The Question: Is Roman Catholicism Christian? Is it based in the Bible and God?
This is a good question and one rightly asked, because even from an outside perspective, Roman Catholicism seems to be fairly different from other ‘Christian’ groups or denominations.
Firstly, there is a series on YouTube called ‘Know Your Enemy‘ by The Fuel Project I’d recommend watching in regards to this question that sheds a lot of insight into why my answer to this question is what it is.
So that of course leads into my answer to the question, which is this: No, Roman Catholicism is not ‘Christian’ or part of ‘Christianity’, nor is it wholly based in the Bible and the God of the Bible, although it does have parts of it based in the Bible and Biblical themes.
Well, that’s a pretty bold statement I’ll admit, but allow me to explain why I’ve come to that conclusion and am making that claim.
So there are a number of areas I’ll look at in regards to Roman Catholicism that all point to support my answer, and I’m going to start with the founding of Roman Catholicism and it’s history… As that seems like an appropriate place to start. HERE and HERE are other articles I found useful and borrowed from for this area as well.
So right here we start with a lie… Not a good start in my opinion when we are talking about the ultimate truth of God. The Roman Catholic organization claims it began after Jesus’s death and that it was the ‘Church’ Jesus died for.
This isn’t very difficult to disprove, as even a cursory reading of the New Testament shows no mention of the various ‘truths’ and doctrine the Catholic faith is based off of, such as the papacy, worship/adoration of Mary, worship/adoration of the saints, petitioning saints through prayer, apostolic succession, confessions of sins to a priest, purgatory, infant baptism, indulgences, equal authority of church tradition and scripture, etc… In fact, many if not all of these things are explicitly warned AGAINST by the apostles of Christ who wrote the new testament.
Historically, for the first 280 years or so of Christianity following Christ’s death, Christians were persecuted horribly and Christianity was illegal in the Roman empire.
Roman Catholicism actually began (at least from the recorded history I have found on this subject) during the reign of Constantine around 313 AD, with the Edict of Milan which ended the ban on ‘Christianity’ in the Roman empire. What Constantine did over the next few years was attempt to unite the crumbling empire with religion, however seeing as no one wanted to give up their pagan religion to convert to Christianity nor did the ‘Christians’ want to convert to a pagan religion, he blended multiple religions together in an effort to create a ‘universal religion’ he could use to control the empire.
Unfortunately, his efforts went about to produce one of the most powerful, wealthy and influential organizations in history. I say unfortunately, because the organization is based in worldly (aka, evil) teachings and doctrines, and not those of God and the Bible.
The Catholic church changed Biblical texts to suit their needs and added/removed parts as they saw fit. Additionally, they didn’t allow anyone to translate or read the texts themselves, keeping the masses dependent on them and with no other option than to trust what they were saying was right.
As such, it stands to reason when we look through history regarding the Catholic church we can see clearly the evil in this organization and the horrible things they have committed in the name of ‘God’. We have extreme persecution, torture and murder of innocent people, both Christian and non-christian. We have abuse and misuse of wealth and power, pursuit of wealth and power, control and subversion of the population, and the list goes on…
The catholic church of ‘modern’ society is a bit more civil and has had to adjust their methods due to the availability of information, particularly Biblical information, however their corruption and lust of power and wealth continues, as does their warping of Biblical and Godly truth.
Now, I’m not saying there aren’t ‘Catholic’ people who are genuinely trying to serve God and do what’s right, as I believe there surely are. I am saying however those people don’t have the knowledge or understanding yet to know the organization they are working with isn’t of God, even if they themselves have a heart genuinely seeking God.
So knowing the origin and history of the religion and organization, those things themselves indicate that Roman Catholicism isn’t of God, but lets look at another aspect.
If we look at the theology based on the Bible in regards to Roman Catholicism, there are also a number of significant problems, many of which were highlighted in the history section at the start.
HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE are some great articles (and there are many more easily found) that describe the theological differences between Roman Catholicism and the Christianity of the Bible. Again I would also encourage you to watch the ‘Know Your Enemy’ series linked at the start of this article as well. I could write pages and pages on this topic however there are already numerous articles and series on this that explain it as well or better than I could so I don’t feel the need too.
The problems in Catholic theology are so obvious I really have a hard time imagining how it’s followers have difficulty seeing the truth, however I suppose many people refuse to see what is right in front of them either way and don’t want to even, so that stands to reason.
This is perhaps the best way to determine if Roman Catholicism is indeed ‘good’ and of God: is the organization/religion producing good fruit? Are they abounding in good works? Are they helping the starving, the widows, the orphans, and destitute?
As I mentioned earlier, the Catholic church is arguably the wealthiest organization in the world, in a 2012 investigation, a rough estimate of their annual expenditures was 170 billion dollars. By comparison, GM’s or Apple’s annual revenue was around 150 billion. So, to be clear here, the Catholic church is spending 20 billion MORE (and that was a very rough estimate) in a year than a company like General Motors or Apple make in revenues in a year. Can you imagine what the revenues of the Catholic church must be like in order to support that amount of expenditure?
So, with that amount of capital at the Catholic Church’s disposal, there should be a significant presence by the Catholic church on the world stage of helping the needy for example, and yet there doesn’t seem to be… Every disaster that occurs or every third world country with starving and destitute people suffering should have the Catholic church there to fill that need and help as the Bible commands, yet we don’t see that… They are the organization that should be best equipped to deal with those, and yet it’s small organizations and churches and people barely making end’s meat that give their time, money and effort to helping other’s…
Sure the Catholic church has ‘programs’ and services to help the poor and whatnot, but not NEARLY enough or with enough effect to what they should be doing and should be capable of doing with their resources.
I rarely hear good things about the Catholic church in general either in the news or in person. Usually there are child abuse scandals with high-ranking members of the priesthood, money scandals and misuse cases, etc…
The bottom line is I don’t see a lot of good deeds or action or ‘fruit’ from the Catholic organization, which is a pretty strong indicator that God isn’t with those leaders.
So, my conclusion based on those few aspects I just outlined of Catholicism has lead me to my initial statement that no, I would not say that Roman Catholicism is ‘Christian’ in the sense that the organization is following the teaching and example of Christ or the doctrine of Christ or the apostles, etc.
Again just to be clear, I am not saying anyone claiming to be a Catholic is evil, as I know there are many people subscribing to the Catholic belief that are genuinely seeking to serve God, and I know God will use any people genuinely seeking him. All I’m saying is the belief system and doctrines of Roman Catholicism don’t line up with the teachings and doctrines of Christ, nor does the ‘fruit’ of the Catholic organization as a whole seem to line up (nor do many other denominational groups or ‘Chruch’ organizations either though just to be fair…).