Juan Cole: Dear Rightwing Catholic Islamophobeshttp://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/295-164/16730-dear-rightwing-catholic-islamophobes
An example is former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. Rep. Peter King of New York also comes to mind. Robert Spencer has made a career of defaming Islam and Muslims. Then there is professional bully Sean Hannity of Faux News. Paul Ryan uses the insulting language of "Islamic fascism" (fascism is a Western invention; most fascists in history have been of Christian heritage; and it has nothing to do with the Muslim faith). Ryan, far from serving the poor, wants to cut social services to them by savaging the government budget, and openly boasts of following prophet of selfishness Ayn Rand.
These purveyors of hate speech against Muslims claim to be Catholics, and some of them are annoyingly Ultramontane, insisting on papal infallibility and trying to impose their values on all Americans.
Yet the person they hold to be the vicar of Christ has just given humankind a different charge, of humility and of service to the least in society, many of whom are Muslims.
So when will we see Rudy Giuliani, Sean Hannity and the others go to a prison to comfort inmates, and serve the Muslims among them? When will we see them kiss a Muslim's feet? Or are they cafeteria Catholics, parading only the values that accord with their Ayn Rand heresy?
Turning a blind eye to the truth - that they ARE Catholics, and if you go by the church's teachings, they might just be in better standing than most liberal ones - doesn't help anything.
Ironic that Cole uses the phrase "cafeteria Catholics" when that's exactly what the liberal Catholics are too, parading only the values that accord with their secular "heresy" (birth control, abortion, gay marriage, etc.).
The right are at least as much "Cafeteria Catholics" as are the left. Look at the way that, say, Peter Grace or William F. Buckley accepted the encyclical Laborem Exercens. In his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II says that capital punishment is not inherently immoral, but there are essentially no circumstances in which it is morally licit. Antonin Scalia has said that any judge who is believes that the death penalty is immoral should resign.
Both Popes and the Second Vatican Council have said that torture is malum in se -- evil in and of itself -- yet there are conservative Catholics who damn opponents of waterboarding as supporters of terrorism.
BTW, there is a nice little essay defending Cafeteria Catholicism at http://www.renewedpriesthood.org/ca/page.cfm?Web_ID=1131
Except when done to those in hell, right? Then it's a necessary consequence of their actions.
Do you believe I will be tortured in hell for eternity?
Here is something I posted last week, but apparently you missed:
The classic New Testament account of judgment is Matthew 25:31-46. This is full of apocalyptic imagery, with Jesus as judge. He is arbiter of the fate of those who appear before him; and their attitude towards him determines their fate. Elsewhere, peoples destiny hinges on their faith in Jesus, on their witness to him, and on their fraternal love. Here, however, charity towards the needy is love for Jesus himself. While the wording suggests that the text originally referred to members of the Christian community, the context extends it to the whole world. Matthew 25 is central to the notion of "anonymous Christians," those who, never having heard the Gospel, nevertheless struggle to live its ideals.
The earlier Jewish writings have nothing similar to the punishments associated with hell. In the Old Testament, the spirits of both good and bad people inhabit a nether world, Sheol, in a pallid, shadowy existence. Punishment for Israel's enemies was an old idea, but this was a direct, immediate, and earthly punishment. The idea that there would be retribution for all the wicked came later, during the Hellenistic period, when personal immortality was accepted.
Then, the image of everlasting fire came to describe the punishment of the wicked. The apochryphal book of Judith has "Woe to the nations that rise against my people! The Lord Almighty will requite them; on the day of judgment he will punish them: He will send fire and worms into their flesh, and they shall burn and suffer forever." The New Testament picks up this imagery: "Anyone whose name was not found in the book of life was hurled into the pool of burning fire." (Revelation 20:15) In the second century, Justin Martyr argued that hell fire is eternal, otherwise there would be no sanctions regulating one's life.
In the third century, Origen maintained the opposite view. He denied hell, feeling that it frustrates God's plan of universal salvation, and thus is repugnant to a God of love. Origen's central idea is the restoration of all things in Christ. At death, the souls of sinners enter a purifying fire where they are cleansed and restored. Although Origen taught that when this restoration occurred, it would be the result of the sinners conversion; his ideas were repeatedly condemned.
Origens "universalism" -- all people are saved -- is at best a minority opinion, at worst considered heresy. Many Church fathers in the East and West, medieval theologians, and Catholics and Protestants from the Reformation to the present held that most are damned. Augustine in particular championed this view, maintaining that original sin condemns us all. He cited texts such as "Many are called, few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14) and "Many will try to enter and will be unable." (Luke 13:24) See Augustine's The City of God, book 11.
Modern theologians are less eager to condemn everyone. Some present a version of universalism; while others, who accept an eternal hell, question if anyone is actually there. The late Anglican Bishop John A T Robinson acknowledges that judgment is necessary, but argues that its only function is to show God's mercy, which thus renders judgment superfluous. That a human could resist divine love and frustrate Gods will is unthinkable. To admit the possibility that some persons may be lost is for Robinson an impossible concession to a power outside God.
It is hard to reconcile this with human freedom. Free will implies the choice of eternal separation from God. If God overrides our free decisions, then freedom is a sham. If there is a connection between our acts in this world and our fate in the next, we must be allowed to make even a wrong choice in something so definitive as our final destiny. The late Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner gives the common position when he says that a time comes when each person either ratifies or reverses the fundamental choice lived throughout life, and accepts the consequences. C S Lewis agrees: "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done, and those to whom God says, 'Thy will be done.' All that are in Hell, choose it." (The Great Divorce, p 69)
Whatever the torments of hell may be (fire is obviously a metaphor), they are not tortures imposed by a vindictive judge. Modern psychology is more helpful than medieval penology in understanding the suffering of the damned. Hell is a projection of the person, not a punishment imposed for sins (perhaps) bitterly and belatedly regretted. Hell is an extreme narcissism turning the sinner in on self and causing unending turmoil and frustration. Hell is estrangement from God and alienation from the created universe -- a renunciation of love. The suffering of hell is compounded, according to Augustine, because God continues to love the sinner, who is not able to return this love.
Although modern theologians differ on the possibility of an eternal hell, they generally agree that God wills to save all humanity. This is a departure from the Augustinian tradition of salvation only for the few. Jesus said at the Last Supper: "This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:28) The reference to the "many" must be interpreted in the broader context of Pauls classic witness to Gods will: "I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men Prayer of this kind is good, and God our savior is pleased with it, for he wants all men to be saved and to come and know the truth. And the truth is this: God is one, one also is the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all." (1 Timothy 2:1, 3-6)
Would the coming of the Son of Man represent a triumph over sin and hell in any significant way if most of the human race is lost?
So your answer to my question is yes. Thanks.
But then, when given a reasonable answer, one that does not say "God sends people to eternal damnation for the hell of it", you prefer to sneer. After all, you are apparently convinced that religion is bad, and mere reason will not change your prejudice.
Tell me what is wrong with my response, do not just blow it off.
The idea of eternal torture is wholly incompatible with the notion of a forgiving, all-loving god. Any reasonable, morally aware human being understands this, which is why some faith traditions that need to cling to the concept of eternal torture invent explanations that allow their god to be off the hook for it. Your "answer" amounts to: "God can't do anything, because he is forced to give people who turn away from him their wish: eternal separation from him." (Which within your faith tradition essentially means they have chosen to torture themselves. Sorry folks, the benevolent all-loving god values your free will SO MUCH that he has no choice but to let you CHOOSE to be tortured forever... by yourself.) Seems strange that believers who think their god is infinitely powerful is itself somehow constrained by a an artificial construct that it came up with somewhere along the line. I guess that's just part of the Mystery, now shut up and stop asking questions.
If you choose to estrange yourself from God, how can it be unreasonable for God to give you what you asked for?
If, as a parent, you say to your child "if you continue that behavior, you are going to be sent to your room", and the child continues the behavior, then it is not your fault that you are sending the child to his or her room; it is entirely the child's fault.
My brother has, for reasons known only to himself, estranged himself from both my mother and me. Neither one of us has spoken to him for nearly a year. That is entirely his choice, not ours.
You say "Sorry folks, the benevolent all-loving god values your free will SO MUCH that he has no choice but to let you CHOOSE to be tortured forever... by yourself." This translates to a whine of "I want to make my own choices but I don't want to suffer the consequences of those choices". Tell me, are you always so childish? Obviously, you do not think that free will is desirable or that God should abide by what you choose to do. "I'm going to eat a pound of candy every day, and I'll blame someone else for my weight gain and my diabetes!"
So a parent threatens to send their child to their room. Or in the corner. Or to bed without dessert. Whatever.
Each of those punishments is limited, finite, and something the child can experience and then adjust their behavior.
The judgment you believe in is eternal. We have nothing to compare it to in our lives. We can't even get accurate information from anyone during our lives.
And I'm not being childish, I'm pointing out just how childish your beliefs on this matter are. Millions of Christians have matured and abandoned the notion of hell. You should too.
You objection is to eternal punishment. Do you want a discussion of eternity? Tell me, have you ever had a metaphysics course?
is in any way analogous to eternal separation from your god.
to punishment from a supposedly just "god" that is out of all proportion to the severity of the offense. Can you name any offense that warrants infinite punishment?
tortures a child because of some small misdeed, that parent is a child abuser and if caught is punished for their actions. Using your logic, though, the child is to blame for not paying attention to the directions of the parent. And we know that blaming the victim is always cool.
I sure hope you don't claim to be a moral or ethical person while defending this sick shit.
But then, this seems to be the norm among DU atheists.
Did you think that no one would notice if you dredged up the same dishonest shit again?
You have been challenged before to show us ANY atheist on DU who says that there should be no consequences for wrong actions, and you failed miserably, as I'm sure you will here too (but feel free to insert your routine lie that you gave examples when you really didn't).
Any sane and sensible person expects that punishment will be proportional to the seriousness of the offense. Do you agree or not? If so, tell us what offense eternal, infinite punishment is proportional to.
Frankly people like you frighten me, like rabid dogs on a leash, what if the leash broke?
But if you're fine with everyone knowing that, I am too...
It is literally impossible to obey all the teachings - they're self-contradictory. One bible verse says "Thou shalt not kill", another says "Kill the heathens!" If you try, the result is utter madness.
The question for Christians is whether to obey the teachings that say "Be nice to people, don't act like a douche." or the teachings that are nastier.
I prefer the Gospels to anything else in the bible. When I read the bible I understand the time it was written in and the culture that is the base o it.
do they provide consistent moral teachings? you say you prefer the red letters, but what about the rest of christianity? are they similarly bound to only read the Jefferson bible? what about judaism, which *only* uses these, apparently less moral teachings from the books of moses, and considers the new testament to be *less* moral, and a fabrication to boot?
my point is.. the Bible is in itself inconsistent and amoral by modern standards. people can pick and choose the parts they think are more moral, but the rest of the book is still there for other people to read and interpret differently.
meaning that in the final analysis, on the whole, the bible is *not* a reliable source of moral guidance.
According to the bible I should be stoned to death because I am gay. So you make a good point.
IMO the bible is the closest divine revelation we have but it was written by mostly men and it carries their cultural experience with it.
you say NT is better but jewish folks say OT. how is liberal christianity any more correct than fred phelps' variety except that it better comports with secular humanistic ethics?
my point is if that the text itself must be 'liberally' interpreted for you or me to glean any good from it, then it wasn't any good to begin with.. you and i were good when we saw the good in an otherwise terrible book.
When I say the bible I mean both OT and NT. Somethings are very hard to explain when it comes to faith. I know that sounds like a dodge but I just know what I accept as truth.
are people who pretend anyone who points out the truths of Islam being labeled Islamophobes and pretending that every other religion is just as bad as Islam..I certainly agree that most or all religions have been (through out history) involved in bad practices..that said most have evolved beyond selling 6 year olds as child brides and killing women for riding a bicycle just to name 2 examples currently on page #1 of the 'latest threads' page. No, it is disingenuous to pretend Islam isn't the most deserving of criticism of all mainline religions in the world, and inexcusable for liberals to condone and defend their unspeakable acts of horror and trying to quiet rightful criticism of accepted disgusting practices within Islam...along with the far less pervasive disgusting practices within other religions..
Is those Islamophobes who claim that there is nothing good whatsoever in Islam, who pretend that Muslim extremists are the Muslim mainstream.
Christianophobes (LOL) who claim that there is nothing good whatsoever in Christianity, who pretend that Christian extremists are the Christian mainstream..eh?
Is this a kind of "No True Catholic" thing, then?
"Here comes everyone!"
Catholics are, all too often, lacking in humility and charity. We argue. We fight. We wrangle. But, to each of us, this faith of ours is worth fighting over. It is a major part of what we are. And, in our passions, we sometimes get so angry and so frustrated that we forget the Christian virtues that we should be practicing. For all of us, most certainly including myself, who have fallen short of the Christian ideal, I wish to apologize.
As far as leaving the Church, I am sometimes tempted to do just that. I was originally baptised into the Anglican Church, and I sometimes wonder if I would be happier there. (I hear one or two people saying "Yes, why don't you go there?" So why do I stay? As Tevye in the opening to Fiddler on the Roof says, "We stay, because Anatevka is our home." And the Catholic Church is my home. My favorite definition of "home" is from Robert Frost's poem, "The Death of the Hired Man":
"Home is the place where,
When you have to go there,
They have to take you in."
And where would I go if I were to leave? In John 6:67-68, Jesus asks the apostles "'Do you also want to leave?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.'"
The Church is my family. A large, sometimes dysfunctional, often unruly family. A family of drunks and liars, whores and advertising men (but I repeat myself), saints who make people wonder how they ever got canonized (read about Cyril of Alexandria sometime -- if you would like me to post on him, just ask).
I stay because I sometimes get glimpses of Jesus in my fellow Catholics -- enough glimpses to keep me hungering for more and also keep me convinced that this is the path that I must follow if I am to see Jesus eternally. I stay because I do find enough faith, hope, and especially love to sustain me on my pilgrimage along that path. Is it always easy? No, of course not. I often stumble. I sometimes get angry at the officious bureaucracy of the Church, who seem to be far more interested in power than they are in love. I often get angry with my fellow Christians for not living up to the ideals that they profess. I get angry with myself for the same reasons. Sometimes I get angry with God, who is the Malek Haolam -- the master of the universe --but seems to be doing a rotten job of running the place.
The Apostle Paul put it: "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!" (Phillipians 4:4) I do not rejoice always -- I have far too many demons infesting my soul to permit this -- but I rejoice enough of the time that it is worth staying the course.
Particularly now, when there is an opportunity to contrast the behavior of some with the behavior of Francis.
They need to be called out.
Good article. Thanks for posting it.
A key component of Catholic theology is respecting the sanctity of human life. And it is an official church teaching that life begins at conception. Pro-birth control Catholics are thus also falling short of Bergoglio's moral standard.
Anything that exposes the hypocrisy is a gotcha. You should know that by now.
But I'll keep pointing it out for anyone who's paying attention. Nothing can change if people are carrying water for Republicans, enabling their hypocritical behavior by engaging in the same exact thing.
He does not have a good and bad list.
And if liberals are going to criticize conservative Catholics for not follow church teachings, then they open themselves up to the same criticism because they also don't follow all the church teachings. Both groups pick and choose, and neither is honest about it.
We have to follow our hearts, but you make a good point about being critical of things if you do something similar.
" fascism is a Western invention; most fascists in history have been of Christian heritage; and it has nothing to do with the Muslim faith)"
Do I have to say how much is wrong in this line? I'd rather not, as I don't have a week to spare.
--the unity of corporations and the state. Definitely not Muslim--their reactionaries look back toward pastoralism, which is an entirely different thing.
because it is a "western" creation, and not Islam, like saying they can't be sexist, because it is a western concept.