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I am an ex-fundamentalist Catholic

Discussion in 'Liberal Christianity DIR' started by ZooGirl02, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. ZooGirl02

    ZooGirl02 Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone. I am an ex-fundamentalist Catholic. I used to be strongly for everything that the Catholic Church was for. That is no longer so. Unfortunately, I have some doubts about my conversion to liberal Christianity. Sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice. I am not sure what to do about those doubts. I am now more of an Atheist than anything. What do you all suggest?
     
    #1 ZooGirl02, Jul 23, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  2. Eliot Wild

    Eliot Wild Irreverent Agnostic Jerk

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    I suggest love and an honest search for truth. It may sound trite and overly simplistic, but I believe everything else is just noise. All the talk about gods and commandments, angels and demons, salvation and atonement, denominations and churches; all the talk about all this and everything else, it's all just a bunch of noise.

    Treat people with love. Treat people with compassion. Treat people the way you would want to be treated.

    That's it.

    Oh yeah, and continue to maintain a deliberate, rational exploration of this universe in a search for truth. Learn as much as you can so that you can arm yourself against ignorance and/or those who would exploit it for their own personal interests.

    Never believe anyone who tells you that faith overrules reason. It seems to me that God gave us tools with which to operate in this world. We have personal instruments at our disposal for gathering, assimilating, storing and processing data about this world, such as our physical senses, our cognitive functions and our critical reasoning abilities. Even knowing that these tools are imperfect and can sometimes fail us, does it really make sense that God would expect us to reject these in favor of blind faith or unquestioned acceptance? Challenge everything, even if it comes from God, Himself. I think that makes Him most proud of us, when we exercise those muscles he gave us and really struggle to prove everything through skepticism and scrutiny.

    At least that is what I think. Of course, I could be wrong. Good luck.
     
  3. idea

    idea Well-Known Member

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    What converted you and why?

    How we were raised will always be a part of us. Keep the good, throw out the bad. Explore all of the different possibilities, and go where your gut instinct takes you.
     
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  4. Comicaze247

    Comicaze247 See the previous line

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    There's no right or wrong choice when it comes to your personal beliefs. There are only choices. Religion is very personal and is never the same for different people. Even people within the same church hold different views on things. I believe that is one of the reasons why these DIR forums are here and also why most religions have their own different sects (Episcopalian vs. Baptist vs. Protestant, etc.).

    So don't doubt what you choose to believe unless it no longer fits with who you are.

    Your religion doesn't define you. You define your religion.

    P.S.: I'm a former hardcore Catholic myself. I chose to stop calling myself a Catholic because my beliefs don't quite fit, and I did not want to claim that I was Catholic, thereby somewhat representing them. I now choose not to have a label, as labels are constrictive and rigid while personal beliefs are fluid and change with time. So just go with the flow :)

    Good luck on your spiritual journey! :)
     
  5. Nerthus

    Nerthus Wanderlust

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    I was born Jewish, and although I am now a Christian I still sometimes feel pulled towards Judaism. Mainly because it was such a big part of how I grew up.

    It just takes a lot of thought and prayer to determine whether one is on the right path, but I don't think you should ignore any pull you have for something.
     
  6. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    People can follow a quite complicated life.
    The Roman Church is full of "Certainties"
    "Liberal Christianity" requires you to think for your self.

    In recent years the Roman church has come under extreme pressure both from with in its own ranks and from other Christians.

    The Old certainties about Sex, Gender and the role of women in the church has been questioned.
    Certainly the respect for its priests have been at the very least dented.

    Like all mainstream Churches it has been hit by falling attendances and a lack of new priests.

    Probably one of the simplest Christian faiths is described here...
    Welcome to The Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland

    This is as far to the Liberal ethos that you can go in the Christian church. as it expects its members to follow their own reason in interpreting the Biblical message.

    I have no idea which "liberal" group of Christians you have been worshiping with, but some are in fact extremely restricting in what they allow their members to believe.

    You should consider you self on a Christian Journey ... and see where God leads you.
     
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  7. soma

    soma John Kuykendall

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    I feel the rebellion against modern Christianity and Catholicism is due to the consciousness and intelligence observing the truth and comparing it to teachings that dishonor God and man. I feel thoughtful, educated, and intelligent people have slipped away from Christianity because the fundamental church has represented God as a tyrant and man as evil. It is not moral degradation that leads the revolt against fundamental dogma, but moral outrage and intelligent shock at the crude ideas and authoritative teachings that are rammed down people’s throats. I feel they have forced Christian Mysticism behind a veil so people fail to notice reality, truth and the personal spiritual experience with Christ. I am not against Christianity, but feel it needs to awaken the inner teachings, which need evidence and theory. The Christian mystics seem to be persecuted for seeking illumination of the inner light and listening for the inner voice of God. I feel the future of the Church depends on the greater mysteries being taught by God’s children of light along side the lesser mysteries as preparation. The hirelings who alienate people against Christian Mysticism need to be replaced, as they are the blind leading the blind.
     
  8. ZooGirl02

    ZooGirl02 Well-Known Member

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    Well, basically what drew me to the Catholic Church was the historicity of this denomination. When I was shown a list of popes going all the way from Peter up until the modern Pope Benedict XVI, I was pretty much convinced that the Catholic Church was true. Unfortunately, when I learned about this line of popes, I was so convinced that I totally ignored my own beliefs and just automatically believed everything else that the Catholic Church taught. But now as I have had more time to question those beliefs, I have realized that the Catholic Church really isn't for me.

    One example is the prohibition of the use of contraception and condoms combined with the outright ban of all forms of abortion for any and all reasons. To me, it doesn't make any sense to say that a person cannot get an abortion for any reason at all. I mean, sometimes getting an abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother. And plus, even if a person should avoid abortion, they should at least have a reliable way to prevent unintended pregnancies. In my opinion, a great way to reduce the number of abortions that are taking place is to make contraception more widely available and less expensive. And then there is the whole condoms ordeal. Having unprotected sex can be very risky and leads to numerous STDs, some of which can be fatal in some circumstances such as HIV/AIDS. It has been proven that condoms are the most effective way of preventing infection with HIV other than outright abstinence. But seriously, abstinence is not an option for most people. I mean, would God really expect someone with HIV to just permanently refrain from sex? I personally don't think God would. I think God would rather them practice safer sex and use a condom rather than deprive them of one of the most wonderful joys in life which is a sexual relationship with one's partner.

    Also, there is the whole gay marriage issue. I personally do not think it is right to prohibit a same-sex couple from having the same rights as an opposite sex couple. I mean, so they are attracted to members of the same sex, so what? What is so wrong with that? In my opinion, nothing is wrong with that. In fact, I am pretty sure it has been proven that homosexuality exists in animals so therefore it must be natural. Of course, some would disagree with me on that but that is my own opinion.

    And of course there is also the issue of the ordination of women. The Catholic Church prohibits the ordination of women and I personally feel that is wrong. Women can make just as effective pastors as men. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman leading a congregation in worship and preaching to them. In my opinion, to deny women the right to ordination is to be sexist.

    And let's not forget the whole issue of married clergy versus celibate clergy. I think the Catholic Church would be doing a great thing by allowing married priests throughout the entire Church. In fact, they currently allow married priests in the Eastern Catholic rites. So why not allow married priests in the Latin/Roman rite? I honestly think if they would allow married priests in all rites that they would see a huge increase in the number of vocations. One can try and argue that celibate priests do a better job at leading a congregation because they have much more time to focus on God but I think all Protestant churches allow married clergy and their clergy do just as good a job at leading their congregation as the celibate ones. In fact, the married clergy may even have an advantage in some cases. They know more about being dads and husbands and therefore are in a better position to counsel and preach to those who are married. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying that all clergy should be married, I am just saying that it should be an option. If someone wants to be a celibate clergy member, that's fine!

    Also, there is the issue of closed communion versus open communion. I personally think it is wrong to only allow Catholics to participate in the communion part of worship. There is nowhere in the Bible where Jesus said that only Catholics or members of any other specific denomination could receive communion and that no one else could. I believe that God welcomes all people to the communion table, including the unbaptized Christians faithful.

    And finally, I also want to touch on euthanasia or assisted suicide. I feel that if a person reaches a point in their life where they are in so much pain that daily life is just agonizing for them or whatever, they should have the right to end their life with the help of a physician who can help them do so without any pain. I do not believe that God will condemn people who choose to end their own life. 99% of the time a person who is ending their life feels like they have no other choice. Sometimes those who commit suicide are experiencing psychosis. I don't believe that God would condemn someone in that situation.

    That's all for now. Later!
     
  9. Kathryn

    Kathryn Most Spoiled Woman Ever

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    zoogirl,

    You sound like a reasonable enough person with a good heI ad on your shoulders.

    I used to be Catholic myself, and left the Church for many of the same reasons you stated. (Throw in the whole divorce/anullment thing for good measure!)

    My advice would be "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." Someone else said "Keep what is good and reject what doesn't work," and I think that's good advice.

    In spite of it's many flaws, the Catholic Church does have an impressive history when it comes to the development of doctrine in general (leave out some of crazier notions, like the ones we've been discussing). Even with those removed, there are still many, many beautiful truths filled with integrity and depth. There's nothing saying you can't retain those as your own.

    You may notice that my title is "Liturgical Christian." Currently I attend a United Methodist Church. I like it (even though I don't agree with everything the UMC stands for) largely because it follows the liturgical year and has a rather formalized "high church" feel to the worship, which is one of the things I always loved (and still miss) about Catholicism. I love the cycle of the seasons - Holy Week, ordinary time, Advent, the saints and feast days - I like the sense of connectivity with Christians worldwide and with history that the liturgy and those cycles represent.

    As someone else mentioned, many Presbyterian churches also follow a type of liturgical cycle. I had a bit of a problem that was hard to overcome with basic Presbyterian doctrine (like - well, like Calvin for starters) but that's just me.

    My point is - don't fling yourself around from one religious experience to another and feel that you have to take an all or nothing approach.

    "Be still and know that I am God." Good advice. Quiet your spirit, seek God's face, and listen to what He is trying to tell you.

    Good luck, sister!
     
  10. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Greased up & ready for action!
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    Welcome aboard! I'd hope that you find atheism (or agnosticism, a fine choice too) offers you the freedom to embrace the values important to you.
    We're a very diverse lot, so you'll fit right in. And then if you ever leave the fold, that's OK too....no contractual obligations.
     
  11. ZooGirl02

    ZooGirl02 Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone! Thanks for the replies! Anyway, I went to a local ELCA Lutheran Church this morning to see what it would be like as I have been considering sticking with Christianity as long as it is liberal Christianity. Well, I had a discussion with the pastor about the various beliefs of the Lutheran Church. I wanted to know what his opinions and his church's opinions were on gay rights. So I brought up how it was in the news recently and asked him what he thought. He then proceeded to explain to me the politics of it all which I totally was not interested in. And then a lady came in to tell him about a change in the announcements. Soon after that, he abandoned the discussion on gay rights in the Lutheran Church. Well, I then politely brought it up again and asked him what he and his congregation felt about it. He then proceeded to tell me that they were a "pretty conservative bunch" and I instantly knew the place wasn't right for me. He then told me how throughout the Bible only heterosexual marriages were allowed. Well, I believe otherwise. I believe that only heterosexual marriages are mentioned in the Bible but that doesn't mean that homosexual marriages are prohibited. Of course, I didn't want to debate about it or anything so I simply listened to him without giving any clue as to what I believed about it. He then proceeded to tell me how his church was in the process of picking a new pastor. During this part of the discussion he said, "This last week we had a lady here so we could talk to her about possibly being a pastor and she made it abundantly clear that she is a straight woman." I almost instantly felt sick to my stomach. He told me in somewhat uncertain terms that this woman basically just volunteered this information. I have to say that I was so unnerved about it that I ended up making an excuse and left before the worship service began. I mean, I just feel like that if a congregation is so anti-gay rights that a prospective pastor is led to volunteer information assuring the congregation that she is heterosexual then this conversation must be pretty hard core conservative. Needless to say, I was quite shocked to hear this story coming from an ELCA church. I arrived there thinking I would find a nice liberal church. Boy was I wrong! I told him that I might be back at a later date depending on my schedule and all that and politely left. Well, let's just say that I could not bring myself to tell him the truth that I was quite put off by the fact that their congregation seems to be so hard core conservative. I won't be going back there. Oh and that's not to mention that I noticed that next week's sermon is about respecting life so I figured they are probably a strongly pro-life congregation as well. Of course, I could be wrong about that but my overall impression of this congregation was not good at all. It certainly didn't fit what I had hoped it would be.

    And so I am now realizing that I am pretty much out of luck in finding a nice liberal church in my area. This church was my last option. All of the others proved to be too middle of the road for my taste which pretty much means that they only approve of abortions in extremely restricted situations, disapprove of gay marriage, and things like that. I just simply could not find myself a home in a church like that. I would feel as though I were being dishonest or something.

    So anyway, I am probably going to end up Atheist after all. I am finding it increasingly more difficult to believe in any god whatsoever.
     
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  12. blackout

    blackout Violet.

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    Did you try UU?

    Very liberal.
    Stresses human rights/equality of rights,
    peace and connection between diversity of belief/faith/religion
    and
    You can also be an out of the closet athiest there, no prob. ;)
     
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  13. blackout

    blackout Violet.

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  14. ZooGirl02

    ZooGirl02 Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately the only Unitarian Universalist Church in my area is like 50 miles away and I simply don't have the gas money to make a 100 mile round trip every week.
     
  15. Antiochian

    Antiochian Rationalist

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    Hi ZooGirl, I've seen your posts elsewhere, maybe in the Christian Wicca forum? I used to be RC. Sometimes, I miss it, too, even though I know I could never go back, because of its stance on gays, and the RCC's overall level of corruption, especially where the sex abuse scandals are concerned. Of course, they teach that your soul is in jeopardy if you leave, because they're the "true" church. I've also attended Orthodox churches who likewise teach you go to hell if you leave them.

    But I believe no church is our ultimate judge. Look at the greed, the lying, the lust for power that goes on in these churches--and they consider themselves some sort of "beacon" to humankind??

    I've attended Episcopal churches off and on for a couple years now. Overall, it's been a good fit for me. You still get liturgy--and Anglo-Catholic churches have beautiful masses--without the guilt and stupidity.

    The Episcopal Church--the United Church of Christ--Disciples of Christ--Society of Friends--Metropolitan Community Church-- these tend to overall be liberal.

    If no Christian religion whatsoever works for you, there's Paganism, Buddhism, Deism, and a number of other options. You don't need a church to have a relationship with God.

    Blessings on your journey.

    And let me say that I appreciate your stance on gay rights, being gay myself, and all-too-painfully aware of how judgmental churches can be on this.
     
  16. Antiochian

    Antiochian Rationalist

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    Just an additional note, I've read that the Community of Christ is quite liberal. I've even checked out their website. I don't think they're 100% sold on gay rights, but they're talking about it, and maybe individual congregations will be accepting, I don't know. the CoC, of course, was once called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism split after Joseph Smith died, the largest group of course being the homophobic Salt Lake City-based church). Of course, you'd have to swallow all that Joseph Smith and Book of Mormon business... but nice to know that option exists!
     
  17. ZooGirl02

    ZooGirl02 Well-Known Member

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    Hello everyone! I finally found a Christian Church that I really love! It is a very liberal and diverse Church. They accept the diversity within the world with open arms and at the same time they reject bigotry, hatred, and other things that are negative.

    It is a New Thought Christian Church. It is called Unity. Their website is:

    Welcome to Unity: A Positive Path For Spiritual Living.

    Thanks!
     
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  18. Gaura Priya

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    Congratulations! I do like Unity, although I have to disagree with certain beliefs...

    Enjoy, and may the Spirit of God inspire you to live a positive and healthful life! :D
     
  19. fenrisx

    fenrisx Member

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    I was raised mostly episcopalian, and later found what suited me in a universalist sufi order, I never converted to anything, just decided to have a broader perspective. The order has influences from tibetan buddhism as well, so far it's been fascinating.
     
  20. soma

    soma John Kuykendall

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    The world rotates every 24 hours and revolves around the sun every year and stories about Jesus continue to draw our attention, but it is all external going around and around. The circumference seems to be constantly moving with activity, but deep within the center it all stops and relaxes in the peace and love that is everywhere. To me that is the proof, the core to what life is all about. Societies, cultures and communities raise great monuments, the grandest symbols to what their cultures value most highly and I respect and enjoy them as do others and this goes for the stories about Jesus. In religion it seems the symbols of God and Truth have become institutionalized which is good for a few, but for most of us it has only fossilized Truth and God so they don't live on their own; consequently, followers think they have to defend religion beating a dead horse into the ground.

    I feel as a Christian we are lucky to have a scripture that is not so much acting on facts, but as a record directing us inward to an experience with Christ that is beyond the mind. It starts out as a hypothesis that needs to be substantiated in the laboratory of our mind and if peace comes around, our intuition illuminates the path to new wisdom and understanding in the soul. We are not able to control everything that goes on outside so that is not where misery begins because it is an inside job where we control what goes on; consequently, the misfortune of life is not what happens to us, but what we let happen inside while we are living. No one can teach us to be spiritual because it grows from the inside similar to a towering tree where we can’t see the roots underground, underneath the surface where we are inspired to stand up an
    d reach for happiness.
     
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