Am I still a Catholic if I reject the Nicene Creed?

I was raised Catholic, was a confirmation councilor for three years, and volunteered with Catholic Charities on three continents. I have read the bible numerous times, and am an avid amateur historical enthusiast, but in my readings I came upon some very disturbing facts about the early church.

My biggest issue is how the people who tortured, rejected, and killed Jesus took over the church over the course of about three hundred years. First, Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee, took a huge departure from the teachings of Jesus and set him up as a one stop shop for salvation, something most of the Gospels (John notwithstanding) had Jesus specifically avoiding.

Secondly, Constantine, a pagan Roman, dreamt of being able to more effectively lead armies into battle were he to put the symbol of Jesus’ death on their armor and shields, so he converted (after winning a battle, of course), and then proceeded to call the Council of Nicea and various other Councils to create a new orthodoxy. It was these councils that decided what books became canon, and what didn’t, and also established the concept of ‘heretic’ and began killing other Christians in the name of God.

So why then, do we still repeat their phrases, and act as though their decisions were informed by the Holy Spirit? Is it not glaringly obvious that killing Christians in the name of Jesus, a practice began by these supposedly “Holy Spirit” inspired bishops, emperors, and politicians, couldn’t be more in opposition to everything Jesus represented?

For that reason, I cannot bring myself to recite the Nicene Creed, or take their decisions for the Church seriously. I still consider myself Catholic, go to mass, volunteer, and seek to lead a Christlike life, but by rejecting the Creed and their political and avaricious machinations, am I no longer Catholic?

That’s your interpretation and not one in line with the reality that happened. Paul converted and went on to give his life for Christ. Where do you see any “huge departure from the teachings of Jesus” in Paul’s writings? I’ve read the Bible many times over and continue to do so and I’ve never seen any such conflict as you assert.

Secondly, Constantine, a pagan Roman, dreamt of being able to more effectively lead armies into battle were he to put the symbol of Jesus’ death on their armor and shields, so he converted (after winning a battle, of course), and then proceeded to call the Council of Nicea and various other Councils to create a new orthodoxy. It was these councils that decided what books became canon, and what didn’t, and also established the concept of ‘heretic’ and began killing other Christians in the name of God.

Really? I don’t know what sort of so-called history you’re reading but the facts are substantially different from your alleged interpretation of events.

So why then, do we still repeat their phrases, and act as though their decisions were informed by the Holy Spirit? Is it not glaringly obvious that killing Christians in the name of Jesus, a practice began by these supposedly “Holy Spirit” inspired bishops, emperors, and politicians, couldn’t be more in opposition to everything Jesus represented?

You’ll have to cite verifiable historical facts to support this because this does not jibe with what we know of that time.

Are you studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses or Seventh Day Adventists because this is the same sort of propaganda and distorted “history” that they put forth against the Catholic faith.

For that reason, I cannot bring myself to recite the Nicene Creed, or take their decisions for the Church seriously. I still consider myself Catholic, go to mass, volunteer, and seek to lead a Christlike life, but by rejecting the Creed and their political and avaricious machinations, am I no longer Catholic?

Here’s a copy of the creed. Can you show me where any of this is not a factual statement or expression of an errant doctrine? I don’t believe you can, but you’ll need to do this if you want to try to make your case.
**
Nicene Creed

**I believe in one God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
Through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate
of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.

For our sake he was crucified 
  under Pontius Pilate,
    he suffered death and was buried, 
    and rose again on the third day 
    in accordance with the Scriptures. 
He ascended into heaven 
    and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 
He will come again in glory 
    to judge the living and the dead 
    and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic,
and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection
of the dead and the life of the world to come.
Amen.

You need to discuss these issues with your confessor.

pronto !!

Are you a confirmed Catholic? At the Sacrament of Confirmation
we confess the Apostles’ Creed AND say “yes” to EVERYTHING that the
Roman Catholic Church teaches!:stuck_out_tongue:

A recurring theme in Christendom is that the most grievous of sinners can be turned around and become God’s greatest paragons.

But I’m not sure what you mean by Paul “set Jesus up” as a “one stop shop for salvation”?

Secondly, Constantine, a pagan Roman, dreamt of being able to more effectively lead armies into battle were he to put the symbol of Jesus’ death on their armor and shields, so he converted (after winning a battle, of course), and then proceeded to call the Council of Nicea and various other Councils to create a new orthodoxy. It was these councils that decided what books became canon, and what didn’t, and also established the concept of ‘heretic’ and began killing other Christians in the name of God.

So why then, do we still repeat their phrases, and act as though their decisions were informed by the Holy Spirit? Is it not glaringly obvious that killing Christians in the name of Jesus, a practice began by these supposedly “Holy Spirit” inspired bishops, emperors, and politicians, couldn’t be more in opposition to everything Jesus represented?

That’s not really an accurate depiction of history at all. Yes, it’s true that Constantine’s conversion began when he dreamt that Christ told him “by this sign, you will conquer”. But Christianity isn’t entirely opposed to war. Jesus told his apostles to keep two swords, remember. And Jesus is the same God as the Father, who told the Israelites to win battles in the Old Testament.

But Constantine never “created a new orthodoxy”. At Nicaea, the Christians of the world convened and protected what was already the held beliefs for the past three centuries – go and read about Christians from the 2nd and 1st century, and they say the same things as the Nicene Christians. The point of the Council was not to codify new beliefs, but to make clear what the true teachings of Christ were, in opposition to the Arians that taught a wide variety of falsehoods about the nature of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

This is not where the “beginning” of other Christians began. Sadly, even people who profess the name of Christ are prone to violence, and even orthodox Christians are sinners. Nevertheless this does nothing to invalidate the truthfulness of the Catholic Church.

NP,

So, if I understand you correctly, you’re concerned that people hijacked Jesus’ message: that Jesus himself had something in mind, but that Paul and Constantine (among others?) subverted His message and turned it to their own purposes? At the very least, then, that means that the Church is deceived, the Bible is suspect (if not nullified altogether), and the entire 2000-year history of Christianity is essentially a lie. Does that pretty well sum it up?

It’s not an unreasonable question to ask. After all, if we wish to place our belief in Christ and his Church, we need to be confident in it as a source of truth, right?

Well, here’s my take on it. If Jesus meant for us to achieve salvation by virtue of his life, teachings, and salvific sacrifice on the cross, then what you’re suggesting is that He failed. What you’re suggesting is that, despite His best efforts, Jesus lost – the devil was able to co-opt His message and teachings, and turn Jesus’ life into a system of belief that isn’t real, isn’t capable of saving us, and isn’t what God had intended.

Whew… that’s pretty intense, don’t you think? After all, what you’re saying is that the best efforts of God didn’t hold a candle to the efforts of the devil to thwart God’s plan. The implication is clear: Jesus meant us to follow a certain path, but the devil successfully managed to take us on a 90 degree turn, and prevent us from reaching what Jesus intended.

Now, you can ask your questions all you want; you can provide your doubts for a reasonable and rational discussion; you can examine whether your concerns about the effects of the weaknesses of followers of Christ on the Christian message…

… but at the end of the day, I think that you need to ask yourself a simple question: would Christ allow the Church He founded to be in such error as to be a complete failure?

I’m half joking but have you been watching the History Channel???

I wouldn’t even joke, so many people repeat the same critiques they have heard on the History Channel without really inquiring.

In my errant years, I have said things such as our OP, Nicean Paradox, has said, and I thought I was being truer to Christ. I thought I was thinking the purer thoughts. But a simple meditation on the actual words of the Nicene Creed changed me and I realized that truth is one. No amount of critics, revisionists, naysayers, post-modernists, Historic Jesus scholars, and history channels can change the truth of the Roman Catholic faith. They keep trying. Their words get somewhat sophisticated or momentarily relevant but their words do not come from a true spirit of faith.

Read, and think, by all means, but be sure to pray and observe the fruits of good, simple faith.

Nicean Paradox,

I understand that you are troubled by your interpretation of the church’s early history, but what specifically is the issue with the Nicene Creed? There’s nothing about killing people or any form of violence within the creed. If you reject the divinity of Jesus or something of that nature, I do think it would a misrepresentation to call yourself Catholic.

However, I think there is a larger problem contained in your post, namely your trust of the church in general. If one of the basic guidelines of the church is in error, then why trust in any other doctrine. Once that can of worms is opened, it is very much Protestant territory with every individual person or denomination deciding what the truth about God really is.

Questions of faith are difficult, there is no denying that. Sometimes we have to throw our hands up and the air and trust that God is in control, that the Holy Spirit has guided us like Christ promised He would. We Catholics use phrases like “mystery of faith” “sacramental mystery” and “Luminous, Sorrowful, etc. Mystery” because there is much, even when revealed, that human minds cannot fully understand, so we must lean on God’s understanding, which is articulated by the Church

I also watched a History Channel show and another on either Nat’l Geographic or Discovery about the “truth” of the Bible. The Moderator is supposed to be (and may actually be) a Protestant minister. According to him, Jesus had several brothers and sisters, born of Mary by Joseph. Also, they noted that according to an ancient site in Capernaum, the early Church was entirely Jewish – for 2 centuries! (They neglected to mention that the site of worship they showed was destroyed by the Romans less than a century after Jesus died and was resurrected, and that the site was later a Catholic Church, almost 100 years after first being destroyed). And, also, that Jesus never intended His Church to leave the Temple or Jewish Laws and forms of worship. So, apparently, we should all be keeping the Kosher Laws, stoning adulterers and blasphemers, follow the 200+ negative commandments of Law found in the OT, and bury our dead before sundown. Lots more laws too. Like animal sacrifice removing sins for us.

You have to watch such shows with the knowledge of both History (real history, not just from television), and a good grounding in the Scriptures of the New Testament. Even Peter fully approved of the teachings of Paul, and approved the bringing of Gentiles into the belief and community of Christians, saving only not to eat of meat sacrificed to pagan Gods (which were often passed out to the poor in the area). Watch the shows, if you wish, but learn history, archaeology and Scriptures well enough to tell what is true and what is pure conjecture on the part of some who do not have that training. It’s very appealing to some to believe these things. It excuses them from following the full teachings given by Jesus and His Apostles. But that’s just the easy way out, and the highway to Hell is said to be easy, broad, and DOWNHILL.

Also, it is worth considering whether God can use flawed humans in his mission. I certainly disagree that Paul “set up a one-stop shop for salvation” (that is a seriously defective Protestant interpretation that is not endorsed by the church.

As for Constantine, I am not a historian so I will defer to others on his motivations. However, although he may have used Christianity for his own ends, it is worth noting that it was the theologians of the day who decided on the outcomes of the councils, not Constatine or any other emperor.

Not certain of Constantine’s motives, although he apparently was convinced that Christianity was true. All he did was help the Church to convene the Council, by providing a place for them to meet and lodgings, in order to set up a set of rules and a Creed that all could follow without falling into the numerous errors and sects which were becoming so prevalent. He was not allowed to put anything into the Council, it was made up of Bishops only from different areas, and most had to travel for weeks or months to attend the Council. When they had completed their council, they took the matters of faith agreed upon by all back to their regions, so that all areas would have the same Creed and basic teachings.

If you are a baptised Catholic you remain a Catholic forever. Even if you turn your back on the Church, which I pray you don’t, you are still a Catholic.
There are only two types of Catholic - those in a state of grace and those in a state of mortal sin.

My concern is that Paul almost never mentions the teachings of Jesus, or seems to have any understanding of what Jesus preached. He seems much more concerned with fetishizing Jesus, much like Constantine did, using the symbols and divinity of Jesus as a means to an end without actually following his teachings.

Can you show some examples of where Paul “never … seems to have any understanding of what Jesus preached”?

And how can Paul be “fetishizing” Jesus? Who was it that said, “I am the bread of life”? Who was it that said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: nobody comes to the Father except through me”? Who was it that said, “I am the resurrection and the life”?

John?

Jesus in the Gospel according to John, yes. Hopefully you’re not going to now say “but John just put those words in Jesus’ mouth”, which is really just a fancy way of saying “I pick and choose what parts of the Gospel I think are authentic”.

The simple answer to the title of this thread is “No!”. The Nicene Creed is the most basic and fundamental statement of what the Church believes.

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