Defending "organized religion"


#1

I have a wayward daughter, age 21, who has abandoned the Church. She says she has no use for, or can’t see the point of, organized religion. Can anyone give me a suggestion as to what I could say to her? Or should I just pray for her? I already do this constantly. :slight_smile:


#2

[quote=Linda SFO]I have a wayward daughter, age 21, who has abandoned the Church. She says she has no use for, or can’t see the point of, organized religion. Can anyone give me a suggestion as to what I could say to her? Or should I just pray for her? I already do this constantly. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

First of all, you probably can’t do anything – at least nothing that will have an immediate effect. You may, over time, by gentle example, persuade her of her errors.

If it were possible to persuade people by logic, you might ask her to read the Epistles of Paul – especially putting them into chronological order (as best we can.) There we see an emerging “organized” Church. It simply isn’t possible to maintain a religion that has no central authority (witness the thousands of Protestant sects.)

Similarly, there really can be no moral direction without religion – if there is no higher power than man, and no afterlife, there is no reason for each individual NOT to seek his or her own self-interest, regardless of how it hurts others.

Finally you might pose the question – what sort of a world would we live in if there were NO God and no religion?


#3

I thought like that at one time myself…as someone told me, “if you don’t believe in organized religion does that mean you believe in disorganized religion?”. At least for me, it was partially a “rebellion” thing…I didn’t want to have to submit to the “rules” of the Church and preferred living my secular sinful lifestyle without having to explain my actions to the Church. It was also a pride thing…I wanted to follow my will (I thought I knew what was best for my salvation) rather than God’s will in submitting to Holy Mother, His Church.

That said, does she still have faith? Does she still believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures? If so, you can also show her this passage:

Mat 18:15 But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.
Mat 18:16 And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.
Mat 18:17 And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.

Objectively, it’s pretty clear that there is a visible Church instituted by Christ our Lord, and that it does have specific functions (even outside of the salvific). If the Lord said it, I wouldn’t dismiss it.


#4

The point of organized religion in a tongue-in-cheek sense is that there is nothing that the 2,000 year-old Church has not seen before and has acquired much wisdom in that time. It is a vertiable gold mine, and unfortunately at 21 many solipsistic young adults don’t see it. I certainly didn’t see it until I was in my 30’s and guess what? All those years could have been much fuller, joyous and less painful had I listened. Not much you can do except pray for conversion hopefully while she is still young.

Scott


#5

[quote=Linda SFO]I have a wayward daughter, age 21, who has abandoned the Church. She says she has no use for, or can’t see the point of, organized religion. Can anyone give me a suggestion as to what I could say to her? Or should I just pray for her? I already do this constantly. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Does she live as a hermit? Well then she has need of others . Just as Christians have need of other Christians for support and assistance. The Scriptures are full of early examples of Christians helping each other. I’m sure she has friends and those friends have need of her friendship just as much as she has need of theirs. Same with Christians.

She will run into other Catholic Christians in her daily life and will see their involvement in social justice issues and will be drawn toward the Church. If she was exposed to helping others by collecting food for the needy, visiting the sick, etc. when she was growing up it will all come back.


#6

Disdain for “organized religion” appears to be quite the fashion these days, doesn’t it? Even among college-educated people in their 30s…

Scullinius


#7

Someone today asked me, “How can you be sure that people didn’t just screw up what God gave us?” I said that if God wants us to know the Truth, he will provide a way. He did provide a way, in fact, and that is the Catholic Church. Anything contrary to this is a lack of faith in Christ’s promise that “the gates of hell will not prevail against” the Church (Mathew 16:18). Consequently this charge can be brought against anyone who believes in the Bible but not the Catholic Church.


#8

[quote=Linda SFO]I have a wayward daughter, age 21, who has abandoned the Church. She says she has no use for, or can’t see the point of, organized religion. Can anyone give me a suggestion as to what I could say to her? Or should I just pray for her? I already do this constantly. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Religion inevitably tends to become more and more organized over time because human beings by nature, **need **organization, to give them direction, focus, a sense of belonging in a community of like-minded believers. Without organization, religion would become splintered, fractured as a result of differing interpretations, hence leading to confusion, and uncertainty, which is what would happen if people were freely allowed that kind of liberty with religious matters. By extension then, any organization to be as such, requires formal rules, discipline, and of course, authority to preserve and apply those rules.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#9

[quote=BlueMit11]Someone today asked me, “How can you be sure that people didn’t just screw up what God gave us?” I said that if God wants us to know the Truth, he will provide a way. He did provide a way, in fact, and that is the Catholic Church. Anything contrary to this is a lack of faith in Christ’s promise that “the gates of hell will not prevail against” the Church (Mathew 16:18). Consequently this charge can be brought against anyone who believes in the Bible but not the Catholic Church.
[/quote]

Right. If God already knew in advance that His message would be distorted, and He does[He is omniscient], He would have made provisions that His message would be preserved and correctly interpreted. Otherwise, the Gospel would have been in vain.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#10

i would recommend having your friend read ‘mere christianity’. lewis beautifully addresses this question - and in a multitude of very effective ways.

one thing he says in particular is about maps. he talks about how everyone has the religious or spiritual impulse - and that’s real. but to GET anywhere, you have to have theology. just like if you’re leaving england on a boat, the trip off the coast feels the same to everyone. but if you want to get to america, you’d better have a map, made by those who’ve ‘been there’, and can steer you around dangers and effectively to the destination desired.


#11

[quote=Linda SFO]I have a wayward daughter, age 21, who has abandoned the Church. She says she has no use for, or can’t see the point of, organized religion. Can anyone give me a suggestion as to what I could say to her? Or should I just pray for her? I already do this constantly. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

It’s largely the age. She is in a period of self-discovery and I can appreciate her arguments. SOunds like she needs to do some searching. For your part, never give up praying, and never stop inviting her to attend mass with you, or maybe other events that include discussions.

I have grave issues with organized relgiion myself. For me, I thought the organization of religions was what made them more prone to scandals and corruptions. Particularly the Catholic church, with all the sexual abused that was covered up for such a long time by great “organizational efficiency,” on the part of the chruch and an absolutely foul priest who presided at the church where my parents moved my senior year of high school.

Later I came back, due to a series of events. Part of the reason I left too was that organized religion for me was synonymous with men interfering and filtering God’s words.

It was of course very naive of me to think that somehow I would be able to do a more inspired job of interpreting scripture and decoding a stable rule of morality for myself alone, than what scholars and congregations have given to the Catholic church over the last 2,000 years (more of course, when we include the Jewish history aspect. But then again, that si why there are so many Protestant churches…there are many people who think they can make up there own code from scratch.

I didn’t see the dynamic in the scriptural reading that recommended we use the church to interpret traditions. And I thought that church meant more like a fellowship and not the Church.

Nor did I realize that there may be horrible people who have power in the church during, and these are the ones who often make the press, but with all of the history of the church, and all of the leaders from the past, and other people involved now, it is a powerful sense of checks and balances; probably more thorough than any other religion. Also, I did not understand Catholic teaching well, and I think most people who leave the church on a quest, do so because they are in a similar position.


#12

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way. Pray for the return of your daughter. Remember the parable of the prodigal son. Make a small celebration every time you see your daughter. Tell her in whatever form of communication there is between you that you value her and that she is very important.

We wouldn’t have priests if we didn’t need them — ordained to administer the true sacraments between God and us. I think we all reflect the royal priesthood when we do God’s work of mercy.

Sunday Mass is a representation of heaven, where we are organized in music, prayer, ritual, faith, and fellowship in the presence of our God. Make your life a celebration of the Mass and don’t look back.


#13

I think most young adults leave the church due to its stance on sex and birth control. I know I did.

But I’m back! She will be too. They always come home. All you can really do is pray, and gently gently nudge her.


#14

Wisdom comes with age, and she’ll come around eventually. It is just important to watch her to make sure she doesn’t do anything she’ll regret later when she finally wakes up.


#15

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