Author Topic: Do you have to be religious/devout?  (Read 1484 times)

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Offline Ray1

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Do you have to be religious/devout?
« on: January 06, 2018, 09:50:04 PM »
One of the issues that have bothered me when I was religious is the pressure that I felt regarding the necessity of being devout. Somehow it felt that I have to be "all in" when it comes to my faith, there is no room for "moderation". That I have to pray daily, go to Mass on Sundays, have to vote/support a political party/cause that is in line with Christianity on all issues (please don't focus on this issue, it is just an example of many). I just felt trapped, felt like I don't have the right to decide, and if I do decide, I have to choose what the Church says I should choose, and if I choose otherwise, I've committed a sin, and sometimes a deadly one (I'm talking from a Roman Catholic Perspective). Felt like an adult still controlled by his parents, and ought to do whatever his parents tell him to do.

Are Christians supposed to be devout? Can't they be in the middle without being mocked or called names like "Cafeteria Catholics/Christians"? Is it a black and white issue, you either give it your 100% or nothing? What am I missing?
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 09:53:07 PM by Ray1 »

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2018, 10:11:20 PM »
I always found the opposite to be the confusing part: how much of a lack of devotion there is--and an acceptance of this as normal--among those who profess to completely believe. I don't really understand it when people claim that they are sure there is a judgment, that their eternal lives are at stake, that the Bible is God's word, etc., but who then go about their lives as though religion is a minor hobby that merits their attention at most a half dozen hours a week. It's like being so poor that you're on the brink of dying from starvation and exposure, and then claiming you won the lottery, but instead of going through the comparatively simple process of claiming your prize you just sort of mill around and gab with the neighbors for weeks. If someone did that you'd think they were lying or didn't really believe it. The claims just don't seem to match the actions.

EDIT--to add, I am saying this from the perspective of a perpetual doubter, lacking in faith. I'm trying to imagine what it's like to simply believe, to be filled with faith and not just have a bit of hope. From that perspective it doesn't compute for me to do so little with that faith. Maybe if I ever get such faith or assured beliefs I'll find out why things aren't like I thought they would or should be.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 10:14:27 PM by Asteriktos »
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Offline William T

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2018, 11:43:42 PM »
Should you be middling to friends and family or devote? Can you have a moderate stance on genocide?  If those questions seem absurd,  that's the your missing.   However misplaced , strong, or weak ones devotion may be,  devotion is a virtue.   A man displaying none in anything isn't going to get much respect.

As far as the homogenous nature of Christians,  there are a few billion of them.   I guess your thoughts on lack of diversity is subjective,  but I think you are pigeon holeing it and erecting a straw man to conform to your notions.   I think.  If you think the laws of Canada or whatever are too restricting,  fine whatever,  but they aren't exactly arbitrary and most people would rightfully find that notion a bit idiosyncratic.  The same could be said with a critique of any broad ranging idea,  culture,  or rule of law,  or religion... Christianity included.

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2018, 11:49:42 PM »
I always found the opposite to be the confusing part: how much of a lack of devotion there is--and an acceptance of this as normal--among those who profess to completely believe. I don't really understand it when people claim that they are sure there is a judgment, that their eternal lives are at stake, that the Bible is God's word, etc., but who then go about their lives as though religion is a minor hobby that merits their attention at most a half dozen hours a week. It's like being so poor that you're on the brink of dying from starvation and exposure, and then claiming you won the lottery, but instead of going through the comparatively simple process of claiming your prize you just sort of mill around and gab with the neighbors for weeks. If someone did that you'd think they were lying or didn't really believe it. The claims just don't seem to match the actions.
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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2018, 11:50:14 PM »
One of the issues that have bothered me when I was religious is the pressure that I felt regarding the necessity of being devout. Somehow it felt that I have to be "all in" when it comes to my faith, there is no room for "moderation". That I have to pray daily, go to Mass on Sundays, have to vote/support a political party/cause that is in line with Christianity on all issues (please don't focus on this issue, it is just an example of many). I just felt trapped, felt like I don't have the right to decide, and if I do decide, I have to choose what the Church says I should choose, and if I choose otherwise, I've committed a sin, and sometimes a deadly one (I'm talking from a Roman Catholic Perspective). Felt like an adult still controlled by his parents, and ought to do whatever his parents tell him to do.

Are Christians supposed to be devout? Can't they be in the middle without being mocked or called names like "Cafeteria Catholics/Christians"? Is it a black and white issue, you either give it your 100% or nothing? What am I missing?

This post comprises a tremendous hodge-podge of issues and concerns: psychological pressure, what moderation is, what devotion is, political pressure, the experience among fundamentalist Baptists, the experience among traditionalist Catholics, and much more. And many more that are implicit: the tenets of secularism and whether they are superior, what it is to grow up, whether any of the explicit concerns are straw men.

It would be much easier just to answer the title of your post: more or less: Should a person be devoted to God, his creator, savior, and father? Yes, a person should, and the person who is not is not whole.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2018, 11:51:49 PM »
I always found the opposite to be the confusing part: how much of a lack of devotion there is--and an acceptance of this as normal--among those who profess to completely believe. I don't really understand it when people claim that they are sure there is a judgment, that their eternal lives are at stake, that the Bible is God's word, etc., but who then go about their lives as though religion is a minor hobby that merits their attention at most a half dozen hours a week. It's like being so poor that you're on the brink of dying from starvation and exposure, and then claiming you won the lottery, but instead of going through the comparatively simple process of claiming your prize you just sort of mill around and gab with the neighbors for weeks. If someone did that you'd think they were lying or didn't really believe it. The claims just don't seem to match the actions.

This is a really powerful observation.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2018, 12:04:23 AM »
How's yes and no for an answer? 

Give 100% of what you have now in order to do as much as you can now, with God's grace.  Don't worry if that doesn't look precisely like the person standing next to you.  There should be similarities, but we are not copies of each other.  The goal of Christianity is supposed to be Christ-likeness/theosis.  I think if at any point our devotion and piety are not working us toward that goal, we're doing it wrong and need to reassess and readjust something (ideally, this is where the clergy come in).

There's a passage in Proverbs I've always loved and I feel the principle applies here: "Two things I ask from You: do not take away grace from me before I die; make a vain word and a lie be far from me; but give me neither riches nor poverty, and appoint what is necessary and sufficient for me; lest being full I become a liar and say, 'Who sees me?' or being poor, I steal, and swear by the name of God." Proverbs 30:7-9 (yes, the OSB).

As we grow, what is "necessary and sufficient for [us]" will change.  Thankfully God is both unchanging and eternally patient while we figure it all out, and grateful I am for that.
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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2018, 01:54:22 AM »
Devotion for me looks more like some old lady cleaning all church's dishes zealously every Sunday than like fire and brimstone preachers. I think it's more about what stays after all that initial zeal winds off. Even better if it doesn't. Like a relationship.

I always found the opposite to be the confusing part: how much of a lack of devotion there is--and an acceptance of this as normal--among those who profess to completely believe. I don't really understand it when people claim that they are sure there is a judgment, that their eternal lives are at stake, that the Bible is God's word, etc., but who then go about their lives as though religion is a minor hobby that merits their attention at most a half dozen hours a week. It's like being so poor that you're on the brink of dying from starvation and exposure, and then claiming you won the lottery, but instead of going through the comparatively simple process of claiming your prize you just sort of mill around and gab with the neighbors for weeks. If someone did that you'd think they were lying or didn't really believe it. The claims just don't seem to match the actions.
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« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 01:54:51 AM by RaphaCam »
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Offline Sharbel

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2018, 07:00:32 PM »
I do!
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Offline Ray1

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2018, 07:55:27 AM »
I always found the opposite to be the confusing part: how much of a lack of devotion there is--and an acceptance of this as normal--among those who profess to completely believe. I don't really understand it when people claim that they are sure there is a judgment, that their eternal lives are at stake, that the Bible is God's word, etc., but who then go about their lives as though religion is a minor hobby that merits their attention at most a half dozen hours a week. It's like being so poor that you're on the brink of dying from starvation and exposure, and then claiming you won the lottery, but instead of going through the comparatively simple process of claiming your prize you just sort of mill around and gab with the neighbors for weeks. If someone did that you'd think they were lying or didn't really believe it. The claims just don't seem to match the actions.

EDIT--to add, I am saying this from the perspective of a perpetual doubter, lacking in faith. I'm trying to imagine what it's like to simply believe, to be filled with faith and not just have a bit of hope. From that perspective it doesn't compute for me to do so little with that faith. Maybe if I ever get such faith or assured beliefs I'll find out why things aren't like I thought they would or should be.

That is a question I asked myself many times, but is it really that black and white? You seem to think I'm asking for the total rejection of devotion, which is not what I'm asking for. I'm asking whether believing in whatever religion you believe in, should mean total pause of your freedom to think and decide for yourself. Isn't this what is wrong with the world these days?

Offline Ray1

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2018, 08:00:31 AM »
Should you be middling to friends and family or devote? Can you have a moderate stance on genocide?  If those questions seem absurd,  that's the your missing.   However misplaced , strong, or weak ones devotion may be,  devotion is a virtue.   A man displaying none in anything isn't going to get much respect.

As far as the homogenous nature of Christians,  there are a few billion of them.   I guess your thoughts on lack of diversity is subjective,  but I think you are pigeon holeing it and erecting a straw man to conform to your notions.   I think.  If you think the laws of Canada or whatever are too restricting,  fine whatever,  but they aren't exactly arbitrary and most people would rightfully find that notion a bit idiosyncratic.  The same could be said with a critique of any broad ranging idea,  culture,  or rule of law,  or religion... Christianity included.

Genocide and believing in God and going to church on Sundays are quite different, don't you think? And again, I'm not asking for the total rejection of devotion, and for moderation. One's life is more than just one's religion, and that is my point.

Offline Ray1

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2018, 08:04:05 AM »
One of the issues that have bothered me when I was religious is the pressure that I felt regarding the necessity of being devout. Somehow it felt that I have to be "all in" when it comes to my faith, there is no room for "moderation". That I have to pray daily, go to Mass on Sundays, have to vote/support a political party/cause that is in line with Christianity on all issues (please don't focus on this issue, it is just an example of many). I just felt trapped, felt like I don't have the right to decide, and if I do decide, I have to choose what the Church says I should choose, and if I choose otherwise, I've committed a sin, and sometimes a deadly one (I'm talking from a Roman Catholic Perspective). Felt like an adult still controlled by his parents, and ought to do whatever his parents tell him to do.

Are Christians supposed to be devout? Can't they be in the middle without being mocked or called names like "Cafeteria Catholics/Christians"? Is it a black and white issue, you either give it your 100% or nothing? What am I missing?

This post comprises a tremendous hodge-podge of issues and concerns: psychological pressure, what moderation is, what devotion is, political pressure, the experience among fundamentalist Baptists, the experience among traditionalist Catholics, and much more. And many more that are implicit: the tenets of secularism and whether they are superior, what it is to grow up, whether any of the explicit concerns are straw men.

It would be much easier just to answer the title of your post: more or less: Should a person be devoted to God, his creator, savior, and father? Yes, a person should, and the person who is not is not whole.

Do you go to church every Sunday? Do you follow the church's calendar and all feast days? Do you pray daily? Do you vote for the candidate that agrees with your faith 100%? What if you have to work on Sundays, are you going to quit? If not, doesn't that mean you're not devoted enough? That what I mean by devotion. Are Christians supposed to do all that, with no room for moderation?
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 08:07:34 AM by Ray1 »

Offline Ray1

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2018, 08:09:58 AM »
How's yes and no for an answer? 

Give 100% of what you have now in order to do as much as you can now, with God's grace.  Don't worry if that doesn't look precisely like the person standing next to you.  There should be similarities, but we are not copies of each other.  The goal of Christianity is supposed to be Christ-likeness/theosis.  I think if at any point our devotion and piety are not working us toward that goal, we're doing it wrong and need to reassess and readjust something (ideally, this is where the clergy come in).

There's a passage in Proverbs I've always loved and I feel the principle applies here: "Two things I ask from You: do not take away grace from me before I die; make a vain word and a lie be far from me; but give me neither riches nor poverty, and appoint what is necessary and sufficient for me; lest being full I become a liar and say, 'Who sees me?' or being poor, I steal, and swear by the name of God." Proverbs 30:7-9 (yes, the OSB).

As we grow, what is "necessary and sufficient for [us]" will change.  Thankfully God is both unchanging and eternally patient while we figure it all out, and grateful I am for that.

I have no disagreements here. This clarifies a great deal for me and makes things more reasonable.  :D

Offline Ray1

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2018, 08:13:16 AM »
Devotion for me looks more like some old lady cleaning all church's dishes zealously every Sunday than like fire and brimstone preachers. I think it's more about what stays after all that initial zeal winds off. Even better if it doesn't. Like a relationship.

Aha, that also makes things clearer. I might have confused devotion with zeaL.

« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 08:13:54 AM by Ray1 »

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2018, 11:59:16 AM »
I always found the opposite to be the confusing part: how much of a lack of devotion there is--and an acceptance of this as normal--among those who profess to completely believe. I don't really understand it when people claim that they are sure there is a judgment, that their eternal lives are at stake, that the Bible is God's word, etc., but who then go about their lives as though religion is a minor hobby that merits their attention at most a half dozen hours a week. It's like being so poor that you're on the brink of dying from starvation and exposure, and then claiming you won the lottery, but instead of going through the comparatively simple process of claiming your prize you just sort of mill around and gab with the neighbors for weeks. If someone did that you'd think they were lying or didn't really believe it. The claims just don't seem to match the actions.

EDIT--to add, I am saying this from the perspective of a perpetual doubter, lacking in faith. I'm trying to imagine what it's like to simply believe, to be filled with faith and not just have a bit of hope. From that perspective it doesn't compute for me to do so little with that faith. Maybe if I ever get such faith or assured beliefs I'll find out why things aren't like I thought they would or should be.

This is what I've encountered and similarly struggle to understand. Let me know if you ever figure any of that out.

Ray1, I'm not sure if your experience differs so drastically from Asteriktos' and mine because of the folks you've been exposed to or due to perspective.  Either way, it's interesting to see such contrasts.
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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2018, 11:36:53 AM »
I always found the opposite to be the confusing part: how much of a lack of devotion there is--and an acceptance of this as normal--among those who profess to completely believe. I don't really understand it when people claim that they are sure there is a judgment, that their eternal lives are at stake, that the Bible is God's word, etc., but who then go about their lives as though religion is a minor hobby that merits their attention at most a half dozen hours a week. It's like being so poor that you're on the brink of dying from starvation and exposure, and then claiming you won the lottery, but instead of going through the comparatively simple process of claiming your prize you just sort of mill around and gab with the neighbors for weeks. If someone did that you'd think they were lying or didn't really believe it. The claims just don't seem to match the actions.

EDIT--to add, I am saying this from the perspective of a perpetual doubter, lacking in faith. I'm trying to imagine what it's like to simply believe, to be filled with faith and not just have a bit of hope. From that perspective it doesn't compute for me to do so little with that faith. Maybe if I ever get such faith or assured beliefs I'll find out why things aren't like I thought they would or should be.

That is a question I asked myself many times, but is it really that black and white? You seem to think I'm asking for the total rejection of devotion, which is not what I'm asking for. I'm asking whether believing in whatever religion you believe in, should mean total pause of your freedom to think and decide for yourself. Isn't this what is wrong with the world these days?

Hi, Ray. I hope you're doing well.

I think there's two begged questions here. 1. What does it mean to think for one's self? 2. What does Christianity say about issue X, whatever it might be?

If you believe in Christianity, then presumable you hold certain Christian-shaped opinions already, right? That's what it means to believe in something (in the merely intellectual sense). And if you hold those opinions, then why wouldn't you want to do the related actions?

Now, obviously in the real world there's going to be issues of health and needing to work and not wanting to take on too much and burn oneself out and those will all definitely effect the shape of one's fasting and other devotional activities and maybe that strikes more at the heart of what you're getting at? These are all intensely personal decisions and I don't think believers should go around judging one another for them.

As for the second question and how it relates to voting, etc. Christian authors ancient and modern will have different arguments and opinions and interpretations of Christian doctrine and how it relates to modern political life and it's up to us all to use prayerful discernment and reason to figure out what we think God's answer is and of course this may determine what church we feel most at home at.
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Offline MariaJLM

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2018, 06:04:20 AM »
In short, yes a person should be devout, especially if they're a convert who willingly chose the church. I can understand cradles being less devout at certain times in their lives, especially since they may not have that initial zeal that a lot of converts have. Still, no excuse. I feel like it's selfish to accept God's gift to us yet not really attempt to do anything to show gratitude for it. Christ offers us a second chance and all He asks of us in return is to keep Him in mind and live in a way that He would approve of.

That said, what constitutes being devout? Well, going to liturgy weekly is a good start. I wouldn't expect a person to go to Confession weekly(I would be a hypocrite to even suggest that since I don't), but do make sure to do it often enough that you actually have recollection of the sins you're confessing. Same applies to taking Communion pretty much: only do it when you feel properly prepared. Oh, and if you're worried about holding "Christian opinions" just keep in mind that you're bound to already have them to some extent. I mean, if you didn't then you would have not joined the church or even seek to become closer to it.

Lastly, do not feel pressured by others. If you feel overwhelmed then move at your own pace. Do what you can and the rest will come in time. If you're having struggles with certain things do not be afraid to admit it to your priest/spiritual father, whether through Confession or other means. Our faith is not a race to see who can become the most pious the fastest, after all :).

Offline Ray1

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2018, 06:41:33 PM »
I always found the opposite to be the confusing part: how much of a lack of devotion there is--and an acceptance of this as normal--among those who profess to completely believe. I don't really understand it when people claim that they are sure there is a judgment, that their eternal lives are at stake, that the Bible is God's word, etc., but who then go about their lives as though religion is a minor hobby that merits their attention at most a half dozen hours a week. It's like being so poor that you're on the brink of dying from starvation and exposure, and then claiming you won the lottery, but instead of going through the comparatively simple process of claiming your prize you just sort of mill around and gab with the neighbors for weeks. If someone did that you'd think they were lying or didn't really believe it. The claims just don't seem to match the actions.

EDIT--to add, I am saying this from the perspective of a perpetual doubter, lacking in faith. I'm trying to imagine what it's like to simply believe, to be filled with faith and not just have a bit of hope. From that perspective it doesn't compute for me to do so little with that faith. Maybe if I ever get such faith or assured beliefs I'll find out why things aren't like I thought they would or should be.

This is what I've encountered and similarly struggle to understand. Let me know if you ever figure any of that out.

Ray1, I'm not sure if your experience differs so drastically from Asteriktos' and mine because of the folks you've been exposed to or due to perspective.  Either way, it's interesting to see such contrasts.

I think the way I was raised (a different religion than Christianity) where I had to pray certain times a day, recite certain prayers a day, do this and that, and don't do this and that have gave me the assumption that religious means a list of duties that you have to do in order to have God's blessings and graces. When I went to Christianity, even though I was introduced to all kinds of denominations, I was hooked to the Roman Catholic Church which in some way similar to the religion I was raised in with its demands and expectations regarding what a Catholic have to do, and if you fail, you have to confess them to the priest. The entire legalistic system of the Roman Catholic Church has come later to be a burden to a point that the death of Jesus Christ made no sense to me. Why should I be thankful that Jesus died on the cross while here I am following all these rules in order to make sure I go to Heaven or at least avoid Hell. It seemed that the 613 rules in Judaism were transformed into 613 rules Roman Catholic style.

Offline Ray1

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2018, 06:57:34 PM »
I always found the opposite to be the confusing part: how much of a lack of devotion there is--and an acceptance of this as normal--among those who profess to completely believe. I don't really understand it when people claim that they are sure there is a judgment, that their eternal lives are at stake, that the Bible is God's word, etc., but who then go about their lives as though religion is a minor hobby that merits their attention at most a half dozen hours a week. It's like being so poor that you're on the brink of dying from starvation and exposure, and then claiming you won the lottery, but instead of going through the comparatively simple process of claiming your prize you just sort of mill around and gab with the neighbors for weeks. If someone did that you'd think they were lying or didn't really believe it. The claims just don't seem to match the actions.

EDIT--to add, I am saying this from the perspective of a perpetual doubter, lacking in faith. I'm trying to imagine what it's like to simply believe, to be filled with faith and not just have a bit of hope. From that perspective it doesn't compute for me to do so little with that faith. Maybe if I ever get such faith or assured beliefs I'll find out why things aren't like I thought they would or should be.

That is a question I asked myself many times, but is it really that black and white? You seem to think I'm asking for the total rejection of devotion, which is not what I'm asking for. I'm asking whether believing in whatever religion you believe in, should mean total pause of your freedom to think and decide for yourself. Isn't this what is wrong with the world these days?

Hi, Ray. I hope you're doing well.

I think there's two begged questions here. 1. What does it mean to think for one's self? 2. What does Christianity say about issue X, whatever it might be?

If you believe in Christianity, then presumable you hold certain Christian-shaped opinions already, right? That's what it means to believe in something (in the merely intellectual sense). And if you hold those opinions, then why wouldn't you want to do the related actions?

Now, obviously in the real world there's going to be issues of health and needing to work and not wanting to take on too much and burn oneself out and those will all definitely effect the shape of one's fasting and other devotional activities and maybe that strikes more at the heart of what you're getting at? These are all intensely personal decisions and I don't think believers should go around judging one another for them.

As for the second question and how it relates to voting, etc. Christian authors ancient and modern will have different arguments and opinions and interpretations of Christian doctrine and how it relates to modern political life and it's up to us all to use prayerful discernment and reason to figure out what we think God's answer is and of course this may determine what church we feel most at home at.

I'm very well, I hope you are as well.

Your comment regarding fasting and devotional activities is exactly what the centre of what my question is about, without ignoring the part about the voting, political, and social views and opinions that are shaped by religion.  And the previous post (addressing Cognomen) explains a good deal about what do I mean by religious and why do I think of it the way I do.

I believe you're right, there is a large spectrum of Christian thoughts and denominations that range from Progressive to Ulta-Conservative. Now if we put the question of which is the True Church aside for a bit, I would rather follow one of the Liberal/Moderate churches such as Lutheran or Anglican (I used to be an Anglican before becoming Roman Catholic) because they allow room for a wide range of beliefs outside the Creeds.

Offline Ray1

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Re: Do you have to be religious/devout?
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2018, 07:04:37 PM »
In short, yes a person should be devout, especially if they're a convert who willingly chose the church. I can understand cradles being less devout at certain times in their lives, especially since they may not have that initial zeal that a lot of converts have. Still, no excuse. I feel like it's selfish to accept God's gift to us yet not really attempt to do anything to show gratitude for it. Christ offers us a second chance and all He asks of us in return is to keep Him in mind and live in a way that He would approve of.

That said, what constitutes being devout? Well, going to liturgy weekly is a good start. I wouldn't expect a person to go to Confession weekly(I would be a hypocrite to even suggest that since I don't), but do make sure to do it often enough that you actually have recollection of the sins you're confessing. Same applies to taking Communion pretty much: only do it when you feel properly prepared. Oh, and if you're worried about holding "Christian opinions" just keep in mind that you're bound to already have them to some extent. I mean, if you didn't then you would have not joined the church or even seek to become closer to it.

Lastly, do not feel pressured by others. If you feel overwhelmed then move at your own pace. Do what you can and the rest will come in time. If you're having struggles with certain things do not be afraid to admit it to your priest/spiritual father, whether through Confession or other means. Our faith is not a race to see who can become the most pious the fastest, after all :).

You have a point regarding the convert. I converted to Christianity, and that always put more pressure on me, to be honest with myself when it comes to how much effort I should put. But as C.S.Lewis wrote in his book Mere Christianity, after a while even converts start to lose some of the zeal they had when they converted. In the beginning, everything seemed exciting, a new religion, a new way of seeing life, a new God and the rest of the package. But later on, I started to slow down and had to come back to the real world and when this new religion started to challenge me in many ways, sometimes in a way that damaged me emotionally and even mentally and damaged my image of myself, I started to see it in a different light. Anyway, your point stands nonetheless.  :)
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 07:07:25 PM by Ray1 »