Friendly reminder that just because a worship song, etc. elicits an emotional response does not mean it’s good, godly, or theologically sound. We need to hold tighter to the truth than to our feelings.
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If someone wanted to learn more about Catholicism and its basic beliefs, customs, etc. where should they start?
There is no right answer to this and everyone has their opinion, but because you came to me, I will give you mine!
First, don't be intimidated by how complicated some people may make it seem. Kids are sometimes better at understanding the faith (what *really* matters about the faith) than we adults are.
Secondly, I would stay away from learning from Catholics who "grew up Catholic" but no longer practice. We Catholics went through a period where people were not taught their faith properly. There were generations of misunderstandings lukewarm Catholics who cherry-pick what they want to believe, etc. Instead, I would turn to actual Church resources and people you know are serious about practicing and understanding their faith.
FOR AN OVERVIEW: Many would say the Catechism is the best place to start. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is literally the book that explains what it means to be Catholic, why we believe what we believe and do what we do. However, the Catechism can be wordy and difficult to understand for some. You can read the whole thing for free here. A slightly easier to digest version is the Catholic Catechism for Adults, which can be purchased here. Intimidated still? A non-intimidating GREAT book for an overview is called Waking Up Catholic: A Guide to Catholic Beliefs for Converts, Reverts, and Anyone Becoming Catholic by Chad Torgerson.
FOR ANSWERS TO SPECIFIC QUESTIONS: I am a reader, and books/websites are the first port of call when I want to learn about something about my faith. My favorite website for this is Catholic.com, also known as Catholic Answers. It has articles that answer a bunch of questions by trained apologists for the Catholic Church. In other words, they are professionals in knowing and explaining the Catholic faith. These apologists have a bookstore too that I HIGHLY recommend.
TO LEARN ABOUT CUSTOMS/TRADITIONS SPECIFICALLY: Wanna know why Catholics do the thing where they make a cross on themselves? Why we dip our fingers in water before entering a church? Why we do the stand-sit-kneel thing at church? Why we have a period called Lent where we tend to give up things? These are less important than learning about the faith itself, but you may still be curious about it. Some of my favorite books for this are Signs of Life by Scott Hahn, Catholicism for Dummies, Why is That in Tradition? by Patrick Madrid, and Why do Catholics Do That? by Kevin Johnson.
NOT A READER? WANT MORE?: There is an actual program that adults can go through to understand the Catholic faith and is available at pretty much any Catholic parish called RCIA. This is a class people take before becoming Catholic, HOWEVER you do not have to become Catholic at the end if you just want to take it to learn more. Another option to learn more is a video series called the Symbolon - it is incredible. The first part is learning about the faith, and the second part is about how Catholics practice their faith. I can give you a code to watch it on Formed (a streaming app for Catholic media) for free if you are interested. Another series that focuses on the beauty of Catholicism is to watch the Catholicism Series by Bishop Robert Barron.
CATHOLICISM IN A PARAGRAPH: God is Love, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Himself. God is three persons - God the Father and God the Son love each other so intensely and perfectly that their Love is actually a third person, the Holy Spirit. Because God is Love, He wanted to create beings (who He calls His children) to receive His Love. Because true love is not forced, God allowed humanity the option to reject His love, which they did. This damaged humanity's relationship with God in a way that we humans could not fix ourselves, and made our world "fallen" - we have sickness, death, and a tendency to sin. God never wanted that for us, and knew that our sin was too great for us to heal ourselves. Instead, He sent His Son (who we call Jesus) to become a human man while still remaining God, who came to reconcile us with God. Humanity put Jesus to death on a cross, but God used this as the means with which He would save us. By Jesus dying, He defeated the finality of death and opened Heaven (eternal life after death, bliss with God) up for us by His sacrifice. He rose from the dead after 3 days in the tomb to show us that death was defeated and that our barrier to intimacy with God was broken. Jesus instituted a Church while He was still on earth, giving His apostles the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit (that person who was created by the love between God the Father and Son) and authority to teach and guide His people after He returned to Heaven. He selected one specific apostle, Peter, to be the head of His church on earth, and to shepherd and guide His Church until He (Jesus) returns on judgment day. Each successor of the apostles is a priest, and each successor of Peter is called the pope. We access the God's Grace through what we call sacraments, . Through accessing the sacraments and engaging in prayer we are able to develop a personal, intimate, and life-giving relationship with all three members of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). If we radically accept and trust in God's Mercy in accepting Christ's sacrifice for our salvation, we may live in eternal peace and joy and love with God in Heaven.
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what if I did a saga on here reading the shitty-ass apologetics books my parents have on our shelves. just seeing the worst of the worst of this kind of stuff and documenting it. I think that’d be fun, maybe it could be my shtick here. if I do though I’d need a book to start with
“has christianity failed you” by ravi zacharias (ew) caught my attention, and also “inside the atheist mind” by anthony destefano sounds like an absolute trainwreck considering what christians think atheists are like. if anyone wants to suggest something I can search our house, there’s literally so much of this shit here
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I’ll never have time in my day to listen to religious apologetics. That shit is just straight up poison and our society makes far too many concessions for it.
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People who never read the Bible:
“Jesus sAiD dOnt jUdGe!”
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” Jo 7:24
“Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6 (how can you know who are the dogs or pigs if you “can’t” judge?)
“But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister, but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked person from among you." 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 (Notice here that when Jesus ate with sinners he was presenting the salvation to them, saying “follow my commandments and sin no more”, here we see Paul saying that when you already CALL yourself a Christian and keep living in sin, this is unacceptable, because you already know the truth.)
And Jesus declared to the adulterous woman "Go and from now on, sin no more." Or when he found the man he healed at the Temple and he said “Look, you are well now. Do not sin anymore so that nothing worse happens to you.” (If I, as a Christian, say it to someone inside or outside the church, they will mostly reply with “let people live their lives the way they want and stop JuDgiNG others”… So are you rebuking Jesus, too?)
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Secularization in Christians these days show how ego driven they are, especially in terms of their contradictive mentalities and actions, for how they act, when they're tepid and engrossed in their laws, instead of being lukewarm and the complete opposite of what they stand for.
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I kept quiet at the time as I didn't want to sow discord or start a debate, but my Protestant friend pointed out to the other friend we were with that "Catholics aren't allowed to choose how many kids they have," and I just don't know how to gently respond to that. We welcome all children as a gift from God, and marriage is sacramental... idk what else to say?? It's not about God "not allowing" us freedom lol. And that God's design for marriage says to be fruitful and multiply. Sigh. Sorry for the rant, I'm just tired and exhausted and feel like I missed an opportunity to step up and share our beliefs accurately and struggled with how to gently correct them and stayed silent as I anticipated it would start a fight. God bless.
I am going to be honest, I had a hard time answering this one, because there are so many different direction with which one can go. I think the first thing to do when someone brings something like that up, whether it's this specific thing or about all the "rules" that Catholics have to follow, is to point out of course that marriage is sacramental, it is a vow before God, but that also God is our ultimate moral authority, not ourselves.
God, in our belief being omniscient and omnipotent, means that it isn't that our choice doesn't matter, but that there is something better out there than our narrow time-centered view of the world. It is in getting married that one gives consent to have children, whether that's one or five or twenty or even none. I think it's often overlooked that the faithful Catholics that are entering marriage, still have "ideal" number of children, and can more or less stick to that. If you feel you aren't ready to have another child, abstain from sex during ovulation. You are still open to children, because conception is still a shallow possibility, but you are not actively trying to have children. I think the idea that "you have to be open to children always" turns into, in the secular world, that you have to be always trying to get pregnant, which is just blatantly false.
While I love apologetics, I am not married nor called to that sacrament, and so I think some insight from someone who is a married Catholic would be appreciated on this post!
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can the church refuse baptism to a child of a queer couple? i am queer myself and i’m afraid that a child of mine could be denied salvation from original sin due to my perceived ‘sin’
I am taking "queer couple" to mean a same-sex couple, but if you had some other meaning let me know!
The short answer is that the church should not refuse your request to baptize the child as long as there is a commitment to raise the child in the Catholic faith. However, raising a child in the Catholic faith means raising them in the whole faith, and that does include teaching of sexual morality. I am aware that many people identify as Catholic while also disagreeing with the Church's teaching on same-sex marriage and same sex romantic/sexual relationships. I absolutely love those people because they are still trying to follow Christ even when they have yet to give themselves to Him fully. More than that, they persevere in their relationship with Christ even while feeling marginalized by Catholics who are uncharitable. I would invite you (and all those who do not agree with all the Church's teachings) to learn even more about why the Church teaches what it does, and learn more about what it means to believe in the Catholic Church as infallible, unchanging truth. That truth includes the fact that you are incredibly, indescribably loved, known beyond knowing, and created exactly as you are for a beautiful purpose.
Baptizing Children of Same-Sex Couples
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Back To Basics Lesson 09: Matters of Death and Life
Jesus' death at the cross is at the heart of Christian theology. Virtually all Christians understand Jesus died for our sins at Calvary and was resurrected three days later. However, what does that mean, exactly? Why should Jesus' death matter to us? Why should His resurrection matter? We are going to try to answer these questions in today's Bible study.
Let's read together Revelation 12:7-12; Job 1:6-12; John 14:30; Job 1:6-12; and Genesis 3:1-15.
In our last lesson we learned there is a great spiritual battle between Jesus and Satan. In this conflict, God's character is on trial. Satan accuses God of being arbitrary and unfair. He also claims it is impossible to follow God's laws. Humanity became a casualty in this ongoing war and is doomed to death without divine intervention. However, not all is lost, a Messiah was prophesied to save humanity.
Let's read together John 1:1, 14; Isaiah 53:2; Philippians 2:6-7; Romans 8:3-4; and 1 Peter 2:21-22.
Jesus answered Satan's accusations by setting aside His divinity and living on earth as a human like you and me. It may be impossible to understand how Jesus, who is 100% God, also became 100% human (1 Timothy 3:16). Yet, Jesus lived a human life in perfect obedience to God. Jesus went through the same struggles as the rest of us.
Jesus did not grow up with privilege. He was poor (John 1:46; 2 Corinthians 8:9). He had to learn a trade (Mark 6:3). Although we know Jesus was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:23), He had to deal with questions about his parentage (John 9:24). Jesus was constantly harassed and attacked by the Pharisees during His ministry (Matthew 11:19; Mark 2:16). Jesus was beaten and tortured (Mark 15:15). Jesus even faced temptation by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11).
Despite all of this, Jesus never sinned. He did not even raise His voice against those who mocked and accused Him (Isaiah 53:1-9). Jesus proved Satan wrong and showed the universe perfect obedience to God is possible.
Let's read together John 3:16; Psalm 22:1; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; Philippians 2:6-11; 1 John 2:2; and 1 John 4:10.
Imagine a murderer who decides to change his ways and lives like a humble saint for the rest of his life. He can do good works and be a credit to society, but he can never bring back the lives of those he murdered. In the same way, our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2). No matter what we do, we cannot atone for our sins on our own.
However, Jesus loves us so much, He is willing to give up His life for us to bridge that gap between us and God (Genesis 28:12).
It is impossible to overstate the magnitude of Jesus' sacrifice. A person may be willing to give up their life for someone they love or someone they believe is important (Romans 5:7). However, would you be willing to die for someone unworthy? A drug dealer? A murderer? We are all unworthy, wretched sinners in the eyes of God, yet Jesus was willing to exchange His righteous life for our unrighteous lives.
Jesus died the death we all deserve to give us a chance to live the life He deserves. Jesus's sacrifice on the cross is as relevant to us today as it was two thousand years ago.
Let's read together Romans 1:4, 3:25, 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 20-22; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Colossians 2:15; and Philippians 2:8-11.
Jesus' resurrection is proof Jesus' death is sufficient atonement for our sins. It also demonstrated decisively that Jesus overcame the power of sin and death (Acts 2:24). Jesus' resurrection is a rebuke to Satan's accusations against God.
Jesus' resurrection gives us all hope we can also have victory over sin and death. We can look forward to Jesus' second coming and judgment day without fear or trepidation.
God gave us His Son to save us from our sins. Jesus' life shows us obedience to God is possible. We can live just as Christ lived.
Jesus' death shows us the power of sin has been broken. We can be forgiven of all sins if we ask God for forgiveness and we accept Jesus' death on the cross as a substitute for us.
Jesus' resurrection gives us hope that we have life beyond this earthly death. His resurrection gives us the promise we can have victory over sin and the grave.
Friend, are you willing to proclaim the Gospel message of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection?
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by David Schrock | It’s been said that the best offense is a good defense. However, it is also true that if your defense spends too much time on the field, they will eventually fatigue and fold. For that reason, it is equally true that the best defense is a good offense...
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How Old Was Abraham When He Left Haran?
By Bible Researcher Eli Kittim 🎓
The Apparent Contradiction
There’s a seeming contradiction in the Bible concerning Abraham’s age when he left Haran. The apparent contradiction is as follows. If Terah died when he was 205 years old, but fathered Abram when he was 70, then Abram must have been 135 years old when his father Terah died (as Gen. 11.26, 32 suggest), not 75, as Gen. 12.4 indicates. For the story to work without any discrepancies, Terah would literally have to be 130 years old when he fathered Abram. But it seemed as if he were only 70 years old. Hence the apparent contradiction. Below are the relevant citations that appear to contradict each other.
Genesis 12.4 (ESV):
So Abram went, as the LORD had told him,
and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-
five years old when he departed from
And Stephen said: ‘Brothers and fathers,
hear me. The God of glory appeared to our
father Abraham when he was in
Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran.’
Then he went out from the land of the
Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his
father died, God removed him from there
into this land in which you are now living.
When Terah had lived 70 years, he fathered
Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
The days of Terah were 205 years, and
Terah died in Haran.
The key passage is Gen. 11.26. The Hebrew text doesn’t explicitly say that *when* Terah was 70 years old he begat Abram. Rather, it puts it thusly (Gen. 11.26 KJV):
And Terah lived seventy years, and begat
Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
Nowhere is it explicitly mentioned that Terah had all 3 children when he was 70 years old. Nor is there any direct evidence that these children were triplets, or that they were born on the exact same date, month, or year. The verse in Gen. 11.26 merely indicates that after Terah reached a certain age——namely, 70 years old——he began to father children. But exactly when these children were actually born is unknown. The only thing that’s clear from Gen. 11.26 is that they were born after Terah had reached a certain age.
It’s quite possible, for example, that some of his children could have been born when Terah was 130 years old. Nothing in the text would contradict the timing of such a birth. As long as Terah fathered at least one child after he was 70, the rest could have been born anytime between Terah’s 70th and 205th birthday.
The order in which the names of Terah’s sons are listed may not reflect the precise chronological order in which the children were actually born. The text is simply indicating their order of importance. Given that Abram is a key figure in the Old Testament and the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, he’s obviously mentioned first:
there is yet a question whether Abram was
born first as listed, or perhaps he is listed
first because he was the wisest similar to
Shem, Ham, and Jafeth where Shem was
not the oldest, but was the wisest. … the
Talmud leaves the above question open.
Actually, Abram could have been 75 years old when he left Haran, as the text indicates (Gen. 12.4). And maybe he did leave Haran “after his father died” (Acts 7.4) at the age of 205 (Gen. 11.32). There is no contradiction with regard to the dates. The assumed contradiction is actually based on fallacious reasoning and speculation. It’s based on an eisegesis, that is, a misinterpretation of the text. Readers often assume that the text is telling us that Abram was born *when* Terah was 70 years old. But that’s a conjecture. The text doesn’t say that at all. All the text says is that once Terah reached a certain age, he began fathering sons. But exactly when each and every son was born is unknown ❗️
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At best, God is a metaphor for reality. A personified container for mystery that functionally makes the infinite and unknowable somehow relatable. Not an entirely bad supposition should we understand the task of relating to the sacred as coming into an intimate relationship with unknowing itself, in the face of the unending mystery that lies just outside of our conceptual thinking.
However, the more specific traits that God(s) pick up, the less accurate a metaphor God-ness becomes, and in moving from the function that is a container for relating to unknowing, to a knowable, relatable, favor-dealing sky friend, the whole enterprise is lost. At this point theodicy and apologetics enter the equation and layer upon layer of obscuration must be pulled back and discarded for reality to again have a chance to make an appearance.
It may seem as though abandoning dealings with God(s) then, might be the most sensible way forward in the face of such aware meta-theological understanding. And such abandonment might even make for a worthy prayer, or aspiration of the heart. However, God(s) has proven Gods’ self to be all but inescapable to the human condition, with one set of narratives and details freely traded for another throughout millennia. Perhaps it is most wise then to remain in touch with the God(s) du jour so as to understand and perhaps direct the wrath that is their knowing and assurances.
Interestingly, God(s) need not be known overtly as such to occupy the same place of central obfuscation, resultant from the otherwise good intentions of making the insurmountable mountable. Alas, as Jesus is recorded as saying in the Gospel of Thomas “Lift up a rock, you will find me there."
If you think you’re free of such things, just think again, Gods’ there…
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there's a fine line between debating apologetics in a defense of the Gospel and arguing out of pride and spite. i've crossed that line too many times and so have many others.
i pray to die to my flesh daily and learn to defend the faith in humility without contempt or malice.
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Grace, An Empowerment
I admit it. The first time I heard about God's lovingkindness, my heart was overwhelmed with unfathomable joy. A God who suffered, beaten, crushed and died on my behalf because my reckless actions and deceitful heart led me to a dead end and I cried for a Savior for a long time.
And I admit, that just because I have been saved by His grace, does not mean I need to walk this Christian journey by trying to earn and maintain Grace. Whenever I open my eyes in the morning to see the light of His mercy, I am still in awe of His goodness.
Why is He good? Because I have material blessings? Because I have friends I can rely on? Because my family is healthy? While it is “common” to base God's goodness on the good gifts, the unchanging truth is that God, the Giver, is good.
It is a roller coaster ride. To be honest, there was a time when I used grace to attract financial prosperity. But God, in His goodness, led me to attract wisdom instead. He introduced me the reality of life's hardwork and failures. That just because Grace is unmerited, I can automatically attract financial blessings while consuming it like a bigtime spender because I am poor and my Father in heaven is rich. Yes! My heart believed that. LOL. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we become against financial blessings and live in poverty, what I mean is, as Christians, we live in such a way that glorifies God. Live in such a way that we use His gifts to bring glory to His name and people wonder why: “Why is it that he/she still believes in virtues and principles to live a meaningful life.” “Why does he/she give too much to the poor?”
I don't try to live a meaningful life. God alone is my reason, and His meaning and purpose for my life follows.
Grace has been defined an unmerited and unearned favor. Some people, I believe that there are still “Pharisees” living among us, accuse that the Grace we preach is a licentious to sin! Good thing Paul knew what to answer to that. I remember it clearly from a passage: Romans 6:1-2,
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?
Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?
Exactly! People who have been truly impacted by God's grace will be empowered to repent and allow God to change them inside out. But people whose hearts are harden may use it to grant them the liberty they want and redefine Grace. They may sound and act humbled but through the years of living by their own definition, one can never deny the result of their thinking.
I believe that Grace is more than unmerited and unearned favor. It is a popular view of God's grace, but I really believe it's more than that. While there are some truth in that, it makes people believe that they don't need a change, have growth or become mature because “God loves us just as we are.” This kind of thinking limits God's work in a person and denies empowerment. I like what Charles Capps defined it, Grace is “God’s willingness to use His power and ability on our behalf even though we don’t deserve it.”
It is His willingness to do in us, for us and through us that which we could never do on our own ability. Grace is an action, not an attribute. If we say God loves us simply without a payment for the penalty of sin. Action is denied, suffering is in vain and His holy image is just an accessory. Then we ask: “How can a loving God put someone to hell?” the answer we never want to hear is because: “We want a “kind” of god who is loving but has no truth in him.” A kind of god who wants me to stay in sin is not a god but a toy we hug for comfort, you will feel comforted but you will not be empowered.
Grace is God's love in action.
If God tolerates sin, then how can He be called a righteous God if He has tolerance to what contradicts His nature?
Isn't that why a mother looks out for her child so much that she goes worried if her little one has done something he/she shouldn't have that may harm him/her as a consequence of the action?
Isn't that why a father has to put limits and disciplines a child so that his little one may grow in love and in wisdom?
Everything a loving person does is for the benefit of their love ones.
I am going to share what I have read from a book:
“When we read and hear that God hates sin, we must know that it is not because God is a judgmental and spiteful God would put us in situations that ultimately lead us to His destruction of us. God hates sin because He loves us, and sin causes us to be unaware of how much He loves us and how His plans are way greater than ours. God does not hate sin because He wants to throw lightning bolts at us. He hates sin because sin hurts us.”
Titus 2:11-14 says, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Grace is an empowerment to live victoriously with God's provision. Not an entitlement to squander the riches of our Father.
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In the vet world, one of the hardest things to address are the owners that do harmful things to their pets out of sympathy for them, such as the owner who continuously over feeds her morbidly obese dachshunds. I recently had a dog (BIG golden doodle) in for surgery, and I emphasized to the owner the importance of making sure he wore his e-collar (that’s the cone of shame) at all times so he could not reach his incision, and the many dangers to his health if she were to take it off. Two days later the dog comes back to the hospital with no cone and a raging infection. She is a kind owner who loves her dog dearly, but she said she felt bad that he had to wear the big cone at home and so she just didn’t keep it on at all.
Christians do this too. With good intentions, people will do things that are ultimately harmful because they are sympathetic toward the struggle of others. Calling people by their preferred pronouns instead of what gender they actually are, saying abortion is a personal choice or permissible in certain circumstances, perpetuating bad theology to encourage others because it sounds pleasant and feels good but in the end is naught but a mirage. The list could go on.
God’s truth and His precepts are there for our good, like the e-collar, they protect us and are what is best for us. If we, in our desire for compassion, remove God’s truth, things start to blister and become infected. Or worse, wounds are torn open and permanent damage is inflicted. It can be difficult, God does not promise an easy road, but the kindest thing you can do for someone is to care for them in the way God says. It is vital to our well-being that our concept of love is founded in and guided by the Bible. Do not allow your sympathies to compromise the truth because the truth is what saves us from our sins. Truly, there is nothing more compassionate and loving than that.
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