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CatholiKitty
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If anyone has a question about Catholic beliefs/practices/doctrine, I'll do my best to answer them. Questions about my personal beliefs and experiences are acceptable, but I may not answer some.

 

Being that this is in the Lion's Den, it's fine to post comments, rants, accusations, etc,. Please don't expect a reply unless there's an explicit question(s) at the end of post.

 

I suppose that, to a large degree, I'm doing this out of curiosity. I'm interested in knowing what people will ask and comment on regarding the subject. I also hope to clear up a misconception or two I've noticed while browsing the forum; I think everyone here agrees that knowledge is better than ignorance.

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Thanks for the offer!

 

Maybe you could refresh the Protestants on the explanations for calling a priest "Father" despite the Biblical admonition, and perhaps address the praying to "saints" rather than following the instruction to pray to Jesus. Also, the meaning of "Immaculate Conception" gets muddied in the minds of non-Catholics.

 

There's a start!

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How come the last two Popes were Polish and German? Whatever happened to the good old Italiano Popes riding around in their pimped-out Popemobilestm? Mama mia!

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Thanks for the offer!

 

Maybe you could refresh the Protestants on the explanations for calling a priest "Father" despite the Biblical admonition, and perhaps address the praying to "saints" rather than following the instruction to pray to Jesus. Also, the meaning of "Immaculate Conception" gets muddied in the minds of non-Catholics.

 

There's a start!

 

1) I've wondered about the father thing myself, but honestly, I just didn't think it was all that important. I don't know the Church's stance on it, but maybe we're supposed to recognize God as the Father among all fathers. Like a modified 1st Commandment or something. Or maybe there's some subtleties in the original language that doesn't translate? Still in light of this, calling a priest "father" is a rather ballsy way to show respect, even if one keeps the proper mindset.

 

2) The saints thing is walking a thin line. We don't technically pray to the saints (or at least we're not supposed to). We ask the saints to pray for us on our behalf basically because they're closer to God. It gets muddled further because each saint has a realm that he relates to. (Maybe they hear better when you talk about something they care about?) The whole system is really a hold over from the convert-the-pagan days when we needed substitutes for heroes and demigods.

 

3) Finishing with an easy one, thanks. The Immaculate Conception happened when Jesus's mother Mary was conceived. She was conceived without original sin so that she could be a perfect vessel to bring the savior into the world. I had wondered before if God had done this a few times but the other girls had said "no" when the angel appeared. Interesting fact: This doctrine is one of the few that falls under papal infallibility.

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How come the last two Popes were Polish and German? Whatever happened to the good old Italiano Popes riding around in their pimped-out Popemobilestm? Mama mia!

 

Ha. Well I would like to think that it reflects the Church's sincere desire to embrace the international community; however, it could also be the usual politics or some sort of direction from the Holy Spirit. Either way, it's good to see that the high post isn't as locked down as it used to be.

I hate to burst your bubble, but the Popemobile didn't get pimped out until someone tried to assassinate the Polish pope. It wasn't until then that security was tightened and the Popemobile got its bitchin' bulletproof windows.

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It wasn't until then that security was tightened and the Popemobile got its bitchin' bulletproof windows.

 

I guess God's protection was lifted. Maybe because the Vatican hasn't been paying their protection monies lately?GONZ9729CustomImage1539775.gif

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If anyone has a question about Catholic beliefs/practices/doctrine, I'll do my best to answer them. Questions about my personal beliefs and experiences are acceptable, but I may not answer some.

 

Being that this is in the Lion's Den, it's fine to post comments, rants, accusations, etc,. Please don't expect a reply unless there's an explicit question(s) at the end of post.

 

I suppose that, to a large degree, I'm doing this out of curiosity. I'm interested in knowing what people will ask and comment on regarding the subject. I also hope to clear up a misconception or two I've noticed while browsing the forum; I think everyone here agrees that knowledge is better than ignorance.

I think it's a good idea to have a Catholic representative here.

The next time an evangelical claims the Catholic church is a cult and doesn't represent "true" Christianity, it would be refreshing to have a Catholic address them.

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CatholiKitty, I notice under your avatar it says "Omega-Point Catholicism." Are you referring to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's work? Could you also explain the Omega-Point concept and compare/contrast with traditional Catholic theology?

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It wasn't until then that security was tightened and the Popemobile got its bitchin' bulletproof windows.

 

I guess God's protection was lifted. Maybe because the Vatican hasn't been paying their protection monies lately?GONZ9729CustomImage1539775.gif

 

Well he did survive, but I haven't read anything in the catechism about bulletproof popes. It would be a nice job perk, though.

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CatholiKitty, I notice under your avatar it says "Omega-Point Catholicism." Are you referring to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's work? Could you also explain the Omega-Point concept and compare/contrast with traditional Catholic theology?

 

Woo! I'm excited that someone else knows about Teihard. My discovering and following the Omega-Point concept has been done as an individual; I didn't have anyone to guide my understanding, and I may not have it all down "right". Still, I'll gladly explain it as I understand it.

 

The Omega-Point concept is that the universe has been growing and evolving since it's creation, first materially with the formation of atoms and stars and galaxies. It's now developing biologically/mentally with life, self-aware life, and technology. The internet can be seen as the first step in the evolution of a global consciousness. The increase in consciousness and complexity will continue until the universe (or just humanity) reaches the the Omega Point. (Emergent properties for the ultimate win.)

 

To be poetic about it, the Omega Point is God/Alpha/the Beginning and Omega/destination/still God. It's an end scenario where everything fully joins/merges with God in his divinity. It's appeal is that it comes with a nice, happy ending and that it provides answers to both the problem of evil and "why are we here?".

 

Traditional Catholicism believes in a Final Judgement and, specifically, the bodily resurrection of everyone to face the judgement. We don't think that it will go down like Revelations, but the good will live forever with physical bodies, ruling with Jesus in the New Earth (Universe?) The bad will face whatever judgement Jesus puts on them. Both theologies have a co-ruling of sorts and a transformation of both humanity and world into perfection, but the traditional Catholic view leans heavily towards this being a physical event. Omega Point is transcendental.

 

There aren't many differences other than that because Omega-Point theology is mostly an end-game theory. There may be some minor differences of opinion on what to do in the meantime, but it's the official (aka, not always practiced) Church stance that the important thing is to do good, so the point is rather moot. I personally have rejected the doctrine of original sin as silly and unnecessary because of this belief, and that in turn led to a rethinking of the crucifixion and a further distancing from Paul's Christianity.

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I personally have rejected the doctrine of original sin as silly and unnecessary because of this belief, and that in turn led to a rethinking of the crucifixion and a further distancing from Paul's Christianity.

 

CatholiKitty,

 

Just wondering if you'd read the book Original Blessing by Matthew Fox? I read it and other books he wrote, oh probably 20+ years ago. At the time he wrote the book, Matthew Fox was a catholic priest. He was ex-communicated for this book and others he wrote and the beliefs he espoused. It was through Matthew Fox that I learned of and studied many of the works of Teihard, Teresa of Avila, and others.

 

Who knows....If the catholic church had endorsed him, I might still be "catholic"...

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I personally have rejected the doctrine of original sin as silly and unnecessary because of this belief, and that in turn led to a rethinking of the crucifixion and a further distancing from Paul's Christianity.

 

CatholiKitty,

 

Just wondering if you'd read the book Original Blessing by Matthew Fox? I read it and other books he wrote, oh probably 20+ years ago. At the time he wrote the book, Matthew Fox was a catholic priest. He was ex-communicated for this book and others he wrote and the beliefs he espoused. It was through Matthew Fox that I learned of and studied many of the works of Teihard, Teresa of Avila, and others.

 

Who knows....If the catholic church had endorsed him, I might still be "catholic"...

 

 

I often wonder if I had been brought up Catholic instead of Baptist whether or not I would ever have left Christianity. There is room for mysticism in the Catholic Church - a lot of "wiggle room" there.

 

I admire Meister Eckhart, Matthew Fox, and others. I read Original Blessing about 10 years ago. I have heard of Teilhard de Chardain, but just in the way of some isolated quotes and maybe one book I read quite a long time ago. I like the perspectives of these Christians - their views are so far removed from protestantism and the literal fundamentalism I came from as to be a different religion. Quite a better one, I think.

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I personally have rejected the doctrine of original sin as silly and unnecessary because of this belief, and that in turn led to a rethinking of the crucifixion and a further distancing from Paul's Christianity.

 

CatholiKitty,

 

Just wondering if you'd read the book Original Blessing by Matthew Fox? I read it and other books he wrote, oh probably 20+ years ago. At the time he wrote the book, Matthew Fox was a catholic priest. He was ex-communicated for this book and others he wrote and the beliefs he espoused. It was through Matthew Fox that I learned of and studied many of the works of Teihard, Teresa of Avila, and others.

 

Who knows....If the catholic church had endorsed him, I might still be "catholic"...

 

I haven't read that or any works specifically about Teilhard's ideas. If you recommend Matthew Fox's book, then I'll give it a try. To be honest, I came across Omega Point theology first in Dan Simmons's Hyperion Cantos. (I recommend the series to everyone who likes science fiction. I'm an avid reader, but after reading the first book, Hyperion, Dan Simmons became my favorite author. The first book is like Canterbury Tales done in the space opera genre.) Some point after or during my reading the books, I searched the net for information on Teilhard and his ideas, and I patched my ideas together from that. It would be nice to have a more formal source of information now, and I do love the title.

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I haven't read that or any works specifically about Teilhard's ideas. If you recommend Matthew Fox's book, then I'll give it a try. To be honest, I came across Omega Point theology first in Dan Simmons's Hyperion Cantos. (I recommend the series to everyone who likes science fiction. I'm an avid reader, but after reading the first book, Hyperion, Dan Simmons became my favorite author. The first book is like Canterbury Tales done in the space opera genre.) Some point after or during my reading the books, I searched the net for information on Teilhard and his ideas, and I patched my ideas together from that. It would be nice to have a more formal source of information now, and I do love the title.

 

Yes, I recommend Original Blessing. I've read several of his books (Whee, We, Wee All The Way Home; The Reinvention of Work; The Coming of the Cosmic Christ; Creation Spirituality; A Spirituality Named Compassion;and the Meister Eckhart and Hildegard of Bignen books) and recommend them all.

 

I just looked at matthewfox.org and also see where he now has an autobiography out, Confessions: The Making of a Post Denomination Priest. The way I view Matthew Fox is that anyone who is banned by Ratz has to be good!

 

Thanks for mentioning Hyperion. I read and enjoyed that and intended on reading more books by Dan Simmons, but never got around to it. Added to Amazon wish list. :)

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Thanks for mentioning Hyperion. I read and enjoyed that and intended on reading more books by Dan Simmons, but never got around to it. Added to Amazon wish list. smile.png

 

Read "Song of Kali" it is simply amazing.

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I often wonder if I had been brought up Catholic instead of Baptist whether or not I would ever have left Christianity. There is room for mysticism in the Catholic Church - a lot of "wiggle room" there.

 

I admire Meister Eckhart, Matthew Fox, and others. I read Original Blessing about 10 years ago. I have heard of Teilhard de Chardain, but just in the way of some isolated quotes and maybe one book I read quite a long time ago. I like the perspectives of these Christians - their views are so far removed from protestantism and the literal fundamentalism I came from as to be a different religion. Quite a better one, I think.

 

Yes, from my experience with my DFH (dear [former-catholic] fundie hubby), I have to agree with you that the type of catholicism I encountered was much better than literal fundamentalism. I was born and raised catholic. Fortunately all the priests and nuns I had experience with were good people and of the more liberal-minded, mystical variety. In fact, it was my catholic middle school course on Roman/Greek/Egyptian mythology when I began seriously questioning the whole 'bible god' concept. Of course the teachers couldn't (wouldn't ?) answer my questions about all the various gods' similarities, but it started me on own exploration. Even though I ultimately wound up on the agnostic-atheist path when I was still in high school, I continued going to the catholic church for various reasons off-and-on until my own kids were teenagers.

 

I admire, respect, and completely agree with Matthew Fox, et al. and I knew others in the church, including clergy, who felt the same way. However, while I was still attending church (last attended early/mid 1990's), I began to see that "wiggle-room" eroding. From what I can tell now, with Ratz totally in charge, unfortunately there is no "wiggle room" anymore.

 

------------------------------

 

P.S. Thanks for the "Song of Kali" recommendation. It's now on my to-read list.

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Thanks for mentioning Hyperion. I read and enjoyed that and intended on reading more books by Dan Simmons, but never got around to it. Added to Amazon wish list. smile.png

 

Read "Song of Kali" it is simply amazing.

 

Ilium and Olympos too. It's the Trojan War plus robots with some Shakespeare thrown in.

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I admire, respect, and completely agree with Matthew Fox, et al. and I knew others in the church, including clergy, who felt the same way. However, while I was still attending church (last attended early/mid 1990's), I began to see that "wiggle-room" eroding. From what I can tell now, with Ratz totally in charge, unfortunately there is no "wiggle room" anymore.

 

Ratzinger is temporary, a step back in an overall upward movement. Then again, I was born and raised towards the end of the JP2 era, so I might be a bit more hopeful than realistic. Except from individual church attenders, I haven't really experienced fundie Catholicism. Even at my straight-laced conservative-culture high school, run by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, we were taught about (at least some of) the bad parts of church history and the bible. We even covered the Babylonian flood myth. (My sophomore year religion teacher was one of the most amazing people I've met. He's a Brother and a vegetarian and strong enough to through a student across the room; he wouldn't, though, because he deeply respects Buddhism and even led us in meditation a few times. He's also bald and taught the bible studies course, and his favorite story to teach is the one where she-bears tore apart the children that made fun of the bald prophet.) I think that Zoroastrianism was mentioned at the beginning of the church history course, but sadly, I don't remember it being expounded upon to any extent.

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You are an interesting person, CK!

 

You are apparently a Christian. You have found this site. You signed up and started posting. From everything I have seen, you have conducted yourself in an exemplary manner, and have not earned the "Authentic Christian Believer" label sported by those who would try to lead us back to their version of The Ultimate TruthTM. You found the site to have enough merit and were gracious enough to help Dave out with the expenses. Unusual and refreshing.

 

So if I may ask you two personal questions: what sort of role does religion play for you, and what generated your interest in this site?

 

Secondly, I would like to explore Centauri's post (#7) a little further. There are a fair number of whackjobs fundamentalist protestants (some come here) who are convinced that they are "True Christians" (whatever that may be) while catholics are not (you don't believe like me, therefore you are not a christian). They will often claim that catholics do not follow the bible (maintaining that they themselves do, of course). Most will focus on doctrinal differences, sometimes accusing you of idol worship (you have STATUES! eek.gif ) or worshiping demons (intercession of the saints). A few may take a different tact might attack papal infallibility and sacred tradition.

 

How would your respond for those protestants who think that they are true christians, but catholics are not?

 

Finally, I agree that we'd live in a slightly saner world if we had another JP2 instead of Benedict, and I hope you are right about Benedict being a temporary backward step. Do you think the average man-on-the street catholic has followed suit in the past few decades? I was raised catholic until I was swooped into a pentecostal cult because of my mother's conversion when I was a pre-teen. 40 years ago, I knew devout catholics, but none that were energetically gung-ho, along the lines of modern day evangelicals. Today I know at least two catholics who seem overtly gung-ho. There has clearly been a broader cultural trend, at least in America, toward a more "fundamentalist" or "evangelical" stance (for lack of better terms). In some cases groups of catholics have formed alliances with conservative protestants to promote a common social agenda. How much do you think that catholics in general have become caught up in this tide?

 

Oh, and welcome to the site!

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In my journey, I was attracted to the Catholic Church because of the historical roots (searching for the one, true, original church) as well as the more fundamentalist aspects of it. The more liberal and progressive moves of the church seem reasonable for our modern society, but coming from an evangelical Protestant background it was exactly these moves that make the Church seem less biblical to me.

 

The basic problem for me with Catholicism is that they want to be relevant in today's world, yet they are also holding on to historical dogmas borne out of middle ages infallibility that are neither biblical nor reasonable in the modern age. It seems a mashed up doctrine of ideas, some of which in the "sacred tradition" have no biblical bearing except that somewhere along the line a pope declared them from the infallible seat of Peter and the church is stuck with them today. I don't like Benedict, but he is a great mind and scholar and much more consistent with history...and that's why he's unpopular. Don't you think?

 

With that said, I'm a HUGE Dan Simmons fan as well.

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You are an interesting person, CK!

 

You are apparently a Christian. You have found this site. You signed up and started posting. From everything I have seen, you have conducted yourself in an exemplary manner, and have not earned the "Authentic Christian Believer" label sported by those who would try to lead us back to their version of The Ultimate TruthTM. You found the site to have enough merit and were gracious enough to help Dave out with the expenses. Unusual and refreshing.

 

So if I may ask you two personal questions: what sort of role does religion play for you, and what generated your interest in this site?

 

Secondly, I would like to explore Centauri's post (#7) a little further. There are a fair number of whackjobs fundamentalist protestants (some come here) who are convinced that they are "True Christians" (whatever that may be) while catholics are not (you don't believe like me, therefore you are not a christian). They will often claim that catholics do not follow the bible (maintaining that they themselves do, of course). Most will focus on doctrinal differences, sometimes accusing you of idol worship (you have STATUES! eek.gif ) or worshiping demons (intercession of the saints). A few may take a different tact might attack papal infallibility and sacred tradition.

 

How would your respond for those protestants who think that they are true christians, but catholics are not?

 

Finally, I agree that we'd live in a slightly saner world if we had another JP2 instead of Benedict, and I hope you are right about Benedict being a temporary backward step. Do you think the average man-on-the street catholic has followed suit in the past few decades? I was raised catholic until I was swooped into a pentecostal cult because of my mother's conversion when I was a pre-teen. 40 years ago, I knew devout catholics, but none that were energetically gung-ho, along the lines of modern day evangelicals. Today I know at least two catholics who seem overtly gung-ho. There has clearly been a broader cultural trend, at least in America, toward a more "fundamentalist" or "evangelical" stance (for lack of better terms). In some cases groups of catholics have formed alliances with conservative protestants to promote a common social agenda. How much do you think that catholics in general have become caught up in this tide?

 

Oh, and welcome to the site!

 

Oh my, so many questions. Thank you for the welcome!

 

I'll start with how I came to this site: I was reading an article on cracked.com (I don't remember which, sorry.) that linked to a testimony in the archives. It was done by a teacher, and it explained some of the fundie mindset and conversion tactics. I had been interested in understanding fundies better because of the ones that would visit my university twice a month, so I decided to read more. I went to the main page and read the featured articles and extimonies. It was then that I found the words of those who had suffered in terrible darkness because of Christianity. I was shocked and appalled; I had heard of similar stories before, but I didn't have anything to relate to them, no way to connect. Reading the words directly from the people that had suffered so was a bit shaking for me. I read on and decided that this place was made of good people who were now better off without Christianity and dedicated to helping lead others that are still confused/afraid/suffering. I decided that this is a good place and that I want to be part of it.

 

What role religion plays for me... Ha, can't say I have an answer for that. I'd say that it's a guide, but I reject some basic beliefs of my own church. I think that it gives me direction still. The tenets I follow give me something to work towards on both a personal level and for humanity in general. I've actually rejected religion altogether once in high school. An episode of The Twilight Zone got me thinking about the afterlife, and somehow (I honestly don't remember the thought process) I decided that logics negated God. I fell right through moral relativism into nihilism. Two days later we watched Schindler's List in history class and I was like "Why the fuck does it matter?" That was a terrible two weeks for me until I found a flaw in the logics I used.

That was just my experience, though. I'm not saying that morals can't exist without religion; I just couldn't see what was ultimately the point to them anymore.

 

For the protestant, honestly, I wouldn't respond to them. The first time I ran into some of them was basically like this, "Lol, whut? ...wait are you... you ARE serious? …the fuck?" I now just listen to them and think very loudly at them while trying to figure out what makes them think these things. I will give my thoughts on the various points you've brought up:

->Don't follow the bible: No way to reconcile this. Catholics don't do a literal bible, but the fundies do. The rift is too great to cross.

->Idols: Hold over from the pagan-conversion era, yes, but a physical representation does help focus the mind. Most of the statues are essentially hero figures; not worshipped but seen as an example to emulate.

->Saints as demons worship: Laughter. Seriously, I've never heard it spun this way. Do they understand what being a saint entails? Either way, it's not worship. Fundies don't see any problem asking devout, living Christians to pray for them, so what's the problem with asking dead, devout Christians?

->RCC is a cult!!!: 1) They're just angry cause we're older, bigger, and different. 2) Most cults rely on a charismatic leader; have you seen the current Pope? He looks like Palpatine. I wouldn't be shocked if lightning came out of his fingers. 3) It's harder to get in that it is to leave.

->True Christians: There is no True Christian. We're all just trying to get it right and hoping for the best.

 

I've said it elsewhere, but in my experience, the average man-on-the-street Catholic goes to church but follows conservatism. The priests and teachers I've had did follow the trend of the church, though. My twelve years of Catholic-school education had a definite Vatican II feel to them. The average Catholic is probably Republican, but the RCC has a large volume of its own social teachings. I've found most of these to be rather inspiring. Unfortunately, the Catholics you're talking about and most of the media coverage only follows the sexual teachings, the premises of which I find to be flawed. They aren't really interested in the wonderful scholarly side of Catholicism, just the Christian part.

 

Wow... I hope that wasn't too long, but it's rare that I get to cut loose on this forums. Most importantly, I hope I answered your questions adequately.

(It’s late now. I’ll answer the next questioner sometime tomorrow.)

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In my journey, I was attracted to the Catholic Church because of the historical roots (searching for the one, true, original church) as well as the more fundamentalist aspects of it. The more liberal and progressive moves of the church seem reasonable for our modern society, but coming from an evangelical Protestant background it was exactly these moves that make the Church seem less biblical to me. The basic problem for me with Catholicism is that they want to be relevant in today's world, yet they are also holding on to historical dogmas borne out of middle ages infallibility that are neither biblical nor reasonable in the modern age. It seems a mashed up doctrine of ideas, some of which in the "sacred tradition" have no biblical bearing except that somewhere along the line a pope declared them from the infallible seat of Peter and the church is stuck with them today. I don't like Benedict, but he is a great mind and scholar and much more consistent with history...and that's why he's unpopular. Don't you think? With that said, I'm a HUGE Dan Simmons fan as well.

 

Sorry that I'm taking so long to answer, but I'm hung up on one part of your post. What exactly do you mean by "relevant in today's world"? Could you please provide an example of how you see the Rcc trying to accomplish this?

 

What's your favorite Dan Simmons book?

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CatholiKitty,

 

Do you believe in a literal heaven and/or hell? If so, what do you believe determines which one an individual is sent to, and what information do you use to support these beliefs?

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CatholiKitty,

 

Do you believe in a literal heaven and/or hell? If so, what do you believe determines which one an individual is sent to, and what information do you use to support these beliefs?

 

I apologize for taking so long to reply. This past weekend was a busy one.

 

I do believe in a literal heaven but not a physical one. If there is an eternal bliss waiting for us, then I doubt it involves wings and lounging all day on clouds and watching rainbows. While all of that does sound nice (and I have wanted to learn to play the harp), it just seems to simplistic to be the realm of an all-powerful creator. I imagine that heaven is some state of being closer to God's perfection/divinity.

Hell I am drawing away from cautiously. I've yet to find a theology that adequately accommodates both hell and a benevolent god. Some of the salvation/damnation theories attribute it to divine honor or divine justice, but to me, these concepts feel like medieval thought transposed onto God. If there even is a hell, then going there would require some inner rejection of God’s grace. If one gets to make the final choice to accept or reject said grace after death, then hell may well be empty. I’ve also been tossing around the oblivion idea to see if it has any merit.

 

I don't really have any hard information for most of these beliefs. Mostly they come from twelve years of Catholic education and about eighteen years of regular church attendance. This gave me a general idea of belief that I later filtered through some logic, various readings on the subjects, and a lot of hope. Asking me to support these beliefs does make me a bit uncomfortable because I'm used to things that can be proven systematically. For example, math: you start by defining numbers as an Archimedean well-ordered set (or something like that), which gives numbers certain properties based on naturalistic observations that everyone can agree with. With those starting properties and pure logic, one can eventually derive calculus.

The divine/supernatural has very little in the way of natural, agreeable observations. I know that the initial properties I pick (such as the sacredness of human life, God's benevolence, etc,) are largely based on person preference and will not be agreeable to everyone. This makes the belief system built upon these axioms ultimate indefensible. That said, I'm satisfied, though not complacent, with having a belief system that promotes general goodness, is in sync with scientific findings, and contains (to my knowledge) no internal logical contradictions.

 

My feelings on any of this could change rather soon. I've never done independent bible study before, and my Ignatius study bible should be coming in this week along with Original Blessing. ^^

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