The idea that any church has more to offer seems weird to me. What does that have to do with truth? Who cares if a religion offers more? Shouldn’t all you care about is whether there’s sufficient evidence to justify a belief in it? At least protestants don’t offer nearly two millennia of failure to help the poor while their religious leader lives in a solid gold palace. Not that protestants don’t have their share of con-artists taking money for personal gain, but it’s on a smaller scale.
What evidence are you referring to? Failure of individuals to live up to a religion’s doctrine doesn’t constitute evidence against that religion, unless that itself runs contrary to the tenets of said religion.
It’s also noteworthy that those whom the Church upholds as examples to follow did in fact help the poor. Sts. Martin of Tours, Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Nicholas all come to mind. Note that there are very few popes from the Middle Ages and Renaissance that the Church honours as saints. It isn’t as if we think they were all good popes. Many were corrupt and immoral, and some were rebuked by saints such as Catherine of Siena or Bernard of Clairvaux.
There’s no concrete evidence for the existence of God or Jesus Christ. I know it’s based on faith, but there’s also clear evidence of Church corruption on a grand scale that would point towards it not being a particularly holy institution.
No concrete evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ? What about the gospels, Josephus, Tacitus, etc.? Jesus’ existence is just as well attested as many other historical figures of the time.
Not really. The gospels were written much later than he was supposed to have lived. Definitely long enough later that there’s no reason to believe they are quoting him verbatim. And there’s definitely no historical documentation that would point towards those documents being credible. I’m not sure what historical figures you’re talking about so I can’t attest to that.
I’m referring to most historical figures who weren’t kings or something similar. I can’t think of a lot of good examples because there simply aren’t many non-Biblical people from the first century or so who are well known. But Pontius Pilate is only known, aside from one partial inscription, from the gospels (c. 70-100), Josephus (c. 75-95), and Philo (died c. 50). This isn’t much different from Jesus, who is attested in the Epistles of Paul (c. 50-60), the gospels (c. 70-100), Josephus (c. 93), and Tacitus (c. 115). There is a fringe theory that Jesus did not exist, but it seems to stem more from an implicit desire to disprove Christianity than from genuinely wanting to reconstruct history.
There are also scientifically inexplicable miracles, still visible in the Shroud of Turin, the Tilma of Juan Diego
There are images that look like certain things appearing in everything. I just googled around a found examples of chicken nuggets shaped like Abe Lincoln. What about the “face on Mars”?
Doesn’t anyone believe in coincidence anymore? If we’re taking all of these as literal divine interventions just because they look like something or because someone claimed it happened, then you have to accept all other similar claims made by other religious people or even nonreligious people or you’d be intellectually dishonest. My brother claims to have seen a ghost in our childhood apartment. Was that apartment haunted? What makes him less credible than eye-witnesses to other such apparitions?
Images looking like certain things certainly doesn’t apply to the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the Tilma of Juan Diego, unless you’re referring to details in the eyes, etc. As for the Shroud of Turin, this certainly doesn’t hold true (see here for a detailed forensic examination of the shroud). The carbon dating to the 14th century is more convincing. I had thought that had been explained away, but I guess the argument that thousands of people fingering the shroud contaminated it may not hold water after all.
I suspect most so-called visions and apparitions are fake (which is why the Church doesn’t typically approve them), but I am willing to accept that some ghost sightings could potentially have a supernatural nature. I also think it’s possible to imagine things or to hallucinate.
the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano…
How could you possibly say that a priest 1300 years ago claiming to have found flesh in his eucharist is a scientifically inexplicable miracle? I guess if we had any reason to believe that it actually happened, it’d be a scientifically inexplicable miracle. But there are people every day that claim to have meetings with aliens, or Elvis. Do you believe them? I have a theory about the miracle of Lanciano: the guy lied. Or at best was totally mistaken.
It was scientifically analyzed by Dr. Odoardo Linoli and found to have not decayed despite not containing preservatives or being in a hermeneutically sealed container, and, like in other Eucharistic miracles, the blood type is AB, among other things. Now, the text of the study is unfortunately not freely available, so I can’t personally attest to its validity. But I certainly can’t dismiss it off-hand.
The universe has no explicable origin without God. Matter doesn’t just spontaneously generate itself. Not to mention the unliklihood of life simply coming to be through a chemical reaction of some kind. The fact that you believe these things occurred is itself an example of faith without concrete evidence.
Where’d God come from? Why doesn’t he need an origin, but the universe does? And I don’t “believe” in anything. That’s something you’ve attributed to me. I don’t know how the universe came into being. Haven’t claimed to, don’t plan on it. Not to mention, even if I granted that a god was a necessity, that grants no credibility to any particular religion.
God doesn’t need an origin because he is being itself, and is immaterial. Sorry for putting words in your mouth, I made a presumption which I thought was fair, but clearly wasn’t.
Church corruption was no greater than any other organization in history. It should have been far less, of course. However, if you were to look only at those Catholics who have actually tried to live out their faith, I suspect you will see very little corruption.
I have higher expectations for God’s representatives on earth and there are plenty of irreligious people that have been just as great as Catholics that have tried to live out their faith. And it’s definitely not true that it’s no more corrupt than any other organization in history. What, is the Women’s Christian Temperance Union as corrupt? What about SETI? Or the Free Masons? How are you gauging the level of corruption?
Are any of these plentiful irreligious people as great as the saints? While it may well be my own fault that I can’t think of any, none come to mind. I suppose I wasn’t very clear when talking about corruption, so my claim isn’t very meaningful. When I think of corruption, I’m thinking in more religious terms, where it can refer to any sort of immorality. In fact, what I should have said is “individual Catholics are no more likely to be living immoral lives than anyone else, and in fact those who actually attempt to live out their faith are far less likely to be doing so,” or “corruption in the Catholic Church is not disproportionate to the amount of wealth and prestige it has enjoyed.”
The truth of the matter is that there is no other comparable institution on earth. You mention the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, but that was never a potential means of power as becoming a clergyman in the Catholic Church once was. The same applies to Freemasonry. SETI does not have any bearing on one’s personal life. Any number of other organizations have either been relatively short-lived, do not require any moral commitments from their members, do not offer opportunities for power and wealth (this comes with size and prestige).