Why do atheists hate the Church esp former Catholics

Why do atheists hate the mere mention of the Catholic Church ?

My kids are lapsed Catholics and at least one is a self proclaimed atheist. Discussions about anything Catholic sets them off. Some of their ideas about what we believe are a bit off base, and when I try to correct that it really ticks them off. They went through 12 years of Catholic education, and sometimes I question if it was really worth the resources. They have a very different reaction than I had to their upbringing. I am proud of what they have accomplished but in terms of faith, they seem to have lost most if not all of it.

I had hoped that with time, they would mellow and maybe revise some of their more rebellious ideas. Maybe it is a liberal conservative thing, but the pro life, and gay issues in particular are very sore subjects. I thought we raised our kids well, but it is very worrisome that there seems to be no movement back in the right direction.

How old are these children?

What happens often is that Catholics leave the Church when they are young (usually teenagers) because they have been influenced by people they admire: teachers, colleagues, friends. Add to this the secularization of our culture, which is more or less contemptuous of religion, but Catholicism in particular. The media especially denigrates Catholicism every chance it gets, and that can wear on a young person’s psyche if they want to fit with the “in” crowd, which today seems to be totally liberal and hedonistic. Your children, are they still sowing the proverbial wild oats?

Many such people, when they start their own families, and grow in knowledge and intellect, can see through the atheism they have adopted, as I did. Sooner or later it will dawn on them that they traded something precious for intellectual trash. Anyway, that’s what happened to me.

My husband went to a Catholic school (he’s cradle) and me as a convert had to explain that we did NOT worship Mary when praying the Rosary:rolleyes:

You did not mention the ages of your children, but I can relate. My 20 year old son absolutely refuses to discuss anything about the faith and my 16 year old is following suit.

Join your prayers with that of St. Monica for your children and continue to live your faith, be a constant and loving example.

I read somewhere or a wise priest told me, (with age comes memory fussiness:blush:) that the faith inwhich they were raised was Yours, for them to become faithfilled Catholic Christians, the faith must become THEIRS:thumbsup: this takes time and prayer on your part.

Everything happens in God’s time and maybe He is letting your children walk in through this dark tunnel for a reason. Trust and pray that they will find that proverbial Light at the End of the Tunnel:thumbsup:

Our youth, as well as the rest of us, are getting attacked by the culture. The culture is selling nothing but lies and becoming less and less tolerant toward faith, particularly the Catholic Church. For all the talk of “tolerance” there is NONE with regards to the Church. And so if a young person has any fear, he succumbs to the lies. However, I think eventually these young people will come to realize how horribly they are being lied to and deceived by the world ,and when they do , they will very disillusioned with the bill of goods being sold by atheists and the culture at large, and will reconsider the Church. Right now they are being told half truths and are thus angry about what they believe are the “lies” of the truth. All we can do is pray, be good “Monicas”, and present evidence of the truth in contrast to the lies being spread whenever the opportunity presents itself.

God bless!

I think it’s more because they are former catholics than atheists. Depending on their age, it could be them “breaking away from parents” thing.

Out of all churches, the Catholic Church is my husbands favourite and he’s an atheist. It actually used to be very amusing. I used to be very anti catholic and boy did he defend the church! :slight_smile: he actually knows a lot about it (went to catholic school - was never catholic though).

The atheists who react like this do so because they fear the Truth. An atheist is his own god and therefore detests anyone or anything that calls his “divinity” into question.

The Church stands on absolute, unchanging divine principles. Atheists can’t stand this because it directly conflicts with their relativist paradigm. They hate the Church for its “intolerance”, while they themselves are tolerant only of what their own personal philosophy dictates.

In short - they hate the Church because it claims to have the authority to tell them what is right and what is wrong. This would wound the pride of anyone who believes himself to be his own god.

Vitriol and mocking Catholicism are also an intended strategy of “new” atheism ala Richard Dawkins. For most of my life, especially my youth, I was an existentialist with leanings toward Zen Buddhism and yet I had no ill will for Catholics and no complaints about Christianity in American life. I understood the literary significance of the Bible on Shakespeare and all other aspects of Western Civilization. Today its different.

I also had great examples in my family, and lets not underestimate that I was fortunate enough to have had a family with two Catholic parents who ultimately led me back to the Church not by what they said by the witness they lived. This is not the case for many today. Its different times.

:slight_smile: This is almost word for word what I would say. A lot of people don’t seem to be looking for truth anymore as it might “interfere” with the way they chose to live.

Pray for your children. I will pray for them too.

I believe that former Catholics who hate the Catholic Church were not properly Catechized and/or Evangelized. But they will usually believe that they were properly Catechized because they spent 12 years in Catholic School, went to a Catholic College, went to CCD, or were Catholic for many years, etc. They often do not realize the fact that they believe in misunderstandings or myths about the Church or Faith.

My Father is a “former Catholic,” now fundamentalist, who hates the Catholic Church. For example, I was at my parents house, praying the Divine Chaplet (while watching it on EWTN) with my Grandmother (who lives with my parents) and my dad walked in and said to me "don’t come in my house and turn this stuff on; put on ‘Sponge Bob’ for your nephew” (who is only 5). My dad was very rude and had not respect for Divine Chaplet and I’m sure he has never even prayed it (he did the same thing later during the Rosary). My dad had issues with the Church as long as I can remember (from Vatican II to birth control to being able to eat meat on Fridays) and finally “officially left” and got re-baptized over the summer. :frowning:

I have had numerous talks with him, trying to understand why he was so willing to study the theology of the Baptists, but unwilling to study the real theology & facts about the religion he was leaving.

Same thing with my sister. She was an altar girl, yet still claims that Catholics worship Mary and that purgatory can’t exist because “God doesn’t judge us twice.”

Neither my dad or sister ever spend any time in looking into whether they understand the Catholic Church correctly. They also believe that being a Cafeteria Catholic is what is means to be Catholic and judge Catholics based on the actions of Cafeteria Catholics and the non-Catechized.

Whether they former Catholics become atheist or join another religion (Christian or other); they often do not spend any time seeking the true teachings of the Church. Instead they listen to others and then hate the Church without letting the Church defend itself.

This is why I think we need to do a better job with Child, Teen & Adult Faith Foundation in our parishes. We need to be better are educating our parishioners about the true teachings and what the teachings mean before leave due to misunderstandings.

That’s why I’m personally a strong proponent of having Child Faith Foundation (CCD, CFF, etc) on Sundays, in-between two Mass times. While the children are in CCD/CFF, the Adults can attend a free Adult Faith Foundation session for all Adults and confirmed. Do this weekly. Have guest speakers, such as your parish priests, speakers from the diocese, perhaps the Bishop one week, deacons, nuns, seminarians, a person from Catholic Charities, a Catholic Marriage Counselor or Therapist, Catholic School Principal and/or Theology teacher, Catholic Apologists, etc. You can even keep it short, and start it after donuts & coffee (if you have food, have the food before the session to insure no one eats and then goes to Mass right after).

I’m sure that most (not all, but most) Parishes could pull something like this off.

For example, if you parish has 4 Masses on Sunday mornings, you could do something like this:
7:15 AM Mass
9:15 AM Mass
10:30 AM Faith Foundation
11:45 AM Mass
1:00 PM Mass


7:15 AM Mass
8:45 AM Mass
10:00 AM Faith Foundation
11:30 AM Mass
12:45 PM Mass

Something to think about for all you Priests, Deacons and Religious Directors out there.

God Bless!

My teenage experience was similar. I was 20 when the New Mass came in 1969 and, having been an altar boy and having been thinking about a vocation, I was so shocked and dismayed about the Novus Ordo that I didn’t go to Mass for 25 years, though I never stopped thinking of my self as a Catholic, one who had been betrayed by the Church leaders. So I lived the youth culture, tune in turn on drop out, etc., until I was brought back by the grace of God around age 50. So, all is not lost for these children–if they had a solid catechesis it will maybe eventually come back to them. I pray that the Catholic instruction that they did receive was true, and that bad catechesis wasn’t a factor contributing to their rejection of the Church.

All my Catholic friends fell away from the Church then too. In my town, the pastor was known to like boys too much. Young people are idealists and easily confuse Church with the sins of its members. All is not lost, I pray that your children will “grow out of it” as I did.

It is also the story of St Augustine, who was converted from his worldliness by the constant prayer and penance of his sainted mother.

OP, I’m sorry to hear about your kids’ antagonism to the beliefs you raised them with. I hope they come around.

I’ll offer that there’s a certain luxury to being liberal in youth. I was more Left-leaning before I had to take on the results of some the policies that I used to support. Health insurance reform was a great idea, but I’m now paying nearly thrice what I did 5 years ago. Teaching inclusive ideas on sexuality seemed fair and enlightening but now I’m worried about what my kindergartner is going to be exposed to at the public school. I see the wreckage in my friends’ lives from laissez-faire attitudes towards sex and relationships, and the fallout from years of contraception in my friends who have difficulty conceiving. It’s actually a shocking number who are infertile, and the lengths they have to go to in order to conceive children, the expense of it, and several of their doctors suspect it was being on the Pill for 10+ years.

For what its worth, I have experienced that our priests are more comfortable talking about the Church than about God. If you talk Jesus Christ, His Love, His sacrifice, His commands, walking with Him and being discipled by Him, you’ll have the attention of every believer in the room. But if God is only portrayed as a maker of rules, setter of limits, judge of sins and punisher of misdeeds, it’s harder to win people over to him. That said, it makes no sense to reject Christ because His Church teaches that homosexual acts are sinful, or that sleeping with your boyfriend or girlfriend is sinful; the Church calls you to live as you should. You don’t need a Church to tell you to live as you would like to.

I agree, and think, perhaps it has something to do with a guilty conscience.
One observation, a truism if you will: The most virulent anti-Semites are apostate, non-religious Jews. Likewise, the most vehement anti-Catholics are ex-Catholics, especially those who join Fundamentalist Protestant Sects.

Ask them maybe they have thoughtful answers outside the religious box.

Threads on Atheism are prohibited in these forums. This thread may end up getting locked because of the prohibition.

A way of asking your question without crossing your prohibition might be “What are the reasons that some people hate the mere mention of the Catholic church.” This wording would be inclusive of more groups, may may result in the information you are looking for.

As worded, the question is a too general as not all atheist hate the mere mention of the Catholic Church.

Ah, so it sounds like this question isn’t specifically about atheist, but more about the responses of your children. To get an answer to your question you may want to be accepting of your children’s stance (I take it that they will know you disagree with it). Acceptance my help nurture more open dialog and get you closer to the root of your answer.

I agree. The only I would add would be the Amish have the right idea of allowing their young people (16-24 years old) have a chance to “sow wild oats” before the young person formally come into the church. :):thumbsup:

Did not know Software Engineer was a Religion- why be smart, say it as is.

You’ve got a point there. I’ve also noticed that the most vehement anti-Fundamentalist Protestants are the Fundamentalist Protestants who have become Catholics. :wink:

The most important attributes of ones personal identity and view of ones self varies from one person to another, but occupation is one of the more popular attributes that people include. If I’m among a group of people that I’ve never met and am asked to speak about myself after my name I introduce myself as a Software Engineer. When among those of similar occupation I’ve been able to just say my name and have been recognized as a Software Engineer from others having encountered articles that I’ve written.

Religious identity can be an important attribute for one’s self identity too. Not so for me; I’ve found that so long as I’m not being mistreated I’m not concerned with how people classify me religiously. In most of my day to day interactions now days (both occupationally and outside of my occupation) it doesn’t seem to matter. Rather than enter a religion into the field I’ve chosen to re-purpose the field and share what is to me a more important personal attribute. I think that most people reading it will understand that it is not a religion.

For those more familiar with the field a Software Engineering influence is evident in many of my messages within these forums.

I’m not sure that it is any more complicated than a human desire to knock down the big guy. Catholicism has been top dog for nearly 2,000 years and there are those who just can’t stand that. they’ve taken their best shots and Catholicism has barely trembled. I’m not sure being atheist has anything to do with it.

So far as former anything, I think it is typical for them to become the most_________(fill in the new sect), and to roundly criticize their former beliefs. I think that is just human nature. We all want to believe that we are right and that those we’ve left behind are blind fools. Again, with Catholicism, it is an easy target because it is huge and has gone through some terrible times over the last two decades or so.

If I was still a Catholic, I’d take great pride in people taking potshots at my faith, particularly when they misrepresent something to do so.

Depending on the era and the geographic area, it was unfortunately possible in some places for a child to attend Catholic schools for twelve years and emerge knowing nothing about Catholicism, or believing much incorrect information, because they were taught by teachers who were in a similar situation.

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