Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why Islam Is More Violent Than Christianity: An Atheist’s Guide


The Charlie Hebdo massacre once again has politicians and the media dancing around the question of whether there might be something a little bit special about this one particular religion, Islam, that causes its adherents to go around killing people.
It is not considered acceptable in polite company to entertain this possibility. Instead, it is necessary to insist, as a New York Times article does, that “Islam is no more inherently violent than other religions.” This, mind you, was in an article on how Muslims in the Middle East are agonizing over the violent legacy of their religion.
It is obviously true that all major religions have had violent periods, or periods in which the religion has coexisted with violence. Even those mellow pacifist Buddhists. These days, especially the Buddhists, who are currently fomenting a pogrom against a Muslim minority in Burma.
But in today’s context, it’s absurd to equate Islam and Christianity. Pointing to the Spanish Inquisition tends to undermine the point rather than confirm it: if you have to look back three hundred years to find atrocities, it’s because there are so few of them today. The mass crimes committed under the name of Islam, by contrast, are fresh and openly boasted about.
As an atheist, I have no god in this fight, so to speak. I don’t think the differences between religions make one more valid than another. But as the Charlie Hedbo attack reminds us, there is a big practical difference between them. In fact, the best argument against the equivalence of Christianity and Islam is that no one acts even remotely as if this were true. We feel free to criticize and offend Christians without a second thought—thanks, guys, for being so cool about that—but antagonizing Muslims takes courage. More courage than a lot of secular types in the West can usually muster.
So it’s a matter of some practical urgency to figure out: what is the difference? What are its root causes?
As I see it, the main danger posed by any religion to its dissenters and unbelievers lies in the rejection of reason, which cuts off the possibility of discussion and debate, leaving coercion as an acceptable substitute. I’m with Voltaire on that one: “If we believe absurdities, we will commit atrocities.” But all religions are different and have different doctrines which are shaped over their history—and as we shall see, that includes different views on precisely such core issues as the role of reason and persuasion.
I should preface this by saying that I am no expert on theology, particularly Muslim theology. Yet there are a number of big, widely documented differences between Christianity and Islam that can be seen in the traditions established by their history and in the actual content of their religious doctrines.

The life of Christ versus the life of Mohammed.

Mohammed was a conqueror who gained worldly political power in his lifetime and used it to persecute opponents and impose his religion. He also fully enjoyed the worldly perks of being a tyrant, including multiple wives. Jesus, by contrast, was basically a pacifist whose whole purpose on earth was to allow himself to be tortured to death.
He even explicitly forbade his followers to use force to defend him. Here’s John,Chapter 18: “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear…. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”
This does not imply that all Christians ought to be pacifists. But it certainly sets a tone for the religion. The life of the founder of a religion is held up to his followers as a model for how they should live their own lives. The life of Mohammed tells the Muslim that he should expect to rule, whereas the life of Christ tells the Christian he should expect to sacrifice and serve. Which leads us to a deeper doctrinal difference.

“What you do to the least of these, you do to me.”

In Matthew, Chapter 25, Christ tells his followers what will happen during the final judgment, when he separates the righteous from the wicked.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Similarly, there is an episode during the Last Supper when the apostles are squabbling about which of them is greatest. Christ intervenes and tells them that the greatest is he who serves others the most.
And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
This is a very profound idea that goes against the grain of most of human history. I’m a big fan of the Classical world, but the pagans still regarded it as normal, right, and natural that the physically strong set the terms for everyone else. Thucydides famously summed it up in the Melian Dialogue: “The strong do as they can and the weak suffer what they must.” Thucydides was clearly critical of that view, but the Classical world didn’t have a clear alternative. As far as I know, Christ was the first to insist that even the lowest, least significant person has value and that we will be judged by how we treat him.
The distinctive idea here is not a belief in self-sacrifice—Islam, with its emphasis on the glory of dying in battle, has that idea in abundance. Nor is it the idea of a duty to serve others—Communist regimes were built on the idea that the individual exists only to serve the collective. Instead, it is the idea that each individual has a supreme and sacred value. Even Ayn Rand declared this to be the idea from Christianity that most impressed her.
Islam has no corresponding idea. The news is constantly bringing us a story of some imam somewhere declaring it consistent with Islam for a man to beat his wife, and the rise of the Islamic State in Syria has provided us current examples of Islam sanctioning slavery, including the capture and systematic rape of sex slaves. This is a religion that is still very much in the “rights of the conqueror” mode, in which the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
Again, this goes back to the beginning. Consider the story, from one of the earliest Arab biographies of Mohammed, of Asma bint Marwan, an Arab poet in Medinah who spoke out against the rise of Mohammed. According to legend, he asked his followers, “Who will rid me of the daughter of Marwan?” (His version of Henry II’s “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”) One of them took it on himself to sneak into her house and murder her in her sleep. There are questions about the authenticity of the story, but the fact that it was widely believed and reported indicates the example Mohammed set.
To be sure, this brutal attitude is partly because of the backwardness of some of the quasi-feudal societies that are majority-Muslim, where divisions of tribe and caste still dominate. But then again, Islam hasn’t done much to elevate those societies, despite having more than a thousand years to do so.

The early history of Christianity vs. Islam

Christians started as a persecuted minority in a pagan society, so that gives them a certain comfort with being powerless. Those who find themselves out of step with the sinful modern world regard this as more or less the normal state of things.
The early history of Islam, by contrast, was further conquest and dominance, as Muslim invaders marched out into Persia and across North Africa. That’s why Muslims tend to look at the modern situation, in which other creeds and political systems are wealthier and wield greater military power, as an aberration that is not to be tolerated.
This history is connected to a specific doctrinal issue.

The kingdom of god vs. the kingdom of man.

When you’re a persecuted minority, it’s more natural to say that the ultimate reward and total justice have to be found in another world, because you know you’re not going to get them in the decadent Roman Empire. In Christianity, this produced a distinction between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. When Pilate asks him if he is a king, Jesus responds, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
This idea is extensively developed in Christian theology and is widely accepted among religious conservatives today as the main explanation for the failure of Communism and other utopian schemes: they were arrogant, misguided attempts to achieve heaven on earth. Or if you are inclined to the use of unnecessarily long and obscure words, this is referred to as trying to “immanentize the eschaton.”
The idea is that human beings are not capable of achieving the ultimate holy order of things in this world, so it is folly to try.
But when your prophet is the dictator, it’s more tempting to think that you can just mandate a perfect society. Hence the Islamist obsession with creating a pure Islamic State, usually with a special division of zealots who call themselves something like the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, whose job is to enforce a long list of intrusive religious prohibitions. An Islamic state is the kingdom of God brought to earth—exactly the approach that has been widely rejected at various points in Christian theology.

The different roles of “falsafa.”

There is another important legacy of Christianity’s early history among the pagans—in this case, not a reaction against pagan rule, but a part of the Classical influence that rubbed off on Christianity.
Christianity took hold among Greeks and Romans steeped in the Classical philosophical tradition, and that left its mark. The now-retired pope, Benedict XVI—who I’m really missing right now, by the way—made this the central point of an important speech he gave in 2006 at the University of Regensburg, in which he addressed the relationship between Christianity and Islam. Benedict argued that “the critically purified Greek heritage forms an integral part of Christian faith,” and defended the “Hellenization” of Christianity. (More on this later.) There was some controversy about this within early Christianity—Tertullian famously asked, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”—and at first the anti-Classical side won out. But those early controversies made it easier for Christianity to re-absorb Classical ideas during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Islam went through an opposite progression. It encountered Classical science and philosophy, “falsafa” in Arabic, during its conquest of various Mediterranean countries, and the Muslim world would produce great scientists and philosophers steeped in the ideas of the Greeks, including ibn Sina (Avicenna) in Persia and ibn Rushd (Averroes) in Muslim Spain. But by the late Middle Ages, just as the West was rediscovering Classical philosophy, the Muslim world purged it. This is generally blamed on the theologian al-Ghazali, who denounced “The Incoherence of the Philosophers” and caused Muslim theologians to reject the Classical influence as incompatible with faith. The result is that Islam allows much less room for philosophical discussion and debate over the meaning of the religion.
Again, this history is connected to a deeper doctrinal issue.

Is God rational?

This was the issue Benedict focused on in his Regensburg speech. He approvingly cited a dialogue in which one of the Byzantine emperors was debating with a Muslim and argued that in Christian theology, God is rational: he acts according to reason and is understandable by reason. He cited a Biblical passage about God being “Logos”—which means both “word” and “reason” in Greek—as evidence that “the world comes from reason” as part of the animating spirit of God’s creation.
Islam rejects this view. Al-Ghazali even rejected the law of cause and effect. The Muslim God does not establish laws of nature and leave them to operate. He is personally involved in causing every natural event by a direct act of will. Thus, al-Ghazali insisted that when a ball of cotton is placed into a flame, the fire does not burn the cotton. Instead, “when fire and cotton are placed in contact, the cotton is burned directly by God rather than by the fire.”
If you think this is very old, Medieval history, consider that there was a controversy in the 1980s in Pakistan, when Islamists insisted that chemistry textbooks had to say that when hydrogen and oxygen are combined, then by the will of Allah, water is created—directly borrowing al-Ghazali’s formulation. The rejection of scientific laws and secular reason was codified in Islam long ago, and those who depart from this orthodoxy continue to be ostracized, as seen in Pakistan’s rejection of one of its most eminent physicists.
All of this has a lot of implications for how you deal with disagreement and whether you think religion is a subject that can be debated. The Byzantine emperor quoted by Benedict argues, “Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats,” to which Benedict added: “The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature.” Whereas if reason is itself heretical, then why should anyone tolerate your arguments and philosophical debates?

Secular law versus Sharia law.

The differences between Islam and Christianity are not just about the laws of nature. They’re also about laws for man.
Christianity has its own religious law, laid down by Moses in the Old Testament, though much of it does not survive Christ’s revisions. But Christianity also has a long tradition of coexisting with secular systems of law. This comes from the Roman context, where there was an established, codified Roman system of law which Christianity did not seek to overthrow. This, as I understand it, is part of the significance of Christ’s admonition to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” So the idea of religion as the source of law was not well-established under Christianity. Or to be more exact, religion is viewed as source of general moral principles, but there is plenty of room for debate on what those principles mean and how to translate them into specific laws.
By contrast, Islam recognizes no room for any law other than what was supposedly revealed to Mohammed, and that is the source of a whole lot of trouble. The explicit argument offered by Islamists against representative government is the complaint that laws voted on by the people are laws created by man, whereas God is the only one who can make law. Similarly, one of the main issues of contention in newly created governments across the Middle East—Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya—was the question of whether Islam should be cited as the sole source of law. Then there is Saudi Arabia, where the Koran is the constitution.
But what is really telling is the concreteness of Islamic law. As it is usually interpreted, Sharia is not a set of general principles that leave room for individual judgment in their application. It is a set of extremely detailed, specific requirements and prohibitions. This is why we see Islamic clerics asked to issue “fatwas” on every triviality under the sun, from soccer to tomboys to Mickey Mouse, which can lead to some very weird results.
As British Islamist Anjem Choudary explains to us, “Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people’s desires.” Note how total this is—everything is determined by revelation—and how little room it leaves for individual choice. So no wonder it is used as a license for unlimited coercion.
The concrete nature of Islamic law and its devaluation of individual judgment reflects a deeper aspect of the difference between Christianity and Islam.

Is it normal to struggle with faith?

Christianity has a tradition of being an introspective religion, one that is about plumbing the depths of one’s soul—and about struggling with one’s faith. In the Bible and in Christian lore, there is a long tradition of openly talking about struggles with doubt, the sense that faith is something that can be difficult to maintain, so that lapses or skepticism or a crisis of faith are understandable and to be tolerated. The put-upon Job debates with God. Even Jesus struggled with temptation and doubt in the Garden of Gethsemane as he faced the prospect of crucifixion. That’s why the typical piece of Christian “hate mail” I get is annoyingly non-hate-filled. They mostly tell me that they’re praying for me so I will one day see the light.
By contrast, Muslims widely accept a particularly literal version of what the Christian would call “salvation through works.” In its crudest version, this is the “die in jihad and get 72 virgins in paradise” outlook. Getting into heaven is less about reordering your soul or trying to introspect some greater meaning in your life—and more about punching a checklist of external actions, of being obedient to a long list of strictly enforced requirements and taboos.

The history of religion in America.

The final big difference between Islam and Christianity isn’t something that’s wrong with Islam, but rather something that happened uniquely in the West that influenced Christianity: the history of religion in America. From the beginning we had a profusion of different religious sects, many of which had come here seeking freedom from persecution. So from early on, at least from Roger Williams, American religious leaders were deeply involved in developing the ideology of religious freedom. While Enlightenment ideas had a wide influence in America, demands for religious freedom did not come primarily from anti-clerical types who wanted to abolish religion. Instead, religious freedom was literally preached from the pulpit, which is why it so naturally made it into our founding documents.
That’s only one aspect of Christianity in the West, of course, but it has had a global influence on the religion and its approach to liberty.
I have painted with broad strokes, and there are some who will no doubt come back to me citing Muslim leaders who espouse better views, as no doubt you could go out and find Christians with much worse views.
And of course, many of those who kill in the name of Islam don’t even know this history. One of my favorite stories is about British jihadists who headed off to join ISIS in Syria after buying a copy of the book Islam for Dummies. These guys aren’t following the narrow doctrinal disputes. What they absorb is an overall sense of what the religion means and how it is to be practiced.
If you add up all of these things, you see what an explosive mix you get from Islam: the expectation that religion dictates everything and that their religion ought to be totally dominant here in this world, combined with the notion that religion is not open to reason and leaves no room for doubt, questioning, or debate.
Religious ideas can be, and often are, recombined and reinterpreted in more or less benevolent ways. There will always be a tension between faith and reason; the concept of service to others can be used to demand service to the state; the concept of man’s sinfulness and imperfection can be interpreted to mean that the perfect religious society cannot be imposed on earth—or that humans can’t be trusted with freedom, so the state needs to curb our vicious impulses. Certainly, the recent comments by Pope Francis on the Charlie Hebdo attack should make us wonder how committed he is to the principle of freedom of speech.
But this should make us appreciate all the more the way in which, after centuries of contentious and often bloody history, our culture’s dominant faith has settled into a more benevolent and liberal form.
We can hope that Islam will do the same. But in terms of their history and doctrines, they still have a long way to go—and I’m afraid they still have some of those contentious and bloody centuries ahead of them.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Catholics Don’t Have To Breed “Like Rabbits”???
by Fr. Peter Carota
Parents of large Catholic families have often been the recipients of a lot of ridicule for having had more than 3 children.   Now, they have to hear it from their pope who by using the word “Rabbits” is automatically comparing the sacred conjugal act that produced sons of God, with “rabbits breeding”.
I know personally what this feels like.  My parents had six of us natural children and adopted 13 more.  Often my parents were ridiculed and threatened for having so many children.  And it those days, most Catholic families did not use birth control or kill their un-wanted babies by abortion or morning after pill.  People would joke that my parents didn’t watch TV and were having a lot of sex.  Most people at that time were having just as much sex, but without wanting children, which is the biological end of sex.
“Catholics should not feel they have to breed “like rabbits” because of the Church’s ban on contraception, Pope Francis said on Monday, suggesting approved natural family planning methods.
“Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits – but no,” he said, adding the Church promoted “responsible parenthood”.Yahoo News
Also I read that on his trip to the Philippines he said that the Church “still”, (as if it can change doctrine), holds its prohibition of birth control.  But, he added, in the confessional, priests should be lenient.  That is like saying, I up hold Catholic marriage, I condemn birth control, but I will absolve you when you decide it is “moral” for you to use.
That is exactly what caused the sexual revolution in the Catholic Church.  Humanae Vitae came out, but in confession, at the pulpit and a conferences, it was being told it was up to your conscience.  And now, most Catholics “happily” use birth control and make sacrilegious Holy Communions every Sunday.
If it were not for the Mexican immigrants, the Catholic Church in the United States would me decimated and only have mostly old people and a few children once in a while at Mass.
God told Adam and Noah to go a multiply like normal sons of God.  And when they do so, they are not “rabbits”.  All animals have sex to multiply, and it is good that they can.  Let us say that fish decide to use birth control.  The environmentalist would have a fit because the whales and all fishes would become extinct.  People are soon going to be on the extinct list too.  That is actually what the green people want, and the pope is playing right into their hands.
Yes, is a woman is in danger of dying from another pregnancy, then I support NFP.  But just because they have a large family, does not mean that they need to use NFP.  They talked about poor families with no food for their children and being responsible.  God provides for these children food.  He will not give them the College education, the new car, new clothes or iPhone, but He will give them “Our Daily Bread”.
Poverty is not caused by children, it is caused by sin; the sin of greed (of the rich), alcohol and drug abuse of fathers, divorce and laziness.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The 65 Errors of the Modernists Condemned by the Church

Pius X
July 3, 1907
With truly lamentable results, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects the legacy of the human race. Thus it falls into very serious errors, which are even more serious when they concern sacred authority, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and the principal mysteries of Faith. The fact that many Catholic writers also go beyond the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church herself is extremely regrettable. In the name of higher knowledge and historical research (they say), they are looking for that progress of dogmas which is, in reality, nothing but the corruption of dogmas.
These errors are being daily spread among the faithful. Lest they captivate the faithful’s minds and corrupt the purity of their faith, His Holiness, Pius X, by Divine Providence, Pope, has decided that the chief errors should be noted and condemned by the Office of this Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition.
Therefore, after a very diligent investigation and consultation with the Reverend Consultors, the Most Eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinals, the General Inquisitors in matters of faith and morals have judged the following propositions to be condemned and proscribed. In fact, by this general decree, they are condemned and proscribed.

I. Errors 1 to 8: Attacks to the Magisterium of the Church, to its authority, and to the obedience it is owed.
1. The ecclesiastical law which prescribes that books concerning the Divine Scriptures are subject to previous examination does not apply to critical scholars and students of scientific exegesis of the Old and New Testament.
2. The Church’s interpretation of the Sacred Books is by no means to be rejected; nevertheless, it is subject to the more accurate judgment and correction of the exegetes.
3. From the ecclesiastical judgments and censures passed against free and more scientific exegesis, one can conclude that the Faith the Church proposes contradicts history and that Catholic teaching cannot really be reconciled with the true origins of the Christian religion.
4. Even by dogmatic definitions the Church’s magisterium cannot determine the genuine sense of the Sacred Scriptures.
5. Since the deposit of Faith contains only revealed truths, the Church has no right to pass judgment on the assertions of the human sciences.
6. The “Church learning” and the “Church teaching” collaborate in such a way in defining truths that it only remains for the “Church teaching” to sanction the opinions of the “Church learning.”
7. In proscribing errors, the Church cannot demand any internal assent from the faithful by which the judgments she issues are to be embraced.
8. They are free from all blame who treat lightly the condemnations passed by the Sacred Congregation of the Index or by the Roman Congregations.

II. Errors 9 to 19: False exegetic propositions, opposed to the divine origin of Sacred Scripture.
9. They display excessive simplicity or ignorance who believe that God is really the author of the Sacred Scriptures.
10. The inspiration of the books of the Old Testament consists in this: The Israelite writers handed down religious doctrines under a peculiar aspect which was either little or not at all known to the Gentiles.
11. Divine inspiration does not extend to all of Sacred Scriptures so that it renders its parts, each and every one, free from every error.
12. If he wishes to apply himself usefully to Biblical studies, the exegete must first put aside all preconceived opinions about the supernatural origin of Sacred Scripture and interpret it the same as any other merely human document.
13. The Evangelists themselves, as well as the Christians of the second and third generation, artificially arranged the evangelical parables. In such a way they explained the scanty fruit of the preaching of Christ among the Jews.
14. In many narrations the Evangelists recorded, not so much things that are true, as things which, even though false, they judged to be more profitable for their readers.
15. Until the time the canon was defined and constituted, the Gospels were increased by additions and corrections. Therefore there remained in them only a faint and uncertain trace of the doctrine of Christ.
16. The narrations of John are not properly history, but a mystical contemplation of the Gospel. The discourses contained in his Gospel are theological meditations, lacking historical truth concerning the mystery of salvation.
17. The fourth Gospel exaggerated miracles not only in order that the extraordinary might stand out but also in order that it might become more suitable for showing forth the work and glory of the Word lncarnate.
18. John claims for himself the quality of witness concerning Christ. In reality, however, he is only a distinguished witness of the Christian life, or of the life of Christ in the Church at the close of the first century.
19. Heterodox exegetes have expressed the true sense of the Scriptures more faithfully than Catholic exegetes.

III. Errors 20 to 26: False exegetic propositions, which falsify the origin and the intrinsic value of Divine Revelation.
20. Revelation could be nothing else than the consciousness man acquired of his revelation to God.
21. Revelation, constituting the object of the Catholic faith, was not completed with the Apostles.
22. The dogmas the Church holds out as revealed are not truths which have fallen from heaven. They are an interpretation of religious facts which the human mind has acquired by laborious effort.
23. Opposition may, and actually does, exist between the facts narrated in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s dogmas which rest on them. Thus the critic may reject as false facts the Church holds as most certain.
24. The exegete who constructs premises from which it follows that dogmas are historically false or doubtful is not to be reproved as long as he does not directly deny the dogmas themselves .
25. The assent of faith ultimately rests on a mass of probabilities .
26. The dogmas of the Faith are to be held only according to their practical sense; that is to say, as preceptive norms of conduct and not as norms of believing.
27. The divinity of Jesus Christ is not proved from the Gospels. It is a dogma which the Christian conscience has derived from the notion of the Messias.

IV. Errors 27 to 38: Denials of the most important dogmas of Christianity, related to the Person of the Divine Redeemer, to his Divinity, to his supernatural knowledge, to the expiatory character of his sufferings, Passion, and Death, and to his bodily Resurrection.
28. While He was exercising His ministry, Jesus did not speak with the object of teaching He was the Messias, nor did His miracles tend to prove it.
29. It is permissible to grant that the Christ of history is far inferior to the Christ Who is the object of faith.
30 In all the evangelical texts the name “Son of God” is equivalent only to that of “Messias.” It does not in the least way signify that Christ is the true and natural Son of God.
31. The doctrine concerning Christ taught by Paul, John, and the Councils of Nicea, Ephesus and Chalcedon is not that which Jesus taught but that which the Christian conscience conceived concerning Jesus.
32. It is impossible to reconcile the natural sense of the Gospel texts with the sense taught by our theologians concerning the conscience and the infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ.2
33 Everyone who is not led by preconceived opinions can readily see that either Jesus professed an error concerning the immediate Messianic coming or the greater part of His doctrine as contained in the Gospels is destitute of authenticity.
34. The critics can ascribe to Christ a knowledge without limits only on a hypothesis which cannot be historically conceived and which is repugnant to the moral sense. That hypothesis is that Christ as man possessed the knowledge of God and yet was unwilling to communicate the knowledge of a great many things to His disciples and posterity.
35. Christ did not always possess the consciousness of His Messianic dignity.
36. The Resurrection of the Savior is not properly a fact of the historical order. It is a fact of merely the supernatural order (neither demonstrated nor demonstrable) which the Christian conscience gradually derived from other facts.
37. In the beginning, faith in the Resurrection of Christ was not so much in the fact itself of the Resurrection as in the immortal life of Christ with God.
38. The doctrine of the expiatory death of Christ is Pauline and not evangelical.

V. Errors 39 to 51: Denials of the institution of the means of salvation by Christ through his Church, particularly the Sacraments, and of their efficacy.
39. The opinions concerning the origin of the Sacraments which the Fathers of Trent held and which certainly influenced their dogmatic canons are very different from those which now rightly exist among historians who examine Christianity.
40. The Sacraments have their origin in the fact that the Apostles and their successors, swayed and moved by circumstances and events, interpreted some idea and intention of Christ.
41. The Sacraments are intended merely to recall to man’s mind the ever-beneficent presence of the Creator.
42. The Christian community imposed the necessity of Baptism, adopted it as a necessary rite, and added to it the obligation of the Christian profession.
43. The practice of administering Baptism to infants was a disciplinary evolution, which became one of the causes why the Sacrament was divided into two, namely, Baptism and Penance.
44. There is nothing to prove that the rite of the Sacrament of Confirmation was employed by the Apostles. The formal distinction of the two Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation does not pertain to the history of primitive Christianity.
45. Not everything which Paul narrates concerning the institution of the Eucharist (I Cor. 11:23-25) is to be taken historically.
46. In the primitive Church the concept of the Christian sinner reconciled by the authority of the Church did not exist. Only very slowly did the Church accustom herself to this concept. As a matter of fact, even after Penance was recognized as an institution of the Church, it was not called a Sacrament since it would be held as a disgraceful Sacrament.
47. The words of the Lord, “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” (John 20:22-23), in no way refer to the Sacrament of Penance, in spite of what it pleased the Fathers of Trent to say.
48. In his Epistle (Ch. 5:14-15) James did not intend to promulgate a Sacrament of Christ but only commend a pious custom. If in this custom he happens to distinguish a means of grace, it is not in that rigorous manner in which it was taken by the theologians who laid down the notion and number of the Sacraments.
49. When the Christian supper gradually assumed the nature of a liturgical action those who customarily presided over the supper acquired the sacerdotal character.
50. The elders who fulfilled the office of watching over the gatherings of the faithful were instituted by the Apostles as priests or bishops to provide for the necessary ordering of the increasing communities and not properly for the perpetuation of the Apostolic mission and power.
51. It is impossible that Matrimony could have become a Sacrament of the new law until later in the Church since it was necessary that a full theological explication of the doctrine of grace and the Sacraments should first take place before Matrimony should be held as a Sacrament.

VI. Errors 52 to 63: Attacks on the divine foundation of the Church, of her essential constitution, and activities.
52. It was far from the mind of Christ to found a Church as a society which would continue on earth for a long course of centuries. On the contrary, in the mind of Christ the kingdom of heaven together with the end of the world was about to come immediately.
53. The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable. Like human society, Christian society is subject to a perpetual evolution.
54. Dogmas, Sacraments and hierarchy, both their notion and reality, are only interpretations and evolutions of the Christian intelligence which have increased and perfected by an external series of additions the little germ latent in the Gospel.
55. Simon Peter never even suspected that Christ entrusted the primacy in the Church to him.3
56. The Roman Church became the head of all the churches, not through the ordinance of Divine Providence, but merely through political conditions.
57. The Church has shown that she is hostile to the progress of the natural and theological sciences.
58. Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him, and through him.
59. Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and all men, but rather inaugurated a religious movement adapted or to be adapted to different times and places.
60. Christian Doctrine was originally Judaic. Through successive evolutions it became first Pauline, then Joannine, finally Hellenic and universal.4
61. It may be said without paradox that there is no chapter of Scripture, from the first of Genesis to the last of the Apocalypse, which contains a doctrine absolutely identical with that which the Church teaches on the same matter. For the same reason, therefore, no chapter of Scripture has the same sense for the critic and the theologian.
62. The chief articles of the Apostles’ Creed did not have the same sense for the Christians of the first ages as they have for the Christians of our time.
63. The Church shows that she is incapable of effectively maintaining evangelical ethics since she obstinately clings to immutable doctrines which cannot be reconciled with modern progress.

VII. Errors 64 and 65: Calls for the “reform” of the Church.
64. Scientific progress demands that the concepts of Christian doctrine concerning God, creation, revelation, the Person of the Incarnate Word, and Redemption be re-adjusted.
65. Modern Catholicism can be reconciled with true science only if it is transformed into a non-dogmatic Christianity; that is to say, into a broad and liberal Protestantism.
The following Thursday, the fourth day of the same month and year, all these matters were accurately reported to our Most Holy Lord, Pope Pius X. His Holiness approved and confirmed the decree of the Most Eminent Fathers and ordered that each and every one of the above-listed propositions be held by all as condemned and proscribed.

PETER PALOMBELLI, Notary of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition