Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Led Astray By The Blind

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was a young eager student receiving a parochial education in a parochial institution. There I learned all kinds of good things a young mind needs; a solid grounding in actual mathematics rather than the "New Math" that was perverting the thought process of those poor students trapped in a public school, proper grammar enabling me to properly communicate my thoughts and ideas, and enough science to know the difference between a solid theory, a weak hypothesis, and a pagan religion cloaked in scientific jargon that's taught as a fact but mysteriously labeled a theory (you know - like Darwinian evolution). These things I learned were good.

Of course I learned a lot of things that are not so good; the Jews killed Jesus and are going to burn in hell (What about the Italians? The men who actually did the deed were Roman citizens) and Protestants were blasphemous heretics who blaspheme, spread heresy, have no idea how to properly worship God, and are going to burn in hell. And #1 on the list was praying to a dead woman. 

As a young potential altar boy I was taught that we don't ask God for forgiveness of our sins, we're not worthy enough to speak to God directly so we confess our sins to a priest who will assign penance and after you perform that penance your sins will be forgiven. The only bible verses that I've found that explains this in detail are 1 Timothy 4:7 and Revelation 22:18. I was also taught that since Jesus is God then we can't talk directly to Jesus either but must instead pray to Mary and ask her to intercede for us to Jesus. (see 1 Timothy 4:7).

Let me see if I have this right: we're supposed to pray to Mary because she's the mediatrix between us and Jesus who's the mediator between us and God.  
For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
The bible doesn't give us an option for a mediator to reach out to our mediator. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, no comes to the father except through the son. No where did Jesus say ".... oh yeah, and my mom, of course, she's cool with Dad. Pray to her instead."
Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
It's nice to think that since Jesus is God then the best mediator between man and Jesus would be His mom,  but that's all it is - a nice baseless thought. In fact I was told by a nun that we pray to Mary to intercede for us because Jesus would never refuse His mother anything. The example most used is the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11)  where Mary told Jesus that they ran out of wine and Jesus in effect said "so what? It's not my time yet" but Mary ignored His complaints went ahead and told the waiters "My son the rabbi will fix it." almost blackmailing Jesus into revealing Himself.

Using this example, is the lesson I should get is that if I want some wine I pray to Mary? But the bible says that Jesus is our mediator between us and God, so why would we need a mediator between us and our mediator? And that story I was told that Jesus would never refuse Mary's request - so what? That's a made up story for nuns to tell. Jesus Himself told us that He won't refuse our requests:
13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14)
My argument, and I believe that it's a valid argument, is that Mary is not equipped to be a mediator between us and God. Jesus is both God and Man, only Jesus can understand both sides of the relationship; the pain and sinfulness of man versus the glory and holiness of God. Being both God and man Jesus is the conduit through which our entreaties to God must flow. Mary is mere human even though she gave birth to Jesus there's no way she could possibly understand the divine side of the argument.

Please bear in mind, I'm not denigrating Mary in any way, what I am trying to do is to remove the unbiblical hokum that has been piled up on her memory and restore Mary to what she wonderfully is - a woman that God saw fit to carry His son. Isn't that awesome enough? Why make up stories and bury her true memory in that?

What if I'm wrong? - if I'm wrong when I die I go to heaven and I meet Mary and she'll say "Dude, you were soooo wrong about that blog you wrote." I'll say "I'm sorry, can you forgive me? Please tell me the real story." Maybe we'll find John and Paul and maybe Tamar and Rahab and go get lunch. But what if I'm right? If I'm right then everyone that's been worshiping a nice Jewish girl has a lot of explaining to do before the judgement throne when the very first commandment is brought up.

Mary's part in the plan of salvation is equivalent to that of an Old Testament prophet in that God chose her to perform a function and she performed that function. Here's a problem: many people have been taught that she was born sinless, which is quite a departure for God. When God uses someone for a purpose He always uses a sinner, which makes sense because that's all he has to work with. This is because WE ARE ALL SINNERS. Adam failed at his only commandment, Noah was a drunk, Abraham was a liar and an adulterer, Isaac was a liar and a lazy daydreamer, Moses was a murderer, Gideon was a coward, Samson was a serial adulterer, Jonah refused to follow God's command, Rahab was a prostitute, Tamar posed as a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law just to bear his child, King David raped Bathsheba and to hide that sin he ordered her husband Uriah to be murdered, Saul helped murder early Christians with joy. All these sinners and many, many more were chosen by God to do His bidding. God's greatest wonder is that He takes us wicked, wretched, foul, worthless, disgusting sinners and uses us for for His glory. 

So if Mary was born sinless, why did God go off script this one time and use a sinless, blameless person? The explanation: He didn't. To begin with, no one is without sin, Ecclesiastes 7:20 says that very plainly. If you believe that Mary was without sin, then you have to assume that the bible is a lie. And for scriptural evidence that Mary was without sin? Even the Catholic church says there is none:
"No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture." New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia (NACE)
However that church goes on to postulate that if Mary was tainted by sin then Jesus would have inherited a sinful nature, so she had to be free from sin to conceive Jesus. This dogma in one paragraph denies the deity of both Jesus Christ and God, elevates Mary to deity, and ignores scripture. As author Mary Fairchild wrote: "Based on Scripture, the miracle of Jesus Christ's conception was that he alone was conceived as the only perfect and sinless one, because of his complete union with the divine nature of God." which makes God and Jesus both pretty darn awesome.

So what is wrong with the idea that God took a perfectly normal Jewish girl and used her to bring the Messiah into this world? Nothing that I can see. There's no need to dumb down God nor is there need to elevate Mary to the mythical "Queen of Heaven". She was Jesus' mom, and that's pretty cool. Personally I'm all for following and observing the 5th commandment, it's the first interpersonal commandment that God gave us (the previous four were for our relationship with God) But if we're supposed to pray to Jesus' mother, why don't we pray to his grandmothers? Why not Rahab, Tamar, Nitzevet, Ruth, and Sarah? What's wrong with his other relatives - Moses, Aaron, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Adam, what about them?

The bible says it's fine to ask someone here among us to pray for us. In Ephesians 6:19 Paul asks people to pray for him that he may preach the Gospel. In Philippians 1:19 he acknowledges other prayers, in 2 Timothy 1:3 he prays for others. Now the Roman Catholic Church says that they don't pray to Mary, they are just asking her to have the saints pray for us.  There's a big problem with this - if you want Mary or a saint to pray for you, and you "are not praying to them but trying to communicate with them" what you are trying to do is talk to the dead. 

Yes, Mary is dead. Holy, glorious, chosen by God for divine purpose, maybe even nearly sin free, she may have been all of them, but she's also dead. The same exact dead you and I are going to be soon. She died nearly 2000 years ago and her status hasn't changed yet. I'm sure we will get to meet her in heaven and I'll be there to hear her story of of the joy when she found her child was the son of God, of the pain of being pregnant before being married in such a conservative society, the heartbreaking tale of raising Jesus and watching him die on the cross, all there in heaven we can hear her tale, ask her questions, and love her for herself.

But here on earth in this physical body two thousand years after her physical death asking her to pray for you is attempting to talk to the dead. The name for a person who talks to the dead is a "necromancer" or a "medium" or a "spiritist" and God calls this an abomination, which means "disgusting" He addressed it in the bible:
10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)
‘Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.’ (Leviticus 20:27)
With Jesus as our mediator why would we want to go through a sinful dead individual especially when doing so invites the wrath of God?  

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