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Found today, a lapsed Traditionalist's blog.  Anyone ever seen this before?

http://www.secularplanet.org/


18 April 2006
From Catholic to Atheist
In the interest of providing additional perspective to my thoughts, I will now share the tale of my journey from Catholicism to atheism.

The circumstances of my entrance into the Church are very commonplace. My Catholic parents had me baptized shortly after my birth, brought me to Mass each Sunday, and sent me to formal religious education until I received the sacrament of confirmation at the age of thirteen. Around that time, I developed a serious interest in religion and became relatively devout in my faith. I sought to understand the teachings of the Church more deeply. I read the Bible, the newly published universal catechism, and a few books on apologetics, though my forays into online apologetic debate were largely uneventful. Discussion of religion with two atheist friends at the end of high school, however, planted seeds of major doubt in my mind, which seemed to flower immediately before being quickly crushed by fear and anxiety.

At university I entrenched myself even more deeply into religion, leading to serious considerations of entering the seminary or the monastery, but the fear of an eternal hell which had forcefully preserved me in the faith soon created a terrestrial hell for me in form of scrupulosity. I will not discuss the details of the situation, but I will say that it truly was a nightmare. The condition persisted for years with only temporary, partial, and sporadic reprieves despite extensive assistance from the clergy and other persons. Eventually, however, the issue of doubt became a major focus of my obsession and the seeds planted years before germinated such that they were ready to blossom with the proper amount of cultivation.

A frank discussion with a friend who had earlier made a similar journey provided the catalyst to a thorough investigation of my doubts over the course of several months. During this time I read everything that I could find, online or in print, pro- and anti-religion. I spoke with family, friends and priests. I spent much time in prayer and in thought. In the end I found that I had lost my faith from a combination of the obliteration of my former justifications for belief, the establishment of numerous insurmountable objections and difficulties, and the realization that everything in life makes much more sense if Catholicism is indeed false. I left the Church almost four months after my initial decision to question my religion.

Though my sufferings certainly helped prompt the investigation, my loss of faith and subsequent apostasy were the result of logical, systematic inquiry rather than an emotionally motivated escape from the torment I experienced at the hands of religion. I am certain, however, that many believers will dismiss my reasons as less than noble. In response I would like to indicate that my decision to face my doubts and fears demanded a certain amount of courage. With my understanding that to entertain and indulge one's doubts was a sin grave enough to merit eternal damnation, I willfully endangered my soul in order to satisfy my sense of intellectual honesty and desire for truth. Additionally, I realized that it would perhaps be impossible to feel sorry and thus seek forgiveness for the sin of doubting if I found the Catholic faith to be true, meaning that I effectively had to surmount a point-of-no-return in order to even begin. Whatever the case, supposed emotional motivations do not discount rational argumentation and criticism.

My scrupulosity immediately and substantially diminished upon my apostasy, though the fear of hell lingered for approximately six months before fully dissipating. I initially considered myself an agnostic, but the more appropriate term would have been weak atheist. A further examination of the problem of evil a few months later prompted my transition to strong atheism. I have maintained that position since and that is where I stand today.
Wow. He's so enlightened!

Nothing like closing your eyes and being "free".
What is interesting is the reason he chose to lapse are not the reasons I would choose.  It shows how much of the self or ego is tied up with these decisions.  How could it be otherwise?  The stakes are so high.

The thing that gives me the most doubt is the enormous uncertainty within the Church itself about where we come from and where we are heading.

You can find everything from 6000 year Adam and Eve creationists through to Darwinian Catholics, as well as beliefs ranging from Hell for almost all Catholics, through to the near universal salvation of JP2.  Like the blogger, I cannot personally understand how people who believe in Darwinian evolution can believe in the same God that I do.  Nor can I understand how anyone can believe that the earth is 6000 years old.  And a God who sends nearly everyone to hell is clearly a very different God that one who lets almost everyone into Heaven.

It seems very strange that such vagueness can co-exist about our origins and final end and yet the bit in the middle is defined with such dogmatic and detailed certainty.

Imagine a ship's captain who said, "I'm not entirely sure where or when we originated and I've no way of assessing how many of you might make it to the final destination but I know where we are right now and the direction we should head in".  Some people might take comfort in the fact that someone was "taking control", but other people would wonder whether they shouldn't sneek off and steal a lifeboat and steer their own course.
I wonder if people from other religions experience such a tendency toward scrupulosity?

- Lisa
(05-18-2009, 11:52 AM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: [ -> ]I wonder if people from other religions experience such a tendency toward scrupulosity?

- Lisa

I know many Orthodox Jews and there is definitely a tendency towrads scrupulosity with some of them.
Scruples are a pure hell to anyone that has them.  It is a mental condition that can either be congential or brought on by environmental reasons.  I have a close friend that suffers from this.  I believe it was brought on by environmental reasons in their home when they grew up.

The scruples can torment the person to the point that if everything I do is a sin, why even try, I am going to Hell anyways.  Might as well enjoy life and ditch this religion stuff instead of driving myself crazy.  A church in chaos does not help, and some Catholics reactionary stances to the crisis does not help either.

As for myself, I do not suffer from scruples, but I can get quite the opposite and get spiritually lazy.

I have seen this first hand, and feel very sorry for the one who wrote the article.  Perservance like a warrior is need from God's grace to live and go to Church day in and day out.
I think the Muslims might.

Not something I suffer from.  Sloth is more my thing.  I'm like the last kid in the line following the Pied Piper. I'm hoping the door will slam shut just between me and the lame kid.
I think traddies generally underestimate the dangers of scruples.  Besides being a huge danger to faith (look at what it did to Luther), scruples are a danger to mental health.  God does not want us to be in a constant state of anxiety, because eventually people just buckle under the stress.  On another trad forum, a lady was all upset and anxious because she raked for a little bit on a Sunday.  Now imagine going through that day after day, year after year--- you either get sick physically or mentally, or you give up your faith.
(05-18-2009, 12:05 PM)ErinIsNice Wrote: [ -> ]I think traddies generally underestimate the dangers of scruples.  Besides being a huge danger to faith (look at what it did to Luther), scruples are a danger to mental health.  God does not want us to be in a constant state of anxiety, because eventually people just buckle under the stress.  On another trad forum, a lady was all upset and anxious because she raked for a little bit on a Sunday.  Now imagine going through that day after day, year after year--- you either get sick physically or mentally, or you give up your faith.

Ditto...and it has a real consequence for the rest of us.  The sufferers of this all run to the front of the confessional line in order to confess stealing a nickle, meanwhile, those of us with real sins that need real medicine are stuck hoping the light dose not go off before it's our turn.
I think this is scary and sad. I googled scrupulosity and came up with a book entitled 'The Doubting Disease'

One part of me thinks the enemy is keeping himself very busy. Stirring up anxiety and trying to convince us that we can never be victorious. May God open this man's heart to see that there is another way.
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