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?

 


PRAYING TO SAINTS IS PAGAN

Catholics pray to the saints and they say they are asking them to intercede for them to God.

The official Catholic line is that when they pray to saints it is merely a different way of praying to God. So you are praying to God alone by praying to the saints. So strictly speaking the Catholics are allegedly praying to God through the saints and are not praying to the saints.

People who prefer saints to God would say all that anyway. The official Catholic teaching overlooks the fact that some people do not intend to pray to God but to get others, the saints in this case, to do it for them. The Church does not believe its own explanation for it says all are obligated to pray to God themselves and cannot be always asking others to do it for them.

Prayer to God would necessarily be trying to focus on God. Prayer to a saint would not necessarily be trying to focus on God. Which form of prayer then is inferior? Which one honours God best?

The Church may say, "If I offer prayers to God through a saint, I am really treating the saint not as an intercessor but as a way of focusing on God. When I revere a saint I revere him because of what God has made him to be - he would not even exist without God. God has given him all he has and made him all he is. So in other words, to revere a saint is about God and not the saint." This presupposes that there is no goodness without God and if God is a person then goodness is a person. The trouble is the Church teaches that logic can tell us what is right and wrong and denies that something is made good just because God says so.

To honour a saint as a manifestation of good is then to make a god of the saint. Good is independent of God thus it is not to honour God at all. It is not true that to honour a saint is to honour the saint's goodness that comes from God for God is the servant of goodness as we are.

Most people do not pray to the saint as a mere manifestation of what God is like. And it is not true it is about honouring the saint and desiring to be like her for saints are nearly always venerated by people who don't know enough about them. Catholics pray to Mary despite knowing barely anything about her and her virtues and how she puts them into practice.

Also, we know that goodness cannot be a person. Goodness is an abstract thing. You may as well say 1 is a person and 2 is a person. Something is not good just because God commands it. Goodness is goodness even if God does not exist. You can only venerate a saint as an agent of goodness. God himself is an agent of goodness. God has to discover what is good. He does not make things good.

Praying to a saint is saying to the saint, "Pray to God instead of me." Or, "I don't want to give those prayers to God. You do the praying for me." The Church is blatantly lying. It's praying to the saint instead of God.

In Catholicism, when you invoke a saint for help, you are reportedly just praying to God though it doesn't look obvious that you are. But if that is true then you can pray to the Devil or to anything and that is the same as praying to God as long as you intend it for God. And if you really intend to pray to God then why not just do so? Why not just pray to God without thinking of saints? Why would you pray to the supreme and absolute goodness that is God indirectly when you can pray directly? Do you sincerely believe that he is that good? You ask the best person to help you not someone far below them. And God is supposed to be the best!

Just because somebody says that venerating the saints and praying to them is really just all about God that does not mean that it is. And if it can be all about God, that does not necessarily mean that anybody prays to a saint intending the honour for God only.

The notion that just because a saint lives by and depends on God that honouring the saint is honouring only God is a strange one. God as personal entity and as power are not the same thing. It is the power that the saint depends on and lives by. You can honour God's power and that is not the same as honouring God as a person. You can honour the king but curse his authority.

If to honour what depends on God because it shows something of his goodness is to honour God then we can worship the dog and the cat and the beer mat. Indeed we should!

The Church might say that it is like when you talk to your lawyer, you are really talking to the judge and the jury through him. But we have to communicate through a lawyer. If the judge were all-knowing like God we would not need the lawyer. The Church is giving us a false analogy. When God hears all and sees all why would you pray to a saint who cannot know all and see all like he can. Idol worship is said to be immoral for it is praying to what cannot help you like God can. Venerating the saints by invoking them is idolatry.

The Church states that the saints have nothing apart from God. They have no power or dignity of their own except what God has given them. Thus to ask them for their help is really to ask them for God's help. They can't act without his empowerment and help. It has been observed that the Bible never teaches that God is the source of all. It is known that the story of the creation seems to suggest not that all things were really made from nothing but that God may have used substances to make all things that like himself just always existed and were never created. If so, then it proves the Church's argument unbiblical and that saint invocation is idolatry. God did not give them all they have. He didn't snap his fingers so that nothing turned into the universe and all that is in it.

The Church says that it is God who makes people saints for nobody can be holy without his grace. And it says that God has made the saint out of nothing and all the virtues that the saint has have been developed not by the saint but by God working in the saint. It argues then that because the saint is God's work, to honour and pray to the saint is to honour and pray to God.

So Catholics claim that to talk to a saint is really talking to God as if the saint was his temple for the saint is his work.

If they really believe all that, why canít they pray at Mass, ďMary you are Holy indeed the fountain of all holiness. Let the Spirit come upon these gifts so that they may become for us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ". Why canít they address the whole Mass to Mary? That is forbidden for it is thought to be idolatry. But how can it be wrong if they are telling the truth that their prayers to the saints are really prayers to God alone?

Its an odd claim that to pray to saints is to pray to God for you pray not to them but to what God made them and its all grace. Why pray to saints then unless the intention is idolatry? If you can talk to the doctor face to face and refuse to do it except through his receptionist that indicates some kind of uncharitable dislike for the doctor.

The Church is lying that there is no idolatry involved in invoking saints. It lies that no disrespect is intended towards God.

Most Catholics reject the notion of divine sovereignty - ie that God controls everything. They say we have the power to act independent of God. They say the saints get all they have from God simply by consenting to him working in them. So the saint is in a position to help us not because they have God's power but because they co-operate with God. It follows then that going to the saint is not the same as going to God.

Praying to the saints is trying to communicate with the dead and that is forbidden in the Bible. Even when the Catholic is not seeing a vision or an audible message from the saint, the Catholic expects the saint to communicate by doing something in response to the prayer. For example, if you pray to St Therese the Little Flower for flowers and you get them that is her way of communicating.

If you do good while adhering to sin, your goodness is sinful. It is done with the attitude, "I care about good only when I want to do it. I do it not for its sake but because I want to." Evil looks attractive for it is about doing and winning good by using the wrong means. The more praying and devout works a person does while adhering to sin the better the person will feel about failing or neglecting to repent and purify her heart. She will soon lose sight of sin and lose a sense of sin. She will end up being capable of rationalising great evil. She may break up a marriage by telling a wife her husband is seeing other women and not feel bad about it. Most of those who pray to saints are conscious of sins in their heart so they use the saint in order to get God to treat them as if they were not sinners and not in need of chastisement. They use the saint as a tool to manipulate God.

The person who adheres to sin and who prays to God and who does not want to repent is less manipulative than one who prays to a saint. The first faces God with his sins and the second won't face God and uses a saint to hide behind. To see the holiness of the saint is to see holiness that is less intimidating than the awesome holiness of God. The more you pray when you adhere to sin though you may act like a pious person for no reason seemingly that you want to, the more you disincline yourself to repent. Saint venerating leads to this blindness or near-blindness.

The Church says it does not know how the saints hear our prayers. The pagans who prayed to the dead and their very human gods in Heaven said the same thing. They were condemned for doing so by the Bible. So it follows the Catholic Church is condemned too. It would be bizarre to imagine that when you die you have the power to hear thousands of people talking to you at the one time and that you can see into their hearts to see if their prayers to you are genuine and sincere.

Most Catholics believe that the saints influence God. Indeed official doctrine says the saints are intercessors which means they must use their influence. If God is all-wise and all-perfect then he cannot be influenced. If he answers prayer, it is not because he was influenced, but because it is the right thing to do. God being influenced implies he is not perfect and needs nudging to do the right thing.

The Church says that the saints ask God to benefit us if we ask them. Logically if we can do that, then we can also ask a saint to ask a saint to pray for us.

The Church says sincere prayers are never unanswered. If you pray to a saint then they always respond though not necessarily in the way you expected. They must be more generous than God!

Jesus said we must love God with all our mind. We are not doing that by thinking of some saint. We do not love God totally if we feel we need a saint to do the asking God for us.