Wow! It just doesn't add up

Why isn’t it enough to love God and do well? I’m not really a hardcore Catholic. I don’t know all of the doctrines and I’m not well versed in apologetics. But I love God. I struggle frequently with a life of faith because I feel like I send a hundred questions to heaven and all that is returned is another question mark. I hear people telling me it’s a sin to get a tattoo (which to me would help tie up a few lose ends) but they don’t just tell me they have criticized me for even thinking about it. I have some of the best grandparents in the world. They have gone beyond their role, to try and get my mother on her feet. They have sacrificed so much for my family, but they are not Catholic. How can I be part of a religion that teaches you have to be Catholic to get into heaven? Shouldn’t it be enough to live life well with charity and love? After all isn’t God more alive in all of us and the world he created then in the pages of a book? Wouldn’t it be more productive for my soul to live in love and treat my neighbor as a king, than it is to not get a tattoo?

I know dirt bags who are the worst excuse for a man that I have ever known. But they are Catholic, they come to mass every Sunday, they say the prayers, and receive the sacraments, but are just not that swell of characters. How is that person more important to God than a person who gives time to the poor and homeless and things like that? What good are they to God? they come to church sing a few songs and when you turn to go, they leave their faith at the door. How can they be counted among the righteous if they lead a life warming pews and quoting scripture? Faith is not lived in books written about Jesus or proved in ramblings of old men. People get far to critical of other’s faith. They become to consumed in their own name they forget what it means to be Catholic. I say to you, if you do not think you are in need of help then you are the one who needs it most. No man has that luxury of perfection. Faith and imperfection go hand in hand. On cannot live without the other. Stop, think, and ask yourself what needs to be done. Helping God goes far beyond dropping a dollar in the basket. And remember this, even the most evil of men when confronted will tell you they have done no wrong.

I know where you’re coming from. I have friends that are truly amazing people. Honestly, the most loyal, kind and generous people to ever walk this Earth(no exaggeration). But they aren’t Catholic. And yet my parish is filled with many arrogant, “holier than thou” people, who although going to church regularly, are never living out the Churchs ideals, just some of its guidelines(for lack of a better word). In truth, I feel that very few go out of devotion to God, its more for appearance sake and to socialise. There are a number of good, pious people that go, but still I find the number of self serving people quite sickening. It’s enough to make me question the church sometimes. But I just remind myself that God isn’t looking for those that always put a lot of money in at collection or people that shout at every response to let everyone know that they’re Catholic. He’s looking for the loyal, kind and generous. In my opinion it doesn’t even matter if you’re Catholic, so long as you lead a life where you love and respect everyone. Isn’t that the most important thing?:slight_smile:

FYI Sorry if I’ve given anyone a terrible impression of my Church. For all the self-absorbed people, there are a number of devout Catholics who always restore my faith in the parish. :smiley:

I cannot argue that the world is ridden with hypocrites and I rank well within there. Yes, loving God is an ultimate goal for anyone who wishes to consider a relationship with their Creator. Loving others also is crucial when one exhibits their love for God since we are all of His creation and bear His mark as His image.

But I also believe that there was a man who lived approximately 2000 years ago and His name is Jesus. This is an historical event whether one is an atheist or a Christian. Jews and Muslims all recognize that Jesus did exist so there is no doubt that this Person walked this earth.

Who was this Man? That is where division starts. Jesus made many claims and the “Big One” was that He is the Son of God thus claiming to be God. Do we believe that Jesus is God? If we do then we call ourselves Christian and we know that this God-Man sacrificed Himself for us by dying on the cross. Many (around 2.1billion) people know this to be true and identify themselves as Christian.

Now for us as Catholics we know more about who Jesus claims to be because we have historical writngs from the early Church as well as the historical writings of the New Testament. We know, for example, that baptism is necessary for salvation not because someone made that up but because Jesus commanded it in John Chapter 3 and ALL of the Early Church Fathers spoke with authority to that fact. We can say the same for the Eucharist and the other Sacraments. These have all been a part of the Christian community since its birth at Pentecost.

We, as Catholics, also know that Jesus founded a Church and left the Apostle Peter as the visible head with successors in the papal office to this day.

Being a Catholic does not mean that we belong to an exclusive club. Quite the contrary since the very meaning of Catholic is universal. As Catholics we know that Jesus exhorts us to love God with all of our hearts, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. But we also know that Jesus left us a treasure. This treasure is the very gift of Himself in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This treasure is His allowing us to be present at His life, death and resurrection every time we attend Mass. This can be found nowhere else. We know that the Sacraments are no less than an intimate encounter with our Christ and that we can experience His tangible presence in each Sacrament. The Eucharist is the core of our faith as it is Christ Himself who binds with us when we receive Him.

Yes, our Church has its share of problems. We are ALL sinners and we all need some repair work, some like myself more than others. We are hypocrites and we can be really bad at times. But a true Catholic recognizes his weaknesses and comes to Christ in His Church. Jesus died to forgive our sins and as messed up as we are Jesus still chose to die for us.

We know that people will go to heaven even if they are not Catholic. But since we know that Jesus founded His Church and that His Church is a perpetuation of Himself on earth today we know that those people can only be saved through the Catholic Church since she is the very Body of Christ and we can only be saved through Jesus. We believe this because He said so. (John 14:6)

It really does add up if you have the right figures. I could not possibly convey all of the reasons one would want to be Catholic in this little box. But for those who don’t believe no explanation is possible and for those who do believe no explanation is necessary…God Bless…teachccd

there is no such Catholic teaching

I have some of the best grandparents in the world. They have gone beyond their role, to try and get my mother on her feet. They have sacrificed so much for my family, but they are not Catholic. How can I be part of a religion that teaches you have to be Catholic to get into heaven?

This also is not Catholic teaching

What good are they to God?

Every human being from the moment of creation is good to God. He creates us with free will and knows we will fall and sin and yet he still loves us.
what also is NOT Catholic teaching is that we spend our time peering at the actions of our neighbors and judging them rather than tend to our own obedience to His laws and our own relationship with him.

Your difficulties do not lie in the actions of Catholics who are less than perfect. they lie in your ignorance of the Church really teaches. Deal with that and you will be well on your way. Welcome to the forums, hope this site will be a help to you on that endeavor.

Oh and get your tattoo. It’s not a sin unless it is offensive as would be with any expression of oneself…teachccd

It is unfortunate how misperceptions of Church teachings will mold one’s conscience to reject what doesn’t exist and lose a treasure that does…teachccd

My Father-in-Law, an Irish Catholic quit going to Church because he said it was full of hypocrits. My sister-in-law who was only twelve said,“Well, Daddy you should fit right in.” The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a hang-out for the perfect. My oldest son was an Airborne Ranger, now retired. :slight_smile:

Airborne 2 said: I hear people telling me it’s a sin to get a tattoo (which to me would help tie up a few lose ends) but they don’t just tell me they have criticized me for even thinking about it.

Getting a tattoo is not a sin and you have been misinformed.

I have some of the best grandparents in the world. They have gone beyond their role, to try and get my mother on her feet. They have sacrificed so much for my family, but they are not Catholic. How can I be part of a religion that teaches you have to be Catholic to get into heaven?

The Catholic Church does not teach you have to be Catholic to get to Heaven. I reccomend you read more about the Churches teaching. Start here

Catholic or not, no one has the assurance of salvation. All men/women will be accountable to the Lord and those who lead the kinds of lives you mentioned-hypocrites really -shall be held acountable for their actions or lack of.

Despite any misgivings you may have about being Catholic , There are many reasons to belong to Christ’s church. For me, I wanted to know the Christ that saved me and the world by his sacrifice and I wanted to follow him and know him as the early Christians knew him…that is why I belong to the Catholic Church.

I would hope that you would look and delve deeper into your Cathoic faith for a true appreciation of the Church founded by Christ himself and read for yourself what the Church teaches .

God bless you

Honestly i’m getting bombarded by protestants throwing things my direction that i have no defense for, and on the other hand i have catholics throwing judgment on me for not being “catholic enough”. I just want to grow in Christ. I always say in defense of my moral choices that it doesn’t matter if God is real or not. What matters is the belief that he is. Through out time every civilization has worshiped a higher power. Some are even very similar even though the cultures never interacted. A God allows us to take problems bigger than ourselves to someone and ask for help. If there is no heaven then I have lost nothing, but if there is a hell I have lost everything. Why can’t religion be that simple? It seems as though the line between good and evil is black and white, shouldn’t our belief in the good be just as clear?

It’s off topic but i’m actually trying to get my Ranger packet ready.

Im in my 20s and Im guessing you are close in age. The problem with our generation IMO is many of us have had little to no or poor catechesis. I was poorly catechised growing up and got bombarded in a similar way that you describe, not being able to reply or defend my faith to Protestants or non Christians, and I got tired of knowing nothing so I studied and learned. Of course I dont know everything yet but I am much more comfortable now in being able to defend my faith. If you want to grow in Christ now is the time to learn about Him and His church.

You might be interested in Fr. John Corapi since he is an ex Green Beret

His conversion story

Hang in there, Airborne.

Earlier posters are right, there’s nothing wrong with a tattoo as long as it’s not obscene or blasphemous. You’re already aware that some folks may be offended by it, so you might consider putting it where you can cover it when you go to church. (If you care about offending those people, that is!)

If you like to read, there are two books I’ll recommend. First is Theology for Beginners by Frank Sheed. It’s not dull or dry, or written for children, and you’ll learn a lot. The other is a bit heavier, but will give you lots of good stuff: our own Karl Keating’s Catholicism and Fundamentalism. Both are well-worn on my bookshelf!

Also, at the very top of your screen, check out both the Library and the back issues of This Rock.

I also read the Ask an Apologist forum daily, to keep up with what the Church *really *teaches. (That’s why I know getting a tattoo is not a sin!)


Jesus himself never said it would be easy…in fact, quite the opposite. :shrug:

I wouldn’t quite say it that way (red highlights). Your and my belief isn’t what makes God real…rather we believe him to be real because he is.

Don’t worry about what others throw at you. Get educated about your own faith, at your own pace. :thumbsup:

Just so you know, the exact same thing would happen to you in a Protestant church. Don’t think that your unfortunate experience is because your church happens to be Catholic. Switching to the local Baptist church would do nothing to solve the problem of encountering judgmental people.

**Because Jesus said, “If you love me…KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.”

And it shouldn’t matter to you who comes to Mass and who doesn’t - as long as you are there to worship and love God. Church is the only place where saint and sinner can sit side by side with each other, much as Christ’s life was lived.**

I really don’t get the argument that says “I see all these hypocrites in the church, the holier than thou types make me want to not go to church either.”

That’s like seeing a bunch of people jumping off cliffs. Are you going to follow them off? I say, get to church and never mind what the other people are doing. We don’t know what’s in their minds. Perhaps they struggle with their demons too. At least they’re there hearing something at Mass.

And I tell you what, you will be way better off struggling against those demons if you are in church getting the grace you need to fight the good fight rather than abandoning the church and any chance you may have for Jesus’ grace to flow through you. The Eucharist is our spiritual food. If you don’t feed your soul with the Eucharist, it will die!!!

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