Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I'm slightly irritated, so if this post comes off as too harsh, I don't mean for it to be. First of all, I know that not everyone is like what I am about to describe, and people like Matt, Mel, etc. who post on here occasionally are good examples of the exceptionally wonderful people I have met from other religious backgrounds. But, I'm going to tell you the typical thing I have been experiencing lately, especially from people who are members of the Church of Christ (what I came out of).

They generally start with a nice dialogue. This will quickly degenerate into throwing around some sort of excuse for why I left the CoC in order for them to mentally cope with the fact that someone would leave. Generally, these are one of the following (all that I have really heard):

1) Your wife was Catholic and converted you (obviously silly if you take the time to read my journey)

2) Your wife's parents are Catholic and converted you (obviously silly since they didn't even know I was becoming Catholic until after I had been in RCIA for 2 months, and had spent every second of their life trying to avoid talking to me about religion up until then).

3) You decided being Catholic was easier (Yeah, even though I attend Church more, read the scriptures more, pray more, study more, spend more time in meditation, and do more volunteer work......that really makes sense).

4) You had "your conscience seared with a hot iron" or "were sent strong delusions".

These are what I hear over and over, and they make you wonder if people actually listen to what you say or if they just ignore all information that doesn't suit their beliefs. I think we have to remember that people will make different choices about religion based off of truly good motives (trying to please God). Part of my journey was coming to this realization. By studying with individuals, I would many times ask them to go read a book of the Bible and then we would come together to discuss it. I was amazed to find that 10 honest people would come to 10 different conclusions on so many issues. That's what led me to the authority of the Catholic Church, but I still respect, love, and want to have discussion with people who come to different conclusions, and I wish them all the best. Why should I try to impose a motive on their own spiritual journey?


Anonymous said...

I think about this stuff a lot, too. I think the farther back into history you go, the more people didn't have to worry about what other people believed. My grandfather, for instance, grew up in a rural farming area where most folks were Baptists. You never really met any "weird" Catholics or Muslims, etc. It was probably the same for people back in the Middle Ages, who were all Catholics and didn't have to worry too much about "weird" Muslims unless they traveled a lot, much less "weird" Protestants or "church of Christ people" that didn't even exist yet.

And I think in that situation, it becomes easier to classify the world into good and bad--everyone on the outside is bad and has chosen to be that way because of evil intentions. This even seems to be how the Bible draws out the world, and I don't know what to think about it sometimes myself.

For people in our situation, it is harder to view the world that way because of globalization. The farther into the future we go, the more we are all forced into each others' presents, the more we have to "deal" with people of other faiths and the more we realize that people of other faiths are in those faiths for actual reasons.

So I think it's hard for us to interpret and apply the Bible (which seems, as in Romans 1, to say that people of other faiths are evil) to our present experience of globalization that is different from all past experiences in which it was easy for people to conclude another people were just a bunch of lunatics. What are your thoughts on that?

mel said...

I'm sorry you even have to have a post like this. Shame on them. We appreciate a safe place to express questions and experiences. I've started a new "book report" blog for stuff I'm reading. Same profile. God bless y'all.

~Joseph the Worker said...

Thanks to both of you. Matt, I think Romans 1 was talking specifically about Paganism as it was practiced by the Romans. It involved idolatry, but more importantly almost a lack of religion at all. I think the passages there speak more to modern day Atheism than anything. Also, they don't necessarily condemn every person outside the Church (look at Cornelius in Acts or Rahab in Jericho, etc.). There are righteous people in these religions and cultures as well. Note that a lot of what Paul is talking about is things that happened under the Jewish system, and Gentiles weren't even under that law. Furthermore, the condemnation came because they used these false religions as an excuse to slide into immorality (homosexuality, etc. as seen in the latter part of the Chapter). Just a few thoughts.