Catholic Wanting Real Answers
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18-02-2015, 09:20 AM
RE: Catholic Wanting Real Answers
Good luck meeting with the priest. I hope it goes well. I once had a good relationship with the priest of the church in my small southern hometown. Father Art was really cool and helped me through some of my early conflicts. I remember him talking to me about sex, and saying that it could be very selfish, so just watch out for that. We would go running together, hang out, drink beer, and listen to music (he had a great record collection and was a fan of Jethro Tull). In the end, he was too liberal for the local conservative parish and they had him moved. I came from college for his last mass. After mass, I gave him a hug and cried like a baby. I never saw him again. His replacement saw the satan lurking around every corner... I still would have lost my religion, if Artie (as he liked to be called) would have not been moved away, but it provably would have taken longer.
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06-03-2015, 06:31 PM
RE: Catholic Wanting Real Answers
Met up with the priest.

He recommend I read "Prayer for Beginners" book. He said that I was not praying in a way I could connect with God.

Some background:
Cradle Catholic with older parents who are strong in their faith.
Church every Sunday. Family Rosary every sunday until I moved out in my 20s.
I did a prayer that took 15min a day that had to be said every day for a year.
I did novenas (9 day prayers)
Said my own rosaries daily.
Built my own altar / always had a pray area in my room.
On summer vacation, and when I did two years of homeschooling in high school I went to Adoration 1-2 times a week and stayed from 1-2.5 hours.
I would pray spontaneously.
Bible meditation.
Silent meditation.
Youth groups and prayer events.

Its a little discouraging to look back at how active I was in my daily out reach to God and to be told I wasn't doing it right. I respond to my boyfriend, and he responds to me. If you love someone, its not hard. So where is this God of love?
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06-03-2015, 07:47 PM
RE: Catholic Wanting Real Answers
(06-03-2015 06:31 PM)Suzanne Wrote:  ...Wrote lots of personal stuff... (And you're doing/did an amazing job with your praying, btw!)


Much cheers to all.
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06-03-2015, 10:24 PM
RE: Catholic Wanting Real Answers
(06-03-2015 06:31 PM)Suzanne Wrote:  Met up with the priest.
He recommend I read "Prayer for Beginners" book. He said that I was not praying in a way I could connect with God.

Blaise Pascal, Pensées Section III note 233, Translation by W. F. Trotter Wrote:But at least learn your inability to believe, since reason brings you to this, and yet you cannot believe. Endeavour then to convince yourself, not by increase of proofs of God, but by the abatement of your passions. You would like to attain faith, and do not know the way; you would like to cure yourself of unbelief, and ask the remedy for it. Learn of those who have been bound like you, and who now stake all their possessions. These are people who know the way which you would follow, and who are cured of an ill of which you would be cured. Follow the way by which they began; by acting as if they believed, taking the holy water, having masses said, etc. Even this will naturally make you believe, and deaden your acuteness.

It seems like the church has been peddling this "fake it 'till you make it" approach to doubt for a long time. I wonder how many in the church you have been attending are faking it, and doing their best to ignore their doubts... or dismissing the subject entirely viewing the whole thing as myth but still considering themselves Catholic.

The church is not capable of addressing doubt so it works to suppress it. Whether this be in the form of "keep trying to believe" or "look at this argument that suggests a god is still plausible" the church cannot move to "here is a falsifiable theory of divinity, and here is the supporting evidence". It doesn't have either.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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06-03-2015, 10:25 PM
RE: Catholic Wanting Real Answers
Based on our PM exchange, I've revised my opinion a little.

I still think that tackling your parents on the 'faith' issue will be unproductive in the short term (and I suspect, in the long term too) but this is more than simply a 'relationship management' issue.

You mother refuses to see your boyfriend because she cannot accept the living arrangements.
This could have as much to do with the normal emotion of 'letting go' of her daughter and of her role of mother/protector/nurturer.

She needs to be helped with that transition.

Equally, there might the 'social stigma' given that you say that there would be no issue if you were married.
This is a problem for conservatives across the world and not just in the insular pockets of 'christian America'.

Essentially she is telling you that what her neighbours think means more to her than your happiness.

She needs to be helped to understand this i.e. that social norms have changed.

Saying that "She cannot laugh and enjoy time with someone who has taken her daughter away" is a symptom of either or both of these issues but either way it's emotional blackmail and you can choose any number of positions to counter this from refusal to give in to that kind of pressure and stating that the consequences are that she is forcing you to choose between two people that she loves, to the other extreme of hugs, empathy and offers to do what ever it takes to find a solution that everyone can live with.

It seems to me that the 'god says it's a sin' angle is just an excuse / a crutch so that she can avoid any analysis of her own emotions.

In other words, you are refusing to give in (defensively or offensively) and clearly showing her that she is the cause of the problem (not you and not your boyfriend).

Your father, with his softer position towards your boyfriend, might be the easier nut to crack.

As mentioned, you probably need to dig deeper to discover whether his disapproval stems from the decision to live together or the decision to turn away from a faith-based epistemology? (or both?)

If, as you suspect, it's the former, then more probing (root cause analysis) should help to identify whether it's a personality clash or a social stigma issue.

If the latter, then, again, the religion thing is just an excuse.

This aspect can be dismissed out of hand now that you've done the hard part of coming out.
With a wave of the hand you can thank them for raising you to make good life-judgements and that the thinking-tools they (in part) uploaded to your neck-top have been very useful to help you get where you are today.

The barrier that needs to crumble is the acceptance of your boyfriend as an identity (a real person) and as a potential father to their own legacy.

I recommend the next step should be that your boyfriend asks for a social meeting with your father (golf, beer or whatever they have in common) so that they can discuss the future.

3 goals:
1. Your father's ambitions, strategies, plans and needs are understood.
2. Good relationship based on mutual understanding
3. Raise awareness regarding future opportunities.

Your boyfriend needs to be in 'listening-mode' for this first attempt at bridging the gap and make it clear that he has honourable intentions regarding the following:

5 practices:
1. Understanding your father's expectations
2. Identifying opportunities risks and constraints
3. Continuing (managing) the relationship
4. On-going communication
5. Collaboration on ways to improve upon the current situation and achieve mutually desirable outcomes.

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11-03-2015, 11:58 AM
RE: Catholic Wanting Real Answers
Wow, a book on how to pray (4 & 1/2 stars on You are clearly not a beginner at praying. Is there something so complex about it that it requires an entire book? Can a priest not tell you in your meeting with him how to do it instead of sending you off to read a book? Suzanne, it seems you are coming to your own truth on your own terms. As part of this process, you should explore all angles which is why I would recommend getting the book. I find it hard to believe it will make a difference, but again, it is part of finding your own way. If you do end up deconverting, it is not as if you didn't try (or haven't been trying).
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11-03-2015, 12:54 PM
RE: Catholic Wanting Real Answers
(06-03-2015 06:31 PM)Suzanne Wrote:  So where is this God of love?
He's a bit shy, it seems.
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11-03-2015, 02:17 PM
RE: Catholic Wanting Real Answers
two other things that might help that havent been mentioned yet.


it helps your critical thinking when you can understand the arguement

2. Do some research on the most peaceful, safest, highly educated, healthy and happiest places/countries in the world. You will come up with mostly Scandanavian countries and a handful of others. All of those places have something in common, they are mostly secular, non religious.

Welcome to TTA.

"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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18-03-2015, 06:41 PM
RE: Catholic Wanting Real Answers
Just my 2 cents here.

Don't confuse divorce/marriage rates with marital bliss.

There is a higher instances of religious couples stay in abusive marriages because divorce is a sin.

Secular organizations try to encourage divorce while religious organizations try to either justify the abuse as God testing you, gods plan, whatever or somehow making this about headship and helpmate bullshit.

So don't focus on divorce rates. Focus on domestic violence and rates of happiness.

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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18-03-2015, 10:32 PM
RE: Catholic Wanting Real Answers
(06-03-2015 06:31 PM)Suzanne Wrote:  He recommend I read "Prayer for Beginners" book. He said that I was not praying in a way I could connect with God.
The thing about all things to do with the cross over between reality and the Christian god is that you must remember this key "If you are to be judged based on faith and belief then all events within the universe appear to occur as if there is no god"
So if you think about prayer in this way then you will realise the following:
- Prayer will never be answered
- Prayer can never influence an event within the universe

If either of these things weren't true then you would find the following via statistical analysis:
- People of a certain belief will have a higher rate of recovery from illnesses, assuming that these people pray to their god for the recovery of a loved one.
- People of a certain belief will be more likely to have weddings/holidays on Sunny days assuming that they pray for sunny days on these occasions.

If these things were true then you would be able to discover to a greater degree of detail how to improve the likelihood of prayer being successful. i.e. Statistical analysis would be able to show if group prayer is more successful than solo prayer. If prayer from clergy is more successful than prayer from people who never attend church. If prayer needs to be given in proximity of the prayed for event or if prayer can work from half way around the world or even from outer space.

But as both the nonreligious and the educated religious know "all events within the universe appear to occur as if there is no god".

With this in mind your prayer to a god will get exactly the same response as if you pray to your pillow. You can pray to your pillow and ask for your loved one to be cured of cancer, but you will find, statistically speaking, that there is no advantage for your loved one regardless of whether you have prayed to your pillow or not. You could pray to your pillow for sunny weather but again the outcome will not show any statistical advantage.
I assume this is not the type of prayer that your priest would recommend you to perform.

So what value is there to prayer?

You could pray to your god (or your pillow) and thank it for the wonderful life you have. You could pray to show appreciation that you have a job, family and friends and freedom etc. You could tell your pillow (or your god) about your day, the things you enjoyed and the things you have had troubles with. You could tell your god (or your pillow) how you plan to overcome the difficulties in your life. What you hope for the future and how you think this favourable future might come about. I am sure you would feel silly talking to your pillow (or your god) especially that you will never get an answer or an indication that you are being heard. But over time you will no doubt see the benefits in having this time to reflect on your life, your hopes and dreams and your challenges. You may start to appreciate your god (or your pillow) for always being their for you, for patiently listening to you, never being critical and never interrupting. Overtime you may even come to feel an affinity for your pillow (or your god), you may even feel a strong relationship develop.

I'm assuming this is the type of prayer and relationship your priest is trying to lead you towards. Of course the priest and his organisation (the church) will be necessary for you to fully be connected to your god (or your pillow). They will present a voice and let you know what your pillow (or your god) want from you, what type of life that your god (or your pillow) want you to lead. They will tirelessly and selflessly do this for you and in return you will give them a tithe and donations and you will support them on political issues giving them power in the eyes of your government. You may choose to pay for services from their hospitals or schools, you will also indoctorine your children towards a lifetime of supporting your church.

Your god cannot do anything that your pillow can't. However your pillow can be seen and can be touched and can give your head a soft platform to rest on, these are things your god cannot do. Your priest cannot tell you what your god is thinking any more than he can tell you what your pillow is thinking. However he can take your money and the money of your children.

If your priest tells you about the type of relationship that you can have with your god, realise that your pillow can provide that and more. If for example he tells you that your god loves you and supports you then think about how that love from god is manifest? You won't receive any hugs or special favours, it will be the patient listening that your pillow is excellent at.

This has been a public announcement as a give back to the community from Pillows-R-Us.
Thank you for your time.
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