The Gross National Debt

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

You don't get to vote on this

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Far be it from to tell a fellow Christian if he is right or wrong, especially a Catholic, since I left that denomination as a teenager and ain't looked back.

I'll let Penn Gillette do it. Gillette is a confirmed atheist. He speaks on atheism and routinely questions and occasionally ridicules religion and its adherents. He is also absolute correct about the Catholic church, which makes a lot of Catholics uneasy.

He says Catholics who want the church to "modernize" need to re-examine their belief.

"Well, I think I may be somebody who believes in the Pope's position more than most Catholics. I really take people at their word. And it seems like all of the cynicism and all of the – who are we going to get in, modernizing – there's not supposed to be modernizing. It's supposed to be [the] word of God," he told Piers Morgan.

Morgan complained the church and the Pope are not keeping up with the times. Gillette correctly points out a central tenet of the Catholic religion is that the Pope interprets God's commands. Parishioners don't.

If you can't accept that, you're not a Catholic.

"This is great, what side you're picking here. I would say on my side that if you have someone who is a conduit to God and is speaking God's word, even if you can't understand exactly what God's plan is, even if you do see suffering, that you consider unacceptable, or any suffering is unacceptable, that still doesn't mean you get to vote on what God actually believes," Gillette said.

"Once you have somebody that is telling you, we are interpreting God for you, it seems like you either agree or you don't. You either say, like Martin Luther, I'm going to have a direct relationship with the word of God, or I'm going to go through a conduit of God on Earth, which would be the Pope."

Gillette, a confirmed atheist, has a better understanding of Christianity than most Christians I know.

You. Don't. Get. To. Vote.

You can, if you follow the Protestant Reformation and the Treaty of Westphalia 1648 sort of on this last one. I explain in a moment.

The Protestant reformation said people can interpret the Bible for themselves. No pope needed. Most Christians the world today are of this stripe. A sizeable percentage are Catholic, but not a majority.

That being said, if you interpret the Bible for yourself, then you must also grant that right to everyone else. Of course you could intend to set yourself up as a Pope and speak for God because they cannot speak to God directly. Unless you are being irrational. This being religion, I'm going with irrational.

If you believe everyone has the right to interpret the Bible for themselves, then finding proof you are correct and they are incorrect is going to be impossible. Unless you are being irrational or can provide bona fide miracles.

As for this ability to disagree over the Bible (and representative-style governments like we have in the United States and many other countries), you can thank the Treaty of Westphalia 1648 for that. This treaty removed the Pope and the Catholic church as the government from several countries. It spread from there.

Gillette, like so many atheists I know, has a far better understanding of the Bible and Christianity than most Christians I know. They admit if God is running the show, we don't get a vote to decide what God believes and does.

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