Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Craziest Complaints About Catholicism Vol.1

Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's exhausting, but either way it happens too much: Someone makes a complaint about Catholicism that is so easily refuted that you wonder how they could have come up with such a complaint in the first place (and you wonder even more why so many people seem to have the same complaint).

Still, since people have the questions, let's give some answers:

Q: Why do Catholics leave Jesus on the cross? Don't you know that Christ is risen?

A: Yes, I think I heard something about that resurrection thing... Maybe several times each Sunday in church (and that's without including the parts of Mass that change every week).

This is mostly a stylistic difference, and if anything, the Catholic crucifix is more expressive. It tells more of a story, and it is more specific as to which cross we're talking about (since Jesus was not the only person ever crucified, and the Christian cross isn't the only cross used as a symbol).

Further, the Apostle Paul wrote, "Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles." [1 Cor 1:22-23]

Why didn't he say, "We preach Christ resurrected;" doesn't he know Christ is Risen? Obviously, just like St. Paul, the Church preaches Christ crucified, and Christ resurrected.

We could also ask, "Why is your cross empty? Don't you believe Jesus died for your sins?"

Q: Why do Catholics call their priests "Father?" Jesus said, "And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven." [Matt 23:9]

A: He also said, "Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ" [Matt 23:10], yet Protestants still have Sunday school teachers (and we are told throughout the New Testament that "teacher" is a calling for some Christians).

Also, if this weren't hyperbole used to express how God is the ultimate father, teacher, etc., then we would be unable to use those words in reference to earthly things, and they would end up losing all meaning. We understand what it means for God to be "father," because we use the word to refer to our male parent.

Then there's the argument that this means God is our only "spiritual father," but this is pretty silly since St. Paul makes it clear that he was a spiritual father to the Corinthians: "Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel." [1 Cor 4:15] This is along with the countless times the apostles refer to their flock as "child" or "son," and the times they refer to Abraham and Isaac as "fathers."


Nathan said...

As always, I don't really want to offend people, so I'm going to explain something: When I say these are the "Craziest Complaints" I don't mean that the people making them are dumb or crazy. I'm just saying that once you know the facts, you realize how silly these complaints are.

As I started out a Protestant, I may have even made some of these complaints myself.

When I poke fun at the complaints, it is just sort of a release of the frustration that it can cause when I'm asked the same question by a lot of different people and the question wasn't so great in the first place.

Not that it's wrong for people to ask silly questions if they have them, since it's better if they learn the truth, it's just wrong for the silly ideas that inspire the questions to keep spreading around as if they represented the truth.

Harvey H said...

One thing that's bothered me a bit about having crazy complaints/silly questions regarding Catholicism: sometimes Catholics have them, and instead of seeking out an answer they treat it like it's some proof that they're smarter than 2,000 years of theology and end up doubting the truth of their faith. And for some bizarre reason, sometimes these are the people that get on TV to talk about Catholicism!

Nathan said...

Yeah, I don't understand how these uninformed folks get known well enough to make it on TV so much (perhaps it's just anti-Church media bias).

But I can relate a bit to where they're coming from. I used to be one of the type to think that anything new was better than anything old, and I tended to think that if I hadn't heard the answer to a certain question, or I couldn't come up with a good answer, then there might not be a good answer.

But, by the grace of God, I managed to stumble upon (or was handed) many of the answers I sought. Then I realized how foolish I was. The answers were always there, if I was willing to search for them.

So, I agree, why can't people at least give their Church the benefit-of-the-doubt, and give them the first shot at answering the question? Let's not leave it to the media, which is obviously clueless about religion.