I have love and respect for Roman Catholics but disagreement, disdain, and distrust for the Roman system. Their leaders arrogantly declare, contrary to historians, that they are the true church and the rest of us are schismatics and we must return to the “mother church.” But then many of us were never a part of that system and have no intention of “returning.” Baptists and Protestants (who don’t protest much anymore) demand that the Roman Church prove from Scripture their support for the papacy, papal infallibility, purgatory, papal succession, the seven sacraments, the mass, veneration of “saints” and the worship of relics. It can’t be done!
Catholics tell us that veneration of relics, especially bones, is justified because the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit! So any bones or property of a “saint” or the Savior had miracle-working powers. In about A.D. 400, Augustine condemned the excesses and outright scam of the relic business, ridiculing “hypocrites in the garb of monks for hawking about the limbs of martyrs,” adding cynically, “if indeed of martyrs.”
Why the props? Isn’t the Scripture sufficient? The reason Catholics and others refuse to base what they believe on the Bible is because what they believe conflicts with Bible teaching. Hence, a need for props.
The New York Times published an article on Jan. 16, 1881 in which they condemned “the silly worship of relics” and recounted an amusing anecdote of two rival French monasteries. They each possessed a head of John the Baptist! The monks, with amazing mental gymnastics, explained this uncomfortable detail by saying that the first skull belonged to John as a man while the smaller skull was from “when he was a boy.” I have seen the adult skull of John in a Damascus mosque.
One expert whose work was financed by National Geographic said, “There are about eight or nine skulls of John the Baptist out there. He added with a massive understatement, “They can’t be all John the Baptist.” Even this Baptist preacher can understand that! Various monasteries proclaim that they have the right hand of John the Baptist while another church displays the left arm of John. If some enterprising monk got to work, he might be able to put John back together again.
In Bethlehem they claim to have a drop of Mary’s milk and a 17th century painting shows a statue of Mary holding baby Jesus as she squirts milk into the mouth of a male worshipper standing below! Great shot!
Calvin suggested that “if we were to collect all these pieces of the True Cross exhibited in various parts, they would form a whole ship’s cargo.” He also said that there were more relics of the “true cross” than three hundred men could carry! He wrote of His Holy Blood that was “exhibited in more than a hundred places.” That is not only relic-worship but blasphemy.
During the mid-fourth century, St. Cyril of Jerusalem (ca. 315-386) wrote that “already the whole world is filled with fragments of the wood of the Cross.” More than forty shrouds of Jesus exist, so the story goes.
Late at night, astute Catholics wonder about all those nails from the original cross that could shoe every horse in Kentucky and enough wood from the original cross to supply fuel for every fireplace in Alaska for a hundred years. Well, almost.
Exeter Cathedral displayed parts of the candle that the angel of the Lord used to light the tomb of Jesus and fragments of the bush from which God spoke to Moses! I must not forget the sop of bread given to Judas, also some hairs from the Lord’s beard. Astounding!
These relics are a “cash cow” for each church that has one and for many years, it was required that each church or monastery had to possess at least one relic. That kept ye old relic scam working. It was common for a monastery to “find” a relic when they needed to raise money from the faithful. Since each relic contained special powers, distraught, disabled, and diseased people showed their generosity when praying before such a relic. Historian Durant tells of relic mongers who sold to eager believers “some of that very bread which our Lord pressed with His own teeth.” Does any sane person believe such things?
However, the relic of all relics is the foreskin of Jesus that was allegedly preserved; however, a dozen monasteries’ claim to have the relic! I think not! Such a system is worthy of criticism, correction, and contempt by sincere, thinking people.
Is anyone surprised that the Reformation happened? Protestants are not doing much protesting in our day! Is it time for another Reformation among Catholics and Protestants?
http://bit.ly/1iMLVfY Eight minute videos of my lecture at the University of North Dakota on “A Christian Challenges New Atheists to Put Up or Shut Up!”
Copyright 2014, Don Boys, Ph.D.
Fact, Fraud or Faith?
by Don Boys, Ph.D.
Only an uninformed fanatic says that evolution or creation can be proved scientifically. Christians believe in creationism because we believe in the veracity of the Bible but we also have scientific evidence to support our position. In every debate I’ve had with evolutionary scientists, the arrogant, asinine accusation is made, “Well, evolution is scientific while creationism is religion.” Evolution is about as scientific as a voodoo rooster plucking ceremony in Haiti. Almost.