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Christian Life Vs. Secular Life


Cure of Ars
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I believe that a Christian life is more exciting than a secular life. The first reason is because Christian reality is twice as big as secular reality. The inner spiritual life of having a relationship with Jesus can give meaning and purpose to even the most mundane activities of life. There is a whole dimension that the secularist does not explore.

 

Another reason that I think the Christina life is more exciting is because it has bigger stakes. The Christian worldview is more risky. Christianity believes in eternal justice. There is a heaven and a hell. Peter Kreeft once said, "Hell and heaven make life serious. Heaven without hell removes the bite from life's drama." Anyone who has gone to Vegas knows that betting nickels gets old fast and in gambling the higher the stakes the more exciting it is.

 

The highest value that secular society has is to gain pleasure and avoid pain while the highest virtue for the Christian is Faith, Hope, and Charity so that one can gain God. In the long run the Christian ends up beating the secularist at his own game. Look at Christmas for example. Christians try to keep Jesus at the center of Christmas. And by doing this it causes some pain. For example, Catholics do penance and works of charity during the season of advent to get ready for Christmas. But because of this Christmas is that much better and the joy is not in the gifts, food, or atmosphere but in the joy of something greater, Christ. Christians always have something greater in this world because we have something greater in the next. And this is why Christmas without Christ is boring. And it is also why non-active Catholics run to Mass on Christmas. They intuitively know that without Jesus Christmas goes stale. (To bad they miss the boat with this fact when it comes to every day life.) It is also why our society is so depressed and has the suicide rate that it has. Once one reaches the top and gains pleasure and succeeds in avoiding pain one realizes that he/she are still empty and not satisfied. Boredom sets in and after every technique is tried to gain the excitement that a pleasurable activity once had, and this fails, they loose hope. God made use this way on purpose so that we would not get stuck on the creature and search for the creator. Pleasure is good but it is not the ultimate good. We were made for God and we will never be satisfied until we are totally united to Him.

 

The question is bound to come up, "Why then are a lot of Christians no different than secular people? They are no happier, joyful, or excited than the rest of us." The answer to this is that you need to connect with Jesus for my arguments to be true. You need to let Jesus be in charge and conform your life to him. This is where the Christian life gets scary and exciting but it also where people walk away or just go through the motions.

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"Why then are a lot of Christians no different than secular people? They are no happier, joyful, or excited than the rest of us?"

 

Because Christians are no diffrent than secular people. Only they realize the need fort something else to fulfill their lives than what the world has to offer. Except, that it is yet another loophole people use to distract themselves from reality, whether there is a God or not.

 

I personally don't doubt the existence of a being or other beings similar in intelligence. You can say man was created, but by what? And what created what? And what created that what? and so on...

 

Either way you can't explain it. You can only acccept that people are here on this earth. No other explanation is necessary.

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I don't want to rip your ideas apart, but it sounds like you are a completely devoted Christian who believes in his/her religion. Good for you!

 

Coming from a Catholic background, I know that not a lot of them think like you. Sometimes, it seems like people go to church to parade things that they don't have. I know a lot of families and teens who do things that object to the church's values, but continue to go, and act as if they are so innocent. They have a lot of skeletons in their closets, yet they act so self-righteous.

 

On the other hand, there are secular people who believe in the basic values of humanity, to treat others the way that you want to be treated, and act accordingly.

 

Some people are more science oriented, and don't believe in God. It doesn't mean that they are bad people, it just means that they are braniacs who have found empirical means of finding answers to life in this physcial world.

 

Some of them are so kind that they are so protective of endangered species and mother earth.

 

Secular people are no different than Christians. Take 2 people who are raised in different backgrounds, but have the same values. It doesn't mean that just b/c the other person is not familiar with Jesus, that he/she will burn in hell, and will live a life of pity.

 

People just have different forms of religion, different beliefs. My belief is, as long as they do not inflict harm on others, then they are worthy of respect regardless if they believe in Jesus or not.

 

And to add to the whole penance and the Chrsitmas ordeal, it seems like Christmas has lost it's meaning in our capitalist society, it's just another marketing ploy. People are so frantic when it comes to Christmas. They are so worried about what they're going to get, and what they're going to give. thereforeeee, that's what I mean by you are a very rare, nice, genuine Christian.

 

Too bad more Christians aren't as devoted as you. I know lots who do a lot of charity work. I think that the world has lost a lot of valueble people like them.

 

(One more thing, it's kinda off subject, but I really don't like those confession rooms, sometimes I leave it feeling completely uncomfortable with the priests. One of them was a pedofile at my church, and the church just recently dismissed him)

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I have noticed that Cure of Ars is extremely ignorant in some of the posts he makes, including this one. For instance:

 

And this is why Christmas without Christ is boring.

 

Give me a break man. In that statement you assume that everyone who isn't a devoted Christian has a boring Christmas. The close-minded attitudes of Christians like Cure of Ars is what turns me off to religion in general.

 

Also, I would like to thank Mahlina for her post that shows that not all Christians pigeonhole and look down on other types of people that aren't Christian.

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I It is also why our society is so depressed and has the suicide rate that it has. Once one reaches the top and gains pleasure and succeeds in avoiding pain one realizes that he/she are still empty and not satisfied. Boredom sets in and after every technique is tried to gain the excitement that a pleasurable activity once had, and this fails, they loose hope. God made use this way on purpose so that we would not get stuck on the creature and search for the creator. Pleasure is good but it is not the ultimate good. We were made for God and we will never be satisfied until we are totally united to Him.

 

I'm glad that you are so involved in your religion and beliefs, however, I do have some issues with your post from generalizations. This paragraph in particular bothered me. I was suicidal while following the christian religion, I attended church every Sunday, went to camp every summer, and even worked at the camp(which was a christian camp) for an entire summer, but yet still wanted to kill myself. My point is, even though I was a christian, I still lost hope of things and now I am not a christian and no longer suicidal. The only thing I find that I am depressed about is the loss of my mother, but that is to be expected seeing she only died 11 months ago. I do not believe being a christian or not being a christian affected my depression, I believe it was a chemical imbalance in my brain and the fact that I was a young teenager who was afraid of her own shadow and the future. Then I grew up quite a bit and realized that the future was not so bleak. Basing suicide entirely on a secular society is not true and, to be honest, is really not fair. I know other suicidal christians. And no, this is not because we don't/didn't have a "close relationship with Christ." Because I was saved, I accepted Jesus as my personal savior at the camp I went to, but that alone did not help me in my depression for whatever reason.

 

I would also like to point out that any and all religions give people a sense of hope. That is why we have religions, that is why people believe in such a diversity because not all religions work for every person. You may believe Christianity works for everyone, but the muslim, jew, or buddhist may feel otherwise. And those that do not have any religion may find hope in other aspects of their lives. I don't think believing in a higher power is the only thing that gives you hope, I feel finding a goal and aspiring to achieve it is what really counts in life. It's not when people lose sight of God that they get depressed, it's when they stop dreaming and/or trying to make their lives better.

 

However, all of this is just my opinion. Thank you for sharing your views though, it is an interesting topic.

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I agree with a lot of what you say. I think many if not most American Catholics in the past 40 hears have sold out and have become secular. They just keep the name and go through the motions. This is changing though. God is doing some pruning and calling his people back to be faithful. I also agree that there are a lot of good secular people. My post was not to say that secular people are bad but only boring.

 

The secular viewpoint will never produce a Mother Teresa or Padre Po. It will never produce a saint. Because the secular viewpoint does not draw power from the transcendent so the secular life will never be transcendent. American secular and consumer culture is in trouble. The remedy is saints.

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I It is also why our society is so depressed and has the suicide rate that it has. Once one reaches the top and gains pleasure and succeeds in avoiding pain one realizes that he/she are still empty and not satisfied. Boredom sets in and after every technique is tried to gain the excitement that a pleasurable activity once had, and this fails, they loose hope. God made use this way on purpose so that we would not get stuck on the creature and search for the creator. Pleasure is good but it is not the ultimate good. We were made for God and we will never be satisfied until we are totally united to Him.

 

I'm glad that you are so involved in your religion and beliefs, however, I do have some issues with your post from generalizations. This paragraph in particular bothered me. I was suicidal while following the christian religion, I attended church every Sunday, went to camp every summer, and even worked at the camp(which was a christian camp) for an entire summer, but yet still wanted to kill myself. My point is, even though I was a christian, I still lost hope of things and now I am not a christian and no longer suicidal. The only thing I find that I am depressed about is the loss of my mother, but that is to be expected seeing she only died 11 months ago. I do not believe being a christian or not being a christian affected my depression, I believe it was a chemical imbalance in my brain and the fact that I was a young teenager who was afraid of her own shadow and the future. Then I grew up quite a bit and realized that the future was not so bleak. Basing suicide entirely on a secular society is not true and, to be honest, is really not fair. I know other suicidal christians. And no, this is not because we don't/didn't have a "close relationship with Christ." Because I was saved, I accepted Jesus as my personal savior at the camp I went to, but that alone did not help me in my depression for whatever reason.

 

I would also like to point out that any and all religions give people a sense of hope. That is why we have religions, that is why people believe in such a diversity because not all religions work for every person. You may believe Christianity works for everyone, but the muslim, jew, or buddhist may feel otherwise. And those that do not have any religion may find hope in other aspects of their lives. I don't think believing in a higher power is the only thing that gives you hope, I feel finding a goal and aspiring to achieve it is what really counts in life. It's not when people lose sight of God that they get depressed, it's when they stop dreaming and/or trying to make their lives better.

 

However, all of this is just my opinion. Thank you for sharing your views though, it is an interesting topic.

 

I agree that I have made some generalizations to make a point. But if I did not the post would have been 500 pages long and no one would have read it. We agree that religion gives hope. The main point is that secular society is less exciting in the long run. What religion are you so that I am better able to find common ground when talking to you?

 

Basing suicide entirely on a secular society is not true and, to be honest, is really not fair.

 

I did not make this generalization. I also did not say that Catholics did not get depressed. Great saints have had depression. St. John of the Cross is an example. Check out his work the Dark Night of the Soul to see how Catholic depression can be turned for something good as apposed to the basic secular depression. I did not say that suicide is entirely secular society's fault. Biology also plays a part. I was just stating the fact that secular cultures have a higher suicide rate because secular society is empty of transcendent meaning. As a Catholic pain and depression can be offered up and united to Christ's suffering for the Church and the entire world (Col 1:24-25). In fact most mystics of other faith traditions do the same type of thing. Secular society does not have the power or perspective to give meaning to pain and suffering for a greater good. It is just viewed as something that sucks and if it can't be avoided that death is a legitimate way out.

 

 

I feel finding a goal and aspiring to achieve it is what really counts in life. It's not when people lose sight of God that they get depressed, it's when they stop dreaming and/or trying to make their lives better.

 

But if achievement, dreams, and goals are the meaning of life and I do not find these things satisfying anymore why not end my life? This is the question that secular society does not have an answer for because they lack something beyond this life and if this world does not satisfy there is no where else to look.

 

If aspiring to achieve is the highest meaning in life then why do 3 world countries have a lower suicide rate than American culture? America is one of the most goal-oriented societies ever in the history of mankind and it also has one of the highest suicide rates ever. How can this be?

 

Also please read this post about the 4 levels of happiness. Your meaning of life answer is only at the level 2. Loving friends and family is a better answer to the meaning of life but this also is not the highest level.

 

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I think that everyone in any subsect of humanity feels the need to explain their life as more exciting, better, whatever. I'm sure that any devoted member of any religion would tell you that their lifestyle was the most exciting and devoted.

 

Personally, I try not to make those judgment calls about communities of people that I belong to.

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I think that everyone in any subsect of humanity feels the need to explain their life as more exciting, better, whatever. I'm sure that any devoted member of any religion would tell you that their lifestyle was the most exciting and devoted.

 

Personally, I try not to make those judgment calls about communities of people that I belong to.

 

The argument that I gave is not the best argument that there is. I am not Catholic because it makes for a challinging and exciting life but because it is true. This should be the only reason for following a religious system. The argument can be effective though of getting people past secular consumer culture. My argument is not my religion against other religions but my religion against secularism. I would say that any of the major historic religions would be more exciting than secularism. I am also not saying that there are not parts of secularism that are not good.

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And I'm saying that everyone who follows a certain path, be it religious or secular, believes that their chosen path is more [something positive] than the alternatives.

 

Since you're on a secular path, you obviously believe it's better than the alternatives when, in essense, the only claim that you can make is that it's better for you.

 

But this isn't a knock against you in any way. It's part of human nature. It only makes sense to believe that the path that you're on is the best.. why else would you have chosen it?

 

It only becomes a problem when you start making sweeping statements of judgment and assumption by saying that "The path I'm on is more exciting/whatever than the alternatives." I assure you that this just isn't true.

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I have noticed that Cure of Ars is extremely ignorant in some of the posts he makes, including this one. For instance:

 

And this is why Christmas without Christ is boring.

 

Give me a break man. In that statement you assume that everyone who isn't a devoted Christian has a boring Christmas. The close-minded attitudes of Christians like Cure of Ars is what turns me off to religion in general.

 

 

You did not give an argument why Christmas without Christ is not boring. Because I make an argument that your apposed to does not automatically make me closed minded. But you haven't even given me a reason to change me mind. To me it's like having a birthday without it being someone's birthday. What is more exciting, celebrating an anniversary with your wife or celebrating nothing but going through the same motions? The second is not celebration at all. Christmas without Christ becomes about consumer culture. It is just something that you're expected to do because Christians are doing it. It becomes about getting stuff because you do not want to be left out. It doesn't take long before it gets boring. But I would like to hear why you think Christmas without Christmas is not boring.

 

Also, I would like to thank Mahlina for her post that shows that not all Christians pigeonhole and look down on other types of people that aren't Christian.

 

I am not looking down on people I am comparing different worldviews. I have not attacked anyone personally. I have only tried to challenge people. I have a question. Why is it that when you call me "ignorant" you are not "looking down" on me?

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You did not give an argument why Christmas without Christ is not boring. Because I make an argument that your apposed to does not automatically make me closed minded.

 

Have you actually experienced a Christmas with a family without Christ?

 

I have. Many of them. I can assure you that Christmas with my family is far from boring. Family is what matters at Christmastime for us.. Christ has nothing to do with it.

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And I'm saying that everyone who follows a certain path, be it religious or secular, believes that their chosen path is more [something positive] than the alternatives.

 

 

I agree but are you saying that all ways of life are "equal"? So if I was a member of the KKK this is just as good an option as if I belonged to a group that fought against racism?

 

Since you're on a secular path, you obviously believe it's better than the alternatives when, in essense, the only claim that you can make is that it's better for you.

 

I am not secular but Catholic. You must be a relativist. I believe that there is absolute truth in this world. Our job is not to find a system that fits us but the other way around because we are not the source of truth. We are to try to conform and submit to the truth. If secular was the closet system to truth then I would be secular. But the truth is that secular society restricts the spiritual life of man and because of this it is oppressive. And this is why I made my post, not to say "We are better than you. We have it and you don't". Any good that I have comes from God's grace and if others were give the graces that I have received they would more than likely be more blessed.

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You did not give an argument why Christmas without Christ is not boring. Because I make an argument that your apposed to does not automatically make me closed minded.

 

Have you actually experienced a Christmas with a family without Christ?

 

I have. Many of them. I can assure you that Christmas with my family is far from boring. Family is what matters at Christmastime for us.. Christ has nothing to do with it.

 

Yep I have. Have you ever been to Christ's--Mass on Christmas?

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I agree but are you saying that all ways of life are "equal"? So if I was a member of the KKK this is just as good an option as if I belonged to a group that fought against racism?

 

I am saying that everyone believes their way of life is the best.

 

I am not secular but Catholic.

 

Yes, that was a typo on my part.

 

You must be a relativist. I believe that there is absolute truth in this world. Our job is not to find a system that fits us but the other way around because we are not the source of truth. We are to try to conform and submit to the truth. If secular was the closet system to truth then I would be secular. But the truth is that secular society restricts the spiritual life of man and because of this it is oppressive. And this is why I made my post, not to say "We are better than you. We have it and you don't". Any good that I have comes from God's grace and if others were give the graces that I have received they would more than likely be more blessed.

 

Right there you're saying that you're better. You're saying that people who haven't received the grace of your god are not as blessed as you and, referring back to previous posts, don't have lives that are as exciting as yours. You're also saying that your way is closest to the truth. Which, if you follow your own logic, means that anyone on a different path is further away from the truth. When, in reality, we all have our own truths.

 

This is a very common belief that you have and it denies that other people are able to find just as much happiness with their own paths as you have found upon yours. It's a very nearsighted and shallow point of view to have and I'm sorry that you have it.

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When, in reality, we all have our own truths.

 

If we all have are own truths on what grounds do you criticize my truth by say the following, "It's a very nearsighted and shallow point of view to have and I'm sorry that you have it?" Your basically saying all truths are equal but then you say that my truth is wrong and not valid. You're not being consistent. Please explain how you are not talking out of both sides of you mouth?

 

You also did not answer my question.

 

I agree but are you saying that all ways of life are "equal"? So if I was a member of the KKK this is just as good an option as if I belonged to a group that fought against racism?

 

I did not ask you how other people saw their own point of view. I asked you if the KKK's truth was just as true as those whose truth is against racism. Please answer

 

Right there you're saying that you're better.

 

I did not say that I was better than anyone. In fact I said the opposite. But I do believe that my faith is true. If I didn't I would not waste my time defending it. But you are saying the same thing to me. That because you see all truths as equal (besides mine) that you are better than me (i.e. not "nearsighted" and "shallow").

 

It seems to me that you want it both ways. You want all personal beliefs to be true to those who believe it. But on the other hand my truth is wrong.

 

 

You feel sorry for me. Well I feel sorry for you. I love truth. I try to submit to truth. If the Catholic Church was not true I would leave it. Truth for you on the other hand is a fairy tale except when telling me I am wrong. God bless

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If we all have are own truths on what grounds do you criticize my truth by say the following, "It's a very nearsighted and shallow point of view to have and I'm sorry that you have it?" Your basically saying all truths are equal but then you say that my truth is wrong and not valid. You're not being consistent. Please explain how you are not talking out of both sides of you mouth?

 

Because you are saying that your truth is the best way for everyone. You are saying that people who don't follow your truth have lives that aren't as exciting. That is a shallow point of view. I pity anyone who believes that people who believe differently than they can't possibly have lives that are as exciting.

 

I agree but are you saying that all ways of life are "equal"? So if I was a member of the KKK this is just as good an option as if I belonged to a group that fought against racism?

 

I did not ask you how other people saw their own point of view. I asked you if the KKK's truth was just as true as those whose truth is against racism. Please answer

 

I'm sure that, just like you, KKK members believe that their way is the best way.

 

You feel sorry for me. Well I feel sorry for you. I love truth. I try to submit to truth. If the Catholic Church was not true I would leave it. Truth for you on the other hand is a fairy tale except when telling me I am wrong. God bless

 

The difference between you and me is that I believe that other people's truths are just as valid as mine. You believe that everyone who doesn't follow Christ as you do is doomed to lead a non-exciting life. You even call my truth a fairy tale here. Whereas the only thing I told you was that you were nearsighted in judging other people the way you have chosen to. I do not deny that your way is the truth for you. I just deny your belief that your way is the truth for everyone, period.

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Because you are saying that your truth is the best way for everyone. You are saying that people who don't follow your truth have lives that aren't as exciting. That is a shallow point of view. I pity anyone who believes that people who believe differently than they can't possibly have lives that are as exciting.

 

So the only absolute truth is that there are no absolute truths? Do you believe this absolutely? LOL

 

 

I'm sure that, just like you, KKK members believe that their way is the best way.

 

So you can not say that the KKK is wrong? But you can say that I am wrong because I say that the KKK is wrong? How ironic. How are we to stand up against evil when you can not even say that it exists.

 

 

The difference between you and me is that I believe that other people's truths are just as valid as mine.

 

 

I don't disagree. The KKK's truth is wrong and should be resisted out of justice.

 

So for you your beliefs are just as valid as the Nazis and the KKK. And I guess those who believe that it is good to abuse their kids are just are right as you are. Your position is basically "might makes right". Whoever is in power gets to make up what is true. A lot of people can get hurt for this viewpoint. It makes it impossible to stand up for what is right. But I guess for you it is all good.

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I realize that since you brought up the Nazis that means that the conversation is over and you're resorting to ad hominem attacks.. but oh well.

 

So you can not say that the KKK is wrong? But you can say that I am wrong because I say that the KKK is wrong? How ironic. How are we to stand up against evil when you can not even say that it exists.

 

I've seen Catholics do evil things as well.. I didn't say that the KKK was wrong or right. Only that they, as you, believe that their truth is the correct truth for everyone.

 

I don't disagree. The KKK's truth is wrong and should be resisted out of justice.

 

Funny. Some people believe the same of Christians. Are they any more or less right than you are?

 

So for you your beliefs are just as valid as the Nazis and the KKK. And I guess those who believe that it is good to abuse their kids are just are right as you are. Your position is basically "might makes right". Whoever is in power gets to make up what is true. A lot of people can get hurt for this viewpoint. It makes it impossible to stand up for what is right. But I guess for you it is all good.

 

My position is "my way is the truth for me." Your position seems to be "my way is the truth. Period." I'm sorry that you fail to see that difference.

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