…which is, anyone that has read the bible firsthand (and not vicariously) should know that Roman Catholicism is antithetical to scripture. Virtually every doctrine that the Roman Catholic Church adheres to in its catechisms, canons, and “ex cathedra” infallible Papal dictates are either gross perversions of biblical teaching or have no basis in scripture at all; this conclusion is evident to me without the need of any third party literature. Nevertheless, there are are no shortage of scholarly websites (including this one but also see: http://www.thebereancall.org and http://www.trinityfoundation.org), books, sermons, lectures, etc. in circulation that point out this painful fact.
To counter this travesty, an increasingly common strategy that Catholic apologists have employed is confusion. By this I mean that the Roman Catholic church has rarely been consistent in it’s stances and has never spoken with one clear voice on any particular issue and some RC apologists are increasingly using this flaw to their benefit in an attempt to confuse the accuser as to the severity of the offense leveled against the Roman Catholic Church. By obfuscating the Church’s position, Catholic apologists know that they can leverage opposing sound bites that exist in the Catholic treasury whenever it is convenient to do so. My accusations against the Roman Catholic Church are ratified by one of their very own operatives. When confronted with the claim of the Roman Catholic church’s persecution of Galileo (a catholic scientist who sought to show that heliocentricism was compatible with biblical teaching, incidentally, his “persecution” had little to do with science and much to do with his disregard for papal orders – http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v14/i1/galileo.asp), Roman Catholic Jesuit Dr. Guy Consolmagno, an influential astronomer at the Vatican’s Observatory responded with the following: “It’s not a simple ‘The church was against science,'” “The [Roman Catholic] church never speaks with one voice on these things.” It is doubly ironic but not surprising that the same accusation (of being double-minded on purpose) should befall Dr. Consolmagno himself who works on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church (which purports to believe in the Bible) and yet he contends the following:
-Believing that God created the universe in six days is a form of superstitious paganism and a destructive myth (http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2006/05/07/vatican-astronomer-accuses-six-day-creationists-of-paganism/)
More examples of Roman Catholic State Church’s confusion :
1. The Roman Catholic Church has had popes excommunicate other popes (So which Pope was right?)
2. The Roman Catholic Church has had popes declare other popes as heretics (So which Pope is the heretic?)
3. The Roman Catholic Church has had popes declare the ex cathedra (and thus infallible) teachings of other Popes as heresy (So which teachings are heretical?)
4. The Roman Catholic Church has said that good works must be done to get to heaven but has also said that good works aren’t required (wearing brown scapulas on a special day obviates good works) to get to heaven (So which statement is the Roman Catholic Church’s position?)
5. The Roman Catholic Church was supportive of Hitler and Mussolini (even after the ideology of these individuals was revealed to the world) before they were against them (So what are their true feelings about these dictators?)
6. The Roman Catholic Church has said that Muslims worship the same God but also that Muslims do not worship the same God (So which one of these statements do they really believe?)
7. The Roman Catholic Church has said that you need to believe in Jesus (in addition to other church-prescribed requirements) in order to be saved but also that you do not need to believe in Jesus (per Lumen Gentitum) in order to be saved (So which teaching represents their true position?)
– Many (if not all) of these claims are substantiated in the much maligned book “A Woman rides the Beast” by Dave Hunt
Unfortunately for my catholic friends, this list could go on for pages and pages but it is the 7th claim (the requirement for salvation) that I would like to focus on.
On April 25th 2011, the news personality Bill O’Reilly (who identifies himself as a Catholic) stated on his show, The O’Reilly Factor, that his (Roman Catholic) Church does not teach that people need to believe in Christ in order to be saved from Hell. In Bill’s attempt to present his guest (some “theologian” trying to posit the idea that Hell is fictional) with an argument for the reality of Hell he ends up calling evangelical Christians extremists for teaching that those who do not believe in Christ are consigned to Hell. Apparently Mr. O’Reilly and the Roman Catholic church have never read the following verses of scripture: 2Thessalonians 1:7-9, 1Pe 4:17-18, John 3:18, Mark 16:16, John 8:24, and 1 John 5:12. Mr. O’Reilly then quoted some statements that sound similar to content in Chapter 2, Section 16 of Pope Paul VI’s “Lumen Gentium” which I have included below:
“Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life.” (Lumen Gentium 16)
I find it interesting but not surprising that the biblical God expresses a quite contrary sentiment to that mentioned above in Lumen Gentium. Consider the following words from the breath of God:
Lord Jesus shall …[i]n flaming fire tak[e] vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction [i.e. Hell] from the presence of the Lord. 2Thessalonians 1:7-9
Both Christ and the Roman Catholics cannot simultaneously be right as their respective stances are in oppposition to each other. So, as it turns out, both Bill O’Reilly and his guest are wrong (Romans 3:4). Bill erred by stating that you don’t have to believe the Gospel to escape Hell and his guest erred in his idea that Hell is fictional. And by the way, if you really don’t need to believe in the Gospel (at least according to Bill O’Reilly and the Catholic Church) which comes from the scriptures then why even bother to read the bible at all?
I suspect that many or most people (like Mr. O’ Reilly) suffer from the inability to think rationally and are thus prone to accepting arbitrary propositions as long as these propositions are not “offensive” to their confused minds.
After all, if it is OK for the Pope to assert that we do not ultimately need to believe in the Gospel in spite of biblical verses that state the opposite then it is also equally OK to contend that there is no place called Hell; both propositions use the same biblical hermeneutic (namely, a total disregard for what the text actually says) and are equally unsound.
Furthermore, if there is no Hell then it follows that there is also no Heaven so when we die we get to go wherever it is that we feel dead people should go. This may sound foolish but this is the logical absurdity of the contrary; the “reductio ad absurdum” of rejecting the biblical worldview is that you are reduced to foolishness. Allow me to pursue this foolishness even further: Yes, in fact, if there is no Hell, then it follows that there is also no absolute standard for morality since our basis for morality is found in the same bible that introduces us to the concept of Hell. Also, if there is no absolute standard for morality then there is nothing inherently wrong (even though it may currently be against the law) with pedophilia, rape, murder, incest, lying, stealing, cheating or anything else that comes to mind. I’m able to reach these conclusions using the irresistible force of mere logic. I dare anyone to provide a rational explanation as to why the preceding conclusions are uncalled for (especially if you don’t need to believe in the gospel (and thus the bible) in order to be saved).
As the old cliche goes: Without Christ anything goes!