Reddit reviews: The best catholic books

We found 4,272 Reddit comments discussing the best catholic books. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 1,434 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

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u/pinkyelloworange · 3 pointsr/IAmA

Hi. *big, tight virtual hug* . I'm bi. This was an important point for me too, it is totally very hard to go into something that requires you to give you such a powerful part of yourself. I imagine it is harder for you because you're gay so you don't really have another option. All I can do at this point is tell you my story as it relates to homosexuality and how I came into the Church despite being attracted to girls. I wish I could focus the spotlight more on you, but only you can do that since a back-and-forth convo is hard and time consuming on Reddit.

When I converted the only time I had been in love was with a girl. And I kind of wanted that again. Even writing about this makes me feel strange. I yelled at God (literally) for some hours about it, then I wrote what I was thinking down. It was more than the homosexuality but that was a part of it. At the end of it, somehow, I don't know how, I can't tell you how, I just accepted that if I'll do 'this' I'll have to give up things, many things. I don't know how I came to terms with it, how I found peace in that. I'm not saying the same thing will/should happen to you. I can tell you it defo happens. It may sound a bit authoritarian but it was like 'Either I'm gonna accept the claims of Jesus and the authority of His Church or not. I'm either in this 100% or I'm in this 0%.' and somehow '100%' seemed like the better option.

One thing that helped was that I did not feel condemned. This is an Eastern European country I'm talking about. People outside of church that I know often say things like 'Yeah I'm ok with gay people. I don't like the hate they get from the Church (they mean Orthodox in this case but you get the idea)' but from experience, when you come out to them, they treat you different and they do treat you worse. I believe they are well intentioned but to them it's a bit like being vegan, they're fine as long as you don't rub it in their face, and rubbing it in their face includes telling them about it. When I tell people I know from church it's a bit like 'Meh, so what? It's like you told me you are attracted to another man that isn't your husband. No biggie.'

Then I saw a person who was.... well... amazing. And she was gay. And she was... she was something by any standard. Believer or not. I mean I obvs knew other people who are gay and good people but she was something that is rare, in the general population, not just in those who are gay or straight or whatever. A saint you might say. That's how she seemed at least. To be honest I don't know much about her, maybe it was my attraction to her, I'm not trying to idealise this girl to create a story. The point is that she got me thinking about how different she is to how I was back when I was a 'practising' bisexual so to say.

And I felt like crying. What could I possibly tell this girl? How could I possibly help her? I firmly and vehemently know what sort of joy Jesus brings and how He guides people. This girl, if she were Catholic, would get canonised, it seemed to me at least. I believe that hierarchy in Heaven goes like this.

  1. God
  2. Mary
  3. (insert person I know)
  4. (insert begger I saw on the street in Rome)
  5. (insert a bunch of people, maybe 9)
  6. Insert this lesbian girl (weird considering I don't know much about her, which is why if I told this to people who knew me they wouldn't believe me)

    So I randomly wrote stuff down, something I do when I have intense emotions, and then I translated it. It isn't art, but it is how I respond to 'that sentiment' as you put it:

    i had to translate this because i knew

    That someday it might come in useful.

    This is not poetry, just some poor musings

    On a page. i have been, i am You, i hope

    You understand what i’m implying. i know

    What i’m asking is hard because on some level

    i have felt what You are feeling. Sometimes

    i still do. But there’s a difference, i assumed

    You were the same, trapped in the same

    Dark prison but clearly Your heart is not

    Black like mine. Such is my nature, i have

    Been born this way, such that tears run

    Through my veins, my ventricles are made

    Out of arrogance, selfishness, anger and hate

    My lungs breathe lies. But You, You are not

    The same. Though You don’t know it

    Or might not admit it You have acceptedThe gifts of the Good Spirit much more

    Than i. Oh jewel of creation, i honestly

    See the beauty shine. Beautiful big heart

    Please, grant my request, love Your

    Strange pairing more. Love more! Yes

    More! Because man has been made to love

    Like you love and more! Yet know that

    In loving more you will love differently.

    You won’t get or see this yet

    But bear a minute. Can’t You hear

    A melody in the background? Is it

    Not the most glorious symphony?

    It is the song of Your soul. It was written

    On You, not on society’s tablets.

    And tell me sometimes though

    When you listen can’t You

    Hear the silence?

    The song of Your conscience says

    ‘This is not love, it’s a parody of it.’

    i have been You. i have heard it

    At that spot too. i am sure it is harder

    For You than it was for i. Yet, this music

    Is Yours and You deserve to go

    To the Wedding so much more than i.

    Why did You rip the invitation in half?

    Please ask the Groom for another one.

    My Darling, my Love, i wish i knew You

    So that i could give You whatever You

    Would need, the comaradery , the joy

    The consolation, the help, the dear


    My Beloved, tell me, how can i talk

    With this Person when i don’t know

    A thing? i know nothing, sometimes it

    Scares me. Oh the pain each one

    Is feeling! i don’t know, i am clueless

    What i know is dust and nought at all

    But wait, i do know something

    Oh veritas gaudium!

    Oh lumen fidei!


    Lala, overly idealistic and chessy but the idea is that yeah... it is freakin hard! I still don't know what to say**. 'I'm sorry. It sounds like having a family is deeply important to you, which is understandable. This is not an easy thing and you are admirable for contemplating doing it.'** It is the truth, I mean it, but what does it do? :(


    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gay-Catholic-Accepting-Sexuality-Community/dp/1594715424 (a recommendation, but books don't really solve things)


    Regardless of what you do or choose, lots of honest love from me and, as cliche as it may sound, from Jesus and His Bride (to death, and beyond, quite literally)
u/RazarTuk · 1 pointr/Christianity

Please, you can be more direct. I know what you're getting at in your passive-aggressiveness. You're insinuating that I'm an idolater. But, at any rate:

No, it never directly says that, although it can certainly be inferred through logic as a perfectly reasonable show of piety. As an example, also from the aforementioned book:

> Our good Master stooped to enclose himself in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, a captive but loving slave, and to make himself subject to her for thirty years. As I said earlier, the human mind is bewildered when it reflects seriously upon this conduct of Incarnate Wisdom. He did not choose to give himself in a direct manner to the human race though he could easily have done so. He chose to come through the Virgin Mary. Thus he did not come into the world independently of others in the flower of his manhood, but he came as a frail little child dependent on the care and attention of his Mother. Consumed with the desire to give glory to God, his Father, and save the human race, he saw no better or shorter way to do so than by submitting completely to Mary.

> He did this not just for the first eight, ten or fifteen years of his life like other children, but for thirty years. He gave more glory to God, his Father, during all those years of submission and dependence than he would have given by spending them working miracles, preaching far and wide, and converting all mankind. Otherwise he would have done all these things.

> What immeasurable glory then do we give to God when, following the example of Jesus, we submit to Mary! With such a convincing and well- known example before us, can we be so foolish as to believe that there is a better and shorter way of giving God glory than by submitting ourselves to Mary, as Jesus did?

And it's not like it detracts glory from God. It amplifies it toward Him.

> This devotion, when faithfully undertaken, is a perfect means of ensuring that the value of all our good works is being used for the greater glory of God. Scarcely anyone works for that noble end, in spite of the obligation to do so, either because men do not know where God's greatest glory is to be found or because they do not desire it. Now Mary, to whom we surrender the value and merit of our good actions, knows perfectly well where God's greatest glory lies and she works only to promote that glory. The devout servant of our Lady, having entirely consecrated himself to her as I have described above, can boldly claim that the value of all his actions, words and thoughts is used for the greatest glory of God, unless he has explicitly retracted his offering. For one who loves God with a pure and unselfish love and prizes God's glory and interests far above his own, could anything be more consoling?

Before bashing Catholic Mariology, I recommend reading de Montfort's book, or for a more modern read, 33 Days to Morning Glory. I promise you won't spontaneously combust for reading them.

u/DKowalsky2 · 1 pointr/Catholicism

First of all, I appreciate you asking direct questions. An honest pursuit of Truth means really poking and prodding all of these tough topics and hearing what the Church has to say about them, so kudos. Your questions do not come off brash, at all.

I wish this thread had come out at the beginning of Lent, because the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology allowed for free access to their 12-part video series, The Bible And The Virgin Mary. It's still available to rent for $20 total, but they were opening two videos per week throughout Lent for all who signed up. Scott Hahn, who heads up the St. Paul Institute, also wrote a book some years back which parallels the content from the video series, called Hail Holy Queen. It can be had used on Amazon for between $5 and $10 (or $12, Prime shipping) and in my opinion is a must-read for anyone investigating the Marian doctrines in Scripture, coming from a Protestant background.

One last good resource - a YouTube video called The Truth About Mary In Scripture which briefly goes over the Old Testament and New Testament parallels and would be a good primer on why many of the beliefs the Catholic Church hold true about Mary weren't "pulled out of thin air."

Now, beyond providing resources, my personal response on the matter. We know from Scripture that Mary's soul magnifies the Lord (Lk 1: 46-47). We also know that the prayers of a righteous person have great power (Jas 5: 16). So, if we can make the leap to accept that Christ does not have two bodies - a heavenly and an earthly, which are separated - and has but one Body (as St. Paul notes many times) then it follows that seeking the friendship and intercession of those in heaven who are no longer mired from the effects of sin would be greatly advantageous to all of us. After all, we know that nothing unclean may enter heaven (Rev 21: 27) so those in the heavenly realm would be the epitome of those (the righteous) whose prayers will have great power, as the reference from St. James' letter attests.

As this relates to our earthly lives, we Christians go through this life looking for pastors we can trust, friends with whom we can form bonds, pray, and study the Scriptures with, in hopes that the examples of their Godly lives will bring us closer to Christ, right? As Catholics, we recognize not only that family, but a much bigger family of all the Saints in heaven who are just as eager, and infinitely more able, to help us along that path with their prayers and guidance.

How does all this relate to the Blessed Mother, and why does she receive honor that is over and above that of even the other Saints in heaven? It's precisely because of the work God did in her, and her unique relationship to each Person of the Trinity. That she is the only one of our kind who can claim to be a daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son, and (in a sense) the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Of all the possible ways that our Savior could have deigned to come to earth, He chose to do so in the womb of a humble Virgin.

As a personal testimony, even as a cradle Catholic, it took me a long time and a lot of study to understand the Marian dogmas and why they are true, and ultimately to fall in love with our Blessed Mother. But one doesn't fall in love with dogmas and teachings, one falls in love with persons. Prior to my engagement to my now-wife, I began offering the Rosary daily for the grace of chastity - at the time to combat a longstanding temptation toward pornography use and self-abuse associated to that. I did this after seeing a quote from Bishop Hugh Doyle - "No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary". Within six months, that temptation was gone entirely and, thanks be to God, has not shown any signs of returning. As a result, I was able to enter into marriage with a clear conscience regarding that sin, and be better prepared to lead my wife. We'll be married 10 months tomorrow, and I've continued that practice of praying the Rosary daily since beginning it sometime around January 2016.

Did this small miracle happen because Mary could do something that Jesus couldn't? No. I'm of the firm opinion that it's because Jesus gave me the gift of His Mother (just as He did to the Apostle John at the foot of the cross, and just as He offers to each of us) to help cut down my pride and make room for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to work in a way that I was incapable of previously. Her soul magnified the Lord for me in a way that I couldn't do on my own, even with Jesus offering grace in abundance as He always does. She held my hand and patiently led me to what He had in store for me all along.

So, after that incredibly long-winded post, my heartfelt recommendations for you:

  • Keep asking questions just as you are, and pour over the best resources given to you on the topic of Mary. Be critical of them. I've included some that I feel are worthwhile earlier in my post.

  • Pray to Jesus, asking Him about the role (if any) that His Mother should have in your life - something like "Lord, do you desire for me to know Your Mother? Will forming a relationship with Her magnify You, as the Scriptures say, or will it cloud my relationship with You and draw me further from You?".

  • Perhaps read and reflect on Revelation 12. If you believe that "the male child brought forth to rule all nations with a rod of iron, caught up to God and His throne" (Rev 12: 5) is Jesus Christ, then it follows that the mother in this situation can (in one sense) be a depiction of Mary. Later in the chapter, it refers to "the rest of her offspring, those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus (Rev 12: 17). Do those statements reflect your purpose in this life? If so, then you, too, are a beloved son/daughter of Mary. Something to consider.

    Thanks for being patient during my stream of consciousness, and know that you're in my prayers. Feel free to PM with any questions, too. Peace to you.
u/encouragethestorm · 17 pointsr/DebateReligion

This thread has been around for a few hours so I'm afraid this comment might get buried, but since nobody who has commented so far on this thread is actually Catholic, I'll bite.

There are a few fundamentals that need to be cleared up before I can progress to considering the four questions you posed.

Firstly, I am not sure as to whether or not Catholics are actually required to believe in the existence of a literal Adam and Eve. Though in Humani Generis Pius XII wrote that the faithful were to affirm the historicity of "a sin truly committed by one Adam," John Paul II made no mention of a historical Adam and Eve in his "Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Evolution" (typically when a pontiff disagree with previous pontiffs, they do not call them out directly, but rather omit that with which they disagree from their own teaching).

The story of Adam and Eve is meant to implicate all humanity: before the fall they do not even have proper names but are rather referred to in the Biblical text simply as "man" and "woman" (seriously, go take a look). It is, then, entirely correct to affirm that these two literary characters, this primordial couple who disobeyed the will of God represents all humanity. Whether or not we can therefore claim that the story is completely allegorical and that Adam and Eve as such did not exist is beyond my competence, but for my part I do not think that the belief that they exist is technically required.

Secondly, original sin is a descriptive term for the fact that human beings are born with something deficient in their wills. This fact is obvious: human nature includes a desire to seize, possess, to advance the interests of the self over the interests of others, to elevate the ego (as Augustine observes in his Confessions). This, I think, is indisputable, and this deficiency, this willingness to prioritize the self over other people and over the good, is precisely what the term "original sin" means. The word "sin" in the term "original sin" does not mean that people are born with personal sin, that people enter the world already guilty of wrongdoing; rather, the word "sin" refers to a condition in which not everything is as it should be, in which something is lacking.

  1. Evolution might have happened randomly, but at some point beings existed that had rational capacity and thus also the capacity for moral action (morality being a function of reason). Rational capacity, though perhaps a product of biological processes, presupposes the ability to act against instinctual urges for the sake of what one knows cognitively to be right. Thus evolution cannot be thought of as abjuring choice: if we have evolved to be rational creatures in a non-deterministic universe (as the Church believes we are), then the rational capacities we evolved necessarily entail our freedom in making our own choices.

    Perhaps the greatest revelation that Christianity brought into the world, the greatest "religious innovation," so to speak, is this notion that God is love. God wishes us to be united with him in love and does not wish to punish. Yet love to be real must be freely chosen; a love that is forced is by its very nature not love. If God allows us to participate in his being by loving, he is required to give us the choice of not loving.

    Thus I think the "sin" component of "Original Sin" is entirely coherent. The difficulty lies instead with the "original" aspect—how exactly is it that previous sin entails that the rest of us also enter this world in a state in which something is lacking in our wills? I am not entirely sure (and the Catechism itself says that "the transmission of original sin is a mystery"), but my personal theory is that any sin, by its very nature as a turning-away from God, effects a separation between the physical and the divine realms such that when sin entered into the physical world, the physical world became imperfect. If this realm of existence has become tainted, we who come after the tainting enter a world of imperfection, of lackingness and thus are conceived in lackingness. Something—some element of salvific grace proper to the divine realm—is missing.

  2. Even if early humans "had less thinking capacity," their status as rational animals made them moral agents. According to Thomas Aquinas, conscience itself is an act of the intellect by which a human being can judge the morality of an action, and thus morality depends upon intellect, upon knowing.

    Perhaps the point at which human beings became capable of obeying or disobeying God was the point at which one of our ancestors was capable of giving him- or herself fully away, of surrendering himself not for his own good (and not for the survival of his genes either; as Dawkins brilliantly observed before he dabbled into fields beyond his competence, it is the gene that is truly selfish and thus we can observe seemingly "altruistic" behavior in animals like bees, who sacrifice themselves to protect their kin and thus perpetuate their genes even though they die) but rather for the good. The point at which a human being was able to surrender him- or herself for a good cause simply and exclusively because it was the right thing to do seems to be the point at which true love becomes possible, and thus relationship with God as well.

    Says Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI:

    > The clay became man at the moment in which a being for the first time was capable of forming, however dimly, the thought of "God". The first Thou that—however stammeringly—was said by human lips to God marks the moment in which the spirit arose in the world. Here the Rubicon of anthropogenesis was crossed. For it is not the use of weapons or fire, not new methods of cruelty or of useful activity, that constitute man, but rather his ability to be immediately in relation to God. This holds fast to the doctrine of the special creation of man ... herein ... lies the reason why the moment of anthropogenesis cannot possibly be determined by paleontology: anthropogenesis is the rise of the spirit, which cannot be excavated with a shovel. The theory of evolution does not invalidate the faith, nor does it corroborate it. But it does challenge the faith to understand itself more profoundly and thus to help man to understand himself and to become increasingly what he is: the being who is supposed to say Thou to God in eternity.

    -Ratzinger, In the Beginning...

  3. For this question I have no concrete answers, but I can offer some thoughts.

    Firstly, God is timeless. Therefore the span of time between the creation of the universe and the appearance of the first rational/moral agent is of no consequence.

    Secondly, it appears that this universe is unusually conducive to life. Now, I'm a theologian, not a physicist, and so I may be talking out of my ass here, but as Martin Rees writes in Just Six Numbers there are six fundamental constants that "constitute the 'recipe' for a universe," such that if any one of them were even slightly different, this universe would be utterly incapable of producing the advanced forms of life capable of rational inquiry and moral reflection that are relevant to our discussion. For example, the value of the fundamental constant ε is 0.007, and "if ε were 0.006 or 0.008, we could not exist." Thus I don't think we can say that this is the case of a "laissez-faire" creator; rather, it would seem that this creator ensured that rational beings would eventually come to exist in the universe that he created and that we were thus intended.

    Thirdly, God does not disappear from the scene at the point at which beings are capable of acknowledging him. He makes his presence known and is active in history (and with the incarnation he even enters history).
u/OmegaPraetor · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

First of all, welcome back, brother. I am especially touched that your fiancée would even suggest to find a Catholic Church. (As an aside, you're not a convert; you're a revert since you're already baptized into the Church. I thought maybe you'd appreciate that factoid.)


>I am looking for information about your Church, whatever you think is important to know.

There is a lot to know and many here would recommend a million and one things to study, especially since it sounds like you enjoy a good intellectual pursuit. I'm not going to discount others' recommendations, but I do want to highlight one thing: learn more about Jesus first. Find out what He taught, who He is, what His disciples and closest friends said about Him, what the Old Testament said about Him, etc. To that end...


>I am looking for recommendations for a Catholic-approved version of the Bible, geared towards someone who appreciates philosophy and prefers something close to the original translations, or the most accepted by the Church.

First thing to note, all Catholic Bibles have 72 books. Protestants have 66. If you can't get a hold of a Catholic Bible, a Protestant one will do for now until you do get around to buying a Catholic one. Now, as for Catholic Bibles, if you speak/read Latin you can't go wrong with the Vulgate Bible. It's a Bible that was translated by St. Jerome who was fluent in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin; he had the original manuscripts -- some of which are lost to us today -- so his translations are widely accepted as authentic and faithful.

There's also the English version of the Vulgate Bible known as the Douay-Rheims. It's an almost word-for-word translation of the Latin so the English will sound archaic to our modern ears. It's not as frustrating as, say, reading Shakespeare but it's pretty close. I personally prefer (and currently use) a Douay-Rheims Bible that has the Clementina Vulgata beside it. It's essentially Latin and English side by side. You can find one here.

If want one with plain English, the New American Bible Revised Edition would suffice. (If you use this website, let me know. I have a discount code from my last purchase.)


>I know nothing of the culture or norms of the Church, or what to expect as a new member.

One major rule to remember is that you can't receive Holy Communion until after you've gone to Confession. Given your situation, I would recommend setting up an appointment with a parish priest so he can give his full attention to you and your needs.


>I do not know how to introduce myself to the congregation

There's usually no need to introduce yourself to the congregation since parishes tend to be big. If you would like to formally introduce yourself, however, give the parish priest a call and set up a meeting with him. It would also be a great chance to speak with him about your situation and get some pastoral guidance.


>or tell a good Catholic church from a lesser one

Many here would recommend a more traditional parish. If that's not available, I'd say any Catholic church would do. If you're unsure about a particular church's standing, just give us the details on this sub. I'm sure someone here would be able to double check for you.


>I know nothing of the Saints or the miracles, or what has been confirmed by the Church and what hasn't.

These are things you can learn later on. Focus on Jesus first. Rebuild your relationship with Him. Start with the basics; if you don't, you might burn yourself out. There is A LOT to learn about the Faith. Some say it's a lifelong endeavour. :P


>I am also looking for a reading list to explore Catholic philosophy beyond those you typically encounter in standard philosophical reading, such as Aquinas or Pascal.

Hmmm... this depends on what sorts of things interest you. A good one that lightly touches on philosophy is Socrates Meets Jesus by Peter Kreeft (anything by this guy is pretty good, by the way).

A book that may be more pressing to your current situation is Why Be Catholic? by Patrick Madrid and Abraham Skorka, Why We're Catholic by Trent Horn, as well as Why I am a Catholic by Brandon Vogt. (They might need to work on a more original title, though :P) Since you have an Evangelical background, Crossing the Tiber by Steve Ray might be helpful (although it can be a bit dry; also, it mostly deals with the Church's teaching on Baptism and the Eucharist) as well as Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn.

You can never go wrong with classics such as a collection of C. S. Lewis' works, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton, and Confessions by St. Augustine.

If you want a historical examination of Jesus and the Early Church, a good place to start is The Case for Christ by Brant Pitre, The History of the Church: From Christ to Constantine by St. Eusebius, and The Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin. I'd like to thrown in Jesus, Peter, and the Keys by Scott Butler, Norman Dahlgren, and David J. Hess. This last one pertains to the Catholic claim regarding the papacy (and which I think is one of the strongest arguments in favour of the Catholic Church being the original one that the Lord founded).

Finally, there are YouTube channels you can follow/binge watch such as Bishop Robert Barron and Ascension Presents. Also, an amazing video about the Catholic Faith is a series made by Bishop Barron when he was "just" a priest called Catholicism.

I'm sorry if that's overwhelming but you raised some good questions. :P Anyway, I imagine it may be a lot right now so take it slowly, don't dive in through all of it at once. Find a local Catholic church, call up the priest, set up a meeting, then take it from there. And remember, you can always pray; God's always willing to talk with you.

u/[deleted] · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

>TL;DR I'm a Catholic who doesn't understand Catholicism

You know, as unfortunate as it is, the reality is that you will find many Catholic adults who have no clue what the Catholic Faith teaches.

Do you have an active youth group? If so, you may want to consider joining the youth group and becoming an active member. Also see if they will give you a Catechism of the Catholic Church for free. I hand those suckers out all of the time.

>I still don't really know what confirmation means. They did a horrible job at educating me, I basically sat there through general religious education, all of which I knew before, and then after 2 years, I got some oil on my forehead. I know that it basically means that I'm an adult in the church, but not quite sure what that entitles...

Again, unfortunately the adults that were "teaching" you probably had no clue what Confirmation is either. But a correction would be that you are not "an adult" in the Church. This is a common misconception in the American Catholic Church, mostly because the norm for Christian Rites of Initiation for many Dioceses separate Baptism and Confirmation. In many other places around the world, a child receives Baptism and Confirmation at the same time.

Now, the Catechism says: 1308 Although Confirmation is sometimes called the "sacrament of Christian maturity," we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need "ratification" to become effective. St. Thomas reminds us of this:

Age of body does not determine age of soul. Even in childhood man can attain spiritual maturity: as the book of Wisdom says: "For old age is not honored for length of time, or measured by number of years. "Many children, through the strength of the Holy Spirit they have received, have bravely fought for Christ even to the shedding of their blood.

I understand Confirmation as a completion of Baptism. The minister of Confirmation seals you with the Holy Spirit and "unlocks" the "full power" and blessing that was started in your soul in Baptism.

>As far as I can tell, most of the Dogmas of the Catholic church are pretty reasonable, so I don't have a problem with many of them.


>However, what gets me is the "Pick and Choose" part of the dogmas. I understand why that is there (people that pick and choose believing in core Catholic beliefs), but I'm pretty sure that the word of the clergy isn't 100% accurate with the wishes of God, since there has been corruption before, in the long history of the church, and in the recent history of the church.

I am not quite certain what you are asking here. Catholics cannot "pick and choose" which Dogmas to follow and which to not follow. Dogmas are essential to our Faith.

You are correct that sometimes the Clergy will make mistakes and they will not preach the fullness of Truth to their parishes. We can trust the Magisterium, though.

There has been corruption in the people of the Church, yes. The recent scandals still sting all of us Catholics to the Core of our being. I, myself, am still trying to reconcile how the most respected of our Fold could betray us in such a way. But I know that the reasons behind the pedophilia scandal are many and they are varied and they are not exclusive to the Catholic Church.

I also understand that 50 years ago, Bishops sincerely did not know how to handle allegations of this magnitude and did what they thought was best. In many cases, the Bishops had their priest sent to a psychologist and listened to what the psychologist told them. You would think that common sense would tell the Bishops to hand the accused clergy over to the local authorities for an investigation, but we have to remember that it was a very different time back then. I do not make excuses for the bishops or priests, nor do I presume that I can even entertain the thought of justifying their actions; not at all. But I do know that there is always more to the story than what we hear reported on the news.

>Though I can't think of a specific thing for the prior statement, an example I previously felt about this was purgatory. I heard that it was worse than hell, but a Religion teacher at my school enlightened me by asking me the question: "If we don't know what it is, just that it is a spiritual cleansing, couldn't it be relaxing as a day of personal cleansing, such as at a spa?"

I do not know who told you Purgatory was worse than hell. They were clearly wrong. Purgatory is a part of Heaven. But I do not think it is relaxing as a day of cleansing, like the spa. I think it is very painful. We must suffer to rid ourselves of "self" so that we might love God more.

>At my church, every sermon is about politics, with a radical right-wing viewpoint on it in general. Is it like that everywhere?

Not at all. In fact, many parishes in my area refuse to comment on politics. Instead, they comment on morality, which should guide the way we vote and participate in government.

>What is the official Catholic stance on gay people? My church is SUPER anti-gay, but I have a few openly gay friends at school, and nobody gives a crap. I understand that they aren't allowed marriage because of the Catholic definition of marriage, but would the church condemn another type of union under a different title for political and financial reasons? Chaste, of course...

Read Same Sex Attraction: Church Teaching and Pastoral Practice to understand more on the subject. But you may also notice that nobody at your school "gives a crap" if their friends are having sex, or getting pregnant, or having abortions. Does this justify their behavior?

The Church would indeed condemn any union between a same-sex couple. Why? Because the Church does not look only at the material reasons for the union (political, financial). The Church cares more for the spirituality of the persons involved and wants the salvation of their souls. How can these people be saved if they believe that their immoral actions are sanctioned by the government? How can these people come to know, love, and serve Christ in this life if they think they are doing nothing wrong? The Church teaches that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. Nothing will ever make those actions "good."

>I understand the process of confession and the method, but I'm a bit unclear about what I'm supposed to confess. It's impossible for me to remember every transgression that I make, so I generally try to focus on major ones (10 commandments), with a generalized perspective, (I'm sure I did this at some point in time). I feel kinda awkward asking about this anywhere else but reddit...

You confess all the sins that you can recall. It is a good practice for you to do an examination of conscience each night before you go to bed so that you might be able to make a better confession on your next visit. It is very good to start with the Ten Commandments. The Church recommends you confess every mortal sin first, then your venial sins. Finding a good examination of conscience to aid your prayer might help.

>Catholics don't believe that the bible is 100% true, literal translation, do they? I've heard it both ways, but I'm more comfortable with the definition of the bible being a message of spiritual truth, not literal truth.

No, Catholics do believe that the Bible is the "100% true, literal translation." "Literal" just means that whatever we interpret or translate belongs to a literary work. Many people confuse "literal" with "literalistic", which would say that everything is written down exactly as it happened and does not take into account a contextual analysis of the text (which may be poetry or song or parable).

I do not know what you are attempting to distinguish between spiritual truth and literal truth, though. Truth is Truth.

u/Ibrey · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

> Where can I go to learn how 'do' mass? Also am i aloud to do the Sign of the cross? I love it, but don't want to over step my bounders.

Yes! Everyone is welcome to pray, and to participate in the Mass to whatever extent they feel comfortable with the exception of receiving Communion. A book you might find useful is the Handbook of Prayers edited by James Socias, which has a complete "script" for the parts of the Mass that are the same every week, along with a summary of Catholic doctrines and other traditional prayers and devotions.

> Where can I read more catholic history/theology? What IS Catholicism?

The Catholic Church is the one true church founded by Jesus Christ, led for nearly two thousand years now by an unbroken succession of bishops going all the way back to the apostles. (The Eastern Orthodox, who broke from the Catholic Church in the 11th Century, also have valid apostolic succession, and I think most of us would consider them the only other church with a remotely plausible claim to be the true one.) Even when the Church was united, the name "Catholic" was used to distinguish it from various heretical sects. St Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 313–386) advises Christians travelling in a strange city not to ask where "the Lord's house" is, or "the church," since heretics would dare to call their own place of worship that; rather, he says, ask where you can find the Catholic church.

The two books I always recommend for general information about Catholic doctrine are Theology for Beginners, a no-nonsense book rooted in the author's experience arguing with atheists as a street preacher, and Catholicism for Dummies, which will contain much more practical information, more colourful details on particular saints and pilgrimage sites, and in general more on what distinguishes Catholicism from other Christian denominations.

> (Do you really 'worship' saints? WHAT IS A SAINT?

A small-s saint is anyone who has died in the friendship of God, and now enjoys the beatific vision in heaven, awaiting the reunion of their soul with their body at the general resurrection. The Holy Spirit unites us with them in one single Body of Christ. It is a very ancient Christian practice in both East and West to call upon them to join us in our prayers. The saints cannot forgive our sins or perform miracles, but can pray to God for Him to do that; often, you'll see prayers for intercession of saints addressed directly to God like "Lord, through the intercession of your servant St so-and-so, grant that..."

A good illustration of what the saints are to Catholics is found in the words of the Hail Mary. First, Mary is praised for what God has given her:

> Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Then we ask for everything we can hope to receive from her hands:

> Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

When someone has the word "Saint" before their name as a title, that means they've been recognised by the Church as a saint who lived an exemplary Christian life, and that public veneration of them is appropriate; for example, you can name a church after St Thomas Aquinas, but probably shouldn't name one after Pope Alexander VI. A few saints who led interesting lives that you may enjoy reading about are St Moses the Black, St Louis IX of France, St Joan of Arc, and St Maximilian Kolbe.

u/unsubinator · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

God established his covenant with Abraham. The promise did not belong to Ishmael but to Isaac. But Ishmael would also become a great chieftain--the father of many nations. From Isaac, the promise passed Esau and went to Jacob, who, it should be noted, inherited Esau's blessing by deceit.

You see, God established one people. One nation. "Through Isaac shall your descendants be named".

Even the twelve tribes were one people under a single leadership.

Joshua was ordained to succeed Moses, when Moses commissioned him by the laying on of hands.

To the crowds and to his disciples, Jesus said, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you." There is one seat; one cathedra.

In the upper room before his Passion, when he was with the twelve, Jesus prayed, "Father...I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word...Sanctify them in the truth.

>I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.

After his resurrection, Jesus came among the twelve...

>On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

This was something that Jesus gave to the twelve (at this point, the 11--yet Judas' "office" was vacant, and had to be filled).

But to one Jesus gave a special trust. To St. Peter, Jesus gave the Keys of the Kingdom, "and the gates of hell will never prevail against it". Whatever he binds on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever he looses on earth will be loosed in heaven.

There's a great deal of special significance to the location Jesus chose to ask his disciples--the twelve--this question; "Who do you say that I am?"

He brought them to a temple erected by Herod in honor of Caesar, who fashioned himself "The Son of God". It was a temple in the side of an enormous rock. In the rock and in the temple was a pit that was literally said to be "the gates of hell", into which live sacrifice was thrown. And in various clefts of the rock were statues--idols--to the Greek god of sheep and shepherds, Pan.

So here was a false temple to a false Son of God, built upon a rock with a gate to hell, and all overseen by a false shepherd.

And Peter confessed, "You are the anointed one, the Son of the Living God".

To which Jesus replied, "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father who is in heaven."

>And I tell you, you are Rock and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The note in the RSV-Catholic Edition, says:

>Peter has the key to the gates of the city of God. This power is exercised through the church. “Binding” and “loosing” are rabbinic terms referring to excommunication, then later to forbidding or allowing something. Not only can Peter admit to the kingdom; he also has power to make authoritative decisions in matters of faith or morals.

There's a reference
implicit in Jesus' proclamation to Isaiah 22.

>Thus says the Lord God of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him... I will thrust you from your office, and you will be cast down from your station. In that day I will call my servant Eli′akim the son of Hilki′ah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

The steward being referred to in the House of David--the office he held--was that of the "prime minister" or
vizier. Joseph had this role in the court of Pharaoh.

>So Pharaoh said to Joseph: ...you shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.

This was the power given to Peter. The context is [necessarily]
entirely Jewish. And the disciples would have understood it as such.

>The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren—him you shall heed

And Peter said (in Acts 3):

>Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet from your brethren as he raised me up. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came afterwards, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God gave to your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your posterity shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you in turning every one of you from your wickedness.”

The woman at the well, knowing her Torah, said to Jesus, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet."

>When the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Jesus is the prophet
like Moses. He is the new Moses. Moses had a seat. Christ has a seat. The scribes and the pharisees sit on Moses' seat. And they were told to do whatever they told them.

Who sits on Jesus' seat--or
throne? Yes, Jesus' throne is in heaven, but Jesus is not just a prophet but a king as well. And a king in the line of David. And he gave Peter the "keys of the kingdom", making Peter, Rocky, his prime minister. The prime ministry is an office, just as each of the twelve apostles held an office.

>In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said, “Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered among us, and was allotted his share in this ministry...For it is written in the book of Psalms,

‘Let his habitation become desolate,
and let there be no one to live in it’;


‘His office let another take.’

An office,
like the office of President of the United States, is something which allows of successors. The successors inherit, or assume the powers inherent in the office. The personal qualities of the man don't really matter. The office itself confers the power.

And what is the power? The power to bind and loose.

Abraham was
one. Moses was one. Christ is one.

The Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

How can the Church be one if she isn't united in communion to the office of he to whom our LORD gave the keys of the kingdom--he who has the authority of the king?

I once felt like you. That the Catholic claims were uncharitable and divisive. But if we're not one, how can we say that we're of Christ.

>Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?


>The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

We are one if we are together in Christ. And we are together in Christ if we are in communion with the successor of Peter, who everyone acknowledges to be the Bishop of Rome.

And the gates of hell will never prevail.

The charism of Papal Infallibility is often misunderstood. All it means is that God will never permit the whole Church, in communion with the successor of Peter, to be led into error in matters of faith and morals.

That's all it means. Not that any Pope will be
impeccable*. Or that any Pope will never make a mistake. Or that any Pope won't ever be a scoundrel or even a heretic. What matters is that the true successor of Peter will never commit the Church to any error in matters of faith and morals.

So we are one if we are united to the successor of Peter.

I'm almost out of space, so let me suggest some resources:

Former Pentecostal Pastor Alex Jones converted to the Catholic Church

Peter, the Rock, the Keys, and the Chair - Steve Ray

The Early Papacy: To the Synod of Chalcedon in 451

And finally, this was instrumental in my conversion to the Catholic Faith, so I can't recommend this enough:

Catechism of the Catholic Church

(Also here)

u/brtf4vre · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

If you are coming from an atheist background I think you should start with some more foundational material before checking out the Bible. The Catholic Church is the sole keeper of the complete truth that has been revealed by God to humanity.

However, like other truths, new conclusions can build upon previous knowledge. Just like modern mathematics has built upon Gauss and Newton and Pythagoras etc. If you did not understand geometry it would be difficult to understand calculus. If you just started reading about calculus but had no concept of finding the area of a rectangle you might not understand calculus or assume you are being expected to just accept calculus as true using "blind faith". In the same way, God has revealed to us that we should not murder people (10 commandments), and the Church was able to build upon that foundation the conclusion that abortion is a sin since it is ultimately the killing of an innocent human (murder). If however, you just read somewhere that the Church opposes abortion but had no knowledge of the 10 commandments you might not understand why that conclusion was made and instead assume it is just some arbitrary religious teaching.

The foundation you need to first establish is that God exists, and this can be known (in the same way you can know 1+1=2) through reason. Even Aristotle was able to know this. The most famous proofs of this are St Thomas Aquinas' "5 ways". There are many resources including books and good YouTube videos exploring this topic, I would recommend Answering Atheism as a good start, or if you want to try a college level, more rigorous book, check out Aquinas for Beginners. Check out this quick 17 minute video for a great start.

So that is where I think you should start, and after you convince yourself that atheism is false you should come back here to learn why the Catholic church is God's true church.

To address a few other things. First, the Bible is not a book in the commonly used sense of that word today. The Bible is actually a collection of books written across a wide time range in different genres. So a more accurate question would be: "do I have to take the library 100% literally? The answer is of course no. That does not mean the Bible is not 100% true, it just means that the truth is not 100% conveyed directly via literal interpretation. Some evidence would be this quote from Jesus "If any man come to Me and hate not his father and mother...he cannot be My disciple" which seems to be in direct contradiction with the 4th Commandment "Honor thy father and mother". So if the Bible is 100% true, and things that are true cannot lead to contradictions, then at least one of the quotes must have some other meaning than the literal text. So how do we know what is the case here? That is what we have the Catholic Church for, so again when after you convince yourself God exists you should come back here to understand why you should trust the Catholic Church to interpret these questions and more.

If you are specifically concerned that becoming Catholic means you have to literally believe the universe was created in 6 days I can assure you the short answer is no, you do not need to believe this.

1 more thing Ill add it about the word "faith". A common atheist position is that religions are based on blind faith with no evidence. This is not the Catholic definition of the word. Faith is not about making true/false claims. Evidence is REQUIRED for True/False claims. Now not ALL evidence is in the form of scientific experimentation, but that does not mean the Church requires you to just hold certain things as true on "faith alone" with no evidence. Instead, think of the word confidence. The latin roots are "con" "fide" which means "with faith". So faith has more to do with confidence or trust than true/false certainty. An example might be that we use reason and logic as evidence to know God exists, or historical testimony as evidence Jesus rose from the dead. Then, knowing these things as true, we have faith that the teaching God has revealed are true and in our best interest in things we should do. There is no way to proof scientifically whether or not we should steal something, and if we are even in a situation where we are tempted into doing that we may think that we should do it because we really want to or don't think we will get caught or whatever. Faith means trusting in God's recommendation to not steal things even if we think it would be a good idea or seemingly justify it to ourselves.

u/Autopilot_Psychonaut · 2 pointsr/Catholicism


> Dr. Pitre's The Case for Jesus Intro Video Transcript
> I've been teaching the Bible as a professor now for a long time, and over the years I've noticed that many of my students believe in Jesus, but they don't necessarily know why they believe in Jesus, they don’t know why they think he’s the Messiah, the son of God. Lots of other people I know don't believe in Jesus, but they don't necessarily realize who Jesus claimed to be. For example, lots of them will say “oh well Jesus was just a good moral teacher,” or “Jesus was just an ordinary Jewish rabbi,” or “Jesus was just a great prophet.” Still others will say, “well how do we even know what Jesus did and said, we can't really understand him, we can't really have access to him, it was so long ago.” Some of these people, for example, compare the Gospels to the end product of a game of telephone. Maybe you’ve played the telephone game when you were a kid, they’ll say, “well the Gospels are like the telephone game, you know ,where one child tells a story to the next child, who tells it the next child, and it gets changed over and over again, until, at the end of the game, the story that you end up with is nothing like what you heard in the beginning. Is that what the Gospels are like? Are they just a long chain of anonymous traditions about Jesus, which may or may not be accurate. And what about those documentaries that come on every year, around Easter and Christmas, that ask questions like: did Jesus really claim to be divine? What about the lost Gospels, like the Gospel Thomas? Or a so-called Gospel of Q?
> How does all this factor into the reliability of the accounts that we find in the New Testament? In my new book, The Case for Jesus, I look at these questions head on, and I want to ask ourselves, what exactly is the biblical and the historical evidence for Christ, for who He claimed to be? We’re gonna look at questions like:
> How did we get the Gospels? So were they really originally anonymous, or were they written by the apostles and their followers? What about the the genre of the Gospels, what kind of books are these? Are they like folklore or fairytales? Are they myths? Or are they history? Are they biographies? And also too, what about the identity of Jesus? Who Jesus really claim to be? Was he just a prophet, or a great teacher, or a rabbi? Or did he fulfill the prophecy of the Messiah? And, most of all, did he actually claim to be God? Did he claim to be divine? This is going to be one most important points we have to deal with, because, you may have heard this before, there are lots of scholars out there who say that Jesus only claims to be divine in the Gospel of John. That he doesn't claim to be divine in the three earlier Gospels, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. So what about that? Is the score 3 against 1? And when were these books written? Are they too late to actually be reliable? How do we know what we know about who Jesus was, and what he did and said, and that's what I’m going to be looking at in this book, The Case for Jesus.
> Now what’s unique about this book, is that, there are of course thousands and thousands of books out there on Jesus, and lots of them, especially the more skeptical ones, tend to give you just one side of the argument. They’re gonna tell you why you shouldn't trust the gospel, why Jesus didn't claim to be the Messiah, or claim to be divine. In this book I’m gonna give you both sides of the argument. I'm gonna give you arguments for and against the reliability of the Gospels. I’m gonna give you the arguments for and against Jesus claiming to be the Messiah, and claiming to be divine, and I'll let you decide, what is the evidence for Christ? And there are also lots of books out there that claim that Jesus never said that he was Divine, never claimed to be God. Well one of the things I try to show in this book is, that when you look at the gospel evidence, when you look at the question of Jesus’ divinity, you’ve got to pay attention to his Jewish context. Over and over again I've noticed that books by skeptics often will ignore the Jewish roots of Jesus’ divinity. In other words, you only will be up to see how he is identifying himself as divine, if you read His words in the first century Jewish context. So if you've ever been interested in the question of the origin of the Gospels, of the divinity of Christ. If you've ever wondered who was Jesus, and how do we know. Whether you're a Christian or non-Christian, Protestant or Catholic, whether you’re Jewish, Muslim, atheist, or agnostic, believer or nonbeliever, or maybe a little bit of both. If you've ever wondered who was Jesus, then this book, The Case for Jesus: the Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ, is for you.

Video on YT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ1osU9nkJ4

u/geekyjustin · 1 pointr/askgaybros

This post has inspired me to make a YouTube video on this subject, so I’ll share that when it’s done. But in the meantime, here are some quick tips for dealing with conservative Christian parents (most of this should probably work with other religious parents as well, but my work has been with Christians, so I can’t say offhand how this might need to change for other faith groups):

Listen and let them talk as much as you’re able. This depends a lot on what you can handle; step away when it gets to be too much. But when they talk, you can learn a lot about misconceptions they hold about gay people that you’ll want to help correct. For example, many conservative Christian parents mistakenly believe that gay people choose to be gay or that it can be changed through prayer or therapy. As long as they believe these things, they’re not likely to be open to alternate ways of reading the Bible, so finding resources that address those issues first can be helpful.

Share your story and let them sit with it. As tempting as it can be to jump into arguing about the Bible with them, that almost never changes parents’ minds. Instead, what does change minds is having time to sit with their own children’s stories, realizing how much pain their child has been through. Let them know things like when you first knew you were different, fears you had about telling them, attempts you may have made to become straight (if that’s something you did), etc. You may be surprised how many of the things that seem obvious to you will be shocking to them. Give them time to sit with it; it will take a while for it to sink in.

Connect them with resources wherever you can, but make sure you’re getting support for yourself. Don’t wait for your parents to come around before you live your life. It may take them years to understand, and you can’t pin your own self-esteem to their approval, even if that’s hard to accept right now. Reaffirm your love for them, stay in conversation with them when you’re able to, but make sure you have your own support network that doesn’t require their approval.

Try to connect them with other parents:

If possible, one of the best things you can do is to connect them with other Christian parents who have been through similar situations (but who have become more accepting)—they can be a sounding board for them and allow them to have some much-needed peer support as they work through this. There are some private Facebook groups for parents that I can’t publicly link to, but a couple of good places to start are:




(The first one may appeal more to parents who are more conservative and/or just starting out, while the second one may be more geared to those a little further along.)


When they’re ready to read something:

Many parents aren’t ready to read a book right away, but if/when they are, some books you could try include:

“My Son, Beloved Stranger” by Carrol Grady (written by an SDA mom; speaks to very conservative parents, but can be tough to find)

“Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate” by Justin Lee (disclaimer: this is my book, and it feels weird to recommend my own stuff, but it was written specifically for situations like this, and I’ve had SO MANY PARENTS tell me it was the thing that changed their minds and helped them accept their LGBTQ+ kids)

“Mom, I’m Gay” by Susan Cottrell (another book by a Christian mom of a gay child, not quite as conservative in its language but still helpful to many Christian parents)

For parents who are ready for more in-depth Bible analysis, Matthew Vines’ book God and the Gay Christian is a good introduction to the Bible arguments—but I recommend that you wait on this until your parents have already dealt with the emotions surrounding your coming out and are past the idea that orientation can change; otherwise, they’ll dismiss these arguments without giving them a chance. This is a more advanced book, not as much for parents just starting out.


There are lots more resources available online:

My website includes lots of blog posts on things conservative Christians often say, Bible passages, and so on, including a video series I’m doing on the subject for my YouTube channel—and I’m working on another big resource that I’ll be linking to shortly, so feel free to watch that or message me for more specific resources.

So that's a start, but please still feel free to message me for any more specific details or resources.

u/GPBRDLL133 · 1 pointr/Christianity

It's difficult to get into the theological arguments for an affirming position over Reddit, but I've got a few resources that might help you learn more about the debate and implications of an affirming position. As a gay Christian, I can say they were also helpful to accepting and affirming myself and providing answers for some of the questions I was asking.
The book that gets recommended the most is [God and the Gay Christian.] (https://www.amazon.com/God-Gay-Christian-Biblical-Relationships/dp/160142518X) It's really good at laying out the basic theological arguments for affirming lgbt Christians and explores the type a-type b argument (the debate on whether lgbt Christians can marry or need to remain celibate).
If you're looking for an in depth theological discussing that discusses all of the reasons for and against affirming lgbt Christians, [Bible, Gender, and Sexuality] (https://www.amazon.com/Bible-Gender-Sexuality-Reframing-Relationships/dp/0802868630) is an incredible resource for looking at all of the arguments for and against affirming lgbt Christians, as well as the shortfalls of each position. It ultimately comes to an affirming conclusion, but it does the non-affirming side justice. A lot of the arguments in God and the Gay Christian can be traced to this book, but this is more in depth. The author, James Brownson, is a professor at Western Theological Seminary, and does his best to give everyone (even those who don't agree with him) something to think about.
For some perspective of what life as a gay Christian is like, I'd recommend checking out Blue Babies Pink. You can either read Brett Trapp's stories online or listen to his podcast, but he does a good job explaining what it was like to grow up and live as a gay Christian, and the struggles he faced coming out, accepting himself, and trying to live in accordance with his faith. It doesn't explore theology, but also is safe for work. It gives a good perspective to what many gay Christians go through.
If you're interested in ministering to the lgbt community, I'd recommend meeting and listening to people of faith who belong to the lgbt community (if you haven't done this already). Listen to their stories and the pain many of them go through. Listen to what their specific needs are. Many of them will be the same needs everyone else needs like community, support, and places to use their gifts. Listen to how their needs for these differ than what is being provided to them or they are allowed to participate in.
Ultimately your job as an ally (if you choose to be one) is to not use your own voice, but to amplify the voices of members of the lgbt community. Don't try to speak on behalf of us, but use your position to give us voices. Put members of the community on the podium instead of yourself whenever possible, because we're the most qualified to speak on our needs and our pain. Of course that doesn't mean you can't discuss lgbt issues with others without a member of the lgbt community present. There are many forums you can go to that we cannot. Just make sure when you do you do your best to articulate the experiences that we've had.
Most importantly make sure that any discussion of the lgbt community you have is discussing the fact that regardless of position, the discussion is about people. It's regarding the life lgbt Christians and non-believers experience every day. Nothing dehumanize us and turns us away from the church more than being treated as just an issue.
I hope this gives you some good places to start. As a gay Christian, I've got grace for people like you who are asking legitimate questions and are wrestling with what the bible says vs. what the Bible means and what God says. Even if you end up with a non-affirming position, I believe it doesn't have to be inherently hurtful to the community. As long as you recognize the pain the lgbt community as a whole has experienced, how most churches aren't equipped to satisfy our spiritual needs, and recognize what you're truely asking of gay Christians when you say they need to remain celibate, you can still help the church better minister to lgbt Christians. I wish you the best on your spiritual journey

u/edvol44 · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Invite them! It might go well! My immediate family was happy that I am commited to God, my extended family, not so much. My uncle asked me why I on Earth was converting and I very excitedly tried to tell him every reason. That didn't go so well, but now they just don't talk about it. Interestingly, the uncle I thought would be most against it was not opposed, and since we two are the only conservatives in the family and I even like Patsy Cline and Hank Sr., we get along ok. That whole branch of my family used to be Catholic but all left the church when they got super liberal. I wish they could have been at my confirmation because maybe they might have seen what they missed.

I'm at the point now where most people can't win a theological debate with me, or even get to a draw, and that makes things awkward sometimes. I also need to improve my polish a bit. I usually like to leave the door open as though I might convert to their denomination if they can prove to me why I shouldn't be Catholic, which I would if they could, but they can't, or haven't yet and I would be shocked if they could. An Orthodox or copt might have the best chance, but I doubt it. An even better way is to not mention that you're Catholic, get them to agree on everything besides the pope and mary, etc, before dropping the Catholic bomb. That approach can bring people in pretty well and I have gotten fairly decent results from it. Give your own testimony, it is your experience and is thus unassailable. Get everything that Scott Hahn has written, he is great, and converted from your background. Rome Sweet Home in particular might be helpful. it is about $3 on amazon. Read it first, get your dad to read it, if you think it is a good idea, and ask him to tell you what is wrong in it and why. Do all of this with love and charity! Do not get too worked up. It may be your soul and his and your mom's that are at stake. Use your dad's fear to get him to read it. Be as faithful and as good of a son as you can be. Honor your father and mother. When they see the love and faith with which you live your life, that will likely be the impetus to bring them home and what will get you their acceptance. Remember that it may not be overnight. Are they worried about the pope being the antichrist? I have a pretty good thought on that if you want.

u/TheFrigginArchitect · 1 pointr/books

I haven't read Atlas Shrugged, but I have read the Fountainhead, and most of the benefit was the exposition of the "government doesn't work, poor people don't take on enough personal responsibility" mindset that is pretty common to run into.

Ayn Rand can be frustrating to read because she hangs her hat on arguments like "When you help people, you're hurting them!" and then supports them with exceptional cases. G.K. Chesterton makes the argument that conservatism ought to be revolutionary, and more than makes room for helping people in Orthodoxy. If you're going to try to understand conservatives, I would go with him. The benefit of reading Chesterton is that you can read it to yourself in a puffed up Victorian accent, which is fun for the whole family!

Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London was really good, if you end up liking 1984, go for that.

Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex is pretty sweet, so is Nietzsche's The Gay Science, if you haven't come across Aristotle's Nichomachean ethics, I'd say that's a good guy. The Brothers Karamazov has got to be hands down one of the best ways to understand the most widely held philosophies and viewpoints of the last 200 years.

Looking at a syllabus from a class offered at school here on Marx by an amazing professor, he seems to think that you can pull some of the Hegel background the way ewokskick was saying by grabbing Marx's Early writings.

One potent philosophical refinement of Marx and Hegel can be found at the end of this commentary on Genesis by the Pope It might not be a very fun thing to read through, but it really helped me to develop categories for approaching political philosophy, which has been a big help.

Lastly, if you're heart is set on Deep Springs, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry is a wonderful cowboy novel to set the mood.

Edit: Oh, and reading Joseph Campbell might be a way to introduce yourself to Jung's archetypes and great consciousness sorts of ideas, maybe the interviews with Bill Moyers are somewhere on the internet if there's already too much reading. And I would definitely second Montaigne's Essays.

Edit2: The Master and Margarita is a fun novel by a writer who had to scrape his way through the Stalin-era USSR, if you ever get a break in the action and want a book that you will absolutely, no doubt feel better about the world and yourself for having read it, that's the book to read.

u/Happy_Pizza_ · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I actually deconverted from Catholicism in college. I'm a revert.

I never got into into the party culture. I'm really against drinking and doing drugs, and I've always been skeptical of sex outside of a committed relationship and those morals stuck with me even after I deconverted from Christianity. What I did encounter was a lot of intellectual arguments against religion that I couldn't answer. However, what I also eventually discovered was that most of those objections had been heard before and responded to, at least in some manner.

So, here's my semi-comprehensive list of apologetics apologetics resources that I've accumulated over the years.

IMHO, the following books cover all the essentials very well and are probably must reads. You can buy used or online copies of them relatively cheaply, under 20 dollars if you're in the US. Check out Trent Horn's Answering Atheism, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civ, Mere Christianity by CS Lewis (you can probably get Mere Christianity at your at public library), and What is Marriage? Man and Woman a Defense for defending the concept of natural marriage. You should also read How to Argue which is a free pdf. I haven't researched abortion apologetics as extensively as other areas but I know Trent Horn has some books on those.


I'm not going to say you should read all of my remaining recommendations but I'm putting the rest out there for you so you know they exist.

Now, no list of apologtics is going to cover every argument about Christianity so I would also recommend some online resources. www.reddit.com/r/Catholicism is an amazing forum. It has tons of Catholics who are way more knowledgable and experienced that me who can answer questions and stuff. You may or may not have heard of it ;). I also recommend William Lane Craig's site: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/question-answer. Again, Craig is a protestant so don't look to him for a defense of Catholicism. However, he's good when it comes to defending the basics of Christianity from atheism. Catholic Answers is good. Fr Barron is good. Strange Notions can be good, I link to it in my last paragraph.

The exact relationship between faith and reason was my biggest stumbling block on the road back to Catholicism, so I have some good recommendations on that topic. I recommend the papal encycle Fides et Ratio and How the Catholic Church Built Western Civ. Plantinga's book Where the Conflict Really Lies is also popular and uses evolution to make an interesting argument against materialism. Plantinga's not a Catholic so I don't know how well they would square with Catholic philosophies like Thomism, but, yeah, he exists. He also wrote this giant essay on faith and science, which was helpful. The book God and the Philosophers is pretty good too, it's an anthology of different Christian philosophers and talks about how they converted to Christianity.

Some comprehensive (but expensive) books by non-Catholics include The Blackwell Companion to natural theology by William Lane Craig (not a Catholic). I've heard good things about Richard Swinburne's apologetics trilogy The Coherence of Theism, The Existence of God, and Faith and Reason. Swinburne is Eastern Orthodox, just for the record.

I want to give a special shoutout to Edward Fesser. He's a secular atheist philosopher who converted to Catholicism. You can read his conversion story here. He also has a blog that you can google. Fesser also wrote a bunch of books that are highly recommended by people on this sub, although I haven't read them.

u/Why_are_potatoes_ · -2 pointsr/Christianity


>As I am very new to the faith, I was wondering if I could receive some advice/answers from people here. What would the best writing be to look at for talks through various denominations. Do I need a specific denomination? What other Christian works would be good to read in order to gain a better understanding of the relationship with God and general Christian concepts (I have already ordered a collection of C. S. Lewis’s works as a start).

Well, I would of course want you to join the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Some great resources, in general, include Bishop Barron (anything by him, he's fantastic), Peter Kreeft's works, and Scott Hahn's works. C.S. Lewis, who was highly influenced by Tolkien and Chesterton, both Catholic, is a fantastic starting point. [This] (https://www.amazon.com/Why-Be-Catholic-Important-Question/dp/0307986438) book, [this] (https://www.amazon.com/Lambs-Supper-Mass-Heaven-Earth/dp/0385496591) book, and [this] (https://www.amazon.com/Catechism-Catholic-Church-Complete-Updated/dp/0385479670) Catechism aregreat reading resources. I'd recommend getting a kindle if you don't have one so you can do what I did and just pour through tons of books. If you have a past with Orthodoxy, check out the Orthodox Way by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware as well as the Eastern Catholic Churches. [This] (https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/057803834X/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493667291&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=origins+of+catholic+christianity&dpPl=1&dpID=41bsQ2nPSxL&ref=plSrch) book, as well as the other two parts of it, are very interesting as well, and include part I, the Crucified Rabbi, part II, the Catholic Paul, and part III, the Eternal City. Sorry for the boatload of information; Bishop Barron, overall, is the best place to start. You can find him on YouTube.

I'd also recommend that you go on the sidebar to each and every denominational subreddit and ask them why they think they are the True Church. The one thing I can't recommend enough is to not make a grocery list of doctrines you like and then pick the denomination that suits you best. That isn't how Christianity works; there is one Pillar and Bulwark of Truth, one Body of Christ, and one Church-- the next step for you is figuring out which one it is. You'd probably want to start with Catholicism or Orthodoxy, the two Churches that can directly trace their roots back to the Apostles, yet sadly one split from the other in 1054.

If you haven't yet, get a good, solid Bible (preferably one with the original canon, not the Lutheran one) and start reading the Gospels prayerfully, as well as the Epistles. For the epistles especially, keep in mind the audience of the letter and the context. For the New Testament, the Ignatius Study Bible is incredible; however, the Old Testament has yet to come out. You can get a bundle deal on Amazon with the Catechism and a Study Bible.

God bless, and we'll keep praying for you on your journey!

u/catholic_dayseeker · 2 pointsr/exatheist

Well there are many in my experience in Catholicism that live a dry faith, meaning they don't feel fancy feelings rather they know through knowledge and study.

I cannot of course say that my feelings are more valid than another's we're all biased but that would be a terrible thing to say overall. As if someone else's personal feeling are less important than my own. However, I cannot also say that my feelings are no different from a muslim or mormon or any other religious because then it would seem that other religious feel the same as I do, so therefore something must be amiss as if there is a true religion in this world, feelings such as those should under reasoning only happen with that particular one.

I do not deny their feelings or doubt my own so what else do I have up my sleeve.

I'm a Catholic as you can probably tell from my username (also I hope you enjoy your time I reddit since I think you're new?). This means that along with feelings of ecstasy or not, how would I ever believe the Catholic Church to be the one correct religion.

Catholicism is easy to understand at a basic level, but going further reveals a large web of complicated reasoning dating back hundreds even over a thousand years ago.

  1. The Church's age, the Catholic Church by most estimates date it back to the early 1st century. Church teaching says the official church was founded at Pentecost would be ~33 CE. This means that by age alone, The Catholic Church is the oldest institution in the West, surviving Romans, the early Umayyad Caliphate as well as the ones afterwards in the wake of the founding of Islam, the black death which came from the East, and even modern dangers such as fascism from Mussolini, Nazism from Hitler and company and communism from eastern Europe.

  2. Through these almost ~2,000 years, the church has not taught against itself, in that I mean contradicting or changing a teaching. The day that the church changes a teaching is the day I am no longer a Catholic and more likely an agnostic or perhaps a deist and living my life in peace.

  3. Unlike a lot of other religions, Catholicism (and Christianity in general for the most part) talk about giving things up in our current earthly life to receive rewards in the afterlife as opposed to receiving material rewards while still alive here on this Earth.

    Honestly I could ramble all day, verring off topic at the slightest thought, but I'll stop here and just give some resources if that may interest you.

    The first is New Advent which is a completely free site where you can have access to church documents (in the library) access to the bible in both Greek, Latin and English, a full version of the Summa written by Thomas Aquinas and many other writing of some early Christian figures that helped define many of the beliefs of Christianity in the world of the 1st century and onward.

    The second is r/Catholicism, assuming you don't spam (I believe the limit is 3 posts a week) you can ask all the questions you like from people who may correct misunderstandings or give additional resources.

    For two book recommendations I recommend The Catechism of the Catholic Church which can found online for free on the Vatican's website keep in the mind it's a very small font or by buying it from Amazon which also offers a kindle version for very cheap and an audiobook if that is more your thing.

    The other is (the less subtlety named) Answering Atheism which I've heard many good things about from some friends of mine and folks from r/Catholicism.

    I thank you most of all for being polite and courteous and I hope our exchange was educational for both of us. Always feel free to DM me for anything else.
u/sysiphean · 3 pointsr/Christianity

> If my interpretations are wrong, I do hope that God will lead me to the truth. I know that I don't know everything, and that's a good thing. I am also questioning things and I am far from having all the answers.

Can I suggest a book? I'm currently reading God and the Gay Christian. Though it isn't much new material for me, it is the first I've read that works through these in a way that still treats the Bible as infallible and still maintains a very conservative Christian voice in the process. It may or may not convince you of anything, but I think it may be the best way to look at the specific topic of homosexuality and the Bible, without having to take on a bunch of other questions about faith and the nature of the Bible and the like at the same time.

> Can I just take a moment to say how I appreciate your response, how in a kind and civilized manner your present your points without being disrespectful, edgy, or sarcastic. I want to be more like that, tbh, but that's also an issue for me at times.

Uh, thanks. I want to be more like that, too! I often vacillate between respectful and sarcastic; I'm trying to be more like how this apparently is coming through today. Here's to being a work in progress!

> But, I believe that if my neighbor is doing wrong, that you should call them out on it.

This is a good ideal to consider, along with other ideals, when deciding how to act, but is not good as a solitary rubric. It is needed... sometimes. In community. With other believers. Or when that "wrong" is hurting other people. When Jesus was explaining what "love your neighbor" meant, he used the parable of the Samaritan. No calling out, just loving. Once it was all over, once the Samaritan had loved the Traveler so much, I'm sure that he could have then called out any number of wrongdoings of the Traveler and been heard. But the calling out comes second. First is building the relationship, by loving.

u/digifork · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Get Your Questions Answered

So you have been to Mass but you have some serious questions about the faith that need to be answered before you can consider joining, so now what? Now it is time for you to learn about the Church! The Church has published a book called the Catechism of the Catholic Church (abbreviated as CCC). You can buy a copy just about anywhere or you can read it for free online. The CCC has all the basic teachings of the Church and an index in the back.

As good as the CCC is, it can be dense to read. Another great resource is called the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is also available for purchase or it can be read online for free online. It contains most of the information in the CCC, but it is organized in a question and answer format. I highly recommend it.

In addition to the CCC, you will find a ton of good information on catholic.com (warning: don’t go into the forums). Also, for converts I find it helpful to read other peoples conversion stories. There is a series of books called Surprised by Truth which contain the testimonial of converts. Also, the book Rome Sweet Rome is the true story of how a Scott and Kimberly Hahn came into the Church despite them starting off as militantly anti-Catholic Protestants.

In addition to those books, here are some other books I recommend.

  • The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth
  • The Essential Catholic Survival Guide
  • Catholicism All-In-One For Dummies

    If you prefer videos, the Catholicism Series by Bishop Robert Barron is excellent and a video series called Symbolon. These video series are a bit pricey, so before buying ask you parish if they have them available to lend out. Also, many parishes have subscriptions to Formed which allows you to watch these videos and many more for free.

    If you prefer audio, the website Lighthouse Catholic Media has many talks you can download and listen to.

    If you listen to radio in the car, there may be a Catholic radio station for you to listen to. Catholic radio is a good way to learn the faith. You can check to see if there is Catholic radio in your area at the EWTN website.

    In addition to everything listed above, you can always as your parish priest questions. Many parishes also have adult education programs which cover many topics. See your parish bulletin or contact the parish office to see what they offer.

    As always, you can ask questions here on /r/Catholicism.
u/BeenBeans · 65 pointsr/Catholicism

Hi there! Also a former raised-Catholic-but-not-really-former-atheist/agnostic revert here.

There are numerous - almost endless - amount of resources out there, regarding the Church. (Considering the age of the Catholic Church, it's not surprising.) If you had more specific topics you were looking for, I'm sure people here would be more than willing to point you in the right direction.

For more general sources by platform:



  • There actually is a "Catholicism for Dummies".

  • Mere Christianity is a classic read for all Christians. It is not explicitly Catholic, but it gives a good foundation.



  • Father Mike Schmitz does a great job of explaining things concisely and with enthusiasm.

  • Bishop Robert Barron is also extremely popular on social media among Catholics. Great content.



  • Catholic Stuff You Should Know is one part goofy banter and one part reflections/discussions on Catholicism. I listened to them regularly when I had 1+ hour commutes each way :)

  • Catholic Answers is also a well-known podcast among Catholics. Haven't listened to them yet, but I always hear good things!



  • Regarding mass and its structure/meaning. Here is a link to a USCCB page that breaks down the mass structure and explains the significance of each section/prayer

  • On how to pray the rosary. Learning the rosary can be a big hurdle for neophytes, but it would still be fruitful to begin with perhaps just one decade.


    This subreddit is generally good at giving solid answers and advice, if you had specific questions/doubts/inquiries. It was actually probably quite an instrumental player in my reversion to the Church. And like you said, head to confession ASAP! Welcome back home, friend.
u/kono_hito_wa · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

> What are the sacraments? Where can I find them in scripture?

Catholicism isn't a sola scriptura religion (and, really, sola scriptura wasn't meant to eliminate other sources of knowledge such as Tradition, but that's how it's ended up for a lot of denominations). Sometimes, there are things that logic and reasoning bring you to.

That said, Baptism, Reconciliation (Confession), and the Eucharist are extremely clear from scripture [Matt 28:19] [John 20:22-23] [Luke 22:19].

Someone else already discussed confirmation but I'll add this: [ccc 1286-1289].

Jesus teaches about marriage very definitively to the point of referencing Genesis and the insoluble union of becoming one flesh. He also performed His first public miracle at a wedding. (Interesting side note: the sacrament of marriage is conferred upon one another by the bridge and groom. The Church merely witnesses.)

I'm going to refer you to the Catechism for Holy Orders since I don't have the skill to summarize it for you. Although that implies I'm doing a good job summarizing the others, which probably isn't the case.

Jesus publicly healed the sick, sometimes using sacramentals to anoint them even though He clearly didn't need to [John 9:6-7]. And Jesus' ministry was certainly a healing ministry for both body and soul.

> Do Catholics worship Mary?

No. We honor Mary as the mother of God. I think the biggest thing that causes so much confusion for many Christians is that they equate prayer with worship. To pray is to ask, as in "pray tell". So we ask Mary to intercede on our behalf with her Son, just as she did for the bride and groom at Cana [John 2:1-5].

>So do you pray to Saints? How do we know they are in heaven now? I always thought everyone was at rest waiting for judgement day.

The modern process for declaring that someone is in heaven requires authenticated miracles that could only be attributed to the intercession of someone who is dead (there's more to it than just that, but that's the logical basis for the declaration). There are most assuredly some that have been declared saints in the past that were done so more for political reasons than theological, so I don't really know what their exact standing would be. The Church has been given no knowledge about who isn't in heaven - only those that are. [Luke 23:43] [Mark 9:2-4]

> I'd always thought that meant making images of angels or the trinity was forbidden but correct me if I am wrong.

And yet, [Exodus 25:18-20].

> -Not that is particularly matter to me personally, but I am curious as to whether Catholics believe the images to be aesthetically accurate.

I don't actually know if there's an official Church teaching on that particular item, but I'm personally fairly certain the Jesus wasn't a white guy with blue eyes. Obviously I could be wrong. There are definitely people in the Middle East that vary a lot in complexion, hair color, and eye color. I suppose the various representations of Jesus are more about helping you to identify with Him on a more personal level; hence Him looking more like people in the region that the images were made: white Jesus in Europe, black Jesus in Africa, semetic Jesus in the Middle East. I haven't actually seen an Asian Jesus, but I'm sure He's out there.


Wow! A lot of great questions. I think you would benefit greatly by purchasing the Catechism of the Catholic Church - CCC for short. It's also available online. I would tell you to follow the links in the part that Catebot will provide from the bot callout I did, but those links aren't working correctly anymore and I haven't made it a priority to fix them. :(

I also checked your posting history and while I don't have experience with the turmoil you're going through, feel free to PM me if you just need to talk. I did go through a similar search as you are including Judaism and very seriously considered converting prior to returning to Catholicism (raised Catholic, never confirmed, drifted away but never completely stopped believing, various Christian denominations, mysticism, etc.). I will pray that your search for the Truth is fruitful: [Phil 1:4-6].

edit: Huh. My instance of versebot scanned my post but chose not to quote any verses. Weird. I'm going to put them all together in a separate comment and call out the official bot.

u/apostle_s · 15 pointsr/Catholicism

A quick comment before I start lobbing people for you to read. Most people stop learning about the faith at around 6 or 7 years old and so it's no wonder that once you read someone who can form a coherent argument against what you barely understand, your opinion is easily swayed.

So I'm going to give you some suggestions of people to read. Take them or leave them, but the Catholic intellectual tradition is amazing, so please at least consider some of these authors.

Chesterton, Chesterton, Chesterton. GK Chesterton's Heretics, Orthodoxy, and The Everlasting Man are all great reads and they're all online in text and audio for free. Chesterton debated all the greats of his age: HG Wells, Kipling, Bernard Shaw, and did so with courtesy and a great love of paradox.

CS Lewis' Mere Christianity is also a classic and keep in mind that Lewis was strongly influenced by his friend, you guessed it... GK Chesterton.

There's always Aquinas, who was so brilliant that he was even recognized by Monty Python (the philosopher's soccer match sketch). Seriously though, New Advent has his Summa (along with about a million other Catholic documents and texts) available for free. Aquinas gets pretty deep, and the Summa is really long, so you may want to start with a primer.

Moving into our own times, there's Peter Kreeft, who is one of my favorite philosophers.

Jennifer Fulweiler is an atheist convert, who writes a blog and does a lot of radio appearances.

If you love the science, check out The Catholic Laboratory; it's a podcast about the intersection of faith and science and how the two are really complimentary. After all, God created the laws of physics and rules the universe through them. Fr. Robert Spitzer is a priest and scientist, who has done some significant research on new proofs of God's existence using things like quantum physics.

Anyway, there's some stuff to get you started if you're interested in reading a bit to counter Hitchens and Dawkins. FWIW, I am a fan of Hitchens' writing, even if I disagree with him; Dawkins on the other hand I consider a no-talent hack, who should stick to science and leave philosophy and theology to other people. Reading Dawkins' take on Aquinas is like reading a young earth creationist writing about evolution. But I digress.

As far as the Church sex scandal, it's a tragic affair. However, you should really read the John Jay report on the scandal; this is an independently written report from the John Jay College that really nails down the causes of the sex abuse scandal (spoiler alert: celibacy had nothing to do with it). Also, if you read the statistics of abuse between Catholic clergy and other institutions (public schools, Boy Scouts, other religious institutions), you'll see that only 4% of priests between 1950 and 2002 were ever even accused and that the average abuse rate in other populations is around 10%. As for the cover up, at the time, the Church was doing what modern psychology said to do because the recidivism rate wasn't really understood (remember that the vast majority of these cases happened between 1950 and 1970). This website has some statistics on all of this and while it is published by the Church, all of the statements are cross referenced to non-church sources.

Anyway, I'll stop with the wall of text and even if you don't read anything I've suggested, I'm glad that your opinion of Catholics has improved. :)

u/Pope-Urban-III · 12 pointsr/Catholicism

You are baptized, so you're Catholic.

  1. To rejoin the Church you start attending Mass on Sundays, you can go to confession, and you talk to the priest. You'll probably have to go through RCIA before you can receive Communion (and you'll be confirmed).

  2. You'll find that the church stances depend on the core beliefs and practices; it depends on what you mean by stances. Some things are matter of faith - we are required to assent to the teachings that all killing of the innocent is absolutely evil, etc. Does that mean we do it well all the time? No. It is absolutely useless to try to convince the Church to change on those things, so the best way to take them is to say, "I do not see how this can be, but the Church says it" and ask God for insight. As you learn more about the Faith, you start to see how everything fits together, and how "necessary evils" that the Church forbids are often the result of other evils that the Church also forbids. (Note that this has to do with beliefs of the Church; ideas of specific churchmen are in a different level; being Catholic doesn't mean you have to support a specific economic idea, even if some do. It's more about keeping the Truths of the Faith in view.)

  3. The Church has not split in any major way since the Orthodox wandered outside into the garden, where they seem happy to remain. There are factions inside the Church who are grumbling at each other - the way to understand this is that the Church is a family which includes everything that goes along with it - the devoted children who believe Dad is basically God, the rebellious teenagers who don't want to listen to Dad because he's not cool (but will call to be picked up late at night when they're worried), the Mom who loves Dad beyond belief but can't understand what he's doing, the Grandma who keeps talking about how it was in her day, and so on. Remember that anyone who says "The Church says" or "You must say" needs to back it up with the Magisterium. The way the Church works is that we trust in the Authority of God, who manifests His Authority through the world; if you have a question you ask your pastor; if he's wrong, God will let you know in time. Becoming more Catholic than the Pope is not recommended - knowing the Truth the Church teaches is good, but if you cannot see how something said applies, it may be your understanding that is missing. Living in the Church is much more about those around you and trying to be Christ to them than determining the exact doctrinal specifications - salvation is a process not a checklist.

  4. I would recommend reading some books - Rome Sweet Home is good, as is No Price Too High. You can also start going to your local parish, and get to know the pastor. After Mass, tell him you're interested in the faith and would like to go to dinner or something at some point. You might find a rare grouchy priest, but God will look out for you. You may also want to see if there's an FSSP parish nearby, they'll do the older form of the Mass, which can be quite beautiful and often strikes people differently.


    You will meet bad Catholics, good Catholics, extremely holy Catholics, racist Catholics, altruistic Catholics, annoying Catholics, intelligent Catholics, dumb Catholics, reddit Catholics, traditional Catholics, and more. The Church on earth "the Church Militant" has many imperfections, many people working out their salvation in fear and trembling. We are called to be loving to them as Christ would be loving to them, which is what He wants us to do. God so loves everyone that He wants to share the joy of this love with us, and the way to do that is to sacrifice for others as Christ sacrificed for us all.
u/TobyWalters · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I am also a Christian with mostly Baptist family who is considering entering the Catholic Church. I'll second (or third or fourth) Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn. I also enjoyed his Hail, Holy Queen. It really helped me to understand the Church's view of Mary. Just watch out for the puns. Hahn loves him some terrible puns.

I can tell you that reading the early Church Fathers was what really moved me away from Protestantism. I saw that the Church of the first millennium looked a lot more Catholic than I ever imagined. New Advent has an index of them here. New Advent is also the home of the online Catholic Encyclopedia. Lots of really good stuff there, although it is almost 100 years old.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and recommend the catholic.com Catholic Answers forum. I wouldn't visit unless you really enjoy debate and don't get frustrated easily, but I have had more questions answered by reading some of the debates there between Catholics and Protestants than almost anywhere else. Just be aware that it's a large forum and quality varies. I know there are people here who don't like Catholic Answers at all because of how rowdy it can get, but it has been a huge help to me.

Visit Word on Fire. Father Barron is awesome, and WOF's videos are really informative. If you have the chance, check out their Catholicism series. EWTN runs them occasionally. It's a really great show.

Good luck with your journey. It's a big transition, but it's so beautiful.

EDIT: I forgot to add that I have a copy of the catechism. I have this one. It's pretty dense in spots, but I have found it a HUGE help. I would also recommend a Catholic study Bible. I am actually using an Orthodox study Bible at the moment, and it's great to have the deuterocanonical books included.

u/Cordelia_Fitzgerald · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

What are your goals? Do you want to learn Catholic teaching? Know and understand the Bible stories? Do you want to read casually or do you want to put in some serious study?

If you just plan on using it every so often but are curious to learn more about Catholicism, there's the New Catholic Answer Bible. It's a New American Bible translation, which most of us on here don't like. This Bible has lots of inserts that answer common questions about Catholicism (Why do we confess to a priest? Why do we think Jesus is God? Why do we venerate Mary? What are saints? etc). My parish uses this Bible as the textbook for those in the RCIA program (the class for adults who want to join the Catholic Church), so it's a good way to learn.

If you want to learn the Bible story in an easy to read way-- The Great Adventure Bible just came out and breaks down the story of salvation into an easy to understand narrative. It helps you see how the Old Testament and the New fit together. If you want to really understand the Bible and want to commit to reading through a good chunk of it, this is the one to get (they have you start off with what they believe to be the 14 most important books to the story of salvation and then you can go back and read the "supplementary" books). **It's sold out right now, but it may be worth waiting for if you really want to learn the Bible story.

If you really plan on doing some serious study of Catholicism and putting time into it, get the Didache Bible. It cross-references the Catechism and is a good way to learn Catholic teaching in a more in depth way, but it's not nicely laid out for you like the other two I suggested. You have to be willing to do a lot more work going back and forth to the Catechism.

Either way, I suggest getting a Catechism to go along with your Bible. Ideally you should be going back and forth between the two as the Catechism explains the Catholic applications of the Bible. You can also find the complete Catechism online for free (you can find the Bible online for free, too), but I prefer the physical book.

u/Thanar2 · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

I can relate to your story in some ways, as I was raised Catholic, then became agnostic during high school and university. I came back to the Catholic Church after the positive witness of my family and friends, and having an encounter with Christ in my second year of college.

After that personal experience in prayer I knew that Jesus was real, but I still had a lot of unanswered questions about Catholicism, as well as no intellectual foundation to undergird my newfound faith in Christ. So I devoured a couple of good Catechisms, and over time, studied philosophical, Christian and Catholic apologetics to get solid answers to the questions and doubts that anyone with critical thinking skills will have. I am now a Catholic priest.

Here are some resources I would suggest:

u/samisbond · 3 pointsr/atheism

I'm going to tell you to ignore most of the historical Jesus deniers as I find they tend to be as educated and reasonable on the matter as creationists, but if you're looking for who the historian was referring to, which would be the historical Jesus of the Gospels i.e. taking the Gospels as providing any historical Jesus, I strongly recommend E.P. Sander's The Historical Figure of Jesus.

Whether or not you accept the Jesus myth it's a fantastic read that provides you with who the historical Jesus of faith would have been, in other words, it sorts of the likely historical Jesus among contradiction in the Bible, and provides much insight and information to the time of Jesus, for instance, the fact that miracle workings were not a sign of divinity^1 and there were many miracle workers in the time of Jesus.^2 It also noted how despite somewhat common belief, Jesus did not bring the new era of love to the Jews. The Jews at the time of Jesus already viewed the law as basically love your God and love your neighbor, citing Leviticus 19:18.^3 The biggest matter he address is perhaps the fact that his followers believed that the coming Kingdom of God was to arrive within their lifetime, which 2000 years have told us never happened. The main purpose of Jesus' ministry was untrue. I have a longer post on the matter here.

As for what that historian was referring to specifically, my guess may be Jesus and the Syrophoenician Woman

Mark 7:24-30|Matthew 15:21-28
From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ But she answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’ Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.’ So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. | Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.


|^1 Sanders, E. The Historical Figure of Jesus (p. 157-168). Penguin UK. Kindle Edition.

|^2 Sanders p. 135-143

|^3 Sanders p. 38

u/Friend_of_Augustine · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I'd suggest Jimmy Akins The Fathers Know Best which compiles quotes from the Church Fathers and Akins enumerates them based on subject. It's not comprehensive but it's a good start and touches on a lot of things such as doctrines and dogmas, teachings and long held Church belief like contraceptives. It's a great book if you just want to look up what the Fathers have said and it's a great apologetics tool if you want to back up your positions. Either way, I think the following three books might be more inline with what you're looking for.

  • Reading the Early Church Fathers: From the Didache to Nicaea by Jim Papandrea.

    I haven't read this one, but I do know the author and it looks like it's right up your alley. Papandrea is a Catholic professor and this book covers important documents from the Early Church period and dissects the texts and explains them to you.

  • [When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers] (https://www.amazon.com/When-Church-Was-Young-Fathers/dp/1616367776/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1479111666&sr=8-3&keywords=church+fathers) by Marcellino D'Ambrosio

    Another book that is similar to Papandrea's book.

  • Father's of the Church

    Similar in content to the last two. Worth checking out.

    And here's if you want to read the Church Fathers directly

    I've constantly heard that the Jurgens 3 volume set was one of the best physical sets to buy. It's pricey, but I do know that it's cheaper on ebay so might be worth looking for it on there. (That is assuming you're within the US)

  • Complete Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers Collection by Phillip Schaff.

    I suggest you buy it digitally for next to nothing, it's great on Kindle and works well as a more comprehensive resource for studying the Fathers. His set is also digitalized online if you'd like to read it there for free. Absolutely no difference in content. Word of caution though, Schaff translated this in the late 19th century and was a Protestant, so his commentary may not always be historically and theologically sound. He does provide an exhaustive amount of footnotes that maintain the citations the Fathers used which is a task of its own. A great resource but with certain limitations.
u/trees916 · 24 pointsr/Catholicism

> I want to start going again, but dealing with his anti Catholicism and New Atheist Facebook posts, etc as a practicing Catholic just sounds emotionally exhausting. Plus I'd have to attend church alone with our toddler, who tries to make a break for the altar every time she's set loose.

Going to mass without your husband is better than not going at all. Moreover, other people should not inhibit your ability to practice the Faith. Concerning the New Atheist Facebook posts, if your husband finds that kind of material even remotely convincing, I would recommend he read Edward Feser's The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism.

> Then I start wondering what the point even is because she will probably just end up being an atheist because of his example.

Set a better example than your husband and make an effort to show your child that there are good reasons to be a Catholic. Read and study apologetic books like William Lane Craig's On Guard and/or Trent Horn's Why We're Catholic: Our Reasons for Faith, Hope, and Love so that you are better equipped to defend the Faith. When your daughter is old enough, she can read these books and other apologetics books for herself. Also, it wouldn't be a bad idea for your husband to read these same books. Although, William Lane Craig's On Guard for Students was written specifically for non-Christians; so it might be a better option than On Guard, which is intended for Christians.

> You can only pray for the same thing over and over so many times with no change before it starts feeling hopeless.

Keep praying. If you are not already doing so, pray the Rosary. Even if God is not granting you the request(s) made in your prayers, know that there is a good reason for doing so. The reason(s) may never be known during your time on earth, but do not allow this to damage your relationship with God.

> The prospect of returning just feels so lonely. Our parish is huge and no one ever says a word to me. Does anyone have any advice or encouragement?

Many parishes have bible studies or meetups of some kind that would give you the opportunity to meet other Catholics. It is better to feel lonely and do what is right than not feel lonely and fail to do what is right.

u/Bismark02 · 6 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Not directly answering your questions, but could suggest you have a look at "Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Finding Community, Living My Faith" by Eve Tushnet.

Rather obviously from the title this is written from a Catholic standpoint, but I believe it examines some of the issues that you raise in your post and perhaps answers some of your question - and in doing so does not conflict with Church Teaching.

(In saying this I am not necessarily endorsing what Eve writes, but I think it is something that might be worth you thinking about as I think she specifically addresses your questions):

From the blurb:

"In this first book from an openly lesbian and celibate Catholic, widely published writer and blogger Eve Tushnet recounts her spiritual and intellectual journey from liberal atheism to faithful Catholicism and shows how gay Catholics can love and be loved while adhering to Church teaching.

Eve Tushnet was among the unlikeliest of converts. The only child of two atheist academics, Tushnet was a typical Yale undergraduate until the day she went out to poke fun at a gathering of philosophical debaters, who happened also to be Catholic. Instead of enjoying mocking what she termed the "zoo animals," she found herself engaged in intellectual conversation with them and, in a move that surprised even her, she soon converted to Catholicism. Already self-identifying as a lesbian, Tushnet searched for a third way in the seeming two-option system available to gay Catholics: reject Church teaching on homosexuality or reject the truth of your sexuality. Gay and Catholic is the fruit of Tushnet's searching: what she learned in studying Christian history and theology and her articulation of how gay Catholics can pour their love and need for connection into friendships, community, service, and artistic creation."

u/Tirrikindir · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

I want to repeat what others have said in gratitude for your respectful approach to our faith and your position. It says very good things about you as a person, and it means a lot to us as a community.

I don't have much to recommend for your kids, but I can suggest a few things for you.

First, although it is a bit odd to recommend a Protestant to introduce you to Catholicism, I do recommend Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. It is a very good introduction to some of the essential ideas of Christianity, and as a bonus it is written by C.S. Lewis, so it is very enjoyable to read.

Another thing I recommend is trying to make sense of the liturgical calendar. The big themes of Catholicism are given space on the calendar to help Catholics absorb them in a regular and balanced way. As a teacher, you will have opportunities to talk to the kids about what's currently going on last Sunday/the coming Sunday/this current season, and I imagine you can find ways to tie in the lessons you already had planned. If you can get your hands on a missal, it will give you relatively detailed information on the liturgical calendar and the scheduled scripture readings, and I'm guessing Catholicism for Dummies, which someone else mentioned, probably has a good summary for each liturgical season. Once you get a sense of what each season is, you might google reflections based on each Sunday's readings to see how different parts of the Bible fit into the season's broader themes.

You might also want to get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a reference book. If you have time, reading through the whole thing would teach you an enormous amount, but it would take some time to read. Each section has a little summary at the end, so you might start by just reading all of the summaries. Regardless of whether you get around to reading the whole thing, it can be very useful as a reference tool. If you don't want to buy a hard copy and/or you want to be able to search faster, you can find it online here. There's also a chance that there's a copy around the school somewhere.

u/thechivster · 1 pointr/Christianity
  1. I am not entirely sure of the prophecy can you give some context?

  2. Free will is an integral part of the Christian for He made us in His image and likeness. God has given us this beautiful gift - that we may love. Because we are created in and by Love Itself - such a gift can never be taken back. By God's grace, we can become what Jesus Christ was.

  3. My suggestion is to read a little bit of Christian history (I will definitely receive some flak for what I write here). There are only 3 churches that claim apostolic succession (lineage via the bishops to the apostles them - either the 12 or the 70 or other apostles). They are the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church. All other churches and confessions were created way, way after. If you need some help on this kindly PM me.

  4. Don't we all? :) There's a great amount of biblical and historical evidence that Jesus Christ did indeed rise from the dead and did claim to be divine. I highly recommend http://www.amazon.com/Case-Jesus-Biblical-Historical-Evidence/dp/0770435483?ie=UTF8&keywords=the%20case%20for%20jesus&qid=1462615674&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

  5. A wonderfully written article on Genesis is http://www.pravmir.com/creation-in-genesis/

    I hope this helps :) Again, feel free to ask around and/or you can always PM me if you have any questions my friend :)
u/KatzeAusElysium · 1 pointr/Catholicism

The mass should reflect what it is. For a good intro into what the mass is, I'd very much recommend Scott Hahn's "The Lamb's Supper".

TL;DR : when we're at mass, the Heavens open and we're surrounded by the saints and angels, who worship the Eucharist with us. When we're at mass, we see the crucified Christ on the crucifix above the altar- but He isn't there. Rather, He is what appears to be merely bread and wine, but is truly the crucified Christ on the crucifix.

If you would feel more solemn if the crucifix above the altar was truly the cross and corpus of the Lord, how much more solemn should we feel that the Eucharist is exactly that? The Eucharist is a more true Crucifix than any Crucifix. ( This image sort of demonstrates what I'm trying to say )

Here's what the Catechism says about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:

>"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.'"

>...by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all.

>[We can call the mass] The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church's offering... The Holy and Divine Liturgy, because the Church's whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament; in the same sense we also call its celebration the Sacred Mysteries. [Emphasis original]

> In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ's Passover, and it is made present the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present.

>The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit:

>>[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper "on the night when he was betrayed," [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.

> The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: "The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different." "And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory."

u/uniformdiscord · 3 pointsr/Roman_Catholics

Ozurip has the right of it here, "you shouldn't swear frivolously." So, the propriety of your uber-Catholic character making this oath would depend on the circumstances of the oath.

Generally, I would expect this kind of swearing to come up in casual, minor situations. "My right hand to God, this lady in line at the grocery store was [doing some crazy, unbelievable thing]." That would not be an appropriate use of a swear (oath).

In general, as a serious Catholic, you would understand and appreciate the gravity and seriousness of calling upon almighty God Himself to bear witness to the truth of a statement you're making. If it's done casually or for minor cases, then obviously you're doing not appreciating the seriousness of it.

Testifying in court, oaths of office or enlistment, solemn vows, etc, are all serious matters and, hopefully, not undertaken lightly or without full understanding. In those cases, they are good and virtuous.

In [Matt 5:34-37], Jesus tells us not to swear by God, but to let our honest word stand for itself. Now, He was not actually forbidding all swearing to or by God, but stressing that we ought to live by what we say, and be honest and virtuous in all things, so that oaths would be unnecessary to convince others that what we say is true.

You can read more about the subject at this link. For what it's worth, I don't typically hear practicing Catholics make this kind of oath, nor do I, unless it's for serious oaths.

For your book and character, I would highly suggest the Catholicism for Dummies book. It's actually a really good overview and summary of a lot of the Catholic faith, and would probably really help you in writing your character. Also, feel free to drop by the r/Catholicism subreddit to ask any other questions you have for your story. This is kind of a subsubreddit of that, it's bigger and more active.

u/sweetcaviar · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

First and foremost. God loves you. This is the most important thing anyone here can relate to you. Just know that God loves you and He made you with a purpose.

Now, to make inroads to the Catholic faith, you need to approach this in a logical manner. Since you're coming from the perspective of an atheist, the common approach to recognizing the truth of the Catholic faith is as follows.

  1. Does God exist?

  2. Has he revealed himself?

  3. How do we know?

    There are many classical arguments to answer the first question. The most basic and simple argument is a thought experiment that goes as follows. Where did I come from? If I was created, or caused, then who created me? If I say my father created me, then who created, or caused, him? If his forefathers created him, then what led to their existence? If the universe cause their existence, then what caused the universe? Continue in this manner, and the result is an infinite regression of causes. But an infinite causal regression is impossible because we can't have infinite temporal relapse. In other words, there must be an "uncaused cause," or what Aristotle referred to as an "unmoved mover." This primal cause is the cause of everything else, because everything regressed back to it, and we say it is infinite being, because everything that exists can trace its existence back to this one being. The unmoved mover, as such, is God.

    You can read more about other proofs for the existence of God from the following author (who also is a former atheist, turned Catholic).


    Once you have convinced yourself that the universe cannot be infinite and must therefore have an infinite Creator, you can perform another thought experiment. If the Creator is infinite in being and all powerful, can he, and has he, revealed himself to mankind? Well, if the answer is "yes," then we must search for the evidence of that revelation, and by nature of the history of human perception, we must find such a concrete revelation in the annals of human history. We read the Bible for the evidence of this revelation. In particular, the resurrection of Jesus brought to its completion the fullness of this revelation. Even secular historians agree on several main aspects of this story. A) Jesus died by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate. B) Early Christians testified that they saw the risen Jesus in the flesh. C) Many of these witnesses were martyred for proclaiming this. To summarize the argument for the resurrection, we look at what the alternative possibilities are and rule them out to draw the conclusion that the mainstream story is most plausible and therefore the accurate one. Gary Habermas, an evangelical Christian scholar, has made good work on this subject.


    Finally, you need to come to the recognition that the Catholic Church has the fullness of the Christian faith. To be brief, we as Catholics believe that Jesus Christ established this Church during his earthly ministry and made Peter the first Bishop of Rome (the Pope). Suffice it to say there is supporting Biblical scripture for this, and ample evidence that the early fathers of the Church regarded the Catholic Church as the one true Church, and further evidence that they observed the same traditions we Catholics carry on today. The supporting literature and apologetics for this subject are numerous, and I won't yet post them all. For starters, you could read Trent Horn's book. He's a relatively young Catholic apologist, and I really like his approach.

u/jonnyvice · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

I think you would enjoy this book greatly: http://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Church-Built-Western-Civilization/dp/1596983280

Most complaints from non-militant atheists (love these guys, they love deep philosophical conversation) I see are do to the so called dark ages brought about by the Church or religion in general. While members of the Catholic Church have never been perfect, the Church is responsible for some of the most progressive ideas ever to be born of man. The university system, science, it's all really fascinating to read about.

I've never been an atheist but I haven't always looked favorably on the Catholic church either (I wasn't born a Catholic and am still learning about it before making decisions). This book really helped me see what a tremendously positive force the Church has been throughout the ages. From making the western world a joy to live in to systematic helping of unfortunates.

Best of luck in any other books recommended here that you decide to read. In my experience, there's some warm and loving about the Church that I can't move away from now and I hope you find something similar or the same or at the very least feel good about continuing to learn more about a topic that interests you.

u/keatsandyeats · 8 pointsr/Christianity

Sure. Well, let me make a couple suggestions:

  • My personal favorite not-an-apologetic is GK Chesterton's Orthodoxy (the link includes a free online version). That book sums up, paradoxically and romantically, Chesterton's views on God. It doesn't go out of its way to be convincing and doesn't take itself too seriously, which I love about it.

  • If you're looking for convincing yet personal (and not too lofty) accounts of a couple of scientists who are believers, I recommend theoretical physicist and Anglican priest John Polkinghorne's Exploring Reality or geneticist Francis Collins' The Language of God.

  • The best logical arguments for God that have been around for centuries (and have been pretty well defended by the likes of men like Victor Reppert and William Lane Craig) were developed by Aquinas in his Summa Theologica. I suggest reading Peter Kreeft's easier-to-swallow shorter version.

  • I believe that Craig's Reasonable Faith does a very admirable and scholarly work of defending the faith philosophically.

  • William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience have nothing to do with apologetics, but have affirmed my faith in God personally. I add it here just to demonstrate, I suppose, that faith is highly personal and that God is revealed as well in the beauty and mystery of the poetic and artistic as He is in nature.
u/luvintheride · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

This is PART 1 of 2 (due to 10K limit)

> I see no reason to believe that God exists, so I see your interpretation of Catholicism as no more valid then anyone else's.

I am not just giving you "my interpretation" here. One difference that you can check is that Catholic Doctrines were not invented yesterday. In the ocean of ideas, Catholic Doctrine stands like an unwavering tower throughout the past 2000 years. I am passing on that which I begrudgingly found to be true. I resisted it as much as possible, then finally realized the beauty. The Doctrines have been passed down for 2000+ years, and remain uncorrupted through wars, invasions, famines, plagues, etc. Most everyone else in the world can't stay unified on simple things like Paper versus Plastic.

> I hope you understand that Big Bang Theory only describes early universal expansion post the Planck epoch, and does not at all delve into the origin of the universe.

When I was sorting things out, I subscribed to trade journals for years, went to conferences, had discussions with researchers, and listened to hundreds of hours of debates and podcasts. I'll admit that most of the physics and math are above my head, but one thing that I think we could agree on that it is reasonable to believe this universe had a beginning. Ultimately, there is no proof of anything. At that time, I would say that there was a 50% chance that the Universe had a beginning (time=zero). If you use bayesian reasoning, and assign some non-zero probability to things like this, you'll see the case for an intelligent Creator becomes overwhelming. That bayesian method is what detectives use in Decision Science. I use this as part of my work in Computer Science and Machine Learning, and it is the basis for things like Watson deciding which "answer" is most correct. The weight of the all the arguments determines the likelihood.

Have you read Anthony Flew's book "There is a God!"? He was England's most famous atheist before he switched using the same kind of reasoning. The atheist community has tried to bury his name, but he should be applauded for "following the truth where it led".

> Abiogensis : It is a hypothesis. But there have been interesting work done showing that organic compounds could come about under the conditions present on a young earth

I have seen much of that work, and participated on computational biology projects. From what I've seen of the odds, my point here is that it takes more faith to connect those dots than it does to connect the dots to our Creator.

> Speciation. This is part of evolution theory, and like evolution theory, it is very solid.

I totally disagree. If you dig deeper into the claims and results, you'll find that the emperor has no clothes. See the "reproductive isolation" column on the table within the following article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laboratory_experiments_of_speciation

Please dig into those results to a qualified microbiologist, and you'll find that what they claim to be a new species are just broken and unhappy fruit-flies. There is ZERO evidence for creating a new species. Mules do not reproduce. They are a one-off product of a design, like a car with a convertable top.

I do think that God reshaped animals at different times in history, but based on what I know about biological chemistry, that could not happen "naturally". This presentation is a good overview of the lies and suppositions that you are choosing to have faith in : https://youtu.be/c9KDMY3UUDs
> What's wrong with the idea of the mind being a function of the material brain?

Laboratory evidence refutes it. Correlation is not causation. There are dozens of medically documented cases like this: https://www.sciencealert.com/a-man-who-lives-without-90-of-his-brain-is-challenging-our-understanding-of-consciousness

Patients have had large parts of their brain removed, and yet memories and thinking persist. Even atheist researchers use the word "miracle" when they observe these things. My background is in distributed storage and computing, so I investigated this deeply. Materialism has all but been ruled out, which is why the field uses philosophers to sort through the data. They hope that there is some material driven metaphysical explanation, but there isn't even a working hypothesis. That is why you see ever more desperate theories like Hameroff and Penrose's "microtubules".

> And I would argue that there is no supporting evidence that anything supernatural exists

If you don't believe in free will, then do you believe you are like this? : https://gph.is/1XJYX3c

> Can you see why I don't think "supporting information" should be considered valid support for a claim?

You cited several times "supporting information" for naturalism in abiogensis, speciation, consciousness and cosmology, so you seem to be contradicting yourself greatly.

> And many are not starting to think this is a major flaw in our court system, and I agree with them.

There are many good ways to qualify witness testimonies. There is no way that you can ever get rid of them, and they are a critical part of day to day life.

> you should understand that people have turned their lives around for the better due to a great many things. Christianity is not special in this respect.

Sure, but exceptions don't make the rule. Russian and China discarded Christianity in the early 20th century and it created horrific human rights problems that the world is still trying to rectify.

> Are you trying to say that all non-Catholic civilizations where barbaric, and all Catholic civilization were not?

Pretty much, yes. However, there have only been a few places in history where Catholic government was implemented and maintained though. 13th Century France was one example under King Louis the IX. He served the poor in his Castle each night and lived a true Christian life.

More often, Catholic regions fall victim to various things like Muslim invasion, Protestant revolts, internal corruption, etc.

Reality is messy, and not black and white. There was always a mix of Catholicism trying to be the moral backbone, while various interests were trying to upset it. Despite that, I'd claim that Catholicism was the backbone that built science, education, peace, prosperity of modern civilization. This is a good academic book on the subject: https://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Church-Built-Western-Civilization/dp/1596983280

> I don't know how old you are, but I'm nearing 50. So I think I can already see the back side of the hill from where I'm standing.

I turned that a couple years ago. It's interesting how many converts that I've met around that age. In my cynical years, I would have said that was due to weakness. Now, I see it as clarity. Like they say on death row, an approaching deadline has an incredible way of clearing the mind. :)

u/fuhko · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

I definitely second the recommendation of reading the New Testament! The Catechism is also a great resource for the details of the faith.

But if, u/powrightinthe_kissa, you find the Catechism a bit overwhelming, I would also like to recommend some other books by some popular authors on the faith, to give a broader overview. Any one of these books would be great so feel free to pick out one or two of what I recommended for your consideration.

Our previous pope, Pope Benedict, was an amazing theologian! He wrote some excellent books. I would recommend Jesus of Nazareth and Introduction to Christianity.

Mere Christianity is a great explanation of general Christian theology and the Christian narrative of the world. The apologetics of Mere Christianity are a bit watered down so I wouldn't read it for its apologetics (for that I would go to other authors, like Fesser or Craig) but Mere Christianity is great for basic theology.

Fr. Barron is also a great explainer of the faith, I hear Word on Fire would provide a good introduction.

u/philosofik · 13 pointsr/Catholicism


As for required reading, the Bible is a good start. On its own, though, it's tough to crack. Fortunately, the same body that put it together is still around to help you through it. For an easier read, I recommend Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. It's an excellent primer on what makes Catholicism unique and why it has a strong claim on being the true Church started by Jesus Christ nearly 2,000 years ago.

My best advice for you, in the meantime, is to go to Mass. Find the nearest Catholic Church and pop in for Mass on Sunday. Nearly every Catholic Church has a program called RCIA. It stands for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. While the name sounds like you'll be committing to converting, the program is designed to answer your questions -- all of them -- before you get to that. Protestants believe in a "Come to Jesus" moment, a particular time when you just decide to become a Christian. Catholics hold that this isn't a moment, but a gradual process that requires full buy-in from both heart and mind. To that end, RCIA exists to answer questions and explore the many nuances, rhythms, lingo, gestures, postures, rubrics, and tenets of the faith. Only after your questions have been answered and you've come to understand what the Church teaches and why will you start thinking about the conversion process. We don't want people to come in and experience buyer's remorse. We believe that folks should know up-front what is involved with as much clarity as we can muster. Also, there is no set timeline. Some people stay in RCIA for years, inquiring and exploring the faith. Others may finish it in a single year's time. And in some cases, it can go faster than that still.

When Mass is over, hang around and speak to the priest. He'll be shaking hands with folks after Mass, most likely, so you can chat him up a bit when he's done. They don't get tired of hearing from folks like you! He might not have time to speak in-depth just then, but he can help you figure out how to start your journey, or set a time to meet later in the week.

We don't have different branches, per se. There are a few different rites, but on the whole, the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church encompasses about a billion people worldwide, give or take. The Mass you'll hear is the same Mass you'd hear at most any other Catholic Church you could go to. The same readings, the same prayers, and so on. Sometimes it's in the vernacular, sometimes it's in Latin, but the Mass is the Mass. That's, to me, one of the coolest things about Catholicism. It really is a universal Church.

One last note would be, when you go to Mass, to refrain from receiving Communion. You can just stay in your seat. You won't be the only one by any stretch. And don't worry about saying the right responses or trying to follow along in the books in the back of the pews. Just listen and watch, and kneel, sit, or stand when other folks do.

Welcome again!

u/COKeefe88 · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

The title of your post immediately reminded me of a Scott Hahn talk I heard last year, and then I saw your reference to him—so maybe you've already heard or read this story. If not, here it is from his talk, as I remember it: as a young Protestant minister gradually pulled into Catholicism, he was in much the same boat as you. His wife was dead-set against. She was very worried about him, and went behind his back to talk a mutual friend, a fellow minister, and urge him to do everything in his power to save Scott from Catholicism. So this friend started reading all the books that Scott had been reading. He and Scott's wife would look for the logical holes and plot how to undermine Scott's conversion. Much drama followed...but within two years, both Scott's wife and her co-conspirator had joined Scott in converting to Catholicism.


You've said your vows to your wife, before God. You are committed to her, and she to you, until death do you part, whether you like it or not. If she won't go to Catholic church with you, that's ok. If she leaves you, that's ok too—you are committed to living chastely and honoring your marriage vows even if she leaves you, and doing everything you can (short of rejecting the Truth) to win her back.

But that's getting a bit melodramatic. You have concerns about Mary? Share those with your wife, instead of trying to poorly defend Marian doctrines you don't understand. It's ok not to have the answer, and if I know anything about marital communications (married seven years), saying "I don't know" is more likely than anything to get your wife on your side talking about the challenges with you more openly.

Your wife doesn't need to convert at the same time as you. But if you have converted in your heart, get yourself in RCIA and start going to Catholic church. If you want to really live your commitment both to God and to your marriage, go to your usual Sunday church with your family for the foreseeable future, and then go alone to a Catholic mass. That might take all Sunday morning, so you could perhaps go to Catholic mass on a Saturday afternoon if it fits your schedule better.

Anyway, that's a bunch of unsolicited advice. You asked for prayer and book recommendations. Let's pray together: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."


And here's a book recommendation, since you like Dr. Hahn, in case you haven't come across it yet: Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God.

u/nightpanda893 · 6 pointsr/Christianity

Like someone else already said, it is going to depend what kind of Christian you ask. Different denominations have different interpretations of the bible.

I've posted this before but I thought it may apply to your situation as well:

The bible really doesn't say too much about it at all. There are a few verses about it in the context of lust and sex alone but that is about it. I am of the opinion that you can't really take these verses and apply them to a modern understanding of homosexuality, one that includes marriage, family and committed relationships. I think when the bible was written homosexuality was thought of as being a purely sexual construct and therefore was thought to always be sinful. Just like heterosexual relationships are if they are only experienced in a sexual aspect alone. Now that we know that gay people can accomplish all the things in relationships that straight people can accomplish, I think we need to re-evaluate the concept along with our new understanding.

There are a lot of LGBT affirming churches if you think that may be of help. You may also find /r/OpenChristian to be of help. If you are interested in learning more about the bible and homosexuality from a more affirming perspective, you may find this video helpful. Matthew Vines, the guy in the video, also has a book out.

Besides the actual biblical reasons I don't believe Christians have much support for saying being gay is a sin, I also just don't think it meshes with what I was taught about God growing up. When I see a happy family that happens to include a same sex couple and their children. Maybe even one that goes to church every week and raises their kids to be good people and have faith, this just makes absolutely no sense to me. I'm sure you will hear a lot of different things here but I just wanted to provide my perspective.

u/mayordaily1 · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

I'm not a non-practicing Catholic, but rather a poorly catechized Catholic for whom, up until about two years ago, Mass felt arbitrary, pointless, and especially, boring. I kept going because my whole family did, and my family structure is such that the problems I'd face by not going would have canceled out any perks of sleeping in on Sundays.

Either way, the questions remained: Why am I doing this? What does this all mean? Is it really so hard for a parish to make a mass that's at least mildly fulfilling and entertaining?

I also felt pretty bad because there was a part of me that knew that the ideal was to want to go to Mass every Sunday, and although I considered myself a spiritual and good person, I just didn't.

The answer? I was simply ignorant of what the Mass truly was. And on a deeper level, I was unaware of the tremendous love God has for me. I think Scott Hahn's The Lamb's Supper is super insightful on both fronts. I implore you to check it out.

Here's where it gets less nice: you have put your soul in grave danger by missing Mass for no good reason. Please don't wait til judgement day to discover the consequences of it. While it's unexpected to overturn years of apathy in a few days, you might not have forever to figure it out.

Make a sincere confession (general and specific) and begin attending Mass on Sundays. Be honest with God when you're there. Tell Him you honestly don't enjoy being there and can he do anything about it? The God that died for us would definitely throw a little something our way to remind us He's there and He wants us.

Hope this helps, I'll pray for ya.

u/improbablesalad · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

> I've read about Saints fasting and praying and then experiencing some revelation or moment of clarity or discerning their vocation.

I took a quick look at your post history to get a sense of your current life situation since the circumstances we are already in will tend to affect what we could be called to do in future and what we can do at the moment.

First, try to spend a little time regularly in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, i.e., either sitting in a quiet church where you can see the tabernacle, or, at Eucharistic Adoration.

Second, if there's a parish in your area that holds a retreat for women, and if your circumstances make it possible to go on a retreat, then I'd consider it. That would be a cool thing for a college student because they're got no strings (like Pinocchio sings about) but I am a working parent who does not have a lot of help so I am aware that can be hard to do anymore. So if that's not possible, then I would suggest increasing the amount of prayer time in your life but in a small and sustainable way (aim for something that you can definitely do every day)... this might be lectio divina (someone here can hook you up with how to do that, or there are websites) and quiet contemplation, or might be part of Liturgy of the Hours (you can pause sometimes for a bit of silence when you're doing it on your own; there should be some pauses when it's done in a group as well but sometimes people forget). Or, another good option is https://www.amazon.com/Days-Morning-Glory-Do-Yourself/dp/1596142448 33 Days to Morning Glory which describes itself as a "do-it-yourself retreat".

I would also try to find a spiritual director (which is a whole other topic). Historically, nuns or other holy women who fasted or did other penance had a regular confessor to report to and they would ask him if it was ok to do the kind of fasting or physical penance that they were planning to do (this helps people to stay safe from, first, things that are unhealthy, and, second, from pride.) But more importantly it is someone to talk to if/when there is some kind of revelation or moment of clarity or just frustration at having a shapeless feeling of being called to something but having no idea what. The nice thing about priests (as spiritual directors in that situation) is that they have had to discern a vocation (pretty much by definition) so they have some practical sense of what it is like.

u/happywaffle · 4 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Sorry that this will sound patronizing, but how educated are you about the Bible as a historical document? I majored in religious studies with a focus on Christian origins. I know a good bit about it.

> Jesus claiming to be God IS the whole point of the new testament

This is basically true. But that's not the same as what Jesus, the historical figure, said or believed.

The Bible is inarguably a hodge-podge of different stories and accounts, many of which conflict with each other. The book of John was written much later than Matthew, Mark, Luke, or "Q" and reflects an advanced notion of Christian theology. It's no coincidence that Jesus says things in John that are much different than in the other three. The author of John wasn't somehow aware of Jesus-sayings that the other authors weren't.

> Most everything in the Gospels is proof of the fulfillment of the OT prophecy about the messiah.

Most everything in the Gospels is certainly written to be proof. The authors definitely had that goal in mind. But it doesn't mean that the actual historical events were proof.

> I don't know where you got this nonsense about later sources being less accurate, but there is simply no basis for that.

Yes, there is. I got it from my bachelor's degree (and, ya know, from common sense). I invite you to start your research here and continue with books like this and this (or even this). If you've never performed comparative study of the gospels, this is a neat resource too. (Note that the latter book doesn't even mention John, which is just that far removed from the other gospels.)

> to say Jesus never reliably claimed to be God is just insane

As wrong as you are about the historical facts, I will back off a little here: there is sufficient evidence that Jesus believed himself to be the "Son of Man," and probably even the Messiah. However the more historically reliable documents suggest that he was extremely cagey about saying this himself (Matthew 16 is a perfect example of this), whereas the less reliable documents have him declaring it quite explicitly.

All that being said, I think we left the primary point a little bit. Jesus most certainly was a moral inspiration (whether he called himself that or not), and it's that example—not literal salvation—that my mother (and I, for that matter) are inspired by.

u/amdgph · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Alright here are some of the best resources I know as a Catholic. Hope they help!

Edward Feser's blog as well as his The Last Superstition and 5 Proofs of the Existence of God

Stephen Barr's Modern Physics and Ancient Faith

Francis Collin's The Language of God

Anthony Flew's There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind

Thomas Wood's How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization

Brant Pitre's The Case For Jesus

Tim O Neill on the Church and science, the Inquisition and the Galileo affair

Jenny Hawkins on Jesus and God, early Christianity and form criticism

Al Moritz on the Fine Tuning Argument

>There is a reason someone should believe in the supernatural and mystical aspects of Christianity. This is a large issue for me. Solely based on supernatural and mystical ideas, from an outsider perspective, Christianity is no different than animism or Buddhism. I can't have faith alone.

Well when you look at the world's religions, Christianity has a clear and impressive advantage in the miracles/mystical department. Historically, in Christianity, there have been numerous cases of Eucharistic miracles, Marian apparitions, miraculous healings and the spiritual gifts and religious experiences of countless Christian saints -- men and women of great virtue whose admirable character only add to the credibility of their testimony. Examples of these include Paul, Benedict of Nursia, Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Hildegard of Bingen, Anthony of Padua, Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Vincent Ferrer, Joan of Arc, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Catherine Emmerich, John Vianney, Anna Maria Taigi, Genma Galangi, Faustina Kowalska and Padre Pio. We also have a pair of impressive relics, the shroud of Turin and the sudarium of Orvieto. I'll also throw in Catholic exorcisms.

And these Eucharistic miracles, Marian apparitions and religious/mystical experiences continue to happen today.

What do Buddhism and animism have in comparison?

>Anything that discusses and argues against some common tropes from atheists such as Mother Teresa being a vile, sadistic person.

Honestly, I'm quite stunned at the portrait atheists have painted of her. At worst, she wasn't perfect and made mistakes. She cannot be a vile monster like Hitchens claims she was, that's ridiculous. Here are some articles that defend Mother Teresa -- here, here, here and here.

Check out any of Mother Teresa's personal writings (e.g. No Greater Love, A Simple Path, Come Be Thy Light) to see what she believed in, what she valued and how she saw the world. Check out books written by people who actually knew her such as that of Malcolm Muggeridge, an agnostic BBC reporter who ended up converting to Catholicism because of Teresa and ended up becoming a lifelong friend of hers. Or that of her priest, friend and confessor, Leo Maasburg, who was able to recall 50 inspiring stories of Mother Teresa. Or that of Conroy, a person who actually worked with her. Or any biography of hers. Find out what she was like according to the people around her. Then afterwards, determine for yourself if she resembles Hitchen's "monster" or the Catholic Church's "saint".

u/frijoles_refritos · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

You might be interested in reading Rome Sweet Home by Protestant converts to Catholicism, Scott and Kimberly Hahn.

Here's an audio recording
of him talking about his conversion experience on YouTube, if you're interested.

I'm a convert from an atheist/agnostic background, so my struggles were different than yours, but a few of the (many)things that persuaded me of Catholicism as opposed to Protestant Christianity are:

  • Christ Himself refused to take back, soften, or explain as metaphorical His assertation that those who partake of His Flesh and Blood have eternal life. The Bible tells us that this claim scandalized people and many of His disciples left Him over it. Yet He did not reassure the uneasy that He was merely using poetic or metaphorical language. He did not call those who left back.
    He let them go. That seems like a powerful statement to me.

  • Purgatory makes sense in a way, if we take inventory of the facts that we do know. We know that life is short and we have only one life. We know we are weak and prone to sin and imperfection. We know that Heaven is only for those pure and holy enough to stand being in the radiant presence of God. Meanwhile, we know that hell is eternal. And rather confusingly, we also know that God is merciful. Umm... Pieces of puzzle not entirely fitting together. A state where those of us who are imperfect can still be purified and reach Heaven? Ahh. Starting to make sense. If you know what I mean.

  • Test of time. Catholic morality has maintained a high bar and beautiful resoluteness, and has not changed over the millennia, while almost all of the Protestant denominations have caved in to greater or lesser degrees to the demands and whims of modern culture for a more lax "morality" over the last several decades.
    Catholicism has remained one solid, constant, historical Church over the millennia, while Protestantism has
    been continually splintering and fragmenting into an ever more mind-boggling plethora of denominations, ever since the Reformation.

    Don't know if any of that will be at all helpful to you, but more than anything, I encourage you to keep asking your questions, to search and research boldly. I mean, dig deep, read a lot, and don't give up.
    Search for answers until you get them. The real Faith can stand up to scrutiny. It is reaffirmed, rather than threatened by it. And, of course, it is promised in Scripture that the one who searches will find.
    Will say a prayer for you.
    God bless.
u/waltzeswithpotatoes · 1 pointr/Christianity

Token Catholic chiming in with the suggestion that you have a look at the Catholic faith. I'm converting from Protestantism because I find Catholicism to be more consistent with historical Christianity and more intellectually satisfying. I almost became Anglican last year, but it just seemed so incomplete compared to the richness of Catholicism, no offense to Anglicans intended. The main things that drew me in were apostolic succession, the consistency and unity of the Church, and my rejection of sola scriptura as illogical and self-contradicting.

Catholic Answers has a lot of great resources. If this piques your interest, I also recommend you take a look at the Catechism online or buy your own hard copy. I also recommend you check out some of Scott Hahn's books; he is also a convert and his books are accessible, but thorough. And, if you aren't already completely overwhelmed with information, you may use this website to find a parish.

I wish you well on your spiritual journey. I hope you find a place where you feel welcome and comfortable, and get to know the Lord.

Edited to add: You can't get more personal in your relationship with Jesus than through the Eucharist.

u/EvenInArcadia · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Introduction to Christianity by Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI)

This is a dense read and not nearly as "introductory" as the title would have you believe, but it's an extraordinary piece of work, taking the form of a 400-page commentary on the Apostles Creed and how it sums up all that's necessary for the Christian life.

Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales

A wonderful book about how ordinary people can seek and find holiness in their lives.

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola

The Spiritual Exercises are one of the world's greatest systems for drawing into an intimate and personal relationship with God.

The Cloud of Unknowing

This anonymous book is written for someone very far advanced in the mystical and contemplative life, but it's tremendously beneficial for even the novice reader.

The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross

St. John is one of the greatest of all mystics, and his writings offer tremendous consolation to those going through periods of spiritual desolation. He shows us that the love of God is present even in darkest nights of our souls.

u/GoMustard · 1 pointr/politics

>you imbecile

I can already tell this is going to be fun.

>Jesus has literally ZERO contemporary historical data.

That's not what you asked for. You asked for peer-reviewed arguments for the historical existence of Jesus, of which I said there are thousands, and to which I said you'd have a much more difficult time finding the opposite--- peer reviewed articles and books arguing that Jesus was entirely a myth.

>I’ll wait for those libraries of sources you have.

Where do you want to start?

Probably the best place for you to start is with Bart Ehrman, a leading scholar of on the development of Christianity, and he's also a popular skeptic speaker and writer. In addition to publishing he's written popular books about how many of the books of the Bible were forgeries, and how the belief that Jesus was divine developed in early Christianity, he also wrote an entire book laying out the widely accepted case that Jesus was likely a real historical person, written directly to skeptical lay people like yourself.

If you want a great introduction to the scholarly debate about the historical Jesus, you could start here or here. I also think Dale Allison's work is great critical look at some of the issues at work in the debate. There are lots of historical reconstructions of Jesus' life. Some of the more popular ones like Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan tend to sell books to liberal Christian audiences, so I've always thought E.P. Sanders treatment was perferable. I'll spare you the links to scholars who identify as orthodox Christians, like Luke Timothy Johnson or N.T. Wright. It sounded like you specifically wanted more scholarly sources and not popular books, so you could just look at the scholarly journal dedicated to the study of the historical Jesus. Or the Jesus Seminar. Or either of the following Introductions to the New Testament textbooks which are used in secular universities throughout the english speaking world:

Introduction to the New Testament by Mark Allen Powell

Introduction to the New Testament by Bart Ehrman

These are the ones I'm personally most familiar with. There are tons more like Geza Vermes and Amy Jill Levine I haven't read and I'm not as familiar with.

But I'm not telling you anything you wouldn't learn in any basic 101 intro to New Testament Class. The academic consensus is that regardless of what you think about him as a religious figure, it is extremely likely that there was a first century Jew named Jesus who started a faith movement that led to him being crucified. Why do scholars think this? Because by the time Paul started writing his letters 20 years later there was a growing, spreading religious movement that worship a crucified Jew named Jesus as their messiah, and given critical analysis of the texts produced by this movement, some of which are now in the New Testament, there really doesn't exist a coherent argument for the development of this movement that doesn't include the existence of a first century Jew named Jesus who was crucified.

u/DylanKing1999 · 17 pointsr/LGBTeens

I think he surrounding himself with all these homophobic information sources is just going to make it worse. Have you tried giving him a good book on being gay (or other information sources)?

I don't really have any to recommend unfortunately but you can probably find some good recommendations on one of the LGBT subs on reddit.

I think it would be good for him to have to other side properly explained to him.

EDIT: I've been trying to look up some good books. This one (God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines) seems pretty good so far. Building a Bridge by James Martin, Gay and Catholic by Eve Tushnet and Sexual Authenticity by Melinda Selmys also seem to be highly recommended pro-gay books on the catholic books part of amazon.

The sub r/GayChristians may also help

Like this post: https://www.reddit.com/r/GayChristians/comments/8sp5lu/im_a_christian_boy_in_high_school_and_im_gay/

u/LurkingSoul · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

What a great desire! I heartily fifth the recommendation to pray the rosary daily! Here is a video (I think I saw it posted here somewhat recently, but in case you didn't see it...) on the rosary by Fr. Don Calloway, MIC. It's a good video.

I recently finished total consecration to Jesus through Mary and I cannot recommend it enough. This is a link to St. Louis de Montfort's method for consecration. It also includes links to parts of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary written by that saint which can be read for free on that site. (If you like physical books, you can also find it cheaply on Amazon)

I used 33 Days to Morning Glory for my consecration preparation. Use whichever you want.

You can also consider reading the Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics. A short compilation of several Catholic mystics relaying Mary's life as told by Mary when those mystics had visions of Mary. I was quite skeptical about this book, but my mom lent it to me and I decided to give it a try. It brought me closer to Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph. I have found this book helped me tremendously with meditating on the mysteries while praying the rosary.

u/thenerdygeek · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Hi! I'm a gay Catholic, and there is certainly room for you in the church! I think everyone else here has done a pretty thorough job of repeating the Church's teachings on same-sex attractions, so I won't bother getting in to them, but I will say that it is totally possible to live faithfully and happily as a Catholic while being LGBTQ+. (Also note that using those terms tends to incite some heated discussion simply over terminology for some reason, which I don't feel like getting in to right now.)

If you want some reading on the intersections of (Catholic) faith and sexuality, I highly recommend looking at:

u/Smyrnasty · 1 pointr/Catholicism

God calls us all in different ways for sure. Thanks for sharing your background... If it helps at all, I was a very big Bill Maher fan and very much socially liberal prior to my conversion into Catholicism. My personal advice would be to start researching some teachings of the Catholic faith through a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church https://smile.amazon.com/Catechism-Catholic-Church-Second-U-S/dp/0385508190/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=cathechism&qid=1572979421&sr=8-1 or a local RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) at a nearby parish. If you're into podcasts, please check out "Word on Fire" from Bishop Robert Barron... He's excellent at explaining the faith.

My recommendation would be to focus on the truth of some of the main teachings of the faith first instead of focusing on the "below the belt" sexual issues like abortion, LGBT, etc. I had similar concerns about some of those teachings until I really got my head around the Catholic concept of original sin, concupiscence, fallen/disordered natures for all of us, and that someone's same sex attraction is no different in the eyes of God than my attraction to drink too much, lust, or be selfish. Feel free to reach out to me at any point with any questions, book recommendations, etc.

u/OtherWisdom · 15 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

> It is harder to say positively what Jesus meant by 'kingdom of
God'. Intensive efforts over the last hundred years to define the
phrase have left the issue more confused rather than clearer. There
are, however, two meanings that would have been more or less self evident
given standard Jewish views. One is that God reigns in
heaven; the 'kingdom of God' or 'kingdom of heaven' exists
eternally there. God occasionally acts in history, but he completely
and consistently governs only heaven. The second is that in the
future God will rule the earth. He has chosen to allow human
history to run on with relatively little interference, but someday he
will bring normal history to an end and govern the world perfectly.
Briefly put: the kingdom of God always exists there; in the future it
will exist here. These two meanings are perfectly compatible with
each other. Anyone could maintain both at the same time, and in
fact millions still do.

u/feminaprovita · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Do you want modern personalities, too? Because I found Jennifer Fulwiler's Something Other Than God to be quite nice, and even Scott and Kimberly Hahn's Rome Sweet Home was pretty good.

These are the only Catholic memoirs by living persons I've read (not typically my genre), but each was enjoyable in its own way. (If you're only picking one, I vote Fulwiler.)

My prayers for your search! Enjoy the reading. :)

EDIT: Duh! GK Chesterton's Orthodoxy is not exactly a conversion story, but it kind of is, and it's pretty great, too.

u/jasimon · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I'm not sure what causes you to love my username, it's just initials and a last name, but I'm curious what you took it to mean!

Strobel's The Case for Christ is good, but it's pretty simple.

For a better look at the Gospels and how Jesus is shown to be divine in them, I would recommend Dr. Brant Pitre's new book The Case for Jesus. I think it'd be a good next step for these questions.

u/The_New_34 · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

If you're a book guy, Scott Hahn has a good book about it. It's what got me back into Mass. You never look at it the same way again. It's not just a bunch of people in a room talking about God for 45 minutes.

If you can't/don't want to drop the 13 bucks on the book, don't worry, there're a few articles on the Catholic Answers website. Here're a few:

The Mass is Profoundly Biblical

The Sacrifice of the Mass

The Institution of the Mass

The big question: Why Go to Mass??

The Mass is a wonderful thing once you know what it is. As a kid, I hated it with a burning passion. Now, I'm discerning the priesthood and have taken a liking to the pre-Vatican II mass, which is in Latin (pretty old school, I know, but it's beautiful. Doesn't appeal to everyone.)

Anyway, welcome home!! If you have any questions at all about Catholicism, feel free to ask here. We've got some pretty smart theologians on this sub

u/redmonkey19 · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

You're welcome, I'm glad I could be of help! Same here, books and reading are extremely important to me, and have been a huge influence in my life. Also, if I can make another recommendation, I haven't read it, but I've heard good things about Rome Sweet Home. It might be worth reading as you explore Catholicism.

Also, if you have any questions about Catholicism or Christianity, you're more than welcome to ask them on this subreddit. God bless! :)


u/iamjar · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I admire your honesty and desire for truth, it's very rare these days.

To answer your question, you must pray. Prayer is necessary for faith, because it comes from above. You know how some people, even with all the evidence, reject what is reality because they want to be deluded? You need God to help you see reality and to live according to it. You should start praying the rosary, as it's a most beautiful prayer to the Mother of God, while meditating on the life of Christ. Prayer is humility in action, because by praying you recognize you are not strong enough on your own. You need God's help.

After that, I'd find a priest in a parish from here near where you live (https://www.latinmassdir.org/), these are traditional priests, and he can help you answer your questions. Online is one thing and in person is another.

And keep reading in the meantime, both sides, of the evidence for Jesus Christ as the Son of God (https://www.amazon.ca/Case-Jesus-Biblical-Historical-Evidence/dp/0770435483), Lives of the Saint(Pope St Pius X, St Anthony the Great, St Anthony of Padua, St Padre Pio), the Gospels.

It's not easy and it will take time, but life in Christ is worth more than all that. The peace of God is worth more than the universe.

" Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. "

u/versorverbi · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Certainly pray for her, but confronting her can be detrimental to the relationship. My wife prayed for me a lot, but we would get into fights when she tried too hard to convert me (for our first married Christmas she literally bought a pile of Catholic apologetics books; it didn't go well). I had to come to conversion on my own.

The most important thing is to work hard to be a faithful Catholic yourself. This is especially true because you weren't practicing when you got married; your wife should be able to tell the difference between who you were before and who you are now, with the Church back in your life. As others have suggested, go to Mass, make time for adoration, pray the rosary, buy and read books that teach you your Catholic faith and improve your devotion to our Lord. When you mess up, especially in your marriage, go to confession ASAP and make things right.

Don't attack her or Protestantism in general; it's unhelpful, for example, to say, "See? Protestants be crazy," when something bad happens at your wife's church. (Bad things happen at Catholic parishes, too.) But when she has questions for you--"Why don't you eat fish on Fridays? Why do you pray to Mary? Why does your Bible have more books than mine?"--make sure you have answers. Be charitable and knowledgeable in responding.

Perhaps most importantly, be patient. Prayer works, but it doesn't always accomplish your goal today or tomorrow.

EDIT: Typo.

u/paul_brown · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

We are here to support you on your journey home, brother/sister.

First, you should know that the Canon of Scripture (the Bible) is not meant to be read from cover-to-cover as a coherent, linear story. Scripture is a collection of books, some of which contain poetry, some song, some pre-history myth, some parable, some wisdom sayings, some history, and some letters to a distinct audience.

One resource I have heard good reviews about is the Quick Journey through the Bible series by Ascension Press. It is intended as a course of study with a group, though.

Other good resources for reading Scripture are:

u/Critrole21 · 1 pointr/actuallesbians

I know what you mean. This book honestly helped me.
My experience was not an easy one. My relationship with God continues to be a big part of my life. But there was a period of time there that I turned away, afraid of what I was becoming. Afraid of not being accepted by God. It was a huge low point in my life. I realized I couldn’t accept myself as a gay woman and ignore my love for Christ. I also knew I would never be happy denying the feelings I have for women. At that point I slowly began to rebuild my relationship with Christ and accept my true self. There were definitely days that I took several leaps backwards. But I kept on, and I’m happier. I hope that some day I find someone with whom I can share not only my life but my faith with as well.
I also suggest following r/openchristian, maybe reposting there as well. There are plenty of people in our community who have gone through this. I’ll be praying for you 🤓. Feel free to pm me as well if you need to talk.

u/cdubose · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Books: (I would double-check to make sure they don't already have some of these prior to purchase, though)

  • Nice hardback version of the Catechism
  • Good Catholic Study Bible (Pope-Urban-III mentioned some good ones)
  • Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn
  • Priority of Christ by Bishop Robert Barron
  • subscription to Magnificat
  • Book about or written by their confirmation saint
  • Good Catholic Prayer Book
  • Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigel (if they're younger)
  • Finding True Happiness by Dr. Robert Spitzer, SJ

    Not books:

  • A nice rosary (a Catholic can never have too many rosaries)
  • A wall crucifix (as in one they can hang on the wall at home)
  • A necklace with a crucifix on it
  • A nice nativity set
  • An artistic picture of the pope? (a great gift if they're a fan of Pope Francis--if they aren't, find out what Pope they are a fan of and get a picture of that pope)
u/trolo-joe · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

If he's not already, get him into praying the divine office. You can get the single volume set or the four volume set.

It would be lovely if the two of you prayed together. I would recommend (if this is foreign to either of you) to start with Night Prayer (compline). It's the shortest version, to be prayed before you go to bed (or 9pm if you keep the Hours) and it introduces you to the style of prayer.

Morning Prayer (matins lauds) is great - I love starting my day with it.

For you I would recommend reading Rome Sweet Home and/or Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic.

u/Zer0TX · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

I converted in 2006 based on my belief in Jesus and the scriptures... Read lots of good books. As a former Baptist, my favorite book was Catholicism and Fundamentalism: https://www.amazon.com/Catholicism-Fundamentalism-Attack-Romanism-Christians/dp/0898701775

Also pray lots and get comfortable with intercessory prayer -- that is asking others, even those who have gone before us, to pray for us... (e.g. Mary, Saints, and lower-case saints). "Praying to Mary" was my toughest thing to overcome, and once crossing that hurdle, I adore asking the Blessed Mother to pray for me.... Who better to capture the Lord's ear.

u/TarnishedTeal · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

33 days to Morning Glory is an excellent book that takes a look at Marian consecration from the view of 4 great Saints. This author has also written a few other amazing books. The journaling you do with this program is life-changing. The website is pretty great too, the last I checked (a few years ago).

And then of course there is the Montefort classic True Devotion to Mary which is what many many people from laypersons to popes have used to consecrate themselves.

Give either book a read through and talk with your local priest. Also lots of prayer. Like, LOTS of prayer. Also I've been slowly feeling a call back to Catholicism and back to my Consecration, so thank you for your post.

u/dessinemoiunmouton · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

I recommended this collection to her http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Early-Fathers-Three-Set/dp/0814610250

I converted 3 years ago and for awhile it was really a nightmare with my mom. I didn't think it would ever get better. But now the emotions are finally starting to settle and we're beginning to be able to have civil discussions about it. I have no idea where all of this will go, but I'm really happy that she's getting interesting in hearing why I converted and looking into some of it herself.

My advice to you would be to pray and pray for patience. Your parents might be really upset for years, but the more patience you have, the better it will be. And at some point things will settle down again. Always keep hope, you'll be amazed how much things can change with time!

u/InsomnioticFluid · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

There are several good ones. As a Protestant, I am sure you would appreciate the biblical background, so here are some I recommend:

  1. Walking with Mary (Sri is an excellent theologian whose writing is very accessible).
  2. Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary (Pitre is also very good. While I haven’t read this, if it’s like any of his other books, it will be excellent.)
  3. Hail Holy Queen (A a popular classic, also listed above).
  4. Rethinking Mary in the New Testament (A new in-depth treatment focusing on the Biblical background).

    You really can’t go wrong with any of these titles. Just check out the descriptions and reviews and see which one you like best.
u/australiancatholic · 2 pointsr/AskBibleScholars

I'd like to echo Pocket-Veto's request for more information about what your assignment question specifically is. Anyway I'd definitely get my hands on Introduction to the New Testament by RE Brown, if I were you. That textbook includes some discussion about the authorship of all the New Testament texts as well as commentary on themes and narrative and the like.

Other general textbooks on the New Testament that you might find useful are:

  • Studying the Gospels: An Introduction by Gideon Goosen and Margaret Tomlinson
  • The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation by Luke Timothy Johnson
  • Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology by Marianne Thompson, Joel B. Green , Paul J. Achtemeier


    The next place to look would be the entries on the gospels in a couple of Bible Dictionaries. E.g. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible or the Anchor Bible Dictionary, etc.


    Next get a hold of some bible commentaries on the individual gospels. For example, Luke Timothy Johnson has a commentary on Luke in the Sacra Pagina series and RT France and Daniel Harrington have commentaries on Matthew etc. Go to!


    I must say that all these are not so relevant to the question about how the text does or does not point to the divinity of Christ. For that I guess you want studies in Christology. So here's a few to get you started:


  • The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ by Brant Pitre (Actually, check out the contents page of this book. I think Pitre has chapters on quite a number of the topics that you would like to touch on for your paper).
  • Christology: A biblical, historical, and systematic study of Jesus by Gerald O'Collins
  • Jesus the Christ by Walter Kasper
  • Jesus of Nazareth (3 volumes) by Pope Benedict XVI
  • The Priority of Christ by Robert Barron (specifically the section on narratives about Jesus).


    You also should get on to your university's library page and do some searches for journal articles or dissertations about the gospels. There's bound to be thousands. You don't need to read them all. Just find a few articles with your relevant key words in the article or description, give the abstract a quick read and then based off of that decide whether or not the article will be any use for you in your assignment and only read it if you think it will.


    Let me know if you have any more questions.


    Good luck!
u/MirrorsDarkly · 1 pointr/Christianity

You may be interested in Rene Girard's mimetic theory, and how the sacrifice of Jesus satisfies the violence that mimetic desire ultimately brings to communities. In this way, Girard argues, Jesus is superior to the myths of conflict resolution that came before, because he invites us to imitate God, who is free from all desire. Through Jesus, we can end our attachment to desire, and bring about peace.

"I See Satan Fall Like Lightning" is a helpful resource here. It's in PDF here.

EDIT: You may also be interested in Introduction to Christianity. Ratzinger makes some very compelling arguments about Jesus, including the idea that Jesus is quite literally a Greek persona or a mask through which we can see and emulate God.

u/JustSomeSmallQs · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

>Unlike your anthropomorphic sky creature.

Straw man, straw man, swimming through the ocean, causing a commotion, because it’s so fallacious...We don’t believe in a dude with a beard in the sky. You realize those depictions are just for ease of viewing, right? Otherwise we would literally not be able to depict the moment of creation, which would make for very unentertaining images.

>And some non spatial/temporal-ether (for lack of a better descriptive term) is an entirely possible, even likely explanation of observable facts.

Mmmmmhmmmm. It’s weird that you guys are all “hurr durr magic sky fairy,” and in order to keep any semblance of self-consistent philosophy you have to resort to untestable universes that spontaneously generated out of nothing. You literally read more like a caricature of Christian beliefs than I do. “It just happened! It popped out of space juice!”

Which one of us is high, again?

Also, note that God is also a perfectly consistent explanation. But sure, magic sky multiverses. Whatever.

>Please read ACTUAL theories and research.

Did you read the research behind the book you linked? I too read pop science. I’m reading an ancient Brian Greene book called Fabric of the Cosmos right now. I would encourage you to look up the critical reviews for the book you linked, as well. Here’s one I found (admittedly on Wikipedia), that I thought was interesting:

>Commenting on the philosophical debate sparked by the book, the physicist Sean M. Carroll asked, "Do advances in modern physics and cosmology help us address these underlying questions, of why there is something called the universe at all, and why there are things called 'the laws of physics,' and why those laws seem to take the form of quantum mechanics, and why some particular wave function and Hamiltonian? In a word: no. I don't see how they could."


>Sorry I won't read your bronze age myths anymore than I have.

Okay? We’ll see who’s right when we die, I guess.

>Equivocate if you wish.

Thank you for your generosity.

>Religion gave us sacrificial goats.

Science gave us Hiroshima and the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments, but I’m not railing at science, am I?

>Science (an actual, demonstrable understanding of reality) gave us engines, planes, computers...

Catholicism gave us the university system, Western civilization, the Big Bang Theory, tons of advances in modern medicine, a modern legal system, and, what do you know, according to this, modern science. Weird, huh?

>Probability is temporal, so even the most unlikely things are bound to happen in a multiverse, btw...

Who are you to decide how probability does or does not apply in a multiverse that you don’t even know exists?

>if you'll leave me to take advantage of the life I actually know I'll get.

Yes, please, continue leading your meaningful life trolling Catholic forums.

u/Akzum · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Depends on what section of the Church she wants to discover. Just off the top of my head:

The Lamb's supper is widely recommended, I haven't read it but any word of it highly praises the way it explains and appreciates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

I enjoyed Francis Cardinal Arinze's book on Mary, and how it relates perfectly to scripture.

Has she seen Bishop Barron's Catholicism series in general?

u/Ashen-Knight · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I really enjoyed these two as I made my way towards the Catholic faith over the past two years.

As far as the first man, Adam, being created by God, that’s not dogma—it’s just a Scriptural truth universal to all believers. The definition of dogma in the Church is “that which has been divinely revealed and declared by the Magisterium (teaching authority of the Church) to be believed as such”. Our knowledge of the history of man’s creation comes straight from the book of Genesis—predating the Church and Christianity itself—which is why it is not dogma.

Regarding evolution, the Church does not take an active stance on whether or not it is true, but that it is not in contradiction with our faith. That is to say if evolution is true, God would have certainly engineered it as an aspect of His creation, and it wouldn’t change anything about what we teach and believe. It’s totally kosher; here is an article about that.

u/MoonChild02 · 3 pointsr/todayilearned

It's How the Scots Invented the Modern World. Similar titles include How the Irish Saved Civilization, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, and Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America. None of them are by the same author, but they're all interesting historical books with similar titles (How some great culture did great things that built what we have now), none the less.

I would love to find similar titles about other countries, cultures, and civilizations. They're always so interesting!

u/superlosernerd · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

You can consecrate yourself to Christ through Mary on any day of the year - God would not restrict such a beautiful gift to certain days.

However, it is tradition, and somewhat more meaningful, to consecrate yourself on a Marian feast day. Typically you try to time it so the traditional 33 days of study/prayer finish on the day before the consecration, and you do your consecration on the 34th day, which would be a Marian feast day. I finished mine recently, on the Our Lady of the Rosary fest day.

I would highly recommend St. Louis de Montford's guide, but when I did my consecration, I used not only that book but also the more modern 33 Days to Morning Glory. The 33 Days book is a little more modern in its text and easier to understand, but the original guide by St. Louis de Montford had many more prayers and a more in-depth introduction to Mary that I greatly appreciated. So for my 33 day study, I used both, which I highly recommend, since I felt like I learned a lot from both.

u/Joseph-Urbanek · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Your welcome, this is a good forum if you want to learn more.

If your interested in learning more, I suggest the following 2 books

Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith by Bishop Robert Barron

Why We're Catholic: Our Reasons for Faith, Hope, and Love by Trent Horn

u/crowjar · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Well, it would depend on what you feel your soul is looking for right now.

You say you're agnostic, there are books for people who want to get a sense of the existence of God, like Jacob's Ladder: Ten Steps to Truth. Peter Kreeft, the author of the book, has a handy section on his website going over various perspectives on the verification of God's existence.

There are books for people who want to get to know Catholic faith a little better before committing, like Waking Up Catholic: A Guide to Catholic Beliefs for Converts, Reverts, and Anyone Becoming Catholic.

There are books for people who want to get to know the Catholic faith more in depth, and have some hurdles to overcome, particularly from the protestant objections, like Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism, from an anti-Catholic Presbyterian minister whose battle against the faith pulled him into it.

There are people who come to the Church by reading on the lives of saints, others by reading on the history of the church and how it built western civilization, and others just by reading the news. It's not just a purely intelectual exercise, this is a spiritual quest and as such you have to give your soul what it yearns for.

u/throwawayCath9013 · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Sorry you've had a bad experience. The internet and forums are often a mixed bag unfortunately.

If you are interested in better understanding Catholicism, a good start is this book http://www.amazon.com/Catholicism-Dummies-Rev-John-Trigilio/dp/1118077784. Its a pretty simple read and represents a good foundation to start from. It doesn't answer every question you might have, but I think it might give you some better insight. Hope it helps. God bless.

u/amslucy · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Are you familiar with Catholic Answers? They're a good source for learning more about the faith.

If you want to start reading the Bible (which is a good thing to do), I'd suggest starting with one of synoptic gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, or Luke) and possibly using a Catholic study Bible (which will help with interpretation). I'd recommend either the Catholic Study Bible put out by Ignatius press - you can get the books individually (Here's Matthew, for example), or they have a version that's the entire New Testament. Another possibility might be the Didache Bible, which has commentary based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

If you want a very general overview, Catholicism for Dummies isn't a bad starting point. If you're in the United States, the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults would also be a good option.

u/youcat · 1 pointr/atheism

Thanks man I appreciate it. If you're looking to get one book, I highly recommend Brant Pitre's book "The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ". Strange Notions also has a list that includes a number of good books on the subject of Jesus (scroll down till you hit the "Jesus" section). The founder of the site, Brandon Vogt, is a well known Catholic personality who loves books. So you can trust the titles listed over there to be good.



u/jz-dialectic · 46 pointsr/Catholicism

Catholicism has a long tradition of philosophers and theologians interpreting the beginning chapters of Genesis as true in the sense that great works of literature are true. St. Augustine, widely recognized as one of the greatest theologians, argued that the first day could not coherently be understood as literal since "day" and "night" require the existence of the sun, which according to Genesis was created days later.

Catholic doctrine, as currently developed, would allow from someone to believe that species originate from evolution. It would, however, make the exception that the human soul was directly created by God and cannot be reducible to material causes.

If you're interested in learning more about a Catholic perspective, you could turn to these sources:

Austriaco, Thomistic Evolution https://www.amazon.com/Thomistic-Evolution-Catholic-Approach-Understanding-ebook/dp/B0744LRNNP/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=evolution+catholic&qid=1557974519&s=gateway&sr=8-1
Ratzinger [Pope Benedict], In the Beginning https://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Catholic-Understanding-Ressourcement-Retrieval/dp/0802841066/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=ratzinger+creation&qid=1557974569&s=gateway&sr=8-1

u/Ilubalu · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

I suppose I should reply to you directly since I've referred to you several times in lower comments.

What you are suggesting is true; there are many examples of gay children driven to drugs or suicide on account of how their christian or catholic parents treated them. I apologize that some parents showed their kids rules before they showed them love. It appears that God made every difference - whether it be skin color, ability/disability, language/culture, etc., in order to give us challenges or obstacles to love. It is said that if you take one step to Jesus, He'll take 5 steps to you. Many gay catholics have come to know the peace of God and ways to live harmoniously with Him. If you google "gay and catholic", you'll find stories like this one. My point is that stories like those prove that it's possible to keep someone reminded of how they are loved while issues they may have are dealt with one step and day at a time. I don't know if your comment was about your own sexuality or someone else's. I do know that you would be welcome in my group if I was traveling like these happy seminarians. Your criticism is justified. You're talking to a catholic who wants to do better.

u/tom-dickson · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Honestly, atheist to agnostic is a progression, and a good one. The book Answering Atheism may help as it details practical ways to (here's those words) "accompany" someone on this journey.

In the long run, the goal is not to provide the answers, but to provide the questions; faith is not opposed to reason but is beyond it; reason can help resolve some of the issues but is insufficient to know God (lest we could save ourselves without grace and solely by "works").

u/imapadawan · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

The US Catholic Church uses the New American Bible, so that's the translation you'll be hearing at Mass if you're in the US. So, just search New American Bible and go with that. I would even recommend getting a study Bible to help you understand what's happening and how things relate to other parts of the Bible, because it can be confusing. Just as a recommendation, this one is fantastic.

There are quite a few sources on understanding the Mass. I would look up the Order of the Mass and maybe try reading through that and following along during Mass, so you understand what is being said and also know what to say.

The Catechism is fantastic. Here is a pretty safe bet on getting started with reading that and something to use as reference.

If you're interested in reading the Summa Theologica, there are shorter versions like Summa of the Summa, which, while still not too short, condense down the most important information and make it easier for somebody without as much time to at least get the general idea.

Good luck on your journey, as I am currently doing the same and am in RCIA, but I've been doing my research for quite a while and am very excited for the coming year!

u/Bradn085 · 0 pointsr/Reformed

Well sit it out. Don't get over-emotional about what happens in the Church. People are people, and unfortunately the Church is in a sucky phase. And the Pope may be a crappy person, too. We'll see.


To counter our Dutch Reformed friend above... here are some books from ex-Reformed folks. They all became Catholic - one is a website:

The Salvation Controversy - A tutorial through TULIP (5 points of Calvinism from an ex-Calvinist, turned Catholic)

The Mystery of Predestination According to Scripture, the Church and Aquinas -

Rome Sweet Home - From a Reformed professor at Westminster, turned Catholic -

http://www.calledtocommunion.com/ - - all Reformed guys who became Catholic

Reformed High Church Anglican Pastor who became Catholic The Crucified Rabbi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q2HSJ6cbMY -


If I was religious, I would be Catholic.

David's references take you through everything you basically read and rejected before - just more sophisticated Sola Scriptura. "It's not 'me' saying it - it's Calvin and me saying it! Every church father before Calvin knows better than me insofar as they agree with Calvin. "

For David: in all of their own words. This book is nothing but quotes - starting literally from those ordained by the apostles themselves: https://www.amazon.com/Teachings-Church-Fathers-John-Willis/dp/0898708931

I hope you stay honest with your pursuit of truth. You can eliminate all presuppositions and trust your mind.

u/love_unknown · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

It's not a Catholic book, but if you want to go the 'not pushy' route, I would suggest something like C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce—something that gives a little bit of a taste of broader Christian theology, but that isn't itself overwhelmingly doctrinal (since I know that many non-believers tend to react quite forcefully against that kind of thing).

If you want to be more explicitly doctrinal but still just want to give a kind of inviting teaser into greater mysteries, I would recommend picking up a short topical work in theology. Something, perhaps, like Ratzinger's 'In the Beginning…': A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall.

Otherwise there's always Bishop Barron's Catholicism.

u/Novalis123 · 3 pointsr/atheism

>"Most historians would agree on"?? Lol!

That's pretty much what the majority of critical historians believe, yes. Christian, Jewish, atheist, agnostic ...

Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium,
Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet,
The Historical Figure of Jesus are all very good books on the historical Jesus, easy accessible and mostly stick to the consensus of the historical community.

>What evidence is there for any of this outside of christian scripture? When topic like this arise there are always a few posters who don't seem to understand that a religion's own faith based holy books can't be used as evidence to support a religion's historical claims.

All written historical sources have some kind of bias. Historians are well aware of that. The job of the historian isn't to take everything written in the gospels, or in any other source, at face value. They have to approach it critically so they could find out what really happened in the past.

u/bb1432 · 10 pointsr/Catholicism

Personally, I think there's a lot of garbage, namby-pamby advice in this thread.

As Venerable Fulton Sheen said, "There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing."

If you believe the Catholic Faith is true, then presumably your end goal is their conversion. If it's not, it should be.

Perhaps the initial explanation won't go well. That's fine. Whatever happens, don't burn any bridges. Unfortunately, since it's today there's not much more prep you can do.

The best advice I can give is to come armed with what they think they know. Beyond the initial, emotional reaction, they will have arguments. Maybe not today, but they'll come. They already know what they're going to say. They already have their "Catholicism is the Whore of Babylon Talking Points" on a 3x5 index card (even if it's just a mental index card.) So what do you do? Surprise them. Steal their lines. Ask questions that they aren't expecting. Since you already know all of the anti-Catholic talking points, you are (hopefully) well prepared to counter them with clarity and charity, using Holy Scripture as your guide.

Also, remember you're not alone in this. LOTS of fantastic people have made this conversion. Here are a few book recs that are relevant.

Catholicism and Fundamentalism

Rome Sweet Home

Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic

Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church

I haven't read this one yet, but it also looks awesome. Dr. Brant Pitre also writes on this topic:

The Fourth Cup: Unveiling the Mystery of the Last Supper and the Cross

u/mikfay2010 · 11 pointsr/Catholicism

Here are some posts that have been shared on r/Catholicism before:

u/halpcat · 5 pointsr/Catholicism


I really liked the book 33 Days to Morning Glory a friend recommended it and it was super easy to follow, not overwhelming, and had so many excellent reflections.

I'm glad to have done the consecration, it helped me a lot on my faith journey.

Perhaps this could interfere with another consecration or make it seem burdensome to do multiple ones, but at the end of the day, this all leads to Christ. To Jesus through Mary. :)

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! The consecration is not until the end of the book/journey, so you can always opt out and just use it as an educational tool.

u/BCSWowbagger2 · 1 pointr/Catholicism

He's not wrong. The first week or two is the hardest part by far.

Urges never entirely disappear -- they are a part of being human, and indeed a healthy one in many ways! -- and, when they do arise, they can always be a challenge to fend off... but they become less frequent and (for the most part) less intense as you practice.

So keep practicing! Be patient! Can take years! Grace comes in time!

>How could I ask for God's forgiveness through confession if I'm unsure of my own chances of not sinning again, and further, would I have even been forgiven in the first place if I sin again?

Good God, man!

>Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy times seven times."

("Seventy times seven" is Bible-speak for "infinity times."

Confession is one of the great gifts Christ gave the Church. The whole point is that it gives us a chance to have our sins forgiven -- permanently, irrevocably -- despite our inability as human beings to ever be fully contrite for our sins, plus our notorious habit of committing the same sins over and over again. That ability to confess our sins even when our confessions aren't perfect is one of the best parts of being Catholic. Avail yourself of it, and never ever worry that your sins have not been forgiven! Unless you deliberately lie in the confessional, absolution is complete and covers all your sins (even forgotten ones) the moment the priest finishes saying the words.


>I'm pretty much plagued with homosexuality

You mention at the start that you are homosexual and trying to figure that out at the same time. That can be tricky! My sister is gay and Catholic (and living the Church's teaching of chastity), and figuring out what that means for her life and vocation has been very tough on her. Plus, for some reason, the gay Catholics I know tend to beat themselves up over sins a lot more. I don't know why that happens, but it seems you're no exception. But know that the Lord has prepared a place for every one in His house, gays included, so have some peace in that. Christ loves you and looks forward to spending eternal life with you.

And then maybe go buy yourself a copy of the wonderful book by celibate gay Catholic Eve Tushnet, aptly titled, Gay and Catholic.

u/sariaru · 1 pointr/Catholicism

All of his books are great. He used to be a Protestant, so he understand where many Protestants are coming from in their understanding of Scripture and theology. It makes him really relate-able without coming off as high-brow or overly theological. Rome Sweet Home and Hail, Holy Queen are also excellent.

I also recommend Fr. Dwight Longenecker as another Evangelical-turned-Catholic. He has a most excellent blog on Patheos called Standing on my Head and has written a couple of "debate" style books on varying Catholic topics, such as Mary: An Evangelical-Catholic Debate and Challenging Catholics: An Evangelical-Catholic Dialogue

u/ErrantThought · 3 pointsr/OpenChristian

> It just that Corinthians 6:9 says that Practicing Homosexuals go to Hell

Actually the verse doesn't say that. It literally says:

οὔτε πόρνοι οὔτε εἰδωλολάτραι οὔτε μοιχοὶ οὔτε μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται οὔτε κλέπται οὔτε πλεονέκται, ⸀οὐ μέθυσοι, οὐ λοίδοροι, οὐχ ἅρπαγες βασιλείαν θεοῦ ⸆ κληρονομήσουσιν.

There is great debate about what ἀρσενοκοῖται (which has been translated as "homosexual") actually meant. 1st century Greeks didn't have committed, monogamous same-sex relationships in their mindset like we have today, and the word was certainly referring to something that was in their mindset. Once we figure that out, we can then go on to applying it to today's culture and language. Matthew Vines' God and the Gay Christian has an in depth look at that verse.

As to the title of your post [with priests and clergy spreading lies], please know that they all don't. You have to find the good ones. I've visited churches, gone up after the service, and asked the pastors point blank what their stance is on same sex relationships. Don't be fooled by the "oh we love gay people" line. Ask specifically, "would you marry a same-sex couple?" That'll bring their true colors out. Or if you don't want to go down in person, you can just email the church or message them on facebook and ask if they marry same-sex couples.

If you haven't yet, please look into the Gay Christian Network. I think many Christians today have lost sight of Jesus' message, and I think the GCN is a great organization that is trying to recapture it, especially in regards to LGBT people.

u/sourpatchkidj · 3 pointsr/gaybros

Hey bro, I'm so sorry to hear that this happened. Don't know where you are now (school and away, living at home while working, etc?) Regardless, it's probably really tough. But know that there's a ton of support out there! In terms of popular literature you could give your parents, there's Torn by Justin Lee and God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines. I wish you the absolute best of luck on traversing this next step in your coming out journey. It won't be easy, but you've made it this far. Here if you need an ear. Sending you positive vibes and a giant brohug :)

u/peonymoss · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Love your post, especially the Konami code thing :)

You might like the book Catholicism for Dummies by Fathers Trigilio and Brighenti.

Catholic.com is a great resource; you might also like the Catholic Answers podcast.

And, of course, there's always this subreddit!

u/thelukinat0r · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

I have a four-way tie for best mariology.

In no particular order:

Marian Mystery by Denis Farkasfalvy

Queen Mother by Ted Sri

Daughter Zion by Joseph Ratzinger

Mariology by Matthias Joseph Scheeben

If you're looking for books directed at a more popular audience (i.e. if you're not a theologian), then the following are very good:

Behold your Mother by Tim Staples

Hail Holy Queen by Scott Hahn

EDIT: Here's a great bibliography my professor made for a mariology course.

EDIT: Just as a caveat, my interest in mariology is mostly biblical. Apparitions aren't a huge interest of mine. So the above reflects that. Though there's plenty on dogmatic/systematic mariology there too.

u/Fastgreenforjesus369 · 4 pointsr/Christianity

You plan on being Catholic too? That's great, what were you before your decision to be in RCIA?

Btw Mary will really help you "feel" the religion a lot more and the spirituality behind it. Many Catholics read this book


and it helps them out a lot...I can understand if you have objections to it so don't worry <3 Its just something that helps a lot though and helps you become one with God a lot more.