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Old 02-04-2012, 08:45 AM   #1
Broga
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Converting to Roman Catholicism.

I am able, with no difficulty, to understand how christians become atheists. Quite simply, reason and the facts are overwhelmingly against the christians. What has often puzzled me is how an intelligent person, perhaps even an atheist, is able to convert to Roman Catholicism. A book I am currently reading about Evelyn Waugh perhaps partly solves the puzzle. I have been assuming that in conversion the intellect must play a major part. Won't an intelligent man or woman need to be convinced by fact and reason? Could they take such a step without thinking through what they are assenting to?

And that is where I have been wrong. The way to conversion is to leap over fact and reason and, at least where the intelligent person is concerned, replace them with the help of priestly casuistry. Some kind of personal emotional trauma is the other part of the solution to the question of how they can convert. The example of Evelyn Waugh is instructive - well, at least for me. The rest of you may understand the process already.

Evelyn Waugh, born in 1903, was received into the Roman Catholic Church on 29th September, 1930. Shortly before, when writing Vile Bodies, he was asked if he was a Catholic. He said, "Not at all, I was as near an atheist as one could be." Why the conversion then? There seems little doubt that Waugh had been flirting with Roman Catholicism for some years. However, he was traumatised when his marriage collapsed and he discovered his wife had been having an affair. He was depressed, pessimistic about the generality of people and looking for some way of accepting the reality of humankind and his own life.

Enter Father Martin D'Arcy SJ whom Waugh describes as having "a blue chin, and fine slippery mind." Waugh and D'Arcy had many discussions and it seems that D'Arcy with his "slippery mind" provided the rationalisations Waugh was seeking. D'Arcy was pushing at an open door. Waugh was ready to accept the tenets of Catholicism without demur. As D'Arcy commented Waugh had "convinced himself of the truth of the Catholic faith."

It seems to me that Waugh chose the solace of Catholicism by ignoring or avoiding the facts of what he was accepting. He clearly realised what D'Arcy was contriving by the reference to the priest's "slippery mind." Waugh prefered the comforting fairy tale of Catholicism and I conjecture that he took good care to avoid any analysis of what was placed before him. Instead he had the myth, the ritual and the confessional to quiet his fears and offer an imaginary solution to his problems. Waugh's father called it his son's "perversion to Rome."

In response to my puzzlement of how intelligent people overcome the intellectual barriers to Catholicism the answer seems to be they do not. They avoid them.
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:11 AM   #2
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'Converting' from non belief to religion is just getting evolution the wrong way round.

Never fear, inevitably we shall have our years of failure, and when they arrive, we must reveal tolerance and sanity. That has been the philosophy of the Rangers since the days of the gallant pioneers.
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:18 AM   #3
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What has often puzzled me is how an intelligent person, perhaps even an atheist, is able to convert to Roman Catholicism.

Stop the Holy See men!
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:25 AM   #4
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In response to my puzzlement of how intelligent people overcome the intellectual barriers to Catholicism the answer seems to be they do not. They avoid them.
And not thinking is a cure for depression that some evidence suggests is as effective and longer lasting than any medication currently on the market. It's just too bad that she had to pick a version tied into all kinds of hocus pocus.
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:59 AM   #5
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"I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death."
Some drink at the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle.
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:27 PM   #6
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I suppose what happened to Waugh was a metaphorical lobotomy. Waugh sought other comfort in sustained heavy drinking and I suppose the fantasy life which he created in his novels also enabled him to avoid confronting the realities of life. He also admired, and liked to mix with, aristocrats and in the 1920s they lived a fairy tale existence, superficially anyway, with their mansions, fancy dress, titles and vast fortunes. The irony is that in their apparent escape from life many ended up as alcoholics and drug addicts and died early. Waugh was 63 when he died. Perhaps the real satisfactions of life are to be found in experiencing it as it is and live it as it is available to us. The patina of a religion heavy with ritual is easily pierced and the hypocrisy of the believers is all around us. Paedophile priests for a start ..............
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:29 PM   #7
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Sorry. "He." Who the hell names a man Evelyn?
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:31 PM   #8
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Mrs. Waugh.

"I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death."
Some drink at the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle.
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Old 02-04-2012, 01:07 PM   #9
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Sorry. "He." Who the hell names a man Evelyn?
Could've been better.

Marion


Shirley



Any more?

thank goodness he's on our side
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Old 02-04-2012, 01:12 PM   #10
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Stop the Holy See men!
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Old 02-04-2012, 02:21 PM   #11
Broga
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Sorry. "He." Who the hell names a man Evelyn?
Nothing to do with me. I didn't christian him. I don't even like him.
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Old 02-04-2012, 02:23 PM   #12
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Could've been better.

Marion


Shirley



Any more?
Yup, Marion Morris if I remember rightly. Great film warrior and draft dodger in real life.
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Old 02-04-2012, 02:24 PM   #13
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Great song with a nice twist at the end. I like Johnny Cash.
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Old 02-04-2012, 02:48 PM   #14
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Yup, Marion Morris if I remember rightly. Great film warrior and draft dodger in real life.
Morrison without looking . Always wanted the injuns to kill im.

thank goodness he's on our side
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Old 02-04-2012, 04:02 PM   #15
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I believe some people convert to catholicism because of the ritual and 'majesty' they offer- what with all that repetitious hokey-cokey signalling to god and the rich finery worn by the priests - it does attract a certain type - not the least was the lovely but misguided Evelyn- great writer- always seeking a certain splendour in his life that he felt was missing

'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what." Fry
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