The people attending any local Catholic Church do not all hold identical religious beliefs: Their perspectives fall all over the map, and bear minimal relation to the tenets they are supposed to hold.
Priests work hard to undermine honesty, telling grown adults what they believe and impugning the integrity of skeptics.
Challenging Catholic bullshit isn't easy, as church employees impede and implicitly prohibit critical discussion, equating open-mindedness with incivility. People on the church payroll work hard to limit parishioners' opportunity to dissent. A church apportions respectability and social status--and tries to communicate to the sheep what an admirable thing it is to uncritically accept doctrinal claims.
Local Protestant churches often engage in the same stuff, though they can't entirely embrace Catholicism's anti-individualistic brutality--and sometimes allow comments on their websites.
When challenging mainline Christians, I often start by asking them what they view as the strongest single piece of evidence for the existence of god. I just put the question to Calvary Lutheran Church, in Golden Valley.
Superstition professionals are often taken aback, as it occurs to them that there exists no single piece of evidence even slightly pointing in their favor. So they try the hokumstorm--disregarding the question and listing a bunch of individually worthless claims. Ms. Skjegstad sadly goes this route:
It's hard for me to point to just ONE piece of evidence without going through many pieces of evidence -- I like to paint the whole picture.Why would DNA and nature suggest the existence of god? No 'loving' god would have countenanced evolution--which entailed unfathomable suffering--would it? If you are claiming creation occurred as a result of some conscious plan, you should be able to provide some evidence for that claim.
However, I will give you a couple that you many want to consider -- First, look at nature. Look and investigate human DNA and the creation. Creation didn't just "happen" out of nothingness.
When describing the origin of the universe, earth and life, non-gullible people do not in fact claim 'it just happened out of nothingness.' When observing each step, however, we tend to look for evidence-based reasons. When we can't find reasons, we continue to look and think--and refuse to attribute developments to magic. When we don't know, we say 'I don't know.'
And the other huge piece of evidence is the fact that Jesus Christ is who he says He is and He rose from the dead. There are 3 choices when you consider Jesus: he is a crazy person, a madman with a purpose, or he is who he says he is. He made direct and indirect claims as to WHO he is in the New Testament. Jesus came; He fulfilled the prophecies; He died; and He rose. Over 500 people verified his resurrection afterwards.
We can also look at various historians from that time period who, in their writings, which have been proved to be credible. There is evidence outside of the New Testament -- look at Tacitus & Suetonius, Romans historians; Also Josephus, a Jewish historian. They mention Jesus. SO we know that Jesus did live.The paragraph above provides no evidence for Christianity's central claim, Jesus' resurrection. If you have any, I'm all ears. Tacitus was born in 56 AD--so I'd be interested to learn why you consider his writing supportive of your thesis.
What evidence is there to support His claims of being God and the Messiah? There are 5 areas to explore on that question: His teachings, His works (Healings, miracles), His character, His fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, and the fact that He conquered death.Again, Pastor--I simply want your strongest single piece of evidence--so that we might attempt to engage in an adult discussion. If you can select one, that will allow us to focus our discussion.