I was baptized and confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church. However as I entered adulthood I grew saddened by the Church’s stance on three key issues, discussed below, which led me away. It was for this reason, that upon receiving a message from The Greatest Love and experiencing a vision of Hell, I did not consult a priest. The Church had been lost to me for some time.
Instead my family and friends, The Greatest Love, and others were there to lead me to a place of personal solace. A place where I could be true to myself by believing based on love.
But I am also thankful to the Roman Catholic Church for having influenced my childhood. My belief in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was sown in the Church. But my views on Jesus Christ in some key areas differ from the Roman Catholic Church. I believe Jesus Christ delivered a message tailored for His time. That does not mean His message should not resonate today. It absolutely should. But certain passages and decisions He made should be viewed in the context of the ancient world in which He lived and not be used as a justification to disregard the secular rights and freedoms of today. With that in mind the three fundamental issues I have with the Roman Catholic Church are as follows:
Discrimination against women. Jesus never chose to select women apostles but this must be viewed in the context of the highly patriarchal society in which He lived. It does not mean He would not approve of women priests today.
Discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community. Marriage should be allowed between any two consenting adults. Such discrimination has no basis in love and fails to take into account modern genetic and psychological theories underpinning sexual orientation and gender identity. A homosexual person no more chooses to be gay than a heterosexual person chooses to be straight. No such science was available to the ancient world. It is available to our modern world for all those who are willing to see.
Discrimination against atheists at the gates of Heaven. Jesus said in John 14:6 (“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me’”). That was an important message when trying to attract non-believers to a fledgling Church. Those words helped inspire followers to spread Jesus’ message to all corners of the World. However it does not resonate in today’s pluralistic society. Nor does it show the necessary compassion and mercy to other faiths and non-believers. It was the right message for the time. But it’s time, I believe, has past.
For I believe Heaven is available to all people, including atheists. As I believe, The Greatest Love judges not on the contents of our beliefs, or lack thereof, but by the loving actions we perform throughout our lives.