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any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?
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2013-03-11 3:37 PM
in reply to: #4642926

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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?

I was born and raised Catholic and continued to attend the Church through college graduation. I went off and on until about 8 years ago. There was some earth shattering news that I received and it made me question everything. Instead of seeking further, I abandoned.

About 3 years ago, I went though arguably one of the hardest parts of my life. It was then that several people, whom I have known for years, reached out to me for assistance. I took one of them up on their offer to attend a Baptist church and the sermon that day was “Get out of the boat” (some of you will get it). 3 weeks later, I joined the church and 6 months after that both my wife and I were baptized and saved.

If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today….with my family, with my life, with all that I have. Sure….we go through struggles, but I don’t question WHY, I’m going through it….I question what I can do to get through it. My solace is thru prayer and seeking guidance from like minded friends and confidants.

I’ve had friends and family try to poke at my beliefs and why I believe in a book full of parables that was written thousands of years ago. My answer is this…..I use the Bible as a guide of how to live my life. It’s hard to argue that following the New Testament will guide me down a path of evil. It’s the same as someone reading a “self help” book and following those ‘rules to life’. To each their own.

I’m not a Bible thumper nor do I try to convert anyone that doesn’t want to be, nor will I tell someone they’re wrong for not believing. However, my friends/family/acquantiences know what I believe and they know that I’d be there for them in a heartbeat if they ask me for any spiritual help and guidance, just as some of them were there for me when I needed it.

A pastor told me last week....the hardest day of being a Christian people find out you are. From that point on, you're scrutinized and questioned like no other time.


2013-03-11 4:05 PM
in reply to: #4655512

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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?
tealeaf - 2013-03-11 4:25 PM
KateTri1 - 2013-03-11 3:42 PM
mehaner - 2013-03-11 12:54 PM
KateTri1 - 2013-03-11 11:12 AM
mehaner - 2013-03-11 10:59 AM
dontracy - 2013-03-11 10:55 AM

mehaner - so my question is...why bother with god/church/etc when life just sucks sometimes, no matter who you are.

The answer is in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Here's an analogy. To get to the finish line in a triathlon, you need to suffer through training.  

We'll never completely eliminate suffering in this life.  Everybody's got a thing they gotta suffer.  Sometimes certain acts attempting to alleviate suffering are actually immoral and in time simply add to human suffering.

So if the ultimate fishing line is heaven, how do we bear that suffering in this pilgrim life on earth?  For that, Jesus gave us the Eucharist.  He is truly present to us here and now, body, blood, soul, and divinity. It is the source and summit of the Christian life.  It is a foretaste of heaven.

We're required to attend Mass week in and week out. This is required because it's good for us.  No matter how down we might be, there is the Eucharist.  It's there when we're happy as well, and every emotional state in between.

There is indeed meaning in human suffering.  With the Eucharist, we're given nourishment to strengthen us for the race.  The farther you go, the more suffering will make sense.

yeah...that does not help much at all.  certainly doesn't apply to my situation in the least.  taking communion helps me get through suffering?  nope.

some people just are going to have hardships and i understand faith as a coping mechanism, but it just isn't going to work for everyone.

I think it depends on how one defines... faith.

And when you say "it isn't going to work" what are you meaning by that? Are you talking about "peace"? Because, having peace can help people cope with all kinds of difficult situations. 

define it how you want - church, religion, god, etc.  if it was a solution for everyone, there would be no atheists.  that's all i'm saying.  i understand that it works for some people.  to me, it's pretty meaningless.

well.. I believe that Atheism is pretty much a set of strongly defined beliefs. If one is taking the time to define their disbelief in religion, there is a reason.. therefor one is getting SOMETHING out of doing that. I kind of feel that an agnostic is the least religious person.

Personally, I think sometimes people define religion/spirituality a certain way, make a judgement,  turn their backs.. and miss out. 

It's interesting, then, that by and large, atheists and agnostics score the highest when it comes to religious knowledge, and know more about religion, in general, than the "religious."

The Pew Forum on Religious Religion and Public Life released a survey on religious knowledge today. Atheists and Agnostics scored higher on it than anyone else, closely followed by Jews and Mormons, all Christians, Protestants and Catholics, were far behind.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/09/28/130191248/atheists-and-agnostics-know-more-about-bible-than-religious

I think it's partially because many of us spend time thinking about and considering different aspects of different religions, rather than adhering to dogma laid down by people who lived thousands of years ago. So, if by "least religious," you mean "most thoughtful," I'm on board with that.

Tealeaf, after reading the last few posts I was going to post the exact same thing.  To say that agnostics miss out the most was something I've never heard.  The very definition of agnostic seems to me to be incredibly open-minded.  Atheists by definition do not believe in God.  Believers by definition believe in God.  Agnostics abstain from the yea or nay vote.  Show us the proof and we'll believe or not believe.  Until there's proof, (in my opinion) the correct answer to, Is there a God? is not A: Yes or B: No

...it's C: Maybe.

 



Edited by ChineseDemocracy 2013-03-11 4:06 PM
2013-03-11 4:12 PM
in reply to: #4655577

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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?
ChineseDemocracy - 2013-03-11 4:05 PM

Tealeaf, after reading the last few posts I was going to post the exact same thing.  To say that agnostics miss out the most was something I've never heard.  The very definition of agnostic seems to me to be incredibly open-minded.  Atheists by definition do not believe in God.  Believers by definition believe in God.  Agnostics abstain from the yea or nay vote.  Show us the proof and we'll believe or not believe.  Until there's proof, (in my opinion) the correct answer to, Is there a God? is not A: Yes or B: No

...it's C: Maybe.

 



Catholics actually see merit in Partial Agnosticism.....and it's actually okay to question.

2013-03-11 4:17 PM
in reply to: #4655525

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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?

bradleyd3 - 2013-03-11 4:37 PM I was born and raised Catholic and continued to attend the Church through college graduation. I went off and on until about 8 years ago. There was some earth shattering news that I received and it made me question everything. Instead of seeking further, I abandoned. About 3 years ago, I went though arguably one of the hardest parts of my life. It was then that several people, whom I have known for years, reached out to me for assistance. I took one of them up on their offer to attend a Baptist church and the sermon that day was “Get out of the boat” (some of you will get it). 3 weeks later, I joined the church and 6 months after that both my wife and I were baptized and saved. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today….with my family, with my life, with all that I have. Sure….we go through struggles, but I don’t question WHY, I’m going through it….I question what I can do to get through it. My solace is thru prayer and seeking guidance from like minded friends and confidants. I’ve had friends and family try to poke at my beliefs and why I believe in a book full of parables that was written thousands of years ago. My answer is this…..I use the Bible as a guide of how to live my life. It’s hard to argue that following the New Testament will guide me down a path of evil. It’s the same as someone reading a “self help” book and following those ‘rules to life’. To each their own. I’m not a Bible thumper nor do I try to convert anyone that doesn’t want to be, nor will I tell someone they’re wrong for not believing. However, my friends/family/acquantiences know what I believe and they know that I’d be there for them in a heartbeat if they ask me for any spiritual help and guidance, just as some of them were there for me when I needed it. A pastor told me last week....the hardest day of being a Christian people find out you are. From that point on, you're scrutinized and questioned like no other time.

 

Just imagine being in the minority, a "non-believer."  That same sentence would apply, just substitute "Christian" with "non-believer."  You might be surprised.

2013-03-11 4:21 PM
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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?
ChineseDemocracy - 2013-03-11 4:17 PM

bradleyd3 - 2013-03-11 4:37 PM I was born and raised Catholic and continued to attend the Church through college graduation. I went off and on until about 8 years ago. There was some earth shattering news that I received and it made me question everything. Instead of seeking further, I abandoned. About 3 years ago, I went though arguably one of the hardest parts of my life. It was then that several people, whom I have known for years, reached out to me for assistance. I took one of them up on their offer to attend a Baptist church and the sermon that day was “Get out of the boat” (some of you will get it). 3 weeks later, I joined the church and 6 months after that both my wife and I were baptized and saved. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today….with my family, with my life, with all that I have. Sure….we go through struggles, but I don’t question WHY, I’m going through it….I question what I can do to get through it. My solace is thru prayer and seeking guidance from like minded friends and confidants. I’ve had friends and family try to poke at my beliefs and why I believe in a book full of parables that was written thousands of years ago. My answer is this…..I use the Bible as a guide of how to live my life. It’s hard to argue that following the New Testament will guide me down a path of evil. It’s the same as someone reading a “self help” book and following those ‘rules to life’. To each their own. I’m not a Bible thumper nor do I try to convert anyone that doesn’t want to be, nor will I tell someone they’re wrong for not believing. However, my friends/family/acquantiences know what I believe and they know that I’d be there for them in a heartbeat if they ask me for any spiritual help and guidance, just as some of them were there for me when I needed it. A pastor told me last week....the hardest day of being a Christian people find out you are. From that point on, you're scrutinized and questioned like no other time.

 

Just imagine being in the minority, a "non-believer."  That same sentence would apply, just substitute "Christian" with "non-believer."  You might be surprised.



But if you read what I said above that.....people around me don't have to worry. I'm there to help them when helped. Not preach, judge, tell them they're wrong, etc.... but I get your point.

There are zealots in all religions.....there are over the toppers in all aspects of life. Getting lumped in with them is no fun. Just as I don't judge you for being agnostic, I expect not to be judged for believing. (as a general statement...not directed at you specifically).



2013-03-11 4:33 PM
in reply to: #4655599

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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?
bradleyd3 - 2013-03-11 5:21 PM
ChineseDemocracy - 2013-03-11 4:17 PM

bradleyd3 - 2013-03-11 4:37 PM I was born and raised Catholic and continued to attend the Church through college graduation. I went off and on until about 8 years ago. There was some earth shattering news that I received and it made me question everything. Instead of seeking further, I abandoned. About 3 years ago, I went though arguably one of the hardest parts of my life. It was then that several people, whom I have known for years, reached out to me for assistance. I took one of them up on their offer to attend a Baptist church and the sermon that day was “Get out of the boat” (some of you will get it). 3 weeks later, I joined the church and 6 months after that both my wife and I were baptized and saved. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today….with my family, with my life, with all that I have. Sure….we go through struggles, but I don’t question WHY, I’m going through it….I question what I can do to get through it. My solace is thru prayer and seeking guidance from like minded friends and confidants. I’ve had friends and family try to poke at my beliefs and why I believe in a book full of parables that was written thousands of years ago. My answer is this…..I use the Bible as a guide of how to live my life. It’s hard to argue that following the New Testament will guide me down a path of evil. It’s the same as someone reading a “self help” book and following those ‘rules to life’. To each their own. I’m not a Bible thumper nor do I try to convert anyone that doesn’t want to be, nor will I tell someone they’re wrong for not believing. However, my friends/family/acquantiences know what I believe and they know that I’d be there for them in a heartbeat if they ask me for any spiritual help and guidance, just as some of them were there for me when I needed it. A pastor told me last week....the hardest day of being a Christian people find out you are. From that point on, you're scrutinized and questioned like no other time.

 

Just imagine being in the minority, a "non-believer."  That same sentence would apply, just substitute "Christian" with "non-believer."  You might be surprised.

But if you read what I said above that.....people around me don't have to worry. I'm there to help them when helped. Not preach, judge, tell them they're wrong, etc.... but I get your point. There are zealots in all religions.....there are over the toppers in all aspects of life. Getting lumped in with them is no fun. Just as I don't judge you for being agnostic, I expect not to be judged for believing. (as a general statement...not directed at you specifically).

 

That's cool, I agree with you.  

I look at it this way (I'm a practical guy) if religious belief helps you lead a better life...you're doin' good by your family/friends...obeying laws...you're happy...I say go for it!  Different strokes for different folks.

 

 



2013-03-11 5:39 PM
in reply to: #4655512

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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?
tealeaf - 2013-03-11 3:25 PM
KateTri1 - 2013-03-11 3:42 PM
mehaner - 2013-03-11 12:54 PM
KateTri1 - 2013-03-11 11:12 AM
mehaner - 2013-03-11 10:59 AM
dontracy - 2013-03-11 10:55 AM

mehaner - so my question is...why bother with god/church/etc when life just sucks sometimes, no matter who you are.

The answer is in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Here's an analogy. To get to the finish line in a triathlon, you need to suffer through training.  

We'll never completely eliminate suffering in this life.  Everybody's got a thing they gotta suffer.  Sometimes certain acts attempting to alleviate suffering are actually immoral and in time simply add to human suffering.

So if the ultimate fishing line is heaven, how do we bear that suffering in this pilgrim life on earth?  For that, Jesus gave us the Eucharist.  He is truly present to us here and now, body, blood, soul, and divinity. It is the source and summit of the Christian life.  It is a foretaste of heaven.

We're required to attend Mass week in and week out. This is required because it's good for us.  No matter how down we might be, there is the Eucharist.  It's there when we're happy as well, and every emotional state in between.

There is indeed meaning in human suffering.  With the Eucharist, we're given nourishment to strengthen us for the race.  The farther you go, the more suffering will make sense.

yeah...that does not help much at all.  certainly doesn't apply to my situation in the least.  taking communion helps me get through suffering?  nope.

some people just are going to have hardships and i understand faith as a coping mechanism, but it just isn't going to work for everyone.

I think it depends on how one defines... faith.

And when you say "it isn't going to work" what are you meaning by that? Are you talking about "peace"? Because, having peace can help people cope with all kinds of difficult situations. 

define it how you want - church, religion, god, etc.  if it was a solution for everyone, there would be no atheists.  that's all i'm saying.  i understand that it works for some people.  to me, it's pretty meaningless.

well.. I believe that Atheism is pretty much a set of strongly defined beliefs. If one is taking the time to define their disbelief in religion, there is a reason.. therefor one is getting SOMETHING out of doing that. I kind of feel that an agnostic is the least religious person.

Personally, I think sometimes people define religion/spirituality a certain way, make a judgement,  turn their backs.. and miss out. 

It's interesting, then, that by and large, atheists and agnostics score the highest when it comes to religious knowledge, and know more about religion, in general, than the "religious."

The Pew Forum on Religious Religion and Public Life released a survey on religious knowledge today. Atheists and Agnostics scored higher on it than anyone else, closely followed by Jews and Mormons, all Christians, Protestants and Catholics, were far behind.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/09/28/130191248/atheists-and-agnostics-know-more-about-bible-than-religious

I think it's partially because many of us spend time thinking about and considering different aspects of different religions, rather than adhering to dogma laid down by people who lived thousands of years ago. So, if by "least religious," you mean "most thoughtful," I'm on board with that.

Back in my Athiest days I studied the bible a lot, but it wasn't about trying to understand anything it was about looking for inconsistencies and errors.  I was one of those that liked to argue with Christians, so I had to know their material better than they did.

I still find inconsistencies and things that don't make sense to me, but it doesn't matter now.  I just pray for the wisdom to understand the things that are impossible for me to understand.

2013-03-11 6:12 PM
in reply to: #4655582

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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?

bradleyd3 - Catholics actually see merit in Partial Agnosticism.....and it's actually okay to question.

What do you mean by Partial Agnosticism?

2013-03-11 6:22 PM
in reply to: #4655512

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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?
tealeaf - 2013-03-11 4:25 PM
KateTri1 - 2013-03-11 3:42 PM
mehaner - 2013-03-11 12:54 PM
KateTri1 - 2013-03-11 11:12 AM
mehaner - 2013-03-11 10:59 AM
dontracy - 2013-03-11 10:55 AM

mehaner - so my question is...why bother with god/church/etc when life just sucks sometimes, no matter who you are.

The answer is in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Here's an analogy. To get to the finish line in a triathlon, you need to suffer through training.  

We'll never completely eliminate suffering in this life.  Everybody's got a thing they gotta suffer.  Sometimes certain acts attempting to alleviate suffering are actually immoral and in time simply add to human suffering.

So if the ultimate fishing line is heaven, how do we bear that suffering in this pilgrim life on earth?  For that, Jesus gave us the Eucharist.  He is truly present to us here and now, body, blood, soul, and divinity. It is the source and summit of the Christian life.  It is a foretaste of heaven.

We're required to attend Mass week in and week out. This is required because it's good for us.  No matter how down we might be, there is the Eucharist.  It's there when we're happy as well, and every emotional state in between.

There is indeed meaning in human suffering.  With the Eucharist, we're given nourishment to strengthen us for the race.  The farther you go, the more suffering will make sense.

yeah...that does not help much at all.  certainly doesn't apply to my situation in the least.  taking communion helps me get through suffering?  nope.

some people just are going to have hardships and i understand faith as a coping mechanism, but it just isn't going to work for everyone.

I think it depends on how one defines... faith.

And when you say "it isn't going to work" what are you meaning by that? Are you talking about "peace"? Because, having peace can help people cope with all kinds of difficult situations. 

define it how you want - church, religion, god, etc.  if it was a solution for everyone, there would be no atheists.  that's all i'm saying.  i understand that it works for some people.  to me, it's pretty meaningless.

well.. I believe that Atheism is pretty much a set of strongly defined beliefs. If one is taking the time to define their disbelief in religion, there is a reason.. therefor one is getting SOMETHING out of doing that. I kind of feel that an agnostic is the least religious person.

Personally, I think sometimes people define religion/spirituality a certain way, make a judgement,  turn their backs.. and miss out. 

It's interesting, then, that by and large, atheists and agnostics score the highest when it comes to religious knowledge, and know more about religion, in general, than the "religious."

The Pew Forum on Religious Religion and Public Life released a survey on religious knowledge today. Atheists and Agnostics scored higher on it than anyone else, closely followed by Jews and Mormons, all Christians, Protestants and Catholics, were far behind.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/09/28/130191248/atheists-and-agnostics-know-more-about-bible-than-religious

I think it's partially because many of us spend time thinking about and considering different aspects of different religions, rather than adhering to dogma laid down by people who lived thousands of years ago. So, if by "least religious," you mean "most thoughtful," I'm on board with that.

So, I raise the question, is having an intellectual knowledge of different religions the same as actively practicing them?

I don't think so. I can understand the term "Pray for the nations" But it's not at all the same as actually doing so. Honestly, "believing" is an action. 



Edited by KateTri1 2013-03-11 6:28 PM
2013-03-12 5:30 AM
in reply to: #4642926

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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?

The poem "Foot Prints in the Sand" might fit here if it has not already been brought up.

Just a thought.

2013-03-12 6:18 AM
in reply to: #4655617

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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?
ChineseDemocracy - 2013-03-11 5:33 PM

I look at it this way (I'm a practical guy) if religious belief helps you lead a better life...you're doin' good by your family/friends...obeying laws...you're happy...I say go for it!  Different strokes for different folks.

 

 

x2



2013-03-12 8:40 AM
in reply to: #4655060

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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?

define it how you want - church, religion, god, etc.  if it was a solution for everyone, there would be no atheists.  that's all i'm saying.  i understand that it works for some people.  to me, it's pretty meaningless.

Mehaner, your posts are touching & moving. And, as should be clear from my post, I am not at all religious. The replies you're getting from the very devout religious brethren, while meaning well--very well--is obviously not helping... seems like you have been there done that. (I share in your "annoyance" of life... I believe this is what Camus refers to as the "absurdity of life".)

So, allow me to suggest some inspirational reading. Plato's "Phaedo". One of the most moving pieces I have ever read. The hope is that you will find renewed faith... in yourself before going elsewhere for "answers".

In other matters, there have been some serious Catholic doctrine post as of late. I have a question for you guys--a serious one (although it sounds silly):

You believe in the resurrection of the soul. Fine. What do you think happens in the case of cannibalism. Assume the "cannibalizer" later recants & turns to Chrisitanity (although is it a sin to eat one another?) & that the "cannibalized" has always been a devout Christian. Is the cannibalizer resurrected w/some combined soul of his & the "cannibalized"? What about the cannibalized. What does his sould look like?

Also, how do you deal w/the following: If god created us, why didn't he make it obvious that we are his creation, i.e. why do we have the "curse" of doubt. I get that god wants us to love him out of our own free will, but it doesn't seem like a fair playing ground if he's keeping himself in hiding.

2013-03-12 9:18 AM
in reply to: #4656323

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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?
Porfirio - You believe in the resurrection of the soul. Fine. What do you think happens in the case of cannibalism. Assume the "cannibalizer" later recants & turns to Chrisitanity (although is it a sin to eat one another?) & that the "cannibalized" has always been a devout Christian. Is the cannibalizer resurrected w/some combined soul of his & the "cannibalized"? What about the cannibalized. What does his sould look like?

Also, how do you deal w/the following: If god created us, why didn't he make it obvious that we are his creation, i.e. why do we have the "curse" of doubt. I get that god wants us to love him out of our own free will, but it doesn't seem like a fair playing ground if he's keeping himself in hiding.

Great questions!

Christians have believed in the resurrection of the body since the beginning. It's stated clearly in the Niceane Creed.  The resurrection of the dead was always understood to be not just a spiritual resurrection, but a bodily one.

So if we die and go to heaven that's not the end of it.  After the Second Coming, we get reunited with our bodies. 

But what kind of body?

There are a few theories out there.  The one that I think is probably closest to the truth is that it is a transfigured body similar to the body Jesus had at his transfiguration and similar to the body he had after the resurrection.

Jesus had an interesting body after the resurrection.  His disciples did not always recognize him at first. So his body was somehow different than it had been before his death. He could appear and disappear. He could walk through walls. Yet he also ate solid food. Thomas could put his hands in Jesus' wounds and feel real flesh.

So the theory goes that we will be reunited with our bodies, but in a transfigured state.

That comports with issues such as the total decay of a buried body, with cremation, or with your scenario.

The answer to  your second question lies in the fact that we live in community with one another. Yes, we have a direct relationship with Jesus. We also have a communal one through the Church.

While growing up, if your father told you about some event he experienced as a young man, assuming you know your father to not be a liar, then you'd believe him. You'd incorporate that event into your own life story. You wouldn't have to have a direct experience of the event itself.

The same goes with with Christian faith. There are those who have had direct unitive experiences with God, experiences that go beyond inner emotional states of peace or connectedness.  A definition of tradition is: democracy that includes those that have come before us.

It's easy to believe if you've had one of these unitive experiences.

Jesus said blessed are those who have not seen but believe.

So why doesn't God give the gift, or the burden, of those direct unitive experiences to everyone?  In part it is our fallen nature. We are fallen creatures living in a fallen world. In part I think it is to strengthen our relationship with and within the Church.

Early on here, you had mentioned one of Aquinas' five proofs for God. While it is not possible to rationally prove God's existence, those five proofs get to the notion that they do show a high probability for God's existence.

If you have another system that you think will show that what the Church proposes is false, go for it.  Work it long enough though, and you will run into a dead end or a contradiction. Guaranteed.  When that happens, go back to what the Church proposes and compare it.  You will find without exception that the Church is ahead of the rational scrutiny.  Do that often enough and one will begin to build a confidence regarding dogma and doctrine that one might not fully understand at  first.



Edited by dontracy 2013-03-12 9:21 AM
2013-03-12 9:26 AM
in reply to: #4656323

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Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?
Porfirio - 2013-03-12 8:40 AM

define it how you want - church, religion, god, etc.  if it was a solution for everyone, there would be no atheists.  that's all i'm saying.  i understand that it works for some people.  to me, it's pretty meaningless.

Mehaner, your posts are touching & moving. And, as should be clear from my post, I am not at all religious. The replies you're getting from the very devout religious brethren, while meaning well--very well--is obviously not helping... seems like you have been there done that. (I share in your "annoyance" of life... I believe this is what Camus refers to as the "absurdity of life".)

So, allow me to suggest some inspirational reading. Plato's "Phaedo". One of the most moving pieces I have ever read. The hope is that you will find renewed faith... in yourself before going elsewhere for "answers".

In other matters, there have been some serious Catholic doctrine post as of late. I have a question for you guys--a serious one (although it sounds silly):

You believe in the resurrection of the soul. Fine. What do you think happens in the case of cannibalism. Assume the "cannibalizer" later recants & turns to Chrisitanity (although is it a sin to eat one another?) & that the "cannibalized" has always been a devout Christian. Is the cannibalizer resurrected w/some combined soul of his & the "cannibalized"? What about the cannibalized. What does his sould look like?

Also, how do you deal w/the following: If god created us, why didn't he make it obvious that we are his creation, i.e. why do we have the "curse" of doubt. I get that god wants us to love him out of our own free will, but it doesn't seem like a fair playing ground if he's keeping himself in hiding.

A person of faith will argue that he does make it obvious that we are his creation.  But, there is that word again, "Faith".  

It sounds like you must "see to believe", so that may never change.

If indeed our free will is a gift from our creator (whomever that  may be), then what makes you think that he would make it obvious that he exist.  Isn't that the opposite of "free will"?  We have the free will to accept or reject the creator.  If he makes it obvious, then hasn't he made that decision for you, in which case you have lost your "free will" and the creator himself would be nothing more than a dictator?

I challenge that you can seek wisdom, knowledge, etc. and still have faith (whatever form that may be).

2013-03-12 9:45 AM
in reply to: #4656413

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DC
Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?
If he makes it obvious, then hasn't he made that decision for you, in which case you have lost your "free will" and the creator himself would be nothing more than a dictator?

Respectfully disagree. God can make his existence--no essence... but existence--obvious. I believe our free will kicks in in choosing to accepting him/her/it. Nothing else seems to jive.

2013-03-12 9:54 AM
in reply to: #4656399

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DC
Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?

So the theory goes that we will be reunited with our bodies, but in a transfigured state.

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

The same goes with with Christian faith. There are those who have had direct unitive experiences with God, experiences that go beyond inner emotional states of peace or connectedness.  A definition of tradition is: democracy that includes those that have come before us.

At the end of his life, Aquinas appeared to have given up trying to prove the existence of god through his writings. Catholic scholars argue that he saw no need for it as he has experienced god in a true transcendental manner. Still, other scholars think argue that he really did in fact lose faith. His famous "Five Proofs" have serious holes in them & perhaps, he was aware of this.

I'm wondering: Do you ever wonder whether these theories you talk about are in fact just that.. theories & not in fact reality? Not that I want you to, if fact, I encourage people I have these discussion w/to further seek their faith for assurance. Just doesn't work for everyone.

As for "direct unitive experiences," it really begs to question of whether god is a truly just as, clearly (assuming he/she/it exists), god has left many people out in the cold when he has been sought out. If this weren't this case, I think everyone would be a devoted to god.

Just a thought. 



2013-03-12 10:06 AM
in reply to: #4656488

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Philadelphia, south of New York and north of DC
Subject: RE: any religious people coming to terms with new found atheism?
Porfirio - At the end of his life, Aquinas appeared to have given up trying to prove the existence of god through his writings. Catholic scholars argue that he saw no need for it as he has experienced god in a true transcendental manner. Still, other scholars think argue that he really did in fact lose faith. His famous "Five Proofs" have serious holes in them & perhaps, he was aware of this.

I'm wondering: Do you ever wonder whether these theories you talk about are in fact just that.. theories & not in fact reality? Not that I want you to, if fact, I encourage people I have these discussion w/to further seek their faith for assurance. Just doesn't work for everyone.

As for "direct unitive experiences," it really begs to question of whether god is a truly just as, clearly (assuming he/she/it exists), god has left many people out in the cold when he has been sought out. If this weren't this case, I think everyone would be a devoted to god.

Just a thought. 

To the first part, Aquinas didn't give up on reason. He seems to have had an direct unitive experience while celebrating Mass, and is purported to have said that all he had written was like straw. (Some scholars disagree that he actually said this, although there is consensus that he had this unitive experience)

With the unitive experience, Aquinas didn't then refute what had been discovered through reason. He simply saw the limits of how far reason alone can bring us to an understanding of God.

To the second part, sure theories are just theories. They're not fact necessarily, although they could be. They're the best we have regarding certain questions.

Here is the formula I use when thinking about theories to such questions: does it lead me closer to Christ or farther away.

I base that on the formula St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, used for discerning spirits and spiritual messages:
It could be a message from God.
It could be a message from an angelic spirit.
It could be a message from a demonic spirit.
It could be our own concupiscence (ego pulling us toward sin).

Discernment of spritis according to Ignatian Spirituality teaches that:
If it's leading us to Christ and His Church, the message is from one of the first two.
If it's leading us away from Christ and His Church, the message is from the latter two.

That's been my life experience.
Even regarding rational arguments and explorations.  The most robust and consistent ones have invariable led me closer to Christ.



Edited by dontracy 2013-03-12 10:09 AM
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