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QUESTION: There is a story that when Harry Houdini was in the hospital dying he said to his doctor, "I should have been a doctor. I wasted my lie."

The doctor replied to Houdini,"You have entertained and brought joy to thousands of people. You have not wasted your life".

I was a child, student, friend, helper, soldier, draftsman, artist, lover, husband, father, musician, magician, ancient historian, listener, reader, author, teacher, puzzler, etc. I do not think I have wasted my life, whether or not there is a God or Jesus was God. Nor have you.

I have never thought of Christianity as a lie. It is cherished by millions of people. It has accomplished a lot of good in the world. But it has made terrible mistakes. I have no idea where Christianity or even humanity will be, or even remembered, a million years from now. It would be interesting to know.

ANSWER: You can believe what you want.

As for me, if Jesus isn't God, I have wasted my life--in fact life would not be worth living as far as I am concerned.  Jesus is my life and all.  You take him away, you take away my life. It does not matter whether Christianity is "cherished" or "done a lot of good."  None of that matters without Jesus. It simply does not matter--not to me anyway.  Jesus is what matters.  Understand? JESUS IS WHAT MATTERS.  He is the Way the Truth and the Life.  The WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.  Please try and understand what that means and don't just gloss over it and think of me a religious fanatic.  

What I DO with my life--in terms of helping people--is all well and good--but that isn't the issue.  Jesus is the issue---PERIOD, CASE CLOSED, END OF DISCUSSION.  

Again, believe what you want--but I take Christianity and her claims very seriously.  There is no room here for compromise.  Jesus either is who he claimed to be or he isn't.  If he isn't, pity us fools. The good that has been done, the fact that people "cherish" Christianity, so what? What does any of that matter without Jesus? If you say "Well, it matters a whole lot" then I reply you do not have even the faintest hint of what I am telling you.   

Again, believe what you wish---and I will do likewise.  Good works, "people cherishing Christianity" to me matters not.  JESUS IS WHAT MATTERS.  Without him---what does anything matter?   

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: As a friend, I am sorry you feel that way. I think you need to talk to some body.
I think you are blowing things out of proportion.

Answer
No, sir, I don't think I need to talk to anybody. I will thank you for not psychoanalyzing me.  

I am a priest. Would you expect anything less of a priest, than to suggest that Jesus Christ is his life and all?  Would you expect anything less of a priest, than to say that the life of a priest is lived for Christ and if you take Christ away, you take away his life?

If so, what do you think a priest is, and why do you think priests are priests? I would not be a priest if I thought for one minute that Jesus was not God, or that we could have a meaningful life apart from Christ.

You asked a question and I answered it.  Just because you disagree with the answer or do not like it does not entail I need to talk to someone.

I didn't expect you to understand.

As I said, believe as you wish.

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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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