Re: For all those who ponder...About Charities

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Posted by Elaine on August 03, 2000 at 17:56:40:

In Reply to: Re: For all those who ponder...About Charities posted by Adele on August 03, 2000 at 16:12:17:

Hello, again, Adele -

: : I'm going to try to reply as briefly as possible. Your post can't possibly be considered offensive.

: So relieved to hear that!

>>> Honestly ...

: : Firstly, I don't EVER call myself a 'true believer' - my point was that I do believe what I adhere to & that's why I adhere to it. I don't have a 'need' to attach myself to any group at all. I am a Catholic by choice/conviction, not by need. I wasn't church shopping ... You'd have to ask someone else who does have such a need to explain their own reasons.

: Ok, so this is the part that interests me - you don't NEED to be Catholic, you CHOOSE to be.....but why? Is it something you feel? Is it as simple as that you feel that it is your right path for you to follow? Sorry to be so pressing on this point, but it is purely a genuine desire to understand your choice that prompts these questions.

>>> Well, let me try to answer then. When I say I didn't need to be Catholic, I was speaking in terms of seeking an affiliation as you described in your questions. I was not shopping around, like one might do with a civic organization, seeking a place, a church to belong to. I am Catholic by choice, yes, meaning that I looked at, understood, embraced, & knowingly chose to follow this faith. I was brought to Catholicism by conviction, not accident. In this sense I use the word choice, for I did choose it. (After much time grappling with the same questions of reconciliation you raised; wealth, hypocrisy of particular individuals, truth, etc ...) Now, after having done that, I might say I need to be Catholic but, this is need based upon belief, not need based upon a desire to 'belong.' Once a person concludes a particular philosophy/religion/path to be true they generally respond with a NEED to follow it. Does this make sense or have I complicated the distinction?
Is it something I 'feel'? No - I don't think it's about what one 'feels' at all! That leads to selective practices, if you will; seeking what 'feels' good & trashing what 'feels' uncomfortable. Conviction of a belief has NOTHING to do with feeling. Religion has NOTHING to do with sentimental yearnings; it's supposedly, by definition, a system of belief one follows based upon one's conviction.

: : Secondly; My first reaction to your post was to address the issue you raised regarding wealth & power. However, that'd lead us further into a 'Catholic' discussion which was never the point or topic. I would say this only; Temporal abuses have & do exist, as does an obligation to feed the poor & pay the bills. Somewhere, there must be a balance - but this does not relate to teachings. If the teachings are good, sound, & virtuous, why reject them? Reject or embrace them according to their own merit or lack thereof.

: Now, this is where I have a REAL difficulty in understanding established religion! Can you reject some teachings of the Catholic church and yet still call yourself Catholic? (Only using Catholicism as an example here because of your understanding of it). This is maybe one of the reasons why I cannot become associated with any one single religion......because I have never come across one that matched my own innate beliefs.

>>> Ah, Adele! NO! That's my point about the merits of the teachings. I used the plural, as you did, because it's ALL or NOTHING. What I said was the issue of wealth did not relate to the teachings of the Church; it is an issue of temporal abuse. The Church does not TEACH one should seek wealth; it does not TEACH an ecclesiastic can/should abuse power or wealth - it does the opposite. So, do you judge the teachings (ALL of them) on their own merit or by how some may have abused them? The teachings must commend or condemn themselves on their own, not by the failings of any individual(s). I am a member of the Catholic community; therefore, I represent the Church as much as anyone. If I live in a way that is offensive to you, or you think me a selfish, dishonest, stealing, cheating person, do you say the teachings of her Church are no good even though I am the one in error, not the teachings? Even though I'm living CONTRARY to those teachings?
Your second example went to a specific Islamic teaching; that is a different matter. Now you are questioning a tenet of this faith, not the mores of an individual Muslim.

So, no, one can not reject some teachings & yet embrace others & call themselves an adherent. The 'cafeteria religion' you speak of is not honest, is it? (I'll have one of those but none of this.)

As for your own innate beliefs, you must follow your own conscience. Isn't that what we call free will? If you don't believe the teachings of any particular religion to be true, then why would you choose to follow it?

: : Your second example (death sentences) does relate directly to a teaching. Again, reject or embrace according to its merit or lack thereof.

: : Thirdly; "I consider myself a religious person, I
: : believe in God, try to follow a true and honest path, treat others as I would wish to be
: : treated etc etc. " This is following your own conscience, Adele, and that's EXACTLY what you should do.
: :
: : Lastly; Working to bring down barriers & not perpetuating them is an objective - & certainly one that'd go far in bettering human relations. However, people will still more closely associate with some over others. That is not to say people do, will, or should associate exclusively among particular groups, only that they WILL do so to SOME degree for various reasons & that those associations are not inherently wrong or puzzling.

: We ALL make associations with groups of some type or another - it would be a very isolated life, if we didn't. But when those groups are categorized and labelled, they not only bring likeminded people together, they also put up barriers between them.

>>> Yes, Adele, I completely agree with you. That is why I used the term 'excessive polarization.' The Latino communities of the US - they are strong, close-knit communities in general. The people within these communities feel comfortable among each other because there is a shared language, culture, social status (America DOES have a class system!), etc. I don't see a problem with this. However, if members of this community completely shun another, refuse to interract with another, will not listen to another, do not respect another, will not associate or befriend another, withhold assistance to another, because they are not Latino - now there's a problem. That would be excessive.
That is a HUGE barrier.

: :Somehow, it seems I've been interpreted as advocating closed circles of interraction. That's not at all what I was speaking of, nor was I advising such a philosophy, & my life certainly proves otherwise.

: I REALLY hope that you do not think anyone here belives you are capable of 'advocating closed circles of interaction'. Definitely not the case, I can assure you!

>>> I do believe, Adele, that was the interpretation - but not by you.

: : Hope I've made this a little bit clearer -

: : Thanks, Adele!

: You certainly have made things clearer - unfortunately I have a tendency to receive answers with even more questions - I hope nobody minds. I know that this is VERY off topic, but it is such an intriguing area for me, I find it hard to keep my curiosity in check!!

>>> You're so Socratic, Adele! Yes, it's off topic & I'm trying to 'contain' my statements so as not to make this too far afield - but, I don't mind your questions at all!!! Perhaps we should continue this through e-mail???

: Thanks for such a thoughtful response Elaine

Thank YOU for the thoughtful dialogue.


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