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Become A Catholic?


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This may sound absolutely insane but I think I want to become a catholic, even though I don't believe nearly any of the religion's claims. I love the symbolism and the ritual, how every little thing means something. I also am fascinated at how I can trace elements found in Catholicism to earlier cultures, how it is an accumalation of ancient mystery religions (though, if I became one, I obviously would have to keep my mouth shut that I knew all of this.) My question is how do you guys feel about practicing a religion you don't believe in because you like some element of it?

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I am not sure how I feel about it, but you pretty much summed up about half the catholics I've ever known.

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My question is how do you guys feel about practicing a religion you don't believe in because you like some element of it?

I'd feel like a hypocrite, and a silly one at that, but whatever floats your boat. :Wendywhatever:

 

mwc

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Yes, I'd feel like one too. Besides, I like my Sundays the way they are and not having pressure to give money. Additionally, you would be giving implied support to an opressive organization. It would be like becoming a Nazi just becuase they had cool parades and spiffy uniforms.

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Lots of Roman Catholics believe almost none of the doctrine. In fact, a lot of the clergy believe little to none of it. I can understand the appeal of wishing to join the Church. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest and oldest organization on earth, and it is remarkable to belong to a community that unites 1/6 of the world's population. Plus, you could attempt to change it from the inside out like Hans Kung.

 

As you perform the rituals, you could substitute your own mental conception of what's going on. You could imagine that you are entering into an ancient Greek temple to Apollo, the Healer, and that the Eucharist is like some chemotherapy that Apollo, the Physician of souls is giving you in order to help with your process of moral growth.

 

I say go with it. You can always leave it again if you choose -- there is no death sentence for apostasy as in Islam.

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Yes, I'd feel like one too. Besides, I like my Sundays the way they are and not having pressure to give money. Additionally, you would be giving implied support to an opressive organization. It would be like becoming a Nazi just becuase they had cool parades and spiffy uniforms.

 

That's pretty much it. You've got to do what makes you feel good, but you really ought to reconsider the kind of ideas you'd be giving credit to. Even if you don't believe in or condone the ideas of scaring people into belief in a god with the threat of eternal damnation or have respect for the "divine" origin of hatred for homosexuals and non-believers, you're still aiding and abetting the people who do by showing face in their religious indoctrination centers.

There are better religions to dabble in.

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Lots of Roman Catholics believe almost none of the doctrine. In fact, a lot of the clergy believe little to none of it. I can understand the appeal of wishing to join the Church. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest and oldest organization on earth, and it is remarkable to belong to a community that unites 1/6 of the world's population. Plus, you could attempt to change it from the inside out like Hans Kung.

 

As you perform the rituals, you could substitute your own mental conception of what's going on. You could imagine that you are entering into an ancient Greek temple to Apollo, the Healer, and that the Eucharist is like some chemotherapy that Apollo, the Physician of souls is giving you in order to help with your process of moral growth.

 

I say go with it. You can always leave it again if you choose -- there is no death sentence for apostasy as in Islam.

 

 

What are your sources for stating catholic clergy do not believe what they preach? Thanks

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Yeah you're probably right about not supporting something that's fundamentally wrong. That's why I formally left Christianity in the first place. But I still need love that drama ritual has. I remember Anton LaVey once said ritual is a type of psychodrama. I love the emotional state ritual puts people in.

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Yeah you're probably right about not supporting something that's fundamentally wrong. That's why I formally left Christianity in the first place. But I still need love that drama ritual has. I remember Anton LaVey once said ritual is a type of psychodrama. I love the emotional state ritual puts people in.

 

Exactly :)

 

I liked the pomp and circumstance of Nazi rallies, when I used to watch bits of them back in my NS days. It was good fun, but to join a Nazi group just for the kicks of doing rallies wouldn't be quite right, given many of the things they condone, y'know?

 

I also really enjoyed the rituals of my Catholic daze, but when I saw the religion for the sick cult it really is, I couldn't bring myself to attend Mass just for the aethetic qualities, knowing I'd be giving some slight credence to a religion that teaches the most horrible things. I like ritual, but it wouldn't be right to go to Mass, believing what I believe and given what the Church teaches.

 

Even though I'm ultimately Agnostic in regards to the existence of any gods (and lean very much towards the Atheism I espoused publicly a short time ago), I am still Pagan at heart, and find much enjoyment in Pagan ritual. As an Atheist, I did as well, when I participated in a Wiccan rite for the Winter Solstice. The thing about Pagan religions is that you can interpret them any way you choose. You can look at them as purely metaphorical, literalistic, or somewhere between the two. Hence, ritual in most any Pagan religion can be participated in by any number of Theists, Agnostics, or Atheists, and I've interacted with Pagans of all varieties.

 

If you feel the need to indulge in the pomp and drama of ritual, find a Pagan group who is open to having outsiders join in (shouldn't be hard), and preferably of a Pagan religion you find morally and ethically respectable. That way, you get to ritualize and enjoy all that goes along with it, and you won't be supporting sick ass cults of hatred and absurdity.

 

Just some food for thought.

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My question is how do you guys feel about practicing a religion you don't believe in because you like some element of it?

 

Pretty much like marrying someone you don't love, but who dresses nicely and takes you to the best parties. Or becoming freinds with someone you can't stand because you like to ride in their car.

 

It will either hurt for a long time, and then end badly and hurtfully, or you will euthanize the part of yourself that is crying for something real.

 

Thems words of wisdom there. You ain't gonna get any better advice than this I think Ahh!

 

Ritualism doesn't really do it for me, so I can't empathize and can't offer you much insight on this issue. Perhaps paganism though? Seems a bit less distastful than a self-hating, self-denying blood cult.

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Well, it depends what you mean by practice. I'm planning on going to church for the Easter Triduum* because I always enjoyed those services. But then I still have a soft spot for Catholicism. My only worry is that they'll have me wanting to go back...so be careful that you're being rational and not giving in to emotionalism.

 

Anyway, going to Mass occasionally is not the same as practising the religion. If you don't believe it, then why bother praying, fasting, reading the Bible and all the rest of it? But going to Mass, sure, why not? It's not like you're going to really be praying along with everyone else or going up to receive Communion.

 

*(Maundy Thursday Mass, Good Friday service and Easter Saturday vigil....sorry, no matter how much I try to forget, I can still remember pointless ecclesiastical latin, feast days and random bits of obscure dogma. It really pisses me off. My apologies).

 

peace

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It is certainly possible to do this in the catholic church, and that's something that's not true of any church.

 

However, I can only see being a CINO if you're born into it or marry into it. Otherwise it would probably work better to just attending mass without actually trting to go through a process to become a non-believing catholic.

 

I can sort of identify with your appreciation of the ritual, symbolism, and myth. I go to mass once every two or three years (I was raised catholic as a small child, but it was a fundy church I deconverted from), and I don't feel like a hypocrite for not believing a word of the theology.

 

It's true there are a LOT of catholics out there who hold views not even remotely resembling the edicts of the vatican and maintain a benign philosophy that doesn't feature the sadistic imperialistic and control aspects of evangelical xianity. Yeah, it is fundamentally incorrect, but I've gone to mass on rare occasion since my deconversion, as well as a wiccan event once (although I have no belief in pagan gods), and I do think that the mythology of ancient cultures is interesting--although you're not going to find many services with a lot serious Zeus followers these days--the xian god has the current monopoly in these parts. On the other hand, it is hard to overlook the violent, bloody, and corrupt history that comes along with the church.

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Anyway, going to Mass occasionally is not the same as practising the religion.

 

How?

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Anyway, going to Mass occasionally is not the same as practising the religion.

 

How?

 

Because it doesn't include attending Mass on all days of obligation, praying, studying the religion and scriptures, receiving the sacraments or, most importantly, actually believing it. When most of a religion's claims and processes are metaphysical, I don't think it is fair to say that one can practise that religion by simply going through the motions. You'd have to actually be in the process of genuinely trying to do what the religion says to gain salvation or whatever.

 

peace

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Personally, I couldn't do it. I'd especially discourage formally joining because you're adding implicit support to their policies around the world. Some of which are killing people. Teaching people that condoms are evil in countries where AIDS is an epidemic is murder in my book. It also has many, many other things which I would hesitate to add my support to.

 

In fact, I was originally raised Catholic (before my mother turned pentecostal) and it occasionally bothers me, to this day, that my name is counted as a member of that organization. If I weren't so confused as to the process, I would seek official excommunication just for the statement it makes.

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What are your sources for stating catholic clergy do not believe what they preach? Thanks

What I said is that Catholic clergy no longer believe Catholic doctrine. By Catholic doctrine, I mean the kind of theology taught in the Bible and expounded most clearly in the most formal of Catholic theologians: Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, and Anselm of Canterbury. I don't mean to say that they brazenly teach what they believe to be lies. Rather, they teach things which are different from that which is properly "Christian." I guess this is just my conclusion based on several observations:

 

Modern catholic theology is decidedly "universalist" in the sense that they don't believe that God will punish anyone except for purposes of amendment and that God will forgive non-Christians and Christians alike. See the sermons of JPII and the books by Hans Urs Van Balthasar and Karl Rahner. Given that this is such a departur from the Biblical text and the traditional doctrine, it appears that modern Catholic theologians are content to "make things up as they go along." They care not what the Bible actually says or what they as a church used to say. The clergy see the Christian theology as a fluid thing to be changed by the church at will.

 

I have heard anecdotal evidence that the ranks of the Roman Catholic clergy is filled with homosexual men, and many of them are practicing without pangs of guilt. Catholic seminaries have very many homosexual men. One of my friends who is gay just entered into a Catholic seminary. He sees no problem whatsoever with being an active and out homosexual and a Catholic. Why? Because he does not believe Christian theology but sees the church as an institution that can positively affect society.

 

I have heard other anecdotes about the Catholic Clergy expressing a great deal of unhappiness with (traditional) Christian doctrine, and a willingness to teach contrary theology. For an example, see the book "Good Goats." Although written by catholic therapists, it has the imprimi potest -- the official approval, noted on the title page -- of the Society of Jesuits. The Catholic Church no longer teaches a raft of things that used to be obligator: "God's wrath," "hell," "atonement," etc. etc. etc. The Catholic church has discovered that Biblical theology is bankrupt and have moved on.

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Very good and well explained observations. As a once devout catholic, I agree with many of your observations. Even in our small town, over my life priests have left for marriage or were discovered initiating affairs and left. There are many devoted priests who seem to be wonderful people though. I view the church as an institution and I have evolved into a weak atheist at this point.

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[OOPS!!! I just found this again. I must have gotten sidetracked before posting it. It was written a few hours ago so I don't know what has been posted in the mean time. :shrug: ]

 

Ahh! I can see your attraction to Catholicism. I feel some myself. I also think very good advice has been given for not joining as an unbeliever. I would have serious problems living with myself for pretending to be something I'm not. All the same, I personally am seriously considering regular attendance at a modern Mennonite church, mainly for the community and music.

 

Whether or not I would get membership depends on a lot of things. I believe there is a possibility that god exists out there but I think the possibility is very slim. All the same, I would not have to exactly lie to say I believe in god, given that god can mean pretty much anything and I know some of the people at this particular church see god in various way, including "pretty much anything."

 

It is also possible to see "Christ" as meaning human love and goodness. I most certainly see humans as inherently good. I've written papers on this.

 

Salvation can, in my opinion, be seen as being saved from a deadly self-image. I have definitely been "saved" from that and my "conversion story" is pretty dramatic. It was a "new birth" of the first order. I literally became a new creature in all except body. My only problem was that I was consciously turning my back on the God of Israel and Jesus so I didn't think it counted.

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As you perform the rituals, you could substitute your own mental conception of what's going on. You could imagine that you are entering into an ancient Greek temple to Apollo, the Healer, and that the Eucharist is like some chemotherapy that Apollo, the Physician of souls is giving you in order to help with your process of moral growth.

I agree. It's the rituals that attract people regardless of where they are. This is what rituals are supposed to be...mystical. They are supposed to be an individual's experience of the metaphysical. Campbell (mythologist) tells of the downfall of the Catholic church due to the leaders trying to explain the rituals to the congregation. He tells that the priest would stand up in front facing away from the alter and chant in Latin(?) and it was left a mystery. Now they are turned toward the people and speak it in English. This takes the mystery out of it and leaves the person with a rigid understanding. No one can be spiritual through someone else's understanding.

 

Anyway...why not?

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This may sound absolutely insane but I think I want to become a catholic, even though I don't believe nearly any of the religion's claims. I love the symbolism and the ritual, how every little thing means something. I also am fascinated at how I can trace elements found in Catholicism to earlier cultures, how it is an accumalation of ancient mystery religions (though, if I became one, I obviously would have to keep my mouth shut that I knew all of this.) My question is how do you guys feel about practicing a religion you don't believe in because you like some element of it?

 

To this day I have almost zero hatred or bitterness for the Catholic church. In fact, it kind of has a warm spot in my heart. Most Catholics I know practice the religion, some quite fervently, but I've only met maybe one who saw his religion as the sole way to salvation; in fact the ones I know just view it as the localized spiritual tradition of a far greater spiritual practice. That is, "Me and that Hindu guy both worship the same God, just in different ways." And this is in one of the most Catholic towns in the US. (St. Louis, that is, not Fenton.)

 

I tell people now, I'm a "cultural Catholic". In the sense that where I come from, people are Catholic, we give each other little saints' cards and medals to keep each other safe on the road or through an illness, we bury St. Joseph's statue upside-down in the backyard when we're selling a house, etc. But otherwise I'm mostly Hindu, I prefer Hindu and pagan festivals to Christian ones.

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You'd have to actually be in the process of genuinely trying to do what the religion says to gain salvation or whatever.

 

Part of which is going to Mass. If Xians can't have fervent believers in the pews, dabblers are welcome - they consider dabblers easy marks for conversion.

 

But hey, t's your life - if sitting through indoctrination services wherein people grovel (at least spiritually) before one of the worst gods ever invented by the human imagination and promulgated by an organization which has millions of gallons of human blood on its hands makes you happy and doesn't hurt you in any way, then have fun.

 

I just cannot see how anyone can, in good conscience, even show face in a dump like a Catholic Church, knowing what the Church has done (and continues to do) :shrug:

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Guest thaumaturgist

Yes, Catholic symbolism and ritual are lovely: a broken and bloodied man nailed to a cross; his followers kneeling before their lord, eating his body and drinking his blood; his priests (all male, of course) telling the congregation that suffering and self-sacrifice are more valuable than happiness and self-actualization, and they are sinful and would burn in hell were it not for the crucified man and his one true church; the hymns reminding the congregation that they are nothing without their god.

 

And it is fascinating how the Catholic church has consumed other cultures and mystery religions, twisting and perverting their symbols, rituals, beliefs, and celebrations to expand the church's wealth, power and control.

 

Lovely and fascinating? Only if you're not paying attention, or you're purposefully ignorant. Many Catholics are both, because that's what the church encourages. I speak from experience: I grew up a devout Catholic, and later came to my senses. Yes, there's a beauty and majesty to the symbols and rituals, but it's designed to manipulate and deceive. Do you enjoy being lied to and manipulated? It's a serious question -- some of the most harmful lies and manipulations can be very attractive when they appear to fulfill an important need or heartfelt desire. Don't fall for it. Create your own symbols and rituals, or find a group whose symbols and rituals reflect underlying principles that are truly beneficial.

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Yes, Catholic symbolism and ritual are lovely: a broken and bloodied man nailed to a cross; his followers kneeling before their lord, eating his body and drinking his blood; his priests (all male, of course) telling the congregation that suffering and self-sacrifice are more valuable than happiness and self-actualization, and they are sinful and would burn in hell were it not for the crucified man and his one true church; the hymns reminding the congregation that they are nothing without their god.

 

Nice post :goodjob:

 

There's more worth to be found in our own imaginations, or in almost any other religion, barring Catholicism's other Abrahamic relatives :)

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