A statement I often hear from some of my friends: “Organised religion is bad.” I assume that by this they mean especially the Catholic Church. I’m never quite sure how to respond to such a claim, other than the indications in the Bible about this. I’m looking for some kind of answer on an additional level, other than Scripture, as some of them have a problem with accepting the Bible, saying stuff as: “The Bible is unreliable, it was voted upon.” By the way if anyone has a reply to the latter statement, I’d be glad!
You don’t argue with it because it isn’t an argument. It’s an assertion. An emotive one, at that; a statement of scorn. You might ask them to explain why they think that, and proceed from there, but personally, I would shake the dust from my feet and move on to the next village for evangelization.
Has there ever been a saint that became a saint by going it alone and making up their own rules? Without tradition and authority you end up with people like Sylvia Brown making things up as they go along and only telling people what they want to hear.
“Organized religion is bad” is a conclusion, not an argument. “No, it isn’t,” is a sufficient response. If the speaker wants to convince you that organized religion is bad, he has the burden to present arguments to support his conclusion.
There very well might be - though most certainly such a saint is not “named” in the Church roles of canonized Saints.
Para 847 of the Catechism contains this statement:
Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.
Such a person who achieves salvation would certainly be a saint
Without tradition and authority you end up with people like Sylvia Brown making things up as they go along and only telling people what they want to hear.
As others have said, this is not an “argument” but a conclusion.
I assume that by this they mean especially the Catholic Church.
Best not to assume anything - ask them what they mean…
I’m never quite sure how to respond to such a claim, other than the indications in the Bible about this.
Well bible indicators are good, but certainly not the only things you can use…After all there are number of religions who do not use the bible…
I’m looking for some kind of answer on an additional level, other than Scripture,
Ask them why “organized religion is bad” and then, if and when they offer some reason, be prepared to offer some of the many things that are GOOD about religion charities, social services, community, etc. Also, if they bring up something that you don’t have an answer to, be willing to say, “I don’t know, but let me get back to you on that”…
some of them have a problem with accepting the Bible, saying stuff as: “The Bible is unreliable, it was voted upon.” By the way if anyone has a reply to the latter statement, I’d be glad!
I know of no “voting” on the bible…Ask them for their source…Bet they don’t have one…and if they have no source, then their comment is meaningless.
I don’t know if you saw that video on YouTube titled “Why I love Jesus, but Hate Religion” or not. It was a big hit back in January. A priest (user name Fr Pontifex) did posted a video in response to it titled “Why I Love Jesus and Religion.” Look up that second video as it may give you some perspective on how to answer this.
But remember, it is not you who would persuade this guy or soften his heart. That would be the Holy Spirit. If he refuses to have a two-way conversation, all you can do is pray for him.
I see Catholicism not as a religion but rather as a way of life, I’ve had people bring up the “organized religion” nonsense to me and I tell them all the same thing. You live out your faith and the Catholic Chuch is the vehicle by which you do it, to me religions are man-made (Protestantism, Islam, Eastern stuff, etc) whereas Judaism and Chrtistianity originated directly from the divine entity. The True God, True Man perfected the foundation of Judiasm through the formation of the Catholic Church and taught us how to live.
I wouldn’t perceive that as scorn, but merely a negative opinion on the topic. There indeed have been people who have been harmed by involvement in organized religion, so we can’t say their opinion on the topic is wrong or invalid.
I also don’t think they specifically mean the Catholic church. For someone who dislikes the organization of spirituality or religion, all the “organized” religions would pretty much be lumped into the same category without a need to focus on any one.
Also, some people just have a personality that cannot learn or relate to rigid organization of a religion… but they do fully relate and love the spirituality part of religion. So for them, the organization part is not needed or gets in the way.
In regards to the latter…I do understand their thinking on the “voted” part because they are correct in that.
There are many, many books that were voted to be either included or not included in the bible when it was put together in the 4th Century (and found centuries later)…it was a process that took decades and decades…and the books not included were valid books for the first 300 years of emerging Christianity, used and followed by early Christains. Those books, written by other disciples, offer a wider, more varied view of what Jesus taught.
So if a person believes those sacred books had validity, then it makes sense they’d see that the eventual collection of books that were “voted” upon in the finale would be incomplete.
I assume, when your friends cite “unreliability”, they also are making reference to the fact that the books in the bible were written down decades after Jesus died…then copied, translated, changed, etc. And that there was much room for human error along the way?
But that’s the point.
It’s the coffee that is the important part, the part you drink, the part you need, the part that sustains you…not the cup. The cup is just one of many possible receptacles/vehicles to get the coffee to your lips.
Same with religion. God is there, and the different religions act as a cup that brings God to you…but it doesn’t matter if it’s a paper cup or a Tiffany cup or the same cup everyone else uses.
Also, you can use your own hands to bring the liquid to your lips.
It 'aint about the cup.
“It’s the Message, not the Messenger”. (Mark 1:6?)
I have a brother-in-law who was raised Lutheran and decided he was against organized religion after he turned 18 and the church he grew up in started sending him notes saying that he should tithe the church. :shrug:
After ten years, I think he really wants to be part of a church but he’s still upset over that experience. Last weekend, he and my baby niece came over for dinner and my niece picked up a small standing crucifix that I have sitting on a table in the living room. My brother-in-law told her to “be gentle with Jesus, He died for your sins!” Then he sighed as said that he wished he could get her Baptised. I feel really sad for him because I think he feels permanantly separated from Christ over this issue.
Just as you say, the cup gets you the coffee. Without the cup, how are you going to drink it? You need a vessel to get at it. Same with your hands, they function as the vessel. An consider this: Your hands, cup, etc. might be dirty, that is, with faults. You’ve got to make sure you choose the right mode to receive the drink.
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