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  #166  
Old Sep 13, '11, 8:22 pm
mathematoons mathematoons is offline
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Default Re: Atheist that follows Catholic morality. What's your opinion?

When I was an atheist, I believed in Catholic morality (most of it, anyway) without knowing it was Catholic morality.

When I learned about the Catholic Church and saw a Mass, I knew God was calling me in. So I became Catholic. The more I learn, the more sense it makes.

You can follow Catholic morality without being Catholic, but not for long. Look at the links in my signature. You'll learn a lot about the evidence for Christianity. Or you can PM me if you'd like me to show you that you can think for yourself and still be Catholic.
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I have left the forum because I do not believe I can continue to post here without supporting by my presence the immoral activity and ideas that this forum has come to (at the very least) tolerate and have always and everywhere been condemned by the Church.
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  #167  
Old Sep 13, '11, 8:37 pm
John Russell Jr John Russell Jr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanFromWichita View Post
I think you're saying that faith and belief are in the minds of the beholder, and that everything is based on faith ... or something like that.

If you've ever experienced a severe mental illness, then you can see how subjective reality can be, and how it requires faith to believe, well, anything. When someone is hallucinating or even delusional, they are not always confused from their own point of view. Sometimes yes, more often probably, no. Their version of reality is just as real to them as it is to anyone else, and just as convincing. You can argue until you're blue in the face, but they aren't going to hear it as long as the mental illness is in control of their perception. The problem is, mental illness is not yes/no, it is a matter of degree and often slight subtleties in the way an expert "observes" a person (as opposed to "listens to" a person -- one of my pet peeves about many hospital ward psychiatrists) determines whether the make it into the crazy club or not. Plus, in most cases there is no objective test, but a checklist of observable behavior and it's really pretty arbitrary. If you get six check marks, you go home. If you get seven, you remain locked up and they up the dose of your medication. So really whether a person is mentally ill is an arbitrary measurement of their behavior which is artificially quantified and the "limits" are statistically determined.

The reason all that is relevant, is that I don't believe there are people who are mentally ill and those who aren't. Each person has his/her own way to view things and resultant behavior, and basically it is all statistical. If you say or do certain things that are out of the norm (think Jesus for example) then you are mentally ill and you need to be locked up and drugged. If you are 5% under the limit, that is not the case. So IMO everyone has a unique outlook, and everyone has a certain capability to function in social settings and how their behavior is seen by others is the only "real" clue to their mental state.



Alan
... dear alan ,,,

... you make some great points , in my opine all here are mentally ill to varying degrees , and all human beings are perpetually in various dream states and not just when sleeping or day dreaming , but even consciousness is a state of dream in my opinion , it's just different to the others , there is a long history of mental illnesses in my family and i understand it well , maybe you know this but i'll tell you anyway , even the most sane people see things , hear things and imagine things have happened that didn't , they feel things , they refuse to accept reality because it's too hard , and these examples i give are showing the sanest people are sometimes outside of reality , people here live in their imaginations and are dreamers , i don't knock that so much just point it out , you don't have to be mentally ill to have an imagination , but chemical imbalances can throw your imagination out of whack or control , but hallucinations and such do not mean anything is wrong with you in themselves as i'm saying ,,, we can and do know objective reality if we operate as humans on faith , it works quite well , everyone here is insane and mentally ill and that's why we have evil and sin to say the least , it's a nut house here , the whole problem with man from the beginning is he has trouble with his mind alan , do you agree with that , when i seek reality i use god as the measure and guage of what is true and real because he never changes , he is the most reliable constant we can have , we and everything else here always change , as to your quote from st paul i have the greatest admiration for the apostle and i agree with what he says there , but it is not the whole story , and inspired or not he is still a man and it is his opine that is inspired , god did not override him to speak through him at all , i'm neither proud nor humble , i don't even consider myself a moral being to be honest , i strive to live as god intended us in the garden of eden , i accept all the crazy things in this delusional fantasy world exist , but in reality they don't , i strive to be human in reality , and logical , sane , rational , reasonable , sound minded , and have common sense ,,, and the way of life in reality or eden is just " love " by the way , don't think me the fruit loop for my way , i have not even nearly began to explain it fully and it does not conflict with our holy mother church -- at all , i don't wish to divulge all about myself either , i agree with you on so much alan , don't get me wrong at all , i think you've got some great beliefs and theories working in your mind , but all can never stop learning ,,, and i ceratainly don't know everything ,,, i can seem unvirtruous , impolite , uncharitable , incosiderate, proud , arrogant etc etc etc but i am not alan , don't take me the wrong way please ,,,,

... may god bless and love you dear friend ,,,

... john ...
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May the Blessed Trinity and Blessed Mother along with all the Hosts of Blessed Spirits and Saints and Sublime Martyrs bless you all and the whole church and world and complete the conversion of Russia quickly and give us world peace +++. We are at the end. Bless you +++ I am John


Last edited by John Russell Jr; Sep 13, '11 at 8:51 pm.
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  #168  
Old Sep 13, '11, 9:11 pm
CopticChristian CopticChristian is offline
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Default Re: Atheist that follows Catholic morality. What's your opinion?

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Originally Posted by John Russell Jr View Post
a few thoughs about evolution

... my dear friends ,,,

... given the theory and i emphasise it is a theory -- of evolution , is vital and the backbone of atheistic faith and religion , belief and spirituality , i have one very important observation to make , the purpose of evolution is that that which evolves starts out small like single celled organisms which come from random contacts of gases and liquids etc etc whatever , but the purpose of evolution is survival of the strongest , fittes and most intelligent , that which is deficient here is eliminated in the process of evolution , that is the theory , but look at the creatures this world has seen that we know of and they keep getting smaller , weaker and no major gains in intelligence really , so is it really devolution ??? , i think evolution proves itself wrong no matter how you argue it , and what of man , a gorilla or ape could tear a man in pieces in less than 5 secs so why is it that only mans mind evolves , wouldn't it be better to evolve in all ways incl strength , size and all abilities and not just the mind ??? , ofcourse it would ,,, the evolutionists don't know it due to an inability to really understand anything but what i say here proves evolution theory wrong ,,, along with that , for believers , it is impossible for god to create anything imperfect , it is the very nature of god that he must do all as perfectly as can possibly be or he is imperfect , mans terrible trouble and dilemma in this world and all the problems are due to the fall when god altered reality for the reasons i explained earlier , and man's mind is not evolving , it's shot to pieces having lost the preternatural gifts he had in the beginning , all this world is both punishment and necessity mainly due to the problem of evil and so god can save man , i understand people thinking this horrible mess must get better it's so hopeless , but they have it wrong , it was perfect as was man and it will be again when all get our reality back , gods plan to give reality back to us mainly rests in the catholic church and without that church it cannot happen , so all should embrace that church if they want to be a part of the solution and not just go on exacerbating all the problems which keep pililng up as man can't actually solve any properly and just keeps making more -- and at a record pace now mind you ,,,

... may god bless and love you all ,,,

... john ...
I studied for a Bachelor of Science in Zoology, wow they got rid of that degree, evolution in action. I had to memorize, and spit out evolution and it isn't like math, physics, chemistry that has practical application. As you say it is a theory. I recall somewhere in this forum that Athiesm is not a religion and I think as far as Evolution is concerned I never understood the Protestant fear of Evolution as a religion. I was knee deep in Evolution and never encountered anyone that taught it as a religion. I learned it. I knew it. I know it and I never gave it much thought as far as creation was concerned. My belief in creation never waivered. I never understood this fear of Evolution. If you want to see the reality of evolution study Protestant thought and the struggle for territory of the masses with messages and the ever evolving thoughts of Protestant thought. Now that is evolution.
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  #169  
Old Sep 13, '11, 9:19 pm
John Russell Jr John Russell Jr is offline
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I studied for a Bachelor of Science in Zoology, wow they got rid of that degree, evolution in action. I had to memorize, and spit out evolution and it isn't like math, physics, chemistry that has practical application. As you say it is a theory. I recall somewhere in this forum that Athiesm is not a religion and I think as far as Evolution is concerned I never understood the Protestant fear of Evolution as a religion. I was knee deep in Evolution and never encountered anyone that taught it as a religion. I learned it. I knew it. I know it and I never gave it much thought as far as creation was concerned. My belief in creation never waivered. I never understood this fear of Evolution. If you want to see the reality of evolution study Protestant thought and the struggle for territory of the masses with messages and the ever evolving thoughts of Protestant thought. Now that is evolution.
... thx for your thoughts dear friend , maybe i will consult the protos ,,,

... may god bless and love you ,,,

... john ...
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May the Blessed Trinity and Blessed Mother along with all the Hosts of Blessed Spirits and Saints and Sublime Martyrs bless you all and the whole church and world and complete the conversion of Russia quickly and give us world peace +++. We are at the end. Bless you +++ I am John

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  #170  
Old Sep 13, '11, 9:22 pm
vera dicere vera dicere is offline
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Default Re: Atheist that follows Catholic morality. What's your opinion?

The more I research Catholic morality the more I realise it is quite capable for an atheist to follow it, as Catholic morality, while stemming from God, makes a whole heap of sense.

Abortion, for example, is wrong because it ends the life of another human being, it harms the woman, it harms her family, it harms her relationships. You don't need God to tell you that it's wrong, the evidence sums that up quite nicely.

Contraception is wrong because it deminishes the persons involved in the sexual act, it reduces one, or both, to a mere object of lust. Now, again, you don't need God to tell you that, the evidence (ie. divorce, heart ache).

And so on and so fourth.

No one can tell the OP they're going to Hell. Only God knows their heart and what's goign on in their life, apostacy, like any other mortal sin, requires full knowledge and full conscent, only God knows if those aspects have been fulfilled to make this action mortal and soul damning.

Frankly, I think you'll find your way back to the Church simply by virtue of the fact that Catholic morality, as much as it is logical and can be branched in the secular world, stems from God. All morality stems from God.

But as others have said, I think you need to rest, and just take it easy; this stuff, especially around loosing faith, can be a heck of an emotional burden to bare. If people condemn you for being an atheist, or becoming an atheist, that is their sin and they will answer for it.
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  #171  
Old Sep 13, '11, 9:35 pm
CopticChristian CopticChristian is offline
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Default Re: Atheist that follows Catholic morality. What's your opinion?

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Originally Posted by John Russell Jr View Post
... thx for your thoughts dear friend , maybe i will consult the protos ,,,

... may god bless and love you ,,,

... john ...
I gotta tell you John, whenever I have encountered Protestants that see Evolution as the enemy, I gotta ask why? I gotta wonder what they fear? I see that ignorance of something allows them to take up arms against something that is just a theory and an intelligent person sees that. I have scatted many a Protestant away to do battle with others when I have been approached by this fear of evolution. Better they should fear the teaching of Contraception that most Protestants do not give much thought to.
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  #172  
Old Sep 13, '11, 10:50 pm
John Russell Jr John Russell Jr is offline
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I gotta tell you John, whenever I have encountered Protestants that see Evolution as the enemy, I gotta ask why? I gotta wonder what they fear? I see that ignorance of something allows them to take up arms against something that is just a theory and an intelligent person sees that. I have scatted many a Protestant away to do battle with others when I have been approached by this fear of evolution. Better they should fear the teaching of Contraception that most Protestants do not give much thought to.
... my dear friend ,,,

... i have no prob with evolution except it's wrong and science should move on , scientists are so stubborn with this , i guess protestants only have the bible and cannot have it contradicted , there is a big conflict between faith and reason everywhere outside the catholic church and this is one example ,,,

... i liked this argument for atheism by richard dawkins big time atheist and i'm especially focused on his memetics in the below , answer at bottom dear friend ,,,
Religion and Memetics


Evolutionary theory has revolutionised modern thought. The way that we understand the world has been profoundly influenced by Darwin’s insight into the way that natural selection guides progress over time. Recently, it has been recognised that Darwin’s theory applies not only to biological organisms but also to ideas. Some, such as Richard Dawkins, Susan Blackmore, and Daniel Dennett, have argued that this provides an explanation of religious belief, and that this explanation counts against the idea that such beliefs are true.
The Theory of Evolution

Darwin’s theory of evolution sought to explain the diversity of species in the world in the following way:
The world contains only a limited supply of the resources necessary to support life. Organisms must therefore compete with each other for these resources in order to survive.
As biological organisms reproduce, random genetic mutations occur, introducing variety into the species. Because of these mutations, some members of the species are better able to compete for resources, i.e. fitter, than others.
The result of this natural selection is the survival of the fittest. As the competition is won or lost, weaker members of the species will die out, without reproducing, and their genes will be lost to the gene pool. Stronger members, on the other hand will survive, and their fitter genes will be replicated.
The process will then repeat, with mutations again introducing new genetic variety, and natural selection again choosing the fittest members of the species to survive and reproduce.
There are thus two stages to evolution: mutation, which introduces variety into a species, and natural selection, which chooses between the members of the species, driving progress by ensuring that only the fittest members survive and reproduce.
With each iteration of the process of natural selection, the gene pool becomes stronger; species develop on an upward trajectory. Given enough time, evolution theory holds, this upward trajectory can take a species far; indeed, we ourselves are thought to have evolved from single-celled organisms via this process.
Evolution and Ideas: Memetics

Recently, it has been recognised that this theory can be applied not only to biological organisms, but also to ideas. Ideas, too, replicate themselves, passing from one individual to another, changing over time. Ideas, too, compete for survival in the minds of the people of the time; an idea that is rejected altogether dies out.
Just as the fittest organisms will survive and reproduce, then, so too will the fittest ideas. Ideas that replicate themselves in this way have been called memes, a term coined by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene; the study of this process is called memetics.
What makes for fitness in ideas will be similar to what makes for fitness in genes. The ability to replicate itself is important if either a gene or an idea is to spread; the greater this ability the better. The ability to survive is also vital if the gene or idea is not to be wiped out before it reproduces.
One thing that need not be involved in the fitness of an idea is truth. An idea may replicate itself widely and be extremely robust without corresponding to reality.

continued -
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May the Blessed Trinity and Blessed Mother along with all the Hosts of Blessed Spirits and Saints and Sublime Martyrs bless you all and the whole church and world and complete the conversion of Russia quickly and give us world peace +++. We are at the end. Bless you +++ I am John

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  #173  
Old Sep 13, '11, 10:50 pm
John Russell Jr John Russell Jr is offline
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The Fitness of the Christian Meme

Christianity does indeed possess those features that are necessary for an idea to compete for survival effectively.
Christianity is very good at replicating itself; the great commission, Jesus‘ instruction to his followers, is to go and make disciples of all nations. Those who possess the Christian meme, who believe in the God of the Bible, therefore replicate Christianity as far as they are able to do so.
Christianity is also very robust. The all too common emphasis of religion on faith to the exclusion of reason makes those that possess the Christian meme liable to reject evidence against it. Christianity has even been accused by Antony Flew in his paper “Theology and Falsification” of being unfalsifiable, i.e. of being such that no evidence could possibly count against it. Those that possess the Christian meme are therefore unlikely to lose it.
The Memetic Critique of Christianity

None of this memetic critique of Christianity, of course, proves that Christianity is false; that is not what it attempts to do. Rather, what the memetic critique of Christianity attempts to do is demonstrate that even if Christianity were false, we would expect belief in it to be widespread. Atheism, the argument goes, can explain Christianity; there is nothing mysterious about the success of religion.

... on memetics showing how ideas and theories evolve , did none stop and think that this is not so much a further proof of evolution , but rather it shows how darwins theory of evolution evolved in his mind , evolution is just a natural process of problem solving in darwins mind , not reaLITY AT ALL , JUST BECAUSE IDEAS EVOLVE DOES NOT MEAN ALL LIVING THINGS DO ,,, AND PEOPLE THINK THIS MEMETICS A BREAKTHROUGH , IT'S A JOKE ,sorry the caps lock went on , it gives me much grief , do you see the point though ??? , evolution is just pure fantasy in mans delusional mind , no basis in reality at all , i only object because it's not true and it's proponents so vehemently and agggressively attack , persecute and ridicule believers and creationists and intelligent design theorists and the like ,,,

... may god bless and love you ,,,

... john ...
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May the Blessed Trinity and Blessed Mother along with all the Hosts of Blessed Spirits and Saints and Sublime Martyrs bless you all and the whole church and world and complete the conversion of Russia quickly and give us world peace +++. We are at the end. Bless you +++ I am John

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  #174  
Old Sep 13, '11, 11:33 pm
John Russell Jr John Russell Jr is offline
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more thoughts on just how illogical evolution is

... my dear friends ,,,

... let us look at the oceans and seas , we see generally the bigger fish eat the smaller fish , but does it really seem like the goal is that the bigger , stronger , more powerful and maybe even smarter fish ( dolphins for one ) have as their evolutionary goal to overcome and dominate and eliminate the smaller , weaker and maybe less intelligent fish ??? , the animal or fish world may have some elements of survival of the strongest or fittest or smartest but anyone can see all living creatures here have a place in this finely tuned natural world here on earth , and what would the bigger fish eat if there was only fish of equal status ??? , it's silly , the world is not a cold cruel brutal harsh place where the biggest and strongest only survive in the end and thus evolution goes on this way , this is rubbish , our world is in perfect balance and harmony with all creatures great and small playing their part , and not the small being eliminated as weaklings , the evolutionists paint such an horrifically grim view of creation because that's how they see it , they see it as it appears to them -- as they are inside ,,, the world is a little messed up due to the fall and consequent loss of the garden of eden which is reality , but just because things are not so great in this punishment god has us in does not mean it must get better by evolution , it gets better through gods church which although it may not realise it yet perhaps , has always had the mission to get reality back for all , and it will soon , this is my theory and not church teaching , but i think i might be right , look all over the world and think , do the small , weak , less intelligent life forms have no purpose other than to facilitate the increase of more evolved stronger , fitter , smarter creatures -- absolute rubbish , evolution is poppy cock and the only reason science still embraces it in the face of all sanity and reason is they are only left with god once this silly theory is dismissed , very scientific scientists , wake up and see the light , of course there's a god , only a fool says otherwise ,,,

... may god bless and love you all ,,,

... john ...
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May the Blessed Trinity and Blessed Mother along with all the Hosts of Blessed Spirits and Saints and Sublime Martyrs bless you all and the whole church and world and complete the conversion of Russia quickly and give us world peace +++. We are at the end. Bless you +++ I am John

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  #175  
Old Sep 13, '11, 11:42 pm
John Russell Jr John Russell Jr is offline
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Smile Re: Atheist that follows Catholic morality. What's your opinion?

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Originally Posted by vera dicere View Post
The more I research Catholic morality the more I realise it is quite capable for an atheist to follow it, as Catholic morality, while stemming from God, makes a whole heap of sense.

Abortion, for example, is wrong because it ends the life of another human being, it harms the woman, it harms her family, it harms her relationships. You don't need God to tell you that it's wrong, the evidence sums that up quite nicely.

Contraception is wrong because it deminishes the persons involved in the sexual act, it reduces one, or both, to a mere object of lust. Now, again, you don't need God to tell you that, the evidence (ie. divorce, heart ache).

And so on and so fourth.

No one can tell the OP they're going to Hell. Only God knows their heart and what's goign on in their life, apostacy, like any other mortal sin, requires full knowledge and full conscent, only God knows if those aspects have been fulfilled to make this action mortal and soul damning.

Frankly, I think you'll find your way back to the Church simply by virtue of the fact that Catholic morality, as much as it is logical and can be branched in the secular world, stems from God. All morality stems from God.

But as others have said, I think you need to rest, and just take it easy; this stuff, especially around loosing faith, can be a heck of an emotional burden to bare. If people condemn you for being an atheist, or becoming an atheist, that is their sin and they will answer for it.
... my dear friend ,,,

... if you will permit me to say , all human communication is an ongoing process of problem solving as we seek truth , it is meant to not only be individual but collective and never ends , this is the only way ,man and humanity and even the church can progress , i agree with not condemning to hell but oft we must warn our brothers when they are in danger or do we really love them , catholic morality is the love of god and all in god , so it's hard to practise as an atheist , in fact all you can do is act which ultimately is worthless , so an error like this is a problem to solve not encourage dear friend ,,,

... may god bless and love you ,,,

... john ...
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May the Blessed Trinity and Blessed Mother along with all the Hosts of Blessed Spirits and Saints and Sublime Martyrs bless you all and the whole church and world and complete the conversion of Russia quickly and give us world peace +++. We are at the end. Bless you +++ I am John

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  #176  
Old Sep 14, '11, 12:06 am
AlanFromWichita AlanFromWichita is offline
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Default Re: Atheist that follows Catholic morality. What's your opinion?

Hey Bohm, did you have any prediction that your thread would go on this long?

Alan
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  #177  
Old Sep 14, '11, 7:17 am
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Soldier Of God Soldier Of God is offline
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Default Re: Atheist that follows Catholic morality. What's your opinion?

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Originally Posted by AlanFromWichita View Post
I'm here to learn. I'll try to a be better student.
Upon review, it would seem that my comment can be construed as being unduly harsh. I didn't mean to imply that you are ignorant but rather that if you are not well versed in a topic, exercising caution in expressing and pressing your perspective is generally prudent. Regardless, everyone is entitled to their viewpoint but I do appreciate your open mindedness.
[/quote]
Ummm.... did you say insulting people is appropriate? If you're like me you might still have to edit this post some so I'll just kind of move on now, thank you...
[/quote]
D'oh. I believe the word "not" was omitted. Please accept my apologies and pardon my mistyping as I'm prone to such happenstances.
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  #178  
Old Sep 14, '11, 8:05 am
AlanFromWichita AlanFromWichita is offline
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D'oh. I believe the word "not" was omitted. Please accept my apologies and pardon my mistyping as I'm prone to such happenstances.
No problem dude. I kind of suspected it was a typo. I'm over it and now I can try to quit playing the holier-than-thou game. Honestly, I'm learning sometimes the best thing I can do for someone is to let them vent, but just as honestly I can't really "tease out" my motives to determine whether I'm doing it to help others or to look good in front of others and make the person I'm "helping" look bad for my own glory. Pride and self-centeredness are really pretty tricky things, and I apologize to you for having used you in that way.

Thanks for sticking with me and for "feeling my pain," and I appreciate the sentiments.

I hope you have a wonderful day.

Alan

P.S. aaargh.... I can't say anything without seeing excessive pride in it upon review. If I knew what was good for me, I'd never speak again. Apparently I still haven't "gotten it."
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  #179  
Old Sep 15, '11, 7:13 am
cho pilo cho pilo is offline
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Default Re: Atheist that follows Catholic morality. What's your opinion?

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As some of you may know, I've been going through a very rough period, which was exacerbated yesterday after receiving some highly upsetting news. Over 1 year or so, I've been like Jacob and I have "wrestled" with God as it were, but I can say that I'm definitely edging towards atheism. I think that's a fact I have to state plainly. I currently see religion as a form of psychological self-delusion, and everything about it (from miracles, to revelation, etc) is really just that. And I mean that charitably - not trying to put anyone down. This probably explains why vocations in the Western world is on a steady decline. I'm not American, but I heard the situation is so bad in America there are Catholic megachurches, as well as priests who are overworked because of presiding over a number of parishes.

I've stopped attending Mass. Now, I'm putting my efforts more productively into how to straighten up my life after seeing it completely shattered yesterday.

However, I still want to follow Catholic teaching on morality, because I agree with a lot of it. I even deplore acts such as abortion and birth control. I just want to be a good person. When I say "good person", I do not mean a saint who goes through mortification and serious penance, whipping themselves and chastening themselves ultimately for a "cosmic reward". No. When I say "good person", I mean someone who is charitable, lends a shoulder to those in need, is concerned about others, etc. It's best expressed in the Book of Isaiah: "Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow" (Isaiah 1:16-17)

What's your opinion on this? Also, please no proselytizing such as "give God another chance", because I'm really not going to listen and I have to fix up my own life, and that involves using the time I have productively. Do you think in the grand scheme of things, an atheist can follow Catholic morality?
Yes, Atheists can follow Catholic morality. It's an ongoing battle to achieve that complete level of faith, all the time. I understand what you are going through. Humans are imperfect, so there will certainly be times when people will have doubts as to believe fully in the existence of a particular deity, some unclear/ambiguous things that is part of their religion, as well as actually believing this all the time, a perfect being which defies our sense of logic and understanding as to exceed our level of comprehension (i.e. the existence of God/s). I think to become a good scientist, economist etc, to find answers, to find cures to diseases, one would need to remain open-minded to various possible remedies. Same thing applies with religion. The important thing is that you have some justification for why the morality of a particular religion's (e.g. Catholic) is good.
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Old Sep 15, '11, 7:13 am
cho pilo cho pilo is offline
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Default Re: Atheist that follows Catholic morality. What's your opinion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohm Bawerk View Post
As some of you may know, I've been going through a very rough period, which was exacerbated yesterday after receiving some highly upsetting news. Over 1 year or so, I've been like Jacob and I have "wrestled" with God as it were, but I can say that I'm definitely edging towards atheism. I think that's a fact I have to state plainly. I currently see religion as a form of psychological self-delusion, and everything about it (from miracles, to revelation, etc) is really just that. And I mean that charitably - not trying to put anyone down. This probably explains why vocations in the Western world is on a steady decline. I'm not American, but I heard the situation is so bad in America there are Catholic megachurches, as well as priests who are overworked because of presiding over a number of parishes.

I've stopped attending Mass. Now, I'm putting my efforts more productively into how to straighten up my life after seeing it completely shattered yesterday.

However, I still want to follow Catholic teaching on morality, because I agree with a lot of it. I even deplore acts such as abortion and birth control. I just want to be a good person. When I say "good person", I do not mean a saint who goes through mortification and serious penance, whipping themselves and chastening themselves ultimately for a "cosmic reward". No. When I say "good person", I mean someone who is charitable, lends a shoulder to those in need, is concerned about others, etc. It's best expressed in the Book of Isaiah: "Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow" (Isaiah 1:16-17)

What's your opinion on this? Also, please no proselytizing such as "give God another chance", because I'm really not going to listen and I have to fix up my own life, and that involves using the time I have productively. Do you think in the grand scheme of things, an atheist can follow Catholic morality?
Yes, Atheists can follow Catholic morality. I understand what you are going through. Humans are imperfect, so there will certainly be times when people will have doubts as to believe fully in the existence of a particular deity, some unclear/ambiguous things that is part of their religion, as well as actually believing this all the time, a perfect being which defies our sense of logic and understanding as to exceed our level of comprehension (i.e. the existence of God/s). I think to become a good scientist, economist etc, to find answers, to find cures to diseases, one would need to remain open-minded to various possible remedies. Same thing applies with religion. The important thing is that you have some justification for why the morality of a particular religion (e.g. Catholic) is good.

It's an ongoing battle to achieve that complete level of faith, all the time. Good luck.
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