Beliefnet
Ms. Barbara Nicolosi, just the devil here. But my eyes don't flash unnaturally.

[Note from Barb: Okay. Taking you at your word here....]

Not wanting to debate either. A copy of your article relating to "The Da Vinci Code" movie appeared in my email. I have noticed that the Catholic community, with a few notable exceptions, seems to have circled the wagons and refuses to do a soul-searching or acknowledge the somewhat sordid past of the church.

[NOTE FROM BARB: In truth, I have never met a devout, committed Catholic who does not acknowledge any and all of the real past sins of the church. We see the surviving of these sins as proof that the church is real. What merely human institution could survive some of the dreadful humans that have been members of the church? In every sin of ecclesiastical history I hear the echo of Christ's promise, "My church...And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."]

I admit that I read "banned" books.

[NOTE FROM BARB: Huh? Who bans books...except the radical left academic establishment? If your church is banning books you should leave it. And become a Catholic, for God's sake!]

I am not afraid of challenging myself and my beliefs and keeping an open mind.

[NOTE FROM G.K. CHESTERTON: Those with open minds tend to leave their brains poured out all over the side-walk. NOTE FROM BARB: When exactly should a mind close on a subject? Ever? How many times does your wife need to tell you she loves you before you close your mind on the subject and believe her?...And honestly, judging from your writing style and arguments here, you should be--if not afraid--a little more careful about the conclusions of your unaided intellect.]

During Jesus' ministry, he did exactly that as well. He upset the status quo. He tried to change the prevailing attitudes, especially the dangers of a politicized church hierarchy.

[NOTE FROM HEAD-SCRATCHING HISTORIAN: Um, there was no "church" around for Jesus to try and change. He IS the church always. He certainly took on the Jewish establishment, but he did it as an observant Jew. NOTE FROM FRANK SHEED: So you are just like Jesus? Well, would you mind making a rabbit, just for confidence sake?]

I would have been one of the people burned at the stake in past history because of your church and its intolerance.

[NOTE FROM BARB: Wow. So you must be really out there as a truth-crusading celebrity today? Funny, I haven't heard of you. Did dumb old God make you miss your moment of history? Hate when that happens. You just have to spend your life sulking, I guess.]

Dan Brown wrote a great novel.

[NOTE FROM ANYBODY WHO LIKES GOOD LITERATURE: (Sigh.) Do not pass the fifth grade. Do not collect a high school diploma. Go directly to literature jail.]

During my readings of many books (mainstream and alternative),…

[NOTE FROM BARB: What exactly is an alternative book? Is that a scroll? Do you mean secular and religious? Populist and scholarly? Historical and fanciful?]

I have found traces of "shenanigans" when it comes to the "truth" as portrayed in the Bible, caused by editorial changes early in the church's history.

[NOTE FROM ST. JEROME: Then you're smarter than me.]

Many of the books I have read are from reputable religious writers, theologians, and professors of biblical history.

[NOTE FROM JOE FRIDAY: The names here are being left out to protect the reputable.]

No one alive today was there when the writers of the Gospels penned the original version.

[NOTE FROM BARB: Ah, see, the crux. This is not true. For me, God was alive when the writers of the Gospels penned them. It's because he is the same today as yesterday and will be forever that the Gospels will out live both you, writer, and me....Please take two doses of mystery and call a real biblical scholar in the morning.]

There are obvious errors, not only in historical facts, as well as theological differences and documented tampering, that have made what most people today consider the New Testament a "novel" as well.

[NOTE FROM BARB: Well, we disagree. But you have to grant that this particular "novel" has had an astounding track record. It has managed to be at the center of billions of peoples' lives for 2,000 years. This "novel" has led millions of people to forsake all else and give their lives completely over to its example of life. That's something that Homer and Shakespeare--as miraculous as they are--cannot claim. So, maybe, just out of respect here, you can call the Gospels "Mr." Novel?]

I believe that searching for truth, and being willing to challenge one's beliefs, is beneficial to all of us.

[NOTE FROM BARB: I believe that arriving at truth is much more beneficial to us all. Although, I will grant that your challenging of your beliefs will be very beneficial for you. Let it go, brother. You are taking on the Lord of history. He wins. Always.]

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