Catholics/What if

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Father David I a very curious person and mean no harm.
If the Bible is not inspired by God, but is just a creation of imaginative men and Jesus was not the Son of God but just a delusional apocalyptic man who was crucified and did not rise from the dead, would this mean Christians must be believers of magic, like their primitive ancestors who used magic to control and have power over the unknown and a final death as far back as the stone age? Please be kind enough to answer.

Answer
I want to break your question down into simpler parts because whether you know it or not you are actually raising a couple issues.

First: The Inspiration and authority of the Bible while a key component of Christian doctrine (and Catholic doctrine as well) is not a CORE doctrine. In other words if the Bible is NOT the Inspired Word of God, Christianity is affected negatively, but not in such a way as to make it so that Christianity would collapse.  Theoretically speaking Christianity could survive if the Bible was not the Inspired Word of God.  If the Bible is not inspired, then it becomes a book like all other books.  In this case the Bible would be a history book (or at least a book that claims to record historical happenings.) In other words the Bible could still testify to what has happened in history- it just would not be a Divine testimony to those happenings, and like any other book would be subject to error.  

The doctrine of Inspiration refers to AUTHORSHIP of the Bible.  It means that GOD wrote the Bible.  Granted God used human beings as the instruments to record what He wanted written, but GOD is the author of the Bible.  Because God cannot lie, and because God cannot error, the doctrine of Inerrancy naturally flows from the doctrine of Inspiration.  The Bible contains no errors.  It accurately conveys what God wanted to convey.  IF their appears to be an error, it is because we are failing to understand some truth of the Bible.  There are no errors in the Bible IF the Bible is read and understood as it is supposed to be read and understood.  

If the doctrine of Inspiration goes, so goes the doctrine of inerrancy because if God is not the author of the Bible, it is nothing more than a human document.  However just because the Bible becomes a human document does not entail it necessarily is a made up fairy tail.  The Bible would then be treated as any other historical document.  

On the other hand: IF Jesus never rose from the dead, Christianity collapses.  There are liberal theologians who believe that the Resurrection is a metaphor for a rise in Easter Faith in the hearts of the Apostles.  For those people Christianity would not collapse.  However REAL Christianity believes in a BODILY and PHYSICAL Resurrection of Jesus, AND the same for the dead when Christ comes again.  IF this never happened, as far as I am concerned there is no Christianity. I would likely become atheist if Jesus never rose from the dead.

That might sound like a strong statement coming from a priest, but I am only telling you what the Bible itself says about the Resurrection:

"If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied." 1 Corinthians 15:13-19.

The Inspiration of the Bible is a key doctrine, but not a central one.  Christianity survives without the Inspiration of the Bible.  However the Resurrection is core. Without the Resurrection, there is NO CHRISTIANITY.

If there was no Christianity, and no Resurrection, this would not entail that Christians would practice magic like their primitive ancestors.  Like I said---if there was no Resurrection I would call up Dr. Richard Dawkins and Dr. Stephen Hawkins, (Scientists who are also atheist and rather militant about it) repent of my sinful ways (superstition) and bow down to Science my God and King.  

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Father Dave Bechtel

Expertise

I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.

Experience

I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Education/Credentials
Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

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