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Why I am not a Catholic - Miklos Jako

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Why I am not a Catholic - Miklos Jako

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I found an interesting web site and am posting the text below. It looks like Miklos Jako is an author and theist, but not someone who has much respect for the Catholic religion. Read and discuss if you like. I'm curious what our resident Catholics will say to this brief, yet powerful illumination of Catholicism.WHY I AM NOT A CATHOLICBy Miklos Jako I conclude my study of Catholicism here with a summary of reasons Why I Am Not A Catholic. I am not a Catholic because I think the Church's theology is irrational, and its moral codes are life-denying, not life-affirming: Theology: Basic theologyThe Church teaches we all bear the guilt of the original sin of Adam. We are cleansed of this sin by the ritual of Baptism. And we are reconciled with God through Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. Thus, our relationship with God is determined by what other people did, thousands of years ago. I reject this theology as irrational, primitive, and moronic. I am not responsible for what an alleged Adam did thousands of years ago. And Jesus's death does not in any way mitigate the responsibility I do have for any crime I commit. Furthermore, I reject any theology that puts credulity and submission on the highest pedestal, rather than reason, compassion, and good behavior. Baptism The Church considers infant baptism a sacrament essential for salvation; yet, baptism is basically a ritual done to a child not yet capable of making moral decisions. Making a ritual a prerequisite for salvation is primitive theology. Ascribing so much meaning to something so intrinsically meaningless, is irrational theology. Catholic mothers worry about getting their babies baptized as soon as possible. I reject any teaching that offers salvation to humans based on chance, and not based on the willed good behavior of the person. I think baptism is a superstitious ritual no different in kind from the childish rituals of other religions. And the idea of Limbo, a place where unbaptized babies go, missing out on Heaven, but not suffering the pains of Hell - is an idea the Church didn't come up with until the 12th century. In the previous thousand years distraught mothers thought their unbaptized babies went to Hell! In terms of spiritual insight, can there be a stupider concept than a just God punishing infants in Hell for eternity? I don't think so. Priests forgiving sins The Church claims priests have the power to forgive sins (paragraph 1461 in the New Catholic Catechism.) I say: unless the sins are specifically against them, priests, fallible human beings, do not have the power to forgive the sins of others. You would think history would have taught people by now, not to be so prone to give credence to all these factions erroneously claiming to represent God and His powers. Indulgences The Church can reduce some of the punishment due to us because of our sins, through various good deeds, as prescribed by the Church. What a scam! The Church is in charge of a "treasury of satisfactions"? How come they didn't even know about this until the 11th century? What arrogance! An organization deluded into thinking they are God's chosen minister of justice, right down to the details of how to reduce sentences in the afterlife. Give me a break! Papal infallibility The Church has had popes who have waged war, popes who opposed scientific truth, popes who sanctioned torture. It's had three popes at one time. The Church's claim of papal infallibility in matters of faith or morals, is essentially meaningless. When you get down to cases, you'll find Catholic apologists basically presenting a circular argument: The Pope is infallible because he supports the basic truths of the Catholic religion. The Catholic religion is the truth; therefore, the Pope is infallible. Let's have your mother burned at the stake for being a witch, under the orders of a Pope, and then talk to me about any meaningfulness you find left in your concept of papal infallibility! The Church burned Joan of Arc, then 500 years later canonized her. What sort of divine guidance is this, other than utterly useless and meaningless divine guidance? Basically the Church wants people to obey everything it says as though it were divinely guided; but, it reserves the right to say it is made up of fallible human beings whenever it screws up, and no matter how atrociously it screws up. Religious freedom If the Church espouses religious freedom, why does it require children of a mixed marriage to be brought up Catholic? That is not religious freedom, but religious coercion. Such a policy serves to keep the human race divided in spirit, rather than united. The Bible Cannot be God's Word - it is internally contradictory (and genuinely so, not only apparently so); and, it is immoral. A prime example of its immorality is its support of slavery:1 Pet 2:18 - "Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters... not only to those who are good.. but also to those who are harsh." Ephesians 6:5 - "Slaves, obey your earthly masters... just as you would obey Christ." Colossians 3:22 "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything. Lev 25:45 - "Moreover you may buy the children of... strangers... and they shall become your property." Exodus chapter 21, if a unruly ox has killed a man, verse 29 - "its owner shall be put to death." But if it has killed a slave, verse 32 - "he shall give their master... 30 shekels of silver." The Bible clearly does not value the life of a slave equal to the life of a free man. Yet the Church regards the Bible as filled with God's sacred wisdom, and lofty morality. Hell The idea of torturing people, forever, eternally, is a monstrously cruel concept, and any God that teaches such a theology, is not a just and loving God, and He can go screw Himself and the barbarians He rode in on. I am convinced of an ultimately loving God, who does indeed judge us, and may punish some, with annihilation, or whatever, but not, with Hell. Life--denying moral codes Women priests Denying women the opportunity to do what they are capable of doing, without reason, is immoral. Abortion Prohibiting a raped woman from having an abortion, is validating an act of violence and hatred, in my opinion. Birth control I think the Church's prohibition against birth control shows a very negative concept of sexuality. The Church makes procreation such a big concern, and mutual love so secondary. Not to mention the fact that most Catholics in practice ignore the Church's teaching anyway (over 70%, Gallup poll, 1993). Divorce The Church is categorically against divorce, but there are many people who get divorced, and then have a very good second marriage. They're more mature, they understand themselves better, they find a person more compatible. Sure, ideally, there shouldn't be divorces, but human beings are human, and relationships are complex and often unpredictable. Yet, the Church would tie people to a mistake, in an effort to legislate social stability, regardless of the unhappiness it causes. I think, as in so many issues, the Church really is motivated by power and control, and not at all by compassion or concern for genuine human happiness. Euthanasia The Church chooses the prolongation of life, over the dignity of life. Homosexuality The Church denies gay people the right to have an intimate relationship. I think this is a cruel and unloving position, born of simple fear and hatred for those who are different from the mainstream. Most gay people are that way by nature; and it's part of who they are. To have an institution, claiming to speak for God, tell them they are profoundly bad human beings unless they deny their sexuality, is just awful. Just awful. The damage and pain inflicted is tragic. In no way does such a narrow-minded code of morality represent a loving God. If I found gay people generally or consistently to be inconsiderate, uncaring, lousy people, I might think differently. But my experience tells me conclusively that sexual orientation is not a moral indicator, any more than being left-handed is. Sexuality I think the Church's attitude toward sex is life-denying. I think sex is good or bad depending on the context of the relationship. A marriage approved by the Church does not make sex within a marriage a positive thing. And, conversely, sex between unmarried people is not automatically a negative thing. Love, affection, and caring, sanctify the experience, not an institution that knows little of what is really going on between the two people. I find the legalistic mentality of the Church militates against what is best in human experience. Masturbation Masturbation is a Mortal sin according to the Church. That is, it is a very serious offense to God. You did something really bad. Enough to deserve being punished forever. Yet the vast majority of humans have masturbated. So, the only logical conclusion is that most of the human race is horrible, and deserves to go to Hell. I don't buy that at all. I think the Church's teaching on masturbation is insane, and springs from a Puritanical, ascetic, life-denying mindset. Inquisition The Inquisition was behavior so appalling I could never see the Church as a divinely guided institution. These were not just some misguided individuals; this was Church policy! Pope Innocent the IV officially sanctioned the use of torture in 1252 (The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, vol. 7, page 538, vol. 14, page 208.) No matter how much an apologist may try to excuse or rationalize away such behavior, a divinely guided institution would never, never, support such a policy. The liberals, of course, readily admit this atrocious evil, but they fail to see that it obliterates any meaningful concept of divine guidance for the Church in matters of faith or morals. Suicide The Church teaches suicide is a mortal sin. That is a compassionless ethic. It puts a lot of decent, and very loved, people in Hell. The modern catechism backpeddles furiously, saying extenuating circumstances, like being emotionally distraught, can mitigate the guilt. Well, who isn't emotionally distraught when they commit suicide!? If the Church had any divine guidance in its moral pronouncements it never would have promulgated such a cruel principle in the first place. Conclusion In the middle ages people believed in the divine right of kings. I think that idea was fostered because the people in power wanted it fostered, and because the masses wished it were true (that God is indeed behind the behavior and decisions of Kings.) But it really wasn't true, was it!? Same with the Catholic Church. People are attributing divine guidance to this institution because they want to believe in God's definitive presence and authority on earth. But I think the reality is: Catholic theology and moral codes come from the flawed wisdom of fallible human beings, and a gradual, often arbitrary, process, and not .... from God. I think, on the one hand, Catholicism serves to give fallible human beings unwarranted power and control, and, on the other, masses of Catholics have submitted to that control because they need something definite to follow, and they like having a shared tradition, whether it makes good sense or not. But I think we honor God by using our heads and hearts honestly, by following reason and compassion, not by being sheep to the religious powers that be. I conclude that Catholicism is a false and harmful religion, and is not at all what God wants.
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Re: Why I am not a Catholic - Miklos Jako

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I agree with much of what Miklos Jako has said. However, I feel similarly about most religions(not just Catholicism). Jako said, "I am not a Catholic because I think the Church's theology is irrational, and its moral codes are life-denying, not life-affirming". It seems to me that many other religions' theologies are irrational, immoral, and life-denying. His point about religious freedom certainly applies to Jews and Jehova Witnesses. His points about the bible apply to Jews, Baptists, Jehova Witnesses, and several others. I'd be interested in hearing how other main stream religions differ so greatly as to not have Jako's criticisms apply to them.
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Re: Why I am not a Catholic - Miklos Jako

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TaraSlow down! That's where I was wanting to go with this thread. Jeez speedy! I was hoping we'd look at Catholcism and then apply the exact same critical eye to every other religion. Catholicism is one of the more dogmatic and ritualistic religion, and besides we were addressing baptism in the other thread. I just thought it might be fun to look at this massive religion first.
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Re: Why I am not a Catholic - Miklos Jako

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Chris, honestly, the reason I said that I'd save the bandwith was because I don't think that the possibility of meaningful discussion exists, at least here and now.You want to bash Catholicism, I can link you to 1001 fundie sites that will do the job just fine. All of them misrepresent Catholicism equally as well as this fine fellow just has, but you mightn't like the authors as much, because you see these are the same fellows that get you all riled up by misrepresenting things like atheism, evolution, science and the like. But of course, that's different, isn't it? Let us agree, there is no one single reality. Not upon this stage, not in this world, all is in the mind... imagination is the only truth. Because it cannot be contradicted except by other imaginations - Richard MathesonThere are no conclusive indications by which waking life can be distinguished from sleep - Rene Descartes
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Re: Why I am not a Catholic - Miklos Jako

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Niall:I was raised Catholic. I say it is indeed bullshit...or was my specific parish mis-representing Catholicism too? Is it only the way you understand Catholicism that is right?Catholicism is full of mindless sheep. I saw it first hand. And never mind the molesting Priests...haha!Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Re: Why I am not a Catholic - Miklos Jako

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NiallYou're just being defensive because you know Catholicism is nonsense too. You're too bright not to and you're embarrassed that you really can't say much to the above points so you're brushing me off.Chris
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Re: Why I am not a Catholic - Miklos Jako

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Mr. P, if you honestly claim to know anything about Catholicism, then it should be pretty clear to you why most of that article is bullshit. I'm not saying that it's impossible to make a decent argument against many positions held by the Catholic church, I'm saying that that article attacks a straw man. Chris,cut the crap. In a second, I'd explain why those points were bullshit* but at the moment I'd think it a little like trying to defend atheism on a site like Christianity.com. And I should know, I've tried both.*There really isn't much of a point saying that Catholicism is bullshit because of X, when X isn't a part of Catholicism. Let us agree, there is no one single reality. Not upon this stage, not in this world, all is in the mind... imagination is the only truth. Because it cannot be contradicted except by other imaginations - Richard MathesonThere are no conclusive indications by which waking life can be distinguished from sleep - Rene DescartesEdited by: Niall001 at: 12/2/05 12:35 pm
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Re: Why I am not a Catholic - Miklos Jako

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Sorry Niall...That strikes real close to the Catholicism I know and hate.Point me to a source of YOUR brand of Catholicism and I will take a peek.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Re: Why I am not a Catholic - Miklos Jako

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Catechism of the Catholic ChurchQuote:2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action." "The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose." For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of "the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved." Quote:1471 The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance. What is an indulgence? "An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints." "An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin." The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead. Quote:2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery: If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another's husband to herself. Quote:2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law. Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.Could Jesus' suicide be construed as 'setting an example' for his children? hmmm Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy PiperEdited by: misterpessimistic  at: 12/2/05 1:15 pm
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Re: Why I am not a Catholic - Miklos Jako

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Niall:Please...PLEASE explain how the points in the original post are not representative of Catholicism.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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