Posted on Leave a comment

Is the Bible a Myth?

Is the Bible a myth or just a nice story? Has the Bible been changed thousands of times into something unrecognizable?

Many skeptics seem to think so. “Someone probably just made up the Bible.  It’s just a nice story like Santa Clause.”

Rarely, if ever, have these same people looked into the Bible, it’s history, or contents. Most of them have never even read the Bible. the following is a typical conversation that we have had many times:

Skeptic:  I don’t believe the Bible.

Catholic Truth: Why not?

Skeptic: Because somebody probably just made it up.

CT:  Who?

Skeptic: What?

CT: Who? You said “somebody made it up,” so who was this person that invented the world’s most popular book? When did he or she invent it and how long did it take them to do so?

Skeptic:  I don’t know. Somebody a long time ago.

CT:  Somebody? Who?

Skeptic: I don’t know.

CT: You don’t seem to know anything about this and don’t seem to be able to support your claim? So, how you can you make a bold claim like “someone invented the Bible” that you haven’t into or studied? As a matter of historical fact, one person did not invent the Bible.

In truth, it was written over a period of one thousand years by more than 40 different authors, and so one person could not have just “made it up.” Moreover, we know who most of these authors were, when they wrote, and good bit about their lives.

Skeptic:  Alright, you got me there. The Bible wasn’t just made up by someone.

More Objections:

At this point, other objections usually arises. Here is another one.

Skeptic:  I have a hard time accepting the Bible though because it is full of contradictions.

CT: Like what?

Skeptic: Huh? 

CT: You said the Bible is full of contradictions. Name a few please.

Skeptic: Well, umm, I can’t think of any right now off the top of my head.

CT: If the Bible is so full of contradictions, then how is it that you cannot come up with any? Also, have you looked into the supposed contradictions to verify that they in fact true, or that they are not just seeming contradictions that are not in reality?

Most people who condemn the Bible have not even read it. Even people who do attempt to read it most often don’t try to understand Scripture, it’s literary genres, or different writing styles.

is the bible a myth?

About the Bible

What most skeptics and atheists fail to understand is that the Bible is a library. A person cannot just read through it like The Hunger Games, for it not just one genre but many.

Each book of the Bible possesses a different literary genre that needs to be properly understood and correctly interpreted. This is one reason why people fail to understand Scripture properly. For example, some books contained within are history, law, and poetry. Still others are prophecy, exhortation, apocalyptic literature, and so on.

There are also different literary devices to understand as well, such as; mythic stories, prophetic texts, rabbinic hyperbole, etc. It is necessary to understand this along with what the author was trying to communicate.

Also important is the historical worldview and context at the time the author was writing. Too many people attempt to interpret the Bible in English, from a modern day American/European (etc.) worldview over 2000 removed from the worldview and understanding it was set in.

Some reject the Bible because they believe Adam and Eve were actually talking to a snake. Others postulate that the world was created in seven literal days. These and other examples reveal a lack of understanding of the biblical texts themselves.

If Atheists or skeptics assert that the story of Jesus is merely invented, like Hamlet, then they have to provide fact based evidence. Who made it up?  When?  Why? What was their motive? How long did it take?

People invent things for a reason. So what was that reason? To even be take seriously as a claim, they need to offer names, dates, and cited evidence to begin the conversation.

Another Objection

Some atheists attempt some other arguments.

Atheist: I’m atheist, and I certainly don’t believe in the Bible.  I think it’s all a big lie.

Catholic Truth: Why?

Atheist: Well, because I don’t think there is any proof for it.

CT: Proof for what?

Atheist: For the Bible. It’s been shown to be wrong.

CT: Really? Where?

Atheist: Archeologists can find no evidence whatsoever for the Israelites being in Egypt. Additionally, there is no evidence that a census even happened as mentioned in the Book of Luke.

CT:  To make sure I understand you correctly, you are saying that you reject the whole Bible because archeologists have yet to provide evidence for two events?

I do not see how this disproves the Bible. What you seem unaware of is that archeologists have made hundreds of discoveries which confirm the Bible both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Thus, there is proof that confirms the Bible, and far more than not.

Atheist: Perhaps that is true, but the fact remains that to date there is no evidence for the Israelites being in Egypt or of a census.

Me: Not yet there isn’t. Does that mean these things did not happen though? Or, is it possible that archeologists just have not discovered the evidence yet?

One must not the amount of times that critics have claimed there was no proof for something in the Bible only to have the evidence emerge at a later time. Archeologists have turned up a large number of people, places, and events not originally considered true that archeologists then had to reverse their position on. 

For example, archeology claimed that Pontius Pilate or Lysanius the Tetrarch did not exist. In addition, Herod the Great,[1] the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and many, many other things were said to be myths, or just incorrect.  Then, lo and behold, the evidence for all of these people and places have been found and are not disputed.

Hundreds of discoveries have confirmed the Bible time and time again. So, to say there is currently no evidence for these two events does not prove anything accept that nothing has been found to date. It is important to note that the things being discussed here happened thousands of years ago, and history is still being uncovered daily.

Atheist: That actually makes some sense. I’m still skeptical though. 

The Book of Mormon

The two most prestigious historical societies in the United States have officially stated that there is no proof for the Book of Mormon or any of it’s historical claims.[2] That is telling. Nothing like this has been pronounced about the Bible.

The book, The Case for Christ, sums up the archeological evidence for the Book of Mormon; “In other words, no Book of Mormon cities have ever been located, no Book of Mormon person, place, nation, or name has ever been found. No Book of Mormon artifacts, no Book of Mormon Scriptures, no Book of Mormon inscriptions, nothing which demonstrates the Book of Mormon is anything other than myth or invention has ever been found.[3] 

Now, contrast this with the hundreds and hundreds of historical and archeological discoveries which authenticate persons, places, and events in the Bible. Thus, the Bible is not just a myth, something “made up” to scare people. but is based on true history of true people, places and events.

Atheist: That does makes some sense.

We may note too that the Bible is not the only historical source on Jesus or Christianity.  There are other historical sources that confirm the existence of Jesus and the Christian religion, whereas there is nothing like that to confirm the Book of Mormon.

In Jesus’ day, there were prominent Jewish and Roman historians (Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Tactius, and others) who mention Jesus in their histories. Jesus and Christianity are also mentioned in the Jewish Talmud too.  Thus, the Bible is not the only source we have regarding these things.

The Bible is not a myth. There is abundant evidence that demonstrates its authenticity.

Do you know where the Bible came from? God did not just hand it to us from the sky. Check out our article how we got the Bible.

 

 

END NOTES:

[1] The Smithsonian: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Finding-Herods-Tomb.html?fb_action_ids=10151847945161117&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_ref=.UjHMAJwqpSk.like&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582,  / National Geographic: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/11/081119-herod-tomb-paintings-missions.html,

[2] http://lifeafter.org/smithsonian/ (The statements can be found on their sites too).

[3] Strobel, Lee, The Case For Christ, Pg. 107.

Posted on Leave a comment

5 Reasons God Doesn’t Answer Prayer

why God doesn't answer prayer

why God doesn't answer prayerHave you ever wondered why it seems like God doesn’t answer prayers? Many people struggle with this and some more than others.

There are many different reasons why prayers appear to go unanswered, and we will discuss some of those.

In this article, we will present 5 reasons of many why God may not answer your prayers. (Note: If you would like your prayers answered more often and would like to come closer to God, check out our powerful series on prayer here and how to make prayer work in your life.

5 Reasons God Doesn’t Answer Prayer

To begin with, it cannot be stressed enough that God does answer prayers for those who truly and deeply follow Him. Yet, He does not answer yes to everything we ask for. More on this in a minute, but the simplest understanding of this is that God gives one of three answers when we pray: Yes. No. Or, not yet.

5 reasons god doesn't answer prayer

Sometimes God answers our prayers and says yes. At other times, He does hear our prayers but says no. God is not like Jim Carey in the movie Bruce Almighty who becomes God for a day. He pushes the “yes button” and indiscriminately answers everyone in the world’s prayers at the same time.

While we cannot recommend the movie, everyone received what they prayed for and all hell broke loose. Chaos ensued. People were angry at God because of how things turned out that they did not foresee.

God does not work this way. He is a good Father who is tuned into our life and what is good for us. Being eternal wisdom and knowledge, our loving Lord knows perfectly what’s best for us. Even more, He wishes to give only that which is good and beneficial to us and our eternal souls.

When God says No

When I was a teenager, I remember my baby brother crawling towards the hot stove and to touch it. He was curious. However, he was also in route to burn himself.  Being a good big brother, I pulled him away from the hot stove and said “No!” “Hot!” 

As soon the baby was at a safe distance, he was released back to the floor. Immediately, he began crawling back to the stove and had a meltdown when he was pulled away again. He did not understand why he was being prevented from touching something he just wanted to explore.

The baby saw what he wanted, and I knew much more perfectly that it would hurt him. God works in the same way with us. He sees things that we do not, and He understands perfectly what is good for us – even when we don’t.

If God had answered my prayers and let me date half of the girlfriends I desired, I would be miserable today. While I was angry at God here and there, I am now very thankful that God did not allow me to possess those things which were not good for me. After all, i may have never met my wife!

In short: God does say yes, and He does answer prayers. However, He also says no but always for a good reason.

When God Says Not Yet

Another possibility remains that God intends to answer your prayer – but not yet. This could be for a variety of reasons. For example, I was not allowed to ride my bike in the street when I was a child, however, that changed as I grew older.

additionally, I spent many painstaking years trying to figure out my vocation. At times I beat my head against the wall begging for an answer. 

I realize now in hindsight, that the reason God did not reveal it to me was because it was not time. To be fair, I knew in my heart, but often doubted. The truth is that I was not prepared, not ready, and my wife wasn’t ready either. However, over time, it became clear.

5 reasons god doesn't answer prayer

Many of us grow up with confusion. We receive different messages from our parents, friends, and from other influences. This prevents us from hearing God clearly a does anxiety and worrying too much. It clouds our minds.

Do not mistake the common mistake of feeling that God is not listening. He absolutely is, and He is invisibly guiding you whether you feel it or not.

If our loving Lord is giving a “No” for some reason, it means it is not good for you, so stop holding on to it. Too many people lose their faith because “God doesn’t answer their prayers” the way that they want. 

However, this is a very immature spiritual life. God is not Santa Claus, and we cannot treat Him as Santa Claus just making a list of things we desire and expecting Him to fulfill that list (like an Amazon order).

Analogously, God is not a genie in a bottle. He is not an almighty vending machine giving us exactly what we request. It does not work that way, even if we feel we need something important.

It all starts with having a real, deep relationship with God. If you want you prayers answered more often, or, an understanding of why He does not answer, come to know God on a much deeper level. Develop a meaningful relationship with Him. (Again, see out prayer series which will greatly aid you in this and which will reveal the other reasons God doesn’t answer prayers.

When Sin is the Problem

Growing up, I dressed in all black, carried weapons, and wanted to hurt people. Extreme anger and sadness ruled my life. That was after many, many years of praying for God to come into my life and help me. That was also before Jesus finally turned my life upside down and backwards for the better.

Throughout my life, very few prayers were answered. It is a very frustrating experience. Important to note was that I was going to church and praying on the one hand, and then hating people and wanting to hurt them on the other. I was full of sin and anger, depression and confusion.

I longed for God to come into my life but, He had no room. My heart was so full of many other things. My spiritual life was only being lived half way. It’s not magic.

The Bible is clear that we need to have great faith and really live out that relationship with Christ Jesus to know Him and have Him work in our lives.

Sometimes it is sin that blocks us from the life of God and from receiving answers to our prayer. If we have a particular sin or addiction in our life, it builds a wall between you and God. It you are in mortal sin, that is also an obstacle between you and God.

Even small sins built up over time can build a wall. They have been described as pestilences in our soul eating away at the life of God within us. Remember, every time we choose sin, we are choosing to walk away from God, and many times, these have repercussions in our spiritual life

Thus, we must work hard to uproot the large sin in our life, and then the smaller ones. The more we do so, the more God will have room to move in as He did in my life as I prayed more and sought Him with all my heart.

If you have not gone to confession in a while, or if you have not confessed your sins to God recently, now is the time. Then get to work fixing the sins and making a plan to remove them from your life.

Praying for God’s Will!

Saints have said that we should always be praying for God’s will, and a knowledge of what that will is in our life. The closer we come to Jesus, the less we will be praying to win the lottery, have a new car fall into our lap, or to be the most popular person in class.

Rather, we will seek out how we can please God, follow His commandments, and have a knowledge of His will. We should pray often that we can align our wills to God’s. Then, we are much more likely to know God the right things to pray for.

In other words, we wouldn’t pray for a million dollars or a new car, instead we would pray for things we need. Also, when we get closer to God, we are avoiding sin. This helps us to see things more clearly that we wouldn’t see before.

I cannot tell you the amount of times I believed God wasn’t listening, or that He was purposely not answering my prayers, even though I was close to Him. However, persevering in prayer, and humbling myself before Him, over time, God often reveals to me the reason. And guess what?

It always makes sense. God is always right. He always knows. We who cannot even see the future three seconds from now often think we know better than God, but we do not. Giving up in prayer is the road to destruction. Giving up on God because we think He is not listening is the path to the dark side, and that is the devil’s biggest lie that he will whisper into your mind.

The reality is that God loves you. If you are trying to follow Him with all of your heart, the He is leading you, despite our stubbornness and refusal to listen or acquiesce and obey. Yet, He is still there. Our Loving Lord still knows everything about you and has your good in mind. Continue to draw closer to Him and you will see Him working more in your life.

Check out our prayer series to go into far more depth.

Posted on Leave a comment

God’s Immense and Unbelievable Love and Mercy!

The Catholic Church recently celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday, the glorious occasion where Catholics celebrate the immense, immeasurable, and unbelievable depths of God’s love and mercy for all mankind!

Sadly, too many people do not know the love of God. He is often viewed through the eyes of guilt, fear, regret, and anxiety.

“Relationship” with God is often a mere checklist of right and wrong and a recognition of what we failed to do.

This is the reason even many Christians do not possess great joy and peace in their souls because they do not know God’s immense and unconditional love for them. We have heard about it, but it is not real for us.

Knowing God’s love in more than mere intellectualism will transform the way we approach God and think about ourselves. It will not be with fear but with faith and a burning love for His infinite goodness. This is the secret to being set free and finding peace.

How many people walk around with one or two sins that they have never confessed to God out of fear or guilt?

How many souls walk around unable to forgive themselves for something foul in their past?

How many people have allowed darkness to reign in their lives and take over their minds? How this leads to depression and despair.

Divine Mercy

Are we tired of this? NOW is the time to be set free! Now is the time to seek and find forgiveness. Now is the time to cry out to God and make things right. Now is the time to receive God’s mercy. Now is the time to reject those things those lies that hold you captive and keep you a prisoner.

This is what Divine Mercy is all about. It is a reminder of God’s unchanging love for us, a burning love that will chase us down, consume our sins, and transform our lives if we let it.

I know women who have had multiple abortions. Even they fell on their knees and begged forgiveness. Guess what? They found it, and God changed their lives. That is Divine Mercy!

I know abortion doctors that have openly admitted to killing tens of thousands of innocent babies in the womb and have sought forgiveness from Jesus. Guess what? They found it. Moreover, they have subsequently turned their lives around and work to protect the unborn. That conversion is the result of Divine Mercy!

There are drug dealers, crack addicts, Satanists, terrorists and others are some of the most sad and evil people on the planet. Even they discovered Jesus Christ and found His Divine Mercy. They were forgiven, freed, and brought into the Kingdom of Light.

Divine Mercy does not only belong to those who sin small, but even more so to those who do not deserve it and need it most. As St. Thomas Aquinas once said, the biggest sinners have the greatest right to God’s mercy.

No Exceptions

Divine Mercy says that there is no situation, no sin, and no person who is too far gone to receive a second chance and to start over. to receive God’s mercy. What a awesome, loving God and Savior we have – one that we should celebrate with thanksgiving and praise!

For anyone who is weighed down with guilt and regret, with too many wasted years, or for anyone who is tired of carrying around a thousand pound weight on their heart every single day, it’s time to cry out to God for His mercy! It’s time to ask for a total healing, cleansing, and renewal.

For anyone who is tired of life, a broken heart, who has been abused, rejected, or hates themselves; for anyone who feels so bad that they could never be forgiven, now is the time to cry out for God’s mercy! Get on your knees and ask Him to consume all your sins, mistakes, regrets, your past, and to give you new life in Jesus who died for every sin of every person in the entire world – past, present, and future.

There is nothing Jesus desires more than to help us in our need and have a deep, abiding relationship with us.

With that being said, Jesus is not a spiritual drug pusher or a holy vending machine. Therefore, we cannot just ask for something and be on our way. God wants far more. He wants a relationship with you. He wants your heart and your commitment.

He is the key to the cage many people are held prisoner in. He offers it freely to those who seek Him with their whole being.

His arms are open and waiting!

Perhaps you already believe this message of Divine Mercy. However, so many do not. Please share this with the world, especially those who need God’s unconditional love and mercy!

If anyone still doubts this unbelievable love, look at a crucifix! It is the eternal sign of God’s love and mercy. It’s the proof of His love for us even when we did not deserve it! He love never fails!

Want to hear more on this topic? Check out our video on God’s mercy.

Posted on Leave a comment

Catholic Conversation with an Angry Anti-Catholic

Anti-Catholic: I am a current member of the Roman Catholic Church. I want to discuss the Catholic faith with you. Watch this video and think for yourself. ::Insert anti-Catholic video:: Please leave the Catholic Church. I am leaving the church. I recommend you do also

Me: Sadly, that video was wildly imaginary and fanciful. It was filled with errors.

Anti-Catholic: You ignore the Scriptures!! The Pope is the beast, not Nero. Look at the Pope’s title. VICARIUS FILLI DEI [spelled wrong]. It reads, “Vicar of the Son of God” and numerically it adds up to 666 showing that the pope is the Beast and the anti-Christ talked about in the Book of Revelation.

Me: Vicarius Filii Dei is one of those terrible arguments that 7th Day Adventists promote. The problem with this argument is that this has never been a title for the pope. It has never been used by a pope or by the Catholic Church, yet this myth keeps getting promulgated.

Anti-Catholic: The Roman Catholic Church is the official Church of Satan. It abolished the Sabbath and the Passover (Revelation 18:1-2). I hate Catholicism and it’s pagan doctrines. Please do your homework.

Me: Could you please show me the words “the Catholic Church is from Satan” in the Bible. It is not there. No offense, but this is your personal interpretation of Scripture based off a random YouTube video that was riddled with errors.

In addition, you did not respond to the Vicarius Filii Dei argument which you brought up. I had mentioned that this title was never used for a pope and so doesn’t prove your point that the pope is the Beast. You never responded to this.

Anti-Catholic: You worship Jesus in vain you fools, you idolaters. So, you will teach me, huh? You don’t even know the history of Roman Catholic Church.

Me: Receiving your “history” lesson from a YouTube video is not real history my friend. How many history books have you read written by a Catholic? In other words, have you even studied your own faith before running away? What encyclopedias or historians can you quote to verify the garbage in this YouTube video.

Anti-Catholic: Prepare to perish in hell if you still follow Catholicism. I know the reason behind why you won’t listen, but you are exposed.

[SIDE NOTE: Notice how anti-Catholics like this ignore questions proposed to them. Moreover, they rarely provide any facts when asked to. They replace solid intellectual responses with insults, condemnations, and emotional rantings. It’s sad really, and we must feel bad for them and pray for them. Also, we must never act like them.]

Me: My friend, you have not given me any answers yet. You didn’t answer my questions above. You just insulted me in return informing me that I was going to burn.

Anti-Catholic: All Catholic holiday are pagan festivals. Your popes are evil. They pray with their heads covered which is against the Bible. And they changed the Sabbath. What kind of an evil church would change the Sabbath?

[APOLOGETICS NOTE: Seeing that this conversation was going nowhere and that he continued to introduce new topics even though former ones had not been dealt with. So, I decided to use a common apologetics tactic of trying to get them to stick to one topic. If this technique works,it focuses the conversation and helps to have a better discussion. If it does not work, then the conversation is a waste of time and we can just pray for them instead. Let’s see what happens.]

Me: You brought up the popular 7th Day Adventist argument Vicarius Fillii Dei. I specifically stated that this was a false argument and that the Catholic Church has never used this title as an official title of the pope. You ignored that. I want you to address it. You seem to have a lot of hate, but do you have humility to admit this argument is wrong?

Anti-Catholic: What do you say about pagan festivals? In that video, all proofs were given. You are not ready to listen to anything which I am saying. See that video properly and if any errors can be found.

Moreover, you say Vicarius Fille Dei [he continues to spell wrong] has never been the title of pope. You are being completely dishonest about this. Look at this link. https://youtu.be/BPsAUtfyv1k. Catholic Newspaper dated 18 April 1915. You guys expose yourselves. See the evidence?

Me: First, I told you several errors in the video. Second, my statement was that this has never been an official title used by the pope or the Catholic Church. If you disagree, then you have to procure an official source and prove it. However, you only provided a Catholic newspaper which is not remotely an official source.

Anything may be written in a Catholic newspaper. Sadly, there are a Catholic newspapers that sometimes print anti-catholic articles. So please provide an official source.

Anti-Catholic: Keep following paganism. There’s evidence, but you will deny it.  I know that the POPE is a bloody prostitute.

Me: Nice response! You failed to provide a single official source to back up your statement. Instead, you merely resorted to attacks and insults. This is so typical for anti-Catholics, but I would prefer more intellectual arguments. It seems you have a hard and angry heart. I will pray for you friend.

Anti-Catholic: Typical sh*t you talk my friend.

Me: I thought you were a man of God. Men of God do not speak like that or use such language. You are getting angry, and yet, in your anger, you have failed to prove your point regarding Vicarius Filii Dei. You have not provided a single official source, so please don’t get mad at me. Just provide a source or some proof.

Anti-Catholic: You are a mere blasphemy to Jesus. You worship him in vain.

Me: That is an emotional, nonfactual, opinion you are giving. I am a person of facts, and if you want to convince me, then you have to offer facts. If you do not, then this conversation is over.

Anti-Catholic: I don’t need to give any facts or evidence. That all rests all upon you.

Me: Of course you need facts. You made a statement that you cannot prove in the first place. If you don’t provide facts and support your claim, then it’s just your opinion.

Anti-Catholic: You are all idolaters.

Me: There you go calling names again. That is opinion and a poor substitute for facts and rational conversation. The issue is that you cannot support your claim and have no proof to offer. Thus, you just keep resorting to insults.

Anti-Catholic: Easter and Christmas are pagan holidays.

Me: Now you are trying to change the subject.

[NOTE: For obvious reasons, I am starting to get a bit frustrated here. I say a quick prayer to God to help me remain charitable and loving. It’s difficult to discuss with someone who is 100% emotionally charged and seemingly quite angry, which may be indicative of something deeper. I decide to tighten the above apologetics technique one last time and hold him to some proof with short replies that repeat my request. Many times, this technique works really well. It backs people into a corner to either answer the question, realize there is not proof, or to walk away. Sometimes, it reveals that the person is incapable of having a normal conversation and that we should just pray for them.]

Me: Please have a little humility and intellectual honesty before God and admit the Vicarius Filii Dei argument is erroneous.

Anti-Catholic: I don’t have to answer that. You are a pagan. Your church is pagan.

Me. That’s not an admission but changing the subject. Admit this argument is wrong about the Pope’s title, and then we can discuss any other topic of your choice.

Anti-Catholic: Your end is destruction in hell. You are blind!

Me: That is your opinion again. I only want facts. Show me one official Catholic source that uses the title Vicarius Filii Dei.

Anti-Catholic: Keep following man-made rules.

Me: Show me an official source that uses that title please.

Anti-Catholic: I said it already earlier. A Catholic newspaper dated, 18 April 1915. No further evidence is needed.

Me: A newspaper is not an official source. We discussed this. It is a journalist’s opinion and or write up, not a Church teaching. So give me an official source please.

Anti-Catholic: You follower the Beast.

Me: That’s your personal opinion still. I am waiting on the proof you claimed that you had. Provide me an official source please.

Anti-Catholic: Ok fine. I will give you an official source. On one condition.

Me: Considering you believe that a mere newspaper is an official source, so you have me a little concerned. But I am open. What is the proof.

Anti-Catholic [changing the topic again]: First you tell me why they abolished Sabbath and Passover.

Me: You are trying to change the subject again. Admit your wrong first about the pope’s title and we can change the subject.

Anti-Catholic: You also didn’t show me credible evidence.

Me: You are the one making the claim. You have to back it up.

Anti-Catholic: Keep telling yourself that.

Me: You stated that Vicarius Filii Dei was a title of the pope, but it never has been. The real issue here if you are honest with yourself is that you have no facts and no proof. You cannot back it up. If you could, you would have provided the source or sources by now.

Anti-Catholic: It’s same with you.

Me: Where is your source? If you had an official source, then you would have given it by now. However, you have do not.

Anti-Catholic: It was said already that I don’t need to give anything to you.

Me: That is because you can’t. Therefore, it is just your opinion and void of facts, and you should admit you are incorrect on this.

Anti-Catholic: You are all blind and stupid.

Me: I’m blind? You’re the one making false accusations that you cannot substantiate. That is holding blindly to something.

Anti-Catholic: Keeping covering your heads pagans.

Me: You’re still trying to change the subject. If you cannot provide evidence and admit you’re wrong, then this conversation is over.

Anti-Catholic: Admit that you all distort Scriptures and present them in your own way.

Me: Well… I tried to have the conversation with you that you requested, but you refuse to have a normal, rational, intellectual conversation. You just change the subject, make false claims against the Catholic Church, or sling insults.

I don’t have time to discuss with people who are hateful and can’t even hold a conversation on one topic without answering simple questions. However, I promise to pray for you. May God bless you and have mercy on you.

END NOTE: There are some people that you just can’t talk to. They are incapable of rational conversation either because their hate blinds them, or they have been hurt deeply which blinds them, or perhaps they are not mentally well. There are different reasons for this, but the above apologetics technique usually works for people who are somewhat open and capable of rational discussion. Conversations like this saddened me. People like this saddened me. I would’ve liked to discuss his other objections but he wasn’t even capable of answering a simple question or offering proof or admitting that he was incorrect.

You cannot talk to somebody who is not open. You must leave that to Jesus. Jesus, the Lord of all has to be the one who does the heavy lifting. So pray for them. Pray for these people and their souls. And perhaps for whatever has happened in their life that has made them this way. Any person who will leave their religion over YouTube video has bigger issues. If the YouTube video can’t be corroborated with actual history, science, or truth, then cannot be brought to the table as proof.

Here at Catholic Truth, our YouTube channel is dedicated to teaching and preaching the truth of the Catholic faith which Catholics can trust, rely on,and matches up with the Catholic Church has taught for 2000 years. It can be authenticated by official Catholic Church teaching. Unfortunately, many YouTube channels that are anti-Catholic are filled with hate, errors, mistakes, misunderstandings, and more. Which is why we need to pray for them all the more.

Posted on Leave a comment

Jack Chick and Anti-Catholic Cartoon Tracts

anti catholic cartoon tracts

There are anti-Catholics and then there are militant, rabid anti-Catholics who have one mission: destroy the Catholic Church at all costs. The first group is more rational and the other totters on the brink of insanity.

Jack Chick and his organization Chick Publications fall into the latter category. Chick has led many nominal Catholics away from their faith using cult techniques like fearmongering, guilt tactics, emotional manipulation, and hellfire brimstone methods of persuasion.

However, if these same Catholics looked deeper to see what Chick Publications really taught, they would run away laughing into the night. Jack Chick actually teaches that the Catholic Church started the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the KKK, Communism, the mafia, the Mormon religion, and the religion of Islam in order to take over the world. Yes, he actually believes these things, and they represent a mere spattering of bizarre beliefs which destroy any credibility he may have had.

Chick Publications and Catholics

Chick Publications believes that the Catholic Church is from the devil. Their goal is steal as many Catholics as possible through anti-Catholic cartoon tracts, known as “Chick Tracts,” and through anti-Catholic comic books. These portray the pope and the Catholic Church as Satan himself in disguise.

These easy-to-read and nicely illustrated tracts contain an infinite amount of lies, half-truths, erroneous assertions, and complete fabrications regarding the Catholic faith. Added to the misinformation are Chick’s own misunderstandings and personal prejudices.  These tracts attempt to dismantle Catholic doctrines and persuade people that all (yes all) Catholics are going to hell.

Jack Chick claims to “love” Catholics, but in reality, his bogus misinformation and off-the-wall claims reveal that his love is not sincere, or that he is of the most pitiable and confused of people. If this organization were truly sincere, they would act with God’s love, honesty, and accurately portray Catholic doctrine rather than presenting strawman arguments.

Informed Catholics know that Mr. Chick does not bother presenting accurate information. It is one thing to disagree with someone’s religion, but it is something else entirely to present countless falsehoods and then proceed to tear apart and condemn what wasn’t true in the first place.

Let us look at a handful of examples.

Anti-Catholic Cartoon Tracts: ERRORS

Some Chick Tracts make the claim that no one in the Catholic Church can go to heaven revealing Chick’s fundamentalism and deep-rooted anti-Catholicism.

In the cartoon tract called the Death Cookie, which is a satanic mockery of the Eucharist, it calls the Vatican a “Habitation of devils which controls her people through witchcraft and magic.” 

Witchcraft? 

Magic? 

Come on Jack! Get real.

Any sane person would not find such a statement remotely credible or take it seriously. Chick goes on to make the claim that Catholics burned everyone at the stake who believed the Eucharist was only a symbol.

In typical fashion, he provides no sources or evidence for such an outlandish claim. It is no wonder why. Since Chick’s above statement is purely fictitious, he attempts to explain away any objections by adding, “All of this has been covered up by history.” 

Covered up by history? 

Seriously?

Come on again Jack!

The only people who would believe these claims in the face of actual history are rabid anti-Catholics who desire them to be true. It seems Mr. Chick needed to make an odd after statement because he knows no history book or historian of any repute would support his bizzarre claim.

jack chick anti catholic

In the tract, Are Roman Catholics Christians?, it states that when Catholics are baptized they become the citizen of two countries, with two nationalities and two allegiances (the Vatican and their own).

Two countries, Jack? There is not a Catholic on earth who believes that he has dual citizenship or believe that they could pass as a national of the Vatican. It would be nice to see him quote a source or show where the Catholic Church teaches this. Honestly, there are no comments really needed here, just common sense and a sense of humor.

jack chick anti-catholic

In Why is Mary Crying?,  it makes the claim that Catholic Church came into existence around 300 A.D.. However, that is impossible upon examining the historical record. One may easily peruse any encyclopedia and look under the letter “P” (for Pope or Papacy) and explore a list of 264 popes going all the way back to St. Peter. 

History shows there were almost 30 popes before 300 A.D.. So how could Catholics not have existed until that time? Pope Dionysus in 262 A.D. spoke out in defense of the divinity of Christ. Cyprian was the bishop of Carthage in the mid-3rd century. Justin Martyr was a Catholic apologist in the mid-2nd century.

This was all before 300 A.D. Jack! There were countless Catholics who lived before this time period, and we have their writings to prove it.

Chick then asserts that the Catholic Church invented Mary worship, including statues of Mary, so they could attract pagans who worshiped the pagan goddess.

Really?

Could you show us just one official Vatican document that teaches this Jack?

Of course not. This is purely in his confused imagination.

The reality is that the Catholic Church condemns all idolatry while teaching worship of God alone. Anyone may read the papal encyclical, Domini Iesus (“The Lord Jesus”) or the Catechism of the Catholic Church to see what the Catholic Church really teaches about Christ.

The official Catholic Catechism states;

“The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God. Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of idols. (paragraph 2112). It also proclaims, “No creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer” (Paragraph 62).

Every week at the Mass we pray to Jesus;

“For you alone are the holy one, You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit in the Glory of God the Father, amen.”

In other words, the Catholic Church does not teach Mary worship, and spreading this slander is ungodly. Catholics do not worship statues either, as asserted by Mr. Chick. 

Jack, they are made out of plaster and marble! (If you would like to watch our video demonstrating that Catholics don’t worship statues, click here.

As stated before, the claims grow even more outlandish and certifiable in his anti-Catholic cartoon comic books known as the Alberto Series. These books portray the pope as the founder of several world religions like Islam, Mormonism, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, not to mention the KKK, the mafia, and communism.

Pretty much anything that is considered bad or evil, the Catholic Church is responsible for it. What really saddens me is when people actually believe these claims. Do not such outlandish assertions merit verification and corroboration?

Chick Publications Exposed

Even Protestants have looked into the claims of Jack Chick. They have not only proven them demonstratively false but to be outright fiction. They also revealed to the world the criminal conman, Alberto Rivera, who is Jack Chick’s source of “inside information” on the Catholic Church.

Rivera claimed to be a Jesuit bishop, though he never was. He feeds Chick countless lies and fabrications which Chick then puts into writing.

Rivera and Chick together are obsessed with the Jesuits, assigning to them every conspiracy theory imaginable, including being the masterminds behind the Inquisition. This is kind of impossible since the Jesuit order was started some 300 years after the Inquisition was started, but again, facts don’t matter to Chick.

So goes the innumerable empty claims and outright lies of Chick Publications. You know an anti-Catholic is fraudulent when Protestants and other anti-Catholics expose them. Any Catholic who may have been duped by Chick, Alberto Rivera, and their wild imaginations, should see the light and come home!

Do not fear these anti-catholic tracts and comics as they are nothing but empty wind void of substance and truth. Most anti-Catholics like Chick haven’t even read a single book written by a Catholic and yet believe themselves to be experts. One wonders how that is possible. 

I suppose if you are listening to a conman like Rivera who promises you the whole inside story, and you don’t fact check anything, then anything is possible.

The bottom line is do not leave the Catholic Church that Christ Himself started. If you are confronted with an answer to a question that you do not know the answer to, look it up. Research it. For Catholics and non-Catholics alike, or for anyone who interested in obtaining the real truth about Catholicism, read authentically Catholic books.

Additionally, check out our “Catholic Truth” YouTube channel where you will get nothing but authentic Catholic teaching and truth. At Catholic Truth, we help Catholics to discover, deepen, and defend their faith, to be transformed in Jesus Christ, and help non-Catholics to come home. Check out our video: Jesus Started the Catholic Church.

You may also be interested in our series of articles that debunk and answer anti-Catholic myths. This is one one of many.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

How Did We Get the Bible? (Part 2)

how did we get the bibleWhere did we get the Bible and how did it come down to us today? In part 1 of this series, we saw that the Catholic Church infallibly chose the Canon of Scripture, choosing which books were and were not inspired. The Catholic Church also compiled the Bible under one cover as we know it today.

This Bible consisting of 73 books was formally defined and canonized in the late fourth century and was ratified by Pope Innocent I. The Catholic Church then copied the Scriptures for over a thousand years, translated it into different languages, protected it with her life, and gave it to the world.

Some confused people believe that the earliest Christians were “Bible Christians” who all owned, read, and studied their Bibles daily. They fancy Christians carried the Bible under their arms to church each week. They also erroneously think that the pope persecuted these “Bible Christians” for possessing a Bible. However, as we will see, this is all nothing but a sad conspiracy theory void of truth.

The truth is that this scenario is historically impossible. The earliest Christians did not possess Bibles because as we saw in our last article, the Bible did not even exist as a book for nearly 400 years.So, how could the earliest Christians own and read their own Bibles?

After the Holy Scriptures were canonized and put together, did people then have Bibles to carry to church under their arms? Not at all. Bibles were extremely rare, monstrously expensive, and took years to copy just one, not to mention that until the time of the Printing Press, nine-tenths of the Roman Empire was not even literate.

Let’s go a little deeper.

History of How the Bible Came Down to Us

After the Catholic Church officially canonized Scripture in 397 A.D. and after it was once and for all ratified by the Pope, the Catholic monks got to work copying the Scriptures, page by page, line by line, letter by letter, day after day. This was an incredibly slow and painful process in order to make sure every copy was as accurate as possible.

The process was also incredibly long and expensive. Originally, Biblical books were copied on papyrus which was fragile. This eventually gave way to the use of vellum and parchment. This meant many animals were killed for their skin. In truth, over 400 animals had to be killed just to make one Bible.

In addition to this, a single Bible could take a up to three years to copy. Consequently, Bible’s were rare, tremendously expensive, and very few existed until more could be copied over the centuries. Scholars estimate that it would cost a person up to three years salary to purchase a single Bible. That is the cost of a small house.

Thus, only the very wealthy could afford Bibles. This is precisely why the Catholic Church chained Bibles to the pulpits: because they were so expensive, rare, and holy. Holy Mother Church did not wish them to be stolen. Three years wages and up to three years of copying would be thrown out the window if it was stolen.

So far from “keeping the Bible from the people,” the Catholic Church chained Bibles to pulpits so the people would always have the Scriptures. In fact, libraries in England still chain books to tables today so people do not steal them. This was an early security measure and nothing more.

where did we get the bible

Over the centuries, Catholic monks and friars – even nuns and bishops – painstakingly copied the Holy Scriptures, paragraph by paragraph and letter by letter. Many noble souls dedicated their entire lives to the copying and preservation of Holy Scripture. 

Throughout the Middle Ages, Barbarians and Vikings would sack, pillage, and burn villages throughout the Roman Empire – including churches and libraries. Thank God that the Catholic monks would rush to rescue the Scriptures when they could and begin the copying process over again. The Bible exists today because Catholics loved the word of God, preserved it, and passed it on down through the centuries.

No one of repute who understands history could claim that the Catholic Church did not give the world the Bible. Without the Catholic Church, there would be no Bible today. Additionally, Catholics leaders learned the Bible, quoted it, preached it, and the earliest Catholics used it extensively in their writings.  They also brought the Biblical stories to life through dramas, plays, and other creative means.

When Bibles became more numerous, people still did not own them or carry them to church (which is a modern luxury) because nine-tenths of the Roman Empire was illiterate and could not read. People were illiterate for most of human history until the university system (started by the Catholic Church) began to expand education and even until more modern times.

Objections: The Catholic Church Kept the Scriptures from the People

Despite the false claim that the Catholic Church hates Scripture and tried to keep it from the people, history reveals without a shadow of a doubt that the Catholic Church made the Bible, preserved it, made it more numerous, and taught it to the people.

Anti-Catholics who have not studied history believe that Martin Luther rescued the Bible from the depths of the evil Vatican and gave it to the people. Of course, this is patently false.

When Martin Luther was a Catholic priest, he was commissioned by his superiors to not only to study the Scriptures, but also to preach on them and teach them as well. Even Ulrich Zwingli, a fellow Protestant Reformer, exposed Luther’s dishonesty in claiming that Catholics did not know the Bible at all and kept it from others.

Zwingli says:

“You are unjust in putting forth the boastful claim of pulling the Bible from beneath the dusty benches of the schools. You forget that we have gained a knowledge of the Scriptures through the translations of others. You are very well aware, with all of your blustering, that previous to your time, there were a host of scholars who, in Biblical knowledge and philosophical attainments, were incomparably your superiors” (The Facts about Luther, pg. 191).

Zwingli states that Luther did not find the Bible hidden away but that Protestants had gained knowledge of it when they were still Catholics, and that there were many Catholic scholars of Scripture who were far superior to Luther. Wow!

Also, let’s remind the world that Luther himself admitted his dishonest exaggeration when he stated:

“We concede – as we must – that so much of what they [the Catholic Church] says is true: that the papacy has God’s Word [the Bible] and the office of the Apostles, and that we have received Holy Scriptures, Baptism, the Sacraments, and the pulpit from them. What would we know of these if it were not for them” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 24, quoted in Crossing the Tiber, pg. 54)?

Consequently, Martin Luther, and indeed, all Christian denominations received the Holy Scriptures from the Catholic Church. Another myth inevitably arises that the Catholic Church kept the Bible in Latin so people could not understand it. It was Luther who  people printed a Bible in the language of the people.

The Catholic Church Kept the Bible in Latin

Again, fallacious and patently false. First, Latin was the language of the Roman Empire. While most people could not read, those who could read, they read Latin. Second, the Catholic Church translated the Scriptures into the language of the people down through the centuries. Third, it is a historical fact that the first Bible to ever come off the printing press was the Catholic version of Holy Scripture. From there, the Catholic Church translated Scripture into different languages long before Luther’s first version in 1520.

In his book, Where We Got the Bible, Henry Graham dispels this myth. He says that there were exactly 104 editions of the Bible in Latin before 1520, 27 versions in German (Luther’s own tongue) and nine of those editions were before Luther was even born.

In addition, there were over 40 editions in Italian, 18 versions in French, and numerous editions in Spain, Hungary, Denmark, Norway, and other countries. He states, “There were 198 versions of Scripture in the language of the people long before Luther’s version saw the light of day” (Pgs. 74-75).

The Church wanted to preserve the Holy Scriptures and keep them as accurate as possible which is why not just anybody could translate it. They needed the necessary education, knowledge of the biblical languages, the needed skills, and the approval of the Church. Again, this was to ensure the faithful preservation of the Scriptures.

Lastly, it is a shame Luther ever got involved.  He removed seven books of the Old Testament and personally rejected multiple books of the New Testament (Revelation, James, Hebrews, etc).  In fact, Luther’s own version of Scripture was such a hack-job, that there were as many as 30 errors per page, which is why nobody uses his version today.

The Catholic Church never burned the Bible but only erroneous versions of “Scripture” with up to 30 errors per page because they were not even true Scripture anymore. The Church wanted to preserve the true and pure Word of God.  It would be the equivalent of burning the Jehovah’s Witnesses Bible, in which they have intentionally changed many passages of Scripture to fit their own per-conceived beliefs.

St. Jerome, a Catholic in the 4th century, is famous for saying that “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” Catholics agree! 

Even the Catholic Church today states, “For this reason, the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord’s Body (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 3). 

In conclusion, let it never be said that the Catholic Church is contemptuous toward the Bible. It is a fact of history, that she compiled it, preserved it, memorized it, preached it, nourished her people with it, and blessed the world with it. Anyone who loves the Bible should thank the Catholic Church for giving it to them!

Posted on Leave a comment

Where did the Bible Come From? (Part 1)

Where did the Bible come from? It did not just fall down out of heaven. It was not handed to us from the sky directly by God. So, where did it come from?

Answer: the Catholic Church! It was the Catholic Church who made the Bible, copied it, preserved it, translated it, and gave it to the world!

Even so, there is no shortage of myths and conspiracy theories floating around claiming that the Catholic Church hates the Bible and wielded her power to prevent ordinary people from reading it. Moreover, some sadly assert that Martin Luther found the Bible in the deep recesses of the Vatican and made it available to the world. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

To see our older video on this topic: Click here:

Fact: there were far more Gospels written than just Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. There were many more epistles penned as well. It’s estimated that there were over 80 different Gospels all claiming to be “Scripture” or to be written by an Apostle.

The question one must ask is: why does the Bible contain the books it does and not any more or less? Who chose the list of books that would make up the Canon of Scripture? What church did they belong to and what authority did they have?

Where did the Bible Come From?

During the first few centuries of the Christianity, there was some agreement as to which books were truly inspired by God, but there was also much disagreement. Thus, various lists, or canons, floated around though none could agree.

When the Gnostic heretic Marcion made his own canon which excluded the entire Old Testament, Origen and other Catholic Christians began working more seriously toward a more authoritative understanding of what was Scripture and what was not Holy Scripture. Most agreed that the four Gospels were inspired, but short of that, almost nobody could agree completely.

For example, many rejected Hebrews and Revelation as inspired while many others considered the books of Clement, Barnabas, and The Sheperd of Hermas as canonical.

Commissioned by the Pope, early Catholic bishops like St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and St. Athanasius gathered the different manuscripts and sorted through them. At this time, one church may have had the Book of Galatians. Another church in another country might have had the Book of John, and another the letter to Philemon, and so on.

Christians were not sitting around reading the Scriptures. Most may only hear from one or two books in their lifetime. So, these early Catholic leaders collected all the manuscripts and had a great influence on the formation of the Bible. Around 367 A.D., the Athanasius canon was the first to contain the 27 books of the New Testament, and he held that these alone were canonical and inspired. 

Where did the bible come from

The Bible is Made:

The official formation of the New Testament and the Bible began in 382 A.D. at the Council of Rome with Pope Damasus I. It was at this Council that the books of the Bible were chosen. Even so, discussions took place and doubts still circulated. Thus, the canon was officially, once and for all, reaffirmed at the smaller Synod of Hippo (Africa) in 393 A.D. and at the Catholic Council of Carthage in 397 A.D..

While St. Jerome and others held some doubts as to the canonicity of a few books, they all fell in line once the Church proclaimed her official declaration on the matter.  The 27 New Testament books that the Catholic Church chose are the exact same books that Christians still use today.

The complete bible list of 73 books was ratified by Pope Innocent in 401 A.D. It was then translated into an officially recognized version by St. Jerome, known as the “Vulgate,” which was ratified by Pope Innocent I in 405 A.D.. The pope himself pronounced these 73 books as the official inspired books of Holy Scripture: “It is likewise decreed: now, indeed, we must treat of the divine Scriptures: what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she must shun…” 

Pope Innocent then listed each and every one of the 73 books just to be clear. This was the same Bible used for over 1,100 years and that Catholics still possess today. Most importantly, the pope invoked Matthew 16:18-19, the passage in the Bible where Jesus gave Peter the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to bind and loose and make authoritative decisions. 

That is why the Catholic Church alone had the authority to proclaim what is and is not Holy Scripture. The Bible in 397 and 405 A.D. is the exact same Bible that Christians used for over 1,100 years until Martin Luther removed seven Old Testament books without any authority to do so. Notably, Luther also spoke contemptuously toward seven New Testament books.

For example, he rejected the book of Revelation as inspired Scripture along with Hebrews and the Third Book of John, for example. He also despised the book of James, among others. Here are just a couple of quotes:

Regarding James:  “Away with James, his authority is not great enough to cause me to abandon the doctrine of faith [alone] and to deviate from the authority of the other apostles and the entire Scripture.  St. James’ epistle is really an epistle of straw, compared to these others for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it. … I almost feel like throwing Jimmy into the stove” (Luther’s Collected Works).

Regarding Revelation:  “There are many things objectionable in this book. To my mind, it bears upon it no mark of an apostolic or prophetic character, … everyone may form his own judgment of this book, but as for me, I feel an aversion to it, and to me this is sufficient reason for rejecting it” (Luther’s Collected Works, 63, 169-170 – as quoted in The Facts about Luther).

And, people claim that Luther was the savior of the Bible? Nothing could be further from the truth. Due to Protestants changing the Word of God and hacking up Sacred Scripture, the Council of Trent in 1546 dogmatically re-defined and re-confirmed the books of Holy Scripture that were there from the beginning.

No man has the authority to add or remove books from Holy Scripture. Protestants always quote the Bible saying that you cannot “add or remove” anything from Scripture, and yet Luther did exactly that and with zero authority to do so.

The Catholic Truth:

The Catholic Church, under the inspiration and authority of the Holy Spirit infallibly chose the Canon of Scripture and put the Bible under one cover as we know it today. Keep in mind that there was no Bible for almost 400 years. However, thanks to the Catholic Church, the world now has the Bible.

In our next article, we will show how the Catholic Church then copied the Scriptures for over a thousand years, translated them, and gave them to the world. The very first Bible ever printed on the Printing Press was the Catholic version of Holy Scripture.

That is the Catholic truth. As an aside, some Christians claim to go by the “Bible alone” while disregarding the Church and her authority. They claim to only follow what is in Scripture, and yet, the Bible itself does not present to us a list of inspired books or a table of contents of which books are Scripture and which ones are not. 

It is impossible then to use the Bible alone to come up with a canon of Scripture. For this, we must appeal to an outside authority. That authority was the Catholic Church and the Tradition passed down by Christians.

A very reliable tradition told us that Matthew wrote Matthew and that Mark wrote Mark. The Bible itself does not state this. The Church relied on this tradition to compare the different books and to match up their claims with what Jesus said and what was passed down to us through the centuries.

In order to be considered for the canon, the Gospel or Epistle had to be written in the first century and match up to the constant Tradition of the Church. Additionally, the author of that book needed to be authenticated as the actual author. In other words, they needed to be known and validated. Thus, Gnostics who wrote books hundreds of years later and claimed that they were written by Peter or Mary Magdalene or another Apostle would necessarily be rejected.

Protestant Scholar and early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly agrees. He states, “Unless a book could be shown to come from the pen of an apostle, or at least to have the authority of an apostle behind it, it was peremptorily rejected, however edifying or popular with the faithful it might be” (Early Christian Doctrines, 60).

In the next article, we will examine how the Bible came down to us through the centuries, why Bibles were chained to pulpits, and how the Catholic Church protected the Scriptures with her life!

See: Part 2 of who made the Bible here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Online Confirmation Retreat

Online Confirmation Retreat

NEW: ONLINE CONFIRMATION RETREAT

Catholic Truth is excited to announce our new online Confirmation retreat! This is a full, complete full Confirmation retreat experience for your teens.

Due to the current pandemic, retreats and programs have been cancelled and have been forced to move online. That does not mean Confirmation students should that have an experience of faith. That is why Catholic Truth has developed the very best online Confirmation retreat available.

Our retreat will teach your teens everything they need to know to help them prepare for Confirmation. It consists of an introduction and an icebreaker, three engaging talks, and a powerful prayer service.

Each talk is dynamic, practical, and relevant to teens today, their struggles, and their questions. Each talk comes with questions to help teens reflect on the message. (See talk titles at the bottom).

It is very important that we continue to minister to our youth and help them to have an experience of faith. It is perhaps even more important in these difficult times!

Because this is an actual retreat, the experience from beginning to end would takes 3 hours which may be broken up throughout a day or even a weekend.

online youth retreat

Booking An Online Confirmation Retreat

If you desire a real Confirmation retreat for your students, this is the best replacement for an in-person retreat. Contact Catholic Truth today. Our booking manager Catherine will be happy to answer any questions you have.

**Even after this pandemic ends, this online retreat may be utilized for churches who had to cancel a retreat for whatever reason, or for teens who missed your parish retreat. This is a great alternative.

Contact Catholic Truth:

E-mail: info@thecatholictruth.org

Website: Catholic Truth Retreat Page

Posted on Leave a comment

Catholic Centering Prayer??

centering prayer catholic

Centering PrayerCatholic Centering Prayer is found in many parishes across the country and is a popular movement within Catholic retreat houses. Some Catholics practice it, while others have never heard of it, and still others feel the practice is problematic. So, is Centering Prayer Catholic? (If you would rather watch the video, click here.)

Unfortunately, centering prayer is not authentic Catholic prayer. It was founded by a priest named Father Thomas Keating who held dialogues with Hindus and Buddhists for 20 years. Additionally, he held week long Zen Buddhist retreats for his Catholic monks every year for nearly ten years.

Keating then sought to merge Catholic mysticism with what he had learned from Eastern Oriental spirituality, and the result was centering prayer, not really Catholic and filled with non-Christian practices and beliefs.

This short article will show some of the many problems with centering prayer. A complete address of this topic may be found in our new book Counterfeit Spirituality coming out on April 10th, 2020 with Our Sunday Visitor.

The Problems with Centering Prayer

The Hindu and Buddhist foundation of centering prayer causes it to be seriously flawed. When we search the writings of Fr. Keating, we also find problematic theology that has been influenced by Eastern Oriental religions like Hinduism and Buddhism.

For example, in his book Open Mind, Open Heart, Keating states the Hindu concept that God and ourself are One. Keating states, “God and our true Self are not separate. Though we are not God, God and our true Self are the same thing” (Keating, 158; emphasis added).

In stark contrast, the Catholic Church makes it clear that even though man is made in the likeness of God, he will never be God, and they are not the same thing. Nor are we absorbed into God in any way. We remain separate for all eternity. With such basic theology compromised, who can trust Fr. Keating to direct us properly in prayer and spirituality?

Centering Prayer

Centering Prayer is Not Prayer

Factually speaking, centering prayer is not prayer! Prayer is praying to Someone, and it is a relationship with Someone: God. Centering prayer does not pray to God, relate with Him, nor does it meditate on Him in any way.

Rather, centering prayer seeks to quiet the mind to a state of zero or complete nothingness by using a mantra, a sacred word that a person slowly repeats. It can be any word and does not even have to be a religious word.

According to Keating, the purpose of this mantra is to help a person remove all thoughts from one’s mind, even holy thoughts. Over time, it creates a mental void and a blank state within a person which Keating says allows us to “consent to God.”

Though proponents of centering prayer seek to draw closer to God, which is commendable, their way of doing so is an impediment. It is a form of Zen Buddhism or Transcendental Meditation in which the goal is to completely empty the mind to a blank state rather than the Christian goal of having a personal relationship with their Savior and filling their mind and heart with Him, as the Christian Scriptures state.

Fr. Keating states; “The method consists in letting go of every kind of thought during the time of prayer, even the most devout thoughts” (Keating, 21). A few pages later, he adds, “Even if you have a vision, or hear infused words, you should return to the sacred word” (Ibid, Pg. 27).

What was that?? Did he just say that if God Himself gives you a vision to not accept it? If God speaks to you, you should not listen but return to the word?

This is highly problematic and one of the many errors associated with centering prayer that will hinder deep union with God.

In Christian prayer, we should always have our attention focused on God. If our focus is merely on a word, or worse yet, on nothingness, then our focus is very much in the wrong place.

The truth is that in prayer, if God grants us a vision or speaks to us, we should listen and give Him our full and immediate attention.  After all, He is not doing it for his health. The end goal of prayer is a personal love relationship with our God, not an empty mind!

We may try to clear our mind (not prayer) in order to pray to God more effectively, but the problem with centering prayer is that many times it stops at the emptying, and the emptying becomes the goal.

Total emptiness of thought is a Buddhist concept, and most Buddhists do not believe in God. Emptying your mind to a blank state is no way to conduct a relationship with anyone, much less the God of the universe. A quiet mind focused on God is one thing; an empty mind is with no thoughts or focus on God’s presence is something else entirely.

Even if one reaches the heights of contemplation and the mental faculties are entirely suspended in God, that person is still completely aware of their Lord and their whole being is caught up in Him. Centering prayer would ignore that and return to the word and the process of emptying. See the difference?

Fr. Thomas Dubay, spiritual prayer master of our time, acknowledges that CP is an obstacle to contemplation and intimacy with God. He says, “If you are in contemplative prayer, centering prayer is a hindrance, because if it is real contemplative prayer, God is the one giving you the knowing, loving, desiring and thirsting, etc, and your method of working with a mantra is impeding what he’s trying to give” (Article: Centering Prayer can be a Detriment).

What we need is a mind that is fully quiet but centered on God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Some people worry that any sort of sitting in silence is false prayer, but this is untrue. Silence is what leads to deep prayer and communion with His Majesty. There is a difference between sitting in emptiness with no thoughts and sitting in silence with a mind that’s clear of distractions and attentively focused on God (even if little is said or thought).

Again, learning to quiet our wandering minds from distractions is a good and necessary thing. Mental focus can only make us better lovers of Christ. However, to rid ourselves entirely of all thoughts and call this emptiness “prayer” is very different.

So, is centering prayer Catholic prayer? Unfortunately, it is not authentic Catholic prayer. While aspects of it may be utilized toward prayer, centering prayer itself is full of problems, only a few of which are mentioned in this article.

To summarize: if a person desires to take some time before prayer to quiet their thoughts in order to focus all their attention on God and His presence, there is nothing wrong with that. Even if one desires to employ a word toward this end for a short time, that is acceptable too as long as it is a prayerful word or phrase and as long as the person eventually moves into actual prayer with God or focuses on His presence within them and around them.

This article was a very short articulation of centering prayer and Catholic Centering Prayer. More information may be found in our new book, Counterfeit Spirituality which comes out on April 10th, 2020 with Our Sunday Visitor. Other topics covered in the book are: Reiki, Yoga, the Law of Attraction, Mindfulness, and much more. The book discusses which practices are good, which ones are not, and how a person may know the difference.

Posted on Leave a comment

Jesus IS God! – Why Jehovah’s Witnesses Have It Wrong!

jesus is god catholicMany years ago in downtown Pittsburgh, two Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) confronted me on a street corner. Not wasting time with any pleasantries, they immediately set themselves to the task of demonstrating that Jesus is not God, which is a central belief of Christianity.

They said, “If Jesus is God, then who was He praying to in the Garden of Gethsemane? Himself?” They added, “If Jesus is God, then why did He cry out on the cross, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?'”

The JWs unleashed one Bible verse after another in rapid succession, and each attempt of mine to make a defense (in some sort of pathetic way) failed miserably.

While I was shaken in my faith, I did not rush off to rashly join this religion as so many do. Rather, I decided to research my own faith first to see if it was true. While researching those answers and studying the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ arguments, I learned that there were many Scriptures that teach the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and more importantly, that nearly every Christian believed this as well.

In this article, we will offer some of the many Biblical passages showing that Jesus is God and confirming that this was the belief of the earliest Christians as well.

Showing Jesus is God from the Bible:

To begin with, the Old Testament is clear that God alone created everything (Is. 45:12; Is. 44:24; Is. 42:5). There was no one else present. Yet, the New Testament teaches that Jesus created everything and was with God (Jn. 1:1; Col 1:16-17).

Is this a contradiction? Was it God or Jesus who created the world, and was God really alone or not? Or is Jesus God and there is no contradiction?

The Old Testament says that there are none who are in God’s exact image (Is. 42:8; Is. 46:9), but the New Testament states that Jesus is the exact likeness and representation of God and bears his very image (Heb. 1:2-3).  Is this another contradiction?

The Old Testament proclaims that God Himself is the only God, the only Lord, and that there is no Other (Is. 45:5; Is. 43:10). Yet again, the New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus is God and one with the Father (Jn. 1:1; Jn. 20:28).

John 1:1 states that, “In the beginning the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word was God.” Jehovah’s Witnesses change that passage, along with many others, and render it to say that Jesus is “a god.”

So, is He another God? I thought the Bible said there was only one God? Accordingly, how can Jesus be “a god” as JWs claim If Yahweh is the only God?

Also, the word Lord used for Jesus in the New Testament is the same word used for God in the Old Testament.  How can this be if He is the only Lord?  Scripture states that Jesus is the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16).

Revelation 1:8 states that God is the “Alpha and Omega” (the First and the Last), but Rev. 22:12 applies these titles to Jesus who is said to be the Alpha and Omega. (Rev. 1:18 also affirms this).

We must ask the question. Do the above biblical passages all completely contradict each other? If one holds to the worldview of the JWs that Jesus is not God but merely a created man, then the answer would be “yes.”

the answer is yes if you hold to the worldview of the JWs that Jesus is not God but merely a created man.

On the other hand, if Jesus is God, there are no contradictions at all. Rather, these passage harmonize and make complete sense.

The Divinity of Jesus from the Bible

Jesus is God (More Passages)

Here are some of the many passages in Scripture showing that Jesus is God. After these passages are a list of the earliest Christians in their own words proving that they also believed in the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Jn. 1:1, 14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

Jn. 5:17-18 – “But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is at work until now, and I am at work.’ For this reason the Jews tried all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath but He also called God his own Father, making Himself equal to God.”

Commentary: All Jews believed that God was their Father in a loose way, but the Sonship that Jesus claimed was radically different, and so much so, that the Jews sought to kill Him on the charges of blasphemy. Jesus claimed to be the very Son of God, meaning that He was divine and therefore equal with God.

The son of a human is human. The son of a cat is a cat. And the son of divinity is divine, one with God the Father. Jesus’ claim to being one with God is either true or not. If it’s true, then He is God. If not, then He would have been the biggest deceiver on earth (See our other post on this here).

The Jewish leaders in this verse knew exactly what He was claiming and did not believe Him, much in the same way that JWs don’t still do not believe Him today.  Thus, the corrupt Jewish leaders tried to stone Him for claiming to be God.  In the end, it was the “blasphemy” that He was crucified for.

Mk. 14:63-64 – “Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?’ And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.”

Commentary: Jesus was crucified for blasphemy – for claiming to be God – for which the penalty was death. This seems as crystal clear.

Jn. 8:57-59 – “Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad. So the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.’ So they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.”

Commentary: Here again, the Jews attempt to put Jesus to death for blasphemy, for putting Himself on the same level as Almighty God. In this passage, Jesus took the most holy and Sacred Name of God used in the Old Testament (Ex. 3:14) and applied it to Himself.

This is truly an abomination punishable by death, unless of course; it is true. As a side note, Jesus proved that everything He claimed is true by all the miracles He worked on command and by rising from the dead.

1 Cor. 1:24 says that Jesus is the “Wisdom and the Power of God.”

Commentary: This passage shows that Jesus is the very wisdom and power of God. It demonstrates that they are inseparably linked and one Being. Of course, JWs assert that Jesus was created, the first created being. If this is true, then there would have been a time when God was without His power and wisdom which is not possible. Pope Dionysius in 262 A.D. sums this up perfectly about 1600 years before the Jehovah’s Witnesses even existed.

He states: “It is blasphemy then, and not a common one, but the worst, to say that the Lord is in any way a handiwork [created]; for if He came to be the Son, then He once was not, but if as He Himself says, he be in the Father, and if which you know the divine scriptures say, that Christ is the Word and Wisdom and Power, and these be powers of God, then He always existed. But if the Son came into being, then there was a time when these did not exist.  Then, consequently, there was a time when God was without them which is utterly absurd.”

Col. 2:9 – “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And you are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.”

Commentary: The Bible states that Jesus has all the fullness of divinity dwelling in Him, and that He created all things. Jehovah’s Witnesses ask why Jesus did not know the date of the end of the world and why He said the Father was greater than He was (Jn. 14:8).

The answer is found in Philippians 2 where we observe that Jesus emptied Himself of His divinity and glory to become man. Thus, He operated on earth as a man, not as God. Yet, He was still the eternal Word of God.

See our article here answering common objections to Jesus and his divinity.

Jn. 10:24-31 – “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.’ The Jews again picked up rocks to stone him.”

Jn. 20:26-28 – “Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.’ Thomas answered and said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’

Commentary: Thomas calls Jesus God!  If Jesus was not God, then Jesus would be accepting false worship and would have been deceiving Thomas. However, since Jesus is God, the worship was entirely appropriate, which is why He did not refuse it. The Greek words which Thomas used speaking to Jesus were, Ho Theos, which literally means, “The God of me.”

People worship Jesus throughout the New Testament; for example: Jn. 9:38; Mt. 28:9; Lk. 24:52.

Heb. 1:8 says that Jesus is God. JWs often point out the fact that Jesus calls the Father His God (e.g. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me” in Ps. 22), but here we have the opposite. Here God the Father calls Jesus the Son, God. This is because they are both God.  That is why Jesus could say in Jn. 10 that, “The Father and I are one!”

As an aside, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is Michael the Archangel even though the Bible does not teach that anywhere. Hebrews 1 shows that Jesus was not an angel but that the angels worship Him.

There are so many more verses that space will not allow for, but here are a few more that you can look up:

– Gen. 1:1-2 (The Trinity. The words we and us are used when God is talking)

– Mt. 28:19 (Name of God, singular, though talking about the Trinity)

– Isaiah 9:6 (Jesus is called the mighty God and Everlasting Father.)

– Isaiah 7:14 (He is called Emmanuel, which means God with us)

And there are more.

Earliest Christians on the Divinity of Jesus

Below are some of the many early Christians who all believed in the divinity of Jesus. This was not even doubted until the 4th century by a Catholic priest named Arius.

St. Hilary of Poitiers (354 A.D): “The Son receives all from the Father, from Him who has all, God from God, Spirit from Spirit, light from light.  For as the Father is spirit, so also is the Son spirit.  And as the Father is God, so also the Son is God. … The Judgment of human intelligence excludes the possibility that anything could be born with a nature different from that of its origin.”

Pope Damasus I (382 A.D.): “It is not the name of gods however, but of God, which, in respect to the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and in the view of their one and equal divinity, is revealed and declared to us so that we might believe.  For we are baptized only in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and not in the names of archangels, or angels, as the heretics, or the Jews, or even the demented pagans.  This is then the salvation of the Christians, that believing in the Trinity, that there is one only true Godhead and power in majesty and substance.”

Aphraates (336 A.D.) “But, still it is for us a certainty that our Lord Jesus is God, the Son of God, and the King, the Son of the King, Light from light; creator, and counselor, and guide, and the way, and the savior, and the shepherd, and the gatherer, and the gate, and the pearl, and the Lamp,.  He is called by many names.  But we shall leave aside all of them and prove that He who came from God is God and the Son of God.”

Lactanatius (304-310 A.D.):  “[The Word] was made both Son of God in the Spirit and Son of man in the flesh.  That is both God and man.  When we speak of God the Father and of God the Son we do not speak of them as diverse, nor do we separate them from each other, for without the Son the Father cannot be, nor separated from the Father can the Son be.  …Both have one mind, one spirit, one substance.”

Origen (220-230 A.D.): “Therefore, we worship the Father of truth and the Son of truth who exist as two persons, while they are one in unity of mind, in harmony and identity of will.  In the final period, He emptied Himself and was made man.  Although He was God, He took flesh and having been made flesh, he remained what he was, God.”

Tertullian (197 A.D.): “We have already said that God fashioned the whole universe by His word, His reason, His power.  … We hold that this which was begotten by God and which was begotten in that utterance, because of the unity of substance is called God and Son of God, for God too is Spirit.  Even when a ray is shot forth from the sun, not separated from its substance, … but extended as light enkindled from light.  …  So, also, that which proceeds from God is God and the Son of God.  Both are one.  Likewise, He is Spirit from Spirit, and God from God.”

Melito of Sardes (171): “The activities of Christ after His Baptism and especially His miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of His Deity hidden in the flesh.  Being God and likewise perfect man, He gave positive indications of His two natures: of His Deity, by the miracles during the three years following after His Baptism; of His humanity, in the thirty years which came before His Baptism, during which, by reason of His condition according to the flesh, He concealed the signs of His Deity, although He was the True God existing before all.”

Pope Clement of Rome (150 A.D.): “Brothers, we must think of Christ as God and as the judge of the living and the dead.”

Ignatius of Antioch (107 A.D.): “For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord with God’s plan. … I give glory to Jesus Christ the God who has made you wise… To the Church beloved and enlightened after the love of Jesus Christ our God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification.”

Who is Right?

Different religions all interpret the Bible differently. Who is correct? It is important to look at what the earliest Christians believed, those who knew the Apostles, and those who passed on what Jesus had taught.

If we look at the writings and teachings of the earliest Christians, we will observe that they believed both in the Trinity and in the divinity of Jesus Christ. Jehovah’s Witnesses are akin to the teaching of Arius that was invented in the 4th century but was rejected by Christians.

One must always ensure that any interpretation of the Bible aligns with what Christians have taught and believed consistently from the beginning and through the centuries, lest one be led astray.