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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That's what written history and world news are for.

And just how often do people pay attention to either?

Every swing of the political pendulum is people repeating a mistake that happened only 20 years ago.  At least in someone's view.  (Of course one can argue about which direction the mistaken swings are in!)

Those who do not learn from the past, are doomed to repeat it. Those who don't bother to learn the past at all, are doomed to make even stupider mistakes.

This is where Education and Freedom of Information comes in. I believe that Education should be free, and compulsory for everyone. There's really no reason for any adult in the world to not have at least a bachelors degree or equivalent. And it's in the best interest of the world for everyone to be educated and informed, so nobody should have any problem in paying the taxes for it.

I believe in a world where education is free, and unbridled, destructive greed and ambition is punished severely.

One positive thing about the infiltration of African nations, If the pedo Priests don't follow their own crazy talk, they may be dumb enough to order condoms, seeing as how the market is so shallow in Africa thanks to the Church. Either they quickly catch aids and die, or the authorities track a trail of rubbers.

A poem, by Alan Walker, now in his 50's, a victim of childhood sexual abuse:

Alan Walker suffered terrible sexual abuse throughout his childhood, beginning during his preschool years when he was raped by teenage boys. When Alan was 11, a family friend abducted him, terrorizing and sexually molesting him for a week. His alcoholic stepfather was emotionally and physically abusive. There was no one to turn to as his life became a living hell of sexual abuse at the hands of dozens of molesters.

Alan is physically scarred and broken now, and damaged in spirit. He is learning to deal with the horrors of the abuse he suffered. But he will always remember the terror of being hurt with no one to help. He has written a plea from his heart:

What are you doing to me? You don’t love me!
Can you not see that you are passing on the confusion that is in your mind, to my mind?
Please stop it now before it is too late!
You are NOT loving me — you are sexually abusing me.
I don’t want to become like you.
You have no right!
If you really love me, stop having sex with me —
I’m just a child!

But you're right, Bob, we can minimize the ill effects of pedophilia by enthusiastically supporting it, so pass me a 9-year old, so I can get started - PS, unlike priests, I prefer girls. Don't happen to have a 9-year old daughter, do you?

You know, that IS a curiosity - while doubtless some cases of priestly molestations of girls must surely exist, all I've ever heard of, have been that of little boys - curious that that should be the case, among an order of men who have chosen to spend their lives in the company of other men.

(And no - before I start getting nasty comments - I'm not suggesting that gay males are naturally pedophiles, any more than straight males are, only that it goes against nature for ANY man or woman to volunteer for a lifetime of abstinence, and when one runs across a group that does, one should begin looking for other problems, as well.)

Now that is a powerful poem...open your ears Professor Robert, open your mind, hear that pain, feel it...THAT is the TRUTH of your religion.

But isn't this more about violent gang rape than the kind of sexual abuse we were trying to talk about?

No. The act may be different, but the effect is the same. No matter what kind of sexual abuse one endures, the betrayal, pain and damage is the same. It may come in varying degrees of severity, but so do burns. The treatment is the same.

The burns analogy makes sense to me, but only in the sense that severity does matter, in terms of both pain and recovery.

I still think pedophilia is morally wrong. I just don't see scholarly evidence yet to prove it, scientifically. So it seems that people (including myself, and even Kris) are taking a strong, moral stance against something, and are (as yet) unable to explain why in empirical terms. So far in this debate, Robert 0, Us 0. All the sources of data I've read so far either lead to some other source of data, or inform conclusions that a biased researcher clearly expected to find.

Why can't we find an original source of scholarly study? Is it because we're blocked by a search engine bubble? A research ignorance bubble? A taboo bubble?

Whoa, slow down! There's so much condiment and spice posts coming, I've lost the beef.

Seriously, this thread now demonstrates emotional panic rather than rational problem solving. The effects of pedophilia on the children... seriously, is there not enough evidence to be found?

By the way, I should apologize ahead of time in case I've not yet come to substantive posts, among the sudden spurt of a hundred or so posts. I will keep plowing through them...

Please can you comment on the veracity of this......click me...

On the subject of pedophilia in a less academic sense, I started a new thread

Bob, the thing you need to consider even more than you have already, is that you and your brethren have created one of the most successful pedophile delivery systems known to history. I am not aware of any other system that has done so more effectively. Since you seem to have done some research on the subject, perhaps you might know of some that perform that function better than the Catholic Church.

I am 99% sure that it was done so inadvertently, but you and yours are left with the aftermath of 2000 years of development that you did not make yourself. 

If you were to start your faith over again today, systemically, would you have built it this way? No checks and balances, free passes for problem makers, constituents kept blind from transgressions--This system was built for not just pedos, but con men of many stripes. 

Open your eyes to not just the good individuals you personally know and work with, but the system that is sick from the inside. You have compared it to may other systems, but why does yours produce this singular side effect? 

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