Sunday, October 13, 2013

Clarifying My Purpose

Alrightie, I would like to clarify a few things concerning the purposes of this blog. My intent is to provide clarity and new insights about the Catholic faith and teachings. To that end, I desire to reach out and engage non-Catholics.

I am not writing these blog posts to receive praise from my fellow Catholics or to preach to the choir. I want to draw people in, so everyone will at least walk away with a greater understanding of Catholicism. Please give me feedback on what areas I should focus my posts by voting in the poll on the right side and provide any additional suggestions in the comments. 

So, once again, I want to know if there are any non-Catholics out there willing to read and learn about Catholicism? And what can I do to engage you in discussion? I'm not saying you must become Catholic, but I want to clear up the misconceptions and false stigmas. So, who's ready to open up and discuss? Anyone? Bueller? :)

34 comments:

  1. To pick up on our conversation, you can believe what you want, but you need to find a way to understand that people who don't believe the same as you can somehow also be right. Call it a mystery. People of other cultures and religions have found what works for them as surely as you have found what works for them. They are not missing anything by not "knowing" what you "know".

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  2. No, Bill. What part of Jesus is either God or not God do you not understand? It is impossible for Jesus to be God for me, but at the same time, not be God for others. He either IS God or He is not. IT IS ONE OR THE OTHER! Not really sure how else to explain it to you, I'm being as clear as I possibly can be.

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  3. Here, try watching this video and see if it helps: http://www.catholic.com/video/are-all-religions-equal

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  4. It is impossible for Jesus to be God for me, but at the same time, not be God for others.

    Margo,

    To be mature, and in the interest of living in harmony with others, you can correctly say "to me, Jesus is God. To others, he might not be. I am entitled to my opinion and they to theirs. It is more important that we all get along than it is that I be right at the expense of others being wrong. All I know is that, to me, Jesus is God. It doesn't matter to me that others believe otherwise".

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  5. Why is it more important to get along with others? It DOES matter what others believe. Jesus commanded us to "go out and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". I am not a relativist because the whole premise is contradictory "is it absolutely true that there is no absolute truth?"

    Plus, as I have said countless times (over at the Bubble), Jesus and the Catholic faith is too good to keep to myself! I want every soul to go to Heaven, while coming to know Jesus during this life on Earth.

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  6. Why is it more important to get along with others?

    Please. Getting along with other people is an essential life skill. You are making your religion way too important. That's no way to go through life.

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  7. Is that an absolute truth about getting along with others? ;)

    God comes first in my life - He is EVERYTHING! Rejecting God is no way to get through life.

    I truly do recommend that you read into the lives of the Saints. Pick a Saint, google him or her, and start studying their lives. See how enhanced their lives were because of God.

    You really think that God would hurt your life if you opened yourself to Him? Please tell me the worst that could happen if you accepted Christ as God?

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    1. It's far more important that you become less religious than I become more religious. You have your whole life ahead of you. Don't waste it.

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  8. I intend to spend my life glorifying God and bringing all the souls I can to Him and His love. Of course I cannot force anyone to accept Christ or Catholicism, I must respect the free will of all people. It just saddens me to see people willingly reject God since I know how much He loves them. Oh Bill...Christ loves you to the point of dying for you. You do matter and I pray that someday you will open up to Christ.

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  9. Seeing someone fall head over heals for a religion is very disturbing to me. You live your life one way if you are extremely religious and another way if you are not. You think your way is the right way. I think you will miss out on what can be a rewarding and fulfilling life.

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  10. It's not *my* way, Bill. It's the way of Christ and I am trying to follow Him as well as I can, relying constantly on His grace and mercy through life. What will I miss out on? Jesus is worth everything. He's given me many blessings for which I am grateful, yet, I would be fully satisfied if I had nothing but Jesus. Things of this world are nice, but they're temporary, they always fail to fully, completely satisfy.

    This is what it means to be Catholic in the fullest sense. Wanting for nothing but for Christ and His love.

    Please Bill, ANSWER ME THIS ONE QUESTION! What scares you about Jesus? Do you think He is out to get you? Do you understand how much He loves you?

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  11. Margo,

    I honestly have come to the conclusion that the whole spiritual world is imaginary.

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    1. So you don't trust in Jesus then? What makes you come to that conclusion? I genuinely want to know and understand your perspective. I want to know why you seem so closed to the possibility of Catholicism being real.

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  12. I want to know why you seem so closed to the possibility of Catholicism being real.

    Because I don't think it is really possible for a man to be a god, for his death to have anything to do with the wrongs I do being forgiven, for bread and wine to turn into his body and blood, for a man to rise from the dead and ascend into the sky, for consciousness to continue after the brain stops working, for our decomposed bodies to come back to life again, etc. It is all just wishful thinking codified into doctrines and dogma.

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  13. Margo,

    Despite not believing most of its teachings, I still think the world is better than it would have been without Catholicism and that Catholics are great people. I'm not trying to talk you out of being Catholic, just out of being obsessed with it.

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  14. I would like to see an article about the Pope and the Magesterium and why Catholics are expected to believe and accept everything they say.

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    1. Ok, Bill. I'm out for the day, but I'll look up some articles for you when I get home tonight. God bless :)

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    2. Try these 2 articles: http://www.cuf.org/2002/11/pillar-and-bulwark-of-the-truth-the-infallibility-magisterium-of-the-catholic-church/

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    3. http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/how-do-we-know-it’s-the-true-church

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    4. The last link looks interesting and I saved it for future reference.

      I am positive that there is no such thing as infallibility. To make all inclusive rules where every situation is different is not possible. Also, proclaiming dogmas like the Assumption, as Pius XII did in 1950, that defy the laws of nature is nonsensical.

      As far as the authority of the Magesterium, if that is something that one must accept in order to be Catholic, then it is of questionable value to be one.

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    5. I'm just going to say it - Church teaching is not dependent on your opinion, nor my opinion or anyone else's. So, you do not get to decide that infallibility does not exist.

      Is it nonsensical to believe in God?

      And yes, accepting the authority of the Magisterium is crucial for being Catholic.

      But, really, we're getting ahead of ourselves with infallibility and the Magisterium. Both require a belief in the Holy Trinity (especially the Holy Spirit), which means accepting Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

      How can it be? How can God incarnate Himself in the person of Jesus Christ? It's what's known as one of the many wonderful mysteries of the beautiful Catholic faith.

      I have a suggestion! Instead of being so negative towards anything supernatural, why not instead take a positive approach? God came down from Heaven to Earth, suffered and died for ME?!?! He loves me THAT much?!?? It always always always comes down to love, never hate. Remember that, if nothing else. :)

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  15. Margo,

    Are you not in the least concerned that you might be putting your money on the wrong horse? You are putting all your eggs in one basket. You are basically surrendering your life to a group of celibate old men. What if you marry an atheist, Jew or any other kind of non-Catholic or even if you meet someone that you like who is not devout? I don't know you other than what I have gained from our conversations. But I'm concerned that you are setting yourself up for totally unnecessary heartaches.

    Then, of course, you could end up perfectly happy being a full-fledged Catholic. My wife thinks she is one but then disagrees with most of the teachings but she doesn't know how binding those teachings really are. I think that is the way most Catholics are. They don't let the Church rule their lives and they are happy AND Catholic.

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  16. Here's the thing. People who consider themselves to be Catholic, but then disagree with a lot of the teachings often miss out on the most crucial aspect of the faith - Jesus Christ. Instead, they see the Church merely as an outdated institution that needs to get with the times.

    The Church is the Bride of Christ, His mystical body on Earth - it's a love relationship. All of Catholicism points us towards Christ.

    I don't care all that much about Earthly happiness. Like St. Paul once said, "I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ." (Philippians 3:8)

    What could possibly be more important than Jesus? He loves me and all people enough to die on a cross for us! I have my sights set on eternity, rather than on this temporary life, which could end at any moment.

    Thus, I am not surrendering my life to JESUS CHRIST. Those "celibate old men" merely aid me in my journey through life. By the way, most of the priests I know are quite young, in their early 30s. And yes, they are celibate and quite joyful about it, shocking, I know! How could anyone be joyful living a sexless life? Maybe there is something to this Jesus person... :)

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  17. I don't care all that much about Earthly happiness.

    I think it is the only happiness there is. You should not dismiss it as being of no consequence. Your faith is bringing you Earthly happiness (although I know what you mean by what I call "worldly" happiness.

    Since I'm the one who tried to kill myself and you are the one glorying in the love that you believe is being poured down on you by a higher power, there is not much use in trying to convince you to adopt my worldview. Yours works better than mine.

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    1. I'm trying to share that glory with you, Bill. It's not meant to be just for me nor do I want to keep it all for myself. I truly desire for you to embrace God's love as well.

      Maybe there is something to my worldview that makes it work better...? You repeatedly say how much better the world is because of Catholics. Could it possibly be that God is working through us to better the world?

      I am very glad that you are still with us, Bill, and I pray that you never again feel as though you have to kill yourself. You are greatly loved :)

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  18. Thank you. You know what I think? I think that Jesus was a genius. I think he knew exactly what he was doing. I think he did all that he did because he knew he could change the world, which he did. He did really and truly start the Catholic Church and, metaphorically, his spirit lives on and will forever.

    But I am certain that Jesus was nothing more than a very good man. He called God his father but also our father as well. He did say that he and the father are one and "before Abraham was, I am". That kind of implies that he associated who he was with Yahweh.

    I spend a lot of my day going over all this and I still think that there really is no supernatural, spiritual, metaphysical, etc. anything.

    My wife answers me with "God is Love". I lack that kind of love. I love my wife and two sons. And that is it. I don't love anyone or anything else. Maybe Nature. I do love Nature.

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  19. If Jesus is not the Son of God, then He was a blasphemer and a liar for the many times when He claimed to be the Son of God. Thus, there is no reason to trust Him if he is just a man. When He called God "our Father" that was Him sharing His Father with us. Yes, He did associate Himself with Yahweh because He and Yahweh are ONE!!

    What bothers you about the supernatural? What is it?

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  20. Actually. Before saying that Jesus was either God or a blasphemer and liar, one must consider whether Jesus truly believed he was who he said he was, which could still make him good but just a little delusional. Also, the gospels could have greatly exaggerated what he said and did. I prefer not to think that Jesus was either God or evil because he did so much good for the world.

    Here is my theory about the supernatural. Any explanation that does not rely on the supernatural is far more plausible. Only when every natural explanation is exhausted should one even begin to consider the possibility that the correct explanation is supernatural.

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  21. So, if Jesus was God, then He could not have done so much good for the world? Being God would prevent Him from doing good?

    Again, why not take a more positive approach towards the supernatural aspect of Jesus? Is it possible that good can result from divinity? Or is anything supernatural bad?

    What's causing your stubbornness? God loves you!!! How can you say no to Him and to Jesus? How can you say no to someone who died for you?

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  22. Margo,

    God is unpredictable. He heals some people but not others. We have learned to predict natural phenomena but are at the mercy of the supernatural? That doesn't make sense. If there is a God, he made the universe operate according to set laws yet he operates in the most unpredictable ways?

    I can board an airplane knowing that its flight will be in compliance with the laws of nature but I pray for an outcome and have no assurance of success?

    God should operate in an orderly and predictable manner if he created Nature to do so.

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  23. The difference between God and us is that God can see the big picture of each person's life, knowing how each choice the person makes will affect his/her life. So, when we pray for a specific intention/outcome, there are 3 possible responses from God: yes, no, or He has something better. God operates according to our best interests, not best in terms of worldly standards (pleasure, comfort, etc.), but best in terms of what will lead us to holiness.

    God's ways are not always our ways. God's ways never involve selfishness, for example. He has a higher form of love. Think about Mother Theresa and all she did for those in Calcutta -- she was a living example of how God's love works. Putting herself last for the good of others.

    And really, we never can truly completely predict what is going to happen next in life. Nature itself is unpredictable as my friends in central IL found out this past weekend when a tornado ripped through their town. Nothing in life is predictable...wouldn't that be boring if it was?

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  24. Good point about the unpredictability of nature. But I don't like the unpredictability of prayer. I think people give God too many outs. With the reasoning that is given, there could actually be no God at all. Sometimes prayers appear to be answered. Sometimes not. Sometimes something better comes along. That makes a god too unpredictable for me. There might as well be no God at all if that is the way he/she/it s going to be. I don't mean to disrespect God. But I don't want to believe in one if there is not one.

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