- the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus Christ, or its beliefs and practices.
If we look at the life of the figure called “Jesus Christ” as he is documented almost exclusively in the canon of the Bible, we can clearly see that Catholicism is a far cry from the life and teachings the man. The evidence for my claims is largely “non-evidence”, meaning the Catholic church preaches things that are quite simply not in the Bible. They may mention Jesus, the Holy Spirit or “God” (presumably Yahweh) in their incantations and ceremonies, but that’s about the extent of it. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Sainthood is not a thing.
In Catholicism there are strict guidelines to what makes a person a “Saint”. According to orthodox canonization, you must go through several steps and meet several qualifications in order to attain sainthood. What does the Bible say about being a saint? Nothing. Here is a list of all the verses in the King James Version of the Bible that even mention the word: Bible Verses About Saints. We clearly see that the word “saint” was used exclusively by Paul and John to address Christians. We are very clearly all saints if we are children of God or Christians or whatever you want to call a follower of the teachings and life of Jesus Christ.
Mary isn’t special.
This is a no-brainer. You can read the story in Luke 11. Basically someone was like, “blessed is the Mother of the Son of God!” to which the actual Son of God replied, “no way, man! Blessed be the one who listens to what I say and practises what I preach!”. As if that isn’t enough evidence, in Matthew 12 Jesus was teaching somewhere and someone came up to him and was like, “yo Jesus, your mother and brothers are here to see you. Don’t you want to see them?” to which He replied, “no man, these people, my disciples, are my mother and my brothers and my sisters. Anyone who follows me is my family.”
So when the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts Mary on such a high pedestal (and many people in a half-shell on their front lawn), it just raises red flags for me. It very clearly goes against what Jesus Christ taught!
You shouldn’t pray to St. Anthony when you lost your keys.
Yes, you understood me correctly. Catholics pray to a
demi-god saint for help with lost items. There’s even an official prayer that goes along with it. If this doesn’t scream “remnants of ancient polytheistic religion re-packaged for a modern era”, then I don’t know what does. Oh, and Jesus actually had a lot so say about prayer:
Matthew 6:5-8 – you shouldn’t pray long, illustrious prayers in public just so people can hear you, but, rather, you should pray to your father in private. Some of his disciples were confused on what prayer actually should be, so he gave them kind of a template in the well-known Lord’s Prayer. “Our father…”. It mentions nothing about praying to saints or squirrels or Mary or Joseph. Actually, it only says to pray to the father (some forms of Christianity practise praying to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, but that’s not entirely Biblical, although one could argue that the Trinity is three parts and one at the same time, but that’s another story for another day).
The church is the collective term of Christ-followers, NOT an international political organisation.
The first time Jesus used the word “church” is when he declares that Peter has been divinely inspired to acknowledge that Jesus is the messiah and the Son of God, and therefore has an all-access pass to the Kingdom of Heaven and on “this” will he build his church. It’s a bit unclear if He meant that his church would be built on this exact spot, or in the person of Peter, or maybe it was just a metaphor. I mean, Christ used the word “synagogue” very often, and chose here to use the word “church” (actually, you’d have to look to the Aramaic he spoke to find truly what he said, but we won’t go there in this blog post).
The second (and last) time Jesus mentioned “the church”, he was giving some instructions on how to deal with sinners. It was pretty clear: if someone sins, go to them and tell them so that they may confess and be forgiven. If they don’t repent after a while, bring it up with “the church” so that he might be embarrassed into repenting (PS why do very few churches practise this these days?)
There’s nothing wrong in organisation and having some structure to facilitate the assembly of many like-minded individuals, but to claim your interpretation of sacred texts are the ONLY correct ones and you’re not allowed into heaven unless you follow them is plain crazy. It almost sounds like a government in many ways: “if you don’t pay taxes and adhere to our laws, you get deported or you go to jail or we even kill you”.
Of course Paul took some time in the wake of Jesus’s alleged resurrection to write to a few groups of Christ-followers and encourage them to keep the faith, and to discuss how best to practise being a Christian. Many modern Christians put Paul’s words right up there with Jesus’s, which might not be the absolute best thing in the world to do, as they are not Christ’s words, but, rather inspired by Christ. In any event, there is nothing that Paul said ever about reciting prayers in unison or waving smoke around or silly hand-motions. Honestly, the firt time I attended a Catholic “mass”, I thought I had been transported to some ancient cult ritual. Everyone is standing, sitting, kneeling in unison, then chanting some shit with question/response phrasing then doing gang-signs and eating cookies and drinking wine then they just leave. It is really very weird. It is so much different than the Christian church services I attended where we heard someone speak about what Christ said and how we can apply it to our modern lives. Sure the singing thing exists in Christianity as well, but I won’t address that in this post. But if anyone can show me where in the Bible any Christian performed an actual ritual, I’ll give them five denarii.
So, I hope you now agree with me that Catholicism is just paganism with a face-lift after some emperor decided Zeus was outdated and Jesus was the hip, new thing. If not, leave a comment or write your own blog post. For the record, though, even Christianity isn’t all that special if you really think about it.