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Gimme That Old Time Religion

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1 hour ago, GeeGolly said:

Remaining a 'good' Catholic kept some folks from leaving their abusers.

Up until recently only divorced Catholics who also had their marriage annulled were permitted to receive Communion and Last Rites. And even now some churches still forbid it.

But religion isn't the only reason folks stay in abusive marriages. Money, fear, children, self-esteem, image, and family pressure are a few reasons why folks stay. And well educated and wealthy folks aren't immune from remaining in unhealthy marriages either.

Being divorced has never prevented anyone from receiving the Sacraments in the Church,  Catholics are allowed to get a civil divorce.  It is the remarriage that causes them to be considered outside the Church and unable to receive the Sacraments.  Annulment by a Church tribunal after the civil divorce is the only way those who wish to remarry are considered ok for the Sacraments.

BTW, I have a priest friend and I asked him what he would do if someone he knew was not supposed to receive Communion, like a divorce who'd remarried without an annulment, got into line.  He told me he was not a cop, he believe that it was not his place to judge and that there are probably more than a few people in the Communion line that weren't supposed to be there.  He said he'd give them Communion and let it go.  He also said that if he ever had a chance to speak to them privately, he might mention it or maybe mention the Church' stance on the Sacraments, but, if they still came up for Communion, he'd give it to them.  He also pointed out that, in any large parish, the priest often only knows a fraction of the parishioners well enough to know their life story anyway.

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1 hour ago, doodlebug said:

Being divorced has never prevented anyone from receiving the Sacraments in the Church,  Catholics are allowed to get a civil divorce.  It is the remarriage that causes them to be considered outside the Church and unable to receive the Sacraments.  Annulment by a Church tribunal after the civil divorce is the only way those who wish to remarry are considered ok for the Sacraments.

BTW, I have a priest friend and I asked him what he would do if someone he knew was not supposed to receive Communion, like a divorce who'd remarried without an annulment, got into line.  He told me he was not a cop, he believe that it was not his place to judge and that there are probably more than a few people in the Communion line that weren't supposed to be there.  He said he'd give them Communion and let it go.  He also said that if he ever had a chance to speak to them privately, he might mention it or maybe mention the Church' stance on the Sacraments, but, if they still came up for Communion, he'd give it to them.  He also pointed out that, in any large parish, the priest often only knows a fraction of the parishioners well enough to know their life story anyway.

That's interesting. I don't belong to an organized religion, so I'm wondering how that works. Do the folks who still go up for Communion when they shouldn't, feel okay with that? 

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1 hour ago, doodlebug said:

Being divorced has never prevented anyone from receiving the Sacraments in the Church,  Catholics are allowed to get a civil divorce.  It is the remarriage that causes them to be considered outside the Church and unable to receive the Sacraments.  Annulment by a Church tribunal after the civil divorce is the only way those who wish to remarry are considered ok for the Sacraments.

And these days, the Church is so anxious to keep people from leaving the fold that it has made getting an annulment much easier and faster than it was in the past. Just about anyone who wants an annulment can get one.

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I've heard ministers..not Catholic..ask that only believers come fwd for Communion.I think there is something biblical about that.I'm not sure how unbelievers feel about it,though

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23 minutes ago, sondraK said:

I've heard ministers..not Catholic..ask that only believers come fwd for Communion.I think there is something biblical about that.I'm not sure how unbelievers feel about it,though

I am protestant; if I attend a Catholic service I go up for Communion but ask for a blessing and do not take the sacrament; I only take the body and blood in a protestant setting. That is just how I (those in my denomination, in my parish do it). I can't imagine if I was an "unbeliever" I would get in Communion line...Communion is for those who believe Jesus is our Savior...My Opinion and beliefs only

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10 hours ago, GeeGolly said:

That's interesting. I don't belong to an organized religion, so I'm wondering how that works. Do the folks who still go up for Communion when they shouldn't, feel okay with that? 

Depends on the person. Just because somebody chooses (or falls into) one organized religious group or another doesn't necessarily mean they believe in (or even know, in some cases) the specific doctrines of that group.

Some people feel drawn to a lot of things said and done in the Catholic church, for example, but feel that it's right to act according to their personal,  spiritual connections to it, period, and bypass doctrinal stuff that they don't believe. 

Some people do feel guilty about it but others don't at all. (My circle of friends includes a widely varied selection of attachment-to-the-Church modes.) 

Increasingly, clergy from lots of religious groups, including Catholics, are all over the place about what they find acceptable and what they don't. And some religious groups are just much much more legalistic than others, period, of course. 

I think historically a strictly doctrinal religion went hand in hand with stuff like a divine right of kings and authoritarian governments that existed for the sake of the rulers, not for the ruled. As the world has moved away from those things in secular relations, many religious groups (though not all, of course) -- and many many individuals -- have shifted away from strict legalism too.

Edited by Churchhoney
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4 hours ago, annakate said:

I am protestant; if I attend a Catholic service I go up for Communion but ask for a blessing and do not take the sacrament; I only take the body and blood in a protestant setting. That is just how I (those in my denomination, in my parish do it). I can't imagine if I was an "unbeliever" I would get in Communion line...Communion is for those who believe Jesus is our Savior...My Opinion and beliefs only

It all comes down to your own beliefs about what it all means, I think.

If you're Shinto, for example, you may believe that what's right is to pay full homage to the god of whatever place you're in and participate fully in the rituals of that place.  -- and that could include taking Communion in a Christian church.

I actually have no idea if this is a widespread idea among people who've grown up Shinto -- it may just be an eccentric belief of the ones I know! But I have in-laws who believe this and do this.

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8 minutes ago, Churchhoney said:

Depends on the person. Just because somebody chooses (or falls into) one organized religious group or another doesn't necessarily mean they believe in (or even know, in some cases) the specific doctrines of that group.

Some people feel drawn to a lot of things said and done in the Catholic church, for example, but feel that it's right to act according to their personal,  spiritual connections to it, period, and bypass doctrinal stuff that they don't believe. 

Some people do feel guilty about it but others don't at all. (My circle of friends includes a widely varied selection of attachment-to-the-Church modes.) 

Increasingly, clergy from lots of religious groups, including Catholics, are all over the place about what they find acceptable and what they don't. And some religious groups are just much much more legalistic than others, period, of course. 

I think historically a strictly doctrinal religion went hand in hand with stuff like a divine right of kings and authoritarian governments that existed for the sake of the rulers, not for the ruled. As the world has moved away from those things in secular relations, many religious groups (though not all, of course) -- and many many individuals -- have shifted away from strict legalism too.

That kind of boggles my mind. Why would someone buy into a specific religion and then cherry pick it?  A congregation all sitting together sharing beliefs, yet not really? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of be a part of a church?

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34 minutes ago, GeeGolly said:

That kind of boggles my mind. Why would someone buy into a specific religion and then cherry pick it?  A congregation all sitting together sharing beliefs, yet not really? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of be a part of a church?

I will say as a Catholic,  our church is going through a lot of stuff right now.  Pope Francis does not have the support of all of the cardinals at the moment, and Catholics are getting competing messages.   We have many outspoken cardinals and bishops who are calling into question the doctrine of papal infallibility.   I go to a church with a priest who follows the Pope and liberation theology.   The other Catholic church in my town is different.  

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There is a difference between finding a church where you feel you fit in, and finding a church that fits you. The two may not come together.

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  2 HOURS AGO, GEEGOLLY SAID:

That kind of boggles my mind. Why would someone buy into a specific religion and then cherry pick it?  A congregation all sitting together sharing beliefs, yet not really? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of be a part of a church?

xxxxxx

Many would say it does.

But I think a lot of people have spiritual feelings (something that feels like a connection to something larger than themselves, to god or to the universe)....and they may respond with those feelings to something like drinking and eating the body and blood of Christ..... and they may respond very strongly to some of the saints and to the mass and so on .... and want that very strongly although they don't believe every inch of the creeds or every rule or that they should be barred because they're divorced and remarried .... or -- most notably in many churches -- considered barred from many things because they're gay....

It's not as if everything a single church declares and preaches has ever been fully consistent even within that individual church. Everybody in a given church may believe that God dictated a particular translation of the bible literally, for example. But even in that situation most still know that theologians and clergy and Vatican councils and saints have had many varying opinions and views of most of the more specific doctrines. Certainly those views have altered in every church as history has gone along.....Hello, Galileo!

But even top theologians existing in a single religious tradition at the exact same moment have differed on a lot of things. ... 

And waffling has always happened when missionaries have taken a religion to distant lands. If the Pope and company call something doctrinal but the tradition of local people is something quite the opposite, while some missionaries would kill those people over it, others always saw it as far better to have people link up with the overall thrust of Catholicism (for example) while still maintaining their local tradition of having a couple wives...... 

Back when there was only one Church in Christianity -- then in our western tradition, at least, people got used to thinking that somebody up top received EVERY rule and jot of theology and passed it on to everybody .........

BUT .... as everybody in the world, including Catholics, became more familiar with the many many religious traditions in which there is NOT a top body handing down all the small rules.... and especially as the Protestant churches got bigger and sat there right next to the Catholic church WITHOUT having a single doctrinal body that decreed on every issue, for the most part, most people got used to the idea that some and maybe many of the details of a faith were not as written in stone as all that.....

The kind of top-down, these-are-all-the-tiny-rules-and-they-all-come-from-the-top-and-you-have-to-follow-every-one-or-be-doomed isn't necessarily a part of the religious or spiritual enterprise worldwide, either. Possibly never has been. 

In Judaism, for example, debating the exact meaning of the law, constantly and enthusiastically, has always been the tradition. Not just buying what one guy says. 

I think humans' desire for something "spiritual" is a lot stronger than an individual church -- and every person is different, so a crowd of people with the same general spiritual feelings can feel spiritual together but are in fact very unlikely to agree on every single thing.

I know people who've felt very deeply connected to a church even when that church had rules that put them outside of it because they're gay, for example. Some felt damned when that happened but others felt they could maintain their strong connection to what they felt was essential to the faith while believing that the you're-damned-if-you-act-on-your-sexual-desires part was just wrong.... and irrelevant to the main point, basically.

People's spiritual longings and feelings of connection....and the specific rules about exactly and to the letter what that has to mean according to the bosses of the larger body...are two different things, really, ,I think. 

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9 minutes ago, Rescue Mama said:

Wow. All of these posts have made me so happy that I'm an atheist. 

As another atheist, though, I'd just say I'm pretty sure some atheists engage in all the same kinds of misbehavior.

Atheists have fewer opportunities to engage in elaborate, centuries-long institutional cover-ups. though. So there's that. 😈

Edited by Churchhoney
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One of my Muslim friends was the only non-Catholic at an Italian Catholic wedding. She didn't know what to do or why everyone was getting up. She followed along and took the wafer and sip of wine. I joked to her that she had her First Communion without realizing it. She was so embarrassed but was too shy to ask what was going on. I wasn't there but I ended up explaining the entire service to her. Oyyyyyy...

If you ever want proof that they don't check or ask, there's some proof right there. 

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4 hours ago, PikaScrewChu said:

One of my Muslim friends was the only non-Catholic at an Italian Catholic wedding. She didn't know what to do or why everyone was getting up. She followed along and took the wafer and sip of wine. I joked to her that she had her First Communion without realizing it. She was so embarrassed but was too shy to ask what was going on. I wasn't there but I ended up explaining the entire service to her. Oyyyyyy...

If you ever want proof that they don't check or ask, there's some proof right there. 

I was raised Catholic, but never took any of it to heart as far back as I can remember. The whole "stand/sit/kneel" stuff all became pretty much second nature, but there were always things which I simply refused to do because they felt so silly, like genuflecting in the aisle before sliding into the pew, or beating my breast  along with the "through my fault, my own fault, my very grievous fault" bit (do people even do that anymore, or is it just an old school thing?). Even after admitting to atheism I generally still did go to communion, though. Even when the only times I ever went to church were if I took my mom, or when Mr. Jyn and I were visiting his parents. I just felt too conspicuous sitting it out. But this past year, when I took Mom to a mass she had requested in memory of my dad, she told me that it was bad form for me to continue taking communion as a non-believer. I get the point, I guess, but I also don't really see what difference it could possibly make to anyone what someone's mind-set is just because they eat the cracker. For that matter, I'd venture a guess that the majority of Catholics out there can't really, truly make themselves believe wholeheartedly in transubstantiation, which is kind of the biggest thing about the Catholic sacrament of communion to start with. Even my mom admits that, no, if she is honest, she doesn't really think that the wafer becomes the literal Body of Christ as soon as you take it into your mouth. So in a way taking communion while not embracing dogma is also hypocritical. Maybe not quite to the same extent, but hypocritical nonetheless.

Religion just makes my head swim.

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55 minutes ago, Jynnan tonnix said:

I was raised Catholic, but never took any of it to heart as far back as I can remember. The whole "stand/sit/kneel" stuff all became pretty much second nature, but there were always things which I simply refused to do because they felt so silly, like genuflecting in the aisle before sliding into the pew, or beating my breast  along with the "through my fault, my own fault, my very grievous fault" bit (do people even do that anymore, or is it just an old school thing?). Even after admitting to atheism I generally still did go to communion, though. Even when the only times I ever went to church were if I took my mom, or when Mr. Jyn and I were visiting his parents. I just felt too conspicuous sitting it out. But this past year, when I took Mom to a mass she had requested in memory of my dad, she told me that it was bad form for me to continue taking communion as a non-believer. I get the point, I guess, but I also don't really see what difference it could possibly make to anyone what someone's mind-set is just because they eat the cracker. For that matter, I'd venture a guess that the majority of Catholics out there can't really, truly make themselves believe wholeheartedly in transubstantiation, which is kind of the biggest thing about the Catholic sacrament of communion to start with. Even my mom admits that, no, if she is honest, she doesn't really think that the wafer becomes the literal Body of Christ as soon as you take it into your mouth. So in a way taking communion while not embracing dogma is also hypocritical. Maybe not quite to the same extent, but hypocritical nonetheless.

Religion just makes my head swim.

Back in 2010, the Latin Mass was retranslated  into English because apparently the one we were using for decades was not accurate enough.  The "through my fault..." was added back into the English prayer.  The current version is more of a direct translation that has no flow or poetry, and it is written for a higher reading level than what it ideally should be.**  We can no longer say " one in being with the Father" instead it's "consubstantial with the Father."  Thanks Pope Benedict.   The good thing is Pope Francis understands the need for balance between accuracy, poetry, and comprehension,  and we should hopefully get a better translation one of these days.  

**This the librarian in me wants every adult to understand the prayers.  Also, my parish is heavily Hispanic and many parishioners are bilingual.   

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4 hours ago, Ohiopirate02 said:

Back in 2010, the Latin Mass was retranslated  into English because apparently the one we were using for decades was not accurate enough.  The "through my fault..." was added back into the English prayer.  The current version is more of a direct translation that has no flow or poetry, and it is written for a higher reading level than what it ideally should be.**  We can no longer say " one in being with the Father" instead it's "consubstantial with the Father."  Thanks Pope Benedict.   The good thing is Pope Francis understands the need for balance between accuracy, poetry, and comprehension,  and we should hopefully get a better translation one of these days.  

**This the librarian in me wants every adult to understand the prayers.  Also, my parish is heavily Hispanic and many parishioners are bilingual.   

Yeah...I've only attended Mass maybe five or six times since those changes went into effect, so can't just autopilot my way through all the responses anymore. Makes it even more annoying. There are still some hymns I enjoy singing, though, so at least there's that.

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10 hours ago, GeeGolly said:

Jynnan Tonnix's post has me wondering why ingesting the flesh and blood of Jesus is a thing. 

It's a sacrament instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper, with his disciples.

During the meal, Jesus took bread, gave it to his disciples and said, "Take and eat; this is my body." He took the wine cup and said, "Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins." This shows up in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke and elsewhere. 

Jesus is God. And he created this ritual shortly before his death and resurrection .....so the founders of Christianity took him at his word. He also said (gospel of John): "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. . . . For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink"

So the ritual, the sacrament, takes this to mean that Christ himself is present in those things -- the bread and the wine -- that his congregation shares when they celebrate this ritual. It's a miracle and a mystery. And the church is based on those -- that Jesus is both man and god; that he was crucified but rose from the dead; that in being a sinless god who gave himself up to be executed he rescued all believing humans from a horrible eternal fate, um, eternally. 

Some of the Protestant reformers objected to what's called the Real Presence -- or transubstantiation -- the changing of the bread and wine into the true body and blood of Jesus (while still looking like they're just bread and wine). But others didn't, backing the Church on that while focusing their ire on other things. 

Other older religions had rituals of which  this is probably an offspring. At celebrations for the Greek god of wine, Dionysius, for example, celebrants believed he would enter the body of a goat or a bull, and that when they slaughtered the animal and ate it, they were eating Dionysius himself. (This activity undertaken during worship of a Dionysius-like god actually predates ancient Greek civilization by quite a bit, I think.) People would absorb the god's powers through eating him in this way, which is also echoed in the sacrament of the Real Presence. 

Edited by Churchhoney
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12 minutes ago, Churchhoney said:

It's a sacrament instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper, with his disciples.

During the meal, Jesus took bread, gave it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body." He took the wine cup and said, "Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins." This shows up in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke and elsewhere. 

Jesus is God. And he created this ritual shortly before his death and resurrection .....so the founders of Christianity took him at his word. He also said (gospel of John): "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. . . . For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink"

So the ritual, the sacrament, takes this to mean that Christ himself is present in those things -- the bread and the wine -- that his congregation shares when they celebrate this ritual. It's a miracle and a mystery. And the church is based on those -- that Jesus is both man and god; that he was crucified but rose from the dead; that in being a sinless god who gave himself up to be executed he rescued all believing humans from a horrible eternal fate, um, eternally. 

Some of the Protestant reformers objected to what's called the Real Presence -- or transubstantiation -- the changing of the bread and wine into the true body and blood of Jesus (while still looking like they're just bread and wine). But some didn't, backing the Church on that while focusing their ire on other things. 

Other older religions had rituals of which  this is probably an offspring. At celebrations for the Greek god of wine, Dionysius, for example, celebrants believed he would enter the body of a goat or a bull, and that when they slaughtered the animal and ate it, they were eating Dionysius himself. (This god and this activity actually predate ancient Greek civilization by quite a bit, I think.) People would absorb the god's powers through eating him in this way, which is also echoed in the sacrament of the Real Presence. 

Thank you Churchhoney for explaining it better that I could. Funny story one off my priests told. He was invited to lunch by a family after church. The kids were running around and the grandmother told them to stop that or they would fall and bleed Christ, right Fr. Jim? Well he could not say yes but then he did not want to disrespect grandmother. So he just said ' Mind your grandmother.

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53 minutes ago, Churchhoney said:

It's a sacrament instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper, with his disciples.

During the meal, Jesus took bread, gave it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body." He took the wine cup and said, "Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins." This shows up in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke and elsewhere. 

Jesus is God. And he created this ritual shortly before his death and resurrection .....so the founders of Christianity took him at his word. He also said (gospel of John): "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. . . . For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink"

So the ritual, the sacrament, takes this to mean that Christ himself is present in those things -- the bread and the wine -- that his congregation shares when they celebrate this ritual. It's a miracle and a mystery. And the church is based on those -- that Jesus is both man and god; that he was crucified but rose from the dead; that in being a sinless god who gave himself up to be executed he rescued all believing humans from a horrible eternal fate, um, eternally. 

Some of the Protestant reformers objected to what's called the Real Presence -- or transubstantiation -- the changing of the bread and wine into the true body and blood of Jesus (while still looking like they're just bread and wine). But some didn't, backing the Church on that while focusing their ire on other things. 

Other older religions had rituals of which  this is probably an offspring. At celebrations for the Greek god of wine, Dionysius, for example, celebrants believed he would enter the body of a goat or a bull, and that when they slaughtered the animal and ate it, they were eating Dionysius himself. (This activity undertaken during worship of a Dionysius-like god actually predates ancient Greek civilization by quite a bit, I think.) People would absorb the god's powers through eating him in this way, which is also echoed in the sacrament of the Real Presence. 

I just want to thank you for being around.  You phrased this perfectly-and beautifully.

And, yeah, I'm a Catholic and I really do believe that Christ enters me when I take this bread and drink this cup....

And, yes, I know it makes no logical sense.  That is why we call it faith.

Edited by doodlebug
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23 minutes ago, doodlebug said:

I just want to thank you for being around.  You phrased this perfectly-and beautifully.

And, yeah, I'm a Catholic and I really do believe that Christ enters me when I take this bread and drink this cup....

And, yes, I know it makes no logical sense.  That is why we call it faith.

So true

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Thank-you @Churchhoney! The practical part of me, which is a very large part, has a hard time wrapping my head around some of the practices and beliefs of organized religion.

I'm certainly not judging those who can and do. Actually, sometimes I'm a tad envious of those who can and do.

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1 minute ago, GeeGolly said:

Thank-you @Churchhoney! The practical part of me, which is a very large part, has a hard time wrapping my head around some of the practices and beliefs of organized religion.

I'm certainly not judging those who can and do. Actually, sometimes I'm a tad envious of those who can and do.

I'm right there with you on all of this. 

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2 hours ago, GeeGolly said:

Thank-you @Churchhoney! The practical part of me, which is a very large part, has a hard time wrapping my head around some of the practices and beliefs of organized religion.

I'm certainly not judging those who can and do. Actually, sometimes I'm a tad envious of those who can and do.

I wish I had the comfort of faith that many have. I feel spiritual and identify with my Jewish culture and values but the religious part does nothing for me, sadly. 

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1 minute ago, lookeyloo said:

I wish I had the comfort of faith that many have. I feel spiritual and identify with my Jewish culture and values but the religious part does nothing for me, sadly. 

I find that it comes and goes for most people.  I spent a couple of decades not going to church, although I've always believed.  Things just came together for me about 12 years ago, I don't know why.  I have a friend who lost her faith years ago and she often asks me how to get it back.  I don't know, I'm glad I've got it because find it very comforting and reassuring.

I remember talking to my Dad about it years ago and I remember he said, "I feel better when I go to church than when I don't.  It's as simple as that."  Maybe it is.

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17 minutes ago, doodlebug said:

I find that it comes and goes for most people.  I spent a couple of decades not going to church, although I've always believed.  Things just came together for me about 12 years ago, I don't know why.  I have a friend who lost her faith years ago and she often asks me how to get it back.  I don't know, I'm glad I've got it because find it very comforting and reassuring.

I remember talking to my Dad about it years ago and I remember he said, "I feel better when I go to church than when I don't.  It's as simple as that."  Maybe it is.

I’m a little jealous of you - I wish I had that. I never have even though I did attend earlier on. Now it makes me uncomfortable. 

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9 hours ago, lookeyloo said:

I’m a little jealous of you - I wish I had that. I never have even though I did attend earlier on. Now it makes me uncomfortable. 

My brain goes to logical reasons to why many stories of religion don't make sense - stories being repeated so many times, the availability of mind altering plants, the changes in language, the different languages and the changes in times, to name a few.

It's just the way I'm hardwired. I'm the youngest of 4 and my mother once said to me - when I was an adult - that from when I was little I had more common sense that my siblings combined.

When I was 6 or 7 my best friend's brother died. They're family then became Jehovah's Witnesses, with the hope they would all be reunited with him after Armageddon. This started my fascination with religion and family cultures.

This fascination piqued my interest in the Duggars. Then come to find out, their family culture is mostly based on the interpretation of scripture by a man with a foot fetish. Kind of wild.

Edited by GeeGolly
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3 hours ago, GeeGolly said:

My brain goes to logical reasons to why many stories of religion don't make sense - stories being repeated so many times, the availability of mind altering plants, the changes in language, the different languages and the changes in times, to name a few.

It's just the way I'm hardwired. I'm the youngest of 4 and my mother once said to me - when I was an adult - that from when I was little I had more common sense that my siblings combined.

When I was 6 or 7 my best friend's brother died. They're family then became Jehovah's Witnesses, with the hope they would all be reunited with him after Armageddon. This started my fascination with religion and family cultures.

This fascination piqued my interest in the Duggars. Then come to find out, their family culture is mostly based on the interpretation of scripture by a man with a foot fetish. Kind of wild.

My brain seems to work the same way...I think some of us are just not wired for belief. Even when I was very young I remember being puzzled about why grownups, who knew enough to reject fairytales as silly were somehow honestly convinced by the stories in the Bible (I loved fairy stories by the way - wished and even pretended they were real, but knew it was just fantasy). I guess the most I could ever muster up was a vague sort of Deism, because I don't think it really occurred to me to reject the idea of some sort of God entirely as I'd simply never encountered anyone who did, but once I grew up enough to find that there were, indeed, atheists out there, I guess I just recognized that I'd more or less been one all along.

I've always been fascinated by religion as well, though - the whys and hows of faith. I know there have been obsessions over various things and people at various times in my life which almost took on a religious tinge. I DO seem to be wired for those, but they also come in cycles, so I might live and breathe one topic or crush for a year or two, then they fade and leave me in a place where I can look back and examine where my mind was. I've been in mental states where it is so easy for me to honestly feel as though there's an actual transcendent bond and ability to communicate with someone on a purely spiritual level. At least, I did that so often as an adolescent and young adult, often with people I had never even met to begin with, that I eventually recognized the sensation as part of the fantasy, and also recognized that faith in a deity must feel very much the same. And that knowledge rather put the nail in the coffin for religion as far as I was concerned.

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I go back and forth--I have faith, I pray daily, I read the bible regularly (I don't believe every word, but I think it has some good directions on love and kindness in the NT, which I definitely need help with), however, I haven't been to church in probably 15 years and I have a deep mistrust of organized religion. For me, God is a very personal relationship and I don't talk about it/promote it/celebrate it publicly. It's just something that is my own.

I'm friends with Christians, Jews, atheists, Muslims, and probably more, and I respect their beliefs and they respect mine. It's not that hard. I think that in the end, it all comes down to your own personal beliefs, and if you're okay with yours who am I to judge? Right now, I value truly kind and nice people over those who are religious, because it seems like there are so few of those around lately. Lately it feels like you could throw a rock and hit a dozen people who call themselves Christian, but not find one truly good person.

I don't know, I'm still figuring it out on a daily basis.

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Well it might impact the Catholic Church’s insistence on unmarried priests if Jesus himself managed it. 

St Peter, the first Pope, was married.  In the early days of the church, priests were not prohibited from marrying.  However, in the Middle Ages, as individual churches accumulated some wealth, many married priests essentially considered their particular parish' possessions as their own.  They would write wills leaving church property including land, priceless paintings or other religious art to their widows and children and the parishes would end up having to fight or pay off the survivors to maintain their possessions.

In light of this, the Pope issued a decree that priests were to be celibate and they weren't permitted to marry anymore.  This happened in about the 12th century, I think.  Even then, it was not uncommon for priests to have mistresses, sometimes even wives, on the side.

Today, the number of priests are dwindling and I would say that the rules of celibacy are the main reason.  I personally know about half a dozen men who seriously considered the priesthood, even entered a seminary, but couldn't accept never marrying or having kids.

However, nowadays, I think the main reason the Church continues with celibacy is economic.  Yes, there is all that argument about how married priests would have too many distractions, but I think it mainly comes down to money. 

I belong to a huge parish, there are 3 priests.  At one point, there was the pastor, about 70 and 2 associates, 1 was mid 40's, the other late 20's just out of seminary.  The parish provides priests with housing in a single building where each gets a two room suite with private bath.  The average salary for a beginning priest is $27,000 in my diocese. Imagine if all 3 of these priests were married and remember that birth control other than natural family planning is prohibited.  We've got an older priest with an older wife and probably no kids at home.  We've got a middle aged couple with teens and college aged kids, probably at least 4, maybe more.  Then, we've got a newly married couple with young children, probably several.  How does that work?  No way these disparate families can all share the same home and the cost of providing the sort of housing that a large family would need is going to be prohibitive.  Not to mention the fact that the middle aged priest, unless his wife works at a very high paying job, is going to have a tough time affording tuition for all his kids while the young guy is going to be going broke buying diapers.  

And that's why I think the rules of celibacy are still in place and why I think something's gotta give or in a generation or so, there simply won't be enough priests to go around.

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Thank you @doodlebug for all the good information.  I'm no longer a practicing Catholic but many years ago there was a former Episcopal minister in a parish who converted to Catholicism and had been married.  He was allowed to become a Catholic priest and stay married.  Here's an article relating to this:  https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-pope-married-priests-2017-story.html

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18 minutes ago, wilsie said:

Thank you @doodlebug for all the good information.  I'm no longer a practicing Catholic but many years ago there was a former Episcopal minister in a parish who converted to Catholicism and had been married.  He was allowed to become a Catholic priest and stay married.  Here's an article relating to this:  https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-pope-married-priests-2017-story.html

That is still the case.  Married Greek Orthodox clergy can also convert.  There aren't a lot of them, but they do exist.

I was on vacation a couple of years ago and the priest, during his sermon, kept referring to his grandchildren and doing various things with them.  Finally, he said, "I see some confused faces out there.  I do have grandchildren.  I was married for more than 30 years when my wife died and I decided to become a priest.  I've had the best of both worlds."  He said his kids, while surprised at his decision, were very supportive because it was so handy to have a priest in the family for christenings and such.

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18 minutes ago, wilsie said:

Thank you @doodlebug for all the good information.  I'm no longer a practicing Catholic but many years ago there was a former Episcopal minister in a parish who converted to Catholicism and had been married.  He was allowed to become a Catholic priest and stay married.  Here's an article relating to this:  https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-pope-married-priests-2017-story.html

There was a memoir that came out a couple of years ago--Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood.  Her father was an Episcopal minister who became a priest after he was married.  The book looks at her childhood growing up in the rectory of different parishes around the Midwest.  Both of her parents are real characters, but I really feel for the mother.  She has spent decades assisting her husband and the Church, but is not eligible for any relirement money from the Church.  Once her father passes, she is on her own.  

2 minutes ago, doodlebug said:

That is still the case.  Married Greek Orthodox clergy can also convert.  There aren't a lot of them, but they do exist.

I was on vacation a couple of years ago and the priest, during his sermon, kept referring to his grandchildren and doing various things with them.  Finally, he said, "I see some confused faces out there.  I do have grandchildren.  I was married for more than 30 years when my wife died and I decided to become a priest.  I've had the best of both worlds."  He said his kids, while surprised at his decision, were very supportive because it was so handy to have a priest in the family for christenings and such.

I knew a guy in high school who's dad was getting ready to enter the priesthood once the son had graduated high school.  

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On 9/15/2019 at 10:58 AM, Churchhoney said:

In Judaism, for example, debating the exact meaning of the law, constantly and enthusiastically, has always been the tradition. Not just buying what one guy says. 

However, if you go to a rabbi for an answer to a question, you're supposed to take that rabbi's answer even if you don't like it--you can't then go to another rabbi until you get one that will give you the answer you want, which I always found kind of confusing.

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1 hour ago, magpye29 said:

However, if you go to a rabbi for an answer to a question, you're supposed to take that rabbi's answer even if you don't like it--you can't then go to another rabbi until you get one that will give you the answer you want, which I always found kind of confusing.

Yeah, I've heard about that....

Of course, the rabbi is supposed to answer with a question, too, right? 

I guess the thing is that if you just look for an answer you want, you're not actually searching when you ask the rabbi ... You're just looking for cover for your own ego-driven preference and not practicing the proper humility toward the truth and the right methods of searching for it? And pretty much everything in Judaism is about cultivating the right attitude toward God, the truth, the law, life, isn't it? 

After all, what's religion for if not to be confusing?!

I was lucky enough as a kid to study philosophy (secular philosophy, not biblical texts or theology) with an old guy who was something of a Talmudic scholar....had been extensively trained in that tradition.

And he coached us along in this attitude and approach to examining "what is truth" when it comes to exploring things that are much bigger than we are. The search is endless....but it's not an endless search for something your ego already knew it wanted in the first place ...... One of the most thrilling and moving intellectual experiences I've ever had....though I felt like i was in way too deep water a lot of the time....

Similar in feeling to mysteries like the Real Presence in a strange way, actually. 

Edited by Churchhoney
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On 9/15/2019 at 3:59 AM, annakate said:

I am protestant; if I attend a Catholic service I go up for Communion but ask for a blessing and do not take the sacrament; I only take the body and blood in a protestant setting. That is just how I (those in my denomination, in my parish do it). I can't imagine if I was an "unbeliever" I would get in Communion line...Communion is for those who believe Jesus is our Savior...My Opinion and beliefs only

That's the way I've always heard it handled, also.  That Communion is the same except for the belief in transubstantiation.  As the purported Christian you're definitely supposed to take it seriously, as it is a sacrament in both Protestant and Catholic eyes... the Protestant ministers, at least, see it as a thing which is self governed.  They warn you that it's a sacrament that should not be entered into lightly, and that you should be sure inwardly that you are in a fit mental and spiritual state in your relationship with God before you take those steps forward to the altar; but yes, after the warning they leave it up to you, because your relationship with God is nobody's business but you and God's.  I myself usually do go, because I have not lost my belief that God exists and thus I don't think I am disqualified.  Another person in my same situation might feel differently.  Basically, it's an honor system counting on your honor.  If you know for a certainty you're embroiled in some sin like an extramarital affair, and still go up to ingest the body and blood or its figurative representation, then God probably will not deal well with you in the afterlife.

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A few months ago, I went to my first Catholic Mass. It was a funeral for a friend's father. I just stood up and sat down. No kneeling, and I certainly didn't go up for Communion. [I'm used to it being called "Kiddush" and "Motzi" and not having it represent anything other than wine and bread.]  It was certainly an interesting experience. Was the incense used to cover up how smelly unwashed congregations were?  When was that phased out of the Protestant church? And would a Dugger or their ilk ever even consider going to another type of religious service?

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48 minutes ago, EAG46 said:

A few months ago, I went to my first Catholic Mass. It was a funeral for a friend's father. I just stood up and sat down. No kneeling, and I certainly didn't go up for Communion. [I'm used to it being called "Kiddush" and "Motzi" and not having it represent anything other than wine and bread.]  It was certainly an interesting experience. Was the incense used to cover up how smelly unwashed congregations were?  When was that phased out of the Protestant church? And would a Dugger or their ilk ever even consider going to another type of religious service?

The use of incense in religious is a very old tradition and has biblical references, frankincense and myrrh.  It is found in other religious traditions like Buddhism.  From my Catholic school education, incense is used to anoint the church, altar, coffin,  and priest in preparation for the sacrament of the Eucharist.  No, the Duggars would never consider attending a religious service of another faith.  That would be blasphemy. 

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1 hour ago, EAG46 said:

A few months ago, I went to my first Catholic Mass. It was a funeral for a friend's father. I just stood up and sat down. No kneeling, and I certainly didn't go up for Communion. [I'm used to it being called "Kiddush" and "Motzi" and not having it represent anything other than wine and bread.]  It was certainly an interesting experience. Was the incense used to cover up how smelly unwashed congregations were?  When was that phased out of the Protestant church? And would a Dugger or their ilk ever even consider going to another type of religious service?

I have a strong feeling that Duggars don't even like to pass people of different faiths and beliefs on the street. 😈

It's kind of like (Gothard's preaching against) Cabbage Patch dolls -- something satanic might get out and breathe on them! Duggars and Duggar adjacents? Not brave, as a rule. And their "leaders" -- including, in this case, the Duggar parents -- do their best to keep them that way. Scared people seem to be easier to control....especially when they're scared of some amorphous bogeyman. 

Edited by Churchhoney
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7 minutes ago, Churchhoney said:

I have a strong feeling that Duggars don't even like to pass people of different faiths and beliefs on the street. 😈

It's kind of like (Gothard's preaching against) Cabbage Patch dolls -- something satanic might get out and breathe on them! Duggars and Duggar adjacents? Not brave, as a rule. And their "leaders" -- including, in this case, the Duggar parents -- do their best to keep them that way. Scared people seem to be easier to control....especially when they're scared of some amorphous bogeyman. 

But aren’t they supposed to devote their lives to trying to convert them?

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6 minutes ago, DangerousMinds said:

But aren’t they supposed to devote their lives to trying to convert them?

Yeah, but I get the strong feeling they only want to do that from a distance.....Or, you know, they put out an announcement that they'll be some place talking -- and then they'll talk to whichever heathens actually show up. And then interact with the ones who come up to them gushing about how much they want to join their group......but not with anybody who doesn't do that. 

The Gothard cult -- and others; Vision Forum kind of did this, too, for example -- tells them a major reason not to take a job other than your own home-based business, not to go to a school or join a community group, not to allow your children to make friends other than their siblings, not to join the armed services, to maybe have a home church if possible, etc etc etc. is that by being involved with strangers you'd inevitably run into too many people with dangerous beliefs and they'd get you into eternal trouble, too. 

Edited by Churchhoney
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9 hours ago, Churchhoney said:

I have a strong feeling that Duggars don't even like to pass people of different faiths and beliefs on the street. 😈

It's kind of like (Gothard's preaching against) Cabbage Patch dolls -- something satanic might get out and breathe on them! Duggars and Duggar adjacents? Not brave, as a rule. And their "leaders" -- including, in this case, the Duggar parents -- do their best to keep them that way. Scared people seem to be easier to control....especially when they're scared of some amorphous bogeyman. 

Haha haha!  Cabbage patch kids were considered satanic for us growing up, as were the smurfs, walkmans, and ET!  Thanks for bringing up those memories. Fun times!  

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On 9/29/2019 at 5:40 PM, Ohiopirate02 said:

The use of incense in religious is a very old tradition and has biblical references, frankincense and myrrh.  It is found in other religious traditions like Buddhism.  From my Catholic school education, incense is used to anoint the church, altar, coffin,  and priest in preparation for the sacrament of the Eucharist.  No, the Duggars would never consider attending a religious service of another faith.  That would be blasphemy. 

I was raised a catholic and I didn't even know that about the incense. The only thing I remember as a kid was that it smelt awful and I would always tell my mum to sit near the back. As you can probably tell from this post I haven't been to church in years.  

I find it sad that the Duggars wouldn't even entertain the thought of visiting different places of worship but I'm not surprised really with all the brainwashing they've had. 

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The Duggars did attend a service at the  church that the football trainer guy went to.  It was a predominantly Afro-American church & was shown on 19K& C. IIRC. Smuggs & Anna were called to the front of the church for Mack's gender reveal.  (Think it was Mack.)  They left their manners home & didn't seem to be interested  in the service by the way they acted (in true Duggar fashion.) 

ETA:  The congregation was very welcoming even though the visitors acted like jerks. 

Edited by Barb23
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I forgot to add the church the Duggars attended had a joyous praise band that played upbeat Christian music.  These weren't the dismal hymns they were used to and their disapproval came through loud and clear. 

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2 hours ago, Barb23 said:

I forgot to add the church the Duggars attended had a joyous praise band that played upbeat Christian music.  These weren't the dismal hymns they were used to and their disapproval came through loud and clear. 

For them to realize that there are many valid ways to worship would mean that they would need to understand that theirs is not the only way.  Which goes against everything they believe in. 

I grew up Ukrainian Orthodox (still believe but got a bad taste in my mouth from some of the ways my particular church was run).  The church I attended as a child and teen taught a very specific class to high school seniors as part of the church school curriculum.  The course was all about world religions. Over the course of a school year we studied about all of the world’s major religions, noting the differences and similarities between those faiths and Orthodoxy.  It was really interesting and I learned a lot about my own faith by learning about others. Too bad the Duggars would not dream of opening this up to their family. What a shame that they can’t even enjoy a church service that is basically THEIR denomination with a little more joy in it?   

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On 9/29/2019 at 1:26 PM, Churchhoney said:

Yeah, but I get the strong feeling they only want to do that from a distance.....Or, you know, they put out an announcement that they'll be some place talking -- and then they'll talk to whichever heathens actually show up. And then interact with the ones who come up to them gushing about how much they want to join their group......but not with anybody who doesn't do that. 

The Gothard cult -- and others; Vision Forum kind of did this, too, for example -- tells them a major reason not to take a job other than your own home-based business, not to go to a school or join a community group, not to allow your children to make friends other than their siblings, not to join the armed services, to maybe have a home church if possible, etc etc etc. is that by being involved with strangers you'd inevitably run into too many people with dangerous beliefs and they'd get you into eternal trouble, too. 

I went to church with my daughter this weekend (non-denominational) and the topic was missions work. The speaker was sharing the verses in the Bible that speak to that, and he said it's so easy when you're faithful to go to church, go to bible study, go to fellowship, hang out with folks in your own Christian subculture speaking Christian-ese that you forget about how confusing it all is to non-believers. And that you should invite them to your home, go to see them and, basically, get outside yourself. He did not say (nor did the passages he was presenting) that you should be scared of people with different beliefs. 

The Duggars, of course, do things a little differently...

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11 hours ago, Lady Edith said:

For them to realize that there are many valid ways to worship would mean that they would need to understand that theirs is not the only way.  Which goes against everything they believe in. 

I grew up Ukrainian Orthodox (still believe but got a bad taste in my mouth from some of the ways my particular church was run).  The church I attended as a child and teen taught a very specific class to high school seniors as part of the church school curriculum.  The course was all about world religions. Over the course of a school year we studied about all of the world’s major religions, noting the differences and similarities between those faiths and Orthodoxy.  It was really interesting and I learned a lot about my own faith by learning about others. Too bad the Duggars would not dream of opening this up to their family. What a shame that they can’t even enjoy a church service that is basically THEIR denomination with a little more joy in it?   

Same thing in Catholic school.  We spent an entire year in Religion class studying other faiths including their historical context and relation to Catholicism, if any.  We read excerpts from all sorts of holy books from various faiths, celebrated a Seder and saw films depicting Buddhist temples, Hindu worship services, etc.  The Duggars' heads would explode at the notion that there was anything to learn from other faiths. 

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