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Choosing the right path
http://forums.avemariaradio.net/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=168752
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Author:  gherkin [ Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

Denise Dee wrote:
Gherkin, you are somewhat oversensitive in regard to my description of myself as fair and honest and open minded.

I'm not in the least bit sensitive--I was pointing out the implications that some of your readers or hearers might reasonably pick up on if you phrase things that way. It's just a suggestion, which of course you can take or leave as you see fit. You might not have intended those implications, and I see you're surprised to hear me mention them. That's why I mention them. Friendly suggestion.

Quote:
But, though it may be clear to you, it's not apparent to me how belief in the resurrection leads to belief in one particular Christian religion and not to any of the others. From my point of view it's confusing.

The Resurrection in itself doesn't lead to any particular version of Christianity, all by itself. You can't simply leap from "Christ is Risen," to "and therefore the Catholic Church is His Church!" with no interval. But that doesn't mean you can't get there. So what are the steps? Where do you start? I start with the Apostles, and trace things out from there.

Quote:
It's difficult for me to know what to believe. Do you find it difficult to know what to believe?

I was in your position more than 20 years ago, moving through a variety of non-religions to a variety of quasi-religions before I finally reverted to Catholicism when I was something like 24 years old. 8 years in the desert, so to speak. I was into Ayn Rand, Taoism, Buddhism, drugs and I don't know what else. The intellectual pathway that led me home was long, and involved a ton of reading. I studied the Jesus Seminar, the Gnostics like Elaine Pagels, whackos like Ken Wilber (who, at the time, I thought was pure genius), serious scholars like Mircea Eliade and all kinds of stuff. Over the course of several years of this, I finally realized that the only way to make sense of the whole story of Jesus was the orthodox way. No other version really holds up to scrutiny. That rules out the modernist versions of Christianity. It pretty much leaves Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Maybe a few branches of Protestantism, but the fact is that my study of the Jesus Seminar and Elaine Pagels et al convinced me that Protestantism was an intellectual disaster through and through, so frankly it wasn't a live option for me in any form. Thus, Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Simple choice: I'm a westerner. So, Catholicism. (There are solid theological reasons to prefer Catholicism to Orthodoxy, too, and I'm not being fair to myself by pretending it boiled down to the fact that I'm western not eastern. But that does in fact matter.)

Do I currently find it difficult to know what to believe? Yes, sure, about very many things. But not about the one thing necessary. For sure not about that.

Author:  Bombadil [ Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

Denise Dee wrote:
Gherkin, you are somewhat oversensitive in regard to my description of myself as fair and honest and open minded. I can only speak for myself, I wasn't making any comment about you or others here whom I don't even know well enough to make a judgement like that. Do you think every non-Catholic who has questions about Catholicism is fair and honest and open minded? If not, then what is wrong with me pointing out that I am, or at least trying to be, fair and honest and open minded? The fact that I was initially somewhat skeptical about whether or not Jesus rose from the dead, and then after getting some answers, I accepted it, suggests that I am prepared to be fair and honest and open minded, and that's the spirit in which I wish to continue. It's not any comment about you or others here, it's a comment about me alone. Perhaps if I was a committed follower of some other religion I wouldn't be open minded and fair and honest, I don't know, but I'm not committed to any religion, and that was the only point I was making.

As for the book, you recommended, I'm not a great reader of books, I find it very difficult to get around to reading any book, I much more readily read things on the Internet, and I have read the pdf document which Obi provided a link to, which convinced me sufficiently about the resurrection.

But, though it may be clear to you, it's not apparent to me how belief in the resurrection leads to belief in one particular Christian religion and not to any of the others. From my point of view it's confusing.

It's difficult for me to know what to believe. Do you find it difficult to know what to believe?

This post isn't really directed at you, as much as it is just about the issue itself. Just wanted to say that as sometimes new people think that if you quote them you are disagreeing with them or something.

I agree with everything gherkin said, as usual, but have a point to make about being open minded. You said you made a decision about the resurrection and accepted it. So you wouldn't be open minded about that issue any longer.

See, that's the thing, being open minded is good, as long as you don't really have an answer to the question in question, in fact, it is the only way to be, you won't find answers otherwise. That's basically what curiosity is, looking at something and discovering its qualities. I can watch red ants and see that they are red and collect seeds. However, beyond that moment, if I were to try to place open-mindedness on the scale of virtues or vices, it would be a vice, and decidedly so, as it is a rejection of reality. Once you have observed the ants you can no longer claim that they may not actually be red or that we don't know what they eat. What open-mindedness truly is, and the reason society deems it a virtue, is a denial of the existence of truth at all. Society is full of sophists and relativists.

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

Quote:
I agree with everything gherkin said
:shock: :swoon :cry: :crying: :soap: :rant :hissy

Author:  GKC [ Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Quote:
I agree with everything gherkin said
:shock: :swoon :cry: :crying: :soap: :rant :hissy



I agree with most of it. The books part especially.

I shouldn't really be here. But books are not scary.

Author:  theJack [ Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

Denise Dee wrote:
It's very confusing to someone who is open minded. How is a fair and honest open minded person to decide?

If you're still reading this thread, Denise--gherkin's perhaps ill-received but still true comments with respect to you being fair-minded aside--can I strongly suggest that you take up the suggestion to read Mere Christianity. If nothing else, it would not only help solidify your understanding of why Christianity but it will give you a good foundation to explore the questions you are now asking. I'd also suggest that you move in a stepwise fashion. I don't know that it's helpful or possible to refuse to give assent to what is evidently true just because you haven't yet worked out all the related questions. In other words, suppose you don't know yet which "version" of Christianity you should embrace. That shouldn't stop you from affirming what is evidently true, namely, that Jesus really did raise from the dead and that He really is who He says He is. It's much better to explore the question of how you should practice your faith from the standpoint of faith than it is to ask how you should practice a faith you don't have. Faith seeking understanding always works better than trying to argue yourself into faith.

Author:  Pro-Zak [ Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

gherkin wrote:
The Romans were extremely good at making people dead.



That and making roads made them famous...

Author:  kage_ar [ Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

Denise Dee wrote:
gherkin wrote:
Denise Dee wrote:
But which door to knock? Where to seek?

Start from where you are. There are answers to your questions, but you've got to narrow things down a bit to get started. Your post isn't like "hey, I'm definitely a Christian, but I'm not sure whether to stay in my Lutheran church or maybe become Catholic." It's saying "hey, for all I know, atheism is right, or Mormonism is right, or Hinduism is right. How do I decide?" First things first. Where are you coming from?

Up until now I've been vaguely Christian, definitely not an atheist, but I have a lot of questions about God, I'm theologically agnostic. I was raised a Catholic, confused by all the different types of Christianity. Quite a lot of Buddhist teachings make sense to me.

Since shortly after my daughter was born I've started going to mass occasionally but not every Sunday.

Is that enough information?


I'll give you another author: Dorothy Day

Author:  Denise Dee [ Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

theJack wrote:
Denise Dee wrote:
It's very confusing to someone who is open minded. How is a fair and honest open minded person to decide?

If you're still reading this thread, Denise--gherkin's perhaps ill-received but still true comments with respect to you being fair-minded aside--can I strongly suggest that you take up the suggestion to read Mere Christianity. If nothing else, it would not only help solidify your understanding of why Christianity but it will give you a good foundation to explore the questions you are now asking. I'd also suggest that you move in a stepwise fashion. I don't know that it's helpful or possible to refuse to give assent to what is evidently true just because you haven't yet worked out all the related questions. In other words, suppose you don't know yet which "version" of Christianity you should embrace. That shouldn't stop you from affirming what is evidently true, namely, that Jesus really did raise from the dead and that He really is who He says He is. It's much better to explore the question of how you should practice your faith from the standpoint of faith than it is to ask how you should practice a faith you don't have. Faith seeking understanding always works better than trying to argue yourself into faith.


Dear Jack and Gherkin, here is my very first post on these forums, in the Introductions forum, please read the final sentence:

Denise Dee wrote:
Hi. I don't know who or what to believe any more. My parents (both deceased) were Catholics but I never really believed or practiced of my own free choice. I gave up going to mass when I moved away from home (to go to college) when I was 18. I remember when I was at work, when I was aged 23, a non-Catholic friend asked me why did I stop practicing my Catholic religion, and I replied "Because I wanted to sin"! I think what was on my mind all those years ago was that I wanted to have a sexual relationship without having to go to all the bother of getting married first. But thinking back now, I don't think that was a very good answer to my friend's question. I want to examine Catholicism more intelligently now, and seek the truth, more open mindedly.


So when I said in this thread that trying to seek the truth, with so many different religions claiming to have the truth, is
Denise Dee wrote:
very confusing to someone who is open minded. How is a fair and honest open minded person to decide?"
I was reiterating the fact that I am now much more open minded and receptive to the claims of Catholicism than I used to be, and in a way I was talking to myself, telling myself to be fair and honest and open minded. I don't quite understand why you think that was some kind of critical comment about other people here whom I don't even know. If I say I am sincerely seeking the truth, do you think I'm saying that you are therefore not sincerely seeking the truth? How else can I say it without you thinking it's a comment about you? Not everything is about you!

So, Gherkin's comments were not "ill-received but still true", they were neither ill-received nor true, I simply corrected the inaccuracy of what he said. Can I not correct something that isn't true without being described as "ill-received"?

Anyway, to move on from that unnecessary distraction, I wish to thank you both for encouraging me to read Mere Christianity, I have so far only read a small part of it, but I like it very much, I don't agree with all he says, but it is definitely food for thought.

However, it is of no help whatsoever in helping me with the question I am asking in this thread, for he says explicitly in the preface:

"The reader should be warned that I offer no help to anyone who is hesitating between two Christian 'denominations.' You will not learn from me whether you ought to become an Anglican, a Methodist, a Presbyterian, or a Roman Catholic."

So I still don't know how anyone is to decide, as I can see things from all the different reasonable points of view. If there was only one reasonable point of view it would be reasonably easy, but there are several and it's not obvious to me how to decide between them.

Jack, I think I have faith, many people have faith, but what one person has faith in may be different from what another person has faith in, not necessarily the faith you mean. How would I know if I have correct faith?

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

Mere Christianity will help you firm up the basics of Christianity. That gives you a better platform to understand and evaluate the claims made by different groups.

Author:  gherkin [ Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

nm

Author:  Denise Dee [ Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

gherkin wrote:
nm

I don't know what that means.

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

Never mind.

Author:  gherkin [ Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

Denise Dee wrote:
gherkin wrote:
nm

I don't know what that means.

I disagree with Father--it means no message. :fyi: I wrote a post and then decided to delete it. But I can't delete posts because I'm not a moderator. :soap: So the post is still there. But without a message. :fyi:

Author:  Denise Dee [ Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

"Never mind" makes more sense, because "no message" is a message, a very short message but a message nevertheless, and is therefore contradicting itself.

Author:  gherkin [ Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

It implicitly excludes itself. :fyi: There's a suppressed "o" in the middle, for "other."

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

gherkin wrote:
I disagree with Father

:cloud9:

Author:  gherkin [ Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
tx

ftfy :fyi:

Author:  Zeno [ Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

I will weigh in on gherkin's side here. nm means "no message" and goes back to the old format of the board when people would give a reply short enough to fit in the header of a post followed by "nm" letting people know not to bother actually open the post because it contained no further message.

Author:  ForeverFaithful [ Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

gherkin wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
tx

ftfy :fyi:


That beast has been slain. The state-game has no more power in this realm

Author:  GKC [ Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing the right path

gherkin wrote:
It implicitly excludes itself. :fyi: There's a suppressed "o" in the middle, for "other."


In my military career, there was, in many offices, a rubber stamp used to mark pages of documents, pages that otherwise, for various reasons, were to be blank. The stamp imprinted the note "This Page Intentionally Left Blank".

Obviously, as I pointed out, the stamp should imprint the message "This Page Intentionally Left Blank, Except For The Statement 'This Page Intentionally Left Blank', With Brief Explanatory Note".

I still wish that had happened.

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