th-century St. John Chrysostom who first said: “The road to hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lampposts that light the path.” Others point to his contemporary, St. Athanasius, who might have said: “The floor to hell is paved with the skulls of priests.”

      Both Catholic. Maybe there’s something more to a consecrated wafer or even each of us than just compressed star dust. Yourself included. Have a nice day, although no one really cares what you think about non-political Eucharistic coherence.

    • Disher,
      The church is not like any other organization. It is the Body of Christ. As the founder of the Church, Christ is its Head. Do you know of any other organization which has lasted for 2000+ years?

      “The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”

      — Hilaire Belloc

      • So proof of divinity is to be found in longevity? I suppose Buddhism trumps Catholicism then and Mormonism wouldn’t even count?

        Of course an alternate and equally viable theory might be that Catholicism endured because it has generated power and untold wealth by delivering pablum to the masses. Your opinion may vary.

        • I do appreciate your comment about the longevity of Buddhism… One could also make the case that bureaucracy as an institution in China also has been around longer than Christianity (beginning with the Qin dynasty (221–207 B.C.). With the matrix simply inhabited by a succession of various dynasties (the “dynastic crisis cycle”) and even by Mongols who were not Chinese at all, and now the Communists who are not Confucian (Confucius 551-479 B.C.), but are rogue transplant of Marxism (the Communist Manifesto, 1848), the religion of atheism, even newer than Mormonism which you mention (the Book of Mormon, 1830).

          The point to be made, probably, is that real curiosity about history and the history and content of religions is intensely interesting, and best served by serious thinkers.

          Here’s an interesting bit of fashionable intersectionality. Marx recognized that the dependency of man as a creature (our “contingency”) admits the existence of God. So, as an atheist, he imposed a restriction: “this question is forbidden to socialist man” (Karl Marx, “Writings of the Young Marx on Philosophy and Society,” 1967). Buddhism also prohibits the question of a beginning outside the series of natural causes and effects, since it assumes an eternal natural universe (as did Aristotle). The ancients saw the universe as a turtle resting on the back of a larger turtle, ad infinitum, as does Richard Dawkins when he suggests that we are offshoots of aliens, ad infinitum.

          The religion thing? And then the Faith, and maybe even the sacramental Real Presence? The makings of a great conversation over a beer. Not so well served by your drive-by shootings on a Catholic website, which give Protestantism and Protestants a bad name.

  10. The point of of this article is that a non-Catholic who does not believe in the church view on the Eucharist is cheer leading on behalf of some American bishops to deny a sacrament to politicians he does not like. I wonder if Dr. Blake would include practicing politicians who believe in the death penalty in his list of those to be denied? Hoe about Florida governor and practicing Roman Catholic Ron DeSantis who fervently believes in the death penalty and whose anti-mask policies are causing the deaths and suffering of many? Is he on Dr. Blake’s list?

    By the way I believe statistics reveal that the rate of abortions has declined more during Democratic administrations than Republican administrations. Therefore, if you are really against abortion then voting for Joe Biden made perfect sense.

    • The church holds that death can be allowed in some instances. The just war for example. Allowing the Nazi’s to step over our dead bodies instead of the reverse would be peace at any price with an unjust result.( The ongoing death of Jews, Poles, and anyone else in their way, for instance). I would think that the death of millions of innocent but inconvenient babies a year plays poorly with God, as opposed to the death or life imprisonment of someone who lets say, raped and then killed a woman in cold blood, which has certainly happened. The death penalty serves both justice and acts as a deterrent to others who commit the violent crime.And it happens relatively seldom, only a few times a year as opposed to hundreds of thousands of abortions annually. I would also suggest that unmarried men or women who REALLY do not wish to find themselves facing an untimely pregnancy use some self restraint and (gasp!) even follow church law by keeping their pants on and not facing the problem to being with. Inconvenience remains a poor reason to kill a baby.

  11. For those struggling to understand/comprehend the Real Presence a great place to start is Brant Pitre’s book “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist”, countless people have said it clarified the teaching and opened their eyes to the Real Presence and how it is eminently reasonable. He uses Scripture and Jewish sources to argue his case.

    • Personally I believe the theories of John Marco Allegro about the ingestion of psychedelic mushrooms being at the root of Christianity are more reasonable than believing a commercially baked wafer magically becoming the body of a deity. The former conforms with science while the latter reads like a fairy tale.

      • “I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;

        I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

        I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways

        Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears

        I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

        Up vistaed hopes I sped;

        And shot, precipitated,

        Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,

        From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.

        But with unhurrying chase,

        And unperturbèd pace,

        Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

        They beat—and a Voice beat

        More instant than the Feet—

        ‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’”

        Scoff as you will, Mr. Disher; the Hound of Heaven follows.

      • Randy:

        Who said anything about magic? But as for mushrooms, here’s some food for thought by those so inclined:

        “Christianity’s claim to be true cannot correspond to the standard of certainty posed by modern science, because the form of verification here is of a quite different kind from the realm of testing by experiment—pledging one’s life for this—is of a quite different kind. The saints, who have undergone the experiment, can stand as guarantors of its truth, but the possibility of disregarding this strong evidence remains” (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI, “Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions,” San Francisco: Ignatius, 2003).

        Then, after the Last Supper, here’s something that at least some of my Protestant friends at least wonder about: “Do THIS in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor 11:24).

          • Randy here’s the deal. If you really believe all your refutations against belief in Christianity, then why are you spending your time and energy trying to convince persons that their beliefs are absurd? Rather, is there in your efforts an attempt to convince yourself because of a nagging conscientious question mark? Take some time in a quiet wooded area somewhere and think about it without fear. You may feel better about yourself.

      • Randy,

        Two points, one about Christ and the other about Science:

        FIRST, we notice that Christ did not say “this bread is my body…”, but only THIS. As you might say, correctly, it is impossible that a thing should be and not be at the same time (your “fairy tale”). Luther clung to this belief, however, with his fantasy that in the wafer Christ was only mingled with the intact bread (consubstantiation versus transubstantiation). But, again, the subject is Christ’s phrase is THIS, and not “this bread.”
        Zwingly, for his part, proposed that “is” (or “to be”) meant only “to signify,” which fits neither with biblical or common usage. In the words of Christ, does “body” really mean “symbol of the body?” Not likely. If so, the real fairy tale then would be this wording: “This is the symbol of my body, which symbol is for you. Whoever shall eat the bread and drink the chalice unworthily is guilty of the symbol of the body and the symbol of the blood of the Lord.”

        (The point is inadequately presented here because it is both a mystery and compressed from a too-lengthy discourse in a book that surprisingly ends with the “Hound of Heaven” which you ridicule. The book was written by an agnostic academic upon his conversion to the fully Catholic faith in the 1930s, one Herbert Cory, “The Emancipation of a Freethinker,” Bruce Publishing, 1941).

        SECOND, as for any false dichotomy between doctrines of the faith and the methods of science, (some guy named) Einstein spoke at a general level against bracket creep, whether by the churches or by scientists. He wrote:
        “…This is where the struggle of the Church against the doctrines of Galileo and Darwin belongs. On the other hand, representatives of science have often made an attempt to arrive at fundamental judgments with respect to values and ends on the basis of scientific method, and in this way have set themselves in opposition to religion. These conflicts have all sprung from fatal errors” (“Science and Religion” (1939), in “Out of My Later Years,” 1950).

        And later, a few days before his death, he reflected to his fellow scientist Francesco Seferi, “He who does not admit the unfathomable mystery cannot even be a scientist.” While Einstein remained a Monist, perhaps, by the intentional words of (some-more-than-a-guy, named) Jesus Christ, the Real Presence is gifted access to this unfathomable mystery—in person.

        • So which is it? Does something magically happen to the wafer or is it just a bunch of symbolic mumbo-jumbo?

          BTW, Einstein described himself as agnostic:

          “In 1949 Einstein wrote a letter to a curious sailor in the US Navy, explaining that “You may call me agnostic.” In 1950 he replied to another correspondent: “My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.” Then in 1952, in a letter to a philosopher, Einstein frankly expressed his unsweetened opinions: “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable but still primitive legends aplenty. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can change this (for me).” Einstein added that the Jewish people were no better that any other groups of people: “I can ascertain nothing Chosen about them.” He said that all religions are “primitive superstitions.””

          • Sorry I missed your comment earlier. At first, I might have thought it was just another predictable piece of sarcastic drivel, but now I suspect yours is a genuine question: magic or symbolic mumbo-jumbo? Yes?

            But is there another option, other than the antiquated Lucretius, actually an early nominalist who also was quite sure that atoms explained everything. Atoms then overlaid by mere magic or useful symbols. But always only aggregates of atoms, labeled in one way or another, but no real “things” as such. Quantum Mechanics is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

            On the other hand, if there are real “things,” and maybe even more than mere things…then this is something for our minds (not merely cell clusters or brains) to think (!) about. And, if God is more than an idea projected from our minds, but the self-disclosing and “living God,” then just maybe, this about consecrated wafers: “DO this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19):

            “I am the food of grown men. Grow, and you shall feed upon me. You will not change me into yourself [assuming there is a “self”!], as you change food into your flesh, but you will be changed into me” (Confessions of St. Augustine, Book 7, Ch. 10:16).

            Perhaps the dichotomy between spirit and matter is the “magic and mumbo-jumbo” conjured-up only in our minds?

  12. In regards to Eucharist truth: Who would have ever believed that once a physical cell is emptied and a nucleus (DNA) of any cell (even a smallest skin cell) is implanted, the first being is duplicated and a perfect replica is made in the host. Once again the created world shows us the ways of God. He is the creator after all, even of science. So the necessity of emptying my heart and mind so that in receiving the WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE in Eucharist I become HIM. The mystical body of Christ. He said it and He cannot deceive or be deceived. Follow the science if you dare. Empty myself to receive HIM. And also none of it depends on the behavior of sinners. There will be those. It depends on the words of Jesus to me on my knees each blessed day. His precious body and blood. Beyond understanding.

    • The mechanism of cell reproduction and the role of DNA was explained by science and is explicable within the principles of biology, evolution, chemistry, and physics. Trying to co-opt science to explain god is a losing proposition. If you think you actually become anyone else by eating a cookie I would, as a reasonable person, call that delusion.

  13. Sometimes a drop of wisdom appears even from a place as godless as Hollywood. In a very old movie, the original “Miracle on 34th Street”, there is a wonderful line: “Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to.” It doesnt matter what Einstein believed. What matters is what YOU believe. For a person who believes, no proof is necessary. For a person who does not believe, no amount of proof is enough.If you are lucky, perhaps one day He will call you.

    • I would love to talk with the Professor (Einstein).

      You are quoting a fantasy about Santa Claus to try to push faith? I could not have done better myself. LOL.

      I will quote a friend of mine who is a reformed Catholic on why he gave up Catholicism:

      “If you look at all the evil things god permits to happen that he could easily stop I came to the conclusion that if a god does exist he his a real dick head.”

      • In my experience, having talked with/corresponded with many skeptics over the years, skeptics/atheists are angry 1) that God allows evil to occur and are 2) angry that God would try, in any way, to thwart their freedom.

        None of them seem to get how clearly contradictory such beliefs/sentiments are.

      • Movies are the descendants of books. If they contain the occasional element of truth, one should listen. Paradise Lost is also just a book, not a bible, yet it has lasted for ages as a classic precisely because it contains truth that resonates with people. The simple observation about Faith in Miracle on 34th street, while not as profound as Paradise Lost, does the same.Our inability to see air does not mean it doesnt exist. Nor can we “see” love. Yet both are real, and necessary elements for human survival. Not everything of value can be seen or touched. It does not make it any less real.

        • So we have to take it upon faith that air exists? That’s another poor analogy. We can feel air (wind). We can see air (blue sky from light scattering) and we know its composition, 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen plus trace amounts of other gases. If there were as much evidence for god as air I would have no trouble accepting his or her existence. However, there is no evidence.

          • However, there is no evidence.
            Correction: However, there is no evidence, that Randy Disher would accept.

          • “Christianity’s claim to be true cannot correspond to the standard of certainty posed by modern science, because the form of verification here is of a quite different kind from the realm of testing by experiment—pledging one’s life for this—is of a quite different kind. The saints, who have undergone the experiment, can stand as guarantors of its truth, but the possibility of disregarding this strong evidence remains” (Ratzinger/Benedict, “Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions,” Ignatius, 2003).

      • The main point in LJ’s post is not the miracle but the line that was quoted.
        The only reason God allows suffering is because he loves us and respects our Free Will. If we were not in a position to express our free will, we would not be human. And suffering results when a wrong has been committed. It started way back in the Garden of Eden whether you believe it or choose to disbelieve it. It has happened over and over again. Our wrongdoing did not finish us off during the Flood because of God’s love for us and because there was a wonderful plan for our redemption. Yes, in you fanciful view you can dismiss these writings but there is no way you could justify it.

        • So god out of his love for us produced a flood that killed 99.99999999999% of human kind by drowning. OK sounds like utter nonsense to me.

          • It seems to me that if Jesus had not been real, if he was a made up story,if he had nothing of value to offer people’s lives, its unlikely the Apostles and other disciples would have been willing to be tortured and go to their deaths rather than deny him .How much easier to admit, ” I made it up”, “he isn’t real” and be freed to live your life. Yet for thousands of years, this has been the case. Priests have been kidnapped and murdered in Africa in our present times. Ditto followers in China. Does one do this for a lie, a fairy tale? I think not. Its been said that you can evaluate the life of Jesus by his life. Did he hurt anyone, did he make peoples lives better or worse? Was he selfish and uncaring? The answer is no. Did he ever say or do things that were hurtful to others? No. He was asking people to imitate the behaviors he was modeling for us. He did not deny being the son of God. Was that a statement of insanity? So was what he said, EVERYTHING HE SAID, real and true, or was He crazy?? If he was crazy, then NOTHING he said was real and true. Judge by how he lived his life, and there is your answer. But again, faith cannot be proven. No matter what you think SCIENTISTS can tell you about air, you still cannot see it. You are taking their word for its composition…on faith. If their work is so sterling and reliable , I imagine this controversy about the Covid vaccine, the complications which have ended in death for some, would never have arisen. It would appear the evidence is they are not perfect. If you need to place your trust in something, a God who loves you, no matter your faults, and urges you be your best self to others, does not appear to be a bad choice.

          • Comparing my “faith” in science to your “faith” in a magical god is just silly. Here is the difference: I would jump out of an airplane with a parachute (and a reserve parachute) confident in my “faith” that air exists and friction between the parachute and air will slow my descent to safe rate. You can jump out without the parachute and have faith that god and Jesus will save you or at least take you into heaven when your body is smashed to a bloody pulp as you hit the ground at terminal velocity (again caused by air and no pun intended). I will take my “faith” over yours any day.

          • Man’s descent into self-destructive, evil ways had its appropriate consequence. Because God loves us, he asked Noah to build a boat and gave him instructions about who and what to take on board. Why? He wanted the human race to continue. So you see the flood which was caused by sinful ways, but I see God’s love in saving mankind.
            So, you believe in science which is simply a study of what is and what it can be. You obviously place your faith in this belief. That is fine because everybody places their faith in what they truly believe. Christians believe in the age-old writings of witness accounts as well as inspired revelations. They have reason to believe these writings to be true and written truthfully. We can prove that the writings exist and also have evidence of some of the places and people mentioned in them. People can choose to disbelieve but they cannot honestly disprove them.
            The foundation of your belief is science. It is, in a sense, your god because there is nothing else for you. I cannot show you my God, but can you show me your science? How big is it or what colour? Can you show me time? Or gravity? Can you show or just name a single thing that science created from nothing? I bet you cannot. In fact, there is nothing that your beloved science (or scientists) can do which the laws embedded in nature will not allow it to. Absolutely nothing! Zilch! It cannot even bend the laws to suit itself. It is a slave to nature, to creation.
            Antitheists have resorted to concocting stories to try to ridicule Christian belief or to prove them false. Then to prove their own beliefs to be true and trustworthy they create one lie after another. These lies are presented in textbooks just to spread their fake news. Did you know that Einstein had to amend his theory of relativity after he was made aware that the sun could be revolving around the earth? Did you know that Galileo lied about the earth going around the sun? Do you know that scientists use the geocentric concept when making calculations and not the heliocentric one? Did you know that the Horse Evolution Fraud was concocted by Marsh and the evolutionist Huxley and that the fake drawings are still in textbooks deceiving students? Do you know the real story of the Peppered Moths is a far cry from the truth? Did you know that all the missing link stories are fakes?
            So now you know that I believe in what I believe to be the truth and definitely reject science or, shall we say, scientism – which is your chosen religion.

  14. Your comments are so obtuse they don’t really deserve a reply. But for the record, faith does not include doing the dangerously absurd, or placing your life, which belongs to the God who gave it to you, into unnecessary jeopardy. That includes jumping out of planes without a parachute. No intelligent believer would do that. Suicide is specifically forbidden to Christians. It is one among many rules for productive living mandated by God so that people can live in happiness, peace and harmony.The problems start when certain people think what they want is more important than any other consideration, more important than other people , and they feel no accountability to anyone on Earth, or to any concept of God, for what they do. Think of any crazed dictator of your choice. Hitler would be a good one, Stalin, Mao, or Idi Amin. Large and small,famous or average Joe, the list goes on. When humans feel no sense of accountability to God for their actions, is when the world goes upside down. Not just for them. But for everyone else their actions impact. Faith in God is not the same as belief in magic and it’s actually sad you don’t get the difference. You should consider examining your life and discover what has hardened your heart to this degree. Belief in God means you are never alone and He always loves you, no matter your failings. That is motivation to belief for many Christians. There are lots of You Tube stories about hardened atheists who have experienced a conversion of heart. Maybe one day it will happen for you.

    • An excellent post, LJ.
      Randy’s challenge is one that seems to be borrowed from Satan, the great deceiver, who tried it with our Lord.
      “Then he led him to Jerusalem and set him on the parapet of the Temple. ‘If you are Son of God,’ he said to him, ‘throw yourself down from here, for scripture says: He has given his angels orders about you, to guard you, and again: They will carry you in their arms in case you trip over a stone.’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Scripture says: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

  15. “Faith in God is not the same as belief in magic and it’s actually sad you don’t get the difference.”

    So turning water into wine, a wafer become part of a body, and someone coming back to life after having been dead for 2 days aren’t magic?

    mag·ic
    /ˈmajik/
    noun
    noun: magic

    the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

    Seems to fit perfectly.

    • Randy, what are you doing here? You come here, on a Catholic site despite being a very militant and (unhinged) atheist, insult the religion of the other posters here, and think you can somehow win us over with your ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments? Sounds like you are a bit of a narcissist, with a strong craving for attention (no matter how negative), and that says a lot more about your mental state than it does everyone else here.

      My advice? Get some professional help and stop trolling, since it is a sign of sociopathic tendencies.
      https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/your-online-secrets/201409/internet-trolls-are-narcissists-psychopaths-and-sadists

    • Anyone who is familiar with magic knows it is all illusion. None of it is real. If the water had NOT been turned into wine, wouldnt the wedding guests have know it immediately? Wouldnt they have said something, and the wedding which now had no wine to serve, have ended badly? Why would a story about the wedding of two commoners survive 2,000 years?? What about the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 in an underpopulated area? Or the miracle of the fish when he called Peter? Would Peter have left everything in his life on merely a whim to follow Jesus? That Jesus came back to life is indeed a miracle, not magic. Have you seen the movie Passion of the Christ? Or are you afraid? That is a sanitized version of what happened to Him. Romans were thoroughly brutal in their executions. People subjected to crucifixion is not “somehow” manage to survive one.Even on the cross they broke their legs and-/or ran a spear through them. Just in case. For many, the beatings alone which preceded the nailing to a cross was enough to kill them. Read up on the construction of a Roman scourge sometime. He was seen by thousands after his death. And again, who would go to their deaths defending someones use of a parlor trick? I wager not many.I once left the church for some years after the murder of a loved one. I’ve been away, and I can tell you from personal experience I am grateful to be back. Having a purpose, a framework,a useful task and motivation is what makes life worth living. Faith is not the same magic. But HAVING faith is magical, in terms of the great good and strength it brings to your life. The Apostle Paul didnt believe in Jesus, and killed those who did. Yet he became one of Jesus’s most passionate believers, and was martyred.Quite a dramatic life change to make for one who you seem to think was merely a “magician”.

    • Randy, what about your magic. You believe that the natural laws, sun and all the heavenly bodies came into existence by chance. That is indeed a great miracle. Reason tells me that human intelligence and skill brings computers, bridges, cars and other products into existence, but you say that the material universe and laws came about by chance. Do you realize that that is just a cop-out. Nothing happens by chance. Nothing.
      So I prefer my miracles to your concoctions.

  16. At the top of his essay author Natahnael Blake set out his position quite honestly and respectfully, I thought. He then distinguishes the question of belief from mere communal adherence, suggesting the example of President Biden; and this is valid. In general we all call this fair comment. As Catholics we say as well, it’s very perceptive. At least, this is how I know it. The external reference to Olbermann’s satirizing Blake in 2007, is non sequitur; and re-labeling it “sticking nose everywhere” might have disrupted my understanding of it, but it didn’t succeed. I once knew an Episcopalian who did the opposite of what Blake is doing; it was to please his societies on different sides and it was done to a fashion. I didn’t agree with that way. Also, talking with him was all to Lutheranism not even Church of England and I could never allow that he should take communion. He never became Catholic and he died in the slow hardships of the demise of a kidney transplant.

  17. GAUDIUM ET SPES, Chapter IV, the Church as help the modern world is repeatedly stressed with the Church accepting help, in witness. I always wanted to say somewhere that Paul VI put joy with hope. Joy is not isolated. For (I think) it is hope that brings one into the whole compass of the life of faith -also why it is not about a joy, or joyfulness, alone. The “joy” thing or “nugget” has been expanded into “amazement” but this also is not hope.

    The theme would be reflected in the herald given by the angels in Bethlehem, at Christ’s Nativity, raising a joyful praise to God in the heavens but bringing the message to earth of God’s peace to men of good will. And I would like to share it with Blake.

    The position being advanced by President Biden and the likes, is very much conflicted as in itself and as in objective human dimensions; and is both 1. an inverting of the very themes in GAUDIUM ET SPES and 2. a profession of a falsified joy.

    ‘ 43. Whatever the judgment of history on these defects, we ought to be conscious of them, and struggle against them energetically, lest they inflict harm on the spreading of the Gospel. The Church also realizes that in working out her relationship with the world she always has great need of the ripening which comes with the experience of the centuries. Led by the Holy Spirit, she unceasingly exhorts her sons “to purify and renew themselves so that the sign of Christ can shine more brightly ….. ” ‘

  18. If you folks supporting religion would be honest a think for yourselves for a change you would come to understand that religion is dying in the world and for good reasons. Polls show that the fraction of “nones” are growing rapidly in the US and religion is shrinking. I think within a few generations “nones” will outnumber Christians in the US. That my friends will be a good thing.

    It wasn’t the non-theists who elected the moron Donald Trump who almost dismantled our democracy. It was Christians and especially evangelicals. These are the same stupid folks who are anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers and drove the pandemic to a completely unnecessary third wave.

    We do not need Christian morals to build a perfectly good society. We can agree on morals that make sense in the 21st century not ones supposedly handed down 2000 years ago from mythical gods but arrived upon based on life as we know it.

  19. Dear Disher, your attack on the topic or author weakened considerably and progressively through the various passages. See what else you can find, but I suspect it won’t be anything we hadn’t encountered in our own circles many times already before we heard from you; and I anticipate it won’t come with any increased strength. No disrespect intended, it’s the facts. You’re saying things I heard as a teen in school or elsewhere among my relatives and acquaintances at that time. Rational non-theism. In your last note October 30 2021 2:21pm just above here, you seem to join in the idea of a co-operation yet it doesn’t quite say it and it doesn’t indicate on what; and this could never work either, because even though it might be benignly non-theist it is not rational.

    In our RC faith we would say your heart can’t expand unless it is touched by God. It doesn’t singly you out: it applies to everyone not merely rationalist non-theists.

    Taking you at face value, that is.

    • I really do not know what that word salad you offered is supposed to mean.

      I think my arguments have been logical and consistent throughout. The arguments for Christianity here have been predictable and mostly circular.

      The beauty of the scientific method is that it admits ignorance. For every discovery many more questions are generated. Religion on the other-hand offers only goddidit as an explanation for that which it cannot explain. It is science that gave us wealth, a longer life span, and the comforts of life. Religion gave us nothing but imposed order and resisted science at every step. That continues today. Fortunately superstition is losing the battle long term.

      • “The beauty of the scientific method is that it admits ignorance.”

        Why care about beauty? And, of course, no “method” admits anything.

        “For every discovery many more questions are generated.”

        For what purpose? What end?

        “It is science that gave us wealth, a longer life span, and the comforts of life.”

        Why is life important? What’s the point?

        “Religion gave us nothing but imposed order and resisted science at every step.”

        Yawn. Terribly wrong and even more boring. The atheist A.C. Grayling put it in more sophisticated terms years ago, and I found his “arguments” both dull and shallow. And his history was even worse.

        “Fortunately superstition is losing the battle long term.”

        Battle for what? What’s the goal? Truth? If so, why believe there is “truth”? Etc.

      • Yo, Randy: “logical and consistent throughout…” Exactly so!

        “The madman is the not man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason [….] his mind moves in a perfect but narrow circle. A small circle [no more than a method] is quite as infinite as a large circle; but though it is quite as infinite, it is not so large [….] the strongest and most unmistakable mark of madness is this combination between a logical completeness and a spiritual contraction [….] The lunatic’s theory explains a large number of things, but it does not explain them in a large way [….] we should be chiefly concerned not so much to give it arguments as to give it air, to convince it that there was something cleaner and cooler outside the suffocation of a single argument” (G.K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy,” written twelve years before he became a Catholic).

  20. Disher, I have to say I told you so. I heard that already. In one situation I heard it on 2 sides: one a militant atheist and one the Christian attacking him back. It was at a dinner party and their loud exchange took place across table with 10 people, surrounded by many more tables fully occupied! It was very embarrassing. I thought “Will they ever reconcile!” The Christian’s rebuke was “…. You and your soft hands, monkey suit, flattering non-invective and word salad drivel! Grow up!” That was nearly 40 year ago.

    “Word salad” also came up in less strained conversation with non-believers at other times. Metaphors help them cover themselves when points begin to firm up to the truth.

    It’s not that I was protagonist or antagonist in all of the moments or that I was the butt of insult. No, it’s all happening in the environment and often you’re there to catch some of it.

  21. Most of the commenters here seem to think that one cannot have a meaningful and fulfilling life without believing in some mythical deity or Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy or whatever. Now you may take offense to my comparison but there is exactly the same amount of evidence of the existence of all of them. That would be zero. There is also zero evidence that one cannot have a fulfilling life as an agnostic.

    When you bring a mythical god into the equation it starts leading to irrational beliefs that the mythical god is on your side. That’s exactly what we see with the ridiculous state of the Republican Party today and positions on issues like abortion. Blake in his article comes to the absurd conclusion that President Biden should apologize for his official position on upholding woman’s right to choose on whether to have a perfectly legal medical procedure. What a pompous bit of nonsense on Blake’s part! That’s the kind of absurdity that belief in fiction leads one to espouse.

    • Most commenters here have meaningful and fulfilling lives because we are realists who do NOT believe in “some mythical deity or Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy…”

      Most commenters here believe in the historical, miracle-working, good Godly person named Jesus, who rose from the dead. He is not myth. He is God made flesh. He left us His Word in which we believe.

      When you match the miracles of Jesus, surpass his goodness man-for-man, and rise from the dead, we’ll listen, breathlessly, to your ‘myth.’

      BTW, StrangeNotions.com welcomes atheists, agnostics, skeptics. Why not pay them a visit?

      • “Most commenters here believe in the historical, miracle-working, good Godly person named Jesus, who rose from the dead. He is not myth. He is God made flesh. He left us His Word in which we believe.

        When you match the miracles of Jesus, surpass his goodness man-for-man, and rise from the dead, we’ll listen, breathlessly, to your ‘myth.’ ”

        The evidence for a historical Jesus is very meager. Independent evidence that there was a historical Jesus who rose from the dead and performed other miracles is completely lacking. Much of what is known about Jesus was invented entirely by Paul well after Jesus supposedly lived. That is why I confidently use the term “myth”. It applies to Christianity.

        • The evidence for a historical Jesus is very meager. Independent evidence that there was a historical Jesus who rose from the dead and performed other miracles is completely lacking. Much of what is known about Jesus was invented entirely by Paul well after Jesus supposedly lived. That is why I confidently use the term “myth”.

          18th-century liberal, Protestant Germany just called and asked for its discredited opinions back.

          Actually, simply in terms of historical documents and witnesss, the evidence for a historical Jesus is overwhelming. Which is why the agnostic New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman, hardly a friend of orthodox Christianity, wrote a book titled Did Jesus Exist? in which he (rightly) mocked the shallow, clueless denial of certain skeptics. A sample from an essay he wrote at that time:

          The question is not whether sources are biased but whether biased sources can be used to yield historically reliable information, once their biased chaff is separated from the historical kernel. And historians have devised ways of doing just that.

          With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) — sources that originated in Jesus’ native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life (before the religion moved to convert pagans in droves). Historical sources like that are is pretty astounding for an ancient figure of any kind. Moreover, we have relatively extensive writings from one first-century author, Paul, who acquired his information within a couple of years of Jesus’ life and who actually knew, first hand, Jesus’ closest disciple Peter and his own brother James. If Jesus did not exist, you would think his brother would know it.

          Moreover, the claim that Jesus was simply made up falters on every ground. The alleged parallels between Jesus and the “pagan” savior-gods in most instances reside in the modern imagination: We do not have accounts of others who were born to virgin mothers and who died as an atonement for sin and then were raised from the dead (despite what the sensationalists claim ad nauseum in their propagandized versions).

          Moreover, aspects of the Jesus story simply would not have been invented by anyone wanting to make up a new Savior. The earliest followers of Jesus declared that he was a crucified messiah. But prior to Christianity, there were no Jews at all, of any kind whatsoever, who thought that there would be a future crucified messiah. The messiah was to be a figure of grandeur and power who overthrew the enemy. Anyone who wanted to make up a messiah would make him like that. Why did the Christians not do so? Because they believed specifically that Jesus was the Messiah. And they knew full well that he was crucified. The Christians did not invent Jesus. They invented the idea that the messiah had to be crucified.

          Now, I disagree with some of his assertions, but his basic points about the historical veracity of Jesus’ existence are right on the mark. It’s not “mythology”. To say so is to reveal everything about your own biases and nothing at all about the facts.

          P.S. And if you want to know where the historical scholarship actually stands today, I recommend Craig Keener’s 750 page book Christobiography: Memory, History, and the Reliability of the Gospels (Eerdmans, 2019), which, among many other things, makes very sophisticated and careful comparisons between the biographical methods used in the New Testament with the biographical writings of ancient Roman authors (Cornelius Nepos, Plutarch, Suetonius, Tacitus, etc).

          • Mr. Olson, thank you for your careful stewardship of this website and for not allowing ideologues to spread their untruths and their half-truths with impunity.

            The snip you provided from Ehrman’s work is a perfect counter to Mr. Disher’s confidently stated, yet utterly unfounded, blatherings.

            Bravo!

          • John E. Remsburg, in his classic book The Christ: A Critical Review and Analysis of the Evidence of His Existence (The Truth Seeker Company, NY, no date, pp. 24-25), lists the following writers who lived during the time, or within a century after the time, that Jesus is supposed to have lived:

            Josephus Juvenal Lucanus
            Philo-Judæus Martial Epictetus
            Seneca Persius Hermogones Silius Italicus
            Pliny Elder Plutarch Statius
            Arrian Pliny Younger Ptolemy
            Petronius Tacitus Appian
            Dion Pruseus Justus of Tiberius Phlegon
            Paterculus Apollonius Phædrus
            Suetonius Quintilian Valerius Maximus
            Pausanias Dio Chrysostom Lysias
            Florus Lucius Columella Pomponius Mela
            Lucian Valerius Flaccus Appion of Alexandria
            Quintius Curtius Damis Theon of Smyrna
            Aulus Gellius Favorinus

            According to Remsburg, “Enough of the writings of the authors named in the foregoing list remains to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ.” Nor, we may add, do any of these authors make note of the Disciples or Apostles – increasing the embarrassment from the silence of history concerning the foundation of Christianity.

          • Not at all. As Ehrman notes in his essay (you didn’t read it, did you?):

            It is true that Jesus is not mentioned in any Roman sources of his day. That should hardly count against his existence, however, since these same sources mention scarcely anyone from his time and place. Not even the famous Jewish historian, Josephus, or even more notably, the most powerful and important figure of his day, Pontius Pilate.

            Anyone who knows anything about ancient Roman and Greek biographies knows that the almost exclusive focus is on kings, emperors, warriors, etc. There would have been little to no interest (except negative interest) in stories/accounts of a mysterious Jewish preacher. But there are 1st century mentions of Jesus outside of the New Testament, as many scholars have noted–for example, Jesus Outside the New Testament by Robert E. Van Voorst. Van Voorst (as I wrote years ago)

            offers a detailed analysis of scholarly controversies about this passage, and then states, “Of all the Roman authors, Tacitus gives us the most precise information about Christ” (45). This includes Tacitus’s understanding that “Christus” — not Paul or someone else — was the founder of the Christian movement. He notes that Christ was executed under Pilate during the reign of Tiberius, and that Judea was the source of the Christian movement.

            Too many skeptics are, once scratched, shown to be chronological snobs who think of history in 20th/21st century terms, rather than having any real knowledge of how ancient biographies were written and constructed. Again, see Keener.

          • Ehrman may well believe the historical evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth is significant but he is still is agnostic and does not believe in Christ’s divinity. So what is your point?

            If you are going to use Ehrman as a source then I suppose you want to throw out the part where he believes that the divinity of Jesus was invented several hundred years after Jesus died.

          • My point, going back to some of your earlier comments, is the Christian belief in Jesus Christ is rooted in historical fact, contra your assertions that it’s all “mythical” and without any basis in history or facts.

            Now, if I simply pointed you to orthodox, believing Christians–not matter how scholarly or highly regarded their academic work is–you likely would have simply dismissed it as the work of Christian propaganda. So I chose Ehrman because 1) he’s a legit NT scholar in terms of training and his academic writings (which I own); 2) he’s a well-known name, having penned several best-selling books (which I own); 3) he presents a clear and impossible-to-dismiss summation of scholarship re: the historical existence of Jesus Christ. He is, in a way, a hostile witness, because he posits a number of theories based on his reading of various sources and his own conjectures about less-than-established assertions that I certainly disagree with–and for good reason.

            This reminds me a letter (!) exchange I had in the mid-1990s, when the head of the local “atheist and freethinker society” took me to task for believing in a G/god. After three exchanges, he angrily stated, “Well, I never said that didn’t believe in some sort of deity; I just don’t believe in your god!” And this after I had rebutted several of his misunderstandings of what Christians actually believe about God. Regardless, I focus here on the person of Jesus Christ because so many skeptics toss about words like “mythologies” and “fairy tales” and though the use of such equals an argument, which all they do is reveal a bias, most often rooted shallowly in some sort of emotional, knee-jerk reaction to beliefs they’ve not really studied or contemplated.

          • The beliefs that Christ is a deity, that he performed miracles, that he arose from the dead is without a shred of proof beyond a self contradictory source that was put together hundreds of years after he supposedly lived. The Christ story is no more than a fable at best.

            Miracles somehow miraculously stopped with his death. That fact alone speaks volumes. The Christ story is a bunch of made up nonsense. I keep asking for proof and so far the commenters here can only quote a single faulty source.

            The main point of my comments here however is what nonsense the author Blake wrote about how he accepts some miracles but not others based on nothing. He chastises Joe Biden on the ridiculous grounds that the President does not follow Blake’s religious beliefs and instead backs the right of women to have a perfectly legal medical procedure performed. What arrogance.

          • “beyond a self contradictory source that was put together hundreds of years after he supposedly lived….”

            Completely false. You continue to demonstrate how unserious you really are when it comes to what you are criticizing and attacking. It’s rather embarrassing.

            The four gospel accounts were written between the mid-50s and the late 90s; all of the 27 New Testament books were written between 49-late 90s. Moreover, Paul wrote the first book of the New Testament–his first epistle to the Christians in Thessalonica–in 49-51 AD, a date that is accepted by nearly all NT scholars (whether they are believing Christians or not). From my book Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead?:

            Paul writes of Jesus’ resurrection within the first generation of Christians (AD 30-70). As we shall see, he refers to the common understanding of Jesus and his teaching shared by the earliest witnesses. This would have included Jesus’ resurrection.

            In Gal 3:18, Paul describes how, three years after his conversion to Christianity (which scholars generally date around AD 33-35), he went to Jerusalem and conferred with Cephas (Peter) for fifteen days. Paul also writes how he saw James, the “brother of the Lord” (Gal 3:19). Are we to believe Paul did not discuss Jesus’ resurrection with them? That if they had a different understanding of Jesus’ post-mortem appearances, this difference wouldn’t have come up in conversation? The most reasonable conclusion to draw is that within six or eight years of Jesus’ death, Paul understood what others held about Jesus—he had been resurrected. And that this resurrection involved Jesus being raised into a transformed kind of bodily existence.

            Fourteen years after his initial meeting with Peter and James, Paul returned to Jerusalem and presented his teaching to Peter, James, and John (Gal 2:1-2, 9). According to Paul, they adamantly recognized the authenticity of his teaching (Gal 2:6,7, 9, 10). Again, it seems unreasonable to think Paul’s understanding of Jesus’ fate—resurrection—can have differed significantly from the view of Peter, James, and John. It’s difficult to imagine he would cite them in support of his orthodoxy if he knew they believed something very different about the central teaching concerning Jesus.

            We have seen how, in 1 Cor 15: 3-12, Paul justifies his teaching about the future resurrection of Christians by appealing to Jesus’ resurrection, which he argues has been vouchsafed by the witnesses. It would have been absurd for Paul to appeal to their testimony if he knew they held a different idea of what happened to Jesus.

            The earliest leaders of the “Jesus Movement” (a term some scholars use for early Christianity), then, taught the resurrection of Jesus. There are no reasonable grounds for regarding this as a later idea or a myth.

            Put simply: numerous first-century Christians suffered or even (as in the case of 11 of the 12 apostles) died for their belief in the Resurrection of Christ. They claimed to be witnesses. But were they fooled? It’s reasonable to think that a few folks might be deluded. But the numbers make no sense. Further, what to do about Paul, who originally persecuted and killed Christians in the years immediately following Christ’s death? How to account for his testimony and his eventual martyrdom?

  22. The 3 temptations in the desert are a proof of Jesus Christ. Here, definitively, in the full panorama of the light of the day, God was declared for and the prince of this world was exposed. The only person that could have done this is Jesus Christ; for, as He said at His trial, “All who love the truth listen to Me.” And this latter just by itself, is another proof of Jesus Christ.

    Blake quotes Jesus Christ: “No man can serve two masters.” This too is a proof of Jesus Christ.

    • This is a perfect example of the circular reasoning that I noted above. Nothing from the Bible is independent evidence that Jesus existed.

      Elmer Fudd once said in a Bugs Bunny cartoon “Kill the Wabbit!” Therefore, Elmer Fudd is real and wanted to kill the rabbit.

      • Randy. If you are convinced there’s no reality beyond what you can see or touch, what evidence do you have there isn’t when you cannot prove there is nothing beyond?

        • Good then maybe you can provide to me solid proof that Santa Claus does not exist. I can provide tons of literature that says he does exist. Why he even left presents for me and my friends when I was a child. Please prove he was a fictitious character.

          The ridiculous argument that if one cannot prove a negative then the positive must be true is the gold standard for religious conjecture is it not?.

          • When someone spends efforts to disprove what he claims he disbelieves that’s evidence he fails to convince himself. Take some time alone in a wooded area and ask, if there is a God inform me. Your life my change for the better.

          • Randy your knowledge of the arguments is obvious, although you’ve made a decision not to acknowledge the logical inference that leads to God. For example, the proof of a negative doesn’t prove a positive, it simply acknowledges its possibility. Writing it off as an argument for existence indicates your decision not to pursue the issue further. And your interest in arguing your points here is apparently to reinforce your decision. For sake of advancing the argument we won’t come up with a physical entity as God that supersedes the cosmos in dimension. Or that the cosmos itself is God. God if he exists, responsible for the cosmos must differ in essence from it, as not subject to measurement. Therefore immaterial as distinct from measurable existence. Although these arguments including Aquinas on causality are reasonable, for some, as yourself they’re not convincing. Most convincing is the anomaly that God speaks to us through his Son who loved us and gave Himself for us suffering the shame of the Cross.

          • Most polls show that anywhere from 405% to 50% of present day Americans believe in ghosts and demons. It is not surprising then that about the same fraction take the fables from the Bible seriously. The belief in the latter fables has been institutionalized for hundreds of years so they are very embedded in our culture and collective psyche.

            Also, many people are either deluded enough or will outright lie to say they have seen ghosts or demons (or UFO’s). That more superstitious people from the ancient Middle East would make up and pass down miraculous stories about a messiah is not remarkable at all. Christianity for various documented reasons was in the right place at the right time by happenstance to become selected as the favored religion in the West. It is that simple. Occam’s Razor works again.

          • Occam’s Razor would be relevant to Christianity if it were not for Christ. What differentiates incidental multiplication is the unique revelatory knowledge that a God creator of the universe would love us to the immeasurable extent of changing our rejection of him, hatred and death sentence into our salvation. An affirmation of good that transcends simplistic judgment of reality. It speaks to the inner fiber of a man, whether we choose to believe in this good or dismiss it as myth. A judgment expressed in favor by a Roman centurion who exclaimed, Indeed, this was the Son of God. Faith is a choice, an assent the credence of that which goes beyond logical rationalizations, even those that affirm it. It, itself, is really the Razor that separates good from evil.

        • Peter, deluded people like Randy do exist.
          Randy, when did the belief (it is a belief) that there is no God come into being?
          What is the reason for saying God does not exist?
          Let us have an honest statement from you.

  23. Disher, above, NOVEMBER 13, 2021 AT 6:07 PM, says the main point of his intervention is to explicate how Blake is arrogant.

    I had already written that Disher seems to mean to signal “Let’s co-operate” and yet what he was indicating was no basis for co-operation. See me at NOVEMBER 1, 2021 AT 6:00 AM.

    Here, however, we see also but later, that what Disher is revealing is not logical. And it even comes subsequent to what I wrote.

    The reference made to Blake on President Biden, there, shows he, Blake, is incisive, actually. Were he arrogant he would be bragging with the baby-killers.

    • I am not one who believes in imaginary and omnipotent beings as all the other commenters and the author does so if you are judging me illogical from that perspective is, well, absurd.

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