Pope “Changes” The Lord’s Prayer


In my local coffee shop today, a very religious elderly Protestant acquaintance of mine asked me, “Did you hear that the Pope is changing the Lord’s prayer”? He did not know much about the issue but added, with a tone of distain, that the Pope was trying to change the phrase “deliver us from evil” by changing the notion of evil.

Well, after he left the shop, I decided to look up the issue and see what the real story was.  And indeed, my friend’s biases made him wrong in several ways.

Anti-Papist Sentiments

I was raised Protestant, and in my youth, the tension between Catholics and Protestants was high. I grew up with lots of bad talk about Catholics, and back then, it was not about sexual abuse, but then it was tribal.  And in my youth, Catholicism focused mostly on theology and how Catholics have a dictator Pope who they almost treat like a god.

My elderly acquaintance was raised in those years too, and he is a fervent Evangelical Episcopal and thus perhaps his anti-Pope tone. His version of the story supported his distain. But he was wrong in several ways.

The Prayer

Before I go further, you should know that the prayer is one that Jesus apparently taught is disciples.  If you don’t know the prayer, let me show you the two different Bible versions of this short prayer as translated in the NIV (New International Version) and found in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. Chapters and verses are listed:

Matthew 6 (source)

9 ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

Luke 11 (source)

2 ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’

Irony of the Prayer

This prayer is hugely ironic in that much of Protestant prayer is contrary to these supposed instructions of Jesus. Protestants love to pray out loud in large groups signaling their sanctity and they often use very long, verbose prayers with pastors often just using prayer time to keep lecturing the congregation and not talking to their god at all.

Finally, if Jesus’ purpose on Earth was suppose to be the new method to get to heaven (instead of obeying rules and making sacrifices, as was the Jewish way), why didn’t Jesus mention himself in the prayer?  Why didn’t he add at the end (as in done in most Protestant prayers) “all this I ask in Jesus’ name, and thank you for his sacrifice.”  Interestingly, see my deconversion story called, “In Jesus’ Name“.

I am sure you get the point, but I am side tracked.

What is the Lord’s Prayer?

The Christian Bible has four different stories about Jesus. The first three Matthew, Mark and Luke share lots of stuff (thus called the synoptic gospels), but each of these written for a different purpose.  The fourth Gospel is very different, written about 30-40 years after these and makes Jesus a full-blown god, but that is a different story.

The earliest synoptic story, Mark, does not have “The Lord’s Prayer”. The writer of Matthew was trying to convince Jewish believers that Christianity was predicted in Jewish scripture and tradition. Paul wanted Gentiles to expand the church but Matthew was afraid of loosing the Jews, so he rewrote Marks story with several things added or changed to fulfill Old Testament predictions about a coming Savior of the Jewish people — the Messiah — to hopeful entice more Jews into their sect. Such stories in Matthew include: Geography locations, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and a colt, Judas being paid a specific money for betrayal, Judas commits suicide, and more. (see this link)

Well, maybe Matthew thus add the Lord’s Prayer also to persuade Jews that his Christianity was really Jewish (and I am speculating here — so please comment). We know that traditional Jewish prayers, like the Lord’s Prayer, had many similar terms such as “Our Father which art in heaven” and “Hallowed be thy name, “lead us not into sin” and more. Maybe Matthew was signaling Jews saying “See, we are still Jewish”. (see this wiki link and “relation to Jewish prayer).

The majority theory is that Luke either borrowed from Matthew or both of them from another document called “Q” in theology circles (see here).

With that background, I continue.

The Real News

Apparently, this is 2017 news when the Pope felt many current translations of the Lord’s prayer are making an important mistake. (see here, The Jesuit Review)
Both Matt 6:13 and Luke 11:4 has Jesus saying to God “And lead us not into temptation,”

But the Pope tells us that God does not lead people into temptation. God does not tempt people but it is either their own desires or the Devil that tempts. Instead, the Pope feels that the more accurate translations would be “do not let us fall into temptation.”  I won’t go into the rationale for this translation — you can read the article if you wish.  For even without it, my main points have been made.


The Catholic Pope is not trying to change the notion of evil by “changing” the Lord’s prayer.  Instead, he is trying to tighten up Christian theology by making clear that the Christian God doesn’t tempt people into evil.

Does this matters to us religion-free folks, no but it can be fun to see how Christians criticize each other and how they tie theological knots (see my post on deceptive knots of certainty).


Questions to Readers

Have I made any mistakes? I wrote this quickly over the two hours and probably slopped into a few mistakes.  Of course, if you are a believer, you probably feel I made huge mistakes.  But whether you agree or not, hopefully the take-home messages are clear.

All feedback welcome!


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News: Is it Bad for Your Health?

Here is some potentially bad news for you news lovers:

  1. Lifehack: Five Reasons Why Consuming News Excessively is Bad for your Health.
  2. The Guardian : News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier.
  3.  The Cheat Sheet: Is Reading the News Bad for You?

Question to readers: What do you think? Maybe there is both responsible news, and responsible reading.


This is a part of a series of posts on News, see the index here.

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News: Where do you get your news?

The Pew Research Center in 2016 found Americans got their news largely like this:

  • 57% TV (Local & Cable)
  • 38% Online
    • On-line Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube …
    • On-line Professional Writing: New sites, Blogs, many YouTube,
  • 25% Radio
  • 20% Printed Newspapers

The Pew Research Center, in 2017, found 67% get at least some news on social media. These include Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat (these are the top growing three) followed by Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Tublr etc… Of these, only 1 in 4 get their news from multiple social media sites — most stick to their favorite. Meanwhile, use of social media by those over 50, Nonwhite and less education is rising.

Question to readers: Where do you get your news?

As for me, it is on-line and radio.  No TV.


This is a part of a series of posts on News, see the index here.


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News: Headline Contradictions

With so much news to be digested, most of us merely scan headlines to get a feel for the world, but depending on sources, the headlines can actually put different bias spins or outright contradictions.

These two headlines below describe the same recent NEJM article.

1. CBS News
Eating more fish or taking omega-3 fish oil supplements can cut heart attack risk, studies find

2. The New York Times
Vitamin D and Fish Oils Are Ineffective for Preventing Cancer and Heart Disease

The News Articles are based on the following to studies which used the same data from 25,871 people from the VITAL Clinical Studies, based in Harvard.

A.  NEJM: Vitamin D Supplements and Prevention of Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease (“VITAL Clinical Studies”) n=25,871. Nov. 10, 2018

B. NEJM: Marine N-3 Fatty Acids and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer.  Nov. 18,2018


This is a part of a series of posts on News, see the index here.

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News: Media Political Bias

Media-Bias-Chart_Version-3.1Reading from a few different media sources is the best way to get a broad perspective of how others see their political worlds. That broad perspective can have any or all of the following benefits:

  • Give you information you would not get otherwise.
  • Change your opinions
  • Help you sympathetically understand others
  • Understanding those you disagree with can help you to dialogue with them and/or persuade.

Above is a chart I like to help you see the biases in some American media sources.  The author has put out an even newer version but it is a bit more cluttered — go see her stuff here.

Question to readers: What do you read to open the windows in your echo chamber?


This is a part of a series of posts on News, see the index here.

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News: Index Post

OdinsEyeThis is an index page to post I will address about how we learn about news in our world.

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Holiday Feelings

Decoration FeelingsMy sweetheart and I are slowly transitioning to an empty nest home life.  Today, as we decorated for the Halloween season, I laughed thinking about how parents and kids view the wonderfulness of decorations.  The above chart shows some of the funny phenomena that can happen for some families.  I realize, of course, that everyone is different, but I hope this captures at least the following, all to common phenomena in order of the graph:

  • kids become adults become parents
  • For the first year or so, the infants are oblivious to decorations but the parents are very happy, and imagine their child loving it too, of course.
  • parents love it with the kids until sometime in adolescent when kids loose interests first and then parents follow
  • Kids become adults, and when they get married, parents, hoping for grandkids get back into the seasons.
  • The adult kids have kids and it all starts over again, with grandparents ecstatic.

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