I refuse to be swayed by emotion

A lot of the stuff I have read about person A converting from x religion to y religion seems to be based on sensory observations or personal preferences - not doctrine or teaching or what is correct and true. Stuff like church shopping.

For instance, say a Roman Catholic converts to Russian Orthodoxy. This was for a few reasons: First, the Mass in his town is boring, drab, and the priest is old and falls asleep half of the time. Second, the Catholic community doesn’t seem “alive” with the Spirit. They are a sinful and materialist bunch (for Christians). Third, the Orthodox church’s Divine Liturgy is just the opposite of that blasé Catholic one - it’s lively, bright, mystical, and enthusiastic. Fourth, the homily of the young, suave, smart Orthodox priest (I don’t know if they preach in Russian or English, so bear with me) resonates more with our convert than the Catholic ones ever have. Lastly, the icons are pretty and bedecked with gold, and the whitewashed, gold-gilded Saint John Chrysostom Russian Orthodox Church… glistens more than the drab, moss-covered stone structure of Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic.

I do not understand nor approve of letting things like appearances, emotions, numbers (argumentum ad populum), youth, dating opportunities, etc. etc. etc. decide what faith I will be a part of. I don’t get it. This is potentially ETERNITY we’re talking about here! How on God’s Green Earth can a person be swayed on such an important matter as religion, spirituality, and the supernatural by something superficial like “the priest is charismatic” or “they have a band!” or “we get to have as many wives as we want!”???

It does not compute with me! If I am going to be a part of a Church, I want to be sure it is the Church God made, and that it’s the Church that understands reality correctly. This is as important (if not a thousand times more so) as understanding whether we are made of atoms or whether we are made of air, water, fire, and earth! Why do people treat it like it’s picking your favourite colour of balloon?!

:doh2:	:doh2:	:doh2:

I am thinking of becoming an Eastern Catholic based on such superficial reasons, true (have you seen their Liturgies?) but only because (as far as I know) there are no important differences in doctrine between the Eastern Catholics and the Roman Catholics (we are in communion with each other, nu?). I could be wrong, but it seems a far more plausible leap to make on a superficial basis than, say, the leap from Catholicism to Orthodoxy, or the leap from Lutheranism to Catholicism.

I just don’t get it. And I think I am right not to want to be swayed by superficial things, but rather by doctrines, logic, and reason (as well as by the Lord, if He has any opinion on the matter ;)).

I am curious, however, if there is any role the emotion has to play in the process of seeking God.

Hi,

Of course emotion plays into things when we seek God. We are creatures that have emotions, however the emotions should not blind us to following God where he leads us. And I totally agree with you, I would far rather follow God where he is leading me and be a part of what he wants me to be than for superficial reasons.

I guess what it boils down to, is where does God want us to be so that we may by fully in Union with Him? He will place us where we need to be.

No you are right in not wanting to be swayed by superficial reasons. The Lord’s Will should always be our first primary motivation and cuase of our movements and actions. I would put our Lord’s Will first, and the rest will follow, the doctines and stuff like that.

I will pray as you are discerning. I do have to agree the Eastern rites are beautiful.

God bless.

Little One0307

Iwould add that where God wants each of us is indeed in the Catholic Church, but that there is a great deal of variety in the Church precisely because we are each unique. Some with religiois vocations wll be called to contemplative lives, others to teaching orders, and still others to hospital orders.

OTOH, some will be called not to an order which suits them as they are but to one which develops a less-developed area in that soul, a very academic person choosing the Franciscans over the Dominicans for example.

The Divine Liturgy is like a beautiful jewel, and it took me a while after we moved away from it to understand that God was apparently not calling me to change to an Eastern Church. So I would not worry about making this change, because it is a legitimate option, unlike Orthodoxy, iyswim.

Hey there!

I can definitely tell you that I understand where you’re coming from, since I am on the boat of religious conversion (possibly). As of now, I am nonreligious, but in the fall, I’ll be attending RCIA. I am excited to be going, but at the same time, extremely nervous, since I cannot even walk into a Catholic church by myself (I have to go with a Catholic friend). What you said about people being swayed by emotions, which causes people to convert to a religion based on things that have nothing to do with the religious doctrine, that was me. I was considering becoming a Catholic simply to tell people that I am a Catholic, so people will think I am cool, and so people won’t hound me about being nonreligious. I mean, I am not saying that it was for the show or anything like that, but it was just something I wanted to do, even if I did go through RCIA and lie to the priest, telling him that I actually believed in God when I did not (but I will not go into that). You called it “church shopping,” which I think is a very appropriate term.

In the reality of it all, I will go into RCIA, not believing in God of course, and possibly come out believing in God. If I do not believe in God at the end of RCIA, I will not convert, but if I do, it’s a definite yes. I refuse to lie to the priest for self-pleasure and a simply deemed title. It’s not like that at all. But I am glad you posted this, because I have personal experience with “church shopping.”

I don’t think that all Catholic churches are like how you’ve described. I’m actually a convert from Russian Orthodoxy to Catholicism - because of the doctrines. I suggest researching the doctrines :slight_smile:

This year, I’ve went to a Catholic church that I actually liked even more than the Russian Orthodox church, liturgically - it was FSSP, they do the Latin Mass (and are in communion with the Pope). The liturgy was beautiful, reverent, rich, and the priests there are awesome - I loved the homilies, the spiritual direction was helpful, etc. I actualy can’t say anything negative about that parish. It even had great community.

if you like the East and Eastern liturgy - why not be Eastern Catholic? why leave Rome to be Orthodox? well I recommend researching the early Church and doctrines and the Papacy… cause that is what it all depends on. Just remember you can get the SAME liturgy in an Eastern Catholic church.

God bless

Thank you for posting, and best of blessing to you in the RCIA. I don’t know what it is like, but I hope God fills you with peace, love, and life, and I will pray for you. If the Lord does end up leading you into the fold at this time, I will be overjoyed. :slight_smile: But whatever the case, I know you will do what your soul tells you is right, whether it means becoming a Catholic or not. And I would not deny you that. :wink:

:stuck_out_tongue: It was only an example.

I have the good fortune to a great church not ten minutes a walk from my house. Their Mass is beautiful through and through, and the priest gives very inspiring homilies. It has a huge statue of the Crucifixion at the front of it and huge stained glass pictures of some of the saints. And it’s famous for its Lenten Fish Fry - been going on for thirty years. I just volunteered this year and I gotta say, it’s fantastic! God Bless Holy Name Catholic and Father Frank the pastor!

And thanks for the info on Orthodoxy and Catholicism. I know this. :slight_smile: And while I haven’t looked at it recently, I think I will look at the Early Church because so much of Christianity hinges on it. Sola scriptura, papal supremacy, faith, works, or grace… It’s important stuff!

Personally, I am a very emotional person and sometimes I do let my emotions get the best of me. I have a personality disorder though known as Borderline Personality Disorder that causes me to have frequent mood swings. Because of this, my Associate Pastor, Fr. Ryan, has said that he doesn’t know for sure if I can commit mortal sin or not.

Hey, hey, it’s not COMPLETELY for superficial reasons… it’s MAINLY for superficial reasons. :o

But seriously, they are in communion with Rome. It doesn’t seem so much like “converting” as it is like… a different flavour of Catholicism.

But even choosing between East and West is not to be taken lightly. With new delights come new responsibilities. While the Divine Liturgy and Eastern terminology are intoxicatingly delightful, they are a lot stricter about fasting. Which is a good thing, I mean, fasting is good for the soul. Denial of sensual pleasure is good for heightening spiritual sensitivity.

But… I’m not sure I’m ready for such sacrifices. :blush: The spirit is strong and willing but the flesh is disgustingly soft and weak.

So even then, I’m only thinking about becoming an Easterner. I still have much to learn and to experience. Speaking of which, I bolded part of your post, and I have to admit, that’s an interesting point… experience is a convincing teacher. It’s what gave us so much of the information we have today. Science, religion, history - almost all lessons in school and in life are based in experience.

But experience is more than emotion. It is also fact.

The Consecration may fill one with joy and enthusiasm. It also is, factually, the changing of wine and bread into the Body and Blood of Christ. It seems shallow and simple-minded to keep the emotion of the moment and dismiss the fact of transubstantiation.

Or if you are walking down a muddy road when a car suddenly rushes through a mud puddle and splatters you, you may feel angry, disgusted, maybe even shocked. But the fact still is you are covered in muddy water, and even if you didn’t feel any emotion at all, you still ought to take a shower when you get home.

In short, experience is emotion, but it is also reality - fact. So perhaps emotion is not such a bad thing, but when it acts alone it certainly can cause (and has caused) all kinds of chaos. Just look at our Pentecostal and evangelical brothers.

I concur! :slight_smile:
Experience is emotions and facts and hopefully. . . Yields learning to balance both and avoid chaos.
Obviously, choosing between East and West is not the same as converting from religion x to religion z, but … Consider this- the site is open to anyone (and hopefully most are here with good intentions) and many seeking answers or support. Converting is a very serious issue and for me personally - much was based on where my heart told me God wanted me to be- - - emotion, feelings… As I go through this process, I have more and more questions about doctrine, what is proper and what is not- I have much to learn. I simply try and go where I feel God leads me…

Your usage of “church shopping” as well as stating people converting based upon personal preferences- not doctrine or teachings … it’s difficult to know all these things while in the midst of truly converting. I appreciate your feedback and would like for you to consider this: whereas you may feel ease throughout your transition because you have and understand so many facts… All of us aren’t as fortunate and also receive quite a bit of flack, mocking(make the sign of the cross after prayer at a table with Baptists- Southern Baptists. . .) and then all the questions from anyone you know who is Catholic…The scrutiny, over and over asking, “why?” Sometimes it can come across (and I don’t mean you personally) as - we don’t want any of you outsiders… I imagine it could lead the more*timid to shy away completely and leave them without a church home at all… Trust me, it would have been a much easier path to have gone back to the church I grew up in as well as taught in… Doing what we know is always easy; moving into new areas alone- not an easy transition.

I would like to share one experience. . . There is a Parish nearby I visit occasionally… the first time I went in my intentions were to say a prayer, light a candle, as well obtain holy water for my home. It was a Friday night and I was so nervous to even go in and hoping to avoid anyone. (I wanted to acclimate myself to the place; know where the chapel was, the restrooms, etc. In hopes when I returned for mass- I wouldn’t look so out of place and clearly new… I realize this is stupid, but anyway- as soon as I took no more than three steps in… I was asked- "MAY I HELP YOU?! " (and not in a welcoming tone at all- he was EXTREMELY harsh and rude ) before I could even respond, “What do you want?!” I was dumb struck! I dare say what my response would have been to this had I been anywhere besides a church… All I could think to myself was - I am in a church, right? Naturally, I didn’t utter this… Luckily, a very kind woman approached me later and was kind beyond words, but… Even though I visit… I still haven’t gone for mass… (they were going to allow me to join RCIA in December and allow me to have “catch up” classes with the priest. Unfortunately, I became sick the day before my first class and then there was a break in class until mid January… I decided to wait for the new classes to start rather than try and rush or cram learning something so important in such little time.
I apologize for being a bit brash initially, but your earlier post hit a chord in me… Obviously :slight_smile:

Definitely. After all, it was God who put the emotional needs in me as well as the need for rationally satisfying answers. If a church cannot provide both, it is deficient. Therefore, I always sympathize with those who leave the Catholic church, because their emotional needs were not met or perhaps no one gave them a strong rational basis for their Catholic faith out of the great riches of the church. Reason is at a higher level than emotions, however, emotions often drive the reasoning of a person. Like a young couple that falls in love, people can easily fall for churches and philosophies that are more emotionally satisfying. It’s time for the Catholic church to start caring for the emotional needs of the people rather than just being a storehouse of all the rational arguments.

I don’t know about emotions and all that stuff, but I think being a Maronite or other Eastern Catholic could be a really great educational experience to share with fundamentalists who a all about hating “Rome”, especially in my neck of the woods.

Along with Truth and Goodness, Beauty is an attribute of God.

I would suggest looking up “Shocking Beauty” by Peter Kreeft. It is audio found for free online at his website. I have yet to find it in an article format, but it is likely that it is out there too. As he says, “Beauty is not the icing on the cake - it is part of the cake.” Everyone recognizes Beauty… this plays into our emotions. It is totally unique. People react to Beauty much differently than Truth.

I was fascinated by Eastern Christianity and the Byzantine DL as I heard it described and read online. So I decided to go to one myself, at a church about 2 min. from my house. It was a beautiful liturgy, and the church was beautiful and the icons were beautiful, the vestments were beautiful, and the priest was using a lot of incense and chanting everything, and there was a lot of bowing and crossing oneself–when all of a sudden I got homesick for Mass at my parish. I missed the organ and the singing and the choir, and the relative simplicity. I am not ashamed to admit it.

I was quite surprised by this reaction, though, and my only guess is that God wants me where I am at. I liked the DL, and will probably go again sometime, but even though my reaction was emotional, it’s telling me that I belong in the Latin church. I don’t think it is necessarily wrong to consider emotions (after all God put them there for a reason), as long as it doesn’t interfere with logic. In my case, I understood exactly why I preferred my Latin tradition. I can, however appreciate the Eastern Churches very much, and why some Latins may prefer going to the DL.

Sometimes you just need to listen to your instincts.

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.