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Studying Lies

February 29, AD 2012 39 Comments

With all of the hobbies to pick from, I choose to spend my free time studying lies. Everything from why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate holidays to why Hindus eschew cow. Of course, these are factually true, in that those practitioners do believe those things, but as a belief for Catholics, they are not. As Catholics, the differing views espoused by other denominations or faiths can be striking; they are misguided at best, outright falsehoods at worst.

When it is phrased in such a manner, religious studies can seem pointless. Where else in life do we choose to partake in learning untruths? Wouldn’t time be better spent understanding our own Catholic faith better? Heaven knows we have enough material to keep us occupied for well beyond our lifetime.

Despite their objectively incorrect theology, every religion has the potential to touch our lives. It may be in how a particular faith altered the history of our world, or how a traditional religious custom has become part of our town’s heritage. Religion can even sneak into our mainstream culture: many restaurants in the US restructure menus during Lent to offer more vegetarian and seafood options, while several Japanese cultural customs are remnants of Shinto purity beliefs. On some level, all of these scenarios hinge on understanding religion to comprehend their full meaning.

As fascinating as understanding other faiths may be, it should not be undertaken lightly. People convert or lose faith when they are challenged, intellectually or spiritually. Without a firm hold on your commitment to Catholicism, studying other faiths can be a sin by endangering your own relationship with the Church. *

With that warning covered, delving into the wide range of theologies available can have numerous benefits:

 1. Understanding Catholicism better: Without a doubt, understanding other religions – particularly Abrahamic ones – can lead to a better understanding of our own faith. It is likely that most Catholics have doubted or abandoned their faith at one point or another, and their journey back led to a rejection of every other creed. Maybe you have a firm hold on why we support the filioque, but have you ever gone back to the more basic tenants of Christianity? Why the Christian God over, say polytheism? The Catechism has the following to say about how other religions can point back to ours:

CCC39: “In defending the ability of human reason to know God, the Church is expressing her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men, and therefore of dialogue with other religions, with philosophy and science, as well as with unbelievers and atheists.”

The Church knows that our faith is a reasonable one. She is confident that our encounters with other religions will only serve to enhance our own faith, rather than poke holes in it.

2. Greater ease in evangelizing: A joint benefit of understanding Catholicism better based on our rejection of other theologies is that we are better equipped to explain those rejections to people of other faiths. One of the most difficult tasks in evangelizing is establishing some sort of common ground or language. Without it, any conversation will likely be meaningless, with each party talking over the head of the other. A thorough grounding allows you to speak their language, understand their vocabulary. Communicating the love of Christ shouldn’t be impeded by vocabulary barriers.

3. Fuller sense of our world: Right from our global conflicts to cultural quirks, religion is absolutely everywhere we look. Having a thorough understanding of it allows us to more fully partake in our community locally, politically, and globally. It even allows for us to have a sense of the Church and her position ecumenically.

Just this past year, my boyfriend and I had the pleasure of visiting New Glarus, Wisconsin for Oktoberfest. The town is nicknamed “little Switzerland” for its namesake, Glarus, Switzerland. During our trip, we kept running into small pictures St. Fridolin of Säckingen on the sides of buildings; he happens to be the patron saint of the Glarus in Switzerland. Good luck finding information on that though – it’s not easy to come by. It seems to have been a part of New Glarus’ heritage that is not as well known anymore.

4. Ability to defend general theism: Religion gets a bad rap in the press. Whether it stems from ignorance or malice (and it’s likely a healthy mix of both), reporters regularly mangle or skew opinions toward faith. This is no doubt an issue Catholics are all too familiar with. These articles shape the public’s opinion about not just our own faith, but the nature of theism in general. When theology is portrayed incorrectly and out of context, our increasingly atheistic and apathetic culture accepts the press’ version as truth. This leads to us looking, well, crazy.

Never has this been more plain to me then during an event a few weeks ago. Just at the beginning of the year, I wrote up a blog post chronicling my thoughts on a future Mormon temple opening that I have been eagerly awaiting. A few days later, the post was picked up by one of the leading LDS newspapers. As Mormons flocked to my site, one of the most common refrains I heard was a variation of “thank you for fairly portraying us”.

While we have the truth on our side, we should have no fear in correcting others’ views of all religions. At best, we can offer along with it an explanation of why it is false, or at least offer an explanation of why that view fits in the context of their theology. We are responsible for upholding the idea that religion (and not just Catholicism) is rational. And on the surface, many religions hold glimmers of truth and swathes of lucidness. We are responsible for perpetuating the idea that religion is based on sincere belief, not backwards half-truths and oppressive rules. This requires defense of religion as a whole.

Religious studies can offer a variety of other benefits and knowledge that span a wide range of specialized fields, including anthropology, philosophy, sociology, psychology, history, and of course, theology. Odds are, if you have an interest in some liberal arts field, you can find a religious concentration on it that is bound to make you a more engaged member of your community.

* It should be noted as well that this in no way entitles Catholics to participate in non-Catholic rites, including communion or as a sponsor for baptism and confirmation.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Picture-038-e1313148209919.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Allie Terrell is a 2010 convert to Catholicism after dabbling in a few different trains of religious thought. She graduated from Rose-Hulman in 2009 with a degree in computer science, and is now pursuing her doctorate in the hopes of teaching some day. When she can spare a few hours, Allie likes to visit religious sites and work on her photography. She blogs about her journeys at Here Is The Church.[/author_info] [/author]

About the Author:

Allie Terrell is a 2010 convert to Catholicism after dabbling in a few different trains of religious thought. She graduated from Rose-Hulman in 2009 with a degree in computer science, and is now pursuing her doctorate in the hopes of teaching some day. When she can spare a few hours, Allie likes to visit religious sites and work on her photography. She blogs about her journeys at Here Is The Church.

  • Straight up doctrinal facts on Jehovah Witness.

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach preach that Jesus had his return aka second coming October 1914,then they spin all sorts of doctrinal embellishments on that date with 1918 being their appointment by Jesus as sole heirs of this 1914 Kingdom coming.
    They have infighting,crime and child abuse as bad as any church out there.
    Have a deadly dogma prohibiting whole blood transfusion but use cow’s blood calling it *Hemopure*.

    They teach only 144,000 go to heaven,on and on and on with made up man made dogmas……JW are a spin-off of the second adventist and have this in common with the SDA.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses promotion of their Watchtower sect has the net effect of stumbling and turning people off to the real Gospel.
    Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte; and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves” (Matt 23:15)

    Danny Haszard born 3rd generation Jehovah’s Witness

  • Doug

    Interesting post; I’ll be back to look at in more detail.
    In the meantime, a couple of comments:
    You write, “Maybe you [Catholics] have a firm hold on why we support the filioque
    In more than 20 years of door-to-door work as a Christian Witness of Jehovah I’ve never had a Catholic mention the term. I doubt I’ve met one who knew it. I know as much as I need to about it- it’s not a word found in scripture, and it wasn’t used in the Churches until the Nicene era.

    Related: As you know, we speak ‘about Jehovah [Yahweh in the Jerusalem Bible] to all men and with all men’ but without the instructions from your CCC39. Our leader tells us, “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going [Go; imperative] therefore, teach all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Mt 28, Douay at newadvent.org) When we go, we use the Bible. We haven’t found a need for anything with the Greek of the “Church fathers”. 2 Tim 3:16,17

    Example: We might read, “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” That’s John 17:3 from the NWT; it’s why we worship only Jehovah, “the one true God”. Of course, the Catholic householder may say, ‘That’s your NWT Bible! My priest told me not to read it!’ Then we ask them to bring their own Catholic Bible to the door. In the great majority of cases they refuse to do so. If they had they would have read … Well, of course you’re not afraid to read it, are you?

  • Thrist4Truth

    @Doug….I am a Catholic who will( and have)bring my Bible (Douay Rheims version)to the door and discuss from the view of the Church John 17:3 with you although you will not agree most likely. This is the verse quoted in error by the early Arians to deny the filioque, the Church teaching that states that God is three in one…Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit in One Divine Nature. The earliest Church councils reaffirmed this teaching. St Augustine and other Church Fathers claimed that the Father here within these verses is
    called the only True God, not to exclude the Son and the Holy Spirit, but only to exclude the false gods of the Gentiles. Note Jesus IS included here.
    Jesus Christ Himself revealed the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity in the Gospel according to John 15:10; 16-17. He said to His apostles “Do thou not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words I speak to you I speak not on my own authority. But the Father dwelling in me, it is He who does the works.(John15:10..Douay Rheims Bible). And again, “And I will ask the Father and
    He will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever, the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive,because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you shall know Him, because He will dwell with you and be in you.” )John 15: 16-17) We believe (filioque)that the Father sent the Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem man from sin. The Son proceeds from the Father. The Holy Spirit proceeds
    from both the Father and the Son. We say He is the Love between the Father and the Son. We honor the Blessed Trinity in the Sign of the Cross and in the Glory Be Prayer Acclamatin in every Mass. After the Ascension of Jesus to Heaven where he is seated at the right hand of the Father, the Holy Spirit was sent as the Advocate at Pentecost, the institution of the Church, to give it new life and strength.
    The Blessed Trinity is one of the great mysteries of the Church. We cannot in fullness grasp the entirety of the teaching because we have finite minds. Finite minds cannot completely grasp the Infinite but it has been revealed to us in the Scriptures and the Church has always taught from its inception this Mystery of the One God in Three Persons having One Divine Nature.
    Your Catholic aquaintences might hesitate to discuss the Trinity as we all labor to understand but do confess it. We are not afraid to read the Bible nor are we discouraged by the Church to read and discuss. Quite the opposite. Suggest you might read some of Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortations proclaiming these things. Peace be with you brethren. You can knock on my door anytime but
    better yet, knock on His door, and ask to be enlightened.

  • Doug

    Thirst writes:
    “The Blessed Trinity is one of the great mysteries of the Church.”
    Yes, I agree completely. But before any of your cited Church “authorities” were born, Jesus says of another person that that person is “the only true God”. That’s not a mystery, it’s plain English, from the plain Greek. A mystery “of the Church” but not a mystery to anyone who reads and understands plain language.
    Moreover, Jesus says that our lives depend on acquiring knowledge of that true God and himself. And; another person, not ‘three persons in one’. Conjunction “and” meaning ‘one person tallied, another one coming’. Plain language; not arguable, not “quoted in error” by anyone … unless their intent is to argue with Jesus, the “word of God.” To believe otherwise is to believe that Jesus would hinge our survival on understanding something that cannot be understood- a practical joke!

    Even now, from his glorified position in Heaven “at God’s right hand” (Acts 7:55,56; Rom 8:34; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1), Jesus looks to his Father as his God: Rev 3:12. “He that shall overcome, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God: and he shall go out no more. And I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my new name.”

    Even now, from his glorified position in Heaven “at God’s right hand”, Jesus waits obediently for new commands from Jehovah, which he quickly moves to obey: Rev 14:14.

    Jesus is not God.

    Moving on to a Christian teaching, what do you think of the possibility that God’s kingdom government will be established “on earth, as it is in heaven”? Wouldn’t that be nice?

  • Doug

    Allie writes:
    “We are responsible for upholding the idea that religion (and not just Catholicism) is rational.”
    The history of the Churches is otherwise, I’m afraid. Has your study of religion brought you to the Thirty Years’ War? The Crusades? WWI and WWII, fought mainly in “Christian” Europe by “Christian” warriors on both sides?
    Just which side is Jehovah on? There is a clue at Dan 2:44. What do you think of it?

  • Thrist4Truth

    @ Doug….I do not have the time nor really the inclination to spend much more time in “spiritual debate” with you as I do not need to explain nor defend the Catholic Church. If you were truly open to a genuine discussion that would be one thing but I find your previous comment filled more with your desire to “take down the Church” than to have a fruitful discussion. So I will choose just one of your sentences to respond to…”JESUS IS NOT GOD”! If you fail to believe or to see Him as the Messiah you cannot call yourself Christian. Perhaps the Witnesses do not. But at any rate Jesus can only be what He said He is..the Son of God. ( seem Mark 8:29; Matthew 16:13-20)If He is not, then He is a liar, and a monster of epic proportions! He cannot just be a prophet, or a kind man or any of the other things modernists, like the Jehovah Witnesses, sometimes suggest.
    Just what the Jehovah Witness’ believe about Jesus is not only untrue, it is also non-Biblical. And from the brief “dialogue” I have had with you it would seem their “evangelizing” seems mostly to be about denigrating true Christians!
    So..I will leave you in peace to ponder your abundant errors regarding Truth!

  • Doug

    Thrist, please reread the words in your post. I don’t find any “spiritual debate” there. You quote my sentence, but then tell me two things about Jesus that I already know and believe:
    You tell me that Jesus is the Messiah; I agree. (So does Peter: “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”)
    You tell me that Jesus is what He said He is..the Son of God; I agree. (So does Peter, above)
    (BTW that makes me a Christian by your stated standards; I agree.)

    You write, “I do not need to explain nor defend the Catholic Church”. No, certainly not on my account. Although Peter did say, “But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asks you a reason of that hope which is in you.”

    You wrote, “[Jesus] cannot just be a prophet, or a kind man or any of the other things modernists, like the Jehovah Witnesses, sometimes suggest.”
    Sorry, you have us mixed up with other people. We are definitely not modernists- just ask them!
    -We believe that a human being is created at conception, therefore we see abortion as murder.
    -We believe that same-sex relationships are unscriptural, so we don’t tolerate them in our congregations.
    -We look forward eagerly to the establishment of God’s kingdom on the earth, as it already has been established in Heaven.
    -We evangelize by taking the teachings of the Bible from door-to-door, as the first Christians did.
    -A common reaction of some whose religions use other standards for their theologies is to accuse us of denigrating their religion. (This is not a new thing. It was done often by the mainstream religions of the first century, as you’ll see by studying the book of Acts.)

    Back to the original topic: I was trying to show Allie that an evangelizing approach which includes filioque, St. Fridolin, magisterium, homoousios and like terms will not reach the hearts of many. (As I noted truthfully, she would have difficulty teaching those things to most Catholics I’ve met!) What does reach people is a clear, honest statement of the blessings that God’s kingdom will bring to suffering mankind. Along with that we explain the obligation to obey Jesus if we expect to have him as our perfect king in the future.
    -In fullfillment of Jesus’ prophecy we work so that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all nations: and then shall the consummation come.” Notice that this passage (Mt 24:14) doesn’t say who will preach the kingdom, so you’re welcome to do so yourself.

  • Larry

    Doug: If Jesus is not God, which I believe he is not, I’m puzzled why you seem to believe in the trinity. since Jesus was a man, it seems the trinity would be two, God and the holy spirit.

    Allie Terrell: Like you I spend alot of my free time studing other religions. Other interpretations of the new or old testment. I was raised catholic and like the church and many of its teachings. It also does great work all over the world. Many other christian religions do the same. Maybe not as much though. Anyway, all my studying eventually led me to Judaism. I find one God much easier to understand than all the theology and mystery the catholics teach. I am not a Jew convert, just agree with their teachings on most matters.

  • Ink and Quill

    With the whole Jesus thing, we’re completely ignoring hypostatic union. Don’t forget that Jesus was fully human AND fully divine. And part of the Trinity is the mystery behind it. Last year (I think it was?) I attended the first Mass of Father Scott Caton of the Diocese of Rochester. His homily was phenomenal! It was all about the mystery of the Trinity and how, eternally, God the Father is the Lover, God the Son (Jesus) is the Beloved, and the God the Holy Spirit is the one who is Sent from them. Only in this way can God truly be Love–were there only one, He would only be A Lover.
    ~Ink

  • Edward G. Radler Rice

    Ms. Terrell,

    Catholic Answers is quite solid. They have a section regarding Mormonism.

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.catholic.com/search/content/Mormonism

    Sincerely yours in Christ,
    Edward
    High School Theology Teacher
    San Antonio, TX
    M.Div.; currently completing Masters in Catholic School Leadership

  • Doug

    Larry replies to me: “I’m puzzled why you seem to believe in the trinity.”
    Wow! My writing must need a clarity check! I don’t know how I managed to give you the impression I’m a Trinitarian. 🙂
    From my first post (reply to OP): “In more than 20 years of door-to-door work as a Christian Witness of Jehovah …” We’re [in]famous for being those rascals who don’t believe in the Trinity. Generally my statement “Jesus is not God” covers that ground adequately because most Trinitarians I’ve met are concerned only with making Jesus into God. (Which is in fact how the doctrine developed: Jesus made into God, then the holy spirit thrown into the mix at later conferences.)

  • Doug

    Ink and Quill writes: “part of the Trinity is the mystery behind it.”
    To paraphrase my earlier comment to thrist, To believe that Jesus taught * a mystery at John 17:3 is to believe that he would hinge our survival on understanding something that cannot be understood- a practical joke!

    *John 17:3, Douay:
    “Now this is eternal life: That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

  • Larry

    Doug:–I feel a little stupid, being polish I confuse easy. But you wrote:
    Thirst writes:
    “The Blessed Trinity is one of the great mysteries of the Church.”
    You said—-“Yes, I agree completely”.
    I read the rest of it and it’s clear. The part I was unclear on is the ” I agree completely”. The trinity is not a mystery to me. It’s theology. Like God being made into the image of man. Jesus. Man made. The catholic church teaches “”God became man so that man might become a god” in their cathecism. Man simply has made God into the image of himself. God also taught man against human sacrafice, against one bieng punished for the sins of another. Man made. Then they created theology to confuse and set themselves up as the sole propritors of truth. I believe in the same God they do just not Jesus and all the Mary worship they claim not to do.

  • Doug

    Larry:
    My fault for using colloquial English. Here’s a better version:
    “The Blessed Trinity is one of the great mysteries of the Catholic Church.” Yes, I agree completely, thrist. It’s a mystery to Catholics, but not to me because it doesn’t exist.

    You may not know that the ‘mystery’ answer is the standard response of Trinitarians when pressed on the many internal contradictions of the doctrine.

    To go with your interest in Judaism you may want to look at the Jewish Publication Society site: http://www.jewishpub.org/
    They publish an excellent edition of the Tanakh, or “Old Testament” as most know it.
    http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/product/,675423.aspx
    Also, you can go to jw.org to find Bible Study aids, including one that looks at the Trinity from our standpoint. It’s called Czego naprawde uczy Biblia? It’s useful for comparing with Trinitarian teachings on this site and elsewhere.
    http://www.jw.org/index.html?option=QrYQCsVrGlBBX

  • Edward Radler Rice
  • Larry

    Doug: Thanks, for the links. It’s refreshing to talk with others that want to help not demand beliefs and surrender of ones intellect.

  • Doug

    … of course, once you click on our link, a virus takes over your brain …

    🙂

  • Eddie

    For some reason, I think Doug and Larry should perhaps check out some of the following information and links:

    The Seven Signs & The Seven “I AM” Sayings of Jesus Christ found in the Gospel of John

    Ch. 2 – Cana: water into wine
    6:35 – I am the bread of life

    Ch. 4 – Raising the son of the royal official
    8:12 – I am the light of the world

    Ch. 5 – Paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda
    10:7 – I am the gate for the sheep

    Ch. 6 – Multiplication of the loaves
    10:11 – I am the good shepherd

    Ch. 6 – Walking on the water
    11:25 – I am the resurrection and the life

    Ch. 9 – Healing of the man born blind
    14:6 – I am the way, and the truth and the life

    Ch. 11 – Raising of Lazarus
    15:1 – I am the true vine

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resource.php?n=1195

    http://www.scripturecatholic.com/jesus_christ_divinity.html

    The following section is from the scripturecatholic.com website.

    III. Jesus Christ Claims to be God
    Matt. 4:7; Luke 4:12 – Jesus tells satan, “you shall not tempt the Lord your God” in reference to Himself.

    Matt. 5:21-22; 27-28; 31-32; 33-34; 38-39; 43-44 – Jesus makes Himself equal to God when He declares, “You heard it said…but I say to you..”

    Matt. 7:21-22; Luke 6:46 – not everyone who says to Jesus, ‘Lord, Lord’…” Jesus calls Himself Lord, which is God.

    Matt. 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20; 7:48 – Jesus forgives sins. Only God can forgive sins.

    Matt. 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5 – Jesus says that He is “Lord of the Sabbath.” He is the Lord of God’s law which means He is God.

    Matt. 18:20 – Jesus says where two or three are gathered in His name, there He is in the midst of them.

    Matt. 21:3; Luke 19:31,34 – Jesus calls himself “Lord.” “The Lord has need of them.”

    Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:70 – Jesus acknowledges that He is the Son of God.

    Matt. 28:20 – Jesus said He is with us always, even unto the end of the world. Only God is omnipresent.

    Mark 14:36 – Jesus calls God “Abba,” Aramaic for daddy, which was an absolutely unprecedented address to God and demonstrates Jesus’ unique intimacy with the Father.

    Luke 8:39 – Luke reports that Jesus said “tell how much God has done for you.” And the man declared how much Jesus did.

    Luke 17:18 – Jesus asks why the other nine lepers did not come back to give praise to Him, God, except the Samaritan leper.

    Luke 19:38,40 – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. If these were silent, the very stones would cry out.

    John 5:18 – Jesus claimed to be God. The Jews knew this because Jesus called God His Father and made Himself equal to God. This is why Jesus was crucified.

    John 5:21-22 – Jesus gives life and says that all judgment has been given to Him by the Father.

    John 5:23 – Jesus equates Himself with the Father, “whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”

    John 6:38 – Jesus says, “For I have come down from heaven.”

    John 8:12 – Jesus says “I am the light of the world.” – 1 John 1:5 – God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.

    John 8:19 – Jesus says, “if you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

    John 8:23 – Jesus says that He is not of this world. Only God is not of this world.

    John 8:58 – Jesus says, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Exodus 3:14 – “I AM” means “Yahweh,” which means God.

    John 10:18 – Jesus says He has the power to lay down His life and take it up again – Gal. 1:1 – God raised Jesus to life.

    John 10:30 – Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” They are equal. The Jews even claimed Jesus made Himself equal to God. Jesus’ statement in John 14:28, “the Father is greater than I,” cannot contradict John 10:30 (the Word of God is never in conflict). Jesus’ statement in John 14:28 simply refers to His human messianic role as servant and slave, which He, and not the Father or the Holy Spirit, undertook in the flesh.

    John 10:36 – again, Jesus claims that He is “the Son of God.”

    John 10:38; 14:10 – “the Father is in me and I am in the Father” means the Father and Son are equal.

    John 12:45 – Jesus says, “He who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.” God the Father is equal to God the Son.

    John 13:13 – Jesus says, “You call me Teacher and Lord and you are right for so I AM.”

    John 14:6 – Jesus says “I am the way, and the truth and the life.” Only God is the way, the truth and the life.

    John 16:15 – Jesus says, “all things that the Father has are Mine.” Jesus has everything God has which makes Him God.

    John 16:28 – Jesus says that “He came from the Father and has come into the world.”

    John 17:5,24 – Jesus’ desire is for us to behold His glory which He had before the foundation of the world.

    John 20:17 – Jesus distinguishes His relationship to the Father from our relationship by saying “My Father and your Father.”

    Rev. 1:8 – God says He is the “Alpha and the Omega.” In Rev. 22:13, Jesus also says He is the “Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the beginning and the end.” The only possible conclusion one can reach is that Jesus is equal to the Lord God.

    Rev. 1:17 – Jesus says again, “I am the First and the Last.” This is in reference to the God prophesied by Isaiah in Isaiah 44:6, 41:4, 48:12.

    Rev. 1:18 – Jesus, the First and the Last, also says “I died, and behold, I am alive for evermore.” When did God ever die? He only did in the humanity of Jesus Christ our Lord and God.

    Rev. 2:8 – Jesus again says, “The words of the First and the Last, who died and came to life.” When did God die and come to life? In our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  • Eddie

    Also, here’s Catholic Answers again:
    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-divinity-of-christ

  • Doug,

    Catholics nor Protestants believe Jesus is God, and until you understand that, you’ll be misrepresenting us. I’m sure you don’t appreciate being misrepresented either, so please don’t do it to us.

    Let me elaborate. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t make the distinction between Person and Nature. But if you don’t make that distinction, you run into problems. Consider this example: Abraham was father of Isaac, but Isaac was not Abraham (nor vice versa). If they are both human by Nature, then shouldn’t Isaac be Abraham himself? Why not? Because though they have the same Nature (humanity), they are different Persons.

    When a JW sees a Christian quote John 1:1, this is what the JW thinks:
    “In the beginning was Isaac,
    and Isaac was with Abraham,
    and Isaac was Abraham.”

    If you read JW literature, it says how can a Person who is “with” another Person be that same Person? The JW is correct, that is absurd. But thanks be to God, that’s not at all what the Greek is saying, nor has that ever been what Christians teach. Rather, this is what the Greek of John is saying that is somewhat lost in English:
    “In the beginning was Isaac,
    and Isaac was with Abraham,
    and Isaac had Abraham’s (human) nature.”

    So carrying that over to the true John 1:1, here is how it reads:
    “In the beginning was the Word [Son],
    and the Word [Son] was with THE Divine [Father],
    and the Word [Son] was Divine [by nature].”

    Thus, Jesus IS NOT God the THE FATHER as JWs *officially* THINK Christians believe. Their most recent Magazine came out and had an article on the Trinity and repeatedly had Christians teaching that the Son and Father were the SAME PERSON (which is not Christian at all).

  • Larry

    Eddie
    Thanks for copying you bible here, although I have read it. It’s is obvious you BELIEVE that Christ is God. I do not, so I do not believe in the new testment. I do not believe in Pauls private revelation. I do not believe in the blessed mothers private revelation either. I do not believe God condones human sacrifice for the sins of others. I do not believe one person can be punished for the sins of others. I believe in the same God as you, I just do not believe Jesus is God or Iam. You can quote new testment all day and it is meaningless to me.

  • Sorry Doug if I’m saying too much, but I have one more important issue to address. I’m not sure how well you’ve studied Scripture, but to be a good Catholic you’ve got to study Scripture well.

    Regarding the Kingdom of Heaven, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but that’s what Daniel 2:44 is prophesying about, and that Kingdom is the Church. If you read Matthew 13, it explains how the Kingdom of Heaven is like a Mustard Seed that is planted and starts off small and grows into a huge tree that is home to numerous species of birds (i.e. all nations). That’s why Catholics say the Kingdom of Heaven is the Church, that started small at Pentecost, when the Last Days began (Acts 2:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 1Peter1:20; 1 John 2:18; Jude 1:17-21), and grew to a huge body covering all of earth, long before 1914. In 1914, JWs teach the ‘beginning of the end’ began, with no time left for Matthew 13 to take effect. Similarly, Matthew 13 goes onto describe Weeds planted among the Wheat in the Kingdom of Heaven that would grow side by side until the very end when Jesus returns, but if this wasn’t the Church (which it is), then this parable can never be manifested in real life. There was no Organization for 1800 years, and it only started up after Jesus returned to usher in the End.

    Now a bit more background on Jesus. Jesus said “I came down from Heaven” (John 6:38), but since JWs believe Jesus was actually Michael the Archangel, then this is impossible, for Jesus had to have ceased existing as his past self. Similarly, when Jesus was born the Shepherds were told “there was born to YOU today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:11), meaning Jesus was Messiah-Christ from birth, not something attained, though the JWs insert “is [to be] Christ” in some of their translations. When Jesus died, the JWs teach his body fizzled away, which is not only nowhere taught in Scripture, it goes directly against John 2:20 says:
    “The Jews said: This temple was built in forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days? But he was talking about the temple of his body.”
    And Acts 2:31 says:
    “concerning the resurrection of the Christ, neither was he forsaken in Hades nor did his flesh see corruption”
    So when the Scriptures say Jesus now is “a man” (1 Tim 2:5) interceding for us in Heaven right now, Scripture was not kidding.

  • Larry,

    I have written an article on Judaism you might like to see. My basic argument is this: the Levitical priesthood is totally lost, and there has been no Temple nor any new Prophets for 2,000 years. Thus, the Jews haven’t been able to follow the Torah for 2,000 years (as many sections have been left unkeepable). Even the Messianic Lineage has been lost, making it impossible to identify any one claiming to be the Messiah in the future. Now, is God trying to tell you something? From a purely reasonable standpoint, that should make you stop and think. The Judaism practiced from Moses to David to Jesus is not the same as has been practiced after 70AD, but instead has become a new religion of sorts. On the flip side, Jesus fits the OT prophecies and the time frame of the loss of Mosaic worship.

  • Doug

    Edward Radler Rice posts:
    The usual anti-Witness sites. I looked at several (not all- 2 John 1:10,11), and they have one glaring omission in common:
    “Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t kill, not even Catholics. Trinitarians kill whomever their earthly commanders-in-chief order them to kill.”
    Think about that next war.

  • Larry

    Nick: Thanks for the link, unfortunately I do not believe in Pauls teaching. Not that everything was wrong.

  • Larry,

    My post had almost nothing to do with Paul. Let me state again the main issue:
    “My basic argument is this: the Levitical priesthood is totally lost, and there has been no Temple nor any new Prophets for 2,000 years. Thus, the Jews haven’t been able to follow the Torah for 2,000 years (as many sections have been left unkeepable). Even the Messianic Lineage has been lost, making it impossible to identify any one claiming to be the Messiah in the future.”

  • Eddie

    Larry,

    Obviously, as I explain to my students, belief in Christ Jesus as the eternal Son is directly related to the historicity and authority of the Gospels, to the Pauline epistles, to the divine maternity of the Virgin Mary, and in the atonement wrought by the Lord.

    You do not belive in the same God as me, if you do not believe that Jesus is the eternal, omnipotent Lord of the living and the dead.

    I understand that this Christian belief is meaningless to you, but to point to the truth is sometimes all one can do and perhaps not everyone who reads this symposium is in your boat…

    The Suffering Servant of Isaiah foreshadows the suffering of Christ Jesus. God “condones” the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins precisely because it is only in this way that the Law and the Prophets can be fulfilled. This fulfillment also involves Jesus’ Mother. If Jesus was human, born of a woman, in which woman was he conceived? Which woman nursed and swaddled him? Regarding Paul, Jesus picks whom he wills to assist in the evangelization of the world. You are right to “not believe in the New Testament,” if it is filled with illusions (false myths) or lies. As I tell my students, either Jesus is what he claimed to be (and his works tesify to this) – the Lord – or he was a lunatic, or worse, a liar. If he was a lunatic, as I point out to my students, then we should be able to perceive the psychological disturbance throughout his ministry. Do we perceive this psychological disturbance? Quite to the contrary, he is consistently clear-headed and purposeful. If he was a liar, then it should be clear that he lied throughout his life…Where are the lies?

  • Eddie

    Doug,

    Apparently, my posts disturbed you. Regarding the links I offered, you write, “they have one glaring omission in common.”

    It’s actually two glaring omissions: 1) “Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t kill, [and to ensure no one is offended at ignitumtoday, you point out] not even Catholics;” 2) “Trinitarians kill whomever their earthly commanders-in-chief order them to kill.”

    First, I wanted to express my thanks to you, Doug, since no one has ever told me that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t kill. I suppose that they are also against all just acts of self-defense that unintentionally result in the death of the aggressor…

    Second, I love being called a TRINITARIAN! But this Trinitarian has never, ever been ordered to kill anybody… “Trinitarians kill whomever their earthly commanders-in-chief order them to kill”?!?
    From which rag did you get that idea? In regards to religion, my “earthly commander-in-chief” would be the pope, Benedict XVI… Oh, wait, he’s sending me a message right now…yes, O Earthly Commander, whatever you say…You want me to change my daughter’s diaper? Seriously, sir?

    Let me repeat: Where did you get such a ludicrous idea, Doug?

  • Larry

    Eddie: I believe in one God as in the old testment. If you have more gods that you believe in, your right, we do not believe in the same God.

  • Eddie,

    That’s an interesting and important distinction to make. JWs are not against police, because they are needed to keep order and even use force. If the JW is consistent, then even the police are not allowed (contrary to Romans 13:1ff).

    More importantly, there are at least 3 solid examples of Christians serving in armed forces in the NEW Testament, without in any way suggesting this requires one to do violence for the sake of violence.

    Luke 3: 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

    14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

    Notice that John said nothing about leaving their job – in fact he condoned it by saying be satisfied for being paid to be in armed forces!

    Matthew 8: 5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a CENTURION came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” 7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.

    No mention of the Centurion (an army captain overseeing 100 soldiers) living in sin or needing to leave his job – just the opposite, Jesus sees his great faith and grants his request.

    Acts 10: 1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.

    This is my favorite. Cornelius is I think the Patron Saint of Soldiers. No mention that what he was doing was evil or meddling in wordly affairs, no mention or hint that he stopped being a soldier.

    This is a great example where the JWs have to distinguish between being Biblical and following unbiblical traditions of men. The Catholic position requires you to study Scripture for yourself and take all the evidence into consideration. Truly the Bible is and always will be a Catholic book.

  • Edward G. Radler Rice

    Nick,

    Absolutely.

  • Doug

    Eddie writes:
    “Where did you get such a ludicrous idea, Doug?”
    From the order of battle of the World Wars. All but a few of the German army were good, churchgoing Catholics and Lutherans, Trinitarians all. Americans: Catholic, Methodist, Episcopalian. Russia: Orthodox. England: Anglican.
    More recently, in the Balkans a three-way conflict between Muslim, various Orthodox, and Roman Catholic. The atrocities almost exclusively committed by the ‘followers of Christ’.

    If you are ignorant of this fact in this day of Google then you’re not qualified to comment on the topic.

  • Doug

    Eddie, Edward, and Nick:
    John 17:3; Rev 3:12. Jesus speaks, I listen.
    Back to a topic of the OP. Evangelizing means spreading good news- but about what? We consider it to be the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven (to coin a phrase). Do Catholics see any good out of that for the earth? When we talk to them at their doors the ones who listen are geniunely surprised to find such things all through their own Bibles. They weren’t taught these things in Catechism, which (as you all know) is merely rote learning of Q & A pre Church doctrine.
    What do you think of the idea that Jehovah will let people live forever on a paradisaical Earth just because they obeyed him now? And that with only our present faith, which “is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.”
    Won’t it be nice to have a world with no crime, wars, famine, or death?

  • Eddie

    Regarding WWI: Pope Benedict XV
    “On Peace and Christian Reconciliation”
    (encyclical of Pope Benedict XV promulgated on May 23, 1920).
    Here’s the link:
    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Ben15/b15pulch.htm

    Regarding WWII: Faithful Nazis were not Christians.

    Here’s the encyclical letter of Pope Pius XI on Atheistic Communism from March 19, 1937:
    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius11/P11DIVIN.HTM

    And a letter confronting the German Reich from Pius XI:
    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius11/P11BRENN.HTM

    These conflicts involving Christians are sickening and utterly heartwrending, yes.
    The religious leadership of the Catholics, specifically, the pontiffs and those bishops in union with him, through the course of WWI and WWII into the post Cold War era, was against armed conflict.

    I teach Church History, by the way, and we have just begun our studies of the twentieth century.

    If you are ignorant of the fact that Google is only a tool, then your words redound on you…

  • Doug

    Redound?? Did he say redound??
    No Christian would say that another man’s words redound!!
    Where’s a Moderator when you really need one?

    “The religious leadership of the Catholics, … was against armed conflict.”
    The armies of Christendom had and have chaplains, ordained, posted, uniformed. Civilian priests offered and offer prayers on behalf of the national armed forces.

    Back to a topic of the OP. Psalm 72, “A psalm on Solomon”, says, “Give to the king your judgment, O God, and to the king’s son your justice: To judge your people with justice, and your poor with judgment.” When people the world over cry for justice, what can we tell them? Is this Psalm just ‘Old Testament stuff’ about Solomon, or is it for Christians to look forward to? Their politicians have promised justice for so long that, “because sentence is not speedily pronounced against the evil, the children of men commit evils without any fear.” “Oppression troubles the wise, and shall destroy the strength of his heart.” How do we Christians reach such ones?

  • Doug,

    The coming of the Kingdom of Heaven is something that we are on two different wavelengths about. Jesus said many things about the Kingdom of Heaven, but interestingly He never spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven never arriving until everything was over. Jesus said many times that “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2; 4:17; 10:7), meaning any moment now. You are trying to say the Kingdom of Heaven still hasn’t arrived yet.

    Then when we turn to Matthew, we see:

    -The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field (13:24)
    -The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field (13:31)
    -The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened (13:33)
    -The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up (13:44)
    -The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls (13:45)
    -The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind (13:47)
    -I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven (16:19)
    -Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants (18:23)
    -The kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard (20:1)
    -The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son (22:2)
    -Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces (23:13)
    -The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom (25:1)

    The Kingdom of Heaven has been here for 2,000 years and better known as the Church. It is the only institution that fits the Biblical evidence. When we pray for the Kingdom to “come” on earth as it is in Heaven, that means we ask that it be more and more manifest in our world. This is the only thing that makes any sense out of Daniel’s (2:44) prophecy that God will establish a Kingdom that will never be destroyed and spread all over the world.

    This is how Scripture study is done. Then at the very end, God will create a brand new heaven and new earth, after this one gets destroyed from Judgment, and the citizens of the Kingdom will all live forever.

  • Larry

    NICK
    “The Kingdom of Heaven has been here for 2,000 years and better known as the Church”
    Thats a first. I was raised catholic and never have I heard this. Please, do you have some backup info
    that says the church agrees with you?

  • Larry,

    Here are some quotes from the Catechism:

    “The kingdom of God is at hand”

    541 “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying: ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe in the gospel.'”246 “To carry out the will of the Father Christ inaugurated the kingdom of heaven on earth.”247 Now the Father’s will is “to raise up men to share in his own divine life”.248 He does this by gathering men around his Son Jesus Christ. This gathering is the Church, “on earth the seed and beginning of that kingdom”.249

    567 The kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ. “This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ” (LG 5). The Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom.

    763 It was the Son’s task to accomplish the Father’s plan of salvation in the fullness of time. Its accomplishment was the reason for his being sent.160 “The Lord Jesus inaugurated his Church by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Reign of God, promised over the ages in the scriptures.”161 To fulfill the Father’s will, Christ ushered in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. The Church “is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery.”162

    865 The Church is ultimately one, holy, catholic, and apostolic in her deepest and ultimate identity, because it is in her that “the Kingdom of heaven,” the “Reign of God,”380 already exists and will be fulfilled at the end of time. The kingdom has come in the person of Christ and grows mysteriously in the hearts of those incorporated into him, until its full eschatological manifestation.

  • Larry

    NICK: Thanks, I had never seen that. It sounds real nice.