Are Catholics allowed to


#1

My dad is Catholic. In our last conversation he said that he did not believe that the information in the Bible is factual. Are you allowed to be a member of the Catholic Church if you don’t believe the Bible is true?


#2

I think that a lot of “Catholics” find themselves in the same boat as your father. I personally believe that one cannot be A if one doesn’t meet the criteria for A–that goes for anything in life.

“I’m a Catholic, but I want universal abortion rights.” Nope
“I’m a Catholic, but the Church should change its teachings on homosexuality.” Nope
“I’m a Catholic, but I really don’t believe that stuff.” Nope

You can be one clause or the other. Your dad is probably a great guy, and he probably understands as well as he’s been taught (that goes for all of us), but I don’t believe he can be a Catholic without accepting the Bible, Catechism, Magisterium, etc.

Thoughts?


#3

Not sure if this is right, but…

Not believing that something is factually correct is different from not believing that something is true.

Many parts of the Bible (such as the creation story) are not meant to be taken literally. The Bible is not a science textbook. The creation stories do not tell us what literally happened, they tell us what God created (everything) and why (He wanted to share His love).

If this is what you mean when you say that your father does not believe the Bible is factually correct, then yes, Catholics are permitted to not believe certain parts of the Bible are literal.

Hope this helps!


#4

You actually hit the nail on the head. The creation is the topic we were discussing.
So to be clear, the Catholic Church will accept people as members who state that they believe that the Earth was not created in six days, but was actually created over a period of millions of years, correct?


#5

Yes it is acceptable, as long as the person believes that an eternal God gave us a begginning and that He alone gave us a beginning, and that all of creation relies on God. I think JPII had more to say on this topic in regards to the dignity of the human person too.


#6

I’m also curious how something being not factually correct is different than being not true? Could you explain this so I can understand?


#7

The creation stories show a deeper meaning-that God alone created everything and that He did this out of love. In that sense they are true. I think Genesis 1-3 is meant to be read figuratively.


#8

Obviously God has unfathomable levels of creative skills, and power to literally manifest the world, universe and all things known and unknown into existence. Seeing that God has enough power and skill to create his creation, why does it seam far fetched to some people that it was done in six days?
Also if the world was NOT created in six days, then what would be the purpose for stating in the Bible that it WAS six days?


#9

The Bible is written in many different styles. All of it is true, but not all of the authors intended to lay out the truth as a one would in a math or science book. There’s figurative language, the use of analogies, metaphors, simile. When in the Song of Solomon(?) the author writes ‘my love leaps like a gazelle,’ he/she doesn’t mean that a person literally leapt as a gazelle would.


#10

How would you like to explain the concept of 14 billion years to uneducated peasants who barely lived for 50?


#11

If you think the world was created over millions of years and not in six days, according to Catholics, would that define someone not believing the Bible?


#12

No; you are not required to take everything as literal. You must accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God. Catholics do not all believe that the world was created in six days, but we do believe that God created the universe and that there is some form of truth in Genesis.


#13

I disagree. I am not aware of anything in Church teaching that requires 100% belief in everything the Church teaches.

Also, my understanding is that once baptized in the Catholic Church, one is forever Catholic.

You may debate if someone is a “good” Catholic or a “bad” Catholic, if that is your thing, I guess.


#14

“…heart kept like a gazelle…” leaves the reader with the impression that the heart suddenly beat very hard. I believe most people can relate to that and clearly understand what the author intended.
In the phrase, “…and the Earth was created in six days…”, What impression are we supposed to draw from that? How does one know what the author intended if he didn’t literally mean six actual days?


#15

Yes, God could theoretically have made everything in 6 days. Maybe the creation story is the way it is because it is easier and less boring to read about creation in 6 days rather that billions of years?

Another thing to think about is how the two creation stories contradict each other. (In that the order in which humans and animals are created is different) Why do they do this? Maybe because they are each meant to show different truths about humans and our dignity as people.

Since Genesis 1 and 2 both contradict each other in certain ways, it would seem to me almost impossible to take them both literally.

Also, Faith and Reason are two wings on the same bird. The evidence (at least to me) seems to overwhelmingly support evolution.


#16

How did we come to the conclusion that 14billion years is the amount of time it took?


#17

I don’t have an answer for that.
As for me, I read the creation story as allegory nearly in its entirety. I don’t think it’s about the creation of the heavens and earth at all. I think it’s all about the creation of the human soul.


#18

Also, if the author had went into detail about how many years it took God to create everything, all of the creatures He created and how they each evolved, there would be so many confusing facts that the overall message would seem less important/clear.


#19

The ten commandments say “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy”. The concept of the Sabbath is based on God creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh. We measure time this way, SMTWTFS. I just can’t seem to understand why someone who is writing down the word of God would write that creation occurred over six days if it fact did not. What is the reason it says six days in the Bible?


#20

Also, welcome to CAF :grinning:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.