Do All Religions Deserve Respect?

VaticanII

The Obama administration’s war on Catholics will continue into 2014 as many courageous Catholic institutions in the U.S. maintain their resistance to its encroachment on their religious freedom through the H.H.S. mandate. In light of this, we can expect that the public debate about religious freedom will also continue into the new year both inside and outside the Church.

A reflection on how we should argue for religious freedom is, therefore, in order. Not legal arguments but arguments of a more general sort will be the focus of this essay, although my comments may not be irrelevant to legal questions. Part of knowing how we should argue for religious freedom (or anything really) involves knowing how we should not argue for it. The following remarks will suggest how not to argue for religious liberty based especially on a close reading of Dignitatis Humanae promulgated by the Second Vatican Council.

Do All Religions Deserve Respect?
A sound argument for religious freedom would not claim that all religions have a right to equal respect. Any argument that included a similar premise would be unsound and rightly ridiculed. Let us call this kind of argument for religious freedom a “universalist argument” since it says that all religions should be treated equally. Although a universalist argument for religious freedom might in many situations appear expedient, when truth is subordinated to apologetics the long-term effects (and often the short-term ones) can be quite harmful.

But would any Catholic be tempted to make a universalist argument for religious freedom? A certain reading of Vatican II’s teaching on religious freedom in the declaration Dignitatis Humanae might influence Catholics to take this path. Some Catholic authors at times give the impression that Dignitatis Humanae teaches that all religions, Christian and non-Christian, have an equal civil right publicly to practice and teach their beliefs in any political regime and that this position is what sets Dignitatis Humanae apart from pre-conciliar teaching on religious freedom. But this is surely a distortion of the document’s content and an attentive reading would disclose much more continuity with prior Church teaching (which, as is well-known, positively opposed the universalist view) than is sometimes supposed.

Dignitatis Humanae sees the right to religious freedom as rooted in the human person himself, who, if he is to know truth, including the truth about God, must be at liberty to seek and adhere to it. In light of this, Dignitatis Humanae teaches a twofold freedom of religion: not only does it declare the human person’s right to follow his conscience in pursuing the truth about God, it also declares a right to public manifestations of religion. “Religious communities rightfully claim freedom in order that they may govern themselves according to their own norms, honor the Supreme Being in public worship, assist their members in the practice of the religious life, strengthen them by instruction, and promote institutions in which they may join together for the purpose of ordering their own lives in accordance with their religious principles.” And again: “Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or by the written word.”

Despite statements like those above, limits to religious freedom are noted throughout Dignitatis Humanae. Comments about the state’s obligation to permit religious freedom are regularly qualified by phrases such as “within due limits” and “provided just public order is observed.” So, although some of the more categorically framed statements about religious freedom in Dignitatis Humanae might appear to be in tension with these qualifications, you certainly cannot fault the document for failing to mention (as it repeatedly does) the limits of religious freedom.

But what sort of religious practices or teachings might reasonably lead a government to impose restrictions? Acts of unjust violence committed in the name of religion and teachings that clearly promote such violence are a fairly easy case. No one would hesitate to say that the “due limits” to religious freedom about which Dignitatis Humanae speaks apply here, for the disruption this violence causes just public order is obvious. A much more difficult—and certainly delicate—case to consider with respect to Vatican II’s teaching has to do with the non-violent practice and teaching of false or defective religions. Does the Council think that this cannot be restricted by the state?

When Religious Freedom Can Be Restricted
In the Catholic tradition religion is considered a moral virtue falling under justice. This understanding of religion can be found, for instance, in Aquinas and, more recently, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. For Aquinas, religion is fundamentally rendering the true God the honor that is due him. The Catechism sees the moral virtue of religion in a similar way.

As with all virtues, religion has corresponding vices. According to Aquinas, the opposite of religion is superstition, the offering of worship to whomever or whatever does not deserve it. Idolatry, for Aquinas, is a species of superstition. The Catechism too treats the vices of superstition and idolatry, although what Aquinas says about these appears to be dealt with in the Catechism solely under the heading of idolatry. Idolaters, the Catechism tells us, “venerate other divinities than the one true God.”

If religion as a moral virtue honors the one true God, then religions that do not are not truly religions or could justly be called false or defective religions. This is not to say that they contain no elements of truth. It is rather to say that their orthodox practice and teaching, taken as a whole and objectively considered, do not lead to God. To follow or promote religions of this sort would be to act against the moral law. This consideration evidently raises more and deeper problems for religious freedom.

What does Dignitatis Humanae tell us about all of this? Unfortunately, it is a subject that the document addresses only obliquely. But I think it can still offer some guidance. At the beginning of the document the Council fathers announce their “belief that God himself has made known to mankind the way in which men are to serve him, and thus be saved in Christ and come to blessedness.” And they then go on to say: “We believe that this one true religion subsists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus committed the duty of spreading it abroad among all men.” If the one true religion subsists in the Catholic Church, then logically we are put in the uncomfortable position—uncomfortable, that is, in our age of ecumenism—of inferring that religions other than the Catholic are false. The Council does not say so much and it would have gone against its general tenor, but it is an inescapable conclusion.

One of the places in which Dignitatis Humanae comes closest to mentioning false religions expressly is when it says that the right to immunity from coercion “continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed.” If we can take this line to be about false religions—and it seems that we reasonably can—then, given the qualification that punctuates it, plainly the Council does not advocate that states allow false religions complete freedom of public practice and teaching in all circumstances.

But there is more. The Council fathers also have this to say: “Civil society has the right to defend itself against possible abuses committed on the pretext of freedom of religion. It is the special duty of government to provide this protection. However, government is not to act in an arbitrary fashion or in an unfair spirit of partisanship. Its action is to be controlled by juridical norms which are in conformity with the objective moral order.” For our purposes the first and the last lines are the most important. The first possibly signals again an awareness of the problems that might be caused by false religion. The last tells us that government should be guided in its actions by the “objective moral order.” But if false religions run contrary to objective moral order—as they must if they are moral vices, as we have observed—then, in principle, only prudent toleration could prevent legislation against them. In other words, there is no absolute right to follow and teach a false religion. By “absolute right” I mean one that cannot in any circumstances be legitimately violated. An “absolute right” would be a right that accrues to us simply by virtue of being human persons. You could call it a “human” or “natural right.” Such a right would transcend all cultures and political communities, requiring recognition by all. That can not be true for adherents of false religion.

If false religion is a moral vice, plainly no one has any natural right to practice it, for no one can have a right to do evil. Were there a natural right to do evil, there could not be a natural moral law that bound us to do good. We certainly are not naturally bound to do good if we have a natural right to do evil.

On the Prudential Toleration of False Religion
Obviously, to say that no one has a natural right to vice does not imply anything about whether a given vice should or should not be publicly tolerated. The public toleration of vices is largely a question of prudence, not something that can always be decided in the abstract. Still a good rule of thumb, as Aquinas advises, is “not to impose on the majority of citizens, who will usually be imperfect in virtue, what is already practiced by the virtuous citizens, namely, abstinence from all evil.” So, human law, as Aquinas again suggests, should not “forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grave ones, from which most of the people can abstain, especially those that harm others.”

If Dignitatis Humanae can be interpreted as recognizing any rights of false religions, they could not be natural rights in the above sense but rights of a weaker sort, rights that a given social and political context would seem to call for. In a pluralistic society such as the contemporary U.S., for example, it may be best to allow most peaceful religions freedom to practice and teach publicly. Yet, I would add that the various Christian traditions should be especially honored in this country, given the essential role they have had in shaping the positive dimensions of the American ethos. And Judaism should likewise be particularly honored as a formative influence on these Christian traditions.

In sum, a Catholic argument for religious freedom cannot include among its premises a proposition to the effect that all religions have a right to equal respect. In other words, a Catholic argument for religious freedom cannot be a universalist argument. Indeed, as we should now realize, a universalist argument would be at odds with Dignitatis Humanae. Certain hermeneuts of discontinuity might prefer to read the document as revolutionary with respect to pre-conciliar teaching on religious freedom but the document itself does not support that reading.

Joseph G. Trabbic

By

Joseph G. Trabbic is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Ave Maria University and is the assistant editor of Thomistica.net, a website for the academic study of St. Thomas Aquinas. Professor Trabbic earned his doctorate from Fordham University in 2008.

  • R. K. Ich

    I have been subjected on a number of occasions to this silly argument, which confuses respect for the dignity of a man because of his divine imprint with his false belief system which bears no such imprimatur.

    I can truly value and capitalize on the whatever truth any idolatrous religion possesses, but for me to treat non-Trinitarian religions as equal but different, or show some kind of fabricated deference, reverence, or esteem for them sends an entirely wrong message. Non-Trinitarians are proper objects of evangelism because their souls *really* are in peril apart from thr intervening light if the Gospel.

    When I hear some Roman Catholic wiseacres say the Gospel only makes it easier for them to be saved, I stand flabbergasted at the facility in which they can borrow this theology right out of Pelagius’s playbook.

    • Adam__Baum

      Hey R.K. in keeping with your description (thank you, again) of me as “relentless”.

      From the Late Paul Harvey:

      What Catholic Tradition Means to a Protestant, by Paul Harvey

      This is none of my business, yet I am unexplainably
      compelled to address myself to a most sensitive subject however many or
      few read it, heed it, or resent it.

      The Roman Catholic Church, from the outside, has symbolized authority since my earliest recollections.

      Great institutions might erode away, towering individuals reveal feet
      of clay, nations be reduced to ashes or decay—yet the steeple with the
      cross on top remained, timeless and unchanging.

      Why I did not abandon the faith of my fathers and ask adoption into
      the Catholic family which I so much admired, I cannon explain. Momentum,
      perhaps. Most often we keep going in the direction we are pushed.

      The strict discipline implied by Catholicism certainly was not a
      deterrent, for I had been much disturbed and distracted by the almost
      constant intramural harangue among undisciplined Christians. Indeed, the
      rigidity of Catholic doctrine and tradition were comforting, reassuring
      evidences of a hierarchy which affirmed, ‘This is right…’ in an hour
      where so few seem to know what is.

      Then came the recent sessions of the Ecumenical Council and the
      perhaps over-emphasized differences between ‘progressives’ and
      ‘conservatives’ within the Church. And when these differences reached
      such a crescendo that the third session ended with His Holiness, Pope
      Paul, in tears, my unscholarly and largely emotional reliance on the
      invulnerability of the Church retreated.

      True, there are sometimes shouted disagreements among the children of any family, but we don’t open the windows at such times.

      And when long-standing texts of the Bible are called into open
      question and when the priesthood is expanded to include quasi-lay clergy
      and when sisters of some orders shorten their skirts up to their knees,
      the world appears to wobble on its axis.

      In secular affairs we are being urged to tolerate, accommodate, and
      compromise. In personal relations, absolutes are passé, international
      relationships are governed by expediency.

      In this climate of vacillation I shall pray in my protestant way that
      the Roman Catholic Church will emerge, when the smoke has cleared and
      the tears are dry, substantially unaltered.

      I reread my own words here and am embarrassed by them; by the
      presumptiousness of one who needs others to live as he has been,
      himself, unwilling to live.

      Yet each of us whose reach exceeds his grasp must similarly rely on the soldier.

      And the lighthouse keeper.

      This observation is an homage to authority, IMHO.

      • R. K. Ich

        I would be a damned fool if I didn’t up-vote that. While I wrestle with the Angel for the blessing of clarity in regards to Rome, I love Her yet, earnestly pray for Her preservation and reform, and long for the day when schism will be but a dream.

        • slainte

          You write, “…I love Her yet, earnestly pray for Her preservation and reform, and long for the day when schism will be but a distant memory….”

          The divorce happened a long time ago; Pope Benedict XVI granted the annulment.
          You have been engaged (albeit unwittingly) for some time now.

          Your fiance the Holy Roman Catholic Church requests the scheduling of your wedding day.

          Répondez s’il vous plaît….. : )

        • Adam__Baum

          “Her preservation and reform”

          What reform I must ask?

          • R. K. Ich

            Because the Church is filled with sinners (my presence alone would guarantee it imperfect and corruptible), it is only right to beg God’s continual sanctifying work. The prayer below is one of my favorites.

            A Prayer for the Church, by Archbishop William Laud (1573-1645)

            Most gracious Father,
            we pray to you for your holy catholic Church.
            Fill it with all truth;
            in all truth with all peace.
            Where it is corrupt, purge it.
            Where it is in error, direct it.
            Where anything is amiss, reform it.
            Where it is right, strengthen and defend it.
            Where it is in want, provide for it.
            Where it is divided, heal it and reunite it in your love;
            for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

            • Adam__Baum

              I think I got it, and am in manifest agreement, thanks.

    • Becker

      Why would it send the wrong message? Are you perhaps saying that we should not have any respect for them at all? Is that not being kind of intolerant?
      While yes we should strive to convert them where possible, because we have the Truth, I think it is not right either to view ourselves with such an, pardon my language, “arrogant” viewpoint.
      What ever happened to humility?

      • R. K. Ich

        To answer your first question, How could it not? The Caesar cult asked for a little deference, no? And what if you were the Apostle Paul who needed to explain to your fellow Roman citizen why the cult is false? Being respectful and humble to the person in no way translates into some starry eyed deference to his false god(s) or belief system.

        This “respect” word is so gooey and amorphous that we would do well to qualify it into submission that we are not yielding for a moment the exclusive nature of the Gospel. The impression left with the heathen can be none other than the only lifeline they might have is the Gospel of Christ and worship of the Triune God — all else is idolatry.

        The humility question is meaningless here because you are imagining something I am not talking about. I should think a doctor who knows you have a systemic, deadly infection would not be met with same kind of charge of arrogance if he told you your only hope is his prescribed cure. My position is love for lost men fuels our desire to proclaim their only hope of escaping the death and judgment in which they dwell. If that is arrogant then I am guilty as charged.

        What I think is rather arrogant is supplanting the very means of their conversion with a false confidence in their unsaving religion. Again, you must respect the man but you must also make clear that we are not offering one among many paths to God. We are finally calling all men from their lost estate into the glorious fellowship of the Trinity.

        • fredx2

          And you will probably have lost any chance you had to evangelize the guy because the first thing he hears from you is disrespect. Pope Francis is probably right about this – first reflect Christ to the other guy and he will then listen. Doing a hard sell is probably not going to work. Defiantly stand in his face and tell him you have the truth and he does not will, in most cases, just turn the guy off.

          If your goal is truly to save his soul, then you will have to attract, not repel.

          “Lastly, we cannot forget that evangelization is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him. Many of them are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition.
          All of them have a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to
          a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but “by attraction”.”
          Evangelii Guadium 15

          • R. K. Ich

            Your analysis is far from accurate, neither have you any idea to what you’re objecting.

            Evangelism for me is not some crass in-your-face presentation of the Gospel: “Good day to you, Sir, I need to tell you that Jesus is the only way and if you don’t believe you will be damned.” Is this what you imagine is going on with us folks who take seriously the call to proclaim the saving message of the Cross? If so, then you’ve either had the misfortune of witnessing that sort of tomfoolery first-hand, or else you are harboring an untruth by your own creative imagination.

            Indeed evangelism includes relationship building, discovering where each person is at in his own process of groping after God. Pre-evangelism is as important because you have to be able to relate to the hearer. Context determines the timing and process of unveiling the Kerygma. But in no wise do I *ever* commend their idolatry, any more than I would allow a sodomite, adulterer, or a thief to entertain their sin as something laudable or salvific.

            Besides all of this, where have I even remotely suggested disrespecting a person is part of proclaiming the Evangel?

        • JavierHvonSydow

          Yes. But we are being reminded by pope Francis that we must do all this in CHARITY. And the only way that seems possible is if we engage into the knowledge of our faith so that we may be able to effectively pass it on to others and thus contribute to the missionary dispelling of error, doubt and -as we see in our contemporary culture- hidden mischief. In this, the bishop of Rome is only following his predecesor in the See, who wrote to all of us: « but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope» 1 Peter 3, 15.
          The peace of Christ be with you all.

          • R. K. Ich

            Sine caritas vita nihil est.

      • Adam__Baum

        Once again, visions of an anthropomorphic purple dinosaur.

        • Simpson

          What? Barney?

          • Adam__Baum

            Uh-huh.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    There is a natural right, in the form of an immunity. “No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, even religious ones, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.” (Déclaration des droits de l’Homme et du citoyen 26 août 1789)

    The counterpart of this is the principle of Laïcité that excludes the intervention of religious opinions in, or their impact on, the relations between private individuals and the public authorities and that obliges individuals to respect common rules in these relations; they cannot exempt themselves from them for religious reasons.

    • Adam__Baum

      “No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, even religious
      ones, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order
      established by law”

      Apart from the there should be some other quote you could offer that emanates from somewhere other than 18th century France (at least once in a while), the disturbance of public order established by law is a reservation so great and elastic enough that Adolph Hitler and Henry Tudor and any of a myriad of lesser known Islamic tyrannies exacting indignities great and small upon the dhimmis could have said to have abided this injunction.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        According to most jurists, with regard to holding conscientious beliefs (the forum internum), the right is absolute and fundamental and the state must never interfere with this right in any way. Most also assume that the forum internum includes the right not to be forced to reveal one’s beliefs.

        This internal right of conscience is contrasted with the right to “manifest” one’s religion, with the classic examples including expression of beliefs to others (such as proselytism through writing and speaking); displaying religious objects and symbols (such as religious attire); or participating in religious activities (such as public worship or religious parades or pilgrimages). If the right pertains to manifestation, the state is permitted to limit such manifestations if the state can demonstrate that the limitation is “necessary” (the European Convention provides that it be “necessary in a democratic society”) in order to promote specified public interests such as safety, health, and morals.

        • Adam__Baum

          I’m not really sure how your response is meant to qualify my concerns about the nebulosity of the phrase in question, so let me address a tangential matter.

          “According to most jurists”

          In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not particular enamored of “jurists”, and consider their opinions to be wellsprings of sophistry, not sagacity.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            Freedom of opinion is a legal right, enshrined in a number of international conventions, notably the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention and is now firmly established in humanitarian international law.

            Who but jurists are to interpret and administer them?

            I would have thought the distinction between the internal and external forum (borrowed, as it happens, from the Canon Law) is obvious enough.

            • Adam__Baum

              “Who but jurists are to interpret and administer them?”

              Even if I accepted your basic premise, I’d have to reject it for including administration, the role of the executive as a right of judges.

              Of government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not a pretentious caste of modern Pharisees.

              • Shrdlu42

                      Leaving aside your insulting (and false) characterization of the Pharisees (who were the founders of post-Biblical Judaism), if by “government of the people”, you mean the people decide how to apply constitutional principles, then there’s no point in having a Constitution at all! The very reason for having a written Constitution was to take some things away from “We, the people” (acting through the government). Thus, no matter how many people may want to restrict the right of Catholic Priests (or Jewish Rabbis) to deliver sermons, Freedom of Speech and Religion prevent it.

                      But who do you trust to say: “Hold it! That violated the Constitution.”? The Executive? (Who, by its very nature always seeks more power. The examples of an Executive refusing power are very few.) The Legislature? (Same objection.) The people directly? (Again, then all are rights are vulnerable to shifting political winds.) The Founders decided only the Judiciary (an independent Judiciary) could be trusted to make fealty to the Law (and constitutional limitations) their guiding principle.

                Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.

                Source: Alexander Hamiliton, The Federalist Papers, Number 78, page 465 of the Signet Classic Edition (2003), emphasis added.

          • Shrdlu42

            Depends on the jurist. I’m not particularly enamored of Scalia.

      • Shrdlu42

              I agree that reservation appears to be a bit over-broad. Then again, even in this country one doesn’t have an absolute right to do whatever one wants in the name of religion. (No human sacrifices, for example.) It’s a delicate issue, and not as straightforward as it might at first appear. We can’t allow a general religious exception to all laws, but we also have to protect the core of what religious freedom means, or why bother with the concept at all.

    • Shrdlu42

            Or, more simply:

      “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust” (Constitution, Article 6, Pargraph 3)

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (First Amendment)

      “nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” (Fourteenth Amendment)

  • poetcomic1

    Islam is not deserving of anything but ‘fierce and uncompromising denial’ from the Catholic church as it is a rank heresy and truly Satanic inversion of Gospel. This so called ‘religion’ is actively terrorizing and at war with the entire world. The highest value of Islam is to die while murdering and terrorizing unbelievers in which case one goes to an ‘eternal whorehouse in the sky’. This is a central teaching of the Koran.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      It is the central teaching of Sixth Pillar Islam, to be sure. But Five Pillar scholars will disagree that it is a central teaching of the Koran overall, just as few Catholics are willing to stone rebellious children.

      Having said that, I find the superficial “Islam as a religion of peace” five pillar Muslims to have about as much truth as a Mormon.

      • poetcomic1

        i.e. fundamentalist Bible text = fundamentalist Koran text. Not buying that old, old piece of goods. I’m surprised anyone’s still peddling it.

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          It’s more that: Sola scriptura, in any form, is an agent of chaos against order, and the Islamics have the problem of a relatively new set of sects springing up that insist not only on Sola Scriptura, but also Sola Jihad- the right to judge one’s neighbor and the duty to fight for justice.

          I don’t know of any Christian fundamentalist sects today that go quite that far. Even the Westboro Baptists are content with merely protesting outside of military funerals. But that wasn’t always so either: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15992

          That’s a piece of historical fiction, but it is based very much in the life of St. Edward Campion, and during the Protestant Rebellion, it was a common practice in many, many countries.

          So, no, my argument is NOT merely “fundamentalist Bible text = fundamentalist Koran text”, it is that a certain stage that all religions go through is extremely violent- and Islam is currently beginning the end game of that stage, which you and I will not live to see the end of.

          • poetcomic1

            I disagree that Islam is ‘another religion’ that is going through ‘a stage’. It has been the ‘scourge of God’ for the church for 1400 years and as a Catholic, I horripilate at the very presence of it. God loves Muslims, God hates Islam. Maybe the Muslims will save us all by converting and teach us again to love love as only one who has lived in hate can love love. Wouldn’t that be something? Apparitions such as the Virgin of Zeitoun at Cairo across the Islamic world!

            • smokes

              Mohammedans have the fervor (and promise) of Allah on their side. The former Western Civilization has no ‘invisible means of support’ and can fall back only on moral relativism, a contradiction in terms, that stands for absolutely …nothing. Paddy Powers’ wager, I bet, is on the Prophet, before the Trotskyites put a ring in his nose. Hobson wouldn’t even like the limited choices we have.

              • Adam__Baum

                The modern world loves and defers to fervor.

                • Shrdlu42

                        And how does it differ from earlier “worlds”. The Middle Ages (a.k.a. The Age of Faith) wasn’t exactly known for its calm and sober rationality.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    What period was known for calm and sober rationality?>

                    • Shrdlu42

                            Exactly. Even the “Age of Reason” ended up producing “the Reign of Terror” (at least in France). Any faith or philosophy can be corrupted into an excuse for evil, usually by the “fervent”.

                  • smokes

                    Your disjointed ramblings are “sober”?

                    • Shrdlu42

                            Infinitely more so than yours. Care to explain how the topic of this web page, or Poetcomic1’s remarks, have anything to do with what you wrote?

                            There are plenty of Christians who believe they have “the fervor (and promise) of [Jesus] on their side”. (Just look at the crazies of the Westboro Baptist Church, or the evangelicals who were busy trying to pass Uganda’s proposed “Kill the Gays” bill, to state some obvious examples.) As for “moral relativism” – that’s been part of Christianity ever since it gained power as the official faith of Rome. (How else do you explain, persecuting, torturing, and murdering people in the name of “the Prince of Peace”? Christian history doesn’t demonstrate much devotion to the Sermon on the Mount!)

                            The rest of what you wrote is simple stream-of-consciousness rambling, mixing together inane references to Paddy Powers (whoever the heck that is), the Prophet, Trotskyites, and Hobson. (By the way, do you even know what the term “Hobson’s Choice” means?)

              • Shrdlu42

                      Well that was an interesting plethora of disconnected rambling. Too bad sense was missing.

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              Buddhism was the scourge of Hinduism for its first 1700 years. I’m sure the pagans in Europe thought we Catholics were a bit of a scourge as well, at least, until we practically wiped them out.

              All religions go through a life cycle. I’m not saying that Islam is a true religion like Catholicism is: Catholicism is the One, Holy and Apostolic Faith. I’m not even saying we should convert to Islam. What I am saying is that we need to understand where they are on the religious life cycle to respond appropriately.

              And with where they are on the religious life cycle, the appropriate response is complete isolation and blockade, with no trade or communication and a dead zone in between.

              • Adam__Baum

                “All religions go through a life cycle.”

                Interesting. Theology imposed on Adizes corporate life cycle or the Dialectic.

                • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                  Yep. One of my primary obsessions. Of course, religions usually last a few centuries longer than most other corporations, and their life cycle is correspondingly longer.

                  The real interesting bit comes after the first two millenia. Buddhism and Judaism have traveled that road ahead of us, most younger sects will never get there.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    You need to do something about your obsessions, especially the one that cases you to attempt to reduce a complicated world into a simple little fantasy.

                    • Shrdlu42

                            Actually, some of what he wrote is remarkably sophisticated, complex, subtle, and insightful. Sadly, the same can’t be said for all of it. (Or what you wrote, either.)

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Well then stay tuned. If you think this is “remarkably sophisticated, complex, subtle, and insightful”, you’ll love his theories on the feasibility of rope and pulley computers.

                    • Shrdlu42

                            Better than computers made out of stone knives and bear skins, which (judging by the amount of “wit” in your reply) is probably what you employ!

                            See, I can indulge in half-witted snark too!

                            Seeber’s remarks about the “life-cycle” of religions is actually quite astute. Most religions, in their “teenage years”, are arrogant, violent, and similar in many ways to actual teenagers. With age comes wisdom. It wasn’t until Christianity went through its Reformation, with the appalling spectacle of Catholics and Protestants gleefully slaughtering each other over how to worship “the Prince of Peace”, that the notions of religious freedom most of the Western World embraces arose – during the Enlightenment, which was the intellectual response to those dreadful wars and persecutions.

                            His remarks about Buddhism vs. Hinduism are a bit off base, and he (like too many others here) forget that over 500 years ago Islam was a far more peaceful faith than Christianity. (Why do you think so many Spanish Jews fled to Muslim lands after being expelled by “their most Catholic Majestieis” Ferdinand and Isabella?) Thus the violence of some Muslims not only can’t be used to judge that Faith as a whole, but it can’t be regarded as the “norm” for that religion for all time! Otherwise, what do we say about Christianity, with its Unholy Crusades, and its Unholy Inquisistions?

                    • John Fisher

                      Sephardic Jews left Spain as did some Moresco’s because the Spanish Crown saw that religious and political unity were needed. The Ottoman’s let some settle in its lands because of these had money and trading contacts. The Turks also had Genoese living in Constantinople for trade reasons. It was understood non Moslems accepted submission in the same way orthodox Christians accepted their subjugation under Islam. The Grand Turk (Sultan) even named who would be Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church and even now the President of Turkey does this.

                    • smokes

                      Are you always this condescending?

                    • Shrdlu42

                            Less so than you or Mr. Baum.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      You really don’t understand how the autistic brain works, do you?

                    • Adam__Baum

                      What’s your point?

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      That you are asking me to do something that is against truth.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Given that the autistic brain fails to comprehend subtlety, context and other important elements of truth, you might want to consider whether the disorder renders you incapable of apprehending truth.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      I understand context as an element of truth, but subtlety is an element of falsehood, not truth. Those who are subtle are trying to avoid the truth, not being clear about it. Subtlety is akin to lying.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      No. Because you don’t understand something, doesn’t make it evil or disposable.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      I didn’t say I didn’t understand it. I said that I’ve analyzed it, and the motives for using it. And judged it based on those.

                      Every lie starts as a little white lie. Every little white lie, starts as a subtlety, a truth that has failed to be spoken because it might hurt somebody’s feelings. Brutal honesty is far better.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Something like 80% of human communication is non-verbal. Tone, inflection and body language are the subtleties that autistics miss. No one can be faulted or having a disability.

                      On the other hand, purposely confusing SUBTERFUGE and SUBTLETY is not. You are perfectly capable of looking up the definition of words. Do it, because the world is not what you want it to be,

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      A text blog is incapable of transmitting non-verbal communication.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      You still have to account for context and connotation. The bottom line is your “brutal honesty” is just as likely to be truncated as truth.

                • Shrdlu42

                  Huh?

                  • Adam__Baum

                    Right.

                    • Shrdlu42

                            Right what? I was trying to figure out what the following statement you made was supposed to mean: “Theology imposed on Adizes corporate life cycle or the Dialectic.” It makes no sense.

                  • smokes

                    Condescension is they middle name….maybe your first?

                    • Shrdlu42

                            Looking in the mirror, are we?

              • Shrdlu42

                      While I agree with you about “life cycles”, I obviously don’t agree with the rest of what you wrote. Otherwise I’d have to point out that for this Jew your faith is not the “One”.

                • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                  I don’t expect you to.

                  • Shrdlu42

                          And I wasn’t implying you did expect me to. I just wanted to make clear that while I agree with some of what you wrote, there was a part I didn’t, and make clear which part it was. The great thing about America is that we can agree to disagree.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      Or at least, we used to be able to agree to disagree. Now I’m an evil Catholic bigot because I won’t let gays get married and think that marriage laws are incompatible with both the First Amendment and the idea of marriage as a sacrament.

                      The American experiment is quickly becoming a failure. And it isn’t because of the threat of the Islamic Sixth Pillar Sola Jihadists; multiculturalism in and of itself is a failure.

                      BTW, yes, there is a time in the lifecycle of religions, between 400-900 years into Christianity, but also roughly between 300-1500 years into the religion that things ARE peaceful. The initial battles have been fought, and the heretical sects in that period aren’t strong enough to fight new ones.

                      But don’t forget, there is a reason why Tibet was once known as the Forbidden Kingdom, and why the peaceful Buddhists there were well known as the fiercest warriors in the Himalayas.

                • smokes

                  You’re always condescending, aren’t you?

                  • Shrdlu42

                          No, that would be you. (Or the parrot you’ve taught to mindlessly repeat that word.)

              • John Fisher

                Can a pacifist religion be a scourge? Scourging is violent!

                • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                  I suggest you look up the story of Santa Claus (St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra) at the First Council of Nicea.

                  • Shrdlu42

                          While I’m no expert on the man, I fail to see how that relates to “scourges”. Care to elaborate?

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      Actually, it was a story I just learned this year. It seems that this paragon of virtue, whose acts of generosity inspired our current vision of Santa Claus, could get rather passionate about orthodoxy. He was expelled for punching Arius’s lights out.

                  • John Fisher

                    Many people get punches on the nose! Poor St Nicholas was imprisoned and do you think Arius whose heresy fed into Islam deserved worse? But back to my point Hinduism and especially Buddhism are pacifist but they occasionally riot … look at Thailand! People often fail to do as their philosophy of life require.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      I would very much agree with that, yes.

                      Sola Jihad though, is a very scary theology indeed, for it says that it is right and just to riot.

            • Shrdlu42

                    Gee, then as a Jew should I say that God loves Christians but hates Christianity? Perhaps Christians can truly be “saved” only by converting to my faith!

                    Judge not, lest ye be judged. For as you judge others, so shall you be judged.

              • smokes

                You haven’t read much by the Pope, either.

                • Shrdlu42

                        Even assuming I haven’t (a false assumption by the way), how is that relevant to what I wrote? You seem to think making half-baked “one-liners” is the soul of wit. It isn’t. Try making a rational argument, based on facts, if you want a serious discussion.

            • John Fisher

              Islam is not going through any stage unless it is to exploit our gullibility. When Islam draws on its roots and founder it finds only violence, theft, rape, murder, enslavement, extortion, lies and evil. The peace of Islam is like the honour among thieves.Impossible!

          • Shrdlu42

                  Actually, there are plenty of examples of such “sects” today. Look at all the Evangelicals who supported Uganda’s “kill the gays” law. (And even “merely” imprisoning gays is hardly an improvement.) Much of “Christian” meddling in politics is little more than an attempt to use the government to impose specific religious “values” on everyone.

                  (I put those words in quotes because I actually think there’s little Christian or of value about these attempts.)

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              Read the Didache. It was written by, gasp, Jews.

              • Shrdlu42

                      Sorry, but no. It might have been written by former Jews, but anyone who worships Jesus as a deity (and considers him to be the Messiah) is not a Jew. Anymore than someone who believes Zeus is the King of the Gods is a Christian. Words do have meanings, and those meanings are important.

                      But pray tell how your remarks are in any way relevant to what we were dicussing: whether there are any Christian Fundamentalists capable of the same murderous extremism as Islamic Jihadists. There most certainly are, and I provided some examples.

                • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                  Trinitarianism was a slightly later theological development than the Didache, which was written *before* the Gospel of John. The Didache was written at a time when Christians were more Jewish than Gentile, in some ways more Jewish than Christian, and aside from one prayer, draws more on Old Testament morality than new:
                  http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-roberts.html

                  My point wasn’t that Christian fundamentalists don’t exist. They most certainly do. My point was more that Jewish fundamentalists also exist, and in fact, this idea of “Much of “Christian” meddling in politics is little more than an attempt to use the government to impose specific religious “values” on everyone.”, is universal to all religions in all times. Some might even say that imposing specific religious values on everyone, is the entire purpose of religion.

            • smokes

              So, you support Gay sex. Finally, proof that you stand for something! Go forth and populate.

              • Shrdlu42

                      Talk about non-sequiturs! I also oppose those countries which execute Christian missionaries for trying to spread their faith. Does that mean I “support Christianity”, or merely Freedom of Speech and Religion for everyone – even faiths I disagree with?

                      Or maybe it means that whatever my private views about “Gay sex”, I don’t believe people should be executed or imprisoned for life just for engaging in it. (This assumes, of course, that it was consensual, and didn’t involve child molestation, etc.)

                      As for “go forth and populate”, not only can gay people do that, but there are certainly plenty of straight people ready, willing, and able to “pick up the slack” for those who don’t. I’m confident the human race isn’t going extinct any time soon. (Assuming we don’t blow ourselves up, that is. Or otherwise destroy ourselves and the planet in various and increasing number of ways.)

                      Again, you seem to think making lame “one-liners” is the soul of wit. It isn’t.

            • John H. Graney

              You’re a Jew? Like the Holy Maccabees? Like King David? If there’s one thing that *isn’t* in the Old Testament, it’s the idea that one shouldn’t impose one’s moral system on others.

              • Shrdlu42

                      Agreed, but we don’t live in Biblical times and (hopefully) members of all religions have learned better. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’d have to call for every Christian to be stoned to death: punishment in Jewish Scripture (the “Old Testament” to you) for making graven images and worshiping them, violating the Sabbath (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday), not to mention banning the consumption of cheeseburgers, or the wearing of cotton or wool blends.

                      Oh and the term I used was “religious values”, not “moral system”. But if we are talking about using the power of the State to impose the “values” or “morals” of a specific faith on everyone, the difference doesn’t matter. In this country “Christians” have no more right to force everyone to live by their religion than Jews have to force Christians to live as Jews. (Ditto, for all other faiths trying to use government to impose their “values”.)

                • Adam__Baum

                  Ditto, for all other faiths trying to use government to impose their “values”.)

                  Again, you seem to think making lame “one-liners” is the soul of wit. It isn’t.

                  So much better that government impose itself as a religion.

        • Shrdlu42

                The fundamentalist part of your statement I agree with. Fundamentalism of any stripe (religious, political, philosophical, economic) is dangerous. But both the Bible and the Koran (among other writings) contain value, provided they are not regarded as literally true or inerrant.

          • smokes

            More, meaningless errant cliches.

            • Shrdlu42

              Looking in the mirror again, are we?

      • Shrdlu42

              And Jews could make the same comment about your religion. Judge not lest ye be judged, for as you judge others so shall you be judged. Sound familiar?

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          Uh, yes? I thought that was my point.

          • smokes

            He only listens to himself….obviously. This is his rant, not a conversation. He’s a silly, angry and philosophically impotent.

            • Shrdlu42

              You really must love looking at yourself in that mirror. Your real name wouldn’t be Narcissus by any chance?

          • Shrdlu42

                  Then why did you make all those “judgments” about Islam, and Mormons? Again, Jews could make a similar remark about the “truths” of Christianity.

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              Yes, they could. I fail to see where I said they couldn’t. My entire point is that all religions go through similar experiences.

              • Adam__Baum

                “My entire point is that all religions go through similar experiences.”

                Dialectical nonsense.

                • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                  And yet, quite true.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    No, it’s not. It’s idiotic nonsense, like about 75% of what you post.

                    I realize complexity frustrates you, because you have a disability, and that you think nature is subject to an order you impose but your autism and OCD will not immunize you from criticism.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      Nature is subject to an order God has imposed. It is only mankind that makes it complex.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      No, it’s complex because God is infinite and we are limited. (Some more limited than others). Some of us see the majesty of the Almighty and our own limits in what we can’t understand. You throw a tantrum.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      Says the man who thinks Hayek is a moral authority.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      No.

                      You don’t even know what you think, let alone what somebody else thinks.

      • John Fisher

        Stoning is an Islamic hobby!

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          Among the Orthodox Islamics, yes.

    • Thomas

      My dear, are you still living in the age of the crusades? Such hateful and spiteful comments are not those of a Catholic, who is told to love his neighbours, and even his enemies.
      Besides, your comments are pretty stereotyped. Are you telling us that we Catholics have no black sheep of our own?

      • poetcomic1

        It is SO easy to prattle prettily about love and peace to Nazis. I don’t ‘hate’ Muslims, if you love Muslims you want to convert them from their religion of hate and you won’t do it by groveling and telling them how much you ‘respect’ their ‘religion’. That is a great Catholic witness (sarcasm off).

        • Shrdlu42

                Would that be the same kind of “love” Catholics demonstrated by torturing and murdering Jews in their Crusades, Inquisitions, and Pogroms? If so, we’ve had quite enough of that, thank you.

          • Adam__Baum

            If that’s all you see, why are you here?

            • Masr

              Because he wants to see your useless comments

              • Adam__Baum

                I guess you beat me to it.

              • Shrdlu42

                      No, because I keep hoping to have an intelligent and serious discussion about an important topic. So far I’m usually disappointed.

                • Adam__Baum

                  You haven’t kept up your part of the dialogue.

            • Shrdlu42

                    Obviously not. And you’d know that if you took the time to read my remarks in context, and consider what I write, instead of just making quick, ill-informed, and ignorant remarks like that one.

                    I was responding to Poetcomic1’s earlier remarks about Islam being a religion of hate, and the necessity to convert Muslims from that faith as a demonstration of “love”.

              See his original Comment at http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/do-all-religions-deserve-respect#comment-1206035379, and my response at http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/do-all-religions-deserve-respect#comment-1206437526.

                    Obviously, there is more to Catholic history (and Christian history) than the crimes of the Crusades, Inquisition, and Reformation. There is the noble charity work of people such as Dr. Albert Schweitzer and Mother Theresa, the heroic acts of the Christians of Denmark and the people of Assisi to hide and protect their Jewish neighbors. One of my favorite stories from the Holocaust concerns the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of one of the Aegean islands occupied by the Nazis. Told to produce a list of the Jews on the island (since the Church kept all the birth and death records), he wrote his name on a piece of paper, passed it over to the SS Officer making the demand, and said: “There, that is the list of Jews on my island.” Throughout the entire occupation, thanks to his courage and that of the other islanders in hiding and protecting them, only four Jews died – and that was from natural causes!

                    These are examples of people truly living in “Imitation of Christ”.

                    Why am I here? Aside from the fact that I have the same Free Speech rights as anyone else, I believe all religions do deserve respect (not just “toleration”), and that all faiths should be hesitant in asserting their “superiority”. Catholicism may be “superior” for Catholics, Protestantism for Protestants, and Judaism for Jews, but we have no right to assume our faiths will be “superior” for others, much less to try to impose it on others in the name of that “superiority”. Sorry, if standing up for the principles America was founded on offends you.

          • Arriero

            We, real Catholics, will never disown the history of our Church, we will never renege from any of the things she, guided by God, did or does.

            The bad press about Middle Ages, Crusades and the Inquisition is a mere tale built by envious anglo-saxon historians throughout the XVIII and XIX centuries. I simply call this the «whig understanding of history». They’re also behind the story about the Spanish Black Legend (genocides in America, harsh Inquisition, etc.), everything false, built to undermine the greatest evangelizer Empire in world’s history and to directly attack Catholicism. It’s no coincidence that these stories mainly come from anglo-saxon protestants. But we know history, and we will always defend and assert whatever comes from the Church.

            Your flawed understanding of history and your profound disdain against the Catholic Church is, and let me to say it again, profoundly protestant.

            • John200

              Yes, Shrdlu sounds like a Protestant, but he claimed to be a Jew.

              I dunno the truth, other than the simple — he is correcting everybody in a combox.

              We’ll see,…

              • smokes

                He’s a arse.

                • Shrdlu42

                  So, that’s the part of your body you keep admiring in that mirror! Explains a lot.

                • Adam__Baum

                  A bilious and contentious one too.

              • Shrdlu42

                      Yes, because I believe in facts and reason as the road to truth (also humility), and not in blind faith or ideology, I do tend to sound “Protestant” to extremist “Catholics”, and “Catholic” to extremist “Protestants”. I also tend to sound “Atheist” to extremists of both faiths (and many others), and “Fundamentalist” to “Atheists”.

                      By the way, I’m only “correcting” those whose extreme remarks need correction, and then only when I have fact and reason to back up what I write.

                P.S. – And since being either Protestant or Catholic requires believing in Jesus and what’s known as the “New Testament”, let me clearly state that I believe in neither. (Some of what Jesus is reputed to have said has value in my eyes, but I reject the Theology built up around him.) So while you may continue to doubt I’m a Jew, I trust I have “allayed your fears” that I’m a Protestant!

                • John200

                  As you wish.

            • Thomas

              It is no tale my dear. Whilst it is true that the Church itself did not sanction any atrocities carried out, what remains clear is that any atrocities committed were carried out by Catholic men and women.
              It is the same for the Muslims. Islam doesn’t teach such hate, but still some of its adherents continue to carry out such acts.
              Why equate Islam with hate when you do not equate Catholicism with hate as well? Is that not having double standards?

              • Arriero

                Because,as Pope Benedict correctly pointed out (you must know it. See link at the end), Catholicism is a RATIONAL religion, a religion where there is no Faith without reason, and there is no reason without Faith. Both complement magnify each other.

                On the contrary, the paper of rationality in Islam is non existent in the same intrinsic foundations of this religion.

                Catholicism cannot be, hence, equated with Islam on hate. Because Catholicism is imposed only because of and for love to those who have not been able yet to know God, to arrive to the truth (The American evangelization was an act of love, then). Islam, meanwhile, is imposed because of and for hate against those who, even by ignorance, don’t believe in their God.

                Again, also this spirit of trying to equalize all religions is profoundly protestant. Even more, when it is based on flawed historical facts built by protestanized anglo-saxon historians in their infinite envy towards which was their biggest enemy, Spain, and the biggest threat to their sinful power, the Catholic Church. Luckily, we do know the Catholicism is above any other religion. That’s why it is a dogmatic and Authoritarian religion, to preserve the truth and nothing but the truth.

                (*) See: «Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.» ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regensburg_lecture )

                • Shrdlu42

                        Benedict may have made that claim, but that doesn’t make any of it true. From the perspective of Judaism, Christianity is highly irrational! (Of course, for centuries Christians thought Judaism and Jews were irrational.)

                        The test of rationality isn’t just how logical an argument one can make. If one starts with false or erroneous premises, the conclusion will be false and erroneous no matter how logically arrived at. As they say in Computer Science: garbage in = garbage out.

                        Of course, it’s ultimately impossible to prove the central claims of any faith are true or false, which is why there must be freedom of religion. Otherwise, the only way to end the debate is by slaughtering the other side! That’s one reason the history of just about every religion is filled with bloodshed.

                        Fantasize or rationalize it as much as you wish, but those being burned alive in an Auto da Fe (literally “Act of Faith”) probably found it hard to “feel the love”, even though that torment was supposedly “for their own good”!

              • Adam__Baum

                My dear?

                Whose grandmother do you think you are?

            • Shrdlu42

                    And you, sir, are so deep in denial that it’s almost pathological. If such as you constitute “real Catholics”, then I’m afraid that faith is doomed! Fortunately, you are anything but.

                    It’s apparently escaped your notice that I am Jewish! What I wrote has nothing to do with Protestantism, and is historical fact! Remember: those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it. So, if you spend your life repeating the sins of the Crusades and the Inquisition, don’t come crying to me when your afterlife turns out not to be what you expect. Dante has a place in Hell reserved for people like you!

              P.S. – And since you want to “defend and assert whatever comes from the Church”, care to give us your thoughts about pedophile priests, and their protectors? Or is that just more propaganda from “anglo-saxon protestants”?

          • smokes

            Too bad the Jews of the day were encouraging the Muslims to attack Christianity, true? luckily, the early martyrs survived death at the hands of Judaism.

            • Shrdlu42

                    Care to provide some proof for that assertion about Jews, Muslims, and Christians? I know of no organized campaign by Jews to stir up Muslims to attack Christians. (Indeed, many Jews helped Christians when their lands were being attacked by Muslims. Study the history of Italy during the Renaissance, for example.) And I know of no occasion where the “early martyrs” were killed “at the hands of Judaism” – unless you are referring to those martyrs killed by the Romans.

                    I have no doubt that there was plenty of “bad blood” between Jews and the early Christians. The “birth pains” of any new faith always includes such conflicts with members of the “mother religion”. After all, look at what happened to all the schismatics within Christianity. As I recall there were plenty of Catholics who died “at the hands of” Orthodox Christianity, and vice versa. And, of course, let’s not forget all the “fun” Christians had slaughtering each other during the Reformation. Unlike some here, I am not claiming my faith is perfect, or doesn’t have a murderous past. (Just ask the Amalekites and the Canaanites, to name two.) But hopefully all our faiths have outgrown such behavior, and we should be on our guard against “backsliding”.

        • Thomas

          Can you prove that Islam is a religion of hate? They could very well say Catholicism is a religion of hate just by pointing to the atrocities carried out during the crusades and what not.

      • Adam__Baum

        Interesting. You open your lecture about hate, spite and authentic Catholicity with a stereotyped judgement of hate and atavism. Wow.

        The injunction to pull the log out of one’s eye before calling attention to the speck in anothers does not have a corollary to ignore a forest due to the presence of a speck.

        http://old.nationalreview.com/15oct01/johnson101501.shtml

        • Shrdlu42

                Looking in the mirror, are we? What you wrote applies to you far more than it does to Thomas.

          • Adam__Baum

            Uh, no, and your comment history indicates you are projecting.

            • Shrdlu42

                    Hardly, I saw none of what you described in Thomas’ original Comment, but there was plenty of it in yours! Like “smokey”, you must be looking in the mirror.

          • Adam__Baum

            Wow, based on the number of responses, I guess I owe you some gratitude for the ability to live rent free in your head,

        • Thomas

          If you have an objection, point it out. If not, why comment with such baseless accusations?

          • Adam__Baum

            My dear, are you still living in the age of the Aquarius?

            • Shrdlu42

                    Better that than where you appear to be living: the Age of Denial.

              • Adam__Baum

                You are only one making a denial here.

          • Shrdlu42

                  Because all he’s got are baseless accusations.

    • Shrdlu42

            Gee, and the Jews could make the same statement about your religion, with far more proof from history! Why do you note the mote in the Muslim’s eye, and ignore the two-by-four in yours?

    • John Fisher

      Absolutely!!!!

      • Shrdlu42

              Absolutely not!

    • Adam__Baum
      • Shrdlu42

              As if on que you link to an article by the Anti-Muslim extremist (Ms. Geller), complaining about an extreme reaction by a group of Muslims, and posted on the website of that “oracle of truth” Breitbart. Aside from proving extremists mirror one another, I fail to see the relevance.

  • Rusty

    The difficulty with any argument is that it is based on a priori assumptions. If one wants to make a Catholic case for religious freedoms, it will always come down to prudence. Justification may be found in a Thomastic rationale, but Thomas also made many a priori assumptions, which underly the entire scholastic project. These assumptions are not always shared, which is why not everyone thinks or believes the same things.

    As a convert rather than a cradle Catholic, I am engaged in an ongoing effort to learn about and understand the Church’s teachings, and am always left with the thought that much of the teachings are based on a priori assumptions that nobody can actually prove, and I am not talking here about the existence of God or the divinity of Jesus – these are matters of faith, not proof.

    Many teachings derive from first principles, but are not directly stated in the Gospels. Exegesis is not a science, and discerning the true meaning (or meanings, as context always affects intention, and language is an imperfect medium for the expression of meaning or experience) makes theology a practice that can lead towards understanding but that destination will never be reached in this life. Some biblical statements are clearly wrong, and are reflections of cultural or social circumstance rather than divine truth. Statements about how to treat slaves cannot be taken as biblical justification for slavery, for example.

    This is where adherence to dogma must give way to individual conscience, as individuals can never experience the truths experienced by others. (I envy the mystics, whose gifts are different from those given to me.) The shared human experience has its limits, and the individual soul’s relation to the Divine, as expressed through our conscience, must be our final guide. Even Thomas knew that for all his prayer and study, he could never completely grasp the truth in this life. The Church, through its traditions, has a richness that will probably always exceed my ability to understand, but my nature requires me to question and be open to learn – it is always a struggle to simply accept. I pray that my journey takes me towards the truth, and that the Holy Spirit will help me overcome my own wilfullness and sinfulness.

    • Shrdlu42

            The justification for religious freedom is indeed “Thomastic”, but you’ve got the wrong Thomas.

      But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

      Source: Notes on Virginia, page 275 of The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Random House, 1972)

            He also had a few words on how “effective” the opposite approach (religious persecution) was:

      Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced on inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make on half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.

      Source: Page 276 op. cit.

            Obviously, that did little for “the glory of God”. (No matter which god it was.)

  • hombre111

    Doctor Trabbic endangers his article at the very beginning by talking about “Obama’s war on Catholics.” If the disagreement between Obama and the American bishops is a “war,” then the very term “war” has been reduced to a squabble or misunderstanding. Does play well in the right wing, though, but it makes one want to question the logical bona fides of the rest of the argument. As for the rest of the article, it is interesting. But I notice the author does not mention any present “false religions” that we can scorn at our leisure. So, it boils down to an intellectual exercise, some kind of thought project like the ones that entangled Bohr and Einstein forever.

    • smokes

      The Little Sisters of the Poor were chased out of Red China and could well be forced out of the USA by Obama. Quite a price to pay for a “misunderstanding” about financing something one deems intrinsically evil, don’t you think? .

      • hombre111

        Hard to build a castle on a “could well be.”

      • Shrdlu42

              If I hear one more inane comparison between a legal dispute over our laws, being conducted in a civilized fashion, and acts of tyranny (such as those conducted in Nazi Germany or Red China), I’m going to have to start stuffing people into gas chambers so they can learn the difference!

    • Adam__Baum

      What is wrong with you?

      The military under this CoC, threatened to arrest Chaplains that said Mass VOLUNTARILY.

      http://www.catholicvote.org/military-priests-face-arrest-for-celebrating-mass-in-defiance-of-shutdown/

      Then there’s this stuff.

      http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/04/18/Hagel-Grilled-on-Army-Email-Comparing-Christians-with-Racists-and-Terrorists

      We really need to track you down and make your Bishop aware of your statements.

      Now tell me again how rotten the soon to be Sainted Pope was again.

      • Art Deco

        We really need to track you down and make your Bishop aware of your statements.

        Wagers he has no ‘bishop’, bar in the sense that any layman does. The mode of expression and the substance of his remarks would suggest the lesser sort of junior high school social studies teacher.

        • hombre111

          Nope. A retired old guy who still ministers faithfully. Being retired is the good part, because I can speak my mind. When I was a pastor, I was an official representative of the Church, obliged to defend blunders like Humanae Vitae. Now I can say it was well meaning but dumb.

          • Art Deco

            1. Non ci credo.

            2. That seminary strip mining machine must have had quite a battered sluice box to let you through.

            • hombre111

              2, And the result was pure gold.

              • Adam__Baum

                Somehow, I think you need assay to distinguish authentic AU from pyrite.

                • Shrdlu42

                  Look who’s talking!

            • Adam__Baum

              “That seminary strip mining machine must have had quite a battered sluice box.”

              That Sir is an excellent analogy.

              • Shrdlu42

                      Actually, it’s backwards. Sluice boxes are used to “trap” the gold, and prevent gold from getting through.

            • Shrdlu42

                    Except that at sluice box is used to trap the gold, and separate it from lesser rocks. So, if you’re arguing he should never have graduated from the seminary (that is: been selected for graduation), your analogy is backwards.

          • Adam__Baum

            “A retired old guy who still ministers faithfully.”

            Honey, come here. This is pure comedy gold.

            • Shrdlu42

              Rather, fool’s gold.

        • Shrdlu42

          Huh? (“bishop bar”?)

      • hombre111

        I truly believe Pope John Paul is a saint. But he won’t get my prayers, is all.

        • Adam__Baum

          Your prior comments indicate otherwise.

          One hopes for your sake, he doesn’t respond in kind. You need him more than he needs you.

        • Guest

          .

          • hombre111

            When he got to heaven, God surely welcomed him with joy. Then he asked him why he was so hard on people.

      • Shrdlu42

        “We really need to track you down and make your Bishop aware of your statements.”

              So much for Freedom of Speech. Any other parts of the Constitution whose principles you care to shred? (Of course, the letter of the Law doesn’t apply, but such attempts at intimidation are hardly “American”.)

              As for the first article you linked to, despite the hysterical charges, all that really happened was the military Chapels were closed. Why? Because due to the Republican caused government shutdown, only essential military activities were authorized to continue. I know this will come as a shock, but religious services don’t qualify. (Especially in places where there are plenty of civilian chapels nearby.) And for all the “chicken little” screaming, I don’t recall a single chaplain being arrested!

              As for the Breitbart piece of propaganda, since when does one idiotic e-mail sent by one idiotic officer constitute a “war” by the Obama Administration? (As for the substance of the e-mail, forgive me if I don’t blindly accept Breitbart.com’s characterization of it.)

              So, unless you’re prepared to declare that Governor Christie was conducting a “war on Fort Lee” because of the stupidity of some of his underlings (admittedly close underlings), you’ve got nothin’!

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      “Nothing is ever serious to those who do not love.” – François Mauriac

    • Guest

      When should Catholics start to be concerned?

      • Adam__Baum

        About 1992.

      • hombre111

        I think Catholics should be concerned right now. But escalating the rhetoric to the level of a “war” might be counter-productive. What about a respectful dialogue? I am afraid the bishops might have turned the Obama regime off, so that he considers them Republicans with purple beanies.

        • Adam__Baum

          “What about a respectful dialogue?”

          Respect is earned.

          • Shrdlu42

                  Yes, by both sides, and empty rhetoric about “wars” or comparisons with Red China deserve no respect.

      • Shrdlu42

              How about when a Texas Pastor introduces Rick Perry in his next try for President, by calling Catholicism a “cult”?

    • Shrdlu42

            Actually, the issues involved in “Obamacare” are so complex that calling it a “war on Catholics” (or Christians in general) is hyperbole bordering on fraud. Legally speaking it raises an old constitutional question: How far can one claim exemption from a general law based on religious faith. While it is clear the government has no business directly interfering with purely religious activity (such as preventing private prayer), it’s not so clear when an otherwise secular law contradicts belief.

            Can Bob Jones University enforce racial segregation among its students? Does the Native American Church have a constitutional right to use Peyote in its religious ceremonies? Could the Church of Satan (founded by Anton Lavey) perform human sacrifices and literally get away with murder? The Supreme Court answered No in the first two cases, and a I certainly hope it would provide the same answer in the last one (if it ever arose).

            Belief is absolutely protected, but conduct is not. So the outcome of the lawsuit over the birth control provisions of the law is far from certain. But calling it a “war” is simply false.

      • hombre111

        Thanks. Overblown rhetoric diminishes any argument.

  • smokes

    We might start with the a priori proposition of the “natural law” that was trashed, once and for all, in Roe vs. Wade. The “natural law” predates Christianity but is the bedrock upon which the 3 monotheistic religions are based. Horace, a contemporary of Christ dying in 8 B.C. noted that laws without morals are useless. Well, they’re actually much worse than Horace supposed given our 56,000,000 aborted babies since 1973, and the deplorable state of our crumbling society..

    With Obama, we can compare his absence of any belief in the “natrural law” with the similar beliefs of communists. For them, relgion is tolerated but can never be allowed in the public square. if it ventures into the public square doing the work of educating or caring for others (the Little Sisters of the Poor come to mind) they must be punished. So, the touchstone for religious freedom appears to be the concept of the “natural law”.

    Of course, when your government comes with guns to arrest you or simply to fine your religious organization out of business, all bets are off. You subject yourself to martyrdom, fight or flee. That’s exactly the options the Roman Catholic Church has in America, 2014.

    • Rusty

      Natural law encompasses the concept of teleology – that is, that the essence of a thing has its own excellence or purpose. Aristotle wrote extensively about this, and it is the basis of much of Thomas’s work.
      My understanding of this concept may be too simple, because there are certainly logical problems with this idea. That which makes a thing unique, and which gives it its essence, is usually multi-faceted. A simple demonstration is how the blind men in a room might describe an elephant as variously resembling a tree trunk, a snake, a wall etc.; it may describe some aspect of the thing, but not its essence.
      Applying the concept to human beings will, of course, result in a Christian stating that the excellence or end towards which a human should be oriented is to love God. This, of course, we hold to be true.
      However, humans also have been given the ability to reason, and been given a will. When is the application of reason and the will sinful? We can answer that by referring to the Natural Law. To violate the Natural Law is to sin, and we violate the Natural Law when we will an outcome that is contrary to the Natural Law. How do we apply that to matters of sexuality, for example? We believe that as humans, we are to go forth and multiply.
      In Humanae Vitae, we are told that the sexual act is reserved for both the strengthening of the relationship between man and wife, and the procreation of children – sexual acts that do not include both purposes is a sin. The difficulty with this is that this implies that natural family planning is an acceptable method of engaging in sexual activity, while minimizing the possibility of conceiving a child. If it is sinful to consciously do something that is intended to obtain one benefit (spousal closeness or intimacy) while minimizing the possibility of the second, why would NFP not be as sinful as the use of condoms? After all, God has given us the gift of reason, and our use of technology to achieve things we want is something that God has given us. Frankly, I struggle with understanding the difference between these two situations.
      I understand that many forms of contraception are intended to prevent the already fertilized ovum from implantation and development – they interfere with and end a life already begun, which we know is a sin. However, I have great difficulty with the logic of absolutes (which is the concept of sin) being applied to one form of “conception avoidance” over another that does not involve the termination of a life already begun.
      The highest calling for which the sexual act has been designed is clear. That any sexual act not encompassing both aims is sinful gives me great trouble. After all, we know that there are times when prudence (a virtue, after all) suggests that conceiving a child is not appropriate. People live their lives one moment at a time – it is all these moments strung together that encompass their life. At each moment, it is impossible to do God’s will because the moments must be viewed in conjunction with each other, and our actions are spread out over various durations of these moments – they are both separate, and linked.
      I do not understand how it is sinful to intend procreation at one moment, and not intend it at another, because life is made up of many moments and activities other than having sex (i.e. eating, sleeping, praying, playing, working, etc.). The prudent response is that each activity will best take place at an appropriate time and place, that there is a time and place for lovemaking – we are not multiplying all the time. When we decide to make love, we do not necessarily want to have a child conceived at that moment – I fail to see the sinfulness in what we want (or do not want) based on the method we use to minimize the chances of conception, provided it does not terminate an already-started life.
      To take an absolutist position, the only time a husband and wife ought to make love is when there is a willingness to conceive. Of course, willingness and being open to something without really wanting it are two different things – I do agree that since (for example) condoms are not universally effective, their use to prevent pregnancy accepts that pregnancy may well result, either through misuse or malfunction. If I understand the Church’s position on married sexuality, there must be openness to new life with each sexual act. There is both a distinction AND a difference between these two positions.
      My use of this example is to demonstrate that making reference to Natural Law and using Aristotelian logic do not always result in a convincing position from the Church.

      • smokes

        I think Aquinas would say that it’s ethical to have sex with a spouse or not to have sex. The resulting child is a secondary consequence of either legitimate course. At base, if an act doesn’t come close to conforming to the natural law, like gay marriage, murder or abortion, then any group that adheres to such notions is unacceptable. The “natural law” isn’t a bad smell test for a religion in a diverse society. The former Western Civilization abandoned the concept in the 20th century and has lost its way to happiness. In fact, its gotten downright dismal around here, lately..

        • Shrdlu42

                What’s “unacceptable” is your arrogant notion that you can control the lives of other based on what you perceive to be “natural law”. Given how often it occurs in nature, there is no basis for calling homosexuality “unnatural”. And since promiscuity is the norm in nature, marriage itself could be called “unnatural”. (And has been by those who oppose the institution.) Animals “murder” one another all the time, it’s perfectly “natural”. However, it is impossible to have a society, much less a civilization, where murder is allowed. That (not “natural law”) is why murder is a crime. (Plus, of course, the belief that no one should have the right to impose their judgments of life or death on another. But “natural law” has nothing to do with that!)

                Oh, and if you feel life is “downright dismal”, please feel free to move back to the Middle Ages. Better yet, go back to the Stone Age. (I believe there are still some tribes in the Amazon living there.)

      • Shrdlu42

              “Natural Law” has been used to justify whatever the speaker wants. How often have we heard the cry that homosexuality is “unnatural” – except that it occurs in Nature all the time.

              Sorry, but I prefer to have my laws based more on fact and reason than on an academic philosophy which has such a dismal track record. Oh, and I also believe that somewhere there should be room for our government and its laws to be based on “the consent of the governed” – Declaration of Independence.

  • John O’Neill

    Extra Ecclesiam nemo salvus erit……..

    • Adam__Baum

      ??

      • John200

        Adam,
        He is trying to cut off communication with you, unless you know Latin. So veddy veddy superior, you see?

        You are invited to join me in responding:
        Dear John O’Neill,
        Most people say, “extra ecclesiam nulla salus,” when they want to say, “Outside the church, there is no salvation.”

        Two can play this snobby game, but it is not much of a game.

        • Adam__Baum

          “He is trying to cut off communication with you, unless you know Latin.”

          I don’t. It wasn’t offered my high school. I had no exposure until the peripheral exposures of college economics.

          What does it mean?

          • R. K. Ich

            “Outside the Church no man may be saved.”

            • Adam__Baum

              Thanks, R.K. I think I missed the implicit definition in John200’s post (thanks as well J200).. it’s late.. need weekend…

        • John O’Neill

          Since I have degrees in Latin and Germanistik I do not need someone correcting me. They both mean the same thing; nemo means no one erit means will be salvus means saved and extra ecclesiam is a prepositional phrase that means outside the church . I know that modern Americans have very little knowledge of Latin or Greek but they read everything on the internet where they can be easily confused. As far as using Latin I find it a language which avoids deception and twisting unlike modern American English, the language of lying politicians and sophists.

          • John200

            If you think you do not need correction, then you are deceived. You need correction, never doubt it. Your degree studies do not defeat that simple point.

          • Shrdlu42

                  Every language can be employed for deception and twisting. Such a shame all your degrees haven’t taught you that!

        • Shrdlu42

          Non illegitimes caborundam.

          ;-)

    • Shrdlu42

            That’s one opinion, here’s another: “The Righteous have an equal share in the life to come.” That’s a central tenet of Judaism, and it doesn’t require non-Jews to believe in Judaism.

  • yan

    “In sum, a Catholic argument for religious freedom cannot include among its premises a proposition to the effect that all religions have a right to equal respect.”

    True; and Dignitatis does not ground the argument for religious freedom on that premise. Instead it grounds the argument for religious freedom on the dignity of man.

    “Certain hermeneuts of discontinuity might prefer to read the document as revolutionary with respect to pre-conciliar teaching on religious freedom but the document itself does not support that reading.”

    Whether they be hermeneuts of continuity or discontinuity matters not. The fact remains that the teaching of Dignitatis, viewed in historical context, may fairly be called revolutionary in respect to Catholic teaching on religious freedom, for the very reason mentioned above: Dignitatis grounds the argument for religious freedom on the dignity of man. Preconciliar teaching, on the other hand, did not, and it accordingly arrived at a different recommendation for civil society. Conservatives must admit and come to terms with the reality of the new program without falling to the temptation of becoming rejecters of Vatican II.

    • Shrdlu42

            Then I trust you won’t mind if the non-Christians of the world (perhaps together with the non-Catholics) decide to “diss” your faith!

  • Wulfrano Ruiz Sainz

    “All the gods of nations are demons.”

    • Arriero

      «No os volváis hacia los ídolos ni hagáis dioses de metal vosotros mismos. Yo soy el Señor vuestro Dios» (Levítico 19:4).

      «Diles esto: ‘los dioses que no hicieron los cielos ni la tierra, perecerán de la tierra y de debajo de los cielos’» (Jeremiah 10:11).

      Catholicism is the only religion revealed directly from God to humanity and the only founded by God himself on Earth for all men. Catholicism is above any other.

      «[…] Y Dios creó los cielos».

      • Wulfrano Ruiz Sainz

        What the stupid nations must do is read St. Thomas Aquinas’ “Summa Theologica”.

        • Arriero

          Thomas Aquinas completely undermines the subjetivist (AD/AS curve) liberal theory of value when he wrote in the Summa: «never sell anything for more than it’s worth».

          • Shrdlu42

                  Like do much of what you write, that makes no sense at all.

        • Shrdlu42

                They might also consider Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature, and Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. (Although the latter is tough going.)

          • Wulfrano Ruiz Sainz

            There isn’t time to read nutballs like Hume and Kant. There is barely time to read St. Thomas Aquinas’ marvelous “Summa Theologica”,

            • Shrdlu42

              Lather, rinse, repeat.

              • Wulfrano Ruiz Sainz

                At the Council of Trent, upon the altar, there were only two books displayed. One was the Bible; the other was the Summa of St. Thomas.

                As for the works of Hume and Kant I find them useful every time I run out of toilet paper.

            • Wulfrano Ruiz Sainz

              The works of Hume and Kant come in handy every time I run out of toilet paper.

          • Wulfrano Ruiz Sainz

            There isn’t time to read nutballs like Hume and Kant. There is barely time to read St. Thomas Aquinas’ marvelous “Summa Theologica”.

            • Shrdlu42

                    And others would say Aquinas was the “nutball”. I suspect he’d have a higher opinion of Hume and Kant than you do, and that they had a good opinion of him. I also suspect all three would have a very low opinion of you!

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I would also recommend Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason”.

      • Shrdlu42

              Sorry, but plenty of religions claim to have been “revealed directly” by their god(s), and there’s as much reason to doubt Catholicism’s claims as any other. Believe what you chose to believe, but never assume that what you chose to believe is true.

    • Shrdlu42

            Like most sweeping generalizations, that’s probably wrong.

  • elarga

    Not sure about author’s interpretation of DH in paragraph starting “One of the places.” In DH itself, see the last paragraph of Section 2. Here the right to seek the truth and thus religious truth as well is declared to be rooted in man’s nature: all men are “at once impelled by nature and also bound
    by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are
    also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole
    lives in accord with the demands of truth.” In other words, the right to religious freedom must be an inalienable, human, natural, right — not one that is dependent on the actual truth of the belief. It seems reasonable to read DH as in fact authorizing a broader freedom of religious inquiry than that allowed by the author’s interpretation. He adverted to this point at the start of his column but quickly left it behind.

  • Matthew J. Ogden

    Reading Dignitatis Humanae (or rereading it, as I just did recently), it’s quite apparent that religious freedom, as therein explained, is not a positive right for all religions because, as St. Augustine said, error has no right to exist. Rather, it is a negative principle which merely says that temporal authorities are not competent to make religious judgments except insofar as the natural and common good of the society is concerned.

    And this is not contrary to the belief that the temporal authority is there to uphold the common good of the society. Just as the Church distinguishes between the cardinal and theological virtues, the temporal authority uses the cardinal virtues to work for the common good, leaving the theological virtues to the Church, as this is her domain exclusively and not that of the state.

    • smokes

      Jefferson summed it up, “We hold these truths to be self evident…”

      It’s a shame the Declaration of Independence was never made a part of the Law of the Land in America.

      • Matthew J. Ogden

        Jefferson was a total hack. The Declaration of Independence is just Freemasonic dreg, nothing more. “All men are created equal”: such Enlightenment nonsense!

        • smokes

          I rather like the Right to Life. It’s in a context with the ideas of John Locke who held atheism could not exist in a civilized society. Look around, its hard to disagree. …though you surely will.

          • Shrdlu42

                  With all due respect to Locke, the point you cite is just one area where he failed to follow his own philosophy rigorously. A failure the Founders didn’t repeat. While he famously called for equal civil rights for Christians, he didn’t do the same for non-Christians. Indeed, he once thought no non-Christian should hold public office, serve on a jury, or testify at trial. Our Constitution, especially it’s No Religious Test Clause (Article 6, Paragraph 3) disagrees.

                  As for Atheism, Jefferson disagreed most strenuously:

            If we did a good act merely from the love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? It is idle to say, as some do, that no such being exists. . . . Diderot, D’Alembert, D’Holbach, Condorcet are known to have been among the most virtuous of men. Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.

            Source: Letter to Thomas Law, Esq. (June 13, 1814), reprinted at page 637 of “The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson” (Random House, 1972)

                  On the other hand, civilized societies cannot exist when torn apart by religious conflict.

        • Adam__Baum

          I really wish you guys would decide whether the boys in powdered wigs were deist freemasons or Calvinists.

          Of course, measured against the likes of Nancy (I’ll get you my pretty) Pelosi, Joe (this is a big [expletive deleted]-ing deal) Biden,

          “Where’s Bobby” Casey, and Kathleen (can’t really characterize her without incurring the wrath of the moderator) Sebelius, or Anthony (“the girst “gay” justice”) Kennedy, Jefferson might have been less offensive to Catholics than these “Catholics” (often the products of Catholic schools), and perhaps more tolerant of the Church. I’m sure he’d have been better dinner company.

          At judgment, Jefferson might have been able to offer a defense of ignorance. The others named above will not be able to offer that defense, and they will be responsible in part for the advancement of mass slaughter, the conscription of the unwilling to its support and the deformational assault on marriage.

          • Shrdlu42

                  Don’t be so sure that “at judgment” the Lord will see things your way.

                  And for the record, the Founders (many of whom didn’t wear powdered wigs) included Deists, Freemasons, Calvinists, Catholics, Anglicans, Congregationalists, Baptists, Jews, Quakers, Atheists, Agnostics, and a host of others. America was no more religiously uniform back then than it is now. That’s one reason why the Founders didn’t want a Federal government meddling in Religion (or vice versa): they could never be certain their own faith would be the one that won. (And many of them applied the same principles to their State governments too – working to disestablish churches in their home States.)

        • Shrdlu42

                Then please feel free to leave this country based on such “dreg”.

          P.S. – Unless that was sarcasm on your part.

      • Shrdlu42

              If it was, a lot of our disputes would be over. Abortion? Part of a woman’s “inalienable rights”. Gay marriage? Ditto.

              If you want to use the Declaration, remember that the part you quote is merely the philosophical starting point for its major premise: that governments are to be based on “the consent of the governed”, so that when a government acts without such consent, and actually thwarts it, people have the right to change the government as they see fit. We saw fit to replace the monarchy of the British Empire with a constitutional democracy, in the form of a republic! The choice did not include the “right” to do whatever one wants in the name “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. For good reason: it’s impossible to run a society purely on that.

    • Adam__Baum

      “..temporal authorities are not competent..”

      Enough said.

      • Shrdlu42

              No, unless you prefer Anarchy.

    • Shrdlu42

            Yes, but in matters of faith who is truly qualified to say where “error” lies? No living person!

  • WRBaker

    As I would teach my students….600 years or so ago, this guy who lived in the desert comes alone and, in essence, says, “God made a mistake. Oh and by the way, there is no Triune God, and Jesus was a good guy, but not God. Let’s talk about virgins….”
    Oh please….

    • Arriero

      I believe in the thesis (interestingly exposed by Spanish philosopher Gustavo Bueno) that Muhammad never received any revelation from God through the Archangel Gabriel, rather Muhammad, during his stay in Mecca, contacted and met Arrian Christians expelled from Byzantium, explaining Muhammad their theories of the non-divinity of Jesus Christ and their consideration of him as just a mere prophet of God. Hence Muhammad really took his ideas from them, which led him to later create Islam. In fact, could be succesfully argued that the idea of ​​God in Islam and in Judaism, is the idea of the ​​pure act of Aristotle.

      • Adam__Baum

        I’m not sure who or what he received or thought he received, or from.

        St. Gabriel could not have given the messages recorded in Scripture, especially Luke 1:26-38, and also delivered the messages asserted by Islam.

        They are mutually exclusive propositions, and I suspect why there was an injunction against different Gospels, even if it was delivered by an Angel(s).

        • Shrdlu42

                No more so that the “mutually exclusive propositions” of Christianity and Judaism. Sorry to have to tell you this, but many of the “fundamentals” of the Christian faith are a blasphemy to Judaism!

      • Shrdlu42

              Considering that Judaism existed long before Aristotle, the “success” of that argument is doubtful. But if you want to see a believer in a hybrid of Judaism and Pagan faiths and philosophies, go look in the nearest mirror!

    • Shrdlu42

            Uh, dude, it was more like over 1,300 years ago. And it’s no more ridiculous than what was said about that other guy who lived 600 years or so before that!

  • Pingback: Do all religions deserve respect? - Christian Forums

  • Shrdlu42

          Yes, indeed, religious freedom should only exist for the true religion. So I’m sure you won’t mind if Jews, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Agnostics, along with anyone else who decides Catholicism isn’t a “true” religion, unite to use the government to end your faith!

          The first test of a principle is whether or not it is applied universally. Religious freedom only for the faiths you approve of is an oxymoron.

    • Arriero

      That’s right. The so-called religious freedom is in itself profoundly anti-Catholic. Historically non existent in any Catholic nation, except in the US, were Catholics were a minority and had to protect themselves embracing such awful concept (like Calbert family and the Maryland Toleration Act for protecting Trinitarian Christians, mainly Catholics). That is because a Catholic knows there’s only one true religion. This also explains why the Church has to be in the middle of any plausible political scenario. If not, may very well happen what you describe. Wait, that’s in fact what has happened in any of the countries where Freedom of religion has reached the status of civil Dogma. It explains plainly a political manner: Catholics, a minority in the US, has historically need ties with other “conservative” religions against the common “progressive” enemy. Is the story of Catholics joining baptists and mormons, something unbeliable anywhere else. Catholicism IS the ONLY true religion.

      • Nathan

        This.

        • Shrdlu42

          This, what?

          • Nathan

            I agree with what Arriero said.

      • Shrdlu42

              As to be expected with a religious bigot and blind ideologue, your statements are completely divorced from reality. Far from being a “minority”, in this country Catholics are the single largest denomination! (With over 67 million members – The World Almanac 2010, page 704.) They “need ties” with other religions because they don’t make up the majority of the citizens, but that hardly makes them a “minority”. (Or, to be more accurate, all religions are a “minority” here.) Yeah, what a shame that there aren’t enough Catholics for you to impose your version of the faith on the rest of us!

              Of course, there’s also the problem of just how many conservative Catholics there are. If you decide that only the “conservatives” have the “true faith”, then I guess 67 million might be too high. (Indeed, I suspect your views are truly those of a minority of Catholics!)

              And, of course, you “brilliantly” miss the point of what I wrote, and indulge in hypocrisy to boot. In your “ideal” world it’s okay for Catholics to impose their faith on everyone, because you have “the ONLY true religion”. The trouble is: other faiths insist they are “the ONLY true religion”. How to resolve that conflict? Well, one way is to fight endless wars, engage in endless persecutions, until only one faith remains (the members of all others being dead). Now aside for the fact that’s hardly the way to honor “the Prince of Peace”, there’s the little fact that with the modern instruments of warfare the greater likelihood is that everyone will end up dead! (Better start teaching the cockroaches to say Mass.)

              The rest of what you wrote is just empty babbling, and the above is an adequate response. Thanks, though, for demonstrating that your brand of Catholicism is distinctly Un-American! (Happily, as I said before, it’s also the distinct minority among Catholics. And I somehow doubt the Pope endorses it.)

  • Evagrius

    Shrdlu42 got it right. As a universal proposition “freedom of religion” is a vacuous concept. It a concept rooted in a specific geography (the West) during a specific period of time (the so-called ‘Enlightenment’) and was possible because Christians had managed over the preceding thousand years to push nearly all other competing religions from the public square. I say ‘nearly’ because the nascent religion of “secularism” was not yet recognized as a competing religion. A prudential toleration of differences among competing Christian confessions and denominations was possible because the differences among them (although often murderously contested) were actually trivial in comparison with Christianity’s differences with other major religions. For example, what can “freedom of religion” possibly mean in connection with hierodulic prostitution (often involving children and still practiced in India), or Sati (widow burning), human sacrifice (e.g. the Aztecs to choose just one example close to home), female genital mutilation, polygamy. The three ‘sacraments’ of the Secularist ‘church’ are surely abortion, contraception, and sodomy. For the Secularists, abortion has been ‘sacralised’ into a positive good. What defense does “freedom of religion” offer against religions, such as Islam, whose only concept of “tolerance” is actually a form oppressive subordination (“Dhimmitude”) for Christians and Jews? For animists and other pagan religions Dhimmitude is not even an option; the choice is between conversion, death, or slavery. The Secularist concept of ‘tolerance’ or ‘religious freedom” is a cousin of Dhimmitude. It is not a negative right of Christians to be free from state interference; it is conceived by Secularists (and enforced by our secularist legal system) rather as the positive right of Secularists to be free from competing religions and to clear their competitors from the public square. The fact that Christians now desperately cling to “freedom of the religion” concepts is only more proof that they have lost a culture war — a war that they weren’t clever enough to recognize as a war and which they didn’t have the will to fight anyway. Pace thoughtful writers such as George Weigel, the origin of Christendom was not Constantine’s edicts of toleration but rather Theodosios’s decrees proscribing paganism. Merely legalizing Christianity led to Julian the Apostate’s cold war / soft persecution of Christianity. Proscribing paganism and burning the pagan temples, on the other hand, led to a thousand years of Christendom. When the Hindu high priests complained that the British suppression of Sati infringed their religious customs, Charles Napier replied: “Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

    • Arriero

      «[…] the origin of Christendom was not Constantine’s edicts of toleration but rather Theodosios’s decrees proscribing paganism. Merely legalizing Christianity led to Julian the Apostate’s cold war / soft persecution of Christianity. Proscribing paganism and burning the pagan temples or converting them into Churches (the contemporary equivalent of which would be the demolition of the abortion mills and building Churches in their place), on the other hand, led to a thousand years of Christendom.».

      Impressive statement. Beautiful, simple and the truth and only the truth.

      It also supports my thesis that freedom of religion is profoundly anti-Catholic (and a product of XVIIIth protestanized liberalism); also supports my thesis that the Church has been the greatest religious and political Institution the Earth has ever seen – historically explained by how it gathered enough power to influence over society – and my final thesis that the Church will only thrive, again, if she is able to take command, again. Without real power, Authority eventually dilutes.

      A protestanized catholic (in lowercase) will always deny your statement, though. Anti-government-per-se, anti-regulation-per-se and, ultimately, anti-Authority-per-se are profoundly nihilistic concepts, deeply anti-Catholic and which obviate Church’s great history.

      http://0.tqn.com/d/atheism/1/0/u/H/CharlemCrownedLeoIII-l.jpg 2)

      • Shrdlu42

              No, it’s not “truth”, but arrant nonsense, cloaked in sophistry. But given your other statements here, there’s no surprise you swallowed it whole.

    • Shrdlu42

            Given that everything you just wrote is complete nonsense, having you say I “got it right” is almost proof that I was wrong! (Except, of course, one shouldn’t take the word of a fool as proof of anything.) All I’ll say is that (as with so many others) your views are decidely Un-American! Why don’t you move somewhere else?

  • John Fisher

    Should all religions be tolerated? No. It is the content of religion and the truth falsity of the belief that determine this. A government normally should reflect the religion of its people. A religion that teaches violence, polygamy and makes false claims about its founder should be and can be banned as this constitutes “due limits”. No one can be coerced into any belief of religion… repudiating a religion as well might be more involved. What matters is the truth of a religion and so a repudiation of false religion is good but of a true religion is bad.
    That is the problem with religious tolerance. It tolerates right and wrong… but it may be only to keep peace and it is hoped the true religion will become that of the majority and ideally all over time.Yet it gives the impression all religions are as good as another. Which is untrue.
    This last point is often lost on Americans. The ideal is not a country of religious freedom meaning many religions… but one. A united people with a united world view can achieve more that a divided land.
    Chris desires all humanity belong to his body the Church through baptism and the Sacraments. For Christians who have made division and sects they will have to become part of the Church leaving what is faulty in their doctrine. For other religions they will have to abandon their false teaching and become Christians. No coercion but free choice… until then we tolerate and stop and religion that is false and threatens civil order and peace.

    • Shrdlu42

            Well then, since according to the majority of the people in this country, Catholicism is a false religion, I’d say you’re in big trouble the moment we tear up the Constitution and replace it with your “principles”!

            History is replete with examples of governments that thought they had to enforce religious uniformity to “achieve more”. All such efforts ended disastrously. (Study the story of Chanukah for an early example.)

            The Founders disagreed, which is why the gave us a Constitution which separates Church and State. (By “church”, the phrase refers to religion in general, not just Christianity.) You don’t like it? MOVE!

      P.S. – It never fails to amaze me how religious “conservatives” seem to think that honoring or following their faith requires destroying the Constitution!

      • John Fisher

        The constitution is a political document which is a practical arrangement one of whose aims is to keep public peace. The 13 colonies had different views because each had different majority religions so obviously they agreed to disagree. While protestants disagree with the mother church they also disagree with each other. Religious tolerance is necessary to keep peace and prevent civil strife which is a good and is the role of good government.
        1/ The USA must nor force it view on countries with established majority religions. 2/ The USA must not think of itself as the norm.
        What matters is stable good government not the form of government. As a democracy the USA is pretty “b” grade. Not everyone votes. Voting should be compulsory so all take part. The use of an electoral college rather than voting and parties with a majority seats forming a government is warped.

  • Cahill

    “War on Catholics”?! Haha, that us funny you fool

    • R. K. Ich

      Apparently ridicule requires no grammatical competence or thoughtful engagement–just a chimp and a keyboard.

      • Shrdlu42

        I’ve noticed that too.

  • Philip Sieve

    I respect serious followers of other faiths, but only one faith is protected from doctrinal error; the others, on the other hand, are corrupted by Satan in some way. Therefore, I cannot respect other faiths–not equally. Of pagan faiths around, today, I respect Buddhism the most. Stoicism would not have been bad in its time. Both seem not to be given into feelings-based theology. Ultimately, I cannot respect them as I could one God created. He started Judaism, but they lost doctrinal protection. Still, the sacrifices the orthodox Jews make, though unwarranted, are respectible; our removal of disciplines were, imo, foolish and we have seen the consequences of the softer observances.

    • Shrdlu42

            “Doctrinal error”? You mean like Matthew does in 1:22 – 23, by mistranslating the Hebrew word “almah” in Isaiah 7:14 (which means “young woman”), as if it were “betulah” (Hebrew for “virgin”)? Or changing the quotation so that an unspecified “they” calls the child Emmanuel, instead of it being the mother who calls his name Immanuel? (And never mind that neither name is ever used anywhere else in the Bible?) Or omitting the first nine words of the verse, which make clear that you can’t do the very thing Matthew does, and take Isaiah’s words out of context? Or ignoring the fact that if you put that verse in context (such as by reading it in the light of the entire Chapter 7), it becomes clear Isaiah was speaking of an event that was to occur (at most) in 65 years, not five centuries later? All so Matthew could create a “prophecy” of a Virgin Birth? Is that the kind of “doctrinal error” you claim to be immune from?

            And that’s just the tip of the theological iceberg!

            Believe what you wish, and live your life accordingly. But don’t ever delude yourself into believing your faith is infallible. It’s not. (None are.)

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  • crossdotcurve

    “We declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

    – Boniface VIII

  • crossdotcurve

    Pope Francis to Pentecostal preacher in Texas: “Come on, we are all brothers!”

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/pope-francis-pentecostals-we-are-brothers/

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