I have to agree with you. Where does the bible endorse slavery? True, in the Old Testament, there's an accounting for killing another's slave, but I'm unaware of anywhere the bible says that slavery's ok - particularly in the teachings of Christ. I also refute the notion that people who believe in God are blind followers. Hang around a group of Catholics some time, and see how many are in open disagreement with the Pope. I believe that's a common misconception - we have no brains of our own, and we just do as directed. Baloney. I think it's particularly true in the Catholic church because of the existence of the Pope. I get into discussions with non-Catholics who use the statements of the Pope as a debating point. They assume that we HAVE to follow all the statements made by the Pope. Wrong. They assume that the Church is an autocracy where priests and lay people aren't allowed to come to conclusions regarding morality on our own. Wrong again. The arguments to that effect REALLY came to the forefront in the 2004 election. When a variety of Cardinals called for excommunication of Catholic politicians who support abortion, I can't tell you how many times I heard statements like "well, what about the death penalty? You support that, but the Pope has spoken out against the death penalty - why shouldn't conservative Catholic politicians be excommunicated too?" First, the assumption is that all conservatives support the death penalty. Not true. I do, in some cases, but have called it into question for routine use. Second the argument that because the Pope speaks out against something - we're supposed to follow everything he says to the letter. Again, wrong. The Pope can speak with infallibility (a concept that many, including many Catholics, have problems with), but he rarely does. When he does, he's said to be speaking ex-cathedra. As the head of the Church on earth. But just because he makes a statement against things like the Iraq war, or the death penalty, doesn't mean THOSE statements carry the same weight as the opposition to abortion. For those types of issues, we are free to let our moral compass guide us. For issues that are seen as being "evil under all circumstances" - e.g. abortion - the Church lays down the law. Trust me, I'm sure our priests would LOVE it if people blindly followed what they said -- the lines at the confessional would be a heck of a lot shorter But we don't. We're encourage to seek out the truth. We're encouraged to explore and examine our faith. Heck, our church sponsors many discussions outside of Sunday Mass - including one event called "Faith on Tap" where a bunch of Catholics sit around in a bar with either a priest or decon and discuss issues of the day, and analyze how it fits within the teachings of the church.