I ask partly because so many people on A/N and elsewhere have said they quit religion soon after they read the Old Testament or a part of it and disliked the cruelty, the killing, and more. The OT is unpleasant reading but so many here have said they quit their religions. It sounds easy to do.
The Catholicism I knew (in the 1940s) discouraged Bible reading. The indoctrination was thorough: in grade school it was thirty minutes of catechism each day, in high school it was a fifty-minute class each day. Students who asked questions the nuns couldn't answer were told to ask one of the priests. Students who asked questions a priest couldn't answer were told to read Augustine or Aquinas, which might take months and still not answer the questions asked. It amounts to intellectual bullying.
Does quitting Catholicism require more or less trauma than quitting Protestantism? My quitting was traumatic; I threw my parents and their religion out of my life, and with all that indoctrination I took months to chip away all that metaphorical concrete.
Years later I got some very welcome revenge for all that bullying. While serving on a jury with a Catholic priest and at lunch with another juror, I said I had been a Catholic. The priest told me my life was absurd. I had just days earlier seen a dictionary that said absurd refers to a lack of meaning. I told the priest I considered it my responsibility to give my life meaning. He instantly "clammed up" and said not another word. For days I was joyously telling myself "Don't tell me revenge isn't sweet!"
Regarding the business of being discouraged from reading the bible, I am reminded of Stephen Fry's participation in the Intelligence-Squared debate of 2009. The question for that debate was: "Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world?" A marked point which Fry made during his talk included the fact that there was a period in England where one could be sentenced to death for owning a bible in English.
Now I'm no catholic or lapsed catholic, but the reason for this penalty is transparent to me. A bible in one's own language obviously is accessible to that person without need to refer to a priest or nun or whomever to at least get the raw content. This takes both power and control away from officials of the church, who doubtless knew of the flaws which could be found in the bible, especially if it was read for detail. Maintaining the mystery of the bible was clearly a priority for the RC church, since few ordinary citizens spoke Latin and therefore could not research the bible themselves, but were dependent on their priests for understanding. Once those secrets were available to the general populace, the cat was out of the bag.
Still, the bible is a daunting document, certainly not written to be easily read, and tackling it in its entirety is no easy task. Apparently, priests and nuns may still think to this day that they can ward off the ugly truth by acting from their authority, using such tricks as documented above to keep the curious away from the fundamental reference and avoiding the serious problems which can result from being conversant in the bible. But now in the age of the internet, search tools like Google and sites like the Skeptic's Annotated Bible, the facts of the matter are more and more available ... and embarrassing questions have likely already become far more difficult to squelch.
Is the topic posted in jest, Tom, or are we actually trying to conclude which take on the christian faith is the more difficult to dispose of? Either way, I like it - and will vote protestant, but being that that's the faith I left, I can't help but feel as though my answer is biased... haha
Something that occurs to me, though, are the various ablutions and systemic rituals second nature to catholics, which may serve as a larger number of hooks to tend to upon losing one's faith. As a catholic-deserter yourself, what are your thoughts on this?
Mathew T., not in jest.
It's probable that no one here grew up in both C'ism and P'ism. They quit one or the other but not both, so bias is probable.
C'ism and P'ism both use hooks, and if people here will describe the hooks they escaped and describe the difficulty, they will help A/N visitors who have yet to escape.
As to rituals, methinks neurologists will agree that repeated rituals make connections in the brain that are hard to disconnect. The schools I went to used a lot of ritual and used it often.
Methinks that both C'ism and P'ism want believers to feel helpless. I've met helpless Catholics and rebellious Catholics, and think parents can either strengthen or weaken feelings of helplessness. I long ago started telling people that my dad, who required his kids to do quality work, subverted the helplessness lessons in the schools he sent them to.
Does any of that make sense?