Why Catholicism, despite its flaws, is aces in my book

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Montez, May 9, 2006.

  1. Montez

    Montez So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Jun 20, 2003

    I guess this is kind of old news in a way, but for someone areligious like myself this is an amazing thing to read and makes me rethink my position on religions in general. If only this kind of sanity were more prevalent in other religions (and in other areas of catholicism as well) the world would be a much brighter place.
  2. Atomic Cowboy

    Atomic Cowboy Banned

    May 5, 2006
    While I agree it's a step in the right direction, ultimately by their own logic they'll fall back onto paganist beliefs. For instance they would probably say a Jesus came back from the dead - something that, in fact, doesn't ever happen, and they would definetly say that Jesus was in fact God and he washed our sins clean.

    Deep down any statement about God entails some statement about how the Universe operates as well - aside from Deism, which is a seperate case.

    I'm not saying that it's a bad thing that they're being sensible, I'm just saying it's too bad they won't put both feet into the boat of reason. That being said, I won't bother trying to argue things with Catholics and Anglicans. They're not that harmufl.
  3. Lazarus Plus

    Lazarus Plus The smoovest

    Apr 1, 2005
    The one thought I have about pronouncements such as this is that the role of God is increasingly supplanted. I wonder how this will effect the faithful in the long run.
  4. Montez

    Montez So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Jun 20, 2003
    The only thing I can think of is that they are going to have to go more and more towards a complete "faith" view where even Jesus becomes an allegory instead of a "fact" (if they haven't already, I'm not too up on religion). I don't think it would be that much of a hurdle for the faithful, since apart from a few fanatics I don't think many religious people actually believe God exists in any physical form or in any way that manifests itself physical reality or in the day-to-day events of our lives - or to put it differently, God is felt rather than percieved. No matter how far science goes I don't think it could ever have an impact on people "feeling God's prescence in their hearts or minds", and since that's basically where religion is already I don't think the elimination of the few remaining "facts" would impact it in any negative way. After all, if people can still believe in God and Jesus after a lifetime of absolutely no "real" evidence of their existence, it just proves that people don't need facts or proof of any kind to maintain their faith.
  5. John Uskglass

    John Uskglass Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Aug 29, 2003
    I think that depends on semantics Montez. I don't think a lot of people outside of the Mormons view God as a big guy up in the clouds with a white beard, but the notion that he does not 'physically' exist is Unitarianism/atheism.

    I think God has an everyday impact on my life, but at the same time I don't think it is possible to separate something from the 'impact' of God, so I think the question is moot.
  6. Atomic Cowboy

    Atomic Cowboy Banned

    May 5, 2006
    Most people don't have good evidence for anything they believe. My girlfriend is a perfect example of this, she takes things as they are without questioning them. For instance she likes gaining knowledge from education, but when I ask her why knowledge is good, she doesn't know, doesn't care. She's not stupid, just apathetic.

    The same goes for people believing in God, Jesus, and even scientific theories: they've got it in their head and they don't know or care why it's there. Obviously, the science would stand up to scrutiny if they actually chose to scrutinize it; I'm just pointing out that they believe something with out critical approach.

    This type of behaviour really frustrates me, as I don't understand how somebody can live without trying to make sense of things. I think this is why I'm irritated by people saying they believe in science and God.
  7. Montez

    Montez So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Jun 20, 2003
    All I know about Unitarianism is that it's the religion that everyone makes fun of, so I'll go with the atheisim thing - I didn't mean "doesn't physically exist" as he "doesn't exist, period", as in they think of him as an imaginary friend, I meant it in the "nature god" sense that the Brother used in the article I quoted.

    Yes, but do you think of that impact as being because of his presence in you and others, or however you want to phrase it, or the impact in being, "He caused this event, he caused that event", as if he were directly controlling everything that happens and you're just along for the ride? (Or both?) I think the former is religious and the latter is superstition. Almost everyone, religious or not, has some degree of superstition in them, but most religious people I know think of god as more "internal" than "external", if you follow me. As in, (for a stupid example) God didn't cause that tree to fall down, wind and age did, but God might have had something to do with me pausing for a second in thought so I didn't walk under it just before it fell. Maybe they are all aberrant in their beliefs compared to the average religious person, I wouldn't know, but they are the only real examples I can draw from.
  8. DGT

    DGT It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 7, 2006
    "God's Presence"

    If you'll think for a moment, some people besides the religious that feel the "presence" of other beings of some kind. They're a portion of the people called "schizophrenic." Maybe some similar medication would help the touched?

    Of course, I have to mention that "morals" can be present without any kind of religion. Almost all the atheists I know have some kind of moral standards; a bit more reasonable than some of religion's, though. ("Euthanasia is wrong, because if it was their time to die, they would." "Well, should we get rid of the life-saving done in hospitals?" "Of course not!" Wtf? Either way, you're tampering with their "time.")

    And finally, no offense to those of you whom are religious; the statement I started this post with was really directed to those whom swear they strongly feel the presence of a higher power.

    edit: Damn SpellCheck stole my capitalization.
  9. Bradylama

    Bradylama Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Oct 22, 2003
    The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. Ultimately, this means that God and Science are not mutually exclusive, particularly considering that Science is merely the pursuit of knowlege through critical method.

    Since the existance of a God cannot be absolutely established without him showing up and demonstrating his l333t sk1llz, the belief in science and God is entirely reasonable.

    Is it logical? No. Yet logic is always based on criteria that we perceive. Logic only translates into truth when all determining factors are taken into account, and since all factors that go into the presence of a God cannot be taken into account (the universe, she is soooo big), it's impossible to logically disprove the existance of a God.

    By incorporating the knowlege of scientific fact with one's religion, one is merely applying reasonable standards to the base of their belief. Perceptions of God have changed throughout the millenia without major advances in scientific method. Just look at the Gnostics.

    All events such as weather occur as natural phenomenon. They behave in accordance with the laws of physics, and are ultimately predictable.

    However, when we take into account acts attributed to God, people are then making the assumtion that an active God is one which applies force to the elements in order to achieve results through natural laws.

    The destruction of Sodom and Gomorra could be attributed to a number of factors. Volcanic eruption, meteor showers, what have you.

    To one that does not believe in God, these acts are purely natural and occurred due to indeterminable extraneous factors. However, when one makes the assumtion that God does exist, then God is the determining factor in the occurrence of a natural phenomenon. This does not mean that all acts of nature are direct acts of God.

    Ultimately, this is what I find most distasteful about a lot of Christian sects. That God sends rain or any other natural phenomena based on nothing more than superstition. Essentially what the good Father is railing against.

    People make the assumtion that God provides without having any actual basis for believing so. God provided for the Jews as a condition of the Covenant. No such covenant exists between God and his believers. If God honestly did provide for all of the believers, then we'd all believe, wouldn't we? It kind of negates the entire purpose of faith in the love of the Lord God Almighty, whatever it is.
  10. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    if you like thinking about gods, download http://www.andrewsmcmeel.com/godsdebris/ (not warez! it's legal...), i found it an enjoyable read (but ofc i dont believe in it & neither does the writer).

    as for gods/religion? it's no more than a bundle of moral guidelines and stories to keep people calm/in check.

    most have outlived their usefulness or became a perverted image of their former self.
  11. Dapper Dan Man

    Dapper Dan Man Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Oct 6, 2004

    Well as a Unitarian hopefully I can explain it a bit better than as a running gag?

    Unitarianism is the belief in one divine entity that we commonly call 'God'. We do not believe Jesus was divine, but that he was a good moral teacher that we happen to try to emulate. Thus, we deny the existence of the 'Trinity' as basically an imcomprehensible idea. How does God sacrifice Himself/Herself/Itself for us, or divide 'co-eternally'? We believe the Bible is not inerrant...it has *many* errors which stem for the mash that went into creating it. The moral truths gleaned from it are there for a critical reader to examine and emulate.

    In addition, to us science and religion are not incompatible. Like the article lists above the belief in something defining moral truths does not conflict with what exists as scientific truth. One can answer the 'how', but ultimately it does not answer the 'why'? While it may be superstitous, I believe personally (as do some Unitarians) that God does have a hand in helping to guide us, but certainly not as some physical man who comes down shooting lightning bolts. We have free will to do what we want, but in the back of our minds we do have what we always consider a 'conscience', to varying degrees.

    Then you have the belief that it is good works that matter, not faith. We believe there are several avenues to the 'truth' and that God doesn't go around saying "Yup, you are the chosen people". Basically, people should just be decent, moral 'good' people and that is all that really matters. What inspires you to do it doesn't quite matter as much as doing it. That is generally what it is about.

    A better website to explain it is here: http://www.americanunitarian.org/

    To summarize with a glib phrase: "We follow the religion of Jesus, not the religion about Jesus."

    Edit: I expect not many people will read this, but if you did I hope it helps.
  12. [Rusty Chopper]

    [Rusty Chopper] Vault Dweller

    Jan 23, 2005
    That can be performed without any religion at all.

    I personally do believe in God. I think he is the one who created the laws of nature. The one who wrote the scenario.

    But I doubt the rest.

    Neither I do. How a human being can exist without the Idea?
  13. Dapper Dan Man

    Dapper Dan Man Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Oct 6, 2004
    I concur? I never said that it couldn't be. I said the Unitarian belief is that generally being moral is all that matters. Faith or belief is personal, and subject to whatever you decide. Most, if not all Unitarians I know don't believe in hell and the like.
  14. The Vault Dweller

    The Vault Dweller always looking for water.

    Aug 24, 2004
    I'm so glad you brought this up Montez. It covers a subject I hold dear and I'm glad to see it portrayed properly. Somehow though I always feel nervous talking about it.

    When I was growing up my Dad (both a scientist and a deeply religious man) was talking about the relation between the two. He told me how important is was for scientists to understand religion since it gives them a conscience and that as hard as it may be to believe in the non-physical science only makes a person more curious and they cant help, but to want to believe in a God. Also as far as religion is concerned it would be a terrible waste for God to make such a world and for the people in it to not study as scientists do. After all a greater knowledge of the natural world can lead to better use of it and less abuse of your fellow people to satisfy life. The very study of nature itself gives one a respect for creation and the viewing of everything as having a deeper and much more complicated meaning.

    He told me how lucky I was to be Catholic since many others on both sides would harshly put down any mentioning of science or God as both being positive forces for humanity. He told me I would unfortunately learn this from people I would meet.

    This was true.

    I've met very intelligent, well-meaning people who base everything they know on science and they vehemently despise religion. I was once told by one of them that if there were no belief in un-provable gods that people wouldnt be able to justify things like hate and murder and that a strong belief in the physical world would only make all illogical as well as immoral. I dont have the heart to tell them about all the moral things people have died doing throughout history in service to God.

    I've also met very devoted, well-meaning people who dont like my choice of study in science. I've heard them say that study of science equates to a "belief in science to save mankind" which I have never once heard in any way shape or form. Also that its impossible to study evolution unless you believe in it. I dont have the heart to tell them how many lives have been saved through scientific intervention.

    What a warped world I seem to live in.

    Also good quotes Fireblade.

    The Vault Dweller
  15. Atomic Cowboy

    Atomic Cowboy Banned

    May 5, 2006
    First off, a couple of apt quotes.

    From Barnard's new fantasy series (can't remember the title, but it's good. Check the shelf): "There are those who have faith who recognize it as faith, and those who mistake faith for knowledge."

    Pratchett's Good Omens: "Most of the great trajedies and accomplishments in history arn't because of people being fundamentally good or fundamentally evil, but People being fundamentally people."

    The problem with this is that if you start defining God as something which doesn't conflict with science, and cannot be bound by science, you get something bigger than the Universe which ooperates in a different way and follows unknowable laws (for instance he isn't bound by mathematics - he can add 2 + 2 and get 5). You arrive at an entity which is undefinable. If God is not of this Universe and is not bound by the Universes laws than s/he/it is an entity which cannot be described in any meaningful way. While I grant such a thing could certainly exist I don't see what good talking about it does.

    The next problem I see stemming from this rejection of dogma, is that one arrives at the question of why do we gather each week to talk about Jesus? If he's nothing more than a great moral teacher, why are we studying him and not other great moral teachers such as Plato? I think if you compare the two Plato's works come out on top. The stories in the bible don't really have a clear or coherent message. Plato challenges you to address why good is good (or atleast a good philosphy course on ethics does).

    The argument that religion causes wars is somewhat spurious however - the crusades occured not because of religion but because of greed. War is always because of greed - "teh war never changes." Similarly people give to charity because they're people, not because going to church did anything that a touching episode of King of the Hill couldn't do.

    That being said, religion does distort perception and can make people blind to possible solutions. While nothing in the Middle East is directly caused by religion, much of it can trace it's roots to distorted perceptions caused by religion - such as the implicit, but subconsiouc, racism in referring to "a Jewish peoples."

    Not trying to piss anybody off, I just enjoy debating, so please don't take offence. :)
  16. Arachnivore

    Arachnivore First time out of the vault

    Feb 13, 2006
    You're pretty ambiguous about your philosophy. Isn't this the same kind of apathy that bugged you about your girlfriend? The problem is you keep asking what "good" something is i.e.

    The terms good and bad or evil are uselessly ambiguous. What good is life? You can't answer that question without begging the question; "why is [whatever you answer] good?" This is all pretty basic philosophy.

    Science is a systematic method of observing the universe. The teories of physics are approximations to the underlying mechanics of our universe and the accuracy of these theories is tested by science. Mathematics is the study of patterns and most theories are described mathematically and ultimately assume that the universe follows patterns. Assuming the universe follows patterns isn't bad (whatever "bad" means). It certainly is useful. It just means that theories can only stand up to so much scrutiny. Ultimately you have no other choice but to accept things at face value as your girlfriend does because asking, "why do you believe that the mechanics of the universe are based on patterns" doesn't really have a solid answer.

    I'm not religious by any means and my beliefs about God are difficult to explain (the gist of it is; God is the universe), but Plato's writings are chalk full of bullshit. Philosophy has progressed some since Plato and though he was an important figure in the development of philosophy, many of his ideas have since been dismantled. I certainly wouldn’t compare Plato to Jesus. Doing so wouldn’t even be a great step away from religion anyway. All the nonsense about the “forms” and whatnot is easily translated into terms of heaven and God, which is precisely what Augustine did.

    I like this quote. Any religion that lays any claim to fact is IMHO bunk. There is a fine line between truth and fact. I don’t think Christianity, in its correct interpretation (i.e. taken in the correct context) is guilty of professing fact. Genesis is obviously a parable and there are plenty questionable entries that have been edited into the bible over the centuries but the truths (not facts but truths) that the bible and other holy texts discuss are quite distinguishable from the clutter.

    Regarding Genesis: Part of the significance of genesis, in my view, is the importance of the Sabbath. There is even a group called the Seventh-Day Adventists who hold the Sabbath paramount and have been shown to live much longer and healthier lives than most people.

    I completely agree with SuAside that most religions have become “a perverted version of their former self”. I think that this is due mostly to flaws in people (such as prejudice against homosexuality) and the inherent problem of organization (people using organized religion to further their own agenda).

    In the end you don’t have to believe in God or Jesus or any other religious Icon to get something out of religion. Sure, everyone is born with a moral compass of some sort and can probably go through life never needing the guidance of religion but there are plenty of ways religion can help people lead happier lives. I was once told that Jesus said something like, “true charity is always anonymous because the motivation is to make yourself happy not to show everyone else what a good person you are” It’s stuff like that that isn’t so easy to conclude yourself, at least not for most people (my self included). Whether or not Jesus actually said that isn’t even important. I find it true that you shouldn’t be motivated by what other people think. Religion has not outlived it’s usefulness it just needs to be scaled back to the personal level rather than the massive organization that leads to corruption.

    The strangest phenomenon I’ve observed about religion is that some people are able to somehow “switch off” the faculty for reason when it comes to religion. I can’t quite explain it (it may not be a phenomenon isolated to religion) but it’s like this; you converse with someone who seems perfectly intelligent and reasonable but when the discussion starts to encroach upon their religious beliefs they’ll flat out deny the existence of dinosaurs or something to that effect. That’s kind of scary.

    Fireblade: I actually did a report on Unitarianism back in high school when we read “Cat’s Cradle” (my favorite fiction book of all time). I found it quite interesting, however, back when I wrote the report, the Unitarian website said something about not condoning homosexuality which sort-of made me cringe. They seem to have changed their mind since or I was mistaken to begin with, either way it’s a fascinating view on Christianity.

    Great article Montez. I think you and your friends are in the minority but I hope I’m wrong.
  17. [Rusty Chopper]

    [Rusty Chopper] Vault Dweller

    Jan 23, 2005
    Plato described human nature that hasn't changed much since ancient Greece. You shouldn't call something bullshit just because it was written ages ago.

    Many people think that the newer the idea, the more correct it is. Not always true. Take Nietzsche for example. You could include Marx and Engels here, but I'll protest.

    Can't help agreeing with that.

    What if I don't like fags? I won't go to heaven or what?
  18. alec

    alec White heterosexual male Orderite

    May 21, 2003
    Yep, you won't go to heaven and you won't get to be God's little anal biatch.

    Listen, people, I've said this before and I'll say it again: you are all fucking nuts. So either grow the fuck up or stop doing drugs and open your eyes for the sad truth:

    there is no God, so stop inventing one, you miserable bunch!

    I know it's hard to have to hear stuff like that from someone who actually has brains in his head and a university degree, but come on people: think! I understand that the act of thinking must be a hard and painful thing to do when the void inside your head is blowing like a foghorn, but it's for your own good.

    Open your mind and let the vacuum that has been building up inside there suck in some truth and wisdom.

    Don't fight it! Let it happen, 'cause trust me: it's for your own good. Scan your environment, read a newspaper, walk through the redlightdistrict at 3 o'clock in the morning, take it all in and try to distill the truth: no one is looking out for us. We're all alone, we're all on deathrow. Oppressors invented myths and fairytales like God and Santa Claus and Allah and that creep who stole Christmas just to make you into the consuming and producing cattle you have become. Slaves you are. Well, no longer, brethren!

    Free yourselves before it is too late!

    Say no to that so-called God and piss on his symbols! For he does not exist! He's a human invention like the Yeti and life on Mars.

    There. I have spoken.


    Goddamn sorry bunch of wankers...
  19. KQX

    KQX Vault Senior Citizen

    May 3, 2003
    How very Andres Serrano-esque.
  20. Dapper Dan Man

    Dapper Dan Man Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Oct 6, 2004
    Thanks for the lightshow, alec. Sorry to saw however, but coming from someone who he himself professes to lack any sort of morals whatsoever, I have to be a bit skeptical there? I mean, given your own vaunted university knowledge and degrees and such, it is amusing that it doesn't seem to matter at all given the propensity of university degrees out there possessed by people who *do* have faith in something better? Honestly, the only insane person here I would think would be you for stating this is the best of all possible worlds, don't give a shit about anybody but yourself, give in to whatever vice you favor, etc.

    Where is *your* sense of something greater? What keeps you going day to day if it isn't licking feet per se? Studying science and such, i can easily claim the natural order and 'geometry' of the universe is indicitive of certain laws that were postulated by a divine source. I could also say that the "belief in heroes makes us heroic" as a wiser person said.

    Truth and wisdom? Funny how all the wise people seem to be saying opposite of what you say is 'truth'. Do good for others, believe in things such as good and evil and choose the former, don't forget to remember to be thankful for what you DO have. You know, being a decent person (which must be so terribly, terribly difficult). Honestly, I think the rantings of someone who feels alone and unloved are the more childish, as they reflect the wonderful angsty teen years better than any I have ever heard of. The point of the whole damn argument I made was that the faith did not matter, as long as you have faith in SOMETHING to make you act better to others. There is some 'wisdom' for you. That, maybe, morality isn't some absurd quality that only psychopaths worship and intelligent people ignore. For any 'sane' and 'rational' individual, there is the proper assertion that human beings are *not* rational and that some of our greatest and worst qualities come from seeking to go beyond what we know. That our codes of society are predicated not just on morality, but that society as a whole and virtue rely on the beliefs of individual people to accept there are higher standards than pleasure.

    Cat's Cradle is a good book, and Kurt Vonnegut is a Unitarian-Universalist too. As for the homosexuality thing...I can't think of *any* church I know of that is 'against' homosexuality. The U-U church was one of the first to push for marriage for homosexuals as well as (I believe) allow them into the clergy. There is, of course, many variations of Unitarianism...from Unitarianism-Universalism in America to the Unitarianism in the U.K. Transylvania, and other places. They are different, but one of their strengths is that we do not hold to formal creeds per se. Humanists of both faith and humanists who lack it can share one organization together to try to make a difference. Isn't that what matters?