I have built this website to be both educational to Christians, and to atheists new to Christian theology and the variety of Christian thought. To be honest, most Christians are Christians in name only, and know about as much or less than your average atheist about Christianity. In this text I will be explaining in practical terms what each denomination actual represents, in theory and in practice.
The Catholic Church
The Catholic Church believes themselves to be a continuation of the original Church, that is to say, a continuation of the Church of the disciples. They share this claim with other Churches, but they have the primary and most respected claim. Why does this matter?
While Christ was alive, he told his disciples that after he was gone, the Holy Spirit would direct them further. Therefore, Christianity is a “living religion,” in the sense that Christ explained that the Holy Spirit would direct his disciples after his death, with no stop or limit to this.
The Catholics also believe they have the “keys.” Christ said in the New Testament that he would give Peter the ability to bind and loose, and that whatever they bind on earth would be bound in heaven, and whatever they loose on earth would be loosed in heaven. The Catholics consider this an exclusive grant, that is to say, there is only one copy of the keys, and Peter and/or the original Church was granted it. Therefore their claim to be descended from the original Church is not just for bragging rights, but the source of the religious authority they believe resides in their cardinals and the Pope – essentially, the keys are what gives their leaders authority.
I’m non-denominational now, and was a Quaker when I did most of my Christian research, although I was raised Maronite. I personally believe that the Catholics are as much a continuation of the original Church as any Church can be, and that the original Church in the time of Christ was composed of what we now call Essenes. As for the keys & whatever special authority that grants them within the context of Christianity, that deserves it’s own text.
Are you an autistic rapist or a misery loves company virgin? Then the Jesuits are the group for you. The Jesuits are an all-male group founded by Ignatius in the 1,500’s, and they have never left that century ever since. You can find the average Jesuits plotting and scheming in their local community, usually co-operating with the government and local authorities to sell out their own kind. When they’re not snitching, they’re looking for new ways to reduce the amount of Catholics worldwide. One day, when I can afford a car to drive around and stuff, I’m just going to take their cool logo and declare myself the new Jesuit order, since I know they won’t be able to do anything about it. I will interview myself for the position as the new head of the Jesuits.
Q. What do you have that the Jesuits don’t?
A. Besides consensual sex with adult women, I have black friends and moral standards.
The Pentecostals are a very new and “modern” Church, they use more modern settings, pre-packaged lunchables communion, big TV’s, a much more lively and alive environment than most other Churches, which tend more in a solemn direction. They are most famous in modern culture for “speaking in tongues” despite this passage:
1 Corinthians 14
I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.
Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.
However the emphasis on speaking in tongues is mostly a media invention, I have been a few times and nobody spoke in tongues. You’ll find much more variation with the Pentecostals than with the Catholics, as it’s more of a loose association of different Churches rather than many Churches following the same script. Think of the Catholics as a company with only company-owned franchises, whereas the Pentecostals are all owner-operated franchises, the latter use the same branding but really the owners are doing whatever they want for the most part.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why doesn’t someone do a multi-level marketing scheme, but with wives?” Question no more, the Mormons have you covered. They believe Jesus was not a God, they believe he came from outer space and that if you try hard enough you can be a demi-God like they believe Jesus was. They want 10% of your salary every paycheck, and they send their young people out to various countries in groups of two to pester people and prostitute those young people out to various intelligence services in exchange for favors.