posted on Jan, 21 2008 @ 02:30 PM
I am not an atheist, but I think this topic is interesting and I will answer your questions. I replied to another thread of yours, and then found
this one, if you're wondering about the fact that I am a little late on answering.
I am Catholic, but I no longer "practice" in the usual sense of the word. I am actually more of an agnostic, but I would prefer to use the label
"spiritual" than anything else.
I had my baptism as a baby, and both parents are pretty religious. My mother is pretty devout, and is also very open-minded to other ideas... just as
long as you don't downplay Jesus at all. My father was actually a seminarian when he was younger, but decided that the priesthood was not his
calling. My mother still attends mass every Sunday, and on Holy Days of Obligation. My father no longer attends, due to health issues. Sitting in
church is physically painful to him, and he is self-conscious about people staring at him. When he has gone, it is to pre-Vatican II masses, where
there is no hand shaking. He has serious problems with his hands, and is embarrassed by their appearance, besides the fact that shaking hands hurts
I had one Italian grandmother, and one Irish grandmother. That pretty much guarantees a Catholic upbringing. One of my grandfathers is a freemason,
and has been for many decades. My grandmother disapproved, but then he was never Catholic anyway (which also bothered her) so she didn't give him
much grief over it, even though she thought it was in conflict with the church.
I keep in touch with all of my family members. So I know all of their religious beliefs pretty well.
When I was younger, I dated someone of a different religion (still a Christian religion) and for a time attended their church. This was mostly just
to rebel against my upbringing, though. I never got into their ways. I attended Catholic school my whole life, but never completely bought into a
lot of the ideas. Ever since I was little, I loved reading stories about Marian apparitions, and have been just fascinated with Mary. I like that
she is such an important figure in Catholocism, and that is primarily what has turned me off to other Christian religions. I do not feel as though I
worship the saints, but my St. Jude holy card is always with me, and I truly believe that he has helped me out of some tight spots. I will admit that
my admiration of Mary might border on worship, but I certainly don't believe that she is a goddess or anything like that.
Today, I find peace in saying the rosary... kind of a meditative thing. I carry holy cards with me, because it makes me feel good. I have given them
to friends during difficult times, just because of how they make me feel, and my friends have all be very appreciative. If they are not Catholic,
they still appreciate the gesture. I would never force any beliefs on anyone. When I occasionally attend mass (and it is rare), I only attend the
old Latin masses. I feel like today's Catholocism places too much emphasis on the individual and individual participation, and not enough on God.
I spend a lot of time reading texts from other religions, and I try to study the Eastern religions. I have a lot of respect for Hinduism and
Buddhism, and also the nature-based religions. I believe in a lot of things that are against the teachings of Catholocism, but I have arrived at
those beliefs through personal experiences and deep, honest introspection.
Basically, I try to be a good person, and focus on the positive. I believe in karma, and that belief is what drives most of my thoughts and actions.
I take a great deal of personal comfort in some of the trappings of Catholocism, but disagree with the church's stance on most social issues.
Ultimately, what I believe is that God cares more about what you do for the world He created. If you try to help your fellow creatures (not just man,
but all of them) and live your life in as good a way as possible, what religion you are doesn't matter.
Oh, and since I keep mentioning God... I believe that God is a being of pure energy, and that His energy dwells within all living things (flowers,
bugs, animals, people). When we die, we return to his energy. I don't really believe so much in heaven or hell, and my ideas on what happens in the
afterlife or more complex than the space in this posting allows.
Hope that answers your question. Let me know if you have any more based on what I said...I get kind of convoluted sometimes. I know that I am not an
atheist, and that your thread was directed to atheists, but as a quasi-former-maybe-current-whatever-you-call-it-Catholic, I thought you might be
interested in my general take on things.