Many children are brought up as Catholics and remain Catholics, while many children grow up to hate the religion. Should parents press their children to be Catholic? Can’t their children lead good and fulfilling lives without the theological baggage attained when one chooses to become religious? What is the difference that an ecclesial faith in Jesus Christ makes for a human being and for the world? Having faith in God gives people unchanging morals, guidance and something to believe in besides chance.
Morals are different in every society and change over time as peoples’ values and views change. Though atheists can have good morals, their principles may change over time. Instead of following what is going on in our society, having faith in God and his ways gives unchanging morals that are always appropriate and peace everlasting. It gives Catholics security knowing that what they are doing is right. ?Jesus used these invitational and provocative forms of speech ? aphorisms and parables ? to subvert conventional ways of seeing and living, and to invite his hearers to alternate way of life.?(Borg, p. 75) How people view life and what they believe in determine how they will live their life. Having set morals instilled in them through Catholicism, children may be more inclined to be good. Being raised a certain way does not guarantee that a person will follow what they were brought up to believe. Raising a child as Catholic though makes a person more prone to leading a virtuous life. Also, morals give Catholic families an anchor. When everyone believes in the same morals it creates unity and keeps peace.
Following God’s ways according to Borg is ?The narrow way, the way less traveled, is the alternative wisdom of Jesus.? The way less traveled is life in the spirit and the life that Jesus himself knew. ?Our culture’s secular wisdom does not affirm the reality of the Spirit; the only reality about which it is certain is the visible world of our ordinary experience.?(Borg, p. 87) Atheists look to the material world for purpose and contentment. They measure their self-worth according to how well they attained these values based on materialism, and if succeed they may find the rewards not fulfilling. Living the way less traveled is living a life centered in Christ in hope of fulfillment through Christ that is not based on materialism. Catholics feel they always have someone (God), someone that will never betray them and that will in the end make them content.
Having faith in God gives us guidance. As we make decisions everyday, we sometimes get confused on what we should do. At these times, we can turn to God and think what would Jesus do? While some decisions may be as small as whether or not to keep the money when a cashier gives you too much change back, other decisions may be life changing. ?In the message and activity of Jesus, we see an alternative social vision: a community shaped not by the ethos and politics of purity, but by the ethos and politics of compassion.? Jesus believed in compassion. He did not feel that it was right to have a purity system that either made you really good or really bad. The purity system said that if you were a gentile, not whole (leprosy, damaged testicles or missing penis), female, poor etc., you were impure. Jesus did not feel this was fair. He went against this and helped those considered impure and even dined with them. Having a stance on compassion led to a society where everyone is included. Though most of society believed in the purity system, Jesus made the decision to go against what he believed was wrong. Just because something is tradition does not make it right. Catholics are able to look at the actions of Jesus and apply how he made his choices to their own life knowing that their decision will be morally correct.
While atheists just hope that things will turn out well, Catholics believe that their will is in God’s hands. Because Catholics believe this, they receive a sense of peace knowing that whatever happens, good or bad, it is in God’s hands and is for their betterment. ?’My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ and then add, ?Into your hands I commend my spirit, into your hands, O absolutely incomprehensible God! That too is possible. In other words I can confidently meet death and also accept the fear of death in a final confidence and surrender.? (Rahner, p. 193) Though Jesus asked why God betrayed him, he trusted God. As, Jesus had confidence in God when he was crucified, Catholics always trust in God and his will for them. There is no need to question what occurs in peoples’ lives because whatever happens is God’s plan. Catholics do not fear or worry about things that much because they know that their life is in God’s hands. Having faith does not mean that Catholics do not feel fear or pain. ?I am not of the opinion that a Christian must necessarily die as a Stoic or as a Socrates. If a Christian can do so, there is no objection against it. But he or she need not.?(Rahner, p. 193) Knowing that their life is in God’s hands and that any obstacles they may encounter are for their improvement gives people confidence. Having faith gives people something to believe in besides chance.
Whether or not one raises their children as Catholic Christians makes a difference. It is true that atheists can live decent and fulfilling lives without faith, but when things go wrong or they have a decision to make, what do they do? Who can they turn to? Having faith gives Catholics unchanging morals, guidance and something to believe in besides chance. In addition being Catholic guarantees salvation. An atheist may say that it does not matter if they believe or not because they do not believe in an afterlife. If there is an after life though, atheists will suffer. By being Catholic, one is ensuring that their future, if there is an afterlife, will be eternally secured.
The Bible….Old edition