Whore of Babylon and a World Religion


#1

I often hear about the “whore of Babylon” label applied to the Catholic Church.

Also, in Revelations it talks about a world religion that is thought to be pure and holy, that God will “pull back the vale to reveal it…”.

How do we answer to “whore of Babylon”? I’m sure that it may be a simple history lesson??

And what might the “the pure and holy world religion” be referring to? I know we don’t have a crystal ball. But, the Catholic Church is also often looked upon as that “world religion thought to be pure and holy” that “God will reveal the truth about…”

Thanks!


#2

Catholic Answers has a couple tracts on this topic:
catholic.com/library/Whore_of_Babylon.asp
catholic.com/library/Hunting_the_Whore_of_Babylon.asp


#3

Many thanks!!


#4

Revelation Chapter 18 identifies the Whore of Babylon as the entity which killed the “apostles.” “Rejoice over her, O heaven, O saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!” (Rev. 18:20). “Apostles” were those chosen leaders who saw the Risen Christ, the last of whom was Paul (1 Cor. 15:7-9; 1 Cor. 9:1). Those First-Century Apostles were martyred by the Pagan Roman Empire. “Matthew suffered martyrdom by the sword at Ethiopia; Mark was dragged through the streets of Alexandria unto his death; Luke was hanged on an olive tree in Greece; Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downward; James was beheaded at Jerusalem; James the Less was thrown from a pinnacle in the temple and beaten to death below; Philip was hanged against a pillar in Phrygia; Bartholomew was flayed alive; Andrew was bound to a cross, and he preached to his persecutors til he died; Thomas had his body pierced; Jude was shot to death with arrows; Mathias was first stoned and then beheaded.” Sheen, Fulton, “Life of Christ,” Chapter 39. Those are the “apostles” who Rev. 18:20 says were killed by the Whore of Babylon: the Pagan Roman Empire.


#5

Awesome stuff. Thank you!


#6

No matter how simple the answer may be, it has been my experience that the crowd that calls the Church the whore of Babylon doesn’t really want to hear our side of the story. I ignore them.


#7

catechizeme…you might greatly enjoy and benefit from David Currie’s book about all these so called end-times verses like the one about the ‘whore of babyon’ in his book published in 2003 called Rapture: The End-Times Error That Leaves the Bible Behind.
You can check out the customer reviews at amazon.com.
best to you.


#8

Thanks so much. I hear that is a great book. I will research that as a resource.


#9

The same Protestants who apply the Whore of Babylon label to the Catholic Church simultaneously claim that Peter was writing literally when he opened his epistle referring to Babylon (they do this to undermine the notion that Peter was the first pope).

I would ask them if Babylon = Babylon or Babylon = Rome first. If the latter, then the discussion of Peter will be more fruitful later.

Secondly, I would ask why they think Revelation to be our future and not our past given the references to the Roman Empire (not the Roman Catholic Church) and to Nero in particular. An historical timeline would help.


#10

It is worth noting that you guys are missing part of the Protestant (most common group to make the “whore of Babylon” claim) view. That view not only includes that Roman Catholicism isn’t what it claims to be, but in fact that it is directly tied into “pagan Rome”. Protestants generally see the Roman Catholic Church as a gradual evolution and distortion of Christianity which came to include much of paganism, and thus, to the Protestant mind, the separation between Roman Catholicism and ancient, pagan Rome is really not much of a separation at all.

Always remember, when approaching these kinds of topics, that you have to consider what they really think. You can’t simply use straw-man arguments and hope to convince anyone, especially if you’re distorting what they actually believe in the first place.


#11

Well, when people say “The Roman Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon”, it’s not really Catholics wielding the strawman, right?


#12

PC Master–I would point out that you just performed what you caution against in the above. The term “Protestants” in your first paragraph is a major generalization on your part. There just isn’t a “general” Protestant view of Christianity on this or any point. So, yes, we do have to consider what people “really” think. Some Protestants, I’d agree, believe as you suggest, but there are many many “flavors” on this issue–including a very shallow view, with no historical claim, that the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon just because it’s different from “my” version of Christianity…

Then there are those who do not claim the Catholic Church is connected to this image at all.

So there are lots of Protestant views to consider with this question…

DJim


#13

Sure it is. You’re not taking into account the whole thought process here. They’re not (usually) simply trumping up arguments that they know are ridiculous. They believe them for a reason, as I tried to explain above.

The straw man is assuming that Protestants are just making a sweeping claim with no supporting evidence. But you haven’t really asked to find out why they believe that in the first place.

Indeed – there are those out there who are quite shallow, and really have no basis for their views. Those sort, just like Roman Catholics who simply assert “the Roman Catholic Church is right, no matter what!” with no support, are ones I simply ignore (or try to). The group I was speaking of are those who believe in the whore of Babylon being the Roman Catholic Church, and have some idea what they’re talking about in the first place.

And that sort largely (from my experience with many people from many Protestant denominations) has the understanding I mentioned above.

But of course, it’s easier to call my methodology flawed than to actually address the point I raised. So…how do you respond to the argument I presented? If you have an intelligent Protestant (perhaps like myself), who sees Roman Catholicism as a gradual divergence from Christian origins, having incorporated some paganism along the way, and assuming the same person calls the Roman Catholic Church the whore of Babylon (note, I don’t make the latter claim), how do you respond?

So there are lots of Protestant views to consider with this question…

To my mind, there’s only one view actually worth considering. With the mindless ones who wildly make assertions without having a real understanding of things, it doesn’t matter what you say or do – it won’t be fruitful to discuss with them. With those who don’t agree with the view…there’s obviously no point in it. The only group left is those who make the claim and have an understanding of it, and I’d be willing to bet (if I were the gambling type) that more than 90% of those would also agree that Roman Catholicism started from Christianity and slowly diverged from that.


#14

It may be fruitful for us, Protestant and Catholic, to ponder what the whore of Babylon really is and not get so caught up in acusations of who called who the whore and why. All Christians have a stake in this.
After all, did the ethos of pagan Rome ever really die out? The political institutions of the old Roman empire vanished but the civilization is once again flourishing in present day Western civilization. So it could be that the Whore of Babylon is refering to Western civilization in its present manifestation in its atempt to move away from the Judeo-Christian worldview and towards a secular-humanist outlook., much like pagan Rome had.

Roman 6320


#15

Well, I would ask to see the specific “charges,” so to speak. What “pagan” beliefs or practices would you (or they) claim were embedded in the Roman Catholic Church?

Obviously, I can think of none.

But, the best way to tackle the “Babylon” stuff is from the text itself…

DJim


#16

You haven’t explained anything, insofar as I can tell, merely replaced what you call a sweeping generalization of mine for one of your own.

I am a convert, and my wife and I have had MANY long and Scriptural conversations on Revelation and the Whore of Babylon, she being an ex-Pentecostal.

Why most of those who believe this believe it is no mystery—they were told to. The question is why they were told to believe it, and the answer is that various Protestant sects are Darbyists who find it convenient to avoid entertaining the notion that the Kingdom of God was indeed founded when Christ founded the Catholic Church, and is not some 2,000-plus years in the making. Since it takes a good deal of folding, spinning, and mutilating to torture Daniel to the point that this makes sense, it’s much easier to just “interpret” Revelation to be referring to the Catholic Church and Pope as Whore of Babylon and Anti-Christ respectively.

But, instead of discussing any of that, you could just claim we poor Protestant converts to Catholicism don’t understand the rich tapestry that is premillennial pretribulational dispensationalism and head for the hills, right?


#17

I must have missed where Catholics claimed any or all of the Protestant communities to be the Whore of Babylon. The Whore of Babylon could be anything one would torture it to confess to be, but within apocalyptic tradition and within historical context I’d place my marker on Nero’s Rome. Just to be clear, that would be the city, not the Church.

Rome is gone and will not return. Given the empire spanned a good millennium or two (depending on how one views the Byzantine portion of it) and the Mediterranean world, it’s hard to find much agreement on what the pagan ethos is, since it somehow spawned Caligula as well as Marcus Aurelius, and since the common refrain from Rome’s leading citizens unfavorably compared contemporary mores to ancient virtues.

The secular-humanist view waxes and wanes in various regions over various periods, it is certainly waxing in Europe at present outside of areas of large Muslim influx.

The call for Christian unity is of course always welcome—one might start by refraining from insinuating that Church is Whore and Pope Anti-Christ, as those non-Catholics less interested in unity or theology continue to do.

It is one thing to claim we worship Mary or statues, but servants of the Beast goes entirely to far to remain unchallenged.


#18

Presuming that the “creeping paganism” argument has even been articulated by "Whore of Babylon"ers, those making the argument must:

  1. Establish precisely which “pagan” practices entered the Church and when,

  2. Demonstrate how these practices contradict Scripture,

  3. Demonstrate that their own practices are not pagan practices and do not contradict Scripture.

Thus, if one wants to claim that celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25th is an example of this, one must

  1. Explain how it came to be the traditional date of the Christmas celebration,

  2. Show where celebrating Christ’s birthday on this particular day contradicts the Bible in some fashion,

  3. Demonstrate that your community celebrates Christmas on the “right” day according to Scripture.

I chose the Christmas date as it’s routinely used as a pagan example, but it isn’t much of one in that celebrating a feast on one date versus another is hardly a matter of one’s salvation of God’s revelation, at least as most see it. One presumes the “creeping paganists” have more substantive fish to fry.


#19

#20

To simplify your whole bit there, you’re saying that they must conclusively prove that what they’re saying is true, and that you’ll otherwise believe the Roman Catholic view, yes?

I chose the Christmas date as it’s routinely used as a pagan example, but it isn’t much of one in that celebrating a feast on one date versus another is hardly a matter of one’s salvation of God’s revelation, at least as most see it. One presumes the “creeping paganists” have more substantive fish to fry.

Yes, probably. Such topics might include infallibility, the papacy, Marian “devotion”, and overall discussion of whether the Roman Catholic church is in fact the one true church. And this would bring one back to the whore of Babylon argument.


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