Using the Bible to support your belief and faith


#1

Hello,
My name is Stephen and I was raised a Catholic in a very Catholic neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pa (born in 1950)
I am the product of Catholic grade school and H.S. and I can NEVER remember being taught or encouraged or even suggestions to open the Bible for any reason. The only time I ever saw the Bible in our home was for display at Christmas or Easter. Growing up in this environment I was influenced by a large family and a neighborhood of large families who accepted the “Catholic” way of life. I witnessed and participated in many things the Bible outright condemns such as prejudice, drunkenness, violence in the home, school, and in the streets. I was beaten by the nuns, the priests and my parents especially when they found out the nuns and priests beat me. In high school my father told the priest that if I step out of line you have my permission to beat the “****” out of him. (Thanks Dad)
But what was amazing is this was all accepted as “normal”.
So my interest in the Bible never left me and much later it was boosted by a priest who visited my paratroopers in Nam to go out and “get a few” after saying mass and communion. So it was not until the 80’s that I took a serious look at what the Bible says and what I believed. Needless to say I was amazed, shocked and at times humiliated to think my “normal world” could never find the smallest blessing. Speaking to a monsignor I was told that if I could not read Greek, I could not understand the Bible. So I had to search elsewhere, and I did. Most pastors or ministers did not want to take the time to answer my questions. So my research and study began and continuing.
I have been reading a lot of your questions and answers and noticed answers based on everything from the Bible to fantasy. But seldom based on true application of scripture.
I have a big problem with the “believe whatever you want as long as you are a good person” because I grew up with that and a lot of good people were doing things not approved by God but blessed by common acceptance. For example: pre-marital sex and living together were taboo then but accepted now, the same with Gays, tattoos, touching the communion host, sexual abusers being winked at by the church and Catholics who turned their heads, and so many other serious changes in acceptance and attitude.

So now when I compare what the Bible says and what the Church teaches and how Catholics act I can not help to question, why the Bible is even quoted when supporting beliefs. Jesus said, “Why call me Lord if you do not do as I say?” I believe if the Bible was taught at an early age there would have been a serious difference in the world.
Would any older person feel like responding to this because you may relate to my experiences and observations?
I hope it is understood I ask in a conversational manner and do not wish to argue.
Thank you


#2

I am a Catholic. I have read the Bible cover-to-cover four times. I have hosted Scripture study in my home for five years. I read Scripture every day and practice lectio divina daily.

One of the things that continues to impress me about the Scriptures is how Jewish it is. It is a Jewish document. Understanding Scripture as a Jews who wrote it intended it to be understood and as those who were the actual audience would have understood it leads one to the Catholic Church.

John 6 sealed my belief that the Catholic Church is the Biblical Church, that she is everything she claims to be.

-Tim-


#3

Generalize much? The worst “Christians” I ever knew were a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses whom we had the misfortune of living next door to for several years. Suffice to say they were liars, cheats and scoundrels. The entire neighborhood breathed a sigh of relief when they left. We found out later that they had numerous citations against them for criminal behavior! Yet they would strut around with Bibles under their arms to show how holy they were.

I’m a Catholic and I admit I don’t read the Bible as often as I should, mostly due to limitations on my time. However, in the three years I’ve returned to practicing my faith again, I’ve learned a ton of scripture as well as the biblical basis for our faith-BY PAYING ATTENTION AT MASS!


#4

Stephen,

The Catholic Church is a hospital of sinners, not a hotel filled with saints. Keep this perspective as you remember Christ’s words (hanging on the Cross, mind you) to forgive those who put Him there, “for they know not what they do.”

The Bible is the living but passive Word of God. It takes God’s appointed and apostolic clergy as a teaching authority, combined with the traditions of the Apostles and their successors taught by word and passed down, to bring the fullness of the Christian tradition. The Bible was never meant to be the sole rule of faith or teaching, as much of the Christian tradition isn’t a matter of documentation.

You may know as well that every Mass has readings from Scripture. Most of the entire Bible is spoken in Masses over the course of a year. Many Catholics own and read their Bibles. However, so do many other Christians who fall prey to sin. Bible reading is not an indicator of piety.

While many many other Christian churches fall sway to changes in culture, the Catholic Church does not change its teachings, keeping true what has been and will always be true despite public opinion or approval.

It was the work of several Councils of bishops in the 3rd and 4th Centuries that codified what writings were inspired by God through its author and which may have been notable but not inspired.

As for people who wear clerical collars or take vows, or simply carry a Bible, while also behaving in an unseemly way–forgive them as you would expect them to forgive you. Being a Christian does not make anyone instantly pious or necessarily give one protection against the evil ones.

Being Christian should give us all the knowledge necessary to fight off bad behaviors with the proper disciplines, but we are human, and we must expect some of us to fall, some more than others…even our clergy. Keep them in your prayers.


#5

It is a shame that so many Catholics were not raised reading the bible. But anyone born around the time of Vatican II should know full well that the Church has always encouraged knowledge of scripture. St. Jerome in the 4th century said that ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ. Yes, I believe there was a time when some clergy were instructed to dissuade Catholics from reading the bible unless they were scholars because they felt they did not have the capacity to properly interpret it within the context of Church teaching. Protestants believe that every believer is guided by the Holy Spirit to be able to understand clearly the meaning of the bible. The Holy Spirit does guide us, but our sinfulness does not ensure our minds will grasp the true meaning. If the bible were so easy to interpret as some Protestants claim, why do Protestants themselves disagree on nearly everything involving Christianity? Christ gave us the Church to guide us in everything, including interpretation of scripture. The bible itself says the Church is pillar and foundation of the truth.

The fact that your family life was miserable was not a failure of the Church. It is clearly failure of the culture you were raised in. But there is NOTHING that the Church teaches that would condone any of the sin and crimes you mentioned that you experienced growing up. Cultures in which bible reading experience the same kind of abuse and mistreatment among family members. Sometimes they just excuse such behavior with bad interpretations of the bible.

Dont you believe or let others let you think it was the Churchs denial of scripture that has led to the sinful culture some of us grew up in. The failure is in our culture to maintain true to our Catholic faith whether bible reading is encouraged or not! Drunkenness, child abuse, stealing, rape…none of this behavior is acceptable by the Church now or anytime! My grandmother admits she was not encouraged to read the bible. Her family life was not great, but she knew exactly what was sinful, what was holy because what the Church taught. Dont forget the early Christians did NOT have the bible we have. They did know the Old Testament , but they did not have bibles they carried around and read. Books of any kind just were not available to anyone but the most rich and educated of the ancient population. What they did have was the Church! Dont get me wrong. St Jerome was right. We must read the bible. But to suggest that our sin is due to the Church keeping the bible out of our hands is a cop out and simply not factual nor an acceptable explanation for the mire we find our lives in. The fact is we chose to reject the love and peace of Christ that the Church teaches in every aspect of her life - from the Mass to the sacraments.


#6

#7

It is a shame that so many Catholics were not raised reading the bible. But anyone born around the time of Vatican II should know full well that the Church has always encouraged knowledge of scripture. St. Jerome in the 4th century said that ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ. Yes, I believe there was a time when some clergy were instructed to dissuade Catholics from reading the bible unless they were scholars because they felt they did not have the capacity to properly interpret it within the context of Church teaching. Protestants believe that every believer is guided by the Holy Spirit to be able to understand clearly the meaning of the bible. The Holy Spirit does guide us, but our sinfulness does not ensure our minds will grasp the true meaning. If the bible were so easy to interpret as some Protestants claim, why do Protestants themselves disagree on nearly everything involving Christianity? Christ gave us the Church to guide us in everything, including interpretation of scripture. The bible itself says the Church is pillar and foundation of the truth.

The fact that your family life was miserable was not a failure of the Church. It is clearly failure of the culture you were raised in. But there is NOTHING that the Church teaches that would condone any of the sin and crimes you mentioned that you experienced growing up. Cultures in which bible reading experience the same kind of abuse and mistreatment among family members. Sometimes they just excuse such behavior with bad interpretations of the bible.

Dont you believe or let others let you think it was the Churchs denial of scripture that has led to the sinful culture some of us grew up in. The failure is in our culture to maintain true to our Catholic faith whether bible reading is encouraged or not! Drunkenness, child abuse, stealing, rape…none of this behavior is acceptable by the Church now or anytime! My grandmother admits she was not encouraged to read the bible. Her family life was not great, but she knew exactly what was sinful, what was holy because what the Church taught. Dont forget the early Christians did NOT have the bible we have. Those who were Jews did know the Old Testament , but otherwise there were no bibles they carried around and read as we do today. Books of any kind just were not available to anyone but the most rich and educated of the ancient population. What they did have was the Church! Thats why they read the Gospel and Epistles in Church and why we do today. Dont get me wrong. St Jerome was right. We must read the bible. But to suggest that our sin is due to the Church keeping the bible out of our hands is a cop out and simply not factual nor an acceptable explanation for the mire we find our lives in. The fact is we chose to reject the love and peace of Christ that the Church teaches in every aspect of her life - from the Mass to the sacraments.


#8

I’m old enough to have seen 7 popes so far. Its a sad truth that many catholics do not read the Bible. Its sad because Our Lord is the Word of God and He mention emphatically:
** Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.**


#9

I am so sorry for you because your words demonstrate hatred, prejudice, gossip and slander for people who no one on this forum knows but you. As a display of Christian Catholicism you are demonstrating the “accepted normal” attitude and mentality I have experienced all my life. Please do not respond again. Thank you.


#10

A Jewish document? If you are reading scripture every day are you applying it to the Jewish audience? How and why would it lead the Jews to a church not in existence for several centuries?


#11

John 17 3, As you know there are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, many are very faithful and read the scriptures every day, but as in any other faith, many are not. There are many more Catholics than Jehovah’s Witnesses in this world, so of course your going to run into many more that appear unfaithful!


#12

Thank you for your response.
Your statement "The Bible was never meant to be the sole rule of faith or teaching"
Is in contrast to what the Bible (Jesus) taught. He lived and breathed the Bible quoting hundreds of OT verses for our benefit to show the entire Bible is unified in thought and fulfilled prophecy. By saying this you seem to accept that teaching something in direct opposite of what the Bible says is acceptable.

Yes a few scriptures are read at mass but who can learn from only listening if one has a question?

The Catholic Church does and have changed their teachings: Limbo was declared non-existent a few years ago. The penalty for a lay person to touch a communion wafer has been erased.

But even the obvious stand against adultery, immorality and even divorce are flaunted in the face of the church by it’s members. Of course this is not every member but the general opinion today is it’s OK and not caring what the church says.

My opening remarks were aimed at how being from a Catholic family and neighborhood I did not see the influence of the Church’s teaching as a deterrence to sin. Every one sins. But we were more afraid of the nuns and priests and parents that God or hell. We were not smoking, drinking, cursing, being immoral with words and deeds because we fell from sin, we wanted to do it because every one else was and that made it acceptable all the while the Church was aware of it.
Perhaps you may not have the understanding of what I am saying because to put faith and trust and love and hope in something you did not or do not now understand or were never allowed to understand, just told to listen and accept it could never have a meaningful affect on a people in general.
Were the hierarchy of the church fall from sin when planning with governments to war against another nation even though there were Catholics who would die? You see how this argument can be applied?
So let me think about this and try getting back to you later. Thanks for talking.


#13

:thumbsup:


#14

Sorry, but you can’t tell me not to respond.
And I spoke the truth BTW.
I didn’t say ALL Jehovah’s Witnesses.
But that’s the way they behaved.
Why was it OK to point out how Catholics (behaved in your opinion) but not OK for me to respond with my experience?


#15

Hello thanks for your response.
“Christ gave us the Church to guide us in everything” this statement may be what I am saying because Jesus said to listen and obey his teachings then the example of the apostles , but to turn away from those teaching something else. I am not arguing catholic dogma or doctrine. I am (for now) examining how as a catholic I grew up with (AND NOT BLAMING IT FOR ANYTHING IN MY LIFE NOW) We all knew right from wrong. We all knew every foul word and every dirty joke and even Christ jokes, we all accepted it and took part in it, demonstrating a lack of influence of the church to guide us.
The culture I was raised in was the Church. everything revolved around the church. So how can it be a separate culture. Even to the point of sacrificing our children to the governments to kill and be killed, while fighting “enemies” we are supposed to love, and in many cases they too were catholic.
I am asking anyone in their 50’s or 60’s and even younger to help me answer is this the love and peace of Christ that the Church teaches in every aspect of her life?

Reading the Bible I agree would and did not change an entire organization, but individuals. So I guess that is where I am now.


#16

#17

John17 3,
I was just beginning my education at St Cyril & Methodius when Vatican II was getting started. I had a different experience growing up (my dad claimed to be an “oversexed Baptist”, but I never saw him in any church). We were raised Catholic by my mother (we found out at her funeral that she had intended to be a nun, but then met dad - a fortunate thing, as I would feel funny calling her “Sister Mom”). I had no interest in reading the Bible until the end of my Junior year of High School (I was in public school by this time). I spent the summer reading the Bible from cover to cover, and have done so many times since then. I, too, realized there were discrepancies between what was taught and what was in Scripture. I eventually had to leave the Catholic Church, and have recently (within the last 2 years) joined a Reformed Baptist Church. I love the Bible, and have several versions to look at (including Scriptures in the original languages, which I am attempting to learn).

As far as what it was like to grow up, we also had the “2 for 1” practice in our home (get a spanking at school, get one at home). If it was really bad, there would be a third spanking when dad got home. We also lived in a very close neighborhood. If a neighbor saw someones kid doing something wrong, it was not uncommon for the child to be grabbed by the ear and taken home. The mother would be informed what had happened, then there would be a hand off, and spankings would usually follow. Still, it was a good childhood!


#18

The Church is holy, unfortunately many people in the Church are not always. Jesus Christ is the head of the Body, the Church (Col. 1:18). Jesus is holy, but many of his earliest disciples at times were not. Peter denied our Lord three times, James and John were jockeying for position to sit at his right and left, Thomas doubted the report of the other disciples that Jesus had risen from the tomb and their claim that they had seen him. And of course Judas, hand picked by our Lord to be his disciple and he betrayed him! So should Jesus have cast them all off and condemned them to hell? No, because he loved them! And Christ loves his Church, even when some of us stray from the message of the Gospel! Thanks be to God.:thumbsup:


#19

I went to a secular school and grew up in a non religious family and the much of the above applies to me too. It was the times (50’s and 60’s). I had a second grade teacher who grabbed the back of my neck with her long finger nails and squeezed hard (leaving marks), I would never have dared to tell my parents because I would have gotten in trouble again (as mentioned above by someone). These were the days when the school could discipline you (religious or not).


#20

Hi John 17,
My sister in laws kids were raised in the JW organisation and when I talk with them about their experience they sound exactly like your post, and none of them are now practicing the JW religion they are alienated from their parents, I should say Mother, because their parents are divorced and their Mother remarried all with the approval of the JW organisation, I here stories of how they were beaten for not sitting quietly through the meetings and then being thrashed again at home for embarrassing them in front of the congregation, and all of this was done with a Bible verse for justification. The youngest is in a mental institution and was molested within the JW organisation from a very early age and will probably never live a normal life. And her Mother and Step Father do not support her but support the organisation and say she is just making it up? And they wonder why I get annoyed when they come into my home and tell my family that I worship the devil and I am demon possessed?
My point is that bad behaviour and character flaws within individuals is not relegated to just one faith tradition, It is a part of the human condition and your experience does not make the Catholic Church wrong and JW’s right or the other way around it just reiterates the fact that as humans we all need Gods grace in our lives to try and make us better human beings.


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