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.