Few questions


#1

So, I’ve been teetering for a few days on religion for a few days, and I’ve got questions…

  1. To what extent should people be christian? People want to get out and enjoy their lives, their friends and family, but christianity calls people to be like jesus. How can we expect to be like jesus when we’re only human? I don’t see how people can really get out and enjoy life when they’re called to be holy. If they do so then they merely spend less time with friends and family, and life. If a man strikes you down or threatens your family, should you not defend yourself? If we’re supposed to trust in God for the answers and wait for God to guide our lives, then what’s the point of following certain commands in the new and old testament? I’d like to go throughout my day without worrying about my life, with the knowledge that it’s in God’s hands, but at the same time it seems hard to actually call myself a christian. To worry about other people’s problems and help other people is to take the world upon our shoulders, which does not seem like something we’re meant to do, because when we do we miss out on the wonderful lives we have with friends and family, with the good times we could be having but aren’t.

  2. Is it healthy to raise a child a certain religion? Should they not get out and experience life on their own, and then decide to follow christ or a certain religion? I was confirmed at age 17 against my own will - I went through the process without caring and got confirmed without caring, so what was the point of me getting confirmed? I was raised catholic (or forced to go to church every weekend), but my elementary and highschool life we’re anything but catholic (I’ve gone to catholic schools for my entire life until college, now). I feel I had to learn life’s lessons the hard way through highschool, and that me going to church every weekend and, for one year, praying every night, had no effect or relation.

I’ve got some more, but maybe these can start it off. I hope this is the right forum and the questions aren’t too lengthy.


#2

Can you ask one question per post? There is a reply-length limit, after all.


#3

As I read your post the question came to mind why do you think following Christ limits your enjoyment of life? The truth is the opposite. You will never be able to enjoy life with out God.


#4

I will take a shot at #2. I think it is so important to raise a child in a religion - but not just any religion - in the Catholic Faith. Why? Because I think the fullness of truth is found only in the Catholic religion. It took me years to figure that out on my own - what a wonderful gift I can give my children by teaching them the truth about God & his Church. When they grow up, it is their choice to remain faithful to the Catholic Church or leave - but I hope & pray they will remain - and if they decide to leave, there’s the chance they will come back someday.

I am sorry that you feel that despite your years of Catholic School & being forced to attend mass it didn’t benefit you. You said that your life growing up was “anything but Catholic” - was that your own choice or were you speaking of your family life?
Do you still consider yourself Catholic?

Welcome to the forums by the way! We’re happy you’ve joined us! :slight_smile:


#5

I had the same response as Adrift. To be ‘holy’ and ‘Christ like’ means that you will love and enjoy your family, friends and life to its fullest. It does not mean that you can live a life of debauchery, which perhaps many see as not having fun…

You can be a good christian and enjoy a wonderful family outing, good food and good times. You just cnnot have sexual relations with any and every girl you meet, lie, cheat, steal, murder, etc. Fun you can have…

As for defending your family…well Jesus does not ask that you let a rapist ‘have at your daughter’ if you have the power to prevent it, even if by that prevention you would take his life. You have a duty and a responsibilty to care for your family. In fact Jesus said that the greatest gift is to “lay down one’s life for a friend” Some things are worth dying for. However, you do not take ‘innocent life’. You would not kill someone just because you don’t like that that person walked into the neighborhood and any stranger coming into the neighborhood ‘could potentially’ cause yor daughter harm. See the difference?

If you got confirmed against your will, you failled your cathechist and your catechist failed you. One topic of conversation I have when I work with youth for confirmation is this. They may attend bcause their parents send them. Parents have rights and responsibilities regarding their teenagers. The right to direct their activities is one The responsibilty to raise them in the catholic faith and obtain proper catechesis for them. However, the assent to be confirmed is made by the individual and cannot be coerced or forcecd.

If you were confirmed when you did not "care’ to be or against your will [and not exaggerating], I would question the validity of the sacrament. As an example: If a young man and his girl friend become pregnant. Her father compels the two to marry or he will ‘murder’ the young man. They marry out of fear but later divorce, a decree of nullity would likely be made because the marriage lacked ‘free consent’ I am not sure what to mae of the I did “not care” statement, did not your catechists speak to you? How coud you just ‘not care’ did you sleep through the confirmation formation?


#6

There are certain things in life that are meant to be enjoyed. Food, for example. However, the enjoyment of food can be abused, can it not? Both gluttony and anorexia are ways in which food can become “unenjoyable”, if that is a word. In a similar way, sex is meant to be enjoyed, yet sex can be abused in various ways. For Christians - and in particular Catholics - we acknowledge that God knows us infinitely better than we could possibly know ourselves. Therefore, to follow God’s laws is to enjoy ourselves! You do not need to neglect your friends and family to be Christian. It can be hard at times - and I know it as all of my closest friends are secular humanists - but I will never leave them because of my religion. Maybe if they started to really discriminate against me, then I would. Anyway, Catholics are told to “pick up their cross and follow Jesus”. The “pick up your cross” part of this can be very hard, but it actually makes things easier! Basically, denying yourself a material, temporal good can lead onto bigger and better things. Does that make sense? As an example, if you deny yourself any alcohol for 12 months, then you could use the money you saved to buy a car or something. In the same way, denying any material good (picking up your cross) can lead to bigger and better spiritual goods.

If a man strikes you down or threatens your family, should you not defend yourself?

Well, it depends. If a man strikes you, then there’s no reason we cannot turn the other cheek. But Catholics are not pacifists. If we come across a girl being raped for example, it would be absolute cowardice to “turn the other cheek”. Here, it becomes morally necessary to intervene. In the same way, Catholics are morally bound to support a “just war” (so long as they agree that the war is indeed just).

If we’re supposed to trust in God for the answers and wait for God to guide our lives, then what’s the point of following certain commands in the new and old testament?

Because the Bible is the word of God. I once read that prayer is us talking to God, and the Bible is God talking back. Like I said before, God knows us infinitely better than we could know ourselves, so following His commands actually makes us happier! I know this from personal experience.

I’d like to go throughout my day without worrying about my life, with the knowledge that it’s in God’s hands, but at the same time it seems hard to actually call myself a christian. To worry about other people’s problems and help other people is to take the world upon our shoulders, which does not seem like something we’re meant to do, because when we do we miss out on the wonderful lives we have with friends and family, with the good times we could be having but aren’t.

The most profound thing that was ever said on the TV show Friends was by Joey, of all people. He challenged Pheobe to come up with an act which was totally selfless; she couldn’t do it! As much as she tried to help people, it always made her feel good about herself! This furthers my point: if we follow God’s commands and help other people, then we’re actually helping ourselves! As another example, Catholics are called to love our enemy not for their sake, but for ours! Hate will eat you up inside.


#7

My apologies for the lengthy post, I’ll keep them down.

Carol Marie:
I had a lack of parenting. I grew up in a wealthy family, my parents both being fairly shy and passive people, who, while they were able to be good parents, accidentally gave me the wrong things in life, and as such I became an easily-addicted, unsocial kid, who kept the same friends throughout highschool (to my displeasure) This led to worse things, but that’s besides the point. I guess the point is that I believe religion alone does not make for healthy, happy kids, but good parenting does as well.

I’m a freshman in college, and I kicked the faith last summer. I’ve only been enjoying life more and more since I left, but recently I’ve been considering God into my life again. I’m currenty trying to figure out if I want to start religion again, and if so, which branch of Christianity I feel best about.

YADA:
I’d like to enjoy a few beers with my buddies while watching a game or playing some football. Many of my friends have premaritial sex, and their relations are fine, they’re good people.

I told my parents several times I did not want to be confirmed and that I was not catholic. They did not physically force me to go, but my father would always talk about how he was supporting me and that could end (of course it never would have). I was actually severly depressed my senior year of highschool due to the people I called friends, things I did and the lack of attention from my parents. I either slept or daydreamed during my confirmation classes, although I did pray a few times and, at one point, went to confession for a sin. Is that not part of the problem with raising children under a religion, however, as they will grow up fearing being damned to hell or, if they do something bad, that they’ll be too afraid to admit what they’ve done and possibly begin to loathe themselves? Children who were raised catholic also generally seem to worry about placing their religions onto other children, and judging other children.

Forgive the lengthy responses.


#8
  1. Is it healthy to raise a child a certain religion? Should they not get out and experience life on their own, and then decide to follow christ or a certain religion? I was confirmed at age 17 against my own will - I went through the process without caring and got confirmed without caring, so what was the point of me getting confirmed? I was raised catholic (or forced to go to church every weekend), but my elementary and highschool life we’re anything but catholic (I’ve gone to catholic schools for my entire life until college, now). I feel I had to learn life’s lessons the hard way through highschool, and that me going to church every weekend and, for one year, praying every night, had no effect or relation.

Unfortunately this is a common story. It is also quite similar to my story. Basically, I was never really taught the faith - I was only taught snippets. It is only now that I’ve really studied the faith, that I’ve come to realise its Truth. The only way I could have more confidence in the Truth of the Church would be for Jesus to appear right now in my room and tell me so in person. I don’t believe in this because of blind faith, but I’ve come to the conclusion through research and reason. There’s simply too much evidence in the Truth of the Catholic Church. As such, of course I am going to raise my children Catholic, as I want them to receive eternal life! If you see someone about to fall down a cliff, would you not stop them? But I won’t trust my children’s education to be made by others - I’m going to do it myself.


#9

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a few beers with your mates. I was only Confirmed a couple of weeks ago, and I took Augustine of Hippo - the patron saint of brewers - as my Confirmation name saint. Of course, I like Augustine primarily because of his writings. The patron saint of brewers thing was just a sweetener :wink: Remember, the first public miracle of Jesus was to turn water into wine!

Is that not part of the problem with raising children under a religion, however, as they will grow up fearing being damned to hell or, if they do something bad, that they’ll be too afraid to admit what they’ve done and possibly begin to loathe themselves? Children who were raised catholic also generally seem to worry about placing their religions onto other children, and judging other children.

People feel guilty for a reason. However, it is not really great if the only reason you do or don’t do something is out of fear of punishment - especially if that fear is a fear of hell. The best reason to do or not do something is out of love. A great example of this is actually at Confession: if a person confesses his sins out of fear of hell, then this is called “imperfect contrition”. If however, a person confesses his sins out of love for God and sorrow for having broken His laws, then this is called “perfect contrition”. The goal of life for Catholics is to learn to love God - not to fear hell.

That being said, it’s OK to not eat the chicken that was cooked three days ago for fear of getting sick, right?


#10

I agree with you - but I would say that the perfection would be good, attentive parenting plus a religious (Catholic) upbringing.

You said that you were considering coming back to God? That is wonderful - but rather than trying to find “which branch of Christianity you feel best about” - why not try to find the one that is true? In other words, find the one God feels best about? Before you cross the Catholic Church off your list, I would encourage you to really find out what the Chruch teaches. This site is great resource - I hope you continue to post questions.

God Bless you,
CM


#11

As for following Christ and still being able to enjoy life I think Mr. Chestertom said it best. “Doctrines and Dogmas are, infact, like walls. But they are the walls of a playground atop a perilous cliff. Children are free to romp and fling themselves and play every kind of game. Remove the walls and they sat huddled and motionless in the center.” That’s a paraphrase, but you get my point.


#12

Atreyu:
Isn’t pursuing religion for the sake of eternal life somewhat self-centered? Is there really any guarantee that your child will have eternal life if he/she is raised catholic, or any religion, as they could drop the religion and go on a spree of unholy actions the second they leave home? Of course that’s not guaranteed, but it seems like christian children experiment will all sorts of things the second they’re out from under their parents rule. Is everyone who is not catholic or religious falling off a cliff then? I don’t consider my non-religious friends to be doomed. Why spend life worrying and basing your decisions on heaven/hell. As I mentioned earlier, many of my friends have sexual relations with their girlfriends, smoke marijuana and get drunk often (is getting drunk a sin)? They are happy, however, and content with life. They are good, faithful people, and, while I’m no judge, I think it’d be a shame if they went to hell, although we don’t really worry about those things.

Here’s an excerpt from my life:
I don’t have sexual relations only because I lost my virginity to a woman and it was not a pleasant experience. I believed beforehand that I would save my virginity for marriage, but this was during the time when my parents were not involved in my life at all. I’ve become convinced that sex isn’t needed in a relationship, that if two people really love each other and want to build a relationship, they can enjoy that relationship without the sex. I was already in such a state of depression that every day I could not live with myself for losing my virginity, partially because I considered it such a huge, sinful deal. I couldn’t talk about it. It was only when one of my friends approached me about it and told me that it happened to a lot of people that I got the courage talk about it or think of doing anything about it. I went to confession for it (and a few other minor things). I only began to come out of my depression when my parents came to me and told me I wasn’t a bad person and that they loved me. Talking to my friends and family about what I had done helped me get on my feet. The point is that, as a catholic, I had certain things blown way out of proportion in my head, etc… that when I committed, I was too afraid to speak about because they were such horrible sins. Realizing that, in the spectrum of things, they weren’t so bad, I was able to move on, having learned my lesson. Atreya, I missed your comment about hate eating us up, but I had a hatred for someone else that allowed me to be controlled by them (which made my depression worse). I feel like, in the end, I needed to feel redeemed myself and not by God in order to be happy and move on with life. Does salvation lie within or with God?

An excellent movie - American History X - sends a wonderful message about why self-hatred is so destructive. However, the white male character and black male character relate on un-christian terms. This makes me wonder about the calibur of some sins in Christianity. The Shawshank Redemption has a message that “redemption lies within”. I think that’s a wonderful message, but is it anti-christian? And what about One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest? I’d say that movie has great messages, but are they anti-christian?

Carol Marie:

I definitely have not crossed Catholicism off my list, but I don’t know what the church really teaches, and I don’t know what God wants. I guess I’ll have to find out somehow.

I’m so sorry about the length of these replies, if it’s really a problem then I’ll do my best to cut them down. Or off.


#13

Enjoying a few beers with friends is okay. Your friends who are sexually promiscous may appear to have healthy lives but in reality they probably do not. And they may very well be ‘nice’ people. We are all sinners and at times engage in behavior that is not good for us. God grants us grace to change, to transform our lives and become better people.

Check out the Pure Love section fo Catholic Answers pureloveclub.com/ and read **Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology Of The Body (Paperback) **
by John Paul II, Michael Waldstein (Translator)

You might be surprised at what you could learn with an open mind. I am sorry your confirmation experience was so bereft of meaning.

As for raising children: Woud you let your child grow in a vacuum, and let them decide what language they will speak? No you speak to them in your language and they learn it. Do you let your child decide when, if and where they will go to school? No you send them to school. Do you let your child decide if they want to study language arts, science, mathematics or not? No you decide that they will study a well rounded curriculum. Do you let your child decide what to eat [or not]? When to go to bed? Take a bath?

The ‘let them choose’ religion when and if they want is empty. It is part of the lie of ‘modernism’. Afterall, in jewish practice circumcision was performed at 8 days with a Bar [or Bas] Mitsvah at adolescence. Every faith tradition has a process for passing on the faith and it is not a hands off approach. You are what you are…I am catholic, every day, 24 hours a day, not just on Sunday. To not be that to my children would be impossible it is part of who I am as a person and who we are as a family…


#14

Icouch: You are very typical for a person of your age. Most of us have gone through similar “turbulence” as we approached adulthood, and it’s scary. But as you face adulthood, you must understand you are responsible for yourself alone. As you realize that I would like you to draw a line that is infinite/eternal/never ending, if you could, but since you can’t, do it in your mind’s eye. Now use the same instrument you used to make that line and draw the extent of your life on this earth, whether it be 100 years or longer or shorter, but do it to scale compared to the infinite line. Now you must realize that how you spend that microscopic dot, your lifespan, will determine how you spend that infinite line, all of eternity. How you invest in your “eternal future” during your lifespan, will directly determine how you spend all of eternity. You can argue, “but I just want to have fun, do drugs, get drunk, etc.” all you want, but that’s how life is and the sooner you understand that you don’t make the rules, God does the better off you will be. You also wrote:

Icouch: You obviously have a fairly well formed conscience, which is also typical of a good kid, trying out the freedom of adulthood who makes some mistakes, and feels the need to be forgiven. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but know God loves you and is searching for you. In fact He loves you and me so much He sent His Son Jesus into the world to redeem all mankind who turns to Him. In the 6th Chapter of the Gospel of John, verses 32-40, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst. But as I have told you, you can see me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I shall not turn away; because I have come from heaven, not to do my own will, but to do the will of the one who sent me. Now the will of Him who sent me is that I should lose nothing of all that He has given to me, and that I should raise it up on the last day. Yes it is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and that I shall raise him up on the last day.”

Icouch, please don’t trust “Hollywood” or the examples of people making money there to provide you with the important and lifesaving messages you need to hear. Trust Jesus as he has revealed Himself through His Church. You don’t have to be perfect, and none of us are, but you only need to turn to Him and give Him your depression and your fears. The only guarantee in this life is Jesus the Christ, who is searching for you as I write this. That’s why He is called the “Good Shepherd”, He searches out those lambs of His who are wandering away and will be harmed. For starters please read the Gospel of John. In it you will learn Jesus also said, “I have come so that they, (all mankind who follow Him), may have life and have it to the full”.


#15

Mike Brick:
Yes, I’m responsible for myself alone, I always have and always will accept that. I do not necessarily want to get drunk, do drugs, etc… But if I’m an adult, at 25, should I not be enjoying life? Of course I’ll be there for friends and family, but at the same time I do not want to be unhappy. This does not imply anti-christian activities, but merely enjoying life from day to day.

You’re missing the point of those movies being mentioned - those are all ideals that, without the influence of movies, I live by. I was wondering if those ideals are bad or anti-christian. If you really think that all of hollywood and the entertainment business is out to make money, should you not start with “The Passion of The Christ” and christian rock bands?

I guess I feel that joining a religion merely for the sake of eternal life seems a little off-centered. It seems like an incentive of personal gain.

What about the columbine killers. What happens if some kids, without any parenting at all, go insane due to school bullying and isolation (they became convinced they were godlike), and then go shoot up a school. Would it be said that God had a plan for them?

What is exactly is the christian stance on homosexuality? I have a friend who is homosexual, yet he enjoys life and is a good person. He’s been that way for a long time. How can he really just repent for the way he is?


#16

Our sexual faculties are designed for a special and sacred purpose: working hand-in-hand with God for the creation of souls. Just because people have sexual desires does not thereby mean that any use of sexual faculties are faithful to their sacred purpose. Rape, for example is contrary to the design of sex.

From the Catechism:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

Don’t be afraid to read the whole section in the Catechism.


#17

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