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The Forum > General Discussion > Barnaby Joyce and the Catholic Church.

Barnaby Joyce and the Catholic Church.

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Dear AJ,

Well you've put a lump in my throat and some tears
in my eyes. I fully understand your feelings
about religion considering your background and
experiences. My husband went through very similar
experiences. He was educated by the Christian Brothers
and they managed to turn him off religion for life.

However, I find religion to be a source of comfort and
hope to me. I recognise the serious challenges facing the
Catholic Church in Australia. I believe that the Church
can be reinvigorated as a vital backdrop to contemporary
Australian life. I know that other churches in other
regions throughout history, for example North Africa, have
simply dwindled into irrelevance. It could happen here as
the century marches on. So if the Church is to remain a
precious jewel in everyday life, I guess hope is the
prerequisite - probably easier said than done.

Anyway, I am not looking to convert any body, each of us has to
find our own way in life. However, as Geraldine Doogue once
stated,

"In all the copious debates about religion and society,
one of the key questions is never properly canvassed: what
would Australia feel like without an active, vaguely relevant
Catholic Church? Correctly, there's interest in some of its
poor legacies like sexual abuse. But consider the vacuum caused
by the surrender of a hopeful Church, together with its ritual
life, its routine generosity, its largeness of spirit, it's
road map for s soul's journey through life as opposed to Economic
or Intellectual Man or Woman's Progress? Imagine the profound
gap that would leave."
Posted by Foxy, Wednesday, 12 July 2017 10:08:06 AM
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Phanto,

I need to justify the position I have taken, and I use my personal experiences to that end, I do not see them as private nor am I particularly sensitive to them. I was once knocked off my bike while doing an errand for my Mum, should I also blame her for the injuries sustained?

Another one of the forums Grumpy Old Men has blown in. Hassy, as a knowledgless numskull you certainly take the cake. I assume at school you were that big fat kid, sitting down the back, who spent the entire lesson trying to catch fly's with his mouth. still at it 80 years later. Being an under achiever as you are, I can understand why you are jealous of anyone you perceive as educated, academics, technical people, skilled persons, its not their fault you did't make it. .
Posted by Paul1405, Wednesday, 12 July 2017 10:45:54 AM
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Dear Foxy,

Thanks for the sentiment, but my experience as a Christian was actually pretty good. Not all people lose their faith due to bad experiences. As I have mentioned several times before, I was quite active in the church assisting the Sunday school teaching, being a youth group leader, and attending the weekly Bible study group. These are not things people do when their experience of church is bad.

I still get warm and fuzzy feelings when I think back to my Church-going days. The thought that I was going to live forever was an immense source of comfort; the sense of community was amazing; and going to church was always a joyful experience which filled me with a scientifically-explainable euphoria that I was convinced at the time was the Holy Spirit.

There was just one problem: it was all based on a lie.

Thatís not to say my life is worse now, however. If anything, itís better. Sure, my lifespan is infinitely shorter than what I once believed it to be, but I never actually lost anything, and my realisation gives everything I want to do an important sense of immediacy that was never there before; it makes every minute I have infinitely more valuable. I now find a sense of community and purpose with sceptic organisations; only now, our combined energies are devoted to dispelling nonsense, rather than comforting each other with reassuring lies.

I know you donít mean to be condescending, but this assumption, that apostates must necessarily have had bad experiences, is false. Our friend George assumed the same of me. Even my own mother (who should have known better) expressed regret for my ďbad experiencesĒ! When I told her that I just couldnít see any evidence for a god, the notion of evidence was so foreign to her that she just stared at me blankly.

The problem with such assumptions is that they dismiss the possibility that the individual may have had a good reason for losing their faith, because a bad experience with the Church is not a good reason by itself.
Posted by AJ Philips, Wednesday, 12 July 2017 11:59:18 AM
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Dear AJ,

My apologies for having misunderstood what you were
saying. I suppose I had assumed the same of you as
so many people (including my husband) left the Church
because of what they had experienced. I'm glad that
you had more to it than that.

I wish you all The Best in Life.
Posted by Foxy, Wednesday, 12 July 2017 1:53:49 PM
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No need to apologise, Foxy. Even if you didnít misunderstand what I had said, itís an easy assumption to make. After all, many people have had bad experiences with the religion/church they were raised in. Itís not just sexual abuse in the Catholic Church either. Speak to any former Jehovahís Witness and they can tell you some shocking stories of psychological abuse, for example.
Posted by AJ Philips, Wednesday, 12 July 2017 3:12:45 PM
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Paul1405:

ďI was once knocked off my bike while doing an errand for my Mum, should I also blame her for the injuries sustained?Ē

Presumably it was your choice to run an errand for your Mum and your choice to ride your bike so it is your responsibility. Where you went to school was your motherís responsibility so she is to blame.

ďI need to justify the position I have taken, and I use my personal experiences to that end,Ē

Why have you taken any position at all? When you were at school you had to do things you didnít like doing but when you left school you had no reason to have anything more to do with the Church. Why does what they do now have any effect on you as a free adult? You do not have a position to justify. If you disagree with their teachings then ignore them. They have no power over you any longer.

You have nothing to justify any more but you still feel the need to tell us your story. Why would you tell us your story if you were at peace with yourself now? It is like you are trying to understand why you had to go through all that angst when other teenagers were spared it. I have suggested that your mother is the key to your understanding.

You said you have bitterness but bitterness is a failure to accept and own your own story. You have every reason to be angry with your mother but no reason to be bitter with the Church. The church should be totally irrelevant to you and what Barnaby Joyce thinks about the church should be even less relevant.
Posted by phanto, Wednesday, 12 July 2017 4:20:36 PM
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