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Monday, May 3, 2010

Why I Am Leaving Catholicism

Though I have not filed a Actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica, it should be clear to many that I have left the Catholic Church. None in the Church has yet ask me why I have left (which is a matter of curiosity and some concern to me), however, I feel it is good to let these things be known.

I should start at the beginning to tell what caused me to question the Catholic Church. When I was a child, I was raised as a Catholic but found little use for it as I became an older teen and young adult. I abandoned it in favor of the moral relativism I found in the media and among some of my "funner" friends. Somehow I was never able to shake the idea that there was a god out there, but as in the movie The Devil's Advocate, I found him an "absentee landlord." I stopped attending service and basically became a hedonist. After I'd had enough of the ill effects of the hedonism lifestyle and felt like settling down with the woman I love, I returned to Church attendance primarily in exchange for being allowed to have my wedding there (I'm sorry, but that's the honest truth), but after my wedding, I gradually fell away again.

In all this, I remained a Catholic in name. I considered myself a Catholic and was considered a Catholic (though at times non-practicing or non-attending).

One evening, alone in my back yard looking up to the sky, I asked this "God" character to give me a sign that he was really out there.  The next day, I found out that the beginning of Genesis was true (that is, historically accurate, as opposed to being allegory, metaphor, etc).  Nearly instantaneously, I became enthralled with the whole Bible, with religion, science, and a host of other things that now were so clear and full of life.  The Bible became so clear and explained so much. But then, I felt something else...I felt disgust.  Everywhere I looked was evil.  I was living in a broken world.  So I clung to God and the Church. 

There were times when I heard, in sermons at the Church things that I questioned (at least I had actually started listening).  But nearly always forgot by the time I left or it wasn't a big deal because I thought the priest was just a man and I knew where to get the truth anyways.  I pondered this while overlooking my Creationist buddies speaking ill of my Church.  At least I overlooked them for a while.

For how long can you go with people saying that your Church is full of lies before you stand up and say, "No it isn't!"  So that's what I set out to do.  I was reading Answers in Genesis's Logical Fallacies series and I was getting good at finding these strewn throughout Evolutionist attacks on Creationism.  I expected to be able to knock down these criticisms from anti-Catholics in their own reasoning (and had that been what I found, you would see that here instead of this); What I didn't expect was to find was these self same fallacies strewn throughout Catholic reasoning on these issues, but that is precisely what I found. But not only did I find that most of the defenses against these accusations contained logical fallacies, I have been completely unable to find or create any valid (that is, without resorting to logical fallacies myself) defenses for many of the issues. 

Oh, and do be sure, there are some things the Catholic Church can claim as Biblically supported.  And this only makes things more difficult.  For instance, the Bible is very clear that homosexuality is an abomination and that killing children (even in the womb) is despicable.  The Catholic Church concurs.  But I can't have a textbook with mixed truths and untruths.  That there are truths in the Catholic Church does not vindicate it from the many seeming untruths.

Now, and listen carefully because this is the hard part for me, I have tried my hardest to vindicate to my eyes the position of the Catholic Church.  I spent 6 months in correspondence with a priest on one issue alone trying to justify the Catholic position without fallacy.  It was very logical for me to do so fullheartedly.  From my parent's downward, my entire family is Catholic (and a good portion going up).  By finding out that the much of Catholic Church's doctrine cannot be validated and seems well to contradict Scripture, I am forced to separate myself from them at times I would rather not because I love them.  By being aware that many of the practices of the Catholic Church offend God by their pagan roots, I am forced to abandon things I have found very enjoyable in the past (e.g. Easter Egg Hunts, role-playing Santa under an evergreen handing gifts to the children) and once again am separated from my family that I love.  And I mention my family, but the majority of my friends also wander after the Catholic Church. 

Many of the complaints against Catholicism which I have been unable to validly resolve (in favor of Catholic doctrine) are issues in which the Catholic position impugns the character of God.  The Saturday/Sunday position impugns God's unchanging law.  The transubstantiation position impugns God's promise of return.  The eternal suffering for the unrepentant position impugns God's goodness.  The icons/images/statues position impugns God's countenance.  The Mary mediatrix position impugns God's self assigned role.  The penance/indulgence position impugns God's sacrifice.  The veneration/adoration/reverence (of saints, clergy and relics) position impugns God's glory and incites His jealousy.  And the trinitarian position impugns God's distinctive singularity.  All of these come from what is called "Sacred Tradition,"  impugn God's truth and must offend Him immensely.  If I could say only one of these, it would be more than enough reason to leave any church (these are just the only ones I can think of off the top of my head, not even mentioning doctrine that is harmful to church members directly).  But I can say all of these in confidence.

I hope everyone reading this will understand that I am not meaning this to attack, judge or belittle anyone, but only to explain my own actions.  God knows the hearts of everyone and I certainly am not entitled to judge the heart of anyone else.  God wants us all to live in truth.  I want to live in truth and this is why I have left the Catholic Church.

8 comments:

flobi said...

I would be happy to discuss any issue anyone would like to bring to me in email (flobi@flobi.com). If any of these positions can be demonstrated valid without fallacy, I will be delighted to remove them from my list. However, I would not have a debate on my comments here please.

Sarah said...

Josh,
I have no desire to get into a religious debate AT ALL! However, I do want to bring one thing to you that I've been thinking about saying to you for a long time. I grew up in a family where my dad refused to set foot into the church where my mom, my brother, and I went. In my entire life, I can only think of two times that he was there, and it was purely out of protest, as was made very apparent to me, a child, in his very attitude. I am not going to say if I agree or disagree with what you think, but, in what you believe, there is now a rift between you and your family, as you stated. Please be very careful to consider your daughter in your choices of religious practice. In my experience, it's very akin to a broken home to have a parent missing on Sunday morning. I am not saying that you have done anything that is wrong in that respect; in fact, I have no idea. I'm just bringing it to your attention so that you can be sensitive to it. It's not something that you had to see as a child, but I did, and it can be devastating. Oh, and I didn't ask you why you had left the Catholic church because I didn't know you had left. I guess I thought it was more stepping back or something like that. Now, those being said, we love you, all of you.

Mary Henning said...

I understand. God has brought me through a search for HIM and in finding HIM, more like, His finding me again, I have also left. It's interesting to be married to a Catholic when one does not agree or believe everything that the spouse does. We're supporting each other (easiest way to define/describe our marriage). Anyway, the only problem I had was the trinitarian issue. God is God. Jesus is HIS Son, sent to Earth to reunite us to God. The Holy Ghost is our Comforter, as promised by Jesus. I have heard different debates on this, but Scripture backs it up! Believing God and His Word is the most wonderful life I know! I will be praying for you, as this is difficult, but rejoicing with you for finding what we all search for: God Himself! God bless you!

flobi said...

Thank you for replying, Sarah. My daughter is one of my primary concerns in this. I do understand the potential of the situation you mentioned which part of the reason why I decided that I must be totally open with exactly why I am doing these things I do.

flobi said...

Thank you also, Mary, for replying. If you find an article, sans-fallacy defending the *Catholic position* on the Trinity, I would be happy to read it and remove that item from my list, but please email it (or PM in facebook if you like). I prefer to not have debates in my comments.

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

I'd love it if you come and join our discussions on Little Catholic Bubble. You might find a lot of similarities in our upbringing (my reversion story is at the top).

Blessings!

Flobi said...

Leila,
I appreciate your comment. I read your reversion story but really didn't find much in common with it. When I was raised (since you raised the subject), I went to a school that took teaching Catholic doctrine very seriously. The CCD at the church was also run by people (many of the same people) who were well informed and eager (not to say that cute cutouts of parables didn't happen, but it didn't end there). When I said I, "found no use for it," it was not for ignorance but for apathy.

As for the discussions on your site, I also appreciate the invitation, but I've read the past month or so of posts (a couple of them I really only skimmed over though) and don't really see anything I have much comment on.

flobi said...

(Note, yes that is me, I've switched email accounts since blogger lets me use my main domain email to login with.)