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. 

Tags: Bob, Catholic, Dr., Professor, Robert, Vatican, bible, purgatory, questions

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Listen Bob, I've listened to all you've had to say, picked up a word here, a phrase there, and over the course of time, pieced together the jigsaw puzzle - you believe in a god, and a Yeshua, and for reasons that escape me, "the Church," (menacing chord: da-dum!) but you admit the Bible is full of exaggerated stories, which may (or may not) contain a grain of truth.

What would it take to get a movement started to pressure the church to come out with a new book, tentatively titled, The Bible, Minus the Bullshit - I realize it wouldn't be a big book, hardly more than a pamphlet really, but it might actually gain converts, Just a thought --

@archaeopteryx
Pamplhet? I could get that shit on a t-shirt. "Sit down, Shut up, and Don't Break Anything."

How did you know about my teaching technique?

I subscribe to the same school of thought. People have short enough attentions spans, so if you can get the right slogan on enough T-shirts, then people will pay attention. Unfortunately, they're as long lived as they are long. It won't be long until it becomes part of pop culture and it loses all meaning. Look at Ed Hardy. Because his art is everywhere now, traditional tattoo art has little to no meaning anymore. It has to be seriously profound and intuitive to be a good tattoo nowadays. Something like Reg's Atheist Flower Tat.

Let's take it a step further than that, H - let's look at AT&T. There was a time, in America, in which AT&T ruled the world, their motto was, "We may be the only phone company in town, but we try not to act like it." Bullshit!

Ultimately, the Supreme Court determined that AT&T was a monopoly, and ordered it to disband. It divested itself of its four localized telephone companies, known as the "Baby Bells. In time, Southwestern Bell Telephone, once a subsidiary of AT&T, but now an independent telephone company, serving the South and Southwest, bought the then defunct AT&T, and changed it's name - you'll never guess to what: AT&T.

Last week, the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, which all of Texas paid to build, was renamed: AT&T stadium - the Phoenix has risen!

Yes, people have short attention spans - this is what politicians count on.

@Bob - Suzanne is hurt and angry - Sorry to disappoint you Bob, never been hurt when I was a catholic, maybe I just got out in time, and I am very happy about how the catholic church is now under intense scrutiny, from people all around the world.

With the fabulous Ireland, the only country to actually give the boot to the vatican. Wow, how courageous is that. The only country with enough spine to want to protect it's children from rampant pedophilia, hiding behind the protection of the catholic church. Yahooo!

I am so glad you are here on this Atheist site, Bob. You show why the catholic church has escaped scrutiny for so long - ducking and weaving @Bob- pedophilia is all over the world, not just the catholic church - I don't know if you have noticed, Bob, but you are a fundamentalist catholic on an Atheist site, the catholic church has covered up pedophile abuse, no other organization or business has gone to the extreme lengths where the corporation of the catholic church has gone to protect criminals. Do you know of another organization that has gone to the lengths of protection that the catholic church has? And that are legally untouchable.

@Bob - Let's just keep this a thread for those curious about what I, or fellow Catholics like me, really believe/teach - there is nothing like an arrogant christian - I already know what makes you tick, you are a fundamentalist catholic - so, what does that mean -

1. Women will never have any authority in the church - that will be in the total control of old, power hungry, controlling, misogynist men, that's besides the protected pedophile priests, of course.

2. The catholic hierarchy will never allow women to choose when and how many babies they will have - this by the way, Bob, is the most ignored doctrine in civilized countries where women are treated as equal, and the women are educated, another reason why your church is losing it's power, by ignoring the health and happiness of women.

3. Celibacy will never be rescinded, even though it causes horrendous repercussions to children and to priests. The following is a site to help ex priests, and there are loads of sites, around the world for priests leaving the church.

Gay sex is terrific by me, and tolerated by the church, pedophilia is also OK within the catholic church, boy children don't count. But sex with those dreadful, whoring sirens, that is not OK.

http://www.leavingthepriesthood.com/

Ireland and the UK also has a De-Baptism programme going - Nah, Bob, very happy :)

@Bob - Bernard Law - resigned as Archbishop of Boston in December 2002 at the peak of the sexual abuse scandals in the United States. His appointment as Archpriest of St. Mary Major in 2004 brought criticism from advocates for abuse victims - typically, morals, justice, go out the window.

Catholics that are criminals just can't get away with, what they used to. Bright light shining into dark places now, Bob. Crimes can't be hidden for too long now, Bob. Law played musical chairs with the priests he knew to be raping children. It is beyond Law to repent in any way shape or form. Instead he has gone after a group of nuns who are actually helping the poor. Criminal conduct, immoral, but, he is above the law, and these men hiding behind the stained cloth of the catholic church, know it.

Law and processes to protect the accused are hard - No, Bob, the vatican is now protected because of Mussolini - how does that stand with you. These protectors of pedophiles crawl off to the vatican, to be protected, that is why they go there. Law didn't stay in America, why is that do you think? I am not talking about lynching, I am talking about these vermin facing court - for protecting criminals, Accessory after the Fact.

"Vatican Crimes" - Vatican Foreign Minister Monsignor Dominique Mamberti. “It’s quite the papal pickle that His Holiness has placed upon our heads. Sex crimes are more illegal than ever, but technically it’s illegal to report them.

This was also reported in Australian newspapers, and in a documentary about the vatican. I also think Francis didn't know how devious this actually is. But, as I have said before, the catholics around him, will try and stop him from making any great changes. So, because secular people expose crimes committed by catholics makes it insignificant? if not for secular and good catholic people trying to save their church, the criminals would still be raping children, laundering money, and living a very happy life. Instead, secular people and good catholics are exposing the cancer in their midst and want them out.

@Suzanne aren't answering are what your views are as atheists, and what your evidence for them is

And NO, having sex with children is NEVER OK. Children are supposed to be protected by adults, children depend on adults, children do as they are asked, assuming that adults are going to protect them. So, you think in days gone by, children would have been OK with having sex with an adult male. He had to, it meant his survival, he had NO CHOICE. Watch a few interviews with victims of pedophilia and tell me again, they didn't mind. You put yourself in the shoes of a child, having sex with an adult male, besides the psychological damage caused, many children had to be taken to hospital - guess what for???

I actually think we get a lot more documentaries about the catholic church here, than you do. There is something about the crimes of the vatican, or crimes by priests, every other day.

We also get many interviews from victims of rape by priests, and the effect it had on their lives, as there is an Australia wide enquiry into just how many children were raped, and that is in it's thousands.

@How's that working out for women in Saudi Arabia? - Oh, please Bob, don't leave out the women of the Philippines, don't leave out the women of Nigeria, don't leave out the women of Haiti - only the wealthy and educated women have contraception, ignoring the 'teachings' of the church - while the poor uneducated women, with no contraception, continue to be malnourished, have malnourished sick babies, and watch their babies die. All because of your church Bob.

The following is an excerpt from a catholic site - http://catholiceducation.org/articles/population/pc0007.html

By allowing contraception, we're destroying their societal structures. Haitian families often have eight children or more. Their infant mortality rate is so high, only 50% survive to age five. Still more perish before age 15. A couple starting with eight children can expect only two to three to survive to adulthood. These parents rely on their children to provide for them in their old age. In Haiti there is no social security check. They have very little food, clean water, few jobs, little hope. By imposing our contraceptive imperialism on them, we are taking away their families -

If this is not arrogant, unbelievable, horrendous, dangerous, repercussions for women, all deemed from on high, by old men, and the really intolerable thing is, you agree with this.
So, yes, I know what makes a fundamentalist catholic tick - you are just re-enforcing why I am now an Atheist. If your religion "Did No Harm" - there wouldn't be a problem - but your catholic church does immeasurable harm.

Bob, 

You have put yourself out there, which I respect. I have read through the thread, mostly reading just your responses. 

The one that stands out is the Latin credo you refer to, (now on page 9 of responses)

If it helps you, though, Credo in Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae.  Et in Jesum Christum, Filium ejus unicum, Dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus mortus et sepultus, descendit ad infernos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis, ascendit ad caelos, sedit ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis.  Inde venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos. Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam aeternam.

Translates to 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried, He descended into hell, the third day He rose again from the dead, He ascended into heaven, sitteth on the right hand of God. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

I won't pick it apart, others are better at that than I. 

So here is my question, Dr. Bob: You do seemed informed and intelligent, and often ready to dismiss parts of the Bible. You use it as a "favorite text". What distinguishes your own faith from a fancy form of Deism if you so readily throw the information out? 

Also, I expect you have some awareness that putting through saints will become harder and harder since miracles are being explained by science these days. As we go back to take a closer look at "miracles" that have already happened, can't we discount those, too? Can you see the saints still being held holy in the future when we know that anyone exhibiting their actions today would be institutionalized and likely medicated?

You also know that intelligent and dedicated people have been excommunicated, just when they have been leading the progress you have referred to several times. Would you stand for something so strongly that you would risk excommunication?

Roy Bourgeois, a male priest from Louisianan, no less, Excommunicated for overseeing the Ordination of a Female Priest? Oh the horror. Women can't teach the word of God, They might see something that us men don't see, and that just wont do.

RE: "Women can't teach the word of God, They might see something that us men don't see, and that just wont do." - that's not the issue, H, men just don't want to lose control.

I recall, in sixth grade, sitting at my little desk, thinking, I was a White, male, American - life just doesn't get any better than that! Fortunately, over the years, I have recovered from that delusion.

men just don't want to lose control.

A blurb from an article about Bergoglio's Brazil tour. Full link here.

His Holiness’s following statements about women were rigid and clear. There would not be female priests, he decreed: “That door is closed.” It was the first time Francis has spoken about publicly on women in the priesthood, and it sent the Vatican right back into the dark ages again. He allowed that women have a special mission in the Church as "first witnesses" of Christ's resurrection. But as for becoming priests, forget it. 

What a kind and progressive pope he is...

Why would a woman want to be a priest?

Well, I suppose there's one good thing about it: being not male, at least she'd be safe from sexual harassment from her superiors.

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