Atheist “retread” looks at Catholic Creeds with “New Eyes”by Don Lacey on Jul. 08, 2012, under Atheism, Biblical Inerrancy, Christianity, Creationism, Critical Thinking, Education, Faith, Freethought, Fundamentalism, God & Bible, History, Logic, Nature, Question of the Day!, Quotations, Reason, Religion, Sanity, Science, Skepticism, The Rapture, Willful Ignorance
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
The above is the version of the Apostle’s Creed that I found in Dr. Stephen Uhl’s book, Out of God’s Closet. Dr. Uhl is a former priest and has probably recited the creed many times. In fact, he includes it in his instructions on how to pray the Rosary. I’ve been away from the Catholic religion for quite a few years and I’m not familiar with how often the Rosary is performed. The Apostles’ Creed is repeated every time someone prays the Rosary.
Then there’s the Catholic version of the Nicene Creed:
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
It’s the same thing with a bit more flourish. I remember repeating this at mass every Sunday, or on Saturday if I had something to do on Sunday and wanted to get church out of the way by attending the Saturday afternoon mass.
What’s significant about these creeds is that it’s a bit like the sign at the front of the amusement park ride that says, “You must be at least this high to enter.” You may believe a lot of stuff but these creeds represent a minimum set. They both have the same elements—one creator God, Jesus Christ his son, the Holy Ghost (or Spirit if you’d prefer) that makes everything happen. The creeds say you believe a virgin can be a mother. They’re pretty specific about the Roman Prefect named Pontius Pilate who judged Jesus and had him tortured to death on a cross. The creed says you have to believe that a dead human after being buried rose up from the dead. He then flew (ascended) to heaven where he’s hanging out waiting to come back and judge everyone dead or not. By the way, you’re also agreeing to believe in the Church, and that a ritual baptism can eradicate sins you didn’t commit in the first place. The creed says you’ll have the ability to reclaim a living body after death (resurrection of the body), and that there’s an infinite afterlife (life everlasting).
There’s a lot of unbelievable stuff in those creeds. I never really, I mean REALLY, thought about it when I was repeating this stuff by rote memory. I knew all the words but didn’t grok the meaning. Not really.
There was a theme in some of the jokes that Gallagher used to tell. It involved looking at things with “new eyes.” Then he’d produce some huge comical glasses and point out something that you’ve seen a million times but never really looked at. For example he said cowboys shouldn’t be hitting their cattle with belts to get them to do as they say. They should just put these glasses on the cows and show them the belt and say, “This belt is made of cow.”
So the next time you repeat the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed, put on some “new eyes” and actually think about what you’re agreeing to. Forget the indoctrination for just a bit and open that reason proof container your faith sits in. Go down the list one by one and ask yourself, does this really make sense? You can skip past the creator God part, if you’d like, and start at the virgin birth claim. Don’t be afraid to compare the claims against your experience and understanding of science…