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I was born Catholic, went to Catholic school, studied theology, and whilst very young, considered becoming a priest. There was something overwhelming about being somebody who could care for humanity, and help them through dark times and with their concerns. I know my folks were delighted at the thought, but probably knew it would fade, it did.
Later, while talking with some of my schoolmates at various times, some said they too, considered it. We believed Catholic was the only religion, that was our world. We admired and looked up to Priests and Nuns, at least up till that age, where we tried to avoid them as they tried to "spoil our fun". Then they became annoyances at best, and at worst, enemies!
Still I remember as a kid thinking "man them kids going to public school, they are missing out on something very important" It made me feel bad for them in a sense, but many of them did receive communion and penance through our church, so it made me feel good that they were receiving the sacraments, even if they didnt go to Catholic School.
As I got older, I also attended Catholic High School, and this is kinda where I didnt see much difference between teens going to Catholic School, or teens going to Public School.
There were kids deeply into drugs, deeply into sex, pregnancies and abortions, fights, myself, I was in several fist fights, id say honestly my record is .500. One such fight, landed me in the disciplinarians office, a short, but tough Italian priest, who was also a former boxer. He basicly said, that he had heard I was in a fight in class (I was, directly in class, DURING a class), and I mistakenly asked him who told him, lol.
"Doesn't matter who told me, there will be no more fighting and you know why" "Because I said so little man", and anytime you wanna fight come down to my office, and you and I will go one on one, and I promise you, ill knock out all your teeth" Went home and told my Dad, my Dad laughed. But im like that is some worldly priest, I never had a priest talk like that to me before, made me think a bit.
And I observed some kids having the very same problems with being a teenager, as they did in public schools. These were the problems parents were trying to avoid by sending their kids to Catholic School. But it was really not much different, beyond being a more controllable number of kids in the school.
One kid on the football team discovered that I was working in a pharmacy, and asked me if I could get him some steroids. I had no intention of getting them, but at the same time, I didnt want to run into him. Luckily, there were only a few weeks left in shcool, and I managed to avoid him, and then basicly never had to see him again. Stil haven't....
When I finished High School, I studied at a community college, no real major, just basic curriculum. I took a course called Western Civilization to the Reform, where we studied anything history from say the very first tribal civilizations, to the fall of Rome. And one thing that kept recuring, was the idea that since the dawn of man, religion was a central part of their life. Long before Jesus, and Moses, I mean some tribes had Gods that required sacrifices. it wouldn't be unusual for a family to offer their first born, to The Gods, as a prayer for some water, or something they needed. r And I remember thinking, how stupid can these people be? But they weren't stupid, they just didn't understand anything at all. And we'd watch documentaries of archaeologists talking about such and such tribe's "gods" as if they were just fictional entities, like they were talking with such Irreverence to the Gods.
I think at that point I began to question number one "why are there so many Gods?" Some old and forgotten, some new and worshipped, but why are their so many? And why do people from all over the world, regardless of how remote of an area, have a God. Every single civilization had a God, and more than one.
Then enter my own religion, Catholic, a derivative of Christianity, why is my religion any different than any of these religions? Why were there hundreds of religions before Jesus ever came? And why is mine the right one? Are any of them the right one? I had a good friend who was very religious, and he kept me on that path for a while, I attended healing masses, by priests who had the power of healing, such as Father Ralph Diorio, and it did help me with the angst id been feeling, and I saw some wonderful things, and heard some wonderful stories.
Still, the internet was soon approaching, and science was making enormous strides into understanding our origins, and often it conflicted with Biblical accounts. And I saw scientists who had zero fear of exploring and not believing in God. God was a side note to them, and it just seemed strange to me, how could somebody not be one bit afraid to deny God existence, or not care about it.
I started to realize that there were many people in the world, not just scientists who did not believe in God, and it puzzled me. Its what I knew, but as time went on, the arguments for science seemed alot more convincing.
I started studying other religions a bit, just to see how the stries could all be so different, yet there is only supposed to be one God. And I came across previous Gods, Gods who were cast aside when Jesus came around, but Whom had the same types of stories as Jesus and Christianity.
For example, Buddha and Jesus have a very similar history. Both went to their temples at the age of twelve, where they are said to have astonished all with their wisdom. Both supposedly fasted in solitude for a long time: Buddha for forty–seven days and Jesus for forty. Both wandered to a fig tree at the conclusion of their fasts. Both were about the same age when they began their public ministry: How is that possible?
Zoroaster was born of a virgin and “immaculate conception, So was Jesus.
Attis was born on December 25 of the Virgin Nana. He was considered the savior who was slain for the salvation of mankind. His body as bread was eaten by his worshippers. He was both the Divine Son and the Father. On “Black Friday,” he was crucified on a tree, from which his holy blood ran down to redeem the earth. He descended into the underworld. After three days, Attis was resurrected.
Is it the same stories being told over and over again? This, plus the ever changing and understanding of our Earth and Space, really threw my belief systems off.
When I think of a God, creating a world that is quite dangerous to live on, it makes me question, why would HE do that? Why did he need to build an ozone layer to protect us from the sun, why didnt HE just make the sun not so harmful?
Why didnt he create a barrier that prevents meteors from hitting the earth, or else, not create meteors at all, it doesnt make logical sense.
And all of this leads me to where I am with Faith and religion. I have doubts, yet i desperately want to believe, as I think the most tragic thing somebody can say to me, is that there is No God or no afterlife.
It makes our lives meaningless, in that when we die, not only will we not exist any more, but we will never know we ever existed at all, completely unaware of anything we ever did or were. I t's mind boggling, I embrace the possibilities. Spiritual possibilities intrigue me, I dont want this to be it, but I also dont have any way of knowing.
We are at a crossroads where the old doctrines are not enough any more, we have too much knowledge about the nature of things, to just accept things blindly.
in my heart i believe is still God voice, but I've become less and less inclined to listen to it.
And in the worlds of a great Prophet, Bruce Springsteen, it takes a leap of faith, to get things going. And I leave you with this clip, where I was in attendance at this concert, when it was still called the Brendan Byrne Arena, and I was one of the people who needed to "get down" Enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouWEZPkbznQ
P.S. I really didnt wanna write something like this, because i dont want to break anyone's faith, with my own faith hanging on by a thread at times. But seemingly, you have to write something, instead of commenting on somebody elses.
I want you to know that I read this slowly and carefully Dom, foreword and backward, and even began to mark bullet points... I really wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt here, but then I realized we've already debated all of this and, knowing you here as I do, it's just not worth the argument.
You've only made one point here worth calling attention to Dom..., "yet i desperately want to believe..."
You've already proven to me that this is a lie, as evidenced by your Catholic training and heritage. Whatever it is that you desperately want to believe in Dom, it's not God. The Bible is all about the origin of things Dom, but you make a point of vehemently contradicting those origins every chance you get, even in this post, and mocking anyone who does believe the Bible. Call me a fool for my faith if you like Dom, I'm not falling for this and science will not redeem you.
I dont think you read, or understand what I wrote. I want to believe, but I cant believe in something just because somebody tells me to. If I knew Mickey Mouse was God incarnate, id be worshipping Mickey, but I know that is not the case, and so do you.
RIcky Gervais said there are 300 Gods, i dont believe in all 300, whereas you dont believe in 299 of them. Not a fan, but very poignant comment..
It cant contradict reality and proven facts. And if you think of how preposterous Weather Gods are, and Thor and Scientology, its very easy for you to say, forget that bullchit, thems some wacked out religions. Well, they all can seem that way to somebody.
A fight between faith and reason, I have faith God will guide and protect me right? But why do I hit the brakes when I see a cliff? If God will be with me, even until the end of time, then why didn't he do anything during the holocaust...me being in general.
Imagine millions of people praying for God to spare them, and it didnt work. That would shake your belief. I still pray, I pray for my folks nearly every night asking God to help them make it there. I cant let it go complete, nor can i accept it completely.
Perhaps we should start with... What the hell did they teach you in Catholic school!?!
Don't you realize who the Jews are?
Don't you realize that we pay a severe penalty for turning away from God?
Don't you know that prophecy is the proof of God's word and there wouldn't even be a Bible if not for the prophets?
Science and philosophy are man's wisdom Dom. Even if we could chart the entire universe and unravel all its secrets we would still only come to one conclusion; We are not gods. The "science" of this universe was created to LIMIT US! Faith in man's understanding of what God created is just like Cain saying, "See God, look what I did..." Until you can study the Bible from that perspective Dom, you're never going to get it.
A contrast in styles here. One starts with a search for the truth and the other starts from a 100% certainty that he knows it. One will try to discern the sense in what he sees and the other already sees how everything fits into his established worldview based on the gift of faith. It's a clash of philosophies, medieval versus enlightenment, theoretical versus empirical. One of you would be at home in the 11th century and the other would be more comfortable hanging out in the 18th.
If there was only GOOD, RELIGION probably would not exist!
Throw in EVIL, and there is an immediate conflict: GOOD vs EVIL
I was raised in a Baptist Orphanage--From a broken home. I have lived between Good and Evil for almost 83 years--The bottle took my Dad, Mother wanted me to be a Preacher! I felt bad for many years, that I would never be that Preacher. In my few years I have left, I'm hoping to stay close to the GOOD side of the STRUGGLE, and get to ride HEAVEN'S TRAIN, I FEEL LIKE I HAVE A BETTER CHANCE leaning to the GOOD SIDE! EVEN THOUGH THERE IS AN INFINITY OF POSSIBILITIES, I opt to be counted when the roll is called UP YONDER!
Like you Dom, my experience with authoritarian Catholicism drove me away. I was told that "asking these kinds of questions means you cannot be a Catholic" or somthing close
At this point, by definition, I am agnostic..., meaning I believe it is not possible to prove or disprove the existence of God let alone ascribe any characteristic or motivation to Him
However, on reflection I also believe the question of the existence of God is wrong if we are to examine what religion and faith MEANS to us...and do not dismiss God here just because you have no hard proof
If it helps, consider this
1) Infinity, "everything everywhere in the fullness of space and time" is conceptually a volume divided into what we believe we know based on our scientific method, what we speculate about, and "all the rest"...a large infinite unknown
2) In this vaste unknown, we do not even have the questions to ask
3) It is UNLIKELY God is as we imagine. Fallible humanity has ascribed human characteristics (mercy, anger, love) and motivations (we were created by God in His image to rule over the Earth...or we were created to declare His glory) which is written in the Bible....but I expect God is far more complex and wonderful than we can imagine.
I am an "adopted Lutheran" via my wife, attend worship services with her, and am not bothered at all that I have doubts or cannot understand the unprovable "truth" because I am part of a wonderful community dedicated to certain principles that add meaning to my life
Because I know I am a fallible being, and I know I must take belief in God on faith alone, I leave lots of room for people to live their own faith as they choose.
I also have a wonderful, empathetic pastor who preaches that it is OK to have doubt.
My advice to you is to join a community of faith yourself ...and you should interview the pastor. Many Christian faiths actually hire their pastor to ensure they are a "good fit"
Explain your past, your doubts, your beliefs and join a community of faith that resonates with you....and join in their good works.
Don't throw the metaphorical baby out with the bathwater.
Rely on science to unfold our universe into hard facts....and on faith to add meaning to your life. Accept you are fallible and simply cannot know certain things
I think\hope you will be happier and better for it
If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop
I hate to ignore people when they post in good faith on one of my posts. Im trying to avoid hanging around here, so i get things done.
But I will say, being Catholic, was not the problem. I woulda started questioning no matter what religion I was, because there is much TO question. As much as it seems like there is no God, it's equally hard to imagine no God, thats quite an extravagant accident, with an intelligence behind it, even if the finished work is not perfect. I didn't think God made imperfect things, but many parts of the earth and the universe are imperfect.
And when I was in Catholic school, i didnt experience the so called stereotypes of growing up Catholic. Corporal punishment was already gone, unlike my folks, they got their knuckles cracked by wood pointers for talking in class. And my dad told me he took a swing at a priest one time, because he accused him in the wrong of something, and expected my dad to sit and take the punishment.
One thing you didnt do to my dad was WRONG him, lol. So, it didnt surprise me when he told me that.
As I mentioned, there really wasn't much supression going on, kids did what all kids do, it wasnt like going to catholic school in the 40's or 50's.
Many of the teachers were weak and the kids walked all over them, others had control of the class, but there wasnt much punishment for doing things. They were quicker to expel you, several kids were expelled for drugs. But it wasn't the classic emotional scarring as many report.
Springsteen went to catholic school he was older so it may have been different. He described a nun forcing him to sit in a garbage can in class saying this is where trash belongs..... That would never have happened in our schools and the teacher woulda been in trouble for doing that.
Anyway, I could say love is the answer.... but then love is a pact that man made with each other to help us survive. I dont think Elephants believe in God, but they love their young more than any creature on earth. If you try to seperate a mother from her baby elephants, you will get a fight like you wont believe. They dont let their young out of their site.
Sounds like humans actually up to a certain age right?
It's a confusing mess. I have to admit that I still believe but its more out of want to, and not wanting to be WRONG. Last thing I want is to be denying God, and then meeting him one day. But, I have to imagine that HE knows our limitations and our frailties, He wont condemn me to a fiery existence.
Im more inclined to believe we are all linked. The same stuff that makes stars, makes our hearts, or muscles, the same water that comes down from the sky makes up our blood. Maybe in some strange way we are all linked, and religion was a way we could try to put it together.
Cause since the first man, they thought God existed. Its just too crazy to try and figure out.
If interested this an interview between Father George Coyne, the head of the Vatican Observatory, and one of the worlds most notorious atheists, Richard Dawkins.
It shows the struggle, even from a man of faith. Guys like this help me.
There is no catholic view on evolution, mainly because evolution was banned till about 50 years ago. There is no question evolution is a thing, the fact that corona virus mutated into the delta variant proves evolution. It will continue to change in order to survive.
He helps me because he is one helluva brilliant guy, and a man of faith at the same time. He is respected by both groups, and he discusses issues I have. and a master cosmologist and understander of the origins of life.
Im sorry Hal Lindsay is a multi millionaire book seller.
But I appreciate you, i can see you want to offer support.
I used to read a lot of philosophy many years ago--I majored in math before becoming an electronics engineer--I have mused about many ideas, scientific and philosophical, that I encountered along the way--Like axioms (simple truths in math)-MY FAVORITE: THE WHOLE IS EQUAL TO THE SUM OF IT'S PARTS!