At the invitation of Professor Robert, I'm starting a new thread.

Dr Bob, you are continually trying to draw clear distinctions between Catholicism and other (especially Christian) religions. I grant that Catholics are (a little) different, but, as they still fundamentally believe in the magic, invisible daddy in the sky, there is really NO difference.

Two points: The Bible (whether or not you take it literally) is the foundation of your (and all Christian) religions. A cursory examination of the Bible reveals a SMALL handful of usable tenets along with pages and chapters FULL of utter nonsense. The fact that any religion would base itself upon such a holey book, makes that religion as creditable as Joseph's golden tablets from God which he, unfortunately, misplaced.

God: I will be heartily disagreed with here, but I find the idea of God to be completely understandable. Here we have, at the dawn of civilization, various groups of totally ignorant people trying to put words, meanings, and causes to all manner of things which they couldn't possible understand. Combine this with a clever but ruthless set who have come to realize that, if they ascribed words, meanings, and causes to the world around them, people would actually BELIEVE them (as they no other source of information). These priests could and did use this power to govern the people - insisting that everyone in the tribe bow before them.

Then came the age of knowledge. We could start to actually understand all these things that the priests had, up till then, kept to themselves. As the power base for all civilized people rested with these priests, they were (and, of course, still are) wildly defensive of their position.

There is, however, NO CONCEIVABLE REASON for any educated person to believe in the supernatural - aside from these historic pressures.,

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According to the story, Jesus was a carpenter - He could have even made a table and scratched his name into it.

But no - Nothing.


There is no contemporary Roman record of any of the events in the bible that would surely (if they had happened) would have caught people's attention, such as the aftermath of his death on the cross as recorded in the gospels (the ground opening up, a zombie apocalypse, etc.)

I don't think the Romans went around and recorded the name of every person living in Judea and Galilee either, though, so there is room for some semi-anonymous and perfectly ordinary carpenter to attract a small cult following preaching Jewish apocalypticism (the end times being near), then getting in trouble with the law and being executed.  Which I think is most likely what actually happened, but the evidence for even that much comes out of careful critical study of the bible--you can learn things even from studying untrue narratives--and is largely inferential.   I said this is what I think happened but in my thoroughly non-expert opinion I am only about 60-75 percent confident of it.

me - " What are the chances that Jesus never actually existed?"

SteveInCO - "about 60-75 percent confident of it"

Wow. Never expected an actual number. Thanks.

Well it's worth what you paid for it; I am NOT an expert, and I know this is just my opinion.

I think a second hang up you seem to have is with "the supernatural", whatever that is.  I think the word comes from modern new-age neopaganism.    You seem to want to associate Christendom with that sort of animistic druidism (magic and faeries and whatnot), even though Christendom has joined you in condemning such nonsense from its very beginning (back when such nonsense was actually mainstream).

  Professor. Robert I find this comment very interesting. Is your belief not based on a supernatural being, does your church not perform or practise certain rituals? What is the difference between your catholic god and the god the Xhosa or any other culture belief in, what is the difference between your rosary and the ritual beads of the traditional African? What is the difference between praying to god through Mary or the holy spirit in comparrison to the Xhosa praying to his Ansectors spirit to interses between him and the uThixo (Creator) The common denominator is that you both belief that what you belief is the truth, that the entity you belief in has the ultimate say in your life, live or die, be punished or blessed, both belief that their god is real and has a real influence in their lives. And the civilized majority would belief that the Xhosa god is a god created from myth.

@Jorita, I'm afraid I don't know enough about the Xhosa to be able to comment very well.

We all recognize that the Bohr model of the atom is wrong in some fundamental ways; the "civilized majority" of atomic scientists would recognize that.  Yet, that does not make Bohr a poor scientist or mean that his model isn't still useful for some things.  Often, too, when people are learning it can be helpful to teach oversimplifications even though we know they are wrong, just to meet each student's current abilities and needs.

To the extent that pre-Christian religions had practices or structures which were benign or useful, Christendom adopted or incorporated them.  In Catholicism we'd say that we believe our way is the right way to salvation, but not the only way. 

What I am pointing out is Xhosa ,Hindu, Christian, ect. All the different religions are inherited from culture and all of them are based on mythological figures, based on the Supernatural belief of that culture their superstitions, and man made rituals. To me the logic is that there is no logic in following or worshiping these, there would be no difference between me following Zues to you following christ the outcome of my worship and prayer would have the same result. The ifluence and capability of thess gods to be actively involed in a persons life is zero

Certainly doesn't sound like it's unchanging truth, does it?

Why would anyone believe that human understanding of the truth is unchanging?  

Now THAT is a very good question, and you might try posing it to biblical literalists.

Last time I looked catholics believe in ghosts, the Holy Ghost to be more precise. Then it was changed to the Holy Spirit, when did that happen Prof. Robert.

I was told as a child, I had a guardian angel, do you not consider a guardian angel as supernatural. I was given cards during catechism, pretty little water colour cards, with child, an an angel hovering behind the child. I am curious if ex-catholics on this site were also given these cards. As a child, I took this literally, 'cause I was told this was true, and I believed it. I was told, as I was a recalcitrant, questioning child, to believe everything the bible said, the priest said and what the nuns said - as truth.

We were also given, I can't remember what they were called, on brown cord, small square pictures of god and angels, to hang around our necks, to keep us safe. They had been 'blessed' by the priest.

Still not answering questions Robert?

"We were also given, I can't remember what they were called, on brown cord, small square pictures of god and angels, to hang around our necks, to keep us safe. They had been 'blessed' by the priest."

That would be a scapular. My step-brother and a few of my Catholic friends still wear them.


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