Proving the Pope has Never Read the Bible



The opening to this video focuses on an infamous speech made by Pope Benedict XVI on September 16, 2006 that angered many Muslims. The remark that angered Muslims, however, is not what the narrator wishes to focus our attention on. He wants to discuss the comment where the Pope stated that violence is contrary to the nature of God.

It is this statement alone that the narrator uses to support the central thesis of this video: that the Pope has never read the Bible.

It is pure lunacy to even make such a statement. Prior to receiving the sacrament of Holy Orders, the candidate cleric must receive the equivalent of a master's degree in Catholic theology (which is 6 to 8 years of study, depending on how much college that the candidate has completed prior to entering seminary). Then, the candidate must be ordained a transitory deacon and serve faithfully until he's ready to receive the full orders. Then, he serves as an associate pastor under the tutelage of an experienced priest until he has proven his ability to shepherd the faithful and run the day-to-day business affairs of a busy parish. He may then be placed in charge of a small parish, perhaps working his way toward a larger and more visible parish.

The sitting Pope must choose some of these ordinary parish priests who show a special love for their vocation and have a proven knowledge of biblical theology and Catholic Tradition, moral theology, or canon law. Some may have obtained the equivalent of a Ph.D in one or more of those areas. They must also earn the respect of fellow priests, and then they may receive a  call to the episcopate.

Typically, the new bishop must serve for years in a traditional diocese before being chosen by the sitting Pope to take on a larger and more visible diocese (called an archdiocese). As an archbishop, the cleric must have earned the respect of his fellow bishops--both the ones he supervises and the ones in surrounding dioceses--and be viewed as a leader of leaders. If the archbishop also becomes an indispensable adviser to the Pope because of cultivated expertise in a niche and a spiritual shepherd to the Catholic laity and the clerics of all levels, the Pope may elevate him to Cardinal.

As a Cardinal, if he is seen as a visionary leader and mentor to all Catholics, the College of Cardinals may elect this man the next Pope.

After that lengthy, involved process that requires the utmost vision, leadership, and commitment from the candidate priest, it is absolutely unrealistic to think that this person hasn't read the Bible. Indeed, his life is centered around it!

Leaving all of that aside for the moment, this statement is made on the basis that the narrator believes God is the most violent and repulsive creature ever imagined by man. At the end of this video, it is condenscendly stated that the only conclusion a reasonable, intelligent human being could ever reach by reading the Bible is that God is imaginary.

Several examples of God's violent nature are presented. First, the narrator cites the story of Noah's ark. He says that God makes Hitler look like an amateur. Hitler, after all, only killed 10 million people, while God kills every living thing on the entire planet. There is, however, no mention of the preceding verses where mankind does every kind of evil thing, and it grieves God that he ever made man. More on that in a moment.

The narrator then cites two examples from Exodus. First, the plague that wiped out all of the Egyptians' first born sons. Second, the scene that follows from Moses' discovery that Aaron had built the Golden Calf to worship. God orders the Levites to take up their swords, and indiscriminately kill people in the crowd as punishment for having worshiped the Calf. The context of the second example--that this slaughter was in response to the worship of a false god--is not given in the video.

The video fails to note some important historic context for the first example, that of corporate responsibility. This notion, completely lost in modern times, was that a sovereign represented his people. If the sovereign did something wrong, the people were punished. They actually expected it. The sovereign's life force was seen as having a connection to the kingdom. This is why King Arthur had to drink from the Holy Grail in the story; when his sickness was averted, the famine was ended.

What this means for this story is that since Pharaoh was being a bullhead about letting his Israelite slaves go free--the humane thing to do--his people were the ones that were suffering the plagues. This wasn't considered unjust or unfair in the time frame where this story takes place. On the contrary, it was not only considered perfectly fair, it was expected by the people who were suffering!

What both examples from Exodus have in common is that they are both punishments proceeding from sin against God. This is exactly what happened when we gave some context to the first example, too.

Next, the narrator talks about God ordering the genocide of the Midianites in Numbers. The fact that the Midianites seriously wronged Israel, allied with Israel's enemies, and generally hindered the Exodus isn't mentioned at all. Again, we notice that this is a punishment decreed by God in response to a specific sin.

In the Gospel of Mark, the narrator cites the passage where Jesus says that all who do not believe in him will be condemned to hell. This is repugnant to reason, says the narrator, since this means that there are literally four million people who are going to hell this very day since they don't believe that Jesus is God.

The oft-quoted John 3:16 can provide some perspective here, as well as understanding what it means to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. We all know "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." Everyone has that verse memorized. But few pay attention to the context. Continuing, we read:
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. (Jn 3:17-21)
God has given us a way out. He has sent his Son, Jesus, to save the world. He didn't come to condemn the world; the world has already done that to itself. We are commanded by God to believe in Jesus, and those who don't are violating God's law and therefore condemning themselves to hell. Why? Because they are sinners, they know they're sinners, and they don't wish to come into the light (Christ) because it will expose their nasty works. But that's the only prescribed path for salvation.

It is with this in mind that Jesus can say to people that by denying the redemptive actions of the Holy Spirit working in front of you--exposing your darkness by beckoning you into the light--that you are committing the unforgivable sin (Mt 12:22-31).

Therefore, even with regard to the passage here in Mark's Gospel, it is true to say that those who don't believe are condemned. Ordering the punishment of these sinners who continue in their sin because they love the darkness and hate the light isn't being unreasonable, unfair, or unjust. Punishing people in this way is eminently reasonable, fair, and just.

From the passages above, the video draws the conclusion that God is a homicidal maniac. Once the context of those passages is explored, however, it becomes obvious that God has a justifiable reason to enforce a capital punishment scenario. Why are these justified? Let's start with two definitions. First, "violence," according to dictionary.com, is "swift and intense force;" "rough or injurious physical force;" and (my personal favorite) "an unjust or unwarranted exertion of force or power." The key point to take away from "violence" is that, in all uses of the word, it connotes unjust and unwarranted force being used against an undeserving party.

Second definition: homicide. Again, according to dictionary.com, the definition is "the killing of one human being by another." It is easy to exclude God from being "homicidal" since God is not a human being. But, "homicide" is murder, the unlawful taking of a life. The commandment that God gave us was "You shall not murder" (Ex 20:13). This isn't a blanket prohibition on violence. Self-defense or defense of another person is a lawful use of force, and is neither a murder nor a homicide. Further, the Bible prescribes the death penalty for certain heinous crimes, which indicates that the state may take the life of a criminal if it is in the best interest of the public.

After defining both words that the narrator uses, we find is that a person is neither if the killing committed by that person is somehow justified. And what you will find if you read the stories that this video presents is that God is acting in accordance with his righteous anger against human sinfulness. He is unleashing his holy wrath against the people as punishment for their sins. Where acts of violence are capricious, unjustified, and unlawful, these God-ordained acts are a means to an end. They are all judicious acts of capital punishment for sin against God, and therefore justified killings.
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