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Let’s pray the Fortnight for Freedom helps Barack Obama change his mind about the contraceptive mandate

Pregnancy is not a disease, and the pill should not be a part of any health insurance policy

By on Monday, 25 June 2012

The opening Mass for the US bishops' Fortnight for Freedom at a basilica in Baltimore (CNS photo)

The opening Mass for the US bishops' Fortnight for Freedom at a basilica in Baltimore (CNS photo)

Thanks to all those supportive and positive posts in response to my last blog. It is also always heartening to read posts from non-Catholics and non-Christians who defend the right to freedom of conscience. I’ll ignore the “ad hominem” attacks. We Christians are commanded to love our enemies, after all; easier said than done, I’ll admit.

Following on from that blog, I note that the US Bishops’ Conference has called for a Fortnight for Freedom, starting last Thursday and ending on July 4 – Independence Day. Its website describes this fortnight as “a great hymn of prayer for our country” and refers to Ss Thomas More and John Fisher “who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power”. The bishops appeal: “Please join us in continuing to pray each day for our Church leaders, for our civic leaders… and for religious freedom.” Amen to all that.

On this subject I have also read a very good article in Mercator online magazine by Fr Michael Giesler, a priest in St Louis, Missouri, which gives the wider context for the US bishops’ decision that they are not able to come to an “accommodation” with President Obama over the contraceptive mandate. Fr Giesler pulls no punches, declaring that “the federal government has no right to mandate a drug that is not really a health benefit to anyone”. The pill, he points out, is quite different from cancer treatment as it is specifically designed to alter a human organ and to destroy its natural function. Also, other medicines are now just as effective in regularising women’s cycles.

Pregnancy, Fr Giesler, reminds us, is not a disease and contraceptives should not therefore be included in any insurance policy. Looking at the wider implications, he argues that a combination of abortion and contraception have helped to cripple the US economy: “Without young people there are neither consumers or a growing work force… We are left with an ageing population, with fewer and fewer young people to support it.” He also makes the point that I have never read in any literature put out by environmental pressure groups or the Greens (or in speeches by the Prince of Wales): that the earth’s water is being contaminated by chemicals contained in the pill.

Fr Giesler adds: “I doubt that any woman, deep in her heart, believes the pill is somehow ‘liberating’ her.” Actually, I’m inclined to add it is enslaving her: frustrating her body’s natural fertility and turning her into a sex object. All these arguments are worthwhile natural reasons against contraceptives. However, as Fr Giesler also makes clear, the Church is opposed to them for deeper, theological reasons: that to separate sex from its natural purpose – the union of a man and a woman in marriage, open to love and to life – undermines marriage, leading to a huge increase in divorce in the US in the past 50 years and, more recently, to a demand for same-sex marriage: the logical conclusion to the “sex for pleasure only” principle. The bishops need prayer to stay firm. The President needs prayer to alter his unnecessary hard-line stance. It’s all about religious freedom.

  • paulsays

    How is there any irony in another woman suggesting how you vote? Or pointing out the stupidity of Americans voting against their own economic interests?

    Fox News and right-wing talk radio and blogs believe (as does Londoner) that women should have the right to vote – and they tell their audience (and therefore Women) how to vote ALL the time.

    And what on earth is wrong with that? Freedom of speech as enshrined in the first amendment of your constitution.

  • JessicaHof

    One of the things which distinguished the first Christians from the Pagans. Amongst whom they lived was their opposition to abortion – that remains. In a society as secular as that in the UK, anything that gets in the way of people’s personal pleasure or convenience is allowable, and the idea that such a society would take the church more seriously on this if it took the ‘house maid’s baby’ (only a little one) view of abortion is far too optimistic. Abortion is the murder of babies where they should be most safe, in the womb. Christ said nothing about compromising with such evil.

  • JessicaHof

    And precisely how would Catholic women be voting against their own interest by following the advice of their bishops on this issue?

  • teigitur

    You never cease to amaze me Damo!

  • teigitur

    I know and you are correct. But everyone observes and judgement usually follows, being human and all that. But judgement is Gods job. Its just that most of us cannot resist it from time to time.

  • C_monsta

     were abortions commonplace in England in the Dark Ages Jessica?

  • JessicaHof

    The answer is we have no reliable statistics, as oddly enough none were kept. But even if the answer was yes, so was slavery and serfdom – do you see the Dark Ages as something we should be aiming to emulate?

  • C_monsta

     No, I was just questioning your claims about early Christians and pagans.
    Serfdom was created by Christians. Reasoned thinking brought us to our current liberties – not following supernatural hocus pocus

  • teigitur

    I m afraid it was not me. Arogant? Yes, probably sometimes. But pot , kettle, black in your case!

  • JessicaHof

    I think you’ll find the driving force behind the abolition of slavery came from Christians like Wilberforce. If you really think Christianity is supernatural hocus pocus, I suggest you re-think what you are thinking with – just what do you actually know about Christianity and theology?

  • C_monsta

    Slave owners were Christians from Christian countries. Wilberforce was clearly a better Christian i.e. more like Jesus than others.
    I was raised as a Christian.
    “re-think what you are thinking with” – it’s called a brain. What will you think with when you get to heaven?

  • JByrne24

    As you are aware, abortion is not regarded as murder. The latter is a serious crime whereas abortion is legal.
    As you also probably know, some earlier doctors of the Church, such as Thomas Aquinas, took the Aristotelian view that abortion was not murder in the earlier months of pregnancy.

    Until the modern Church changes its stubborn, inflexible teaching it will have no measurable influence in this important matter.

    Since you mention Christ, can you remind me what Jesus is reported as saying about abortion?

  • JByrne24

    The Catholic Church, of course.

  • JByrne24

    All live religions, including Catholicism, have changed and evolved over the years – in common with all laws and all social conventions.  Change is needed to retain purchase, as the world changes.

  • JessicaHof

    Slavery has been a part of every human society of which we have knowledge. Christians were at the forefront of ridding the Western world of it.

    Should I be fortunate enough to get to Heaven then, as St. Paul tells us, we will have bodies, and we might assume they will be equipped with brains.

    Your justification for mocking a whole religion (hocus pocus, indeed) on a catholic site would be what?

  • Lewispbuckingham

     JB to the top

  • JessicaHof

    Abortion may be legal, it is not moral. What word (since you like to play with them) would you use to describe ripping a baby from the womb and killing it? Jesus tells us that all life is of God and sacred – which is why His earliest followers were, as the Church is now against abortion.

    Until we compromise with evil evil will happen? What will happen then, evil will stop?

  • INSTAURAREOMNIAINCHRISTO

    No! You say the Catholic Church to me knowing that I know that you know contraception is not a matter covered under Catholic Church discipline, being the knowing and willful prevention of life and therefore serious dissent if not opposition to Catholic Church teaching. Such departure is not the behavior of a catholic priest who may have in fact excommunicated himself thus no longer being in the Church.

    But you knew that and yet still rhetorically invited a valid, catholic response. You have revealed your non catholic (if not anti catholic) mentality.

    In Catherine Kelly’s case, I “dare” as you say, to exercise my catholic duty in fraternal correction, also catholic teaching that you probably think shows no catholic Church love and understanding. But the first and most catholic concern is that for salvation, for your own soul and for those of your fellow man, Catholic or not. In Catherine’s case I dare say she thinks she is, or was Catholic, making it all the more appropriate to expect her to act like one.

  • C_monsta

    Christians WERE the western world!
    I’m not mocking, but inquiring as to why some people hold certain beliefs.
    “St. Paul tells us, we will have bodies” – and you have no further questions about this?? Are replica bodies made in heaven ready for your arrival? Will those with missing limbs get replacements? Will ugly people stay ugly for eternity? will the old stay old and babies as babies? How does our consciousness get transported from our old brain to our new brain?

  • INSTAURAREOMNIAINCHRISTO

    Once more you reveal yourself. The liberal is one who seeks to avoid the disciplines of the truth.

    You imply that Catholicism has, or must change to suit the world. Wrong. Christ cannot change as is perfectly clear even to you. And the Catholic Church which is the Church Christ established on earth cannot change because SHE IS THAT CHURCH.

    While the Church may change ways she speaks to  the world, it’s impossible for her to change her laws that the world seeks to violate.

  • JByrne24

    Yes, I’ve noticed that you find it difficult to resist being judgemental.

    And how dare you presume in your self-important manner that I either have a flawed conscience or am “pretending” to be something other than a worried Catholic, anxious to limit the damage done to the Church by people with a conservative, right-wing agenda. 

  • JByrne24

    posted in error. removed by author.

  • JByrne24

    Your ignorance of history is very clear.

  • teigitur

    Conservative yes, right wing, no. There is no-one doing more damage to whats left of The Church, than people just like you. We have had almost fifty years of it now, thankfully there is light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Lewispbuckingham

    Hi JB  The big breakthrough in Anatomy came when the Veterinary anatomists stopped asking what Aristotle thought of the horse and dissected the horse itself.
    It is self evident that the morula,embryo,foetus and baby are all parts of the life of a human being.
    It was Christopher Hitchins that pointed this out, in the modern era.
    But how is the CC supposed to reconcile with the modern world on this? In a sense you ask that question.It already has.Those that want children are already showing ultrasound pictures to their friends.Those cultures that embrace abortion as a way of life are self selecting out as part of the inevitable evolutionary biological process called natural selection, or at least those that practice abortion are.The CC position is the way of the future, for if you believe in self destruction and practice it then you are selected out.I hope you have many little JB’s on the way, some will see the next century.
     It was not all that long ago that President Clinton declared that abortion should be available but rare.
    President Obama will enshrine it as a way of life.
     You do speak about the differences in terms,nomenclature.But then this is part of the war for abortion, as the best way to make something reasonable is to make the words nice.So an abortion is a ‘little op’ or a D and C.
     AS far as some sort of reconciliation goes you must remember that those that write on this site are eclectic.Few if any have your presumed background in physics. You are one of the few that is even remotely interested in subjects such as dark matter or can discuss them.So you think analytically, and in that sense logically.
    But this is an emotional subject.That is why terms, which may well not be embodied in some law, such as killing or murder, will be used.This is really hurtful to those who have had an abortion, the hundreds or thousands of them, and those that have helped or advised them.They then form an impeneterable lobby advocating yet more people follow in their path, and attempt by legislation to coerce those that do not believe in their insight to aid in the death of more human beings.
     Even in Physics there are different systems, but they relate to the same laws that are discovered in nature.With secular states the laws concerning life are often contradictory.
     My own view is that I do not want any of my children to die and seek to support my grand and great grand children if there be any.We may then agree that this be a preferred option?
     The corollary of this is that if it is in my power I will assist someone who otherwise would lose their child through intentional abortion to keep their child.
     There remains the vexed question of the imposition of blame or guilt on those who have abortions and the threats of damnation and a descent into Hell.
     I suppose you could say that since there is no Heaven of Hell none of this matters, so it is easy for an Atheist.But in fact those in my knowledge that are advised to abort, usually by a social worker, are in great turmoil.The intellect does not block the pain.
     The CC, through its members, us the laity, have to show enormous compassion to those who have suffered an abortion and fully accept them as being ultimately loved by God their creator.
     It is only in this Human and metaphysical way that true reconciliation will be achieved.

  • teigitur

    Just about as twisted logic, as is possible. New low, even for you!

  • JByrne24

    The secular world ignores the Church’s teaching on abortion – totally. This is a fact.

    So how would you propose to change this? As I mentioned in another reply: If the strongly pro-abortionists are EVER to give ANY ground, the Church must be able to speak to them. At present it cannot – its “absolute and always” approach is simply unreasonable – and easily seen to be.
    There must be a common understanding and some common vocabulary and language.
    The Church will have absolutely no influence until there is.

  • JByrne24

    “What will happen then….?”

    The abuse of the rights to abortion (that people have in law) could begin to be lessened – and the lives of advanced foetuses, sometimes well- formed with nervous systems, could be spared.

  • JessicaHof

    Using words like ‘superstition’ and ‘hocus pocus’hardly suggests you are expecting to be taken seriously. God is infinite and omniscient, we are neither, so whatever it is we think we understand will fall far short of what He is and does. What would be the point of our questioning as you suggest? Would we wish to negotiate a better deal?

  • JessicaHof

    There’s very little sign that the abortion industry would agree to any restrictions on its ability to make a profit. The current abortion law in the UK is, as we know, often abused. Were it properly observed, there would be far fewer abortions, so quite where your optimism comes from, I don’t know. In any case, we cannot compound with evil. Killing babies in the womb is wrong, and as Christians we should protest it at every opportunity.

  • theroadmaster

    Ok then, would you rather enforce a scenario that is current in countries like China, where women who have more than two children, are forced to abort their third child or else face jail time?   Your description of women who want to have large families as ‘breeding stock’ exhibits a brutally crude stereotype that is more applicable to cattle.  So life is down to cost in terms of what a country can afford in your opinion?   Those who think with clarity, will recognize that a country that invests in a strong demographic trend is guaranteeing hope for the future.

  • C_monsta

    The point is to question your own beliefs. For a start, you say you KNOW these things about God, when you actually know nothing of the sort – the truth is that you just have FAITH. Faith is not knowledge.
    I think I used ‘supernatural’ rather than ‘superstition’, but both are perfectly appropriate for discussing religious belief. Hocus pocus refers to magic, of which Catholicism depends on – how else did Jesus walk on water or ascend into heaven if not by magic?

  • paulsays

    I said ‘Economic interest’. It is in the average American woman’s (or man’s) economic interest, to support a reform to the US healthcare ‘system’. 

    I say this because as a proportion of GDP the UK health service, the NHS costs us 9.6% of GDP, whereas US healthcare costs 17.9% of GDP – close to double.
    (World Bank figures 07′-11′)

    France, which has the very best healthcare as assessed by the World Health Organisation – spends 11.9% on its healthcare.

    Both the NHS and the French healthcare system give universal coverage – whereas the US does not, and yet still remains a very much higher cost.

  • aearon43

    I agree that American healthcare needs to be reformed. It’s quite wasteful, for one thing, and ends up covering excessively both the rich AND those who are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid (state-funded care), but ends up leaving out a good slice of the middle class.

    That, though, is not an argument for Obamacare in particular. I’m not an expert on the program, and, since the legislation runs to about 1300 pp., not many people are, I think. Given, though, Obama’s reputation for Chicago-style patronage and crony-capitalism, I wouldn’t be surprised if Obamacare turns out to be more of a handout for influential drug and insurance lobbies than a sincere effort to provide healthcare on an equitable basis.

  • aearon43


    one of the big causes of matrial breakdown is finacial problems, which are increased with a family to support, for many marriages another pregnancy in America is a terrifying prospect and you can belief if they are not using birth control they are using NFP very carefully”

    So by that logic Catholics should support theft also, right? If you’re having financial problems, then just put Catholicism aside and steal. Right?

  • aearon43

    troll

  • aearon43

    You’re going to need to do better than affecting an incredulous tone, londonre.

  • aearon43

    How’s that working out for the Church of England?

  • JessicaHof

    You seem to imagine there is one type of knowledge. Can you prove that someone loves you? You can point to things they do which might suggest their words are true, but can you really know beyond doubt? Do you therefore not believe anyone who says they love you?

    You write as though people do not question their beliefs? Do you question your belief that there is no God? Do you know there is no God, or do you have faith their is not? If the former, we should all have heard more of you as you’d be on the front page of every newspaper in the country.

    You have your faith, which you appear not to question; I have mine, which you have no idea whether I question.

    ‘Hocus pocus’ is an expression used by ignorant people mocking the words of the Latin Mass, if you wish to associate yourself with such people, that’s your business.

    Magic would be what a savage would say if you showed her electricity – it is another word used by the ignorant to mock what they can’t understand.

    Just what is it which prompts you to hang round a Catholic site – troll-fever?

  • C_monsta

    I do not have faith and I do not claim to know there is not a God, and I question my own beliefs. The reason I hang around here is that I am interested in other people’s beliefs.
    Of course there is only one type of knowledge. Believing, or wanting something to be true does not make it true if it is not. We make an assessment as to whether something is true or not based on logical reasoning of our experiences, whether that is about the credibilty of a religion, or whether someone really loves us or not. I don’t have faith – faith is pretending to know something that you don’t know.
    I take your point about hocus pocus – sorry. But how do you explain Jesus’ supernatural feats if not by ‘magic’? How else did he achieve these things? you claim that these things really happened, but when challenged you dismiss the challenge as mockery.

    btw – a ‘savage’??! and the ‘savage’ speaks english? But indeed, what is now explained by science, people used to think was the work of magic or Gods or other supernatural forces.

  • JessicaHof

    You seem to generalise a great deal from your own experience, which is something we all do; but is it wise to presume that one’s own experience ought to apply to all?

    If one takes, for example, the Gospels, and one examines them and the history behind them, one can come to a number of conclusions: that they are a made up story; but what was the motive, since those who ‘made them up’ got nothing for it but rejection, persecution and an early and painful death;that they were all suffering from a mass delusion; but history provides no example of such a delusion lasting for two thousand years; or that what is in them is true. So, for me, having spend a good deal of time examining it, the latter is the conclusion to which I have come. One can call that what one wants, but not evidence of a want of reasoning or a desire to pretend something is true when it is not.

    Faith is what one shows when one trusts in a loved one; you don’t sit around in a crisis weighing up whether to ask you husband to help you – you know he will; that is faith.

    Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity, the God who made all that is; if you are claiming that God cannot do what He wants, then whoever you make that claim about is not God. ‘Magic’ is what we, who are not God, might say when witnessing His omnipotence – hence the comparison with what a savage might believe when she witnessed the power of electricity and knew nothing about it.

    You seem to be positing a God of the gaps, that is one who explains what we can’t explain, but that is a Dawkinsite invention, a strawman he raises so he can knock it over. That is not who Christians believe in.

    We believe in a God who loves us enough to suffer for us and who wishes to save us from our tendency to go wrong so that our natural tendency to do good can triumph.

    As one might expect from anything which mankind has to run, there are plenty of examples in the history of Christianity of people perverting a good message to their own ends; that is true of every philosophy or creed known to man; that is evidence of the Original Sin in which we believe. Redemption from it does not come through science, which, is just another of the things mankind has which it can put to bad as well as good uses.

    No one with any sense rejects science because it led to the invention of the nuclear bomb and better methods to torture people; equally, no one with any sense should reject Christianity because sometimes bad things have been done it its name.

    Christ’s Beatitudes are one of the best expressions I know of what it means to live a good life; we should all be a lot better in spirit if the world lived by them.

  • C_monsta

    It is strange that you compare Christianity with science. The reason that no one rejects science is that it is the product of logical, reasoned inquiry and development – we interact with the reality and products of science all the time. Christianity, on the other hand, appears to the non-believer as just another archaic religion, based on primitive concepts of the supernatural. Science is simply the process by which we ascertain what we can call the truth. If God is a reality then God is part of science – God’s powers would be part of science. If God existed, then of course we would all want to understand about ‘him’.
    Frankly I find “We believe in a God who loves us enough to suffer for us and who wishes to save us from our tendency to go wrong” a little ridiculous, as God lets millions of people suffer horribly on a daily basis, and has done throughout the whole course of human existence. If God wished to help us, why did he use such an ineffective means as a single Jesus placed in the Middle East 2000 years ago? How did this help the Australian aborigines (as one example) who did not find out about Jesus until the Christians arrived in Australia 1700 years later and butchered them?

  • JessicaHof

    Natural enough comparison. To the person who has no knowledge of science beyond what she had from school, scientists often appear as pompous know-it alls who feel they can pontificate about anything, even when it is evident they know little about it (Dawkins being the supreme example). That does not lead me to think all science is the province of emotionally retarded young men who have the aesthetic sensibility of a newt; even though my own experience of them at university would provide a great deal of evidence towards such a conclusion. In short, ignorance, or even a particular type of experience, might lead me, were I rash, to draw a set of conclusions about science, whereby I though it a useful tool but a bad master, and with nothing to contribute to my inner life.

    Now I do not know how much theology you have read, how many churches you have visited, how much experience you have of the Church, but they seem to lead you to some very rash conclusions; I’d love to know what they are based on.

    You seem to be a scientific reductionist – hence your belief there is one type of knowledge. That demonstrates a certain narrowness. Can science prove that Julius Caesar came to these islands in 55 BC? No, it can’t. Archaeology can help us know that some Romans came here then, and nothing more. For who led them and what they find, we have to reads Caesar’s writings. Should we dismiss them because science (one way of apprehending facts) cannot establish them as ‘true’? Of course not.

    If God is Infinite, then science is part of what God creates. We, and our knowledge, are finite; by definition that cannot encompass the Infinite. You are like a medieval man saying that the world is flat: ‘Look, I can see it, there’s your proof, now take your mathematical formulae and stick ‘em.’ Such a medieval person would have been as proud and confident in their limited knowledge as you are; that would not have made them right.

    You seem remarkably uninformed about Christian belief, and I wonder how you can pronounce so confidently from such a small knowledge-base.

    God created man with free will, and we can reject Him and His teachings, and then blame Him for the consequences. That is what all disobedient children do. They whine to play with sharp knives and then, when they cut themselves. blame their parent for not stopping them.

    That ‘ineffective means’ has produced a religion with more than two billion members. Why complain about the aborigines when you, with plenty of opportunities to acquaint yourself with Jesus’ message, have taken so little trouble to find out much about it?

    Christ’s redeeming sacrifice saves all who believe, and all who die in invincible ignorance – such as the aborigines. It is those who wilfully reject Him must shift for themselves.

  • C_monsta

    Your comprehension of the word science seems rather distorted. Science is merely the name we have given to the logical, reasoned process by which we try to discover the truth about the workings of the universe. If the claims of religions are true, then those things or events would be also part of science.
    There is only one type of knowledge, which is ‘knowing’ something. Archaeology can give us evidence to believe something probably happened, but we don’t know this for certain. I don’t know for certain that Julius Caesar ever existed, let alone came to Britain.
    It’s rather amusing that you compare my trust in certain established scientific opinion with being like a medieval man, when you believe in the medieval pseudoscience akin with alchemy, transubstantiation.
    “They whine to play with sharp knives and then, when they cut themselves. blame their parent for not stopping them.” How unbelievably callous, when one considers all those children suffering from disease, deformity and other terrible afflictions. And this is your best answer? Christ’s suffering fades quickly into insignificance when we consider the atrocities which God allows to take place to innocent children on a daily basis, and has done throughout history.

  • JessicaHof

    You demonstrate admirably the aridity and, indeed, sterility of your limited access to knowledge. You wish to doubt that Caesar existed, yet you extol the scientific method; if it can’t establish something we all accept, it might be that it is your understanding of your methodology that is flawed.

    Transubstantiation is simply of way of trying to explain a deep mystery (there seems no room for these in the universe you occupy). Christ told us that when we eat this bread and drink this wine we eat His body and blood. Those in medieval times of your own mind-set wanted a precise and scientific explanation of this, and transubstantiation was the one which fitted the scientific knowledge of the day. But of course, all scientific knowledge is limited and the next generation looks back with wonder at how primitive the previous one was. When I consider the computers I used as a girl in primary school and what I use now, I am amazed.

    How crass your comment that God causes suffering is. We have free will, and it is from that that much of the suffering comes; no doubt if God kept intervening, you’d be complaining about not having free will.

    Neither of us has any idea of what Christ suffered on the cross, but it was certainly excruciating, as scientific experiments have established. God knows about suffering, the question of why some children are born deformed is one which will always puzzle us; the question of why so many millions of healthy babies in the womb are murdered every year is no puzzle at all.

    We can do nothing about those children born deformed or damaged, accept love them and care for them. We can do something to stop the slaughter of the unborn – what do you do about that?

    One thing we can do nothing to help; so you complain and criticise; the other we could do something to prevent help; I hope you put your concern about suffering innocents to some good use here.

  • C_monsta

    Oh my! I didn’t say I doubted Julius Caesar’s existence, but stated logically that I cannot be certain that recorded events of 2000 years ago actually took place.
    As for Transubstantiation, Jesus didn’t mean to be taken literally when he said it was his body and blood – he was speaking metaphorically. How can you say that is not true? How do you KNOW? But, as you say, those much more limited minds in medieval times thought he was speaking literally, and concocted a typically medieval theory which people still adhere to today. Your comparison with computers is absurd, as the computers you used as a child worked very well for their time, and are part of the progress of computer development.
    Neither of us has any idea of what Christ suffered on the cross, but even if he didn’t use his supernatural powers to alleviate the pain, he still ‘knew’ that it was not the end of his life, and that he had great times ahead – a very different experience than when non believers sacrifice their lives for others.
    I’m glad that you admit being puzzled as to why God allows so many children to suffer from disease, illness and other natural afflictions. I didn’t say that God causes suffering (although it would follow that you would say he did, in respect to natural afflictions) but allows that suffering to take place, while watching over.
    Now, you may think it’s a good thing that God tests us through our actions without intervening, but as he already knows the outcomes can’t you comprehend the total absurdity of this premise?? For instance: God knows that a group of Angolan soldiers are going to gang rape young girls, so he lets it happen and witnesses thier suffering i.e God doesn’t need to let the test run its course, as he knows the outcome, but never the less, the girls suffer horribly. How will God make it up to them in heaven?? Make them more ‘special’ than those he didn’t use as bait for his tests? How lucky are you that your all loving God didn’t use you or your children in this way?

  • JessicaHof

    So, if your logic can’t take you to being convinced he existed, exactly what use is it?

    How do you know Jesus did not mean to be taken literally. In John 6:53-5 those who could not accept the literal truth of what He said walked away from Him. In 1 Corinthians 11:29 Paul tells us those who eat and drink without discerning the body and blood bring judgement on themselves. There is plenty more evidence if you care to look for it, and that is how I KNOW (complete with shouty capitalisation back to ya).

    Transubstantiation is one way of expressing the doctrine of the Real Presence, so we are part of that same continuum – so not at all a bad anaalogy. Do you actually know anything about Christianity, or are you taking your objections from atheism for dummies?

    So, you think that suffering is less if we can look forward to something better; can I nail you to a cross – just one hand, and promise I’ll take you to hospital and pay for good plastic surgery; would that make you feel better?

    No, the fact that there is suffering does not mean God causes it. You are assuming that the only outcome of the rapes you imagine is in this world, and yet, as you say, God knows the ultimate outcome. You and I know but a part of it, and you judge. As for what I may have suffered, you know nothing, but as all know-nothings, speak loud.

    Have you actually ever tried studying the Bible and doing some serious intellectual work on it? You say you are interested in the beliefs of other people, does that extend to doing some actual work on it, or do you expect to have your education provided free of charge on this site?

  • C_monsta

    My point is that I can’t be absolutely certain that Julius Caesar existed – is there a possibility that records of him have been faked or were propaganda of some sort, for example? Richard Dawkins would tell you that he can’t be absolutely certain that God doesn’t exist, as that is the truthful answer. But you are different, as you KNOW (sorry) what Jesus meant about the bread and wine – after all, you believe that you have all the evidence necessary to KNOW (I would use italics but they are not available here). You and the other Catholics believe that you are the only ones who properly understand God and have a relationship with him, while everyone else is wrong. You believe that you KNOW we are all wrong.
    Haven’t you ever wondered as to whether Jesus would have used his supernatural powers to give himself some pain relief during such a terrible ordeal? But i do think that his suffering would have been worse if he had been expecting an ultimate death, rather than what he was expecting, don’t you? If not, why not?
    “No, the fact that there is suffering does not mean God causes it.” – Surely you believe it does if these are natural causes, such as earthquakes, or tsunamis for instance?
    “You are assuming that the only outcome of the rapes you imagine is in this world” – well, that suffering can be extremely prolonged. How do you think God makes amends for this? Where is the evidence of a loving God??

  • JessicaHof

    You expose, again, the poverty of your method. If you cannot be sure that. Ceasar existed because you can’t prove it using scientific method, is it not just possible that there are other methods of establishing such things? My point is that there is more than one way of knowing things, and since most of us know Caesat existed, either we are delusional, or you are too narrow in your definition of epistemology; I daresay a clever person will find a third way!

    The evidence for the bread and wine being the real body and blood of Christ is there in Scripture; it is also there in the Fathers. I am not a Roman Catholic, yet. I believe in the. Real Presence, as do the Orthodox; this questions your confident assertion about it being only Catholics who believe. The Roman Catholic Church believes it is the only Church in which the fullness of the faith can be found, the Orthodox believe something similar, whilst the Anglians hold that tradition, reason and scripture guide us to where we need to be in Christ. If you read ‘Dominus Iesus’ you’ll see that your characterisation of what the Catholic Church believes about the rest of us is not accurate.

    The whole point of the atonement would have been negated had Christ not taken our suffering upon Himself; I do, once again, wonder how you come to know so little about Christian theology and yet feel able to comment with such confidence?

    God does not cause tsunamis, any more than He causes people to live in their path. You really ought to read at least a little on a subject on which you comment so frequently. God has created a world which is populated by His children to whom He has given free will. The evidence of a loving God is to be found throughout the New Testament and in the lives of many Chrisitians. Usually, if one does not look for something, one does not find it.

  • C_monsta

    I think I have an idea as to why you have such difficulty understanding this, but I’ll try again: From all the evidence to survive of the life of Julius Caesar, I can assess that it is highly unlikely that he didn’t exist, although I cannot be totally 100% certain that he did, as that is the honest position to establish. You, on the other hand, are 100% certain that God exists and he loves you – this is a dishonest position as you cannot be 100% certain of this (especially with the types of evidence available)
    You believe that God created the world, which produces tsunamis and earthquakes. You believe that God knows when and where these phenomena will happen, and has the ability to stop them from happening. Does he stop them happening and prevent all that unimaginable suffering? No he doesn’t. He watches it all take place. Is that the way of a loving God? And your only evidence to the contrary is the New Testament – a 2000 year old manuscript