How can there be a god?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by 'Amir Alzzalam, May 5, 2022.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I used to go to Latin Mass at 8.00am at Brompton Oratory, the 'embassy church' for the Catholic London embassies (next to the V&A Museum). Same thing. Half a dozen of us, scattered about the church. Brilliant theological homilies. Then, one Christmas, a sister-in-law asked if she could accompany me to Midnight Mass, so off we went.

    To say the place had changed is an understatement. A choir singing some Mozart piece. OK. Red carpet? Red carpet, for the love of mike, down to the kerb, where a succession of embassy limousines were pulling up to disgorge the great and the good in all their glittering finery. Standing room only inside. It's the closest I've come to a 'cleaning the temple' moment! I mean, He's there in the crib and the narrative, straw manger, with the animals, etc., and they get a red carpet? :mad:

    A bit of humility, puh-leeze! Is that asking too much? A sense of occasion?

    There's the story of the funerals of the Princes, I believe, of the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian persuasion, in the days when they ran a fair portion of Europe. The coffin is carried to the doors of the cathedral, which are shut. Someone hammers on the door, which opens, just. "Who goes?"
    "Prince Frederick Whoever-whoever, Emperor of ... etc., etc. (A long list of titles)
    "We know him not." The door slams shut. More hammering. The process is repeated. More second-tier titles. The door is slammed again. Third time lucky.
    "Who goes?"
    "Frederick. A servant of God."
    "Enter."

    That, is class.
     
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  2. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    I do like the way you write! You come out of the screen ....! Yes.

    I was a fool, just did what everybody else did, and we were prepared for the CofE church before being confirmed by the Bishop of Dunwich (which you will know the history of, being a regular visitor to East Anglia).

    I don't remember any of us having had any interest in Christianity, just the hypocrisies.

    And when young I would attend midnight 'mass' at the island's CofE church where many of us were drunken, I remember one guy who fell in the aisle and went to sleep there until moved.

    You had the right to clear your 'temple' but if mine had been cleared it would have been me outside in the dirt.
     
  3. Ella S.

    Ella S. Utilitarian Logician

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    As anecdotal as this may seem, when I was a kid, I went to Catholic school and we always visited the church before lunch for a worship service. On Sundays, I would go with my mother to a Baptist church.

    I have no complaints about the Catholic services. They were always solemn and humble. The sermons were always about how we could learn from God (or the prophets or the Saints) how to be better people to those around us.

    The Baptist churches always preached these hate-filled fire-and-brimstone sermons, with a memorable minister talking about how Gandhi was going to Hell for not being Baptist. They were the ones that taught about God's wrath and his righteous judgment, and about how all of these other churches had "gone astray from the word of God." I could never imagine my Catholic church ever preaching such vitriol, especially not with so much passion.

    I'm not saying that it doesn't happen, but I did go to an Anglican church on Sundays for awhile when I was Gnostic before I found the Johannite Church and, again, they were very tolerant, loving people. There was even a sermon on how we shouldn't be accusing other people of sin and how we should only be looking in our neighbor's bowl to make sure they have enough. There were homeless people and LGBT folk and mixed ethnicities in the congregation, all outcasts like me, coming to learn how to be better people.

    Even as an atheist, those experiences are still beautiful to me. I wish we could all do that. I wish there were secular institutions that did that! I tried some Humanist churches, but there's always all this religion-bashing and needless political partisanship.

    The humility of the Church is the source of its power, ironically.
     
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  4. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    I see what you mean, but even the Catholic and Anglican churches have another, less edifying face, turned towards political power.
     
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  5. Ella S.

    Ella S. Utilitarian Logician

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    I agree and I definitely don't think we should forget about that. I'm merely pointing out that there are some decent local congregations when the priests are genuinely devout rather than despots.
     
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  6. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I used to go to St Patrick's in Soho Square, central London, for lunchtime mass. The priest would always ask for two or three people to join him on the altar for the consecration, and after mass there was hot drinks and sandwiches, free, for whoever turned up, so a lot of the local homeless would be waiting at the back of the church after mass.
     
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  7. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    Was that back in the 60-70s? Some London churches would remain open every hour to give peace, safety and refuge to all and any.
    One tiny local hamlet church always leaves it's spacious porch unlocked, where anyone who seeks refuge can sleep on either of the long benches within.

    Edit: Hoath church by marshside.
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    No, the 2000s. Quick look at their website and they're doing free breakfasts and evening meals 3 days a week as part of their outreach.
     
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  9. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Is it time to repeat the often forgotten point the Catholic Church is the biggest non-gov charity on earth, and has missionaries working with lepers and aids patients in the most difficult and dangerous places in the world
    https://catholicherald.co.uk/a-worldwide-force-for-good/

    The world’s biggest charity


    "Stalin famously said of the Church, “The Pope! How many divisions has he?” Less well known is Churchill’s response that Stalin “might have mentioned a number of legions not always visible on parade”. Indeed, the reach and influence of the Church are not easily described by statistics alone, yet the raw statistics are staggering enough.

    The Church operates more than 140,000 schools, 10,000 orphanages, 5,000 hospitals and some 16,000 other health clinics. Caritas, the umbrella organisation for Catholic aid agencies, estimates that spending by its affiliates totals between £2 billion and £4 billion, making it one of the biggest aid agencies in the world.

    Even these numbers only tell half the tale. Caritas does not include development spending by a host of religious orders and other Catholic charities, while most of the 200,000 Catholic parishes around the world operate their own small-scale charitable projects which are never picked up in official figures. Establishing like-for-like comparisons is hard, but there can be little doubt that in pretty much every field of social action, from education to health to social care, the Church is the largest and most significant non-state organisation in the world.

    A sceptic might point out that that influence can be both positive and negative. So, for example, it might be queried whether the Church’s work in education or health would be more effective if control was switched to the state. In some ways, this is the wrong question – in much of the developing world, if the Church was not involved, the services would not be provided at all. But there is a good deal of research which has attempted to compare the performance of Catholic provision of education or health with that of other providers and, in general, Catholic institutions come out rather well.

    The health analyst Kenneth White, of Virginia Commonwealth University, found Catholic hospitals in the US to be on average more efficient than equivalent secular hospitals. This was a particularly remarkable finding given that he also discovered evidence that Catholic hospitals, reflecting their mission to reach out to disadvantaged communities, were providing more compassionate care and stigmatised services (to groups that often face discrimination) than other providers.

    In Africa, a recent research review found not only that maternal care at Church-run mission hospitals was of the same or better quality than at public facilities, but that Church hospitals were also more likely to offer services accessible to the poor.

    Looking at education, although it is well established that Catholic schools perform exceptionally well on standard academic criteria …"
    read full article



    [​IMG]
    https://www.johnbradburne.com/leprosy/
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2022 at 4:16 PM
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  10. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    Excellent. :)
     

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