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Help good ol' besson3c sort out his religious struggles (Page 2)
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Feb 4, 2013, 07:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
We have our fair share of bureaucracy believe me, but no I haven't been there. I too give 50% of my (frankly meagre) earnings back one way or another so I sympathise but while the church doesn't threaten to imprison you, it does threaten to torture your immortal soul for all time. Of course, they have someone else who'll actually be doing the torturing but still. And if you follow all their rules the 'service' you get in return is arguably less visible than you get from your government.
The Church has never once threatened my immortal soul for all time and neither does the book it's founded on. I realize it's important to evangelize the atheist manifesto, but I don't see the average atheist here as somehow living a more torture-free existence. Your dedication to antagonism is at least as troubling as someone announcing a men's breakfast with other believers or a sermon on giving graciously. You know, the stuff that goes on in hundreds of thousands of churches across the globe every week that do not fit in your tidy indictment against mega-churches and politicians.
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Feb 4, 2013, 09:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
This is the nonsense that religious people usually wheel out when debating atheists but if anything the reverse is true.
Did you even read my post?
You say "this" is nonsense, but then you come right back with the same assertions that were invalidated by exactly "this."


Firstly the stories give examples of morality and good moral behaviour. Many of them do anyway. Most of them don't require God in any way to demonstrate morality. If you read the story and understand the morals you can learn from them no God required.
The content in the stories is irrelevant, that's exactly what I said last night. All that matters about the stories is that they make the audience believe, either in a philosophy or in god, or in something else. The stories don't have to demonstrate morality, all they have to do is generate that belief, somehow. It might not even be through the content of the story, but through the mythology around that content, or even by an accident of history by virtue of being old. Any way through which they somehow manage to generate belief (even if it's by a genetic algorithm where only the randomly successful stories are retained ), then that meets the criteria.


I've said it before but if you only behave in a moral way because you want reward from God or fear his punishment after death, you aren't a morally good person.
Acting moral is better than being moral, if you have to choose between the two. Fake it until you make it, that's how humans work. Our mental state is heavily influenced by our actions. Recall the recent thread about the paid forum shill, in which the shill in the story became emotionally invested in his paid cause, just because he kept arguing in favor of it. That's how things work in humans. If you force yourself to smile enough, you'll get happy.


Moral atheists who live in a decent way towards others without expecting reward or fearing reprisal are the good ones.
You haven't addressed causality. Even if you're 100% right that moral atheists are better than amoral religious who act moral, that doesn't mean that amoral religious will be better served by atheism. Supposing there is a pool of people who are predisposed to not be moral, then it is better if they act moral than if they don't.
     
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Feb 4, 2013, 12:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
The Church has never once threatened my immortal soul for all time and neither does the book it's founded on. I realize it's important to evangelize the atheist manifesto, but I don't see the average atheist here as somehow living a more torture-free existence. Your dedication to antagonism is at least as troubling as someone announcing a men's breakfast with other believers or a sermon on giving graciously. You know, the stuff that goes on in hundreds of thousands of churches across the globe every week that do not fit in your tidy indictment against mega-churches and politicians.
I thought that was the underlying truth: If you don't follow the rules, you go to hell. I understand that the more lenient churches take the attitude of "as long as you find a few minutes to repent before you die it'll be fine and you'll get into heaven", but thats still a rule you have to follow.

It may not be the church thats making a direct threat, its displacing the threat onto a conveniently unseen magic guy to absolve itself from any wrongdoing but its still deeply manipulative. Its still a threat.

Even if its one of those nice churches that gives sermons on giving graciously (seriously, you need to be taught how to do that?) its still a part of the rules the church wants you to live by in order to get the prize and avoid the punishment. It doesn't have to be fire & brimstone to be threatening, though of course it is still promising that really.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Feb 4, 2013, 12:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Did you even read my post?
You say "this" is nonsense, but then you come right back with the same assertions that were invalidated by exactly "this."
Your post didn't invalidate anything. It made a bunch of ridiculous assertions about morality being induced by belief in god. That makes no sense. = Nonsense. In fact its even more nonsensical than the more usual "religious people are moral" arguments.

I see no causal link whatsoever between believing in god and being moral. Explain it to me.
I can believe that people can learn moral behaviour from the examples of others and this includes stories.


Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
The content in the stories is irrelevant, that's exactly what I said last night. All that matters about the stories is that they make the audience believe, either in a philosophy or in god, or in something else. The stories don't have to demonstrate morality, all they have to do is generate that belief, somehow. It might not even be through the content of the story, but through the mythology around that content, or even by an accident of history by virtue of being old. Any way through which they somehow manage to generate belief (even if it's by a genetic algorithm where only the randomly successful stories are retained ), then that meets the criteria.
This is ridiculous. If you could teach a lion to believe in God it would still eat you. If you could convince it it would never eat again if it ate you, it wouldn't.

Again, explain to me how believing in god inherently grants someone morality.

Most stories have morals. Thats where we get the saying 'moral of the story' from. Where does god come into the good samaritan story? You don't think there is a valuable moral lesson to be learned from that story without God? Does it work any less if Jesus isn't the son of God but just a decent guy? I don't think so.


Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Acting moral is better than being moral, if you have to choose between the two.
WTF?


Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Fake it until you make it, that's how humans work. Our mental state is heavily influenced by our actions. Recall the recent thread about the paid forum shill, in which the shill in the story became emotionally invested in his paid cause, just because he kept arguing in favor of it. That's how things work in humans. If you force yourself to smile enough, you'll get happy.
OK, I see where you're coming from but if you are moral, you'll act moral. You can still act moral without being moral but this is most definitely not better than being moral as well. Acting moral is better than nothing, but it isn't better than being moral.


Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
You haven't addressed causality. Even if you're 100% right that moral atheists are better than amoral religious who act moral, that doesn't mean that amoral religious will be better served by atheism. Supposing there is a pool of people who are predisposed to not be moral, then it is better if they act moral than if they don't.
Actually its better that they are identified and prevented from breeding. In the long run.
Atheists can be moral or immoral, same as anyone. Its usually easier to spot the immoral ones though if they aren't trying to blend in with moral ones their religious counterparts will be.

I don't feel you've addresses causality either. See above requests for link between belief in God and instant morality.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Feb 4, 2013, 01:55 PM
 
Ugh, this is a long post, with significant repetition. Feel free to condense it, I just feel that I owe you an answer if you ask/imply a question, even if the answer is a repeat.

Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Your post didn't invalidate anything. It made a bunch of ridiculous assertions about morality being induced by belief in god.
And you didn't address any of them. It's fair enough if you don't agree, but you have to address what you don't agree with if we're going to get past that, not just ignore it and restate your first post.

I see no causal link whatsoever between believing in god and being moral. Explain it to me.
Since you already drew a distinction between being moral and acting moral, my answer is that believing in god doesn't make people be moral, it makes them act moral. Without belief (in god or anything else), we can't even do that.

Later on, after years and years of acting moral, some people are made to actually be moral by acting it. Some aren't. Acting is still better than neither being nor acting moral, which is what you get absent belief.


I can believe that people can learn moral behaviour from the examples of others and this includes stories.
I can believe that people who are already inclined to be moral will draw inspiration from stories. I can't believe that stories are able to turn someone moral who is not otherwise inclined to be moral already. Fear can do that, stories can't. The fear of what comes after this life is effective for exactly the reason you think it's not effective: it can't be proven true or false. To someone like you, this makes it powerless. But obviously most people aren't like you (otherwise religions would not have so many followers), most people would rather play it safe by keeping open the possibility that they need to do something to avoid eternal damnation, or reincarnation as a diaper. Maybe what makes you different from these people is that you're one of those inherently moral people, so you know that even if you're wrong you'll likely still make the cut and get into heaven. If you didn't believe, but you knew that god would hate you if he were real, you might hedge your bets in a more god-leaning ratio.


This is ridiculous. If you could teach a lion to believe in God it would still eat you. If you could convince it it would never eat again if it ate you, it wouldn't.
I don't think you're taking the "believe in god" part at face value here

WTF?
I repeat: "if you have to choose between the two." Later in your post you make it clear you are ignoring this part.


OK, I see where you're coming from but if you are moral, you'll act moral. You can still act moral without being moral but this is most definitely not better than being moral as well
I clearly said it was not "as well." The question isn't about people who are going to be moral either way because it's their nature. The question is only about people who need to be convinced to be moral. If they believe in the afterlife, then convincing them is possible. If they read a bunch of stories about people who aren't like them, and they believe in those stories somehow, then it's possible. If they read those same stories and don't believe in them, then convincing them to be moral against their nature is not possible. Belief is the key. If superman could garner the same belief as religion, then I agree it would be as good at producing morality as religion is, maybe better. But people don't really believe in superman, they generally realize that it's fantasy. Somehow people do believe in religion. Don't ask me how, I don't understand that part either. But the fact that they do believe, somehow, is what makes it work.


Acting moral is better than nothing, but it isn't better than being moral.
Acting moral without being moral is most certainly better than being moral but not acting moral.

Actually its better that they are identified and prevented from breeding. In the long run.
Boo! This is a perfect example of acting immorally, regardless of "being" moral. Even if you are a naturally moral person, if you advocate genocide that puts you below people who are naturally amoral but who do their best to follow arbitrary rules of morality from their religion out of rote obedience (not counting people who do both, follow religion only out of fear and advocate genocide )

Atheists can be moral or immoral, same as anyone. Its usually easier to spot the immoral ones though if they aren't trying to blend in with moral ones their religious counterparts will be.
There is no need to spot them in the first place, as long as they keep blending in. Their "cover" is the end goal. Even if we could systematically capture and treat them, the best we could hope to accomplish is exactly what they're doing already: acting like the good people.

I don't feel you've addresses causality either. See above requests for link between belief in God and instant morality.
Belief can cause people to act good even if they're not good people. Stories without belief can't even do that.
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 12:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Originally Posted by el chupacabra View Post
Could you give some example
Killing the firstborn of Egypt was spiteful, as were the 7 plagues. Flooding the Earth was pretty drastic too.
Now that I know you're an atheist, I will try to approach all this from that angle. Lets assume I too am atheist but looking for answers and reasons to believe. But for now, I assume the bible is just a fiction story... Like a comic book..

Spiteful? Petty vengeance? I choose justice. These people weren't innocent according to the story. In the cases where God kills or orders the killing of people they had been warned for years; in some cases, centuries. How often do we give the 'bad guys' warnings these days? Or warn them over and over and over giving them every chance in the world to straighten out? What is wrong with killing wicked people who are destroying humanity? For the same reason I don't care about gun death statistics when the deaths are gangsters killing gangsters, it doesn't bother me if a supreme being who's defined in the story as being the center of all that is right/good, decides to clean up a destructive society; who am I to question what he does? Why would I even want the burden of having to try and judge people if I could have a god that reads minds, judges more correctly, and makes everything right? Sounds like a good story to me... The "innocent" people of Egypt supported Pharaoh; who had enslaved a race and enacted mass genocide on their children. God just returned the same favor.

We must keep in mind the people of the time weren't as pacified and spoiled as they are today. Most babies died... Torture was common... Tribal wars and genocide happened on regular basis, sometimes just so the new warriors could prove their manhood. This was acceptable. These are people who'd laugh at such modern punishment as paying for bail, wearing an ankle bracelet, getting a citation, getting rehabilitated. Hard core people require dramatic action to get their attention.


Waragainstsleep
Banning the worship of other gods suggests jealousy,
It suggests? It says: “I the lord thy God am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:5). Why is this a bad thing? Do you not see a place for jealousy in your life or anyone else's? If you were married would it be ok for your wife to cheat? God did not ban the worship of all gods by all people; mostly just his "chosen" people.
In fact, in the bible it warns about going against the other gods... (I can't find it at the moment)
Waragainstsleep
punishing every human who would ever be born for the sins of their ancestor is spiteful and petty.
Everybody is a sinner with or without their ancestors so it doesn't matter. Besides what do you mean by punishing every human, as bad as life can be, do you really consider life that big of a punishment? This is also interpreted in so many ways that don't matter.... It just doesn't matter in so many ways. I don't know what else to say..
Originally Posted by el chupacabra View Post
Which comic superheroes? All the ones I can think of have moments of vengeance, jealousy and all kinds of other 'issues'. I remember star trek captains getting vengeful all the time. Not to mention star trek and comics are admittedly fiction.
Waragainstsleep
Most of the dark, brooding, flawed stuff is from modern revamps of the classics. Superman and Batman were fairly wholesome for a long time. Whenever you saw a Starfleet captain do something unethical, you were left with no question that he was doing something unethical. Picard in particular I can't recall putting a foot wrong really, same for most of his crew. Janeway tried to get a bit edgy eventually but for the most part they were all goody-goodies really.
Superman maybe, but batman has been dark for a while, the movies are just now starting to come in line with the comics, which are still more crazy than the movies. Lets see we got Punisher, Venom, pretty much all the x-men universe. Im not a comic expert Im probably missing some. You know the 'good guys' that use the anti PC methods to solve problems. Captain Kirk loved to fight for his ego, constantly disobeyed orders about subjects that were on the fence as far as morally right or wrong. I might agree with you on Next Gen. Next generation was exist-for-the-greater-good-of-government communist propaganda machine for children. It was overly simplistic grade-school morality, and there wasn't really any philosophy or lessons to be learned from it.
Waragainstsleep
Whole world flooded and all life put on a boat? Fiction.
It isn't unreasonable to believe there could have been a large flood in the ancient world that killed most if not all the people there; and that someone brought some animals on a boat... We have found entire cities that have sunk among other things.
Waragainstsleep
Adam from dirt and Eve from his rib? Fiction.
From dirt or the earth? Aren't we all made from the earth?
WaragainstsleepThere is nothing in the bible that convinces me of the existence of God simply because the book was written by men who were miles behind our current levels of understanding of the world
I don't know; As much as the atheist crowd piggy backs on 'science' to rag on religion, if you put one of those "miles behind" men lost out in the wilderness alone; and then a modern average atheist (or any average person in the age of scientific enlightenment) in the same situation; who do you think would be more likely to survive. I can't picture the average atheist being able to identify a single plant to eat or be able experiment their way out of a paper bag. What I can picture is them getting chronic diarrhea from unclean water and dieing if not rescued in short time.

I'd rather be a jack of trades living in a poorly organized society of those times; than akin to a single pixel that only understands one color to perfection, and brags about the quality of the final picture that's only made possible by living in accordance to the dictate of the collective.
Can you see the next president being openly atheist? I can't.
No I can't... because 'older' people that run for president tend to believe in a god. Most people in our country do. It's not a conspiracy. 2 elections from now I do see it being very possible.

Religion plays a massive part in your politics.
Not really, most religious banter such as abortion; the word god on coins etc is just part of our dog and pony show government to get people rallied up and fighting over politics. Atheists start a lot of it too with the trying to ban "god" from use in the government etc.. It's all silly of course no matter who starts it.
Actually I do agree and I don't actually have a problem with people following those teachings. Kindness, generosity, respect, tolerance, forgiveness these are all things that no-one would argue against. It disappoints when the superstition is necessary for people to live that way though.
The superstition isn't whats necessary; but the whole bible and the fellowship is... to understand that there's 5000 more things to it than kindness, generosity, respect, tolerance and forgiveness.

You should live that way because its the right thing to do and because the world would be a better place if you did, not because you want to get into heaven or don't want go to hell.
You should, but lets face it that's not realistic. People generally only care about making the world a better place in their immediacy; often at the expense of making it worse somewhere else. They're willing to do this just to get a few cents off the price of gas, or manufactured goods.
Surely an omnipotent and infallible God shouldn't need to evolve with the times?
Humans evolve, God follows along teaching in an appropriate way. You wouldn't discipline a teenager the same way you'd discipline a 3 year old... or a pet... would you? And if not would that make you fallible just because you changed the way you do things?

Originally Posted by el chupacabra View Post
That's not religion, that's superstition... Quite a big difference.
Waragainstsleep
Its a short hop between the two. Religion became the explanation for how the superstition worked. "But why does the volcano like it when throw a couple of virgins in?" "Because there must be some guy in there who likes virgins. And he must be very powerful since he can live in lava and throw it at us."
Do you have a source for this? j/k
This is genuinely refreshing from a believer, thanks.
Of course I was being a little sarcastic here; I was a wee bit offended at how easily you wrote us all off. I mean what am I suppose to say? Your explanation for how religion started is certainly plausible; it had to evolve some way right? It doesn't matter to me how it got started. But the thing is, it's mere speculation, not scientific.

The arguments I've seen about how Constantine conspired to change the bible to fool everyone, and then it was changed constantly through the dark ages; are the ones that don't make sense to me. All possibilities are on the table, but Christianity has tried to go back to the most ancient texts they can find and translate from those. Muslim, Mormon, etc. were written from scratch, based on something like the bible, in order to remove inconsistencies and make a perfect story. Guess what kinds of stories tend to be so perfect and non-contradictory? Fiction. I'm not saying I think those religions are entirely fiction; but the fact that the bible just puts the texts out there the way they were written, without trying to make the various writer's perspective line up perfectly, is testament that it probably wasn't a masterminded plot conspired to fabricate a perfect religion to control everyone.

You tell me!
Well I was wondering what would convince you. It's different for everyone. Some people say everything is explainable no matter what. I have visions. Pretty rare, maybe once every 6 yrs or so. The most memorable was when my dog of 12 years died. The night before, I dreamed all night of him sitting at the top of the stairs and me kneeling in front of him. The 2nd half the dream he was in a back room he never goes hiding and I was kneeling there. There was a soothing sound of a kitchen clock in the background the whole time. At the end of the dream I was kneeling in both places again but the dog wasn't there, instead I was staring at a tan canvas bag, this was sort of a Nostradamus unconcludable vision. The next day my dog woke up sick, I kept thinking he would snap out of it by the end of the day. Every 45min or so I'd go kneel where he was laying and stare at him wondering what was wrong. He eventually felt bothered, and moved to the back room where he never goes, where this continued. I took him to the vet and a few minutes before midnight he died and I brought him home in a tan, canvas, body bag.

This isn't the deep enlightening moment some people have but for me it's evidence of supernatural existence... And my agnostic girl friend at the time just wrote it off as my 6th sense that we'll all come to discover with science in the future... I have other stories too, that are probably less believable.
For Bill O'Reilly I've heard him say that the Universe is just too amazing, complicated and beautiful to have condensed out of an explosion (I'm putting it far more eloquently than he did). I understand this is a popular viewpoint but I translate this as "I can't wrap my head around this therefore God."
Those people embarrass me.
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 06:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I thought that was the underlying truth: If you don't follow the rules, you go to hell. I understand that the more lenient churches take the attitude of "as long as you find a few minutes to repent before you die it'll be fine and you'll get into heaven", but thats still a rule you have to follow.
My Church teaches that it's essentially impossible to keep all the rules and that we will always fall short. Yes, repentance is important as you grow in righteousness, but it's a life-long endeavor. Is that supposed to be somehow more hopeless or less compassionate a situation than; you're worm-food regardless?

It may not be the church thats making a direct threat, its displacing the threat onto a conveniently unseen magic guy to absolve itself from any wrongdoing but its still deeply manipulative. Its still a threat.
The church is displacing the threat of eternal damnation onto a magic guy to absolve itself of any wrongdoing? What wrongdoing, the third of its income going to local charities and missions abroad, the men's breakfasts, or Friday night meetings for those trying to shirk addictions and hangups? What's manipulative is insinuating, with zero evidence, that this is somehow a less meritorious, sensible, or honest a lifestyle than the one you're living or that you're somehow less apt to either be manipulated or manipulative.

Even if its one of those nice churches that gives sermons on giving graciously (seriously, you need to be taught how to do that?) its still a part of the rules the church wants you to live by in order to get the prize and avoid the punishment. It doesn't have to be fire & brimstone to be threatening, though of course it is still promising that really.
First, look at how much you've done in service to others this past year and tell me whether or not you could use a sermon on giving graciously from time to time.

My Church does not teach or measure your adherence to laws and it makes no promises of treasure for those who follow all the rules. I'm sorry, you're speaking from abject ignorance here. The reality is, many are already living lives of fire and brimstone and there are many factors not within our immediate control. Not withstanding the fact that we are all going to die. The Church often fosters a sense of belonging, service to others, hope, and strength to help them deal with the fires of life, and we refine one another in them. There's nothing inherently manipulative about it as there isn't a single person in that building on Sunday who was manipulated to be there and you learn this within 5 minutes of talking to a fellow Christian.
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Feb 6, 2013, 09:40 AM
 
What denomination are you?
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 05:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
What denomination are you?
Non-denominational, but I've said nothing that isn't true of the overwhelming majority of, if not all the Christian religions.
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Feb 6, 2013, 10:09 PM
 
My experience is Catholicism can be somewhat fear driven.

Never felt that way at, say, a Lutheran service.

Is the church you go to non-denominational?


This is just curiosity btw. I don't really have a point to the question beyond wondering what goes on and around the ebuddy head.
     
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Feb 7, 2013, 07:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
My experience is Catholicism can be somewhat fear driven.

Never felt that way at, say, a Lutheran service.

Is the church you go to non-denominational?


This is just curiosity btw. I don't really have a point to the question beyond wondering what goes on and around the ebuddy head.
I was born and raised Catholic, 10 years of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, and served as an altar boy for 5 years. My mother passed when I was 17 and I stopped going to Church altogether for quite a while, entertained other ideals, and eventually picked back up at non-denominational churches. I did not get that the Catholic Church was fear-driven and a close examination of its adherents wouldn't really affirm such a thing. My problem with the Catholic Church was that it is too wrapped up in the symbolic IMO and I never really personalized God the way I've been able to outside the Catholic Church. I would think a firm belief in an All Mighty Deity might be worth a little more than the tepid ceremonies in its honor once a week and in that regard experienced the same conundrum in Lutheran churches, but that's just me and to be clear; I have no problem with the Catholic faith and believe they've done and continue to do a great service to society in many ways.
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Feb 7, 2013, 09:13 AM
 
Interesting.

Thank you.
     
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Feb 7, 2013, 11:15 PM
 
I remember the very day when I fully realized how fear-driven the Catholic Church is.

I was a teenager at Mass at St Ambrose (in southern Etobicoke, the west end of Toronto), and Father Turk, a curmudgeonly old fart, was presiding that day. His sermon was the importance of getting a baby baptized as soon as possible after being born, because if it died without baptism, it wouldn't go to Heaven. Seriously. "It would be a horrible shame to lose a soul," he said. Because saddling undeserved shame on parents who just lost a child is exactly what Jesus wants, or something.

Catholics are usually very nice people, specifically because they don't swallow the Vatican line whole. I've found Catholics who defend Vatican policies on birth control, predator priests, or Magdalene laundries tend to be intolerable to be around. But the Church itself lacks humanity, honest perspective, or any sense of institutional responsibility.
     
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Feb 11, 2013, 01:40 AM
 
Here's what the Catechism says about unbaptized infants.

Catechism of the Catholic Church - PART 2 SECTION 2 CHAPTER 1 ARTICLE 1
1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"64 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.
"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church" Saint Tertullian, 197 AD
     
 
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