Bear Growls: Of Bears and Bibles

Wednesday, April 20, AD 2016




Our bruin friend over at Saint Corbinian’s Bear gives a useful overview of Catholic Bibles:

Recently, the Bear joined a Facebook Group called something like “Douay-Rheims Bible.” His first contribution was to note that St. Jerome started by correcting the “old Latin” Bible, which took people like 200 years to get over. What he got back was this:


The Bear still doesn’t know what to make of this. Except that he inadvertently turned over a rock. But it illustrates the fact that Catholics do not get Bible. Granted, they have the correct number of books, but we’re not spoiled for choice compared to our separated brethren.

  • Vulgate — Bear forgot most his Latin
  • Douay-Rheims — archaic language, but Challoner’s version is useful, especially with Haydock’s semi-useful commentary. (You want to talk BIG; must be registered as a deadly weapon in Washington state and Maine.) Published back when Catholics were confident. Not a bad choice at all, although some words will leave you scratching your head. Currently available on sale for $95 from Catholic Treasures. You owe it to yourself to own this beautiful, illustrated edition. Of course, more portable versions are available, too, but without Haydock’s notes, from St. Benedict Press and Lepanto Press, which has an economical, illustrated hardcover. Note that just as Protestants have their KJV-Onlyists, Catholics have their Douay-Rheims Onlyists. Both harmless if you pass on the Kool-Aid.
  • Revised Standard Version (either Catholic edition) — people get upset that Isaiah 7:14 is accurately translated in the 1st Ed. 2nd Ed. panders a bit by trying to make Catholics happier, which fails, because everybody (even Protestants) just knows “it’s a liberal translation.” Even so, the RSV is one of the best all-around choices for Catholics, in the Bear’s opinion. 1st Ed. uses “thees and thous” when addressing the Deity, if you like that sort of thing. Not impressed with translation to “repent” in relation to Judas, though, which recently confused our dear old holy Father.
  • Navarre Bible — very nice, extensive, conservative Catholic commentary (even if St. Jose Maria Escrivá is overrepresented in some volumes). RSV translation with current official Latin on every page. While there is a lovely one-volume, oversized “expanded” New Testament, it otherwise comes in a multi-volume set, e.g. “Pentateuch,” “Minor Prophets,” etc. You won’t be taking this to Sunday School with you. Catholics just don’t do one-volume study Bibles. Otherwise best in show.
  • Ignatius Study Bible — another multi-volume publication done by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. Nice; the NT volume is hardcover; others are paperback and the Bear has not read them. Probably the Catholic study Bible most like a Protestant study Bible in format and style, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
  • Catholic Scripture Study International — a whole program designed for group study, with an RSV-CE 1st Ed. Bible. Apologetics material on glossy pages scattered throughout. The program drivers are obviously well-meaning, but the Bear was just not impressed. You might be.
  • Jerome or Collegeville commentaries — Bear calls Modernism, but officially state-of-the-art, Catholic-style, i.e. recycling century-old liberal Protestant theories that the Bible is a forgery written in 1829 by Wilbur T. Birkenback, of Augusta, Maine. (Collegeville? Really?)
  • New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) — the official Bible of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, one of two “officially approved” for private reading by Catholics in the U.S. The Bear doesn’t know about you, but he can’t think of a single body better qualified to publish an annotated translation of the Bible! Translation itself isn’t bad, but you can’t get it without the notes, in which you will learn things like: because St. Matthew had never heard of Hebrew parallelism, he had Jesus enter Jerusalem riding both an ass and a colt like a circus performer. “The ass and the colt are the same animal in the prophecy [we sure about that, smart guy?] mentioned twice in different ways, the common Hebrew literary device of poetic parallelism. That Matthew takes them as two is one of the reasons why some scholars think that he was a Gentile rather than a Jewish Christian who would presumably not make that mistake” [when he was making up his Gospel]. That’s right, St. Matthew, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, completely blew the whole Palm Sunday scene because he was an ignorant Gentile. Recommended for Catholics who aspire to become atheists. Plus the usual recycling of Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis (Darwin’s Origin of Species of Biblical scholarship) and other “assured results of higher criticism,” e.g. all books of the Bible were forged by people other than whose names they bear, and any prophecies had to have been made after the fact. (Sorry, Cyrus.)

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19 Responses to Bear Growls: Of Bears and Bibles

  • “There are several good sites on the internet where different translations are laid out side by side”

    Any hints with these?

  • Thanks Don, I’m betting these get a lot of use.

  • Yes. The notes are what we have to be very wary of. It is good to read B16 about exegesis. Also “The Politicizaton of the Bible” a book I haven’t read yet – ( Hahn) will ever helpful too. I like Agape Bible Study.

  • “The Politicizaton of the Bible” a book I haven’t read yet – ( Hahn) will ever helpful too.

    I highly recommend that book. It is very good. Not for the feint of heart, as it delves back into the history of Biblical criticism, and the title may cause people not to realize that it is a scholarly criticism of “higher criticism” of the Bible looking at its historical development up to the 18th century.

  • The Supreme Sovereign Being must be referred to as “WHO” in all reference to God

  • I’ve been switching between the King James w/Apocrypha, the Douay-Rheims, and for overall ease of reading, the Confraternity version.

  • The Bear still doesn’t know what to make of this.

    You mean The Bear didn’t immediately guess a wit (of a sort) doing a pantomime of a backwoods sola scriptura fundamentalist?
    Is that because bears have no sense of humor?

  • Mary De Voe ! I have missed you ! hope all is well with you

  • Let me plug The Didache Bible. RSV translation w/ commentaries based on the CCC.
    OUP publishes a Catholic Study Bible that uses the NAB translation, accompanied by the textual-critical annotations The Bear & Don were critical of.

    I like ’em both.

  • The title of Scott Hahn’s book is Politicizing the Bible. Thanks for the reference.

    Is it loaded with his trademark puns?


    Politicizing the Bible | Scott Hahn | Graduate School Guest Lecture

  • Yeah… the Bear has a sense of humor (albeit somewhat blunted by men with rifles shooting at him at random), which is precisely the reason he is quite certain it was not a parody. But who knows? Poe’s Law is alive and well, as the Bear well knows from his own disreputable and often satirical ephemeris.

    And, Don, the Bear is a southern Illinois Copperhead. Is he still welcome here?

  • BTW, the Bear will be reviewing the strange publishing phenomenon of Protestant study Bibles. It’s Bible Wars out there, man. Is anyone benefitting? Maybe muscle mass from lugging around these behemoths.

  • “And, Don, the Bear is a southern Illinois Copperhead. Is he still welcome here?”

    Ah, my bruin friend I was born and reared in Paris, Illinois and my son is currently finishing his second year of law school at SIU in Carbondale. I hold nothing but fondness for the southern part of the Land of Lincoln!

  • I think the deliberate(?) misspellings are the giveaway.
    But then I’m a human and not a bear. I can afford to assume people bear me no ill-will.

    (And I’m a fan of the New Oxford Annotated Bible with apocrypha[!] from my Protestant days too.)

  • Anzlyne, Thank you. It is nice to be missed. A stroke in January sidelined me. I had to learn to walk, talk, swallow and see again. I am well on my way to recovery thanks to prayers and the excellent care of my family and doctors.
    To add to my comment about God being the Supreme Sovereign Being,(two would preempt one another). Father Robert Barron said that to refer to God as The Supreme Sovereign Being would scare people off.
    Mankind is created in sovereign personhood. Rather than be subjects to a one world government under the World Bank or be subject to a monarchy or The Declaration on Human Rights of The United Nations as the Climate Change Treaty would ensnare every person, both Godless and atheistic regimes, It is important for man to know that as a child of God, The Supreme Sovereign Being, man has sovereign personhood. Man is not only capable but is called to a vocation of sovereignty and discipline over himself (Mankind is womanhood as well)
    Again, Thank you for your kind concern and prayers.

  • Anyone have any comments about
    “The Orthodox Study Bible?”

    It caught my eye, though I’m not orthodox.

Favorite Books of the Bible

Tuesday, May 5, AD 2015

Job and God



Since my parents purchased a Bible for me, at my request, for Christmas 1970, I have read a chapter from the New Testament and a chapter from the Old each night.  What a magnificent collection of books the Bible is!  Prophecies, histories, court chronicles, songs, gospels, letters, codes of laws and so much more.  The Bible is a boundless sea on which the human mind and soul can glimpse the eternal voyage.  Choosing one’s favorite books of the Bible is rather like picking one’s favorite children, but here goes.

In regard to emotional and intellectual impact nothing in the Old Testament moves me more than the book of Job where Man stands before his creator and realizes that God truly is I AM, the ultimate reality:

Then Job replied to the Lord:

“I know that you can do all things;
    no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
    Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.”

The longer I sojourn in this Vale of Tears the more I understand the truth and wisdom of this passage.

In the New Testament nothing can surpass the beginning of the Gospel of John:


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12 Responses to Favorite Books of the Bible

  • Your studious faithfulness to reading sheds light on your ability to daily offer these articles with a perspective of balance that must please God.
    Alas, since my reading is incomplete and inconsistent, I can only choose the two books that help understand the mind, power, love and presence of God.
    The Old Testament book choice of late years is II Samuel. David’s lyrics of thanksgiving tell the story of his amazing rescue with a special powerful verse: Ch. 22:19-20: but the Lord came to my support. He set me free in the open, and rescued me, because He loves me.
    The description of God coming to David’s aid is breathtaking.
    The New Testament book is Matthew for all the Wisdom and Teaching of Jesus it holds.

  • OT: Sirach. The best advice for any situation, and a perfect blueprint for a Godly life.
    NT: Revelation. We win.

  • Holy cow, Mac!

    We agree.
    I love them all but St. John is my most valuble Gospel. (MVG) Somewhere he teaches the overwhelmig valuable of the virtue charity, specifically forgiving all injuries, to our spriitual well-being. And, throughout is completely priceless.

    Job is very important to me. Here are some quotes I keep.

    “But as for me, I know my redeemer lives.”

    “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

    “Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord and shall we not receive evil?”

    “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

    An OT Book that should receive more attention (I think) is Tobit. Some quotes.
    “Watch yourself, my son, in everything you do, and be disciplined in all your conduct.”

    “Seek advice from every wise man, and do not despise any useful counsel.”

    “Bless the Lord God on every occasion.”

    “Give alms from your possessions to all who live uprightly.”

    “Place your bread on the grave of the righteous, but give none to sinners.”
    I know! The peace and justice crowd will howl over the final two quotes.

  • My favorite’s are excerpts from many of the books; The Parables of Christ. ( The unjust steward / The great supper / The talents / The sower and the seed / Pharisee and the publican / and the Prodigal Son. Oh. From Johns Gospel 6:64 sum up the whole of these books; THE WORDS I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU ARE SPIRIT AND LIFE.

    Old Testament “hymns of praise” mostly by King David. Psalm 96: 10-12 “You that loveth the Lord hate evil, the Lord preserveth the souls of his saints, he will deliver them out of the hand of the sinner. 11 Light is risen to the just, and joy to the right of heart. 12 Rejoice, ye just, in the Lord: and give praise to the remembrance of his holiness.

  • OT – Genesis, particularly the first dozen or so chapters. The foundation of our understanding of the universe.

    NT – I’m going to say Romans, but I feel bad not picking a Gospel. I attended a Traditional Latin Mass this past weekend, the first I’ve been to in a while, and I was marveling at the final Gospel, the passage you presented in this article. I was struck by the beauty of the passage. Yes, the theology, but also the poetry. Its beauty comes from it being the good news, the greatest possible human hope turning out to be true, beyond anything we dreamed of. I guess the perfect bookends would have been to choose the beginning of Genesis and the beginning of John as my favorites.

  • Nehemiah!
    1 and 2 Peter!

  • Since I am currently spending much time in these two, they are currently my favorites: The Wisdom of Solomon and The Letter to the Hebrews. At some point, if I am blessed, all the books of the Bible will become among my two favorites 🙂 .

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  • OT: Psalms
    NT: Luke / Acts (considered as one book).

  • My favorites-OT Isaiah, who prophesized to Ahaz that “a virgin shall bear a son, and he will be called Emmanuel”. NT- St.Luke 1:26-38.

  • Depends on which day of the week you ask me. I can never decide which Gospel I “like the best” (I don’t even care for that wording). Of the Letters, my favorite is probably Second Peter. As for the Old Testament, it’s a toss-up between Genesis, 1 and 2 Samuel, and Wisdom.

    Force me to answer and I’ll pick Luke and Genesis, but I’d cry over not having picked something else!

Council of Jerusalem

Thursday, September 1, AD 2011

A question arose yesterday in a thread, posed by Michael:

I have a real question. Homosexuality, as a sin an abomination, is mentioned in Leviticus. That book, however, also says:
 – disrespect of parents should be punishable by death
 – sleeping with a woman during her period should make both parties outcasts
 – don’t eat pork
 – shellfish are an abomination

So my question is, why are some of the verses ignored and others so important?

It is a good question and sometimes confuses Catholics and non-Catholics.  The answer to the question is in the very earliest history of the Church.  After the ascension of Jesus, the apostles went about the great task of making “disciples of all the nations”, and Christianity began to spread among Jew and Gentile alike.  The question quickly arose as to whether Gentile converts would have to be circumcised (the males only of course!) and follow all of the Jewish laws regarding ritual purity.  If they were asked to do this, it would mean a complete revolution in their life.  They would no longer be able to even eat a meal with their Gentile relatives and friends.  Like the Jews, the Christians would be a people set apart, cut off from interacting in the simplest ways with non-Jews for fear of violating the hundreds of laws of the Old Testament regarding ritual purity.

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47 Responses to Council of Jerusalem

  • EXCELLENT post, Don! I don’t believe I have ever seen this issue explained more clearly and concisely. This should be a “must read” and a “must link” throughout St. Blog’s.

  • Thank you Jay. The Old Testament laws and their applicability to Christians is an issue that keeps coming up in current debates and Catholics need to know that the answer is a pretty simple one.

  • Jesus and then Paul were asking the Jews to chuck 4,000 years of following the Law and sacred traditions as they understood them. It’s easy to grasp the reluctance of many to adopt the “new covenant” on the mere say-so of a dozen followers of a man claiming to be God. Jesus claimed to fulfill the law, of which the curse was sickness, poverty and death.

    As these things continued after Christ’s death, many understandably could not embrace the new religion. This is the “stumbling block” that remains for Jews to this today and many others including atheists and agnostics.

    Don, your explanation as to why some portions of the OT apply and others do not rests on Paul and the other apostles’ interpretations solely. As Saul he was the chief persecutor of the followers of Jesus, then claimed to be his chief supporter. A 180, which we are to believe was the result of his “vision” on the trip to Damascus. Likewise we are to take at face value Peter’s “vision” about which animals are OK to eat.

    Down through the centuries, men and women have claimed to have “visions,” which they subsequently offer as “proof” of divine instruction to pass along as the “truth.” These would include Joe Smith as well, who launched Mormonism as well as Mohammed and countless other major and minor prophets. Which of these “visions” are valid and which are bogus? It boils down to who one choose to believe and nothing more.

  • If you believe in Christ Joe, you believe in what Saint Peter and Saint Paul taught, and the authority of the magisterium of the Church, since Christ granted to the Church through Saint Peter the power to bind and to loose. Saint Peter and Saint Paul believed in what Christ had taught and the evidence of this is the martyrdoms they embraced.

    I answered the question posed by Michael as to how Catholics determine what Old Testament laws are binding and what are not. The doubt that has eaten away at you for so long is something that only you, with the grace of God, can address for yourself. For all of us the essential question always remains the one posed by Christ to Saint Peter: “Who do you say that I am?”

  • Joe, I don’t think that Donald was offering a proof. He lays out a consistent rule and explains its origins. Nothing wrong with that.

  • For all of us the essential question always remains the one posed by Christ to Saint Peter: “Who do you say that I am?”

    I ask myself that same question every day and every day I come up with the same answer: “I don’t know.”

  • While everything you say about the Council is true, it doesn’t apply to some of the Levitical Laws such as disrespect of parents should be punishable by death or having “Cafeteria Jews” put to death, otherwise most Jews would have been dead by the time of Jesus and the prophets would have no-one to rail against.

    As with Catholicism, Judaism is not a religion of the book. The laws were understood in community and they had a purpose. For instance, the law for parents to kill disrespectful children was not so much a commandment for parents as protection for children since in order to carry out this commandment you needed to go to priestly council to pass judgment. Most parents would not go that far since they love their children, and those who would have, would likely have killed their children anyway. Once at the council, there priests can talk to both parties and achieve reconciliation or use other means such as disowning the child to protect the child. If you look at Jewish historical records you will see that such disrespectful child executions rarely happened, so that pastoral counseling must have worked.

    Protestants have a much harder time with the Council of Jerusalem since they can’t make an Ecumenical Council “God Breathed” since that would mean Catholic doctrine was true, but if they don’t, they can’t abandon Jewish Law since neither Paul nor Peter nor an Ecumenical Council that took the words of Paul or Peter has the authority to repudiate Jewish Law. And even if they could, “since it is in the Bible”, the council merely stated gentiles should follow the Seven Laws of Noah which are binding on gentiles and Jews alike and nothing in the Bible says that we have the freedom to eating of flesh cut from a living animal (more than a few food Christians commonly eat qualify, especially some ham and sea food) or be blissfully unaware of how the food was processed.

  • I’m not sure the following is 100% correct.

    I’ve read that Leviticus distinguishes between two types of laws:
    (1) Laws for the Jewish people
    (2) Laws that prevent “defile the land”

    The first type of laws (like not wearing polyester) apply only to those initiated into the Mosaic covenant.

    The second type of laws, laws prevent the defilement of the land, apply to all peoples, regardless of whether or not they are initiated into the covenant. Lev. 18:26: “The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things” lest “the land become defiled.”

    Here is a list of all the “sins which defile the land,” all the Old Testament laws which non-Jews had to obey, or be “cut off from the community.”
    1. Exod 12.19: Do not eat leaven at Passover
    2. Lev 17.8-9: Only offer sacrifice at the Tabernacle door
    3. Lev 17.10-12, 14: Do not eat blood
    4. Lev 18.26: Do not commit sins listed in 18.6-26 (including homosexuality)
    5. Lev 20.2-3: Do not give children for Molech

    Do these laws which Judaism extended to all people also extend to Christians?

    The Council of Jerusalem, which decided to admit Gentiles to the Church, admitted them to the Church on four conditions (Acts 15:29):
    • Do not eat things polluted by idols (#2 & 5 above)
    • Do not commit porneia (sexual immorality) (#4 above)
    • Do not eat whatever has been strangled (#3 above)
    • Do not eat blood (#3 above)*

    In other words, the only condition which the Apostles laid down for Gentiles to enter the Church was that they keep all the laws which the Jewish Law commanded non-Jews to keep.

  • Jesus and then Paul were asking the Jews to chuck 4,000 years of following the Law

    1,000 years.

  • Art, give or take a millennia or two. Supposedly, Adam and Eve were created around 4,006 B.C., according to Bishop Usher (Oct. 15 if memory serves at around 9 a.m. eastern standard time), and since the Hebrews soon followed, 3,000 years would seem to be in the ballpark. But whatever the number, the original point holds: that for a long time the ancient Jews subscribed to rigid ritual.

  • “They were required to fellow the ten commandments” If that is so, then we should be going to church on Saturday, nor could we have statues or pictures of Jesus. The ten commandments were a part of the Old Covenant, as much as the law of kosher was. The laws of God existed before the Old Covenant (see Genesis 26:5), so this isn’t an arguement for antinomism. We do use a form of the ten in cathesis, but it isn’t the ten commandments of the Old Covenant. Jesus in the Sermon On The Mount, went beyond the mere letter of the law, and taught us the intent or the spirit of the law. we are no longer under the letter of the law, which kills, but the spirit of the law which gives life. (IICor 3:6-18)

  • No Stephen, the Ten Commandments, as interpreted by the Church, are still in full force and effect, as the Catechism amply demonstrates:

    “2068 The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the
    justified man is still bound to keep them;28 The Second Vatican Council confirms: “The bishops, successors
    of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to
    every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the

    Just one of many gifts that the Church has received from God through transmission by our beloved Jewish brethren.

  • Joe, if you don’t mind me saying, you describe your agnosticism like you’re in a dead-end relationship with it. Usually people stay in a dead-end relationship for a reason. So what are you getting out of it?

  • Just a lot of agonizing frustration, Pinky. Not much else. The search goes on.

  • Stephen, I believe your assessment is correct. The council dealt specifically with Jewish identity markers that were being forced upon Gentile converts. It did not deal with ‘the law.’ The coucil had to meet becasue there was a definite transition by the time that’s narrated in the Acts. It was peculiar to that time; this sort of thing could never again arise. Councils can and have been called ever since in various forms for different reasons. But who can say that the Spirit decided the results in each instance? I would never assume that.

  • The Sabbath Day of the Hebrews was Saturday because that is the day God rested. Christians came to have Sunday as Sabbath because that is the day of Christ’s Resurrection. The religious art was/is not worshipped as were idols.

    I look at the history as relayed, Stephen. Jesus, Divine and human, came to live among us and renew our spirits. We were, at the end of the Old Testament, fully involved with legislating the letter of the law with inhumane actions basing these on the Ten Commandments of old. As God saw the need for his people to have guidelines for worthy lives then, He also saw how we lost its meaning through lack of love of Him and one another. We made the laws to be ones that kill. He made them to give life to His people. So, the New Testament.

    In the New Testament, Jesus was born a man to clarify and help us get away from being bogged down with the letters, the way we do. He taught the spirit of the law, loving God and neighbor, which necessarily entails lovingly obeying the Ten Commandments. I think He came as a reminder that that God loves His people beyond our capability of understanding the depth. I don’t agree that He meant that we forget any of His guidance throughout the ages. Jesus also added the neighbor consciousness to determine that we understand Gentiles are also God’s children, who had customs different from those of Hebrews which were not going to make a difference in spiritual salvation.

    Thank you for this post on the Council of Jerusalem. It’s such a clear approach. I was thinking of how to reply to Michael’s question. All I could come up with was unclean: shellfish being bottom feeders (no plumbing then), pork somewhat the same reason (garbage for a diet), the woman unable to conceive at this time would entail pure lust, and the parents being an example of how unlovingly man tweeked God’s law – all evidence of no chastity or raising mind and spirit above the organs below the waist.

  • I suspect that the command against eating meat from strangled animals and consuming blood refers more to some kind of (for lack of a better term) “active participation” in pagan sacrifices or rituals, than it does to simply eating meat or meat products that have not been processed in accordance with specified dietary laws. Otherwise eating blood sausage would still be a mortal sin, I’d think. I believe this is also one of the biblical passages that the Jehovah’s Witnesses interpret as forbidding blood transfusions.

    In any event I have always understood that the command against “porneia” or “immorality” meant that all Old Testament laws defining certain sexual RELATIONSHIPS as immoral carry over into New Testament law and are also binding on Christians — including laws against homosexuality and incest.

    Furthermore, the Greek word “porneia” used here also occurs in the Gospel of Matthew when Christ states that anyone who divorces his wife “except for immorality (porneia)” and marries another commits adultery. Now many Protestants interpret this to mean that Christ allowed divorce if either spouse commits adultery, but the most common and orthodox Catholic reading of this passage that I have heard, is that it probably refers to already married converts from paganism who would never have been allowed to marry under Jewish law because their relationships were considered incestuous or immoral. Those couples were free to dissolve their unions and marry again, but not anyone else.

    However, other sexual purity laws such as the rule against intercourse during menstruation and the accompanying necessity for women to ritually purify themselves every month (google “Laws of Niddah” or “mikvah” if you care to know more about it), do not carry over into Christianity.

  • While everything you say about the Council is true, it doesn’t apply to some of the Levitical Laws such as disrespect of parents should be punishable by death…

    Anil Wang

    That law was the reason why the request of the Prodigal Son was so scandalous to Jesus’ hearers when He spoke the parable of that name.

    By the way, do you have any historical evidence to demonstrate that Judeans normally carried out executions in the name of this law?

  • Don

    you knocked it on the head. keep up the good work.

  • Really ,this is a lot of stuff. Love and Honor God .Love and Honor your neighbor and the rest of the words are meant to make some people think they know more than they really know.
    Listen to the reports of some of our dedicated priests about the actions in Philadelphia and Kansas City.These dedicated men have to deal with the shame brought on by the pedophile priets and that heirarchy who covered up for them.

    A lot of prayer and love is needed.

  • @ Joe

    You are right, the million dollar question is, who was Jesus? Was he just a crazy man or was he really God made flesh? It is obviously an all or nothing question, but how do we know?

    The way to know can actually be answered by your reference to Joseph Smith. You asked what is the difference between trusting Peter or trusting Joseph Smith?

    Well first we know that Peter was taught by Jesus directly, while Joseph Smith claims to have had a vision from an Angel.

    Second, Peter’s words can be checked against the other 10 Apostles whom were taught directly by Jesus, while we are left to just take Joseph Smith at his word, that he really did see an angle, that the gold tablets really did exist, that he was actually able to translate them, etc.

    The list could actually go on, but you can read if you are interested in seeing the differences.

    So, it seems that if you are going to trust someone, it should be Peter, but that begs the questions, can Peter (or any of the Apostles) be trusted?

    I believe Peter can be trusted exactly because he has 10 other Apostles who say the same thing he did. But was it a conspiracy then, did all the Apostles create a big lie? Well if they did lie, they are both incredibly smart and incredibly stupid. I mean think about it. They were able to convince other people to follow them, even to the point of death, so they must have been really good “liars”. But they also must have been idiots because they didn’t gain anything from their “lies”. Not money, or fame, or women, or anything, except certain death.

    So to me, it seems that they were not lying, and that all of them must have been convinced that Jesus was in fact God. But what do you think?

  • Oops, I tried to put an HTML tag in my message but it didn’t work exactly right. Sorry about that, but you can still click on it and get the article I was trying to reference.

  • Paul also deals with the Jew/Gentile transition in a bit of a different way, I think. Rather than a council, he recommends private conviction. The ‘strong’ are not to pick on the ‘weak’, and neither is to judge or try to change the other in such matters of food, drink, and ceremonial days, etc.

  • Joel, I think Peter has much more cred than Joe Smith given he was a contemporary of Jesus and the apostles, according to the New Testament. Whether Peter or anyone “lied,” I cannot say, but just because many followed him and died as martyrs is not persuasive in and of itself. More than 900 people followed Peoples Temper leader Jim Jones to the grave in Jonestown in 1978.

    What is more convincing, however, is the undeniable magnetism of Christ. i would be willing to admit that Jesus of Nazareth is the most compelling person in all of history and his mark on humanity supersedes all others. I think about him every day. He has said, “come to me all ye who are weary and I will give you rest.” Although I do not pray much any more, that is the one hope I cling to: that I may have rest either in this life or the next.

    Thanks for your kind words.

  • I think what is convincing is that Christianity has lasted as a very significant world religion, and has since grown too. Also, it’s profoundly impacted and shaped cultures right up till the present. I don’t see those kinds of results happen so dynamically in the case of other religions. A few come close, perhaps, but don’t reach the extent Christianity does.

  • Am I right to believe, then, that the prohibitions in Leviticus concerning homosexual practices carry forward to the New Testament?
    That seems to be the case as from what I read and what one priest told me homosexuals found guilty of abominations were being executed right up into the 18th century.
    Please understand that I’m not advocating here for queers to be put to death but rather to genuinely understand what’s going on.
    Patrick Madrid says that Jesus Himself did away with the laws of Leviticus, at least concerning homosexuals, when He said “let him without sin cast the first stone” but how does Jesus’ retort reconcile with my second paragraph if in fact it’s true?

  • If you don’t remove me from moderation I will no longer offer my comments here.

  • Yes they do Michael, especially since Saint Paul repeats the condemnation of homosexual conduct. The Church has always condemned it, as did virtually all Christian churches until the day before yesterday in historical terms.

    Romans of course legislated against sex between free born men as early as the Lex Scantinia, in 225 BC so the Christian attitude against homosexual sex was not sui generis in the ancient world.

    Jesus extended mercy to the woman caught in adultery and saved her from the equivalent of a lynch mob. The act of Jesus in giving mercy to the woman caught in adultery has never been considered as voiding the laws of Leviticus regarding homosexual conduct. Judging from the article linked below by Patrick Madrid I’d say that you have misinterpreted what he wrote. If you would care to link to the article where he made the statement you refer to, I would be happy to look at it.

  • Pat,

    It was needed in a prior posting.

    You’re back off moderation.

  • Donald, I still have Madrid’s email where he told me exactly what I said he said, so I’m not misrepresenting anything.
    He might’ve changed his tune since he said that to me, but what he said is what he said (I have it in writing) and I find it unfortunate that you would jump to the conclusion that he didn’t say what he said and then ever so subtly put my integrity on the line by saying I misrepresented him.
    That said your reply leaves me even more in the dark as to why the punishment of death for homosexual abominations no longer applies and when it was lifted and by whom.
    I’d be so grateful to get answers to those queries.

  • No Michael what I said was that what you said Madrid wrote appears to contradict what he wrote in the article I linked to and therefore I assumed that you must have misinterpreted what he wrote. Post what he said to you in the e-mail and I will look at it. I will go farther than that. If there is a contradiction I will send off an e-mail to Mr. Madrid asking him to comment. I do not know how I can be fairer than that.

    In regard to homosexual conduct the penalties were always in the hands of the state and not the Church. The death penalty for all sorts of offenses was much more common in the Eighteenth Century than in either the Nineteenth or the Twentieth centuries.

  • Looking at that article I linked to by Madrid, I see this paragraph:

    “In the Old Covenant, homosexual activity was punishable by death: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them” (Leviticus 20:13). Thankfully, in the New Covenant, that punishment no longer applies, but the Church reminds us of the much worse eternal punishment that awaits those (whether homosexual or heterosexual) who refuse to repent and turn from their sins.”

    If he is saying that Christians did not use the punishment of stoning, he is correct. I think there is nothing in that stating that the condemnation of Leviticus as to the conduct was not still in full force and effect, but that death by stoning was no longer required as a penalty. If your point Michael was Madrid stating that the penalty was no longer as set forth in Leviticus then what you are stating is correct. Of course the secular authorities were free to assess any penalty they wished to under the criminal law.

  • Donald moving on from Madrid what I am getting at is this.
    If Iran or any Muslim country for that matter were to put a queer to death for an abomination, in your opinion would Catholics and Christians, generally, be justified, perhaps even compelled to support what Iran did using Leviticus as their grounds since, as you confirm, Leviticus carries forward into the New Testament?

  • In thinking about the original post more, it dawned on me that Jesus himself laid the ground work for the Apostles to teach what they taught at the council of Jerusalem.

    Matthew 15:11 “Not what goes into the mouth defile a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” See verses 10-20 also.

    So this is good reason to reconsider the defilement laws of the Old Testament. But does that mean that the New Covenant was entirely replaced by the Old? Did Jesus ever say that homosexuality is not wrong? Not in so many words, but he did say this:

    Matthew 19:4-6 “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one’? So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

    This clearly reaffirms that God created male and female, who are intended to be together. Also, if anyone is interested in what it means for the “two to become one” I would recommend the book “The Good News About Sex & Marriage” by Christopher West.

    @ Michael: Your questions regarding when crimes punishable by death were lifted, was clearly in John 8:7, “”Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” So if there were people still stoning homosexuals, they were wrong to do it. But can you be specific? Was there ever a Church document put out that said to stone homosexuals? When and where are you talking about when you say “right up until the 18th century”? The more information you can give, the better the answer you will get 🙂

  • “perhaps even compelled to support what Iran did using Leviticus as their grounds since, as you confirm, Leviticus carries forward into the New Testament?”

    No. Christians agreeing that particular conduct is sinful does not require support for a secular punishment of that sin. That has never been taught by the Church.

  • Plato: “Opinion is not truth.”

    T. Shaw: “Opinion is not reality; but you have a right to stick your fingers in your ears and feverishly stamp your feet.”

    Here is a list of the “sins which defile the land,” the Old Testament laws and were enforced for non-Jews, or they were “cut off from the community.”
    1. Exod 12.19: Do not eat leaven at Passover
    2. Lev 17.8-9: Only offer sacrifice at the Tabernacle door
    3. Lev 17.10-12, 14: Do not eat blood
    4. Lev 18.26: Do not commit sins listed in 18.6-26 (including homosexuality)
    5. Lev 20.2-3: Do not sacrifice children for Molech

    The Council of Jerusalem decided to admit Gentiles to the Church on condition (Acts 15:29):
    • Do not eat things polluted by idols (#2 & 5 above)
    • Do not commit porneia (sexual immorality) (#4 above)
    • Do not eat whatever has been strangled (#3 above)
    • Do not eat blood (#3 above)

  • Wonderful commentary. I always look at the Council of Jerusalem as a fulfillment of Matthew 16 and 18 and John 20. Peter and the Apostles where given the authority to bind and loose. In the Counsel of Jerusalem two fishermen and ex Pharisee overturned Law given to us by God through Abraham and Moses. The only way they could do that was if they were given authority by God. What ever they bind is bound, what ever they loose is loosed. The Church is the hand of God in the Church Militant, if they say do it you better do it, if they say you don’t have to do it then you shouldn’t do it. It seams pretty simple to me. It all comes down to authority, those that follow this teaching are Catholic those that go against this teaching are Protestant no matter how they actually refer to themselves.

  • Thank you, Tito. I’m aware that there are a variety of ways to view the council, what its import is for the church down through the ages. I don’t think it’s correct to view all councils as binding, since the test for me is whether it squares with scripture. If it squares with Scripture, then I consider it Spirit-inspired. It’s an application of the Bible within a particular context in that case.

  • I was not going to reply back to this, because I know it does not relate to the original post, but it is all I have been thinking about.

    Joe said: Joel, I think Peter has much more cred than Joe Smith given he was a contemporary of Jesus and the apostles, according to the New Testament. Whether Peter or anyone “lied,” I cannot say, but just because many followed him and died as martyrs is not persuasive in and of itself. More than 900 people followed Peoples Temper leader Jim Jones to the grave in Jonestown in 1978.

    I agree that Peter has more credibility than Joe Smith. I think we can know whether Peter or the Apostles were lying (at least with as much certainty as anything else we can know). But your comparing the followers of Jim Jones to the followers of the Apostles is not exactly the same. Those people apparently committed suicide (although who knows how many really knew what they were drinking?) while the Apostles and their followers were killed by other people. This is significant because all the Apostles or their followers had to do was recant their beliefs and they would have been spared. This is a crucial difference when we take into consideration what I was saying before, about did the Apostles lie about Jesus’ resurrection or did they tell the truth. Why would all 12 Apostles and Paul lie about Jesus being resurrected? What did they have to gain? I can see why someone like Joe Smith would lie, he had lots to gain (money, power, polygamy). Or Jim Jones can be explained with a simple: he was crazy and found other crazy (or easily convinced) people to follow him.

    But then could Jesus have been crazy and have found 12 crazy people to follow him? Well we have to ask ourselves, did Jesus rise from the dead? Either yes, which means he is God, or no. If no, then those 12 crazy Apostles decided to lie about the resurrection. Then we are to believe that all 12 crazy Apostles (and Paul came along a bit later) all worked together and were able to create what has to be the greatest conspiracy of all time. I mean think about it. All it would have taken to destroy the “lie”, would have been for just 1 of the Apostles to spill the beans. Yet we have no record of this happening. Why would Paul have done his ‘180’ and converted to Christianity? He had a great life and yet we are to believe that he “threw” it all away for a lie, but to gain what?

    So for me (I was once agnostic when it came to God, but it was thinking about this stuff that got me started down the proverbial rabbit hole) it is exactly because the Apostles had nothing to gain and they all remained united in their beliefs even to the point of death, that I can be sure that Jesus rose from the dead. (There are other things to further support the belief that the Apostles were not all lying: Peter having the title of First Apostle and the special place he has [why did no one else fight him for this], the unity of all the early church’s [they were all considered One Church, but how easy it would have been for say Thomas to go out and create his own church] etc.).

    What is more convincing, however, is the undeniable magnetism of Christ. i would be willing to admit that Jesus of Nazareth is the most compelling person in all of history and his mark on humanity supersedes all others.

    I am not sure exactly how “magnetic” Christ was? Obviously people sought him out, but it seems to me that it was more because of the miracles that he was performing. Obviously we view him as a great teacher, but many viewed his teachings as heretical and blasphemous. Read John Chapter 6, first he feeds the five thousand, but the next day he taught them about the Eucharist and said that to be saved they had to eat his flesh. John 6:66 says, “After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer walked with him.”

    But what really sets Jesus apart from all other “prophets” or “great teachers” is the claim that he rose from the dead which would mean that he is God made flesh. Once I had accepted that, then I could move forward with understanding the Scripture. Otherwise, a person just thinks Jesus was a great teacher, then the Bible is really confusing and actually doesn’t make sense. The Early Church fathers used to say, “Either Jesus was God or he was a crazy man.”

  • Joel, I’ve heard the “either crazy or God” argument before, used I think by CS Lewis. But there’s a lot of in-between. Maybe Jesus truly believed he was the Son of God, a self-delusion alluded to in “The Passover Plot.” Perhaps, egged on by his followers, he reluctantly assumed the role. There are some ambiguous passages in the NT: “Why do you call me good? Only God is good.” “The father is greater than I.”, etc.

    If the Apostles stuck with him to the end, willing to be martyred, they would hardly be the first to follow their leader to the grave, as I mentioned before. The Japanese samurai did it routinely, as did countless soldiers in battle. What did the apostles have to “gain”? Who knows? Maybe the assurance of an after-life from their master was enough, maybe they were just resigned to their fate. Renouncing Jesus likely would not have gotten them off the hook. Peter was going to be crucified one way or another for defying Roman authorities.

    I don’t rule out returning to the fold some day; but at this juncture I have too many burning questions, too many problems and issues with God to submit. Not the least of which is the age-old “problem of evil,” which has always been a huge hurdle for many wanting to believe. The failure of prayer is another. I have seen the righteous pray constantly for others, only to see their prayers unanswered. Innocents die, the wicked live on. Life is not fair. God is the author of life. God is not fair. That is my thinking. I can’t change it until I understand.

  • Joe, numerous theodicies have of course been written and nothing new can be said on the matter. Here’s my take based on my reading of the Bible: God created a perfect world. We became wayward. He calls us back to Himself but we continue to have a certain amount of free-will. As it’s exercised, this free-will is often used sinfully, which affects ourselves and others. The Lord deals with that on a higher level. But he doesn’t intervene so far as to eliminate that free-will with the entirety of results which follow. If He did, there would be grave problems for us philosophically. For example, are we not creatures endowed wtih choice-making ability? Does not God love us and wish us to respond in kind? If the answer to either or both those questions is negative, we are then faced with an even more difficult quandary.

  • Joe, please forgive this following. I’m just getting concerned about you.

    “What did the apostles have to “gain”? Who knows? Maybe the assurance of an after-life from their master was enough, maybe they were just resigned to their fate. Renouncing Jesus likely would not have gotten them off the hook.”

    The Holy Spirit on Pentecost visited them in the Upper Room, a visit that became the Catholic Church’s birthday. I wish for you such a visit – being sort of worried about your spiritual state of affairs.
    That old problem, Satan, is part of this vale of tears until the last day when Jesus comes back as promised. Our part is to strive to reach the fairness of God in eternity through virtues taught by Jesus, in the Gospels. Life isn’t fair, prayer lets God know us, we can’t tell Him what to do; but, I have to think that nothing we do without trying know Him is a waste of the time we have here. Please just don’t judge God as not fair, and shoot for understanding. You can get past your judgment.

  • Joe, I can see you have thought about this and are continuing to struggle, which is good.

    I would say though that the main point to consider is: did Jesus rise from the dead? If that question can be answered, then so many more will follow like domino’s.

    If he did, then obviously he is God. Which then answers the question as to why the Apostles would stay true to their beliefs.

    If he didn’t, then the Apostles lied about it. These 12 men must have had some reason for lying. What that reason would be, completely escapes me. The Apostles would have realized that their leader was dead. Their two options would have been to go home or pretend Jesus came back to life. Amazingly then, all 12 decided to take option number 2 and lie. Then even more amazingly they all continued to lie right up until their deaths. Who would do that? What are the chances that even one of them would not have said the heck with this, I am going home? And then their was Paul, who joins their ranks, but not like we would expect. He was doing quite well for himself, but he apparently threw it all away and joined the Christians. Why? I could understand if Paul had been given something (money, power, etc) but he had nothing. He was put in jail numerous times and was obviously going to be killed eventually. Are we to believe that he lied about Jesus blinding him on the road to Damascus?

    I know I can’t prove any of this to be 100% true, but when I consider the most likely scenario, 12 crazy apostles that lied just doesn’t seem plausible. So this leaves me with the first choice, that Jesus did rise from the dead.

    I am glad that you have engaged with me in this conversation because it helps me to grow in my faith when I have to explain what I believe and why. A lot of the atheists and agnostics I try to talk to just brush religion off as fairy tales that shouldn’t even be discussed because they feel as though nothing can really be proven. I obviously feel the opposite. I think that Christ and his Apostles can be proven in as much as we can weigh the different scenarios and believe the most likely one from the evidence. The final step is having faith, but it really becomes the same faith we have that the sun will rise tomorrow or faith in “what goes up, must come down”.

  • Joe Green,

    The apostles were not soldiers looking to take other lives with them like Muslim “martyrs” do.

    The apostles willingly went to their death peacefully and forgiving their persecutors.

    THAT is huge.

    Using your line of logic, can you convince 12 of your closest friends to die for a lie?

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MSNBC Talking Heads: Koran Holier Than the Bible, or Something

Tuesday, April 5, AD 2011

Warner Todd Huston reports on an exchange between MSNBC fill-in host Chuck Todd and Time Magazine’s World Editor Bobby Ghosh.

GHOSH: The thing to keep in mind that’s very important here is that the Koran to Muslims, it is not, it is not the same as the Bible to Christians.

The Bible is a book written by men. It is acknowledged by Christians that it is written by men. It’s the story of Jesus.

TODD: Yes.

GHOSH: But the Koran, if you are a believer, if you’re a Muslim, the Koran is directly the word of God, not written by man. It is transcribed, is directly the word of God.

That makes it sacred in a way that it’s hard to understand if you’re not Muslim. So the act of burning a Koran is much more, potentially much, much more inflammatory than…

TODD: Directly attacking… directly attacking God.

GHOSH:…than if you were to burn a, burn a Bible.

TODD: … Directly attacking God.

The stupid, it hurts.

This is a nonsensical distinction.  Jews and Christians may acknowledge that the Bible was physically written by men, but we also believe that it is the inerrant word of God.  No, the biblical authors did not act as mindless stenographers transcribing for the Almighty, but they were truly inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit.  This makes it no less sacred or less holy to us than the Koran is to Muslims.  After all, there must be some reason that we place our hands on the Bible when we make public oaths, right?  If it was just a bunch of words written by men, then why would we swear by it?

No, the different reactions to the desecration of our holy books has nothing to do with how we respectively view them.  What they tell us is not that Muslims revere the Koran more than we revere the Bible, but rather that a certain portion of the Muslim population will violently react to any mere insult, and that violent extremists within Islam are looking for any excuse to kill infidels.  But that’s a lot less politically correct of an explanation than the vapidness offered by these two goofs.

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38 Responses to MSNBC Talking Heads: Koran Holier Than the Bible, or Something

  • Hard to tell who is the bigger idiot here, Ghosh or Todd. Let’s call it a tie.

  • Joe,

    As noted, let’s throw Reid into the race.

  • Also, the Bible is correct while the Koran is wrong. So regardless of what the Muslims believe the Bible is infinitely more sacred than the Koran.

  • If those fools attempted to run a blog and post their opinions, they would be completely ignored. No wonder that MSNBC has ratings that would need to grow by 25% in order to reach pathetic status.

  • It is accurate to say that Muslims revere the Koran more than Christians revere the Bible (which is obviously not to say that Christians do not revere the Bible). The way many Muslims view the Koran might be more analogous to the way many Catholics view the Blessed Virgin or even the eucharist.

    Obviously none of this serves to justify the Muslim reaction here.

  • What BA said. (The Eucharist is really the analogy.) And as BA said, it still doesn’t justify the reaction.

  • I would concede that there is slightly more reverence for the Koran on the part of the Muslims than for the Bible for Christians – without getting into distinctions about various denominations and what have you. But from the talking heads one would be left to believe that the Bible is held to be just another book among many and not a source of reverence in and of itself.

  • The Muslim’s hard base reaction to burning the Koran so mirrors the typical NEA war lords on hearing even the threat of negotiating their collective bargaining or a liberal politician at the mention of cutting government spending or fixing Medicare and Social Security, less the beheadings for now of course. But, as the top union boss said on camera recently, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” God help us if our own amundantly blessed citizens compare themselves to the poor dimented souls using their religion as an excuse for violence and plunder.

  • I think the eucharist analogy is correct. Some Jews and evangelicals may hold the Bible to be divine in the same way that Muslims hold the Koran.

    If I heard about someone disgracing (wrong word) the Blessed Sacrament, I wouldn’t attack UN workers. I’d pray for him. The difference is that I believe in a God who suffered indignities and death, largely because of me.

  • Here is an actual letter published in the WSJ:

    “I say to the Western scholars: Do not interpret the Quran for Muslims. We Muslims are capable of interpreting the Quran for ourselves. No other people have shown the level of hostility to another faith as Westerners have shown to Muhammad, the Quran and Islam. It continues to this day. Islam doesn’t need reformation; the Western mind needs reformation about Muhammad, the Quran and Islam.

    “It will be better for both of us.”

    Tahir A. Qureshi; Silver Spring, Md.

    You see the formula. Massacres are regretable. Mass murder is not Islam. But, you richly deserve it. If you fail to “straighten up”, you will get more death and destruction.

    Bill Sr.: The liberals/progressives are working their way up to beheadings.


    Reportedly, 17 death threats were received by WI state legislators.

    Tea party members are routinely assaulted by union goons.

    Black congressmen fabricate racist slurs and spitting incidents.

    The idiot Jesse Jackson blasphemed Our Lord comparing necessary union curbs to the Crucifixion. At least, the libtard didn’t commit the travesty on Good Friday.

    Ban the Q’ran. Deport terrorist sympathizers.

  • [This is Paul’s thread, but please rein it in T Shaw.]

  • Vatican II is strongly convinced as to the Bible’s being written by God.

    Chapter 3 of Dei Verbum

    11. Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.(1) In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him (2) they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, (3) they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted. (4)

    Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (5) for the sake of salvation. Therefore “all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text).

  • I think the Pope made pretty much the same point a few years ago. The Bible is revelation filtered through human agency–the word of the Lord in the mouth of the prophet; the Gospel according to Matthew…Each book is a product both of divine inspiration and particular historical circumstances and also, perhaps, individual human personalities. This allows for a difference in emphasis and temperament. It was not the product of a mechanical dictation and should not be received in a mechanical way. . .

    The Koran, on the other hand, is the unadorned word of God, literally transcribed by the prophet. The text is this, and there is no arguing with it. This is an obstacle to rational discussion of religious truths, not only between Islam and other religions but within Islam itself.

  • What Blackadder said @ 12:35pm, and the comparison of Muslim reverence for the Koran to Christian’s reverence for the Eucharist is accurate.

    Robert Spencer is correct in this regard:

    The Qur’an is, according to classic Islamic thought, a perfect copy of a book that has existed eternally with Allah, the one true God, in Heaven: “it is a transcript of the eternal book [in Arabic, “mother of the book”] in Our keeping, sublime, and full of wisdom” (43:4). The angel Gabriel revealed it in sections to Muhammad (570-632), an Arabian merchant. Like Jesus, Muhammad left the written recording of his messages to others. Unlike Jesus, Muhammad did not originate his message, but only served as its conduit. The Qur’an is for Muslims the pure Word of Allah. They point to its poetic character as proof that it did not originate with Muhammad, whom they say was illiterate, but with the Almighty, who dictated every word. The average Muslim believes that everything in the book is absolutely true and that its message is applicable in all times and places.

    This is a stronger claim than Christians make for the Bible. When Christians of whatever tradition say that the Bible is God’s Word, they don’t mean that God spoke it word-for-word and that it’s free of all human agency — instead, there is the idea of “inspiration,” that God breathed through human authors, working through their human knowledge to communicate what he wished to. But for Muslims, the Qur’an is more than inspired. There is not and could not be a passage in the Qur’an like I Corinthians 1:14-17 in the New Testament, where Paul says: “I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius; lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.)” Paul’s faulty memory demonstrates the human element of the New Testament, which for Christians does not negate, but exists alongside the texts’ inspired character. But in the Qur’an, Allah is the only speaker throughout (with a few notable exceptions). There is no human element. The book is the pure and unadulterated divine word.

    It is why, for example, Muslims will only refer to books as “translations of” the Koran — copies of the divine.

    NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, but understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might get a tad upset witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.

    Would that all Christians regard the Eucharist with such reverence.

  • Christopher;

    I am of the opinion that beheading and killing innocent people is a tab bit more than being a “tad bit upset”. Please do not diminish muslims evil acts and the loss of life because of their actions by calling muslim behavior a “tad upset”.

    My mother always taught me that “but” erases everything that came before it.

    I can never understand from any perspective why muslims can kill innocent people.

    Would you regard human life with such reverence.

    Please keep carrying the water for muslims. When they come for you do not cry that you did not know. Read about Dhimmi.

  • Catholic Lawyer, you are off base here. Christopher has a brother with the US Army who has fought in the Middle East and who he is very proud of. Christopher fully understands the threat posed by radical jihadists.

    He has also been supportive of Israel in her struggle for survival in the Middle East.

    Here is one of his posts on the subject:

    Here is another post on the Catholic Friends of Israel:

  • If we were to grant that Muslims revere the koran to the same as extent as Catholics are to revere the Eucharist, then it follows that no koran or queeran should be on display in any public library, bookshop, dawa centres etc., for heaven forbid that such an exalted object should fall into the hands of infidels who might trash it like the homosexuals and atheists did to the Eucharist. I’ll be happy with that, but I suspect that almost everyone who has thought about this knows, that the manufactured outrage by muslims is a clear attempt at intimidation of non-muslims. I frankly do not care what Jones does, and the I won’t p*** on a koran if it was on fire, as I see that the main issue here is the special treatment that muslims seek to gain whether passively by their unctious bathos a la Karzai (which is a replay of the drama put on earlier by Imran Khan during the Motoon riots) , or as now increasingly by terrorising and butchering christians.

  • Catholic Lawyer,

    Cool your jets. If you bothered to read my post, you would understand we’re on the same page as far as the killing of innocent people in protest — no matter how great the sacrilege.

  • It is probably accurate to say that the reverence Muslims have for the Quran is somewhat equivalent to that of Catholics for the Virgin Mary or for the Eucharist. Then again, when was the last time you heard of Catholics rioting in the streets over a desecrated Host, or a portrait of Mary plastered with elephant dung? When was the last time you heard the pope or any bishop call upon the faithful to rise up and kill anyone who receives the Eucharist in an apparent state of “manifest grave sin”?

  • There are Muslims who do the beheading, and there are Muslims who condemn them in turn. Lest we forget: Sunni Muslims in Anbar province got fed up with “Al Qaeda in Iraq” and joined General Petreus in rooting them out. Or we can talk about Ahmad Shah Massoud, “Lion of Panjshir” — a Sunni Muslim who fought against the Soviets and stood up for the Taliban, forming the Northern Alliance. It was believed that he had caught wind of and attempted to warn the West about 9/11 and was assassinated.

    Good Muslims? — you bet.

    “Are you happy to meet Allah with this heavy burden on your shoulders? It is a weighty burden indeed – at least hundreds of thousands of innocent people, if not millions [displaced and killed]. And it is all because of the ‘crimes’ perpetrated against civilians by bin Laden’s Al Qaeda on 9/11.”

    Who said this in an open letter to Bin Laden? — a Muslim. Moreover, Salman al Ouda, cited by and influence on Bin Laden.

    I recommend to everybody a reading of Fawaz A. Gerges’ The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global

    Fawaz Gerges’ book on al Qaeda and the jihadist movement has become a classic in the field since it was published in 2005. Here he argued that far from being an Islamist front united in armed struggle, or jihad against the Christian West, as many misguided political commentators and politicians opined, al Qaeda represented a small faction within the jihadist movement, criticized by other groups who preferred to concentrate on changing the Muslim world, rather than attacking the Far Enemy and making the fight global. In the intervening years, with the advance of the ‘War on Terror’ and the invasion of Iraq, much has changed and, just as Gerges showed, al Qaeda’s fortunes have taken a significant downturn. Revisiting The Far Enemy in this new edition, Gerges demonstrates that not only have the jihadists split ranks, but that voices from within the ultra-religious right, those that previously supported al Qaeda, are condemning its tactics as violent, unethical, and out of accord with the true meaning of jihad. In fact, millions of Muslims worldwide have rejected al-Qaeda’s ideology and strategies and blame Osama bin Laden and his cohorts for the havoc the organisation has wrecked on their communities. Al-Qaeda is now in the wilderness suffering massive erosion of authority and legitimacy in Muslim eyes and facing a fierce revolt from within. As Gerges warns, the next US administration would do well to use political and socio-economic strategies rather than military means to ensure that it stays there.

    Gerges makes a convincing case that the “identity crisis” within Islam extends even to the ranks of the Islamists themselves.

    Rage on against “the Muslim horde”, but I think it is to our benefit that we pay attention to the nuances, the distinctions, the complexities of Muslims and within Islam itself.

  • “Then again, when was the last time you heard of Catholics rioting in the streets over a desecrated Host, or a portrait of Mary plastered with elephant dung? When was the last time you heard the pope or any bishop call upon the faithful to rise up and kill anyone who receives the Eucharist in an apparent state of “manifest grave sin”?”

    Elaine — I couldn’t agree more, and precisely the point of my own post on the topic.

  • Donald;

    Thank you for your perspective. You are normally a very reasonable but in this instance I think you are mistaken.

    Please re-read Christopher post. He is rationalizing why Muslims are killing innocent people. He is asking us to look at it from their perspective – which is to kill innocent people who had nothing to do with burning a book, be it holy or not. With all due respect to Christopher as a fellow human being, he uses the word “but” in his argument hence my comment on the affect of that word. Lets look at what rationalize means:

    ra•tion•al•ize is to ascribe (one’s acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes. (see

    He is asking us to look at killing innocent life from the Muslim perspective. That “NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading”, BUT if we could only be enlightened enough to see it from the Muslim perspective their action would make sense. I am sorry but it does not make sense to me – maybe I am just slow and not as enlightened as some but God made me how I am.


    Thank you for your concern about my jets but they were not in need of cooling. Just as I cannot understand why a baby can be killed (aborted) so to do I fail to understand why Muslims can kill innocent people. Again, I cannot understand from any perspective that it is justifiable or understandable to kill innocent people no matter what someone else did. Just because some fool in Florida burned the Koran does not make it okay for some one else thousands of miles away to kill innocent people. Muslims must take ownership of their actions – not claim it is the will of God (Inshalla). I hope you will not next tell me that I need to understand from a rapist’s perspective why they raped a person no matter what type of clothes the victim was wearing.

  • To explain why Muslim A would be upset over the burning of the Koran is in no way to rationalize why Muslim B would *kill* innocent people.

  • Thank you Chris (Burgwald).

    I said as much in the prefix to the sentence Catholic Lawyer is citing:

    NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, but understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might get a tad upset witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.

    I’d also refer Catholic Lawer to this post:

    Where I am making the same point: protesting sacrilege cannot be taken as grounds for murdering the innocent.

  • What Chris Burgwald said.

    I would also ask the Catholic Lawyer to take note of my disclaimer …

    NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, but understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might get a tad upset witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.

    — and to please read the prior post as well: On the Muslim Response to Terry Jones where I specifically dispute the notion that protesting sacrilege is legitimate grounds for murdering the innocent.

  • Christopher;

    Words have meaning. Look at what you really said “NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, BUT understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might get a tad upset witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.” (Emphasis added).

    But defined:

    1. On the contrary: the plan caused not prosperity but ruin.
    2. Contrary to expectation; yet: She organized her work but accomplished very little. He is tired but happy.
    3. Usage Problem Used to indicate an exception: No one but she saw the prowler.
    4. With the exception that; except that. Often used with that: would have joined the band but he couldn’t spare the time; would have resisted but that they lacked courage.

    So lets write what you really said “NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, EXCEPT THAT understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might [kill] witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.” If this is not your intended meaning then you should be more careful in what you are writing.

    Men of good will can disagree and still treat each other with common courtesy and respect.

  • Sorry “definition” not defination – my bad

  • Good grief, do you have a vendetta or something?

    What Chris Burgwald said @ 3:25pm.

    And did you bother at all to read my post? –

  • Chris, isn’t it fun to be accused, on one thread, of being an apologist for Islam, while on another thread someone tweaks you for making a religious issue out of supposedly political and tribal slayings?

  • The Internet: A place where people who want to misunderstand you, will.

  • Christopher;

    I may have misunderstood your post but I am not alone. I come to this conclusion because
    1. Other people on this site have; and
    2. I asked others to read your posts and they came to the same conclusion that I did. Admittedly, the people I asked are of similiar temperment and mind set as I. In thier defense, they are highly intelligent and highly educated (not that these two are necessarily related).

    If your position is to compliment or remind other of those Muslims that have not reacted violently even when provoked then you should make this point more clearly. I know you have in other places but, I know this will come as a shock to some, not everyone reads all the posts here

    I did not intentionally misunderstand your post but took it at face value. It says what it say. If what it says is not how it should be interperated then please speak more clearly.

    I am sorry that you feel that having a discussion about the use of words amounts to a vendetta or something. I cannot prevent you from feeling this way. I would hope you understand that it was and is not my intent. Christopher, we are both brothers in Christ and I hold no ill will towards you. I would hope that if we ever met we could be friends.

  • “Christopher, we are both brothers in Christ and I hold no ill will towards you. I would hope that if we ever met we could be friends.”

    Thank you, the feeling is mutual.

  • Good on you, CL.

    Let me explain *my* reaction–I’ve long thought that Chris Blosser was one of the five sanest men on the internet (honest–it’s not a backhanded compliment). The idea that he-of all people-would be thought of as apologizing for religious terror…astounds.

  • I’ve long thought that Chris Blosser was one of the five sanest men on the internet…

    Hear, hear.