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So I am new at all this. I am going through a phase where I am unsure if I am still a Christian or not. I don't believe in the bible but I believe in a higher power... I just so happen to stumble across this and was curios. I always thought that atheist were the ones who worships the devil and wore black and danced around at night casting spells on people. That is what I was taught. Boy was I wrong. I have been friends with an atheist for like 10 years and just found out LOL.

Anyways, I have 3 amazing children. They are not baptized because I want them to make that decision for themselves. Yes, it did throw a big rock in the water when I put my foot down on that. But they believe in God and Jesus. When asked how babies are made I told them God took a little of mommies heart and a little of daddies heart and made a baby and put it in my belly. When my nephew died 1 day shy of being 3 months I was asked, mommy why did he die? As hurt as I was I said well sometimes God needs baby angels. So every year we write messages Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, etc. on balloons and let them go in the sky so he can see them in Heaven.

Now that I am on the fence on if I am still a Christian or not, I have no idea what to do about my children. Do I pull them away from it all? We don't go to church because I don't believe I HAVE to go to a church to praise God. But how do I interfere with what my children believe? Should I just keep doing what i'm doing and let them decided when they get a little older or what? My whole family are Christians and God comes up a lot. My family stays out of religious discussions with me because I always have something to say to contradict what they are talking about.


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One of the hard parts of being an occasional visitor here, @Dustin, is that far too often my posts result in a hijack of the underlying thread.   So let's let this one return to @Savannah's topic. 

If you want to start a topic on views of Hell, or whether it's really honest to dismiss all Catholicism because we have had members who were rapists (or all American democracy because we have had torturers and genocidal leaders, or all scientists because we have had some who falsified data, or... ), then feel free to spin one off.

Hi Bob,

My own reasoning wouldn't lead me to General Relativity or Quantum Mechanics.  I absorbed those things over time in prolonged study within a community.  It required that I set aside my own reasoning and "common sense" a fair bit, in order to take up and fully appreciate what the physics community meant by those things, rather than just dismiss them as fairy tales.

Once again your analogy to the world of Physics does not stand up. I will agree that we need to “think” differently when it comes to understanding General Relativity when we are used to viewing the world through the Newtonian model. We can grasp the concepts of Quantum Mechanics even if no-one fully understands it, (to paraphrase Feynman). However even down these strange rabbit holes we do have observable data that can be reproduced in order to help us understand, such as the double slit experiment. We can use Bayesian theory to advance our understanding of QM by changing our views when experiments tell us something new. We can now use wave theory to decide Schrodinger’s cat is either dead or alive based upon observation rather than in both states simultaneously. That is the beauty of the Scientific Method.

There have been no signs for the existence of any God, ever. Anything that has ever been offered as evidence has turned out to be nothing but a tired and worn out argument or a purely subjective opinion.

….or not aware of other data, or are just caught up in our own biases or desires.

Exactly Bob. You have no data for your God. All you ever offer us is your own opinion of what emanates from the theological echo chambers of Catholicism. I have asked you on various occasions over the last year or so to define your God to us. The one that you never seem to doubt the existence of. Yes, we all suffer from biases and look to get them confirmed more often than we allow them to be challenged but you seem unwilling to allow yours to be scrutinized whereas Savannah and others have been more than candid with theirs.

So who is this God Bob that you appear to have data for? Will you share it with us? If not, will you be honest enough to admit that you have no data and that it is all just faith based? If you wish to suggest that your faith is a “reasoned faith” then please allow us to see what you have used to reason your way to God.

Finally, and this is not meant to be a facetious question, even if it a first sounds that way – what distinguishes your form of Catholicism from that of your “fundamentalist brethren”?

Hi @Reg. If you like, let's spun this off somewhere else, so that @Savannah's thread isn't trampled.

Ok will do so Bob. I will post a separate topic soon.

As Pope Francis says, the only people who don't have occasional doubts aren't really Christians...

Popes have to play two very different roles.

To those under them in the hierarchy and to observant Catholics, their words ("about faith only!" Bob will protest) are law and must be obeyed.

To all others, popes' words are an art form intended to conceal the reality of what those who are under him do and say.

In short, popes are public relations folk who know which lies will help Catholicism rule and which truths will not.

To those under them in the hierarchy and to observant Catholics, their words ("about faith only!" Bob will protest) are law and must be obeyed.


To all others, popes' words are an art form intended to conceal the reality of what those who are under him do and say.


There's no "under him", except perhaps those employed in the Roman Curia.  They mostly don't say much.  They're bureaucrats.  Accountants and support personnel and such.  Like bureaucrats everywhere, they're occasionally corrupt, often just competent, rarely exceptional. 

In short, popes are public relations folk who know which lies will help Catholicism rule and which truths will not.

Ah, we're back to conspiracy theories!  Who are we "ruling"?  A whole bunch of volunteer priests and nuns in Vatican City who can quit any time they want?


Bob, a reply will dignify your efforts at PR.

I'm not engaged in public relations.  I'm just another human participant in a discussion forum. 

That was a reply.  The notion that pope's words are law and must be obeyed by observant Catholics is false.   The only people "under" the pope in the organizational sense meant by that are bureaucrats in the Roman Curia.  As far as I know, Catholicism doesn't "rule" anywhere outside of Vatican city. 

Those things are just objective reality.  I'm sorry if they contradict your prejudice.

I'm not engaged in public relations.  I'm just another human participant in a discussion forum.

Hm-mm, I'm remembering the two words that South Carolina's Representative Wilson hurled at President Obama during a State of the Union address.

Hi @Savannah.  I hear and appreciate your sentiments.  In a few ways I share them.  If you're open to it, though, let me offer some comments on places where your data is incorrect, and perhaps some comments from the other side.

Neither I nor any Catholic worship the pope.  Respect him?  Sometimes.   Sometimes not.  Recognize him as a leader?  Sure. 

Have some popes and many bishops been corrupt?  Sure.  So have some presidents and many congressmen.  It is wrong to take money for "forgiveness", absolutely.   At the same time, it would also be wrong not to forgive a criminal or a "mobster" who was truly penitent, just because we wanted revenge or otherwise wanted to hold on to our hate when we should be helping someone change their life.

Popes don't move priests to another church.  We're a big, worldwide organization.  A pope knowing about and moving an individual priest would be like the CEO of General Motors making a personnel decision about a line worker at a supplier's plant in Brazil.   Local priests are assigned by a local bishop.  Some local bishops, like the former bishop of Boston, were arrogant, heartless pricks who should be hung for their lack of care for kids.  Others are really good and godly men.  Many are simply venial CEO-types.

I think it's safe to say that almost no one in the Catholic community tithes 10% of their earnings.  I've been on finance teams in multiple parishes and diocese, and out of tens of thousands of people I know of 4 who did so.  It's a biblical admonition, but certainly not a requirement.

As to giving them food, clothes, shelter, etc.  Catholic Charities worldwide, Catholic Social Services in the U.S. and many other groups do exactly that.  Our church is caring for about a quarter of the AIDS victims in Africa.  We've also founded more schools and colleges than any other secular or religious entity.   Most of the charity hospitals in the US are Catholic, and while they've become increasingly secular and corporate in recent years, many still try to adhere to their original mission in small to mid-sized ways.  So there's good with the bad.

I walk into church in worn clothes all the time.  A lot of weekends I'm out doing charitable field work, and I and my friends don't have time to get gussied up.  I've never been turned away; indeed, I've always been welcomed, except perhaps for an occasional snooty old couple in a neighboring pew.

Some Catholics are judgmental, I will agree.  Many of us will be among the first to "go to Hell" if you believe in that sort of thing in a literal sense, absolutely.  Dante put many of the popes in the Inferno.

We're not particularly godly.  The pope isn't necessarily great. 



Final words of Jesus?  Have you been reading some online fiction written by yet another conspiracy theorist whack job?   Puhlease.   Eric Holder is also a space alien, right?

Sheesh.  I was taking this comment seriously up until this point.  No doubt we eat babies and have secret rituals which possessed President Obama and caused him to end the U.S. manned space program so that our Russian Orthodox allies would be ahead in the quest to find the holy relics of St. Jehosphat on Mars that will cause all atheists to turn into green turnips.

Hi @Savannah,

If you tell me the name of the the Catholic parish near you that you think turns people away because of clothing I would be glad to give their pastor a call.  Heck, if I'm close enough I'll bring a bunch of grubby college students with me for mass.  Around here (university student parish) I think almost all of our congregants are in jeans and T-shirts.  I'm not saying there aren't occasional jerks out there.  We've got a lot of people, and that means that we've also got a lot of jerks.  What you describe is neither our teaching nor something that is at all common.

Presidents take an oath to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States" so help them God. ;-)  Usually on a bible.

I'm not sure what sort of bowing you're talking about.  I have Asian colleagues, and I bow to them all the time (then we shake hands).  Bowing, genuflecting, etc. are just signs of respect, not acts of worshiping a human.   "Praise the pope" is just an expression (and not a common one; I've never really heard anybody use it), not an act of worship. 

In the end, we all can choose to believe all sorts of things about other groups of people who are different from us, but isn't it better to begin by trying to understand, rather than condemn?

I'm not sure what sort of bowing you're talking about.  I have Asian colleagues, and I bow to them all the time (then we shake hands).

I'll bow with Asians, too, but it doesn't mean the same thing in the west. The cultural difference matters.


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