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Offline Swanny

Catholic Roommate
« on: November 29, 2011, 11:08:32 PM »
Heya everybody, just an update from college with a request.

I am an atheist and have read quite a bit from the New Atheist movement. I am a member of my school's Secular Student Society and a Religion minor. That being said, I was, for some reason, paired with a Catholic roommate. We get along pretty well, but do have our religious discussions. Recently, I cornered him in a discussion about free will, causing him to use an Appeal to Authority and agree to consult his priest with any questions I feel like giving him.

What would you suggest? So far I have:
1. If God is all-knowing, he knows before I am born if I am going to Heaven or Hell. He can do anything to change it, as he is all-powerful. Despite being all-loving, however, he does nothing or not enough to make a difference. Why is this?
2. Why does God not reveal himself irrefutably? It happened all the time in the Old Testament and would ensure the path to Heaven for billions.
3. Why do Catholics pray to saints rather than God himself? There is nothing about needing a medium in the Bible.
4. Why do Catholics need to confess their sins to a priest? Why is it not enough to pray directly to God?

Sorry if this is the wrong section (Debates, maybe?), and thank you for your help.

Swanny
The most basic fact of life is that there has to be a creator and to deny this no matter how many phd's u have mean you are still at the most elementary stage of true knowledge.

Offline Irish

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2011, 11:37:22 PM »
...just an update from college...

Big college/small college?

Quote
... I was, for some reason, paired with a Catholic roommate.

That's nothing. I once had a Muslim roommate straight off the plane from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia who was/is at K-State studying English as a second language.  :o  We communicated via an iPod translator app that I have.  And yes, he prayed five times a day and listened to sermons off YouTube.

Quote
What would you suggest? So far I have:
1. If God is all-knowing, he knows before I am born if I am going to Heaven or Hell. He can do anything to change it, as he is all-powerful. Despite being all-loving, however, he does nothing or not enough to make a difference. Why is this?

This has my vote.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 11:41:29 PM by Irish »
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Offline getter_beam

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2011, 11:52:17 PM »
The thing is he and his priest are going to say whatever they want to convince you without the real details. It might be better to research it yourself since obviously they're not going to tell you all the flaws in their system. I know you didn't ask for us to answer these questions so if it bothers you say so and I'll shut up. :laugh:

I got nothing on question 1.

2 - As I understand it, God didn't reveal himself many times at all, and only to chosen people. I've seen a lot of discussion as to why God does things, but I'll leave it alone for now. Too many ideas.
3 - Catholics believe Jesus made Peter the first Pope, but there's nothing in the Bible to support that. Recently I was researching Catholic origin and was surprised they think this.

4 - They don't need to. They've set this system up themselves, once again not supported in the Bible, like almost every other thing they teach. In confession the (sinful) man forgives you, not Jesus. They've elevated themselves to this powerful position. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."

There are a few other verses that support this, but the Catholics forgot to read them. I heard they're encouraged NOT to read the Bible since the Pope is the final word.

Anyway ask all of your questions, but I feel the first one in some ways isn't as important as the others which deal with their teaching.




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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2011, 01:49:20 AM »
Here's the one question I would ask:

According to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin Mary was given a special dispensation that allowed her to be conceived free of sin, so that Christ would not inherit a taint of Original Sin from her.  If Yahweh can create an exemption from Original Sin for Mary without destroying the Cosmos, why couldn't he just do that for everyone and solve the Original Sin problem altogether?
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Offline albeto

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2011, 03:35:50 AM »
Heya everybody, just an update from college with a request.

I am an atheist and have read quite a bit from the New Atheist movement. I am a member of my school's Secular Student Society and a Religion minor. That being said, I was, for some reason, paired with a Catholic roommate. We get along pretty well, but do have our religious discussions. Recently, I cornered him in a discussion about free will, causing him to use an Appeal to Authority and agree to consult his priest with any questions I feel like giving him.

Oh goody.  I used to love to argue Catholic apologetics.  :)

Quote
What would you suggest? So far I have:
1. If God is all-knowing, he knows before I am born if I am going to Heaven or Hell. He can do anything to change it, as he is all-powerful. Despite being all-loving, however, he does nothing or not enough to make a difference. Why is this?
2. Why does God not reveal himself irrefutably? It happened all the time in the Old Testament and would ensure the path to Heaven for billions.
3. Why do Catholics pray to saints rather than God himself? There is nothing about needing a medium in the Bible.
4. Why do Catholics need to confess their sins to a priest? Why is it not enough to pray directly to God?

None of these.  Sorry, but these are relatively elementary questions.  I would go with something a little different and appeal to the authority of the church rather than theology (which can always be twisted as the goalposts are far from secure).  First, to answer your questions in a good old fashioned Catholic way, I would have responded like this:

1. God does make a difference.  He offers grace (his supernatural self) to inspire us.  One need not be a Catholic or even a Christian to know the prompting of the holy spirit.  A Christian is baptized into the community of the faithful (why Catholics baptize infants rather than waiting for an age of desire) and that baptism is a sacrament which means two things happen simultaneously.  For one thing, the water is a symbol of cleansing (the "stain" of original sin is "washed away")  The water symbolizes cleansing and starting anew (think Noah here), it also symbolizes being brought into the community (one of the two things that replaces circumcision).  The other thing it does is effect the soul supernaturally.  That is, it doesn't just symbolize cleansing, it actually, magically er, mystically infuses the soul with "sanctifying grace" (makes one able to tolerate the presence of the divine, as opposed to that poor shlepp who tried to keep the ark from falling back in the old testament and died instantly). 

Now, God set up a plan in the church to offer all these sacraments but God doesn't need these sacraments to do his work.  In other words, he's not limited by anything (or as Homer Simpson says, can God microwave a burrito so hot even he can't touch it?).  So God knows if you are going to hell but he keeps putting giving you messages, easter eggs I guess you could say, to help you find the right thing to do.  He's not going to force you but he doesn't leave you on your own, either. 

2.  Catholics aren't obligated to read the old testament literally so you're likely to be talking to a believer and his priest who would say God didn't necessarily reveal himself like in the stories of old, they were just stories told to make a point.  That point being, God is with us.  But I think you're likely to get the easter egg kind of reply.  God is there, think to a time where you were in some danger or precarious situation and found a way out.  That was God, manipulating the environment for your sake.  See how convenient? 

3.  Oh Saints were my favorites!  The real answer is that Saint veneration was the most adaptable crossover from paganism but your roommate isn't likely to accept that (but for kicks, you can find a whole boatload of Catholic Saints and their pagan counterparts).  The Catholic answer is a little more complicated and if you're not familiar with Catholic theology will take a bit of getting used to.  In a nutshell here is my answer:

Catholics believe in a thing called the economy of grace (it was one of the two things Martin Luther refused to stop preaching heresy from the pulpit as a representative of the Catholic Church being a priest and all, for which he was ultimately excommunicated, but that's neither here nor there).  You can think of it like an economy, only it's never ending of course because it's God.  "Grace" to a Catholic means simply, "God's presence."  When Catholics go to confession, it's to get absolution for their sins so their soul can take up more "grace" (since God will not force himself on anyone ~do not think about Paul on the road to Damascus~).  Because one looses grace by sinning, they have a harder time with these easter egg messages from the divine.  In other words, it's harder to be good and righteous when your soul is crusty from sin.  Absolution cleanses this out, restores the believer in full to the community, and replaces all that lost grace that slipped out when sin suffocated the soul.  Mortal sin is that sin that strips the soul of every last ounce of God's grace (mortal = death).  Without God's grace, even a touch, one can't live in heaven with him.  This is what purgatory fixes, but essentially one needs that grace restored so that if they get hit by a bus after a particularly grievous sin, they won't go directly to hell for not having any sanctifying grace (it also explains the doctrine of Limbo for babies who died before baptism and sanctifying grace, which was finally put to rest in the last couple years). 

Anyway, this economy of grace means that there's lots of grace floating around (not unlike neutrinos - you can't see 'em but they're everywhere, hehe).  This grace can be "shared" if you will.  This is what the theology of suffering is all about (and why Mother Teresa was obsessed with caring for the suffering).  Suffering is understood to be able to have redemptive qualities.  That is, when one "offers up" their suffering to Jesus, he takes it (because he lives outside time, being God and all), applies it to his work on the cross (which is ongoing, being outside of time and all), and that's what opened up the gates of heaven, or bridged the gap between humanity and God.  Or something. 

Catholics pray to Saints because one can only be in heaven if they're completely and utterly devoid of all sin and have only grace left in their immortal souls (that's what purgatory is, the mudroom to heaven where all that crusty sin gets stomped off).  These Saints sit at the feet of Jesus and sing his praises all day and all night and all the next day and can't wait to do this for the next bazillion years.  Because they're with God, God lets them hear your prayers and they reach out their noodly appendage (sorry, wrong god) souls and bring your prayers straight to Jesus.  Not unlike the fast-pass at Disney World. :)  Mary, God's pinnacle of creation, is Jesus' mother and being a good Catholic boy, Jesus can't help but to love his mother most of all.  That's why it's nice to pray to St. Anthony if you've lost your car keys but you would plead to Our Lady to pray for your girlfriend not to be pregnant when it looks like she might be. 

4. I touched on that a bit earlier.  There are seven sacraments in the Catholic faith and reconciliation/confession is one of them.  A sacrament is understood as a sign and means of God's grace.  So that means confession not only symbolizes restoration in full with the community of the faithful, it is a means by which grace is restored.  Catholics don't have a concept about being perfect.  That isn't an expectation.  But the rituals are important and one must be "in full communion" with the community to partake of these rituals.  By this, really I mean the Eucharist.  Anyone can go to Mass and read along and sing along and pray along and kneel along, but only Catholics "in full communion" with the community are invited to partake of the Eucharist.  That's another really long story I won't bore you with now but the Eucharist is, like Nick said around here not too long ago, the very miracle of the Christ in your hands.  You can't get any closer to God on earth than through the Eucharist (a "mystical kiss" between heaven and earth, as apologist Scott Hahn says).  To be denied this would be troublesome for a faithful Catholic, especially since that's how one generally receives God's grace.  Reconciliation/confession is the sacrament necessary to be restored to the community of the faithful and only in that communion can one get the Eucharist so it's important. 

  Part of the sacrament of reconciliation is the absolution.  This is the moment when the priest, acting in persona chrisi, or in the person of Christ (Jesus is acting vicariously through the priest throughout the sacraments), absolves the penitent of their sins.  That is, this moment marks the moment God's grace is restored.  If I recall correctly, the second thing Martin Luther refused to confess and recant is the office of the pope.  Instead, he declared that Christ does not act vicariously through the priest simply because the priest was ordained by a Catholic bishop who himself was ordained by a Catholic bishop (in an unbroken line back to the apostles).  Confession, if done with perfect contriteness (not fear of punishment but true sorrow for offending God and others), one is understood to be absolved.  I suspect this is a rather new take on an old sacrament, but anyway. 

For your general questions, you might find catholic.com to be helpful.   

Instead, I would ask

* If the Christian faith is understood to be a fulfillment of the Jewish faith rather than a new faith, why weren't Jews invited to offer their insight to the first Church councils?
* If "grave sin" is understood to meet three requirements (willful execution, full knowledge of the sin, very big deal), does anyone really commit a mortal sin considering people rationalize their behavior as justifiable in some way, or not all that bad after all?
* Does Jesus sit at God's right hand now (as is said in the Apostles' Creed every Mass) or is that figurative and if it's figurative, how much of the creed is considered figurative?  (if the answer is no, the next question is obvious - where is he now and how can he be sitting next to God, being that he is God?)

Quote
Sorry if this is the wrong section (Debates, maybe?), and thank you for your help.

Swanny

Oh, I have no idea but I'd love to hear how it goes!

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2011, 07:14:52 AM »
2. Why does God not reveal himself irrefutably? It happened all the time in the Old Testament and would ensure the path to Heaven for billions.

Quran has this problem too, Allah is providing proof left, right and center to Moses, Abraham, Lot, Jesus, Mary, etcetcetc
But when pagans ask for proof, Muslims are told to go "well, you got the book don't you" or to refer to (amonst others) "tide comes in, tide goes out" (and I ain't even kidding).
But at least the Quran tells you why this is ... There's no free will in Islam. Allah 'saves' (from himself) whom he chooses and sends the rest off to burn forever.  No point in proving anything to anyone.

3. Why do Catholics pray to saints rather than God himself? There is nothing about needing a medium in the Bible.

The apologetic I always heard was that the saints are just aspects of God ... not the actual people themselves. How this jazzes with all the pomp surrounding canonization ... beats me. When someone is canonized ... does the Pope offer his soul up for God to gobble up. God is the celestial soul blob?
And what of beatification? Is that then God getting ready to gobble up a soul? Like, putting seasoning on it?
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Offline Nick

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2011, 08:01:47 AM »
Ask this.  If being a priests is a life long committment to God why are so many molesting little boys?  Seems like they fear no god.  Maybe they really know something you don't.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2011, 11:32:24 AM »
2 - As I understand it, God didn't reveal himself many times at all, and only to chosen people. I've seen a lot of discussion as to why God does things, but I'll leave it alone for now. Too many ideas.
indeed.
Quote
3 - Catholics believe Jesus made Peter the first Pope, but there's nothing in the Bible to support that. Recently I was researching Catholic origin and was surprised they think this.
Not so suprising since every Christians makes up their own reasons why God does anything. The RCC uses this as their reason:
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Matthew 16: 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
I’ll have to make a tangential remark that it was a little late for that :D 
Quote
4 - They don't need to. They've set this system up themselves, once again not supported in the Bible, like almost every other thing they teach. In confession the (sinful) man forgives you, not Jesus. They've elevated themselves to this powerful position. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
The man, as an agent of god forgives you through Jesus.  JC said this (of course assuming he existed at all)
Quote
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Seems that there was no problem in having those who have the holy spirit forgive others. Is there a test for who does and doesn’t have the holy spirit?
Quote
1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
I guess it’s a contest between Paul and JC on who is right.
Quote
There are a few other verses that support this, but the Catholics forgot to read them. I heard they're encouraged NOT to read the Bible since the Pope is the final word.Anyway ask all of your questions, but I feel the first one in some ways isn't as important as the others which deal with their teaching.
and one big one that doesn’t.  Again, we see that Christians have a heck of a time figuring out what God really meant.
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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2011, 12:12:54 PM »
3. ... There is nothing about needing a medium in the Bible.

The Church created the bible, not the other way around.  It is a tool of the Church, not the other way around.  The Church is the authority, not the bible.  The bible is just a post hoc justification/ explanation/ documentation.  The RCC and the bible do not have the same relationship as the US federal government and the Constitution.  It is more like the relationship between McDonald's and their menu.

Protestants who claim sola scriptura are basing their theology and belief in RCC authority (the Bible), the very thing they claim to reject.

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Offline albeto

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2011, 01:23:51 PM »
Here's the one question I would ask:

According to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin Mary was given a special dispensation that allowed her to be conceived free of sin, so that Christ would not inherit a taint of Original Sin from her.  If Yahweh can create an exemption from Original Sin for Mary without destroying the Cosmos, why couldn't he just do that for everyone and solve the Original Sin problem altogether?

Oh that's easy, "It's a mystery." 

See?  Problem solved.  :D

Offline Swanny

Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2011, 01:24:24 AM »
Whoa, sorry guys. Finals are closing in, as well as procrastinated papers. Making free time quite the commodity. I haven't ever had to respond to so many comments, so I hope I am doing this right. :P

@Irish
Luther College in Iowa, about 1200 students, I think. A hardcore Muslim roommate must have been...interesting. I think the culture shock might have gotten a bit old, though.

@getter_beam
Thank you for your answers. The first one was actually the one that broke me away from Christianity initially, so I am pretty fond of it. :D
Most, if not all of the Call Narratives of the Old Testament have good ol' Yahweh talking directly to his would-be prophets, though. Granted that isn't by any means a large part of the population, as my contention says, but there are multiple other examples as well. I am partially going to rescind my initial statement and just say that God does reveal himself, and can seemingly do so without worrying about disrupting free will or faith.
Also, my Catholic roommate would probably agree that the pope's word is much more important that the Bible itself, I hypothesize.

@kcrady
Thank you. I proposed that idea to the leader of my Secular Student Society (He was raised Catholic) and he liked that question quite a bit.

@Fiji
Agreed. The Qu'ran does its best to avoid this problem by not even trying to support free will, to my knowledge. Because THAT makes sense.  &)

@Nick
Fair enough. Pedophilia ---> Salvation?

@velkyn
Thank you. My worry, though, comes from worrytape. It would be easy for my roommate or his priest just to say that the tradition supersedes the Bible and that the verse supporting them is thus right. Not that I argue that is logical, it is just artful dodging by them.

The most basic fact of life is that there has to be a creator and to deny this no matter how many phd's u have mean you are still at the most elementary stage of true knowledge.

Offline Swanny

Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2011, 01:39:25 AM »
Quote from: screwtape
The Church created the bible, not the other way around.  It is a tool of the Church, not the other way around.  The Church is the authority, not the bible.  The bible is just a post hoc justification/ explanation/ documentation.  The RCC and the bible do not have the same relationship as the US federal government and the Constitution.  It is more like the relationship between McDonald's and their menu.

Protestants who claim sola scriptura are basing their theology and belief in RCC authority (the Bible), the very thing they claim to reject.

Does this mean that Roman Catholicism is based almost solely upon tradition? With the Bible serving only as a supporting text, then devotion to tradition, belief in superstition, and ignorance to the origins of the traditions control the RCC. The Bible is used, as you said, as a post hoc justification more than anything else. McDonald's menu doesn't attempt to justify anything.
The most basic fact of life is that there has to be a creator and to deny this no matter how many phd's u have mean you are still at the most elementary stage of true knowledge.

Offline Swanny

Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2011, 02:08:01 AM »
Okay albeto, I have saved you for last. :P
Sorry if I misrepresent anything, but I am going to chop some of this down for the sake of space and comprehension (mostly for my own sake). So, here I go. :D

So God knows if you are going to hell but he keeps putting giving you messages, I guess you could say, to help you find the right thing to do.  He's not going to force you but he doesn't leave you on your own, either.

I feel like this sums up the last two paragraphs pretty well (correct me if I am wrong). Does this mean that God does not know the correct way to save me, or does and just does not try hard enough? I am just using myself as an example, so let's assume I am going to Hell for the sake of convenience.

God is there, think to a time where you were in some danger or precarious situation and found a way out.  That was God, manipulating the environment for your sake.  See how convenient?

Ah, it all makes sense now. Hallelujiah! Wait, who do I blame for the bad things?

3. Thank you for that entire post, I learned a lot about the economy of grace. I must be missing something, so I apologize, but why can't Jesus himself (Or God, for that matter. Wait---same being. Oops) listen directly to the prayers? It's not like the sin itself has to enter his presence for the request to be heard, right?

4. I touched on that a bit earlier.  There are seven sacraments in the Catholic faith and reconciliation/confession is one of them.  A sacrament is understood as a sign and means of God's grace.  So that means confession not only symbolizes restoration in full with the community of the faithful, it is a means by which grace is restored....Reconciliation/confession is the sacrament necessary to be restored to the community of the faithful and only in that communion can one get the Eucharist so it's important. 

  Part of the sacrament of reconciliation is the absolution....[Through] Confession, if done with perfect contriteness, one is understood to be absolved.  I suspect this is a rather new take on an old sacrament, but anyway.

Are you saying it is basically just tradition again? I get that it has its attempts at logical justification, such as bringing the sinful Catholic back into the religious community. I apologize that my knowledge of Catholocism is so limited, likely meaning that what I am asking or understanding makes little sense.

Instead, I would ask

* If the Christian faith is understood to be a fulfillment of the Jewish faith rather than a new faith, why weren't Jews invited to offer their insight to the first Church councils?
* If "grave sin" is understood to meet three requirements (willful execution, full knowledge of the sin, very big deal), does anyone really commit a mortal sin considering people rationalize their behavior as justifiable in some way, or not all that bad after all?
* Does Jesus sit at God's right hand now (as is said in the Apostles' Creed every Mass) or is that figurative and if it's figurative, how much of the creed is considered figurative?  (if the answer is no, the next question is obvious - where is he now and how can he be sitting next to God, being that he is God?)

Oh, I have no idea but I'd love to hear how it goes!

Thank you, these are tremendously helpful. I will be sure to keep you updated. :D
Also, I am not trying to argue with you as if you are still Catholic. If possible, I am trying to defend my questions and see how they could be refined into more potent ones.
The most basic fact of life is that there has to be a creator and to deny this no matter how many phd's u have mean you are still at the most elementary stage of true knowledge.

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2011, 03:03:05 AM »

Catholics pray to Saints because one can only be in heaven if they're completely and utterly devoid of all sin

O RLY? How'd they do this, if the resurrection is not for a while, yet?
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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2011, 03:15:18 AM »
McDonald's menu doesn't attempt to justify anything.

It does make bogus claims that it reallyreallyreally isn't unhealthy  if you read it juuuuuust right.
Science: I'll believe it when I see it
Faith: I'll see it when I believe it

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Offline albeto

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2011, 03:30:10 AM »
Okay albeto, I have saved you for last. :P

Sorry if I misrepresent anything, but I am going to chop some of this down for the sake of space and comprehension (mostly for my own sake). So, here I go. :D

Oh I'm glad my rambling was helpful and not just me enjoying my rambling.  Since you're asking, I'm going to go get a beer to drink while I read.  Hang on...


Ah, better. Thanks for waiting.

I feel like this sums up the last two paragraphs pretty well (correct me if I am wrong). Does this mean that God does not know the correct way to save me, or does and just does not try hard enough? I am just using myself as an example, so let's assume I am going to Hell for the sake of convenience.

I'm going to put my Catholic Hat on again and answer like the really devoted, faithful, unapologetically Mary lovin', Saint veneratin', Rosary speed-beadin', Friday fish eatin' kind of self [cue violins]: 

God loves you so much, Swanny, that he deigned to take on all your suffering, past, present, and future, and absorb it for you because he knows you can only take so much.  Jesus was crowned with the crown of thorns, the crown that represents our mental anguish for whatever pains us the most, and hung from a cross in the most humiliating, excruciating way for *you.*  He took on this pain so you wouldn't have to.  Now, you won't be forced to do good against your will.  Saul on the road to Damascus is the only one God forces to be good and oh boy what a good kind of guy dear St. Paul became.  But you're not S/Paul and God isn't likely to hit you over the head with a holy 2x4, so instead he leaves the choice up to you.  He tried and continues to try so hard to show you how much he loves you.  He gave you Christmas coming up and a Catholic roommate fercryingoutloud.  What more do you want from the guy? 

Ah, it all makes sense now. Hallelujiah! Wait, who do I blame for the bad things?

Hallelujah indeed! Gloria in excelsis Deo!

You can't blame God, because God is good.  God is love.  St. John said so.  God = Love. 

So the bad stuff is all you, babe.  But here's the good news.  God set up a mechanism for justification that should give you hope.  See, if there's any bit of grace in your soul then you have hope because you get to go to purgatory the moment after you take your last breath.  In purgatory you get to see for real all the crappy, crusty sin stuff that kept getting in your way of recognizing God for who he really is.  That's why Catholics don't have a problem with non Catholics being in on the gig.  One of the teachers in my kids' Catholic school had an icon of Gandhi with a holy halo over his head.  Gandhi really didn't want to be a Christian (and who can blame him), but because he knew Love, he knew God.  A short stay in purgatory where he could see God for who he really is and off he went to heaven, I'm sure.  Unless you have no grace in your soul at all, you won't go to hell.

But wait, you my gentle reader say, I'm not a Catholic, maybe I'm not even baptized! How can I have this great grace if I was never baptized by a priest who was ordained in the lineage of the unbroken witnesses from the Apostles?   It's no problem!  God loves you, remember?  Catholics believe that should someone truly want to be baptized but through no fault of their own they were never given the option, God sees that ('cause he can see through walls and even your own ribs right through to your heart), and so infuses you with his super sanctifying grace anyway.  It's called "baptism by desire" and it counts any time you want it to count (there's also baptism by blood which takes care of all our soldiers and heroes and those who don't know they would want to be baptized if they had known about it and shed their blood for the sake of someone else). 

So the fault is yours but because you're fortunate enough to be living in the 21st century, you get Catholic Theology Upgrade to Universal Salvation!  Woot!  Congratulations!  Essentially all that bad shit happens because of you (well, also shit happens - Catholics aren't afraid of science) and too bad you didn't have enough grace in your soul to see the mess before you stepped into it, but the good news is you can start any time and if you never do get it right, you can look forward to an eternity singing God's praises.  You don't want to you say?  Singing in Latin for a bazillion years isn't your thing?  No worries.  If only you knew how awesome it's gonna really be, you'd be looking forward to it so you'll get to work this all out in purgatory. 

3. Thank you for that entire post, I learned a lot about the economy of grace. I must be missing something, so I apologize, but why can't Jesus himself (Or God, for that matter. Wait---same being. Oops) listen directly to the prayers? It's not like the sin itself has to enter his presence for the request to be heard, right?

It's a mystery.

hehehe

No really, it is a mystery.  Why indeed?  Well, God must have a good reason because he's perfect dontchaknow.  Probably, and this is just my guess, it's because he knows that we humans find some people more comforting than others.  I really liked St. Catherine of Sienna myself.  I thought she was enormously humble, loving, devoted, but a little spitfire (she told the pope to stop being a wimp and kick that pseudo pope out of Rome, stop hiding in France and get with the ball).  So how nice to have a set up that allowed me to have my own perfect invisible friend.  I know, I know, Jesus should have been my invisible bff, and his mother my spiritual mother, but still, a girl who chopped off all her hair so she wouldn't be married off is pretty kick-ass imo, and Jesus was nice but kind of, well, tame and boring in comparison. 

But the reason your roommate will offer probably has to do with the "body of believers."  See, Catholics believe that all believers are part of the mystical body of Christ (mystical is like magic but godly so it's good).  We are all one community, even though some are here on earth (the "Church Militant"), some are in purgatory (the "Church Suffering"), and some in heaven (the "Church Triumphant").  Praying for one another, taking up suffering for one another, picking up the mystical slack for one another, is like the physical body that takes on more weight on one leg because the opposite foot is hurt and can't take on weight).  The Saints take on that extra weight for us (as we do for those suffering in purgatory because lets face it, even though it means we are on our way to heaven, we still have to be "refined as if in the fire."  Ouch.  Luckily it's not forever like hell).  So, sure Jesus/God could, but his friends are happy to help.  And besides, some Saints, like St. Terese of the Little Flower, gives the faithful a rose on the ninth day of their novena prayer to her.  How sweet. can you get. 

Are you saying it is basically just tradition again? I get that it has its attempts at logical justification, such as bringing the sinful Catholic back into the religious community. I apologize that my knowledge of Catholocism is so limited, likely meaning that what I am asking or understanding makes little sense.

Catholicism comes out of Judaism.  One is born into the community.  You don't have to be good, but of course why wouldn't you want to?  Catholics are a community, a big family, God's Chosen 2.0.  The only way to be with God is to be made righteous.  On earth, we can't be righteous but we can be "ritualistically clean."  Remember all those rules Moses gave to the Jews?  They were to make sure people kept ritualistically clean so they could be present for the sacrifice (the scapegoat that takes on the guilt of sin and is burned on the altar).  Catholics have a different ritual.  Instead of burning animals for God's pleasure, Catholics ritualistically re-create the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross by re-presenting the Last Supper.  To be ritualistically clean for a Catholic is to be "in full communication" with the community. 

Furthermore, Catholics don't believe that a sincere belief in Jesus "cloaks" sin so God can't see it and is tricked into letting you into heaven like the protestants do, oh no.  Catholics toil.  They spend who knows how long in purgatory working off all that crusty sin.   The Church (Catholics capitalize the C in Church so you know it's different than protestant churches - capital letter means sit up and pay attention, remember) has all this information because the Apostles learned it first hand from Jesus.  The Apostles each traveled around, collecting disciples of their own (the next generation of bishops).  Each generation learned all this stuff from the ones who taught them (the unbroken line of witnesses).  The bible was used for liturgical purposes in the early days.  The scriptures were for the purposes of the priests and for the prayers of the Mass.  In my opinion, the idea that the bible was ever meant to be read by the laity was a move by those clever enough to know how to throw off the shackles of the RCC by appealing to the one thing they claimed no one else had - authority. 

Thank you, these are tremendously helpful. I will be sure to keep you updated. :D
Also, I am not trying to argue with you as if you are still Catholic. If possible, I am trying to defend my questions and see how they could be refined into more potent ones.

No worries.  :)

Offline albeto

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2011, 03:31:47 AM »
O RLY? How'd they do this, if the resurrection is not for a while, yet?

Catholics don't believe access to heaven is on hold, but is a state of being where the "Church Triumphant" resides right now, this very minute.  Oh boy. 

Online screwtape

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2011, 10:03:49 AM »
Does this mean that Roman Catholicism is based almost solely upon tradition?

Yes and no.  It means their authority is not mandated from the bible.  At least, not per se, since the bible was assembled afterward to provide a narrative and a justification.  Supposedly, jesus H directed Peter to build the Church.  The supporting document for that is Matt 16:18.  So, authority was allegedly mandated from jesus H hisself.     

With the Bible serving only as a supporting text, then devotion to tradition, belief in superstition, and ignorance to the origins of the traditions control the RCC.

yep.  xians, being largely drawn from the gentile population, did not have the same understanding of the OT that the jews had.  As time went on, it got worse.  When Luther reared his ugly head, it all went to shit.  The same for superstition.  The Devil did not come along until around 400 ce, if I recall correctly. 

The Bible is used, as you said, as a post hoc justification more than anything else. McDonald's menu doesn't attempt to justify anything.

It was not a perfect analogy.  The point in that was that the bible was made by the RCC to serve its purposes.  Not the other way around.

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Offline composer

Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2011, 07:55:39 PM »
Here's the one question I would ask:

According to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin Mary was given a special dispensation that allowed her to be conceived free of sin, so that Christ would not inherit a taint of Original Sin from her.  If Yahweh can create an exemption from Original Sin for Mary without destroying the Cosmos, why couldn't he just do that for everyone and solve the Original Sin problem altogether?
There was NO ' Original Sin ' The Story book bible explains and refutes christianities fundamental claim -

IN SHORT... Jews do not believe in the existence of Original Sin. The concept of Original Sin simply states that because Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they brought Death into the world. Every human being dies because Adam and Eve committed a sin, and for their sin, all humans are punished with death. However, the Bible describes something entirely different. Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden because if they remained, they could eat the fruit of the Tree of Life, which would make them IMmortal. If Adam and Eve had to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life to become IMmortal, then they were created mortal to begin with. They did not bring Death into the world, and we don't die because they sinned. . . . . (Source: http://whatjewsbelieve.org/)

That in itself I believe decimates the fundamental principles of Christianity.

QED




Offline jetson

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2011, 08:08:13 PM »
I like it, composer.  Now just don't go bolding all of your replies.   :police:

Offline Brakeman

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2011, 08:26:02 PM »
Ask him about indulgences. Currently the Popes grant these but only to the faithful and they make it clear that is not the papal forgiveness of sin but only of a timely punishment after death.

But that itself opens a can of worms, Why does a "faithful christian" get punished anyway for sin that christ's blood supposedly has already washed away?

Per Wiki:
Since those who have died in the state of grace (with all mortal sins forgiven) are members of the communion of saints, it is the belief of the Catholic Church that the living can help those whose purification from their sins is not yet completed not only by prayer but also by obtaining indulgences for them.
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Offline albeto

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2011, 08:58:03 PM »
Ask him about indulgences. Currently the Popes grant these but only to the faithful and they make it clear that is not the papal forgiveness of sin but only of a timely punishment after death.

Indulgences is another "easy question" for a serious Catholic.  It's essentially formalizing the recognition that the penitent is doing that which brings him or her closer to god.  The catholic powers that be during the middle ages totally took advantage of this but that wouldn't throw off a catholic apologist today.  I used to liken it to reading your bible, that good behavior every good protestant does to be closer to god.  The timely punishment after death was the way to give value to the sale of the indulgence since everyone believed in purgatory anyway, it was comforting to think you could shave so many months or years off your sentence. 

But that itself opens a can of worms, Why does a "faithful christian" get punished anyway for sin that christ's blood supposedly has already washed away?

Doesn't work that way in catholic theology.  The crucifixion was a stand-in for the Jewish animal sacrifice.  The Jewish temple needed a priest and a perfect victim to immolate (and I'm thinking there was something else but I can't remember, maybe a representative of the person god made a covenant with but I dunno).  Anyway, because people can't stop sinning, it's human nature after all, there was no expectation that the sacrifices would ever end.  This is why catholics "re-present" the eucharist.  They believe this mystically re-creates the very same sacrifice.  That also explains why the bread and wine are understood to truly be the body and blood of Jesus.  It isn't enough to symbolically recreate the sacrifice any more than it was okay for Moses to symbolically sacrifice a lamb and put a representation of its blood over the door for the angel of death to passover (and since the eucharist and passover are directly related, the RCC keeps it as literal as possible). 

Per Wiki:
Since those who have died in the state of grace (with all mortal sins forgiven) are members of the communion of saints, it is the belief of the Catholic Church that the living can help those whose purification from their sins is not yet completed not only by prayer but also by obtaining indulgences for them.


I wouldn't have had a problem with this as a catholic either.  It's a part of the economy of grace. 

Offline albeto

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2011, 09:05:04 PM »
There was NO ' Original Sin ' The Story book bible explains and refutes christianities fundamental claim -

IN SHORT... Jews do not believe in the existence of Original Sin. The concept of Original Sin simply states that because Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they brought Death into the world. Every human being dies because Adam and Eve committed a sin, and for their sin, all humans are punished with death. However, the Bible describes something entirely different. Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden because if they remained, they could eat the fruit of the Tree of Life, which would make them IMmortal. If Adam and Eve had to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life to become IMmortal, then they were created mortal to begin with. They did not bring Death into the world, and we don't die because they sinned. . . . . (Source: http://whatjewsbelieve.org/)

That in itself I believe decimates the fundamental principles of Christianity.

QED

Yeah, it's interesting how many don't know how the dogma of original sin began.  Like every other dogma in the faith, it began when people tried to connect the dots together after realizing they don't. 

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2011, 09:20:23 AM »
Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden because if they remained, they could eat the fruit of the Tree of Life, which would make them IMmortal. If Adam and Eve had to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life to become IMmortal, then they were created mortal to begin with. They did not bring Death into the world, and we don't die because they sinned. . . . . (Source: http://whatjewsbelieve.org/)

That in itself I believe decimates the fundamental principles of Christianity.

QED[/b]

That doesn't quite work. They may have been immortal to begin with, but that wasn't a problem to God, until they became smart.

However, the hole in the Christian theory is, as usual, an argument from silence. When God created Adam, he made no mention of how long Adam could potentially live.
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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2011, 03:26:30 PM »
Composer's Jewish web-site:
Quote
Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden because if they remained, they could eat the fruit of the Tree of Life, which would make them IMmortal. <snip> Adam and Eve were not yet IMmortal because they had not yet eaten from the Tree Of Life. Therefore God separated Adam and Eve from the Tree Of Life by kicking them out of the Garden.
Interesting. The problem with this is that there's no particular reason why A&E hadn't already eaten from the Tree of Life; they were certainly permitted to eat from it, so why wouldn't they?

The implication, as inferred by Aquinas for example, is that eating from the Tree of Life didn't confer immortality as a one-off deal; it merely prevented the aging process from occurring, and therefore the fruit had to be eaten at regular intervals to avoid death. Hence the expulsion from Eden, which was effectively a death sentence for A&E.

And the problem with that is that all the other animals and plants in Eden would also have to eat regularly from the Tree of Life in order to prevent aging and death. That's quite a logistical problem for the animals (think of the queues), not to mention a biological one for the plants.

Offline kcrady

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2011, 12:31:12 PM »
Albeto, your awesome explanations of Catholicism make it sound like the world's oldest MMORPG![1]  First, there's the easter eggs.  Then there's the "economy of grace," with indulgences as the Catholic equivalent of buying WoW gold from somebody with regular money.  We know that when a Saint dies, they drop some serious loot (holy relics).  Are there Achievements?  Like, after you become a priest and molest your first altar boy, you hear a "bleep-bloop" and see the words: "Achievement unlocked: The Bum Rush," or after you successfully perform your first Transubstantiation spell: *bleep-bloop* "Achievement unlocked: Fine Young Cannibal."

Only three playable levels--Church Militant(!), Church Suffering, and Church Triumphant,[2] which is kinda weak, but the maps are huge.  The cheat codes[3] are pretty weak too.

Anyway, I love your posts, they're hilarious and informative.  Have you ever considered becoming the Catholic version of Brother Sam Singleton, the Atheist Evangelist?

 1. In this case the "O" has to stand for "Ouranos" (Greek for "Heaven") since Catholicism predates the Internet.
 2. I'm guessing this is supposed to reflect the Trinity.  So maybe the Bride of Christ will wear skin-tight black leather and look like Carrie-Anne Moss?
 3. "Bury an idol of St. Joseph in your yard and your house will sell!  No, really!"  "Go to Lourdes and get some of the water and you'll get your full HT restored...er...well, kindasortasometimes.  Mystery!  Mystery!  Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"
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Offline albeto

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2011, 02:23:07 PM »
Albeto, your awesome explanations of Catholicism make it sound like the world's oldest MMORPG![1]  First, there's the easter eggs.  Then there's the "economy of grace," with indulgences as the Catholic equivalent of buying WoW gold from somebody with regular money.  We know that when a Saint dies, they drop some serious loot (holy relics).  Are there Achievements?  Like, after you become a priest and molest your first altar boy, you hear a "bleep-bloop" and see the words: "Achievement unlocked: The Bum Rush," or after you successfully perform your first Transubstantiation spell: *bleep-bloop* "Achievement unlocked: Fine Young Cannibal."

Only three playable levels--Church Militant(!), Church Suffering, and Church Triumphant,[2] which is kinda weak, but the maps are huge.  The cheat codes[3] are pretty weak too.
 1. In this case the "O" has to stand for "Ouranos" (Greek for "Heaven") since Catholicism predates the Internet.
 2. I'm guessing this is supposed to reflect the Trinity.  So maybe the Bride of Christ will wear skin-tight black leather and look like Carrie-Anne Moss?
 3. "Bury an idol of St. Joseph in your yard and your house will sell!  No, really!"  "Go to Lourdes and get some of the water and you'll get your full HT restored...er...well, kindasortasometimes.  Mystery!  Mystery!  Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Dang, they made a game out of the Holy Mother Church?

Anyway, I love your posts, they're hilarious and informative.

I'm lucky.  This crap writes itself. 

Have you ever considered becoming the Catholic version of Brother Sam Singleton, the Atheist Evangelist?



hahaha, can you imagine PAYING to go to a Mass? 

Although it would be fun to see a blog like Ask Sister Martha Mary from a freethinker pov.  Sister Martha Mary finds Saints for people.  She's like a magpie that way - she can find all kinds of shiny treasures in the litter of theology. 

Offline Chronos

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Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2011, 06:53:39 PM »
Others have posted answers to the original question you asked; however, since you are in college and will be spending considerable time with a Catholic roommate, I would suggest you watch Bill Moyer interview Joseph Campbell regarding his book, The Power of Myth, which discusses far more than just one religion. The book and the interview are both excellent. During the interview, Campbell retells an encounter with his former priest and the priest's inability to respond to the impossibility of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Of course, as a college student you may not have the extra funds to spend for either the DVD or the book, but perhaps you can find the interview on YouTube. I could find references but not a direct viewing: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=joseph+campbell
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Offline Swanny

Re: Catholic Roommate
« Reply #28 on: December 06, 2011, 05:08:23 PM »
@Albeto and Screwtape

Thank you, I feel like a learned a lot by looking more at the core values of Catholicism. Albeto, I am now looking forward to taking a class that goes in-depth to look at Catholicism.

Thank you everyone else, I have a feeling this list of questions is going to be really entertaining. :D
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