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19-12-2011, 10:51 PM
Hello, a Freethinking Catholic has joined you.
Hello Everyone. My name is Mike, and I'm a Freethinking Roman Catholic. Born and raised such all of my life, didn't start really questioning my faith and thinking about my beliefs until a few years ago. I'm a Humanities major who studies Biblical studies and Classics from a secular perspective at a secular liberal arts university. To answer some questions I'll likely get right off the bat:

No I'm not trying to convert you. Your beliefs, no matter how much I might personally disagree with them, are to be respected.

No, I don't believe in a literal creationism. I might be considered creationist in that I believe God jump started the universe with the big bang, but I believe he let things take their course from there on in. I believe in evolution fully. Creationists and fundamentalists tend to scare me a little.

No, I don't believe the Pope's infallible.

When I say he in reference to God, I have only ever had a personal experience of a male God. It is my belief that if God does exist, and even this to me is up for debate in my mind, it is some sort of alien intelligence with some form of telepathic ability or highly advanced scientific technology that allows it to communicate with our minds. It is possible that it is non corporeal, or perhaps not. I don't rightly know, but I do believe that our minds act as an interpreter of its messages. Hence, some of our bias will likely get in the way, and does on a frequent basis. Think of it as "signal interference" if you will. Therefore, when I refer to God as a he, this is what I have been raised to believe in my tradition. It does not make me right.

Everything I believe in could be wrong.

There could be no God, no divine Jesus, but I am almost certain there was a human one who lived and breathed about 2000 years ago in first century Palestine.

However, based on personal experiences of God and Jesus, which, although they have taken place within my mind, are very real and vivid to me, I believe that God and a divine Jesus do exist. This is the part where it gets wierd and will probably make me sound like a crazy person, but I figure I might as well be honest. When having divine experiences of God while meditating or in prayer, whether I see images or hear voices that I believe to be from God (I told you I'm gonna sound nuts but I figure heck I'm on here might as well be forthright with ya), there is a very peaceful presence that tends to envelope aorund me.

I am sure you have heard stories like this before, but the reason I am convinced I have in fact had the experience of an external deity is twofold: firstly, my gut instinct tells me that the presence, and I always feel the presence before I hear a voice or see an image in my head, is outside of myself. Every part of my intuition tells me, this is not you talking to yourself, this is outside you, external. Now I know thats a weak answer, but I find it very hard to go against my own gut/instinct/intuition especially when its telling you there's something else there besides yourself, its very much like when you can feel someone standing behind you. And that leads me to perhaps my strongest reason for believing. I don't know if anyone has ever described the feeling like this, but you know when you get real close to a person you can feel their personal space, their "forcefield" if you will? That's what I feel when I feel what I believe to be the presence of God, only it's a lot stronger. I experience something along the lines of being in something else's personal space, like I was standing in front of it, maybe a couple inches away. You guys know what I'm talking about. And both what I identify as God and Jesus tend to have similar, but distinct enough personal space "signatures" to differentiate them apart. I don't know how they're different, but somehow my brain can tell the difference between the two. When you experience something that strong, it's hard for you not to believe you have had contact with something. I figure if I'm not crazy, which I well could be, alien intelligence that has characteristics similar enough to be described as a divinity by humans over the centuries seems a very likely option, since I'm convinced we're not the only intelligent life out there. Something very primal in me tells me the experiences of God and spirits people have had and continue to have is based on truth, how much I don't know, but until I get conclusive evidence that proves that either there is no God or no space aliens have been trying to contact us, perhaps by taking on the roles of a divinity, I am going to trust my instinct on this.

If I am nuts, it seems a benign form of insanity as the eprsonal experiences of the divine have never led or encouraged me to do violence and hatred to anyone and have in fact encouraged me to do the opposite. Crazy or not, I feel I am a better person today because of these experiences. That is not to say that any one else who has not had them are worse people, but rather I believe they have made a positive impact upon my life and have encouraged me to do good towards others. Again, if I am insane and hallucinating, it seems to be benign and not harming anyone I know, at least to the best of my knowledge, and that's all I can really speak to. This is in fact the best way I can rationalize the thousands of religious experiences I and many others have had.

Or I could be crazy, but I hope not. No one wants to be crazy at any rate.

Let's see what else? Oh! The Bible is not the Word of God for me. The Bible is often contradictory because it's written by humans, but I believe that the bits that are positive tend to be the Word of God, but determining this is very hard. And I don't really have a straight answer on how you figure out what is God's Word and what isn't, but I'd rather be honest about it. So for me the Bible can contain the Word of God, but it also man's word. Hence I do not view it as a complete historical document and everything in it is most certainly not 100% true. I am a supporter of modern secular Biblical studies and source and textual criticism and I like examining textual redaction theories (what gets added and when and by whom and what is taken away). Some of my favourite scholars include Frank Moore Cross, Mark S. Smith, Wayne T. Pitard and Mark Goodachre. My favourite theologian would have to be Hans Kung, because of his openess to truth and investigation, no matter what the cost.

In the end I could be wrong and crazy about all of this, but that's ok. I prefer to keep an open mind about things, hence why I consider myself a Freethinker. Hope I'm welcome here, even though the majority of what I wrote probably seems nutso to you guys, but again I feel it is best to be honest and try explain my experiences and beliefs the best way I can. Hope that's okay.

Mike
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19-12-2011, 11:40 PM
RE: Hello, a Freethinking Catholic has joined you.
Hi Mike, glad you're here. Thanks for sharing a bit of your background and why you're here. It'll help us figure out if we should put you in the Kingschosen camp of Theists, or the Egor camp. (Don't worry, you'll figure out the reference if you stick it out long enough).

Oh, and on a side note, I hope you brought some wafers and juice with you cuz we ran out a while back.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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19-12-2011, 11:40 PM (This post was last modified: 19-12-2011 11:43 PM by morondog.)
RE: Hello, a Freethinking Catholic has joined you.
Hi Mike Smile

You're pretty cool. And kinda funny Tongue I like all the "oh shit I might be crazy" going on in your post, it's something that we all worry about... Problem is the definition of crazy if you catch my drift. Personally I prefer to define myself as sane. If that makes everyone else crazy then so be it.

Welcome to the forum Smile
(19-12-2011 11:40 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  Oh, and on a side note, I hope you brought some wafers and juice with you cuz we ran out a while back.

Frikken Lucradis and his mid-night Satanic masses Dodgy He *knows* those wafers are intended for baby Jesus.
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19-12-2011, 11:48 PM (This post was last modified: 19-12-2011 11:54 PM by Nagoda.)
RE: Hello, a Freethinking Catholic has joined you.
(19-12-2011 11:40 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  Hi Mike, glad you're here. Thanks for sharing a bit of your background and why you're here. It'll help us figure out if we should put you in the Kingschosen camp of Theists, or the Egor camp. (Don't worry, you'll figure out the reference if you stick it out long enough).

Oh, and on a side note, I hope you brought some wafers and juice with you cuz we ran out a while back.

It is interesting that you bring up the topic of the eucharist, I'm actually allergic to the regular hosts. I have a severe allergy to both whole wheat and wine (more so the sulphites used to preserve wine), so I have to make my own hosts. They're made out of Kamut, which is an ancient Egyptian wheat. So if you don't mind that Tongue
(19-12-2011 11:40 PM)morondog Wrote:  Hi Mike Smile

You're pretty cool. And kinda funny Tongue I like all the "oh shit I might be crazy" going on in your post, it's something that we all worry about... Problem is the definition of crazy if you catch my drift. Personally I prefer to define myself as sane. If that makes everyone else crazy then so be it.

Welcome to the forum Smile
(19-12-2011 11:40 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  Oh, and on a side note, I hope you brought some wafers and juice with you cuz we ran out a while back.

Frikken Lucradis and his mid-night Satanic masses Dodgy He *knows* those wafers are intended for baby Jesus.

Personally I define myself as very eccentric, but yes fear of insanity when you read counter arguements to your beliefs is a common theme with me. I am not normal by any stretch of the imagination. For one thing, I speak Latin. For another, I practice Ninjutsu. This already makes me somewhat unique.
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20-12-2011, 12:08 AM (This post was last modified: 20-12-2011 12:10 AM by morondog.)
RE: Hello, a Freethinking Catholic has joined you.
(19-12-2011 11:48 PM)Nagoda Wrote:  Personally I define myself as very eccentric, but yes fear of insanity when you read counter arguements to your beliefs is a common theme with me. I am not normal by any stretch of the imagination. For one thing, I speak Latin. For another, I practice Ninjutsu. This already makes me somewhat unique.

Heh. I studied Latin for a short time. Lemme see...

Milites cum hastis vulnerant nautas.

Yup, still got it Tongue If you ever wanna say anything about soldiers sticking spears or arrows into random people, or stulti servi or whatever, I'm your man...

You do realise that as a Latin speaking martial arts practising priest you're basically a stereotypical anime figure?
Oh wait you're not a priest... damn.
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20-12-2011, 12:12 AM
RE: Hello, a Freethinking Catholic has joined you.
(19-12-2011 11:48 PM)Nagoda Wrote:  For one thing, I speak Latin. For another, I practice Ninjutsu. This already makes me somewhat unique.

I would think this would confuse the other Ninjas. Therefore you must be the King of Ninjas. Or is it Ninjum? Anyway, I'm more of a wheat guy myself, so I'd love to try some of those Host Chips sometime. How exactly are you able to transubstantiate those wafers if you're making them yourself? Do you have to sneak in early to Mass to make sure it gets blessed with all the rest of the nachos?

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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20-12-2011, 12:18 AM (This post was last modified: 20-12-2011 12:36 AM by Nagoda.)
RE: Hello, a Freethinking Catholic has joined you.
Oh good lord NO I am not a priest! For one thing I'm getting married in the summer! LMAO, I think that's a first. Although I have felt a calling to be one, but only if I'm married. Could never be celebate, love my girl too much Big Grin I have thought often of when I feel ready of going to the Pope and asking him to make an exception and release me from the vow from celebacy, because he can do that. Technically so can an Archbishop, if you're not part of a specific order. But Dawkins has a better chance of becoming a Baptist I think.
(20-12-2011 12:08 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 11:48 PM)Nagoda Wrote:  Personally I define myself as very eccentric, but yes fear of insanity when you read counter arguements to your beliefs is a common theme with me. I am not normal by any stretch of the imagination. For one thing, I speak Latin. For another, I practice Ninjutsu. This already makes me somewhat unique.

Heh. I studied Latin for a short time. Lemme see...

Milites cum hastis vulnerant nautas.

Yup, still got it Tongue If you ever wanna say anything about soldiers sticking spears or arrows into random people, or stulti servi or whatever, I'm your man...

There is in fact a grammatical error in your latin and its hillarious, because I know what you mean, but it means something else entirely. You want to say the soldiers wounded the sailors with spears, meaning they used the spears as a means of doing so. This would just be hastis, and would be called ablative of means syntactically. Cum, while it is a preposition that takes the ablative case, means with in terms of accompaniment, like youre walking with someone. So in fact I am imagining both soldiers and anthropromorphic javelins beating the crap out of a bunch a sailors, which is HILLARIOUS!

You do realise that as a Latin speaking martial arts practising priest you're basically a stereotypical anime figure?
Oh wait you're not a priest... damn.

Yeah Yeah I know, but if I do ever become one, then, you know... any gunman who tries to try stuff during my Mass is gonna be sorry XD BTW, I am in fact the lowest rank in my art. I also have a physical disability called cerebral palsy, makes training difficult. Be years before I get my black belt... but one day...
(20-12-2011 12:12 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 11:48 PM)Nagoda Wrote:  For one thing, I speak Latin. For another, I practice Ninjutsu. This already makes me somewhat unique.

I would think this would confuse the other Ninjas. Therefore you must be the King of Ninjas. Or is it Ninjum? Anyway, I'm more of a wheat guy myself, so I'd love to try some of those Host Chips sometime. How exactly are you able to transubstantiate those wafers if you're making them yourself? Do you have to sneak in early to Mass to make sure it gets blessed with all the rest of the nachos?

Again, I'm not a priest, but yes I do have to go early. As to declining Ninja in latin, because it has an a suffix, a first declension noun would make the most sense. Ergo, nos potemus dicere (therefore we can say):

Sing.

Ninja
Ninjae
Ninjae
Ninjam
Ninja (the last a here is long)

Pl.

Ninjae
Ninjarum
Ninjis
Ninjas
Ninjis

But really, as a subject of sentence, it would just be Ninja. Kinda lame huh?

Speaking of nachos, in the 70s when the Catholic Church dabbled in awesome theological liberalism (sigh how I wish for those days), priests were transubstantiating pizza and coke on sidewalks in the spirit of Vatican II. No joke.
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20-12-2011, 01:02 AM
RE: Hello, a Freethinking Catholic has joined you.
Hi Mike -
You sound like a pretty level headed guy, you'll probably do fine here. Nothing you've said is all that off beat and you seem to have an open mind about it. That's good... things around here can become ... entertaining at times. Rolleyes

Smile Welcome to the forum.

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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20-12-2011, 01:05 AM
RE: Hello, a Freethinking Catholic has joined you.
Hey! What's up dude!

Um welcome and all.. but .. looks around . . . i'd watch out for that drew character... he's cool when sober .. bit of an ass when drunk .. watch him!

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -- Voltaire
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20-12-2011, 01:14 AM
RE: Hello, a Freethinking Catholic has joined you.
(20-12-2011 12:18 AM)Nagoda Wrote:  There is in fact a grammatical error in your latin and its hillarious, because I know what you mean, but it means something else entirely. You want to say the soldiers wounded the sailors with spears, meaning they used the spears as a means of doing so. This would just be hastis, and would be called ablative of means syntactically. Cum, while it is a preposition that takes the ablative case, means with in terms of accompaniment, like youre walking with someone. So in fact I am imagining both soldiers and anthropromorphic javelins beating the crap out of a bunch a sailors, which is HILLARIOUS!

Damn Tongue I shoulda caught that myself, even with my basic training... Hey, what variety of Latin do you speak? I know that within the Catholic church Latin has been in continuous use since way back - could you read medieval Latin, or do you speak a more modern variant, or is it the language of the Caesars? Or are they all pretty much the same?
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