Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


ARE ANGELS AND SAINTS INVOKED IN THE BIBLE?

The Roman Catholic Church claims to find her doctrine that angels and saints should be prayed to among the doctrines of the Bible. Protestants, following the Reformation, reject this claim.
 
We are going to prove that the Catholic Church is wrong.

Tobit 12:12 says that the angel Raphael says that he read and presented the prayer of Tobit and Sarah to God. But the angel knew God already knew so this is just symbolism and means that the angel was not trying to influence God.
 
Perhaps the angels and the saints are going to pray to God for the people. But that does not mean the saints should be prayed to or hear our prayers.
 
The Second Book of Maccabees, 15:11-16, says that a dream of the deceased Onias and deceased Jeremiah praying for the people is worthy of belief. Jeremiah was seen to give Judas a sword. Jeremiah gave no sword and that is the key to understanding the passage. The sword symbolised victory so the vision was symbolic. It does not even require that Onias and Jeremiah be alive anywhere, on earth or in Heaven. Perhaps, the dream presented them as if they were still alive on earth. The book calls it a kind of vision which underlines the symbolism.
 
There is a good reason to hold that these books do not belong in the Bible at all. But even if they do they still cannot defend saint-worship. These verses are often abused by that paragon of integrity, the Roman Church.
 
Another spurious work, Sirach, says that we must praise the saints (44:1). You can praise your father without praying to him.
 
The Bible calls on the angels to praise the Lord. But it also calls on the sun and moon to do it. When it does that so it is not literal invocation of the angels. The calling on creation is simply wishing that all of it will honour God. It is poetic hypothetical language. Calling the angels to praise God is not asking them to do so or looking for intercession for they are praising anyway. If you can ask them to praise that does not mean you can ask them to intercede or to pray for you or praise for you.
 
Daniel 8:17 does not say that Daniel bowed before an angel in worship for it does not say that he threw himself on the ground in worship. The verse says he was scared.
 
Joshua 5:14, Joshua prostrates himself before an angel. Some of the angels in the Bible were just like appearances of God who can be his own messenger just like the Holy Spirit is and such angels can certainly be worshipped. Notice that the verse does not say who Joshua worshipped. It could have been God and not the being who stood before him.
 
And the mere fact that some people chatted with angels who appeared to them in the Bible does not prove that saint worship right for they don’t appear to us.
 
But what about guardian angels? This idea was inspired by Jesus saying that the angels of children look on God in Heaven. But these angels might not pay any attention to our prayers because they get their orders from God.
 
The doctrine that the saints in Heaven and on earth and in Purgatory are in communion and make one Body in Jesus Christ does not prove that we should pray to the saints. The Catholics argue that if you don’t pray to the saints then you don’t believe in the doctrine of the communion of saints or that people should pray for one another. Does the communion of saints which comprises the Church on earth as well as the Church of the Saints in Heaven mean that I can pray to somebody in Australia? They can’t hear me. And the Church agrees with praying for people who are outside the communion of saints. The principle idea with the communion of saints is that all are united in their love for God. So praying for another person is not necessarily being in communion with them.  If I never pray to St Rita then with this logic I should for I am in communion with her. The communion doctrine is nonsense. Two Catholics that hate each other could hardly be said to be in communion despite their piety.
 
Should I pray to some Catholic, who could “hear” my prayer though the action of the Spirit which might just be a feeling that somebody needs his prayer, wandering in Siberia just because the Bible tells me that Christians are the only body of Christ? But the Bible says that the body has different parts with different roles so we might have to do the praising and praying while the saints in heaven do nothing but praise.
 
If it is true that the communion of saints means that the saints in heaven help the Church on earth by prayers then why are there patron saints? Why do you have St Patrick taking a special interest in Ireland? Are we to believe that a person who invokes St Patrick and who isn’t Irish will not get as much protection and prayer as one who is Irish? If we are then patron saints aren’t that well united with anyone who does not fall into their patronage. If we are not then there are no such things as patron saints.
 
The Bible praises the virtues of the saints. That is not worship. You can pay homage to the president by praising him when he is not there.
 
The saints doing miracles by their prayers (Acts 9:40; 28:8) does not prove that we must pray to them now. Those saints were alive then!
 
The rich man prayed to Abraham (Luke 16) but this does not prove that saints should be prayed to. The rich man was in Hell so we don’t have to follow his example. Likewise, you could talk to a saint in a vision but that is not what Catholics praying to saints do at all.
 
We can petition others when they are alive but that does not mean we can talk to them when they die for it may be wrong to and not possible for them to hear you. Reason says that saints would pray for all but we can’t infer from this that they should be prayed to.
 
THE BOOK OF REVELATION
 
The Bible says that the angel of the Lord told John the Revelator to worship God only when he worshipped him (Revelation 22:8,9). Rome says that “John accidentally adored the angel in a way that is only fitting for God and should have rendered inferior worship to the angel. The text does not refute the kind of worship we offer the saints and angels for it is an inferior kind. We believe that an angel should not be worshipped as if it were God.”

It is hardly likely that an apostle of God who had just received a staunchly anti-idolatry revelation would knowingly adore an angel as God. You cannot worship unless you are thinking of what you are doing. You have to know what you are doing. To worship by mistake is not to worship at all because it is not what you really intend. John meant to give the angel inferior worship but the angel said it was idolatrous and forbidden”. Otherwise it would have been enough just for the angel to say, “You know not to be doing that” instead of explaining to John why he couldn’t do it as if he didn’t know. The angel told him not to do that but to adore God alone. Had it been a mistake there would have been no need for the angel to do that because John didn’t need an explanation as to why it was wrong. It was not a mistake. Perhaps John thought that the angel was an apparition of God and was set straight. But why would he think that? He couldn’t have thought it for the angel had been standing before him a long while before he worshipped him that time and also the angel had told him he was an angel.
 
In Revelation, an angel is stated to present the prayers of the faithful to God by laying them on his altar (8:3,4) and other heavenly beings offered incense that stands for the prayers of the world (5:8). Rome says that the prayers must have been made through the angel – that his intercession was invoked. But Revelation is a confusing and totally symbolic book so we dare not rely on Rome’s interpretation. The verse is symbolic for an angel can’t literally present the prayers to an Almighty and all-knowing God as if they were objects or messages that need to be relayed to him for his attention. The angel could be an appearance of God as it often was in the Old Testament (Genesis 32; Hosea 12:5). Offering the prayers of others to God can only mean the mere wanting them to be answered and go to God and the saints must certainly do that if they exist. Saints wishing that our requests be granted is a far cry from them hearing our prayers and interceding for us. This wish will be at the back of their minds for their job is to praise. Jesus does the praying for us according to the New Testament which reopens all the same problems that praying to saints opens up and shows that the apostles far from being divinely inspired preached their own illogical ideas.

The Revelation says that the saints are Kings and Priests to God, which might imply you can treat them as Gods and pray to them. But the fact is, they take all their direction from God and will what he wills so they are not Gods at all. They are servants but are treated like kings. You can be a king without having power. They are kings in the sense that they get their own way which is God’s way and they feel like kings for righteousness is perfect freedom and they are honoured by God. They are priests too but only because they offer love as a sacrifice to God so they are not kings for if they were kings like independent divine rulers they wouldn’t have to be subservient to God. The Catholic doctrine that Mary is Queen of Heaven is blasphemous because all females in Heaven are queens and all males are kings. God says the saints rule with him in Heaven but that is in the same way as a government will rule with the king except that in Heaven the saints are totally submitted to the will of God and are making him supreme and the first in their lives and thoughts and feelings so they are totally one in love and unity and friendship. They are so close to God that they feel like kings and they feel so free and they know what right and teach it which is the main job of a king.

There is no evidence that you need to or can invoke the angels or saints.  Its just a Christian concession to the human desire for a multitude of gods and demi-gods.  The angels and saints are presented as having powers that demi-gods like Hercules did not have so they are gods in disguise.