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 Post subject: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 2:04 am 
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Hello everyone,

Let me start by saying I genuinely want to become Catholic -- I really do. The Holy Spirit recently renewed my faith in an astounding way after several years away from church. I happened upon Catholicism in the darkest of places, I felt its depth and breadth for the first time, and suddenly I wanted to get to Mass as soon as possible.

But after a couple of weeks I started to notice certain... discouraging things. Yes, I was educated in Lutheran schools from age 6-18, but I emphasize again that a major reason why I even came back to church was because of Catholicism, hence I'm reluctant to give it up.

So if I may, I'd like to summarize two major obstacles preventing me from embracing Catholicism -- I humbly and respectfully ask for your thoughts/responses.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Mary

I'm sorry, but this sector of Catholicism seems so idolatrous to me. I hope you understand why it would feel this way to someone raised in a protestant tradition. I'll say it again, I'm open to Catholicism, and I wish I could get past this, but I really feel that I can't. I've said a rosary with some friends -- my conscience was unsettled for the rest of the day until I confessed to the Lord this action which was, to me, a sin. I'm around Catholics a lot (I work at a Catholic cemetery) and I often think "Just be open to Mary, say the rosary with everyone else -- it's Christian!" -- but I simply can't convince myself that it really is. Why -- seriously, why -- did Christians ever start praying to entities other than God? Don't we trust that God hears our prayers?

I know, I know, Catholics believe Mary intercedes for us. "Mary is like the moon -- hers is a reflected glory." But when I see the processions at Lourdes, the masses in honor of the Lady of Fátima, all the Marian images, Catholics devoutly and tearfully praying to Mary, approaching her image on bloody knees -- when I see all these things, the complicated, mystical arguments of Catholic theologians start to feel like a smokescreen. What is really going on, in practice? How did these traditions evolve out of the monotheistic faith of the ancient Israelites? Our Lord had such little patience in the Old Testament for devotion to anyone other than himself.

2. Biblical Interpretation

I'm well aware that Catholics read the Bible in accordance with Sacred Tradition and the Church's teaching authority. But why do Catholics take the Bible so seriously in some instances, only to blur the meaning of or, I'd argue, outright ignore, certain verses? We hold so fast to the doctrines of Creation, the Trinity, the simultaneous humanity and divinity of Jesus, and Jesus' sacrifice for our sins. But what about, for example, the following verses?

Exodus 20:4 "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under earth:"

Matthew 23:9 "Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven."

Hebrews 10:12 "But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God;" (Why do so many Bibles say that this sacrifice was "once for all" or something to that effect -- but not the Catholic Bible? This seems questionable in the very least.)

I've read arguments by Catholics saying that these verses don't really mean what they seem to mean. I'll be the first to admit that, sometimes, it's hard to figure out what the Bible really means. But honestly, why would someone read what these verses clearly seem to say, and then do the opposite thing?

A verse I love is 1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you." Surely no Christian of any denomination would take issue with what this verse clearly seems to say. So why the inconsistency in Catholicism? Can we trust some Biblical passages, but not others?

The Catholic church is apparently plagued by debates over universalism (which the Catholic church affirms), as well as over the sanctity of human life and sexual morality. If the Catholic church affirms universalism, why would anyone become Catholic anyway? The whole thing becomes too nebulous. I fear that, given another 1000 years, the Catholic faith will devolve into a form of universal "religion", where anything goes, where worshiping whatever false deity we want is equivalent to praising and following our Lord Jesus Christ.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To conclude, PLEASE don't think I'm just a protestant coming on here to start a fight. As I've said over and over, I would really, really like to become Catholic.

But when I think about assenting to Catholicism, my conscience is filled with alarm bells for various reasons. I wish they'd go away, but they don't.

I'm sure some of you have wrestled with this stuff. It's not really my intention to start a debate -- I'd prefer to have friendly discussion with Catholic converts who've grappled with these questions.


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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 4:37 am 
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Are you someone we know? I feel that you've been a member here before.

I don't think there's any point in trying to help you fulfill your "wish". You've shot down all of our arguments before we've said a word. You've heard it all, and you reject it all, as you stated. We'll say a prayer for your conversion, but we decline to engage you in arguing over something you clearly reject in no uncertain terms. In fact, you've done it so wholeheartedly, that it's hard to believe you really do wish to be Catholic. If you are genuine, ask for God's guidance. That's all the help we can offer you.


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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 7:31 am 
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Signum Crucis wrote:
Are you someone we know? I feel that you've been a member here before.

I don't think there's any point in trying to help you fulfill your "wish". You've shot down all of our arguments before we've said a word. You've heard it all, and you reject it all, as you stated. We'll say a prayer for your conversion, but we decline to engage you in arguing over something you clearly reject in no uncertain terms. In fact, you've done it so wholeheartedly, that it's hard to believe you really do wish to be Catholic. If you are genuine, ask for God's guidance. That's all the help we can offer you.


I've never posted here before.

Where did I state that I reject it all? I'm saddened that you jumped to that conclusion, that you took my post as argumentative, that you feel I've shot down everything one could possibly say (apparently I really have heard it all), and that it's so hard to come across as genuine on the internet.

The bulk of my first post should explain to everyone, then, what I feel God's guidance is.


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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 9:57 am 
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James 1:5-6,

If you are sincere, I recommend you purchase the book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" by Karl Keating.

In it you will find reasonable responses to all your concerns.


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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 10:04 am 
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Dorothy B. wrote:
James 1:5-6,

If you are sincere, I recommend you purchase the book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" by Karl Keating.

In it you will find reasonable responses to all your concerns.


Thanks, I'll check it out.


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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 12:40 pm 
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James 1:5-6 wrote:
Dorothy B. wrote:
James 1:5-6,

If you are sincere, I recommend you purchase the book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" by Karl Keating.

In it you will find reasonable responses to all your concerns.


Thanks, I'll check it out.



I recommend it, too.

I'm not RC.

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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 1:14 pm 
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James 1:5-6 wrote:
2. Biblical Interpretation

Exodus 20:4 "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under earth:"


Were the bulls that held up the laver in the Temple courtyard, graven? Were the angels inside the holy of holies, graven? Obviously not all statues were prohibited. We don't worship statues, they are there to remind us of the sacred.

If protestants don't object to public statues in a town square (leave that to the liberal left to object), then why object to statues of holy people?

Quote:
Matthew 23:9 "Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven."


The context is pride. Don't let your status go to your head. Elsewhere Jesus refers to Abraham as 'Fr. Abraham'. Paul calls himself 'father': "I am your father because I have begotten you with the Gospel.".

Quote:
Hebrews 10:12 "But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God;" (Why do so many Bibles say that this sacrifice was "once for all" or something to that effect -- but not the Catholic Bible? This seems questionable in the very least.)


There are actually 4 times that it says 'once for all' in Hebrews: 7:27, 9:12, 26, and 10:10. Once for all is one of the reasons why we believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. His sacrifice is still present. It is perpetual.

Quote:
The Catholic church is apparently plagued by debates over universalism (which the Catholic church affirms), as well as over the sanctity of human life and sexual morality. If the Catholic church affirms universalism, why would anyone become Catholic anyway? The whole thing becomes too nebulous. I fear that, given another 1000 years, the Catholic faith will devolve into a form of universal "religion", where anything goes, where worshiping whatever false deity we want is equivalent to praising and following our Lord Jesus Christ.


The Catholic Church condemned the heresy of universalism in the 6th. C. Prior to that it was condemned by individual ECF's. While not all will be saved, God wills that all be saved, and with extend His mercy to any who are truly repentant. That's not universalism. It's the salvific will of God. The reason to be Catholic, is the fullness of truth. Why settle for second, when you can be perfected in holiness?

You should really do a little more homework before making accusations. Better yet, try simply asking questions rather that accusations.

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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 1:22 pm 
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GKC wrote:
James 1:5-6 wrote:
Dorothy B. wrote:
James 1:5-6,

If you are sincere, I recommend you purchase the book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" by Karl Keating.

In it, you will find reasonable responses to all your concerns.


Thanks, I'll check it out.



I recommend it, too.

I'm not RC.


I disrecomed it, not only is it excessively antagonistic, but it is also badly out of date, but nearly 35 years old published in 1988 (as depressing as it is for me to think of 1988 as being( that long ago) I recommend instead "The Case for Catholicism" by Trent Horn which is not much more recent and up to date (being published in 2017 for the 500th anniversary of the rise of Protestantism) but it is also much, much, much more charitable, focusing entirely on ideas rather than Karl Keating's work which often attacks the authors as well as their works.

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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 2:47 pm 
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Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
James 1:5-6 wrote:
Dorothy B. wrote:
James 1:5-6,

If you are sincere, I recommend you purchase the book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" by Karl Keating.

In it, you will find reasonable responses to all your concerns.


Thanks, I'll check it out.



I recommend it, too.

I'm not RC.


I disrecomed it, not only is it excessively antagonistic, but it is also badly out of date, but nearly 35 years old published in 1988 (as depressing as it is for me to think of 1988 as being( that long ago) I recommend instead "The Case for Catholicism" by Trent Horn which is not much more recent and up to date (being published in 2017 for the 500th anniversary of the rise of Protestantism) but it is also much, much, much more charitable, focusing entirely on ideas rather than Karl Keating's work which often attacks the authors as well as their works.



Yeah. Like I'm going to dis-recommend a book that is old. And I've spoken with Karl Keating. On Belloc. And 1988 isn't that long ago. I retired that year. Age gives perspective, grasshopper.

So there.

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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 3:14 pm 
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anawim wrote:

[bible verses]

The Catholic Church condemned the heresy of universalism in the 6th. C. Prior to that it was condemned by individual ECF's. While not all will be saved, God wills that all be saved, and with extend His mercy to any who are truly repentant. That's not universalism. It's the salvific will of God. The reason to be Catholic, is the fullness of truth. Why settle for second, when you can be perfected in holiness?

You should really do a little more homework before making accusations. Better yet, try simply asking questions rather that accusations.


Fair enough, regarding the verses. I was too quick to use the word "universalism" -- my apologies. But the Church does teach that people of other faiths can be saved:

In Catholic Answers to Fundamentalists' Questions by Philip St. Romain (1984), which carries the imprimatur, the author writes

Quote:
"Of non-Christian religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, which developed quite independently of Judaism and Christianity, Vatican II speaks with great reverence, saying: "The Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true and holy in these religions" which "often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men." (Non-Christian Religions, 2) The same document goes on to speak with equal reverence of Islam, which contains elements of both Judaism and Christianity, and to speak of Judaism, the root from which Christianity itself sprang.

So yes, the Catholic church, faithful to the Bible and Tradition, teaches that people of other religions can be saved."


He goes on to claim that the words of Peter in Acts 10:34-35 speak to the effect that all people may be saved. The passage reads:

Quote:
[...] "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.


But Mr. St. Romain is taking this out of context. Verses 36-43 go on to say,

Quote:
The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)— you yourselves know the thing that happened throughout Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things that He did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He be revealed, not to all the people, but to witnesses who had been chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and to testify solemnly that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify of Him, that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.


The "Him" in this passage is clearly Jesus himself.

The Bible is clear that saving faith is faith in Jesus. I would refer you to John 3:14-18, John 14:6, John 15:5-6, or 1 Timothy 2:5.

The implication of what Mr. St. Romain and yourself say, is that anyone attempting to live a moral life and to avoid sin will be saved. But it is a sin to deny Jesus -- how can one unrepentant of this sin be saved? Matthew 10:34-35 says,

Quote:
Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heave. But who whoever denies me before Men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.


So yes, it's not "universalism", and I shouldn't have used that word. But it's getting there.

You said it yourself, "The reason to be Catholic, is the fullness of truth. Why settle for second, when you can be perfected in holiness?" If this is true, why is the Church saying it's not even necessary to believe in Jesus?

Finally, the priest at my local parish confirms that the Catholic church does teach this, and he appears to believe it. He also quotes Richard Rohr in church bulletins and doesn't believe in the afterlife.

All this is what I was getting at when I made that accusation, which I concede is what it was; I got carried away.

Oh well, I said I wasn't here to debate but here I am. PM me if you have more to say, as Signum Crucis seems to feel this talk isn't welcome.


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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 4:21 pm 
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James 1:5-6 wrote:
Signum Crucis seems to feel this talk isn't welcome.


Talk is welcome. This is a site for learning. If you came here to learn, welcome. If you came here for support, welcome. If you came here to be convinced of anything, that's not our job. It is also not our responsibility if you reject Catholicism. If you're sincere, you'll stick around and learn.

Use of the private messaging system is limited, and not meant for lengthy debate between individuals. Email is a better.


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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 4:31 pm 
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With respect to the material on other religions, the Church clarified this in 2000 in Dominus Jesus. I recommend you check that out. You still may not agree with it, but it's a clear statement of what the Church holds.

One tip in reading it, because a lot of people were confused when it first came out: Other religions refers to non-Christian groups. Some Protestants thought it meant them. Non-Catholic Christians (other than the Orthodox, who are a special case) are members of "ecclesial communities."

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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 4:32 pm 
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I agree with Doom. Keating's book is very polemical.

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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 4:35 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I agree with Doom. Keating's book is very polemical.



I retire into the shadows.

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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 5:06 pm 
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Signum Crucis wrote:
James 1:5-6 wrote:
Signum Crucis seems to feel this talk isn't welcome.


Talk is welcome. This is a site for learning. If you came here to learn, welcome. If you came here for support, welcome. If you came here to be convinced of anything, that's not our job. It is also not our responsibility if you reject Catholicism. If you're sincere, you'll stick around and learn.

Use of the private messaging system is limited, and not meant for lengthy debate between individuals. Email is a better.


Thank you for the clarification and for putting up with my verbal processing here. If anyone sees me posting around I suppose they know where I'm coming from.


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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 6:56 pm 
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GKC wrote:
Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
James 1:5-6 wrote:
Dorothy B. wrote:
James 1:5-6,

If you are sincere, I recommend you purchase the book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" by Karl Keating.

In it, you will find reasonable responses to all your concerns.


Thanks, I'll check it out.



I recommend it, too.

I'm not RC.


I disrecomed it, not only is it excessively antagonistic, but it is also badly out of date, but nearly 35 years old published in 1988 (as depressing as it is for me to think of 1988 as being( that long ago) I recommend instead "The Case for Catholicism" by Trent Horn which is not much more recent and up to date (being published in 2017 for the 500th anniversary of the rise of Protestantism) but it is also much, much, much more charitable, focusing entirely on ideas rather than Karl Keating's work which often attacks the authors as well as their works.



Yeah. Like I'm going to dis-recommend a book that is old. And I've spoken with Karl Keating. On Belloc. And 1988 isn't that long ago. I retired that year. Age gives perspective, grasshopper.

So there.


The problem isn't it's age per se, it's the fact that he devotez the book to discussion's of people who are no longer relevant, like the entire chapter about Jimmy Swaggart, a guy who was completely discredited and defrocked by his denomination within 2 years after the book was published. He is discredited and hasn't had a ministry in years

He also discusses specific tracts that are no longer in circulation, and some of his arguments are oversimplified and any Catholic apologist using them in debate with a knowledgeable Protestant Iis going to be curb stomped, because Protestant apologies already have a refutation ready. It is always going to be necessary for apologists to always refresh their knowledge and update their arguments to address the current state of the ever evolving state of the debate.

And there is also the much more important fact that in that book, Keating is often quite rude, making snide and sarcastic comments in response to This is not a book that is going to persuade anyone who isn't already on his side. And Keating is aware of this which is why he actually addresses the book to Catholics, not opponents. It is intended to be a guide to help Catholics not persuade critics

And frankly Keating's tendency to dismiss all Protestant critics of Catholicism as "fundamentalists" (even though he doesn't use that word as a term of derision) is misleading because many of the best arguments come from mainline Protestants or Orthodox Christians and not fundamentalists. Keating seems to focus almost exclusively on the low hanging fruit. At least in this book, not in general.

So I think Trent Horn's book is better because

1. It better addresses the current state of the debate
2. It's arguments are more complex and sophisticated and he has extensive citations to the most recent research
3. Trent Horn has an extraordinarily patient and calm demeanor, unlike Keating in Catholicism and Fundamentalism, he seems to have an almost preternatural gift of calmness, he is never rude, condescending or sarcastic.

This is more difficult to see in print form than in person, but I have been watching his YouTube channel where he interacts with some frankly rapid, angry practically foaming at the mouth anti-Catholic critics, some Protestant, some Orthodox, some atheists and even some liberal Catholics like Fr James Martin, and he responds with such calmness and patience that I am stunned, I don't think he has ever gotten angry in a debate, which is something I really admire.

Trent is just going to be more persuasive to non-Catholics

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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 11:24 pm 
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Let me give you an example of what I mean by the outdated arguments in "Catholicism and Fundamentalism"

In the discussion of the papacy, Keating correctly focuses on the whole"you are Peter" passage, but he goes wrong when he speculates about what the Aramaic might have been by saying it would be "you are Cephas and upon this Cephas..." what is wrong with that? Simply the fact that we have no idea what the Aramaic might have been, you cannot simply translate the Greek word for word into Aramaic.... appealing to a hypothetical Aramaic text is at best speculative and not very persuasive, and most Catholic apologists have abandoned this line of argument.

This is what I mean when I say that Catholicism and Fundamentalism does not represent the current state of the debate. This is just one example of several I could provide.

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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2022 8:02 am 
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Doom wrote:
Let me give you an example of what I mean by the outdated arguments in "Catholicism and Fundamentalism"

In the discussion of the papacy, Keating correctly focuses on the whole"you are Peter" passage, but he goes wrong when he speculates about what the Aramaic might have been by saying it would be "you are Cephas and upon this Cephas..." what is wrong with that? Simply the fact that we have no idea what the Aramaic might have been, you cannot simply translate the Greek word for word into Aramaic.... appealing to a hypothetical Aramaic text is at best speculative and not very persuasive, and most Catholic apologists have abandoned this line of argument.

This is what I mean when I say that Catholicism and Fundamentalism does not represent the current state of the debate. This is just one example of several I could provide.


I've heard some talk of this debate over the use of the Greek vs. Aramaic texts when it comes to translation of the New Testament. Could you perhaps link to a good source that sums it up?


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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2022 7:57 pm 
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James 1:5-6 wrote:
Doom wrote:
Let me give you an example of what I mean by the outdated arguments in "Catholicism and Fundamentalism"

In the discussion of the papacy, Keating correctly focuses on the whole"you are Peter" passage, but he goes wrong when he speculates about what the Aramaic might have been by saying it would be "you are Cephas and upon this Cephas..." what is wrong with that? Simply the fact that we have no idea what the Aramaic might have been, you cannot simply translate the Greek word for word into Aramaic.... appealing to a hypothetical Aramaic text is at best speculative and not very persuasive, and most Catholic apologists have abandoned this line of argument.

This is what I mean when I say that Catholicism and Fundamentalism does not represent the current state of the debate. This is just one example of several I could provide.


I've heard some talk of this debate over the use of the Greek vs. Aramaic texts when it comes to translation of the New Testament. Could you perhaps link to a good source that sums it up?


There is nothing to look up, unless someone has translated the Greek text, there is no Aramaic New Testament, and while it seems likely that most of what is recounted in the gospels was originally said in Aramaic, (not necessarily everything though, it is likely through common language of the time at least some of the time was kind of a Greek/Aramaic hybrid language the same way that many Hispanics speak what is called "Spanglish", a mixture of Spanish and English) any attempt to reconstruct a hypothetical Aramaic original is pure speculation

ETA: By the way, Trent Horn addresses the "Petros/Petra" controversy with a little more sophistication, he notices first, following Keating, that no such distinction exists in Aramaic, but instead of trying to reconstruct a hypothetical Aramaic, instead appeals to the translation of the Greek into Syriac, which was done sometime in the second century and still exists, notes that Syriac is very similar to Aramaic, and notes that no such Petros/Petra issue appears because it uses the word in both places

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 Post subject: Re: I Wish I Could be Catholic
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2022 8:13 am 
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Doom wrote:
Let me give you an example of what I mean by the outdated arguments in "Catholicism and Fundamentalism"

In the discussion of the papacy, Keating correctly focuses on the whole"you are Peter" passage, but he goes wrong when he speculates about what the Aramaic might have been by saying it would be "you are Cephas and upon this Cephas..." what is wrong with that? Simply the fact that we have no idea what the Aramaic might have been, you cannot simply translate the Greek word for word into Aramaic.... appealing to a hypothetical Aramaic text is at best speculative and not very persuasive, and most Catholic apologists have abandoned this line of argument.

This is what I mean when I say that Catholicism and Fundamentalism does not represent the current state of the debate. This is just one example of several I could provide.


I appreciate what you pointed out about the book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" It was quite a long time since I have used it. Trent Horn would be a very good resource.


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