Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Christian vs Catholic

The Pope took me by surprise earlier this month, by stating "saying non-Catholic Christian communities are either defective or not true churches, and the Roman Catholic Church provides the only true path to salvation."

I decided immediately to write about refutations to his claims. This took a lot longer than I thought, and I was surprised at the difficulty in finding good scholarly works refuting Roman Catholic Doctrine and this doctrine in particular.

This may be for a number of reasons. First, the web is not geared to the scholarly writings and over time it has become a trash heap of half baked ideas, first drafts and other debris. Second, many who could most resoundingly refute this doctrine are "old school" scholars, and not likely to use the Web. Third, none of this is new, so except for some students (and this is summer break for many universities) many scholars have heard all of this before and may not think it really necessary to discuss it again.

(As a side note: there are other Churches who call themselves Catholic, and thus the distinction "Roman" Catholic.)

Don't get me wrong, there is no shortage of people with the same initial thoughts I had: "Pope shows the true, evil nature, of the Roman Catholic Church" and in researching these, I did come across some really good stuff.


Now, to be sure, just as there are people misrepresenting the views of Islam, there are also people who will misrepresent the views of the Catholic Church. Therefore, I need to show first what the Roman Catholic Church really teaches.
if a person is outside of the Catholic church -- whether they:
  • Are a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or a member of another non-Christian religion,
  • Are a member of another Christian denomination,
  • Consider themselves an unaffiliated Christian who follows the teachings of Jesus, or
  • Are an Agnostic, Atheist, Humanist, secularist, etc.
    they cannot possibly be saved

    Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released yesterday that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation.
    This article also has a question and answer section, which is worth more than the article itself.

    Now, why I disagree with the Roman Catholic Church. First and foremost, my belief is that the Bible is the supreme authority on religious matters. The Roman Catholic Church supplants that with the notion that the Church itself and the Pope in particular are a higher authority than the Bible. In fact, they stand in direct conflict with the Bible in many matters.
    Overview of how Catholic faith contradicts the Bible.
    bible.ca overview false teaching
    (This second one is a bit of a cult - more on that in a minute)
    Jesus-is-Savior dotcom - Roman Catholicism vs Bible
    A few other links of interest:

  • Now to be sure, several sects of Christian Churches have their own cultures of exclusionary teachings. As a Baptist, I am familiar mostly with this one:
    The Baptist Standard page id=6626
    Another cultish group is the one that says the only true Bible is the King James Version. While I love that translation, I don't agree with their teachings whole heartedly. And the Jesus-is-Savior dot com site is not only into that culture, but quite far out in their other beliefs too. (wander around the site and you will get an eye full)

    Again, the difference between Christians and followers of the Roman Catholic Church is that we believe the Bible. Beginning with the reformation period associated with Martin Luther and a few others, we have fought a long battle to teach people that the Bible is the true source of wisdom and truth about God.

    Other notes:
    Along the way, I found a couple other works of interest.

    Careful examination, however, shows that the Pope's "Day of Pardon" was in fact not an apology, but rather a day of deception.

    Methods Muslims use to attack Christianity

    (check out their theology quiz)

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Time for a course change: Ethanol

    About a year ago, someone with more knowlege than me wrote that Ethanol is a crock ( CombatEffective Article ). I replied "yes, but it is a good crock" and went into detail on several reasons why it is good that we are burning some Ethanol in our gasoline.

    But often in life, course changes must be made.

    Even as I wrote that Ethanol is a good crock, I knew that there would be a time for a course change (and I said so in my comments at that time). I didn't know it would be so soon.

    We are now producing and using a substantial amount of ethanol. Especially corn based ethanol. Maybe too much. Businessweek has a good chain of article on the debate of how much is too much. (also, see notes below) ethanol-facts

    We are not using it just for E85 blend, but also as an additive to replace MTBE in most regular gasoline.

    The use of corn for Ethanol is beginning to impact our food supply (although only it is only a minimal impact, with petrolium prices being a bigger impact) and if the current trends continue, this could get very problematic.

    GM and Ford, (and others) are scamming us on the Flexfuel by getting a break in their CAFE standards that is out of proportion with reality. Public Citizen Article

    Therefore three things must change:

    1. Subsidies for making Ethanol from corn must be reduced and in the interim some of them should go for Ethanol from other sources.
    2. The CAFE credit for flexfuel cars must be reduced or done away with.
    3. Continue or increase concentration on renewable fuels other than Ethanol.

    These course changes should be a slow taper off of the subsidies we have used in the past and should promote other sources of Ethanol and other renewable fuels.

    1. Businessweek-Ethanol
    2. http://gog2g.com has a variety of good statistics on Ethanol and Petrolium - especially in their May and June 2007 archives)

    Saturday, July 07, 2007

    Takers, and Caretakers

    The weather is finally drying out. On the 4th of July, we got no more than a light shower here. But 40 miles up a nearby creek, they got one last downpour. There was one last surge of water headed down that creek. Joe headed home at the end of the shift. Maybe he didn't see the dark colored water over the dark colored pavement of the road, or maybe God chose, at that time, to allow his brakes to fail.

    They found his body yesterday.

    In this world, there are takers, and caretakers.
    Joe was a caretaker.
    He will be missed by many.

    Some wonder: why is it that every time a Baptist preacher gets up to say something at a funeral, he talks about getting people saved. It is always about evangelism.

    God doesn't promise us tomorrow. This is not a call to live like there is no tomorrow, that would make you a "taker." The message is Carpe Diem. Often translated "seize the day", but a more accurate translation would be "gather the day," as in gathering fruit or grain.

    Of course, we all know this academically. But when someone you worked side by side with for a few years is suddenly gone, it really hits home. The Apostle Paul wrote "redeem the time." And that is what those Baptist Preachers are doing.

    Joe - we will miss you.
    To the rest of you: Carpe Diem.