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Did you see Bill O'Reilly making the claim to David Silverman that "Christianity is a philosophy, not a religion"?

Here's the clip for that.  Essentially, for those if you who don't or won't check out links, O'Reilly says that people can display Christian images on public property because Christianity is not a religion, but a philosophy.  He says that people don't have to believe in Jesus, but just think he was a pretty cool guy, to be considered Christian . . . in O'Reilly's usual convoluted way of thinking.

In response, an attorney for the FFRF responded that O'Reilly is not a Catholic unless he agrees, believes and follows all church doctrines, no exceptions.  This is according to Canon Law 752 (Can. 752 Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.)

From the article:

Catholics cannot pick and choose from the tenets of their religion. Arguably the most repellent precept in Canon law is also the most important for people claiming to be Catholic: “. . . [A] religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals . . . therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.” Canon 752. This anti-human, totalitarian sentiment lies at the heart of all religions, but one rarely sees it stated so baldly: “a religious submission of the intellect and will.”

Not only must Catholics believe all church doctrines, if you consider yourself a Catholic you are bound to avoid any contrary doctrines: “A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed . . . all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.” Canon 750, §1.

Even worse, the Catholic code specifically states that if you are not firmly for every tenet of the faith, you are against the faith: “Each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals . . . is also to be firmly embraced and retained; therefore, one who rejects those propositions which are to be held definitively is opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.” Canon 750, §2. If you don’t believe what we tell you to believe, you’re not one of us.

Now that we’ve established that true Catholics must submit their intellect and will to every church command, what does the church command? Ridiculous beliefs abound in Canon law, but let’s limit our inquiry to two: transubstantiation and birth control.

So, what do you think?  Can a person who doesn't believe in Jesus as god be a Christian?  Isn't the belief that Jesus is the Son of God and the path to salvation one of the most important requirements for Christians? 

What about being Catholic?  When Catholic law dictates that you MUST believe every aspect of Catholic doctrine in order to be a Catholic, does that mean that all those who don't really believe that bread and wine actually become the flesh and blood of a god via the magic words spoken by a priest, or all those Catholic women who practice some sort of birth control . . . can't actually be Catholic?  That's what the law says, anyway.

Answer Question

Asked by jsbenkert at 10:21 PM on Dec. 7, 2012 in Religious Debate

Level 37 (89,331 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • i saw it and rolled my eyes. Bill O'Reilly makes a lot of money off stupid the same way that Glenn Beck and Rush do.

    personally, ive stopped calling myself a Christian b/c i dont believe Jesus is God or anything else that's a major Christian tenet. i like the philosophy of Jesus, but ya dont see a whole lot of that in today's Christianity. i wouldnt call myself Jewish just b/c i believe in one God nor would i call myself a Muslim if i wore a hijab.

    in typical O'Reilly fashion he was trying to make a point and failed to do so. b/c if Christianity isnt a religion, then their churches better stop getting tax exempt status for being a religion.

    Answer by okmanders at 11:04 PM on Dec. 7, 2012

  • I forget where it was, but O'Reilly basically admitted in an interview once that his "on air persona" is just that - a persona, and not necessarily what he believes in his own life. I wonder which persona was being interviewed that day.

    And I know you wanted to limit it to just ts and bc, but the simple truth is - if you must follow ALL laws, there are no Catholics, anywhere. All the policies of the conservative right are in direct opposition to doctrine, which is actually more in line with socialism than capitalism, let alone corporate state capitalism.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 11:38 PM on Dec. 7, 2012

  • I'm not going to bother reading all that (it's late, I'm I scanned over it), but Christianity is not a religion, it's a belief. To be a Christian, you must believe that Jesus is God's Son, Christ Our Savior...if you do not believe that, you are not Christian.

    Answer by AllAboutKeeley at 12:50 AM on Dec. 8, 2012

  • religion
    1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
    2. Details of belief as taught or discussed.

    sorry, its a religion.

    Answer by okmanders at 1:14 AM on Dec. 8, 2012

  • I cannot stand Bill O'Reilly. Just wanted to say that. And hi!

    Answer by JackieGirl007 at 9:33 AM on Dec. 8, 2012

  • I think people can be Philosophical Christians, so to speak, but I don't think that means Christianity itself is mere philosophy.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 9:47 AM on Dec. 8, 2012

  • See, I can appreciate some of what the Gospels say he said.  Not all of it, of course, and there are several contradictions (for example:  he comes in peace, but he doesn't come in peace, all within the same Gospel).  I think there are some good messages in the stories.

    That, of course does not make me a Christian.  I don't believe in any gods, so, of course, I don't believe in any sons of gods (except within the myths).  I do think there are good morals that can be derived from many myths and fables.

    That said, Christianity is most definitely a religion, as it fits the definition.  O'Reilly was simply trying to wedge open a door to allowing religious displays on public property by claiming that Christianity is a philosophy. 


    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 1:33 PM on Dec. 8, 2012

  • Christianity is a religion followed philosophically and a philosophy followed religiously.

    Answer by -Eilish- at 1:40 PM on Dec. 10, 2012

  • PS - I can't stand Bill O'Reilly.

    Answer by -Eilish- at 1:41 PM on Dec. 10, 2012

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