Is it easier to be Protestant or Catholic?


#1

I've been both. For the first 47 years of my life, I was an active and faithful member of various evangelical Protestant churches. In 2004, my husband and I converted to Catholicism, and we've been active and faithful Catholics.

So which is easier? :confused:

I don't want to post my opinion yet (mainly because I have to go to work now!). Also, I am interested in reading what others have to say.

On the surface, it seems that Protestantism is the "easier" path. No obligations, no sacraments. For many Protestants, no fear of ever losing heaven. Great music, friendly people, lots of activities for children and teenagers. Lots of activities for all ages, actually.

Catholics have obligations, including the Sunday Mass obligation. Catholics have sacraments. Catholics must avoid "mortal sin" or they will not go to heaven. Catholic music is often bearable, but seldom great. Many Catholic parishes are hard to make friends in. Often there are very limited activities for Catholics--maybe a Bible study, and maybe not. Probably not a weekly kids' club--instead, the kids get "religious education"--no campfires or craft projects or sing-alongs in CCD! And youth groups--often they are pretty small, because all the Catholic teens are over at the Assemblies of God weekly youth meeting along with hundreds of other teens! Or the Catholic teens have stopped attending Church entirely, to the dismay of their parents.

But is Protestantism really easier? Hmmm...

I encourage anyone to think about and answer this question. Obviously converts to Catholicism have personal experience with both forms of Christianity, but I know a lot of Catholics who have knowledge of Protestant life and practices, too.


#2

What I'm experiencing as I walk toward Catholicism, in a nutshell:

As a Protestant, if I'm not happy with what my church or denomination teaches, I can switch. I can make my religion fit my personal opinions. If I want to be active in the church, there are wonderful places for that. If I only want to come for Sunday or even holiday services, there are churches for that, too.

As a Catholic, the doctrine is the doctrine, period. I might not like it, but it is what it is. It's not based on some guy's opinion, but on the lifelong study of highly educated priests and bishops, sometimes based upon several generations' studies.

When I received the testimony to walk the path toward Catholicism, I did not want it. I never wanted to be Catholic - I said it outloud to many people. Part of the reason was that it is concrete, and I cannot pick and choose what I want to believe from it. The people close to me believe that this truly was a testimony from God for that reason. God does not tell us what we want to hear, He tells us the truth.


#3

I was told a long time ago that it's much easier to live as a Protestant than a Catholic. But it's much easier to die as a Catholic than a Protestant.


#4

My father said Catholic confirmations are harder then Protestant ones.


#5

Well as a convert from protestantism I can tell you that overall (my personal experinces) there is a lot less personal accountability in protestantism.

You don’t really have to hold all the beliefs of your Church (and you can just switch if you want) You dont HAVE to come to chuch on sunday, there is no confession as well.

So was it easier to be protestant? Yes, but do I want it to be easy or do I want to do it right. Also the idea of being in a “Church” where they dont believe in the real presence in the Eucharist is to terrible to even think about.


#6

[quote="JaredM, post:4, topic:233859"]
My father said Catholic confirmations are harder then Protestant ones.

[/quote]

That would depend on a number of factors and which rite and sui juris Church one was confirmed in. It is also very much a sweeping statement as many Protestant Churches have confirmation programmes that take some time to complete and some do not recognise the concept in a way that Catholics could find common ground.


#7

I was raised catholic but converted to protestant in college. Since then I’ve been presbyterian, baptist, nondenominational evangelical, now catholic again. Catholicism is WAY harder in my experience, if you live it thoroughly and don’t just pick and choose.

Just the teachings on sex alone are harder in the catholic faith. Nowhere else in my experience was birth control and divorce/remarriage ever an issue. Of course, once you realize the catholic church is the original and true church, it is impossible to go back to protestantism (at least for me).

Oh, and the fear of going to hell? Not a problem as a Protestant. I was assured I was going to heaven no matter what I did because of their view of being saved by faith alone. I didn’t have to do good works for the same reason. It was a good thing to do, but my salvation did not require it.

And of course there’s the obvious, not having to be in a “state of grace” for communion, going to Mass every week, etc.


#8

[quote="icamay, post:2, topic:233859"]
What I'm experiencing as I walk toward Catholicism, in a nutshell:

As a Protestant, if I'm not happy with what my church or denomination teaches, I can switch. I can make my religion fit my personal opinions. If I want to be active in the church, there are wonderful places for that. If I only want to come for Sunday or even holiday services, there are churches for that, too.

As a Catholic, the doctrine is the doctrine, period. I might not like it, but it is what it is. It's not based on some guy's opinion, but on the lifelong study of highly educated priests and bishops, sometimes based upon several generations' studies.

When I received the testimony to walk the path toward Catholicism, I did not want it. I never wanted to be Catholic - I said it outloud to many people. Part of the reason was that it is concrete, and I cannot pick and choose what I want to believe from it. The people close to me believe that this truly was a testimony from God for that reason. God does not tell us what we want to hear, He tells us the truth.

[/quote]

Nice post!! Very encouraging!!


#9

What a blessing it will be for your children to be raised outside the 2.2 kids per household mentality of today’s culture and to feel the possibility of a large family is a blessing.


#10

As a cradle Catholic who left the faith for a long time, I have to say that it is harder to be a protestant than a Catholic. I say this because, in order to truly do it right, to search for truth and discern whether you are truly being led by the spirit, is much more difficult without the structure afforded by the Ancient Church.

For the protestant, it seems to me, there just needs to be too much "reinventing the wheel". For the Catholic, once you recognize the biblical foundation of Apostolic Authority and succession and the equally biblical concept of the authoritative Church, the rest is a breeze. I may not completely understand all the teachings, but I can have confidence that they are correct. This means I can get on with the business of living the Christian life.

Peace
James


#11

[quote="mark_a, post:9, topic:233859"]
What a blessing it will be for your children to be raised outside the 2.2 kids per household mentality of today's culture and to feel the possibility of a large family is a blessing.

[/quote]

I see you're in Bob Jones country. Must be interesting being catholic there!


#12

[quote="JRKH, post:10, topic:233859"]
for truth and discern whether you are truly being led by the spirit, is much more difficult without the structure afforded by the Ancient Church.

For the protestant, it seems to me, there just needs to be too much "reinventing the wheel". For the Catholic, once you recognize the biblical foundation of Apostolic Authority and succession and the equally biblical concept of the authoritative Church, the rest is a breeze. I may not completely understand all the teachings, but I can have confidence that they are correct. This means I can get on with the business of living the Christian life.

[/quote]

This is true about having to figure things out in Protestantism. That part is clearer in the catholic church. The hard part is knowing you have to follow what the catholic church says whether you agree with it or feel it makes sense or not! I find that very hard to do!


#13

CAT: I would say Catholic:The reason being I dont believe any protestant feels he has the whole truth.He may say he does but he doesnt express the doubts that he has.And if he does express them to other protestants they cant give him the whole truth but only there opinion or some bible verse that satisfies them or to them sees logical .I've only given you part of the reason I'll post more later.


#14

It's harder to be a Catholic than it used to be to be a Catholic. (I didn't think I could even write a sentence like that.)

The priest sexual abuse scandal rolling right up to the doors of the Vatican makes me wonder what those boys up there are doing. How can they NOT know what is going on in the United States or Ireland or Canada?

First, we see that the priests don't have the integrity that we think that they should have. When they find themselves doing something that is unconscionable, they don't have the integrity to pull the plug on themselves, for the sake of the Church. Third, the bishops find out about this and act brain dead in just transferring these priests into other unsuspecting parishes, and, at the same time, tarnishing the fame of God and of His Church.

Then, I don't see remaining priests acting anywhere nearly responsible, like even quitting in protest. I just don't see the outrage that I think should be there. Christian charity is one thing, but cleaning up and fixing the church is another, one that most urgent.

I think it's very hard to be a Catholic right now, harder than it was before. What more do we need to see, how much more of a slap in the face do we need, to start doing what is needed in the Church.

And, oh, by the way, how about an apology along the way? We need a BIG apology. We black bunting on churches for ten years, as an apology. I mean, this has not only been damaging to the Church, it is insulting.


#15

[quote="Scoobyshme, post:3, topic:233859"]
I was told a long time ago that it's much easier to live as a Protestant than a Catholic. But it's much easier to die as a Catholic than a Protestant.

[/quote]

I've quoted this before from an oldtimer also, "It is much harder to live as a Catholic but much easier to die a Catholic. Peace, Carlan


#16

Great question!

I was raised Protestant (United Methodist, though I fell in the more traditionalist 'conservative' wing of the church) and converted to the Catholic Church at age 26 (two years ago).

I can answer the questions two different ways, and each comes to a different conclusion:

1) It's easier to be Protestant, because the Protestant can mold his faith to fit his desires. Even within a particular tradition (UMC, in my case), one can pick and choose what to believe and what not to believe. If he feels premarital sex is okay, as an example, then he can believe that and still be in 'good standing' with his church. After all, say the good Methodists, we can all agree to disagree. Protestantism -- at least in the 'mainline' denominations -- is a faith that demands little of its adherents. It tends not to interfere at all with your personal likes, dislikes, desires, and habits.

2) It's easier to be Catholic, because a Catholic knows what he is supposed to believe and the onus isn't on him to figure it out on his own. Using the premarital sex example mentioned above, a Protestant might read the Scripture and come to his conclusion one way or another...but can never be sure that he has chosen correctly. Maybe he can fall back on his denomination doctrine, if his particular denomination has one, but even then he can never be completely sure of it. That I can go to Catholic doctrine on any matter, and know that it is defined by the Holy Church founded by Christ (God!) and protected by the Holy Spirit from leading me into error, is incredibly comforting. I know what I should believe, and that clarity makes it easy to know how I should be living.

Earlier in my faith journey, I looked at it from the first perspective (I was young, after all, and knew everything...so I was glad that I could align my religion to my hard-headed beliefs). It rang less and less true with time, and I began to constantly doubt whether the beliefs I had crafted for myself were right, and wondered how I could know either way. Thankfully, through prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I came to perspective #2. It is easier to know, with clarity, what Christian faith demands of us...even if it's sometimes more difficult in practice.

God bless you.


#17

I agree this is horrible and has greatly damaged the church.

The fact is that these priests that have caused this damage are human but it does not lessen the truth the Church teaches.

Even the fact that this abuse is less prevalent in the Catholic Church than others does not make it any easier.

There is no excuse for the abuse and cover up.

The only thing that I disagree with you on is that you imply the Vatican condoned it.


#18

[quote="JRKH, post:10, topic:233859"]
As a cradle Catholic who left the faith for a long time, I have to say that it is harder to be a protestant than a Catholic. I say this because, in order to truly do it right, to search for truth and discern whether you are truly being led by the spirit, is much more difficult without the structure afforded by the Ancient Church.

For the protestant, it seems to me, there just needs to be too much "reinventing the wheel". For the Catholic, once you recognize the biblical foundation of Apostolic Authority and succession and the equally biblical concept of the authoritative Church, the rest is a breeze. I may not completely understand all the teachings, but I can have confidence that they are correct. This means I can get on with the business of living the Christian life.

Peace
James

[/quote]

I like what James says though, also, for that is Truth as well. :)Peace, Carlan


#19

[quote="Carlan, post:15, topic:233859"]
I've quoted this before from an oldtimer also, "It is much harder to live as a Catholic but much easier to die a Catholic. Peace, Carlan

[/quote]

It is truly a blessing to die as a Catholic. To receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick releasing you from all sin and punishment, yes, it is easy to die as a Catholic. But what is so difficult about living as a Catholic? We can receive the Body and Blood of Jesus everyday! That alone gives us the strength, the courage, the knowledge that we are always in God's presence, and no matter what difficulties we meet, we aren't meeting them alone or unarmed. Then, when we sin we don't have to carry the guilt around forever. We go to Confession. There the sin is left behind. God, Himself, has forgiven us. What's so hard about living as a Catholic? The Sunday obligation of attending Mass? Don't we feel better being in God's presence and returning a little adoration for all the favors received during the week, asking for the necessary help to live in peace for the upcoming week? Having the Mother of God always a prayer away to intercede for us with her Son isn't too hard to take, either, not to mention the many, many saints ready to intercede for us. I wouldn't trade the privileges of being a Catholic for the supposed easy life of a Protestant for any reason.


#20

[quote="AnneTeresa, post:12, topic:233859"]
This is true about having to figure things out in Protestantism. That part is clearer in the catholic church. The hard part is knowing you have to follow what the catholic church says whether you agree with it or feel it makes sense or not! I find that very hard to do!

[/quote]

True, but if you think about this for awhile there are really very few of these areas to deal with. By that I mean there are very few areas that impact our daily walk that are controversial. Probably the most common is contraception. Sunday obligation might be another.

Other things that we are required to accept and might be controversial have less impact on our daily walk. The Marion Dogmas for example. In cases like these, my solution is to do one of two things. Either dig into the matter and try to properly inform my conscience on the matter, or let the matter ride and accept the teaching on the authority of the Church to bind and loose.

The ultimate thing to remember is that 1) The Church does not issue a teaching without long, sincere, prayerful, and exhaustive consideration. 2) If we have trouble accepting a teaching, we need to give the "benefit of the doubt" to The Church as the earthly expression of the will of the Holy Spirit.

I have yet to have delved into a subject where I found the church's underlying principle to be flawed.

Having said all of this, the CCC does make allowance for the conscience of the individual where it states that, Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. "He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters." (CCC 1782.

However, we must be very careful in trying to apply this principle for the Catechism also states that:
Conscience enables one to assume responsibility for the acts performed (CCC 1781)
Conscience must be informed and **moral judgment **enlightened.(CCC 1783)
In the formation of conscience the Word of God (Including Church teaching) is the light for our path (CCC 1785)
(bolding mine)

So - before we deviate form Church teaching, invoking the conscience clause, we need to be enlightened by the Word of God, and the Teachings of the Church.
I have found that once I become enlightened on a subject I no longer have an issue with accepting and following the teaching....:thumbsup:

Peace
James


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