Extriniscally Motivated RC vs. Intrinsically Motivated Protestant


#1

Which is better, a Roman Catholic (who is only extrinsically motivated) or a similar Roman Catholic who has left the Roman Catholic Church and found a good Protestant Church or group to worship with where they are intrinsically motivated?

Could it be that being intrinsically motivated causes the ex-Catholic to bear good fruit?

Does the extrinsically motivated Roman Catholic begrudgingly bear good fruit?

Or do both fall under Matthew 7:19-24?


Why ask? Example dilemma:

If your College-Age child is a Roman Catholic (perhaps extrinsically motivated) and really wants to get involved with a Bible-Based (sola scriptura) Protestant College Group, then I would say they may be making an adult decision. Perhaps parents should honor their decision. Let’s face it, a lot of freshmen students (when I was in school) took their new freedom and went drinking, experimented with smoking pot, and tried a few one-nighters with the opposite sex. In comparison, if your child really wants to be in a certain Christian student group it may be a good move for you (as parents) to go along with it.

Or would it be better for parents to fight the decision? You don’t want to crush your child’s spirit or expression of personality when they aren’t really going too far off. Or do you?


#2

God will judge our hearts and not our actions ultimately. but, from the heart comes our actions, so it is tough to say. i would say it is better to serve with a willing heart because then you are truly a child of God than to serve unwillingly because i think that makes you a slave to the church. (this could go for extrinsically motivated protestants as well).


#3

i want to add something. those people who are doing things from a sense of duty or obligation or “extrinsically” motivated might not be that bad off. of course they aren’t experiencing the joy that comes from serving the living God, but they are doing it because they are told to. they might not agree with it or understand it but are doing it because they are supposed to. the understanding for them will come in heaven when God reveals his full plan to us. some do things because they know God is loving and has a plan that we can’t comprehend at this time. my meaning is that it is always better to obey (no matter what the motivation) than to not obey.


#4

[quote=jmm08]Which is better, a Roman Catholic (who is only extrinsically motivated) or a similar Roman Catholic who has left the Roman Catholic Church and found a good Protestant Church or group to worship with where they are intrinsically motivated?
[/quote]

You are erroneously assuming that Catholics are not intrinsically motivated. Yes, we have the extrinsic motivation of the possibility of hell, as opposed to the vain certainty which the heresy of eternal security provides to many Protestants, but that is the primary motivation of only of the spiritually immature. For the devout Catholic the primary motive for every good work is the love of God and the love of others for God’s sake, which love Catholics have to a far greater degree than Protestants, being members of the one true Church outside of which all are strangers to God.

[font=Arial]If your College-Age child is a Roman Catholic (perhaps extrinsically motivated) and really wants to get involved with a Bible-Based (sola scriptura) Protestant College Group, then I would say they may be making an adult decision.

I would write him an e-mail similar to St. Paul’s epistle to the Galatians. “Behold I, your father, say to you that if you leave Christ’s Church, Christ will be of no benefit to you… You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by a legal fiction; you have fallen from grace.”


#5

[quote=Hananiah]You are erroneously assuming that Catholics are not intrinsically motivated.
[/quote]

i don’t see him saying all catholics are extrinsically motivated. i think you are erroneous in assuming all catholics are intinsically motivated. let’s try to not assume at all.


#6

[quote=Hananiah]You are erroneously assuming that Catholics are not intrinsically motivated.
[/quote]

Not so. I am intrinsically motivated myself and want to join the Roman Catholic Church (waiting for RCIA to begin this fall). See my other threads elsewhere in forums on this web site.

And I know of nobody more intrinsically motivated and self-convinced than Bishop Fulton Sheen (which is why I’m coming over).


#7

Who is following their God-given conscience better? The extrinsically motivated RC (who has to go to Mass as long as he lives in your house)? Or the intrinsically motivated ex-Catholic who now is very happy in the Lutheran church?

I think it is an interesting question because it will make people think. Those who find that they are extrinsically motivated Catholics may find a need to search and pray for an answer. And that is a good intrinsically motivated first step. Perhaps they will become intrinsically motivated Roman Catholics.

So praise God this might be a hot question and topic.
And I don’t have the correct answer (I’m waiting for RCIA).

I thought a poll is a great idea.
Warning: it is possible that the majority might be wrong.
That is also why I am coming over (you all have the magisterium).
And the Pope. As a Baptist, our congregation votes on the new minister. Any Bishop would know that the priest a congregation wants may not be the priest that they really need.


#8

for some reason i think this applies but don’t have the time or energy to explain why so i hope you all can figure it out yourselves which i am sure you can.

Jesus tells the parable of 2 sons. the father went to them and told them to do something. the first son said, “yes, i will do it.” but then went off and did not do it. the second said, “no, i will not do it.” but then did it anyway. which one did his father’s will? the second. so sometimes motivation isn’t always the most important thing, sometimes we just need to obey.


#9

bengal_fan: A very good point with your parable.

And there is also the parable about the prodigal son. The father didn’t say to the prodigal son “No don’t go and leave us.” When the father let him go, the prodigal son eventually did see the error in his ways and came back.

So do we now have one parable for and one parable against?


#10

I have not heard of an ex-catholic (so far) who says anything good about the Church, and they are generally far less knowledgeable about the Church’s teachings. And yet, ex-protestants know their Bible (since that’s what they are required to learn) so well, show so much respect for their denominations and are more charitable towards the people they left. Why is that? I suspect it is not the “prayerful” search for truth that leads a catholic to a protestant church. They usually have an ax to grind. If it is not a divorce issue, it is the people or the “nobody is gonna tell me what to do” attitude.

Kidane Mehret, ora pro nobis
(Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us)


#11

I think we’re all sinners, and no one person is better than another. If we try to classify a “better” category of a person as by their “faith,” we can only trespass into legalistic territory…a very slippery slope.


#12

[quote=jmm08]Not so. I am intrinsically motivated myself and want to join the Roman Catholic Church (waiting for RCIA to begin this fall).
[/quote]

Alright, I misinterpreted. When you equated being Bible based with sola Scriptura, I assumed you were a Protestant with an axe to grind. In any case, the answer is still the same. The extrinsically motivated Catholic is at least on the narrow path, though not very far along it.


#13

There is virtue in obedience. Sure, cheerful obedience based on an internal desire to do the right thing is better than a grudging obedience. However, leaving the Catholic Church is, in itself, an act of disobedience–and grudging obedience is better than outright disobedience.


#14

[quote=Melissa]There is virtue in obedience. Sure, cheerful obedience based on an internal desire to do the right thing is better than a grudging obedience. However, leaving the Catholic Church is, in itself, an act of disobedience–and grudging obedience is better than outright disobedience.
[/quote]

I agree, obedience is a very important virtue. Also, intrinsic motivation is not always a good motivation. It can be, but is not always good even when it bears what seems to be “good fruit”. It can be good fruit, but for the wrong reasons.


#15

[quote=KidaneMehret]I have not heard of an ex-catholic (so far) who says anything good about the Church, and they are generally far less knowledgeable about the Church’s teachings.
[/quote]

I think you are correct. When I start RCIA classes and stop going to the Baptist Church, I think the loudest protests will be from ex-Catholics (trying to re-assure themselves I suppose).

Some ex-Catholic acquaintances call my new Church “All Saints Perish”.


#16

I agree with ccav. Intrinsic motivation is not necessarily better than extrinsic motivation. I suspect the TRUTH of the Church is an outside agent from ourselves, therefore an extrinsic motivation. This TRUTH is what motivates me. I even wonder if intrinsic motivation is not more suspect that extrinsic (in this context) because our intrinsic motivations are subject to our ‘feelings’ and not necessarily the TRUTH.


#17

[quote=joelmichael]intrinsic motivations are subject to our ‘feelings’ .
[/quote]

We’re not talking about feelings here.

Intrinsic motivations – your will is in it. You want to do it because you want to do it.

Extrinsic motivations – you do something because of other people. Because your parents are watching and they want you to do it. Or because you really like some girl so you do something just to please her. Or because of peer pressure (afraid of what others might think). If you are only extrinsically motivated, your own will is not actually in it at all.

What makes this complicated is that it is very rare that either of these situations come up:
(100% intrinsically and 0% extrinsically motivated) to do something.
(0% intrinsically and 1000% extrinsically motivated) to do something.

There usually is a mixture of motivations. My original question is meant to describe and inquire about the theoretical extreme cases.

If you are getting married, would you want to marry a spouse who is only extrinsically motivated (for example: a shotgun wedding)? This is one reason why I initially thought somebody who decides they love Jesus (but is not so well informed as to be Roman Catholic), might do better than somebody who only goes to Mass because their parents make them – while in their own heart they really just hate it all. Don’t you remember growing up? When your mommy makes you do something that you don’t want to do – you did hate it didn’t you? I liked going to Church as a child. But hated taking ballroom dance classes (but only at first).

Nobody thought they both go to hell (and that surprises me a little). On judgement day, many will say to our Lord “But Lord we did this and that in your name” and He will say “Depart from Me”. Which is why I was thinking either situation might be quite dangerous.


#18

jmm08

Intrinsic motivations – your will is in it. You want to do it because you want to do it.

Exactly…as you’ve defined intrinsic motivation, it is YOUR will. Not god’s will.

When I was a child, I was motivated to love God by intrinsic feelings like fear, love, “warm fuzzies” and such. As a man, I think I am more motivated to follow Christ because I understand the TRUTH of what he taught. The truth is not intrinsic to me…it is extrinsic. Of course, I’ve been blessed with the feelings of love, happiness, contentment, etc. but I don’t think they are what motivates me to behave the way I do. Remember, when we are truly being obedient, we are not doing it for reasons intrinsic to ourselves.

Obviously, as you’ve noted, it does depend what the extrinsic motivation is. If it isn’t God’s will or his grace acting on you I think the person might be in trouble!!

Joel


#19

[quote=jmm08]We’re not talking about feelings here.

Intrinsic motivations – your will is in it. You want to do it because you want to do it.
[/quote]

And to add to what joelmichael said (and I agree completely with him), the question has to be asked…why do you want to do it? Pride is an intrinsic motivation, but I wouldn’t suggest acting good for the sake of pride. Selfishness is also an intrinsic motivation and again someone should not be motivated to do good works for the sake of selfishness…that would completely undermine those good works.

And I would also add that obedience can be an intrinsic motivation that should not be discounted.


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