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?

 


AN UNCLEAR TEXT IS THE REAL FOUNDATION OF THE CATHOLIC SYSTEM

Jesus said you must be born again of water and the spirit to enter the kingdom of God. The Church says it facilitates this new birth by administering baptism in water.

It assumes he means simultaneous water and the spirit which is not necessarily the case.  His listener Nicodemus was a Jew and had no concept of baptism saving anybody by forgiving sins or of being essential.

He says born again and Nicodemus says he can't see how a man can grow up and go back into the womb.  Jesus then says you need water and the spirit.  Some say that shows the water is not a metaphor for physical birth.
 
The Bible does not support - and even contradicts - the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that you need water baptism to be united to God and to form his Church. As the human race is populated and created by birth, so the Church is created by baptising. The whole edifice of Roman Catholicism is built on this assumption. For example, if you are not baptised you are not a member of the Catholic Church, the one true Church, and you won't go to Heaven. The true Church is supposed to be infallible. If the Church is not properly baptised then it follows that the infallible decrees of bishops and popes are not infallible at all. It follows that the Church could be wrong about everything including what books should be in the Bible. It follows that we can laugh at Church teachings such as that contraception is always wrong and that Jesus is God and that the bread and wine of the Eucharist are his body and blood and so the whole thing collapses if it is wrong about baptism.

The Roman Catholic Church used its supposed infallibility to decree that the meaning of this verse was that water baptism is necessary for salvation and forgives sins and unites one to God and the Church. So the Church thinks the verse means that unless you are born of baptism and the Holy Spirit you will not enter the kingdom of God. The text does not justify such an understanding at all for why didn't Jesus use the word baptism if that was what he meant?

Jews at the time of Jesus thought that the Old Testament should be taken at face value where it says God has some kind of body or form. Some thought he was incorporeal. Since the time of top Jewish influencer Maimonides, Jews have virtually all thought God has no body or form and the texts that say otherwise are in fact talking about God using images and visions to communicate so they are not to be taken too literally.  So whatever Jesus meant by the Spirit it was not the incorporeal Holy Spirit of current Christian belief.  This alone shows the text is against Catholic baptism.
 
To Catholics I write, EVEN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SAYS THAT IT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT MATTERS IN WATER BAPTISM. WATER HAS NO POWER IN ITSELF. IT SAYS THAT WATER BAPTISM IS HOW THE SPIRIT HAS CHOSEN TO ACT. HE COULD HAVE DECIDED NOT TO INVOLVE WATER AT ALL IF HE HAD WANTED. THAT IS CATHOLIC DOCTRINE. NOW CONSIDER HOW JESUS SAYS YOU MUST BE BORN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT. WOULD HE REALLY PUT LITERAL WATER FIRST? WHY NOT SAY, YOU MUST BE BORN OF THE SPIRIT AND OF WATER?
 
The text does not speak of being born by water but born of water. The infallibility charade took place at the Council of Trent. The Council of Trent condemns the view that the water in John 3 is a metaphor. The verse is capable of many different interpretations. The Church says that infallibility means that research has to be done to find the right one. But to find the right one the Church would need a testimony from the gospel author that it was the right one. This it has not got. The Church just has to weakly argue that tradition always said the verse meant what the Church says it means. But the gospel writer himself mentioned a false tradition that went out in the early Church and among the apostles so that gets us nowhere.

Born of water is poetry.  He was possibly referring to how you are born of water in the womb.  It is born of water not by water.  The sacrament of baptism purports to make you born of the spirit by water.

Born of water and wind is poetry.  The expression is about the cleansing and spontaneous action of the Holy Spirit.  Catholic baptism claims to regulate but here we are told it is spontaneous and unexpected and unpredictable.

FINALLY

Jesus told a Jewish leader, Nicodemus that unless a person is born anew or again of water and the spirit that person does not belong to the Kingdom of God and will not see it.  Read John 3:5.  On this verse of vague interpretation, the whole Catholic system of creating a church organisation based around using baptism in water as initiation and getting this registered is based.

Quick facts, the correct translation may be water and wind which are emblems of the Spirit so that rules out real water. As Jesus may mean you need the Holy Spirit as much as you need to exist and as you need to be born the water may mean the water in the womb. Jesus says that you need water and the spirit to be saved but he didn't use the word baptism! He does not say that you get the Spirit when you get the water! So the verse does not do what Catholics want it to do.