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Thalia McFadyen wrote:

Hi, guys —

My name is Thalia McFadyen. I am a year 12 student who has decided to study and write a report on How belief influences and challenges an individual's perceptions and world view.

It would mean a lot to me if you could answer a few questions regarding this very important topic as it holds great significance to me. I ensure you that the information provided by the respondent is kept confidential, e.g., name, address, etc.

  1. Do subjects such as: abortion, same-sex couples, contraception, sex before marriage make you challenge the God, the Bible, or your belief system?
  2. Do you agree with any of these practices and whatever the answer, why or why not?
  3. Do you believe that religion, or specifically your religion or belief system, is relevant today?
  4. Do you believe that religion needs to be updated according to our time and our current society and whatever the answer, why or why not?
  5. Do you face challenges or difficulties following religion in everyday life and whatever the answer, why or why not?
  6. How have exterior forces (family/friends etc.) influenced your beliefs?
  7. How has being a follower or not being a follower impacted or influenced your perceptions, world views, and the formation of your identity?

Thalia McFadyen

  { How does belief influence and challenge an individual's perceptions and world views? }

and in a similar e-mail Thalia followed-up:

Thalia McFadyen wrote:

Hi guys,

Just a few more:

  1. Does religion cause you to challenge ethical issues in society?
  2. Do you think being identified as a Catholic is important?
  3. How has time affected the way people think about religion?
  4. Do you feel like you have to justify your belief system?
  5. Is the Bible outdated and old-fashioned?
  6. Do you think the Catholic Church reflects or represents contemporary social values and do these social values influence new ideologies and world views within an individual according to religion and society?
  7. How has being a follower, or not being a follower, impacted or influenced your perceptions, world view, and the formation of your identity?

Thanks again,

Thalia McFadyen

  { How does belief influence and challenge an individual's perceptions and world views? }

Paul replied:

Thalia,

You said:

  1. Do subjects such as: abortion, same-sex couples, contraception, sex before marriage make you challenge the God, the Bible, or your belief system?

Answer:
Absolutely not. Instead, it is the truth — God's truth — that challenges the shallow, selfish ways of the world.

  1. Do you agree with any of these practices and whatever the answer, why or why not?

Answer:
No, they all violate the natural law and the dignity of human persons.

  • Abortion kills an innocent human being. Sodomy is intrinsically disordered, unhealthy, and unnatural.
  • Fornication (sex before marriage) amounts to using each other to satisfy temporary urges, to the grave detriment of the future marriages of the parties involved.
  • Contraception is like sexual bulimia. It is an unnatural impeding of the natural end of the act; it seeks to separate pleasure from purpose, and as a result separates love from life, resulting in neither.
  1. Do you believe that religion, or specifically your religion or belief system, is relevant today?

Answer:
Not only relevant, but necessary — for happiness, in this life and the next.

  1. Do you believe that religion needs to be updated according to our time and our current society and whatever the answer, why or why not?

Answer:
Religion is a generic term. The faith and moral doctrine of Catholicism need not, and cannot, be changed. They are absolute truths that transcend all times, cultures, and races. The world must conform to these truths, which are necessary for human happiness.

  1. Do you face challenges or difficulties following religion in everyday life and whatever the answer, why or why not?

Answer:
Certainly. The ignorance and hostility of the modern world, which is in the midst of a serious rebellion against God and against truth, is a daily challenge. Also, the flesh and the devil are always daily challenges to overcome in our post-Eden world.

  1. How have exterior forces (family/friends etc.) influenced your beliefs?

Answer:
I seek like-minded friends with which to share the battles and joys.

  1. How has being a follower or not being a follower impacted or influenced your perceptions, world view, and the formation of your identity?

Answer:
Following Christ means having adopted a world view. that coincides with God's. In other words, Christ and His Extended Body, the Church, is like a flashlight, enabling man to see reality as it actually is. It's the difference between night and day.

I hope this helps,

Paul

Mike replied:

Hi Thalia,

Paul took your first set of questions, so let me take the second set:

You said:

  1. Does religion cause you to challenge ethical issues in society?

Answer:
Yes! We live in a culture where many have left the faith and moral life. When, in conversation, ethical issues arise faithful Catholics and all faithful Christians should strive to challenge issues that are contrary to Christian values. This includes (for example):

  • the morality of abortion and defense of life from the womb to the tomb.
    prayer in school since the separation of Church and State is nowhere found in our founding documents.
  • an array of sexual issues . . . even those we struggle with.
  • defense of our country and its citizens to include legal immigration
  • and more
  1. Do you think being identified as a Catholic is important?

Answer:
Yes, it is very important because it is the original Christian faith. The word Catholic means universal. It is the Christian faith in its totality. (CCC 830)

Read the quote from St. Pacian of Barcelona on the home page of this website.  Other Christian faiths do not adhere to the totality of beliefs Jesus left us; only the Catholic Christian faith does.

  1. How has time affected the way people think about religion?

Answer:
I can't give an answer that represents how it affects everyone. I can only give my personal opinion as a single guy.

My guess is that from the younger years to the teens and twenties, partially due to poor catechesis in the parishes, the younger generation don't practice the faith as much as they could but when they get married and have their own kids this changes drastically and they become more faithful Christians who, at a minimum, pray daily and go to Church on a weekly basis.

  1. Do you feel like you have to justify your belief system?

Answer:
Of course! That's what a Catholic apologist does. We give a good reason why non-Catholics should consider becoming a Catholic but in a charitable, reasonable manner . . . while respecting their free will.

We have this vocation because we believe this is what is spiritually best for all people worldwide and what is best for their eternal soul as they prepare to pass from this Earthly life to Eternal Life with the Lord, Jesus.

  1. Is the Bible outdated and old-fashioned?

Answer:
No way! The Bible with Oral Tradition, is the Living Word of God and will never be outdated or old-fashioned.

  1. Do you think the Catholic Church reflects or represents contemporary social values and do these social values influence new ideologies and world views within an individual according to religion and society?

Answer:
It depends:

  • If you look to the behavior of some of our scandalous clergy and members . . . sadly, Yes, their behavior does represent contemporary social values.
  • If you look to the official teachings of the Church, which will never change, No, in many places, the Church does not reflect or represent contemporary social values, ideologies, and world views.

    When one focuses on the official teachings of the Church we are the prime minister of morality in the world, for the world to follow. (Only because our official teachings reflect the teachings that Our Lord wants us to believe.) For that reason, in many places, the Church is counter-cultural.
  1. How has being a follower, or not being a follower, impacted or influenced your perceptions, world view. and the formation of your identity?

Answer:
Being a follower has impacted and influenced my perceptions and world view. in that I tend to see our life here as a Part 1, my Earthly life, prior to the best part which follows in Part 2 of my life, that being Eternal Life . . . if I persevere in being faithful to the faith. I frequently ask for help from those in my family and life who have passed on to the Next Life and ask them to pray for me and help me out in certain areas. This is not undermining the sole mediation of Our Lord, rather I am glorifying Him in His Heavenly saints by ask my Heavenly friends for help. Protestants will never understand this because they do not understand what we believe about the Eucharist.

  • You may ask, how do I ensure that I persevere in being faithful to the faith?

By:

  • striving to live a faithful, sacramental life
  • renewing my Covenant with the Lord by going to Mass every Sunday (and to daily Mass when I can).
  • not doing dumb things like receiving Holy Communion when I have committed serious sins (like sexual sins) without first going to Confession (on Saturdays or by appointment.) [If this is an area where you really struggle, search around for a good spiritual director.], and
  • by praying the Rosary and reading the Scriptures on a regular basis.

These practices are the foundation of my vocation as a Catholic Apologist, though I am mainly the technical guy while my team are the bread and butter of this calling.

These postings below may help as well. Most follow a similar, Can I interview you? format.

Mike

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