It seemed these things were popping up in multiple discussions as people like @Suzanne chased me about, so rather than continue the multiple hijacks, maybe putting them here will be more entertaining for everybody. All I ask is that people be kind, and perhaps answer questions in turn. These questions come from http://www.thinkatheist.com/forum/topics/mad-at-the-outcome-thought...
1. Why did you choose catholicism over all other religions?
Because it made the most sense to me on several levels. I of course can't rule out cultural bias, since obviously I'm a westerner and Roman Christianity is culturally pervasive. For me it was a conscious choice at some point, though I am not a convert. Interestingly, if I were not Catholic I'd be more inclined to Judaism than the Protestant faiths. Perhaps the shared intellectual depth of Judaism and Catholicism is a contributing factor.
2. Do you follow the decrees made by the Vatican?
The Vatican does not make "decrees". The Holy See serves as the administrative center of the worldwide Catholic community, and we do have some administrative rules like any community (our technical term for these is "merely ecclesiastical laws"). For the rest, all we do is teach.
3. Do you agree or disagree with contraception being available to those who would choose to use contraception, if they had access?
I'm not sure why I should care. Now sometimes when people say "being available" they mean that I should pay for it. I think that's a different sort of question that belongs more in the realm of public policy.
4. How do you choose which parts of the bible to follow, and not follow.
We don't "follow" the Bible, we read it and refer to it, the way anyone does with a favorite book or reference text. We try to "follow" God, perhaps, or the example of Jesus or other holy men or women, but not the Bible. In teaching things or exploring religious ideas, we refer to a wide range of writings and experiences, including long oral tradition, writings of various scholars, journal articles, encyclicals, consensus documents, conciliar writings, etc., much like any intellectual community.
5. Is purgatory in or out, these days.
It's a theory that had moderate but not universal acceptance some centuries ago. It's still referred to, but not anywhere near as widely as in its heyday. So it never quite rose to the level of Newtonian Mechanics in physics in terms of acceptance as a theory, and it's perhaps fading faster, but like Newtonian Mechanics it's still referred to in some contexts.
Does anyone "believe" in evolution?
It's not really a matter of belief. It's a really delightful theory with great explanatory power. The "belief" is in the process of scientific inquiry, which is completely compatible with Catholicism.
Again, Lamarck, Mendel, and many others who were instrumental in the development of modern genetics and evolution theory were Catholics, some of them clerics.
Lamarck, while a great zoologist and a strong contributor to the foundations of evolutionary theory, was not so on the mark with modern evolutionary theory.
He did live quite some time ago. For modern Catholic biologists you just need to go visit almost any large university science department. The point was only that his Catholicism in no way hindered his science or the development of evolution, and perhaps contributed to it.
The two are different intellectual disciplines, theology and science, though in many ways they share common roots. Though separate, different disciplines inform each other all the time. Philosophy and science are also different disciplines, but there's a philosopher who writes an interesting piece in this month's SciAm on the ontology of quantum field theory. Good stuff. Different disciplines can afford us new insights and contribute to creativity.
I suppose some might claim that evolution is "guided by God", whatever that means. It's certainly not necessary from a Catholic perspective, and isn't a claim I would make. The whole Universe is God's, all of it's laws and features, so I'm not sure why it would need "guidance".
Such notions don't interfere with good science regardless. In fact, for many of us they inspire our quest for deeper understanding of the universe.
Not sure if I should "Like" this......
It's that kind of crap why I don't deal with Facebook. If they're not going to at least give you a dislike button, why bother with them.
Thanks Bob and I have replied in turn.
@Bob - Pedaphilia, to me, is the sex drive of the male, coupled with being an opportunist. Pedophilia is ALWAYS wrong, no matter what era.
Pedastry, as a culture, is also a furphy. Boys were available, they wanted to keep the girls virginal. Nobody knows nor cares if a male is virginal.
It is opportunistic, and about power. During Greek and Roman times, an adult always has the power over a child.
A child did as he is told, he depended on these male adults for his life. And if that means sodomy, he would have had to put up with it. Just because other boys also put up with it, did not make it right in any setting, in any culture, or any religion.
The mothers would have had no say in the matter. They would have been distraught, but these men had control over everything. This is also rampant in Pakistan for the same reasons. Power and availability. Women and girls are kept behind closed doors, and told to shut up.
Any society that divides the sexes, as the catholic church does, will have horrendous problems with the men and their sex drive. It is all about celibacy, and the exclusion of women, and having a normal, healthy relationship with another human being.
Nothing is going to change in the catholic church.
Pedophilia, in the future, will continue in the catholic church, only the name of the country will change.
This horrendous problem is out of control in catholicism. In todays society, at least in the last hundred years, say, children are loved by their parents, are taught respect for adults, that they should do as asked by an adult. A child trusts adults, expects the adults to look after them and their best interests. On top of that, the catholic church had respect, had this front of propriety, of loving and caring for children. How many parents would have handed their children over to these foxes in sheep clothing, if they knew their child was going to be sodomized? Many of these children raped were in boarding schools. No escape.
Priests were arguably the most trusted people on the planet, and they took full advantage of this, by hiding behind the cross, with a smile on his face.
Parents handed over their children, and the predators took them all willingly, to sodomise. The children were confused, adults were supposd to look after them, they didn't feel shame. They hated what was being done to them, but, gee this is an adult, so it must be me.
Many children were taken to hospital, but kids had also been told to keep their mouth shut, as god is watching them, and noboldy would believe them.
If the priests and now cardinals think there is nothing wrong with this, as is being said 'today', why hide them, why send them off to other countries, where the new counry is never told of why these vermin were moved, and what crimes they had committed. It is illegal, as well as damaging both psychologically and physically.
The catholic church is the only organisation in a civilzed country, that is hiding their crimes by scuttling off to the vatican. Why is that do you think? Why do you think Ireland told the vatican to sod off? They have been finding out just how many children were raped, and how the priests were shunted off to another country.
Australia and Ireland had a lot of swapping of priests, and the vatican knew it.
Do you think celibacy in the catholic church is being on the right path?
Do you think women should become priests, and able to become pope?
Do you think priests should be able to have a normal human existence, and marry the person of their choice, either gay or straight.
@Bob - Another one? I'm now truly intrigued and will have to talk to my colleagues in psychology about this really interesting name-calling thing that is uniquely common in this adult atheist community. I wonder if it's because atheists tend to eschew other labels which are more commonly employed as personally derogatory, so that all they are left with is the elementary school playground stuff like "Bubble Bob"?
Answer - Nothing unique about nicknames Bob. In Australia, it is cultural - just about everybody in Australia has a nickname or shortened name, a name that describes a particular attribute or character, thence, my name for you is Bubble Bob.
Bob only reads what is pertinent to propping up his cathlocism, anything else is not to be trusted or ignored, and then patronizes if he deems an article rubbish, as in 'Vatican Crimes", website, then stating - silly bird, or that I must be hurting and unhappy. Not at all, Bob, happy that you are here - you just keep on, keeping on, by re-inforcing my Atheism. And that is a very good thing :) You just keep on showing me why I left catholicism. And that is absolutely brilliant - so Thank You for being here, Bob :)
#Bob - I missed this bit - poor student, Suzanne
Were it not for the wicked, evil Church suppressing the practice, pedophilia might still be accepted throughout the west.
Nah, women have been getting stronger by the decade, and getting out from under the boot of inadequate males. It is the mothers of these children who, as soon as they saw a penis, would quite happily have cut if off, in Greek or Roman times, whatever - as I would, with a smile on my face. That is why priests had to cover it up, they knew if was not acceptable, and, indeed illegal.
Nothing to do with era or Roman or Greek culture - always was wrong, and always will be wrong.
So, in the times when pedophilia was also rampant, the church suppressed it, Why?
And now it is acceptable, condoned, hidden by the same church? What changed and when?
The problem with this plan, is that the Human male sex drive is almost entirely psychosomatic. The only connection the penis has to the mind is the nerves to the pleasure center of the brain. Violent sex offenders who opt for chemical castration, or are otherwise disarmed, tend to become more violent, and will use replacements, anything from beer bottles to baseball bats, whatever is close at hand. It would be kinder to just kill them.
Enforced celibacy is one of the worst forms of sexual perversion. It is not natural. It leads
those whose minds it warps towards other unnatural perversions such as paedophilia.