Wednesday

"Is Religion for the weak of heart and mind?"

By Paul Dion, STL

This week, you get a chance to comment on the following quotes:

Karl Marx: "Religion is the opiate of the masses."
Jesse Ventura: "Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers..."

Surely you have heard similar statements in your daily routine. Therefore, what is your reaction to the question, "Is religion for the weak of heart and mind?"

We would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Post them below. Dig deep into your hearts and let us know what you really think. You can even post an anonymous comment if you're too shy to sign your name. It's your thoughts that count.

And as usual, we will give a recap of your answers and the actual Church teachings related to the burning question by Tuesday of next week.

(Click here to view the many wonderful articles that await you in www.ParishWorld.net, America's Catholic Lifestyle Magazine. Be informed, be inspired, be blessed. )

8 comments:

  1. Organized religion meets the craving of the human spirit. It fulfills our need to belong to something bigger. Through organized religion we gain strength in numbers. Religion is for the weak and strong of heart as well as the weak and strong of mind.

    Religion itself is not good or bad. Atheists have their own religion...an organized effort to eradicate higher-power worship-based religions from the hearts and minds of humankind.

    I can imagine the early Christians thinking how ridiculous the accusation that they were weak of heart and mind; when the easy choice for them to avoid being thrown to the lions was simply to deny their faith and God.

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  2. Anonymous3:53 PM

    First Corinthians 1:27 tells us "God...singled out the weak of the world to shame the strong."

    Searching the web, I found the following comments by Father Robert F. McNamara of St. Thomas the Apostle Church of Rochester, New York: (In reference to 1 Corinthians 1:27)...In her apparitions to various people, Mary (Our Lady) has never revealed herself to presidents, or potentates, or plutocrats. She has chosen simple but substantial people... Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes was just such a person... physically frail...nevertheless solid, balanced and docile....In exchange for Bernadette's prophetic role, Mary didn't promise to make her happy on this earth, only in the next. ...At the age of 18, Bernadette sought entrance into the Sisters of Notre Dame at Nevers. However she could not be completely anonymous even there. The very nuns of her religious community sometimes expected her to be proud because of her special graces. But she would point out, "Don't I know that the Blessed Virgin chose me because I was the most ignorant? If she had found anyone else more ignorant than me, she would have chosen her."

    Returning to my own thoughts Paul, there is an obvious lesson for us in Father McNamara's comments.
    While our entrance into heaven is dependent on our faith, the completion of our journey is dependent on our mind's ability to continually absorb, digest, and communicate to us the continual messages of love received there, through open communication with our heart, which must remain in continual communication with heaven. Thank you.

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  3. Anonymous3:54 PM

    No, personally if I didn't have a belief in God, I would have ended this vale of tears years ago. God is my rock and refuge and He makes me strong when I am weak and reminds me that I DO have a heart made for love, even when I am not feeling loveable or acting loveable. Religion MINE, is the only way to BE in this age of materialism. Religion MINE, reminds us that we are not finite creatures and that we were made for eternity to be with GOD.

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  4. Anonymous3:55 PM

    The weakest minds and most timid hearts will find more wit and more courage through a faithful application of religious principles and practices. As it is written, "to all those who have more will be given". It is not possible to be too smart for religion but it is possible to think too well of one's intellectual capacity to derive much benefit there from. The greatest good comes to, and then again from, those who are both humble and bright enough to be teachable. They learn and share what they learn with others rerunning thereby, "Love for Love again".

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  5. Anonymous3:55 PM

    Religion is for those people who have a vision regarding life itself. The people who study religion appreciate people and their historical and personal background. Religion tells us where we have come and in which direction we must take in order to live a fulfilled life. Yes! Religion is for the weak of mind and heart. Religion is also for the “strong” of mind and heart as well. Despite the fact that the “strong” of mind and heart may not appear to be “religious”, they too offer prayers to the Almighty but only in a non conventional or, if you will, in a rather unreligious manner. Religion is not only for the weak of mind and heart but it is for EVERY mind and heart.

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  6. Anonymous3:56 PM

    I don't mean to be disrespectful but I think "in some cases" (I have to be careful how I word this) the reason religion is so popular is because people are weak of mind and heart and need something to lean on, something to believe in that will always be there for them and will always be an invincible force which they can seek solace in and depend on ...

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  7. PAUL DION, STL4:00 PM

    PAUL DION'S THEOLOGICAL RECAP OF THE BURNING QUESTION
    August 11, 2006

    To the final comment, I say, don’t fear being disrespectful. As you can see, every comment before yours admitted unashamedly that faith in God as expressed through religion strengthens the weak and supports them on their way through time.

    The Bible is full of examples of ordinary people who did extra-ordinary things because of their religion.

    Would Moses (he of the many arguments why he could not do it) have led the Chosen People through the desert? Would Abraham have moved his whole tribe south? Would Joseph have been brave enough to gain a powerful position in the Pharaoh’s court? Would David have slain Goliath? Would Sarah have consented (after laughing at God’s personal messenger)to bear a child in her old age? Would Judith have seduced and slain the general of the attacking army? Would the prophets have preached? Would the Maccabees have fought to the death? Would John the Baptist have confronted Herod? Would Mary have consented to bear a child engendered by the Holy Spirit? Would the Jesuit missionaries to the Northeastern Native Tribes of North America work until their violent death for the sake of God? Would Maximilian Kolbe have offered himself to die in place of a fellow prisoner?

    To paraphrase a quote from Luke’s gospel, we don’t express our faith in God through religion because we are strong, but because we need to be strengthened in the spiritual dimension of our lives. Without religion we are weather vanes without wind, parachutes without air or a team without a home field advantage.

    Finally, let me say that most of the time when we think about Jesus, we think of His dying for us.

    At this moment I ask you to consider the fact that Jesus was born and brought up in a religious environment. Jesus was a Jew. Jesus was a Jew with deep knowledge and deep faith about being Jewish. Jesus prayed and Jesus went to Temple. Jesus obeyed the Jewish Law as contained in the Torah. He prayed the Psalms and meditated the writings of the Prophets.

    Jesus too was just as weak as any other human being before God. Had Jesus not been a religious man, he would not have been able to confront and challenge the leaders of the religion in which He was brought up. He could only get His faith and His knowledge of how to confront the weaknesses of the religion and of its leaders by making Himself strong in and through the religion itself.

    I don’t want to make you think that Jesus’ martyrdom is not important, it is, but without all that religious athleticism through the years, the sacrifice that He offered would never have happened.

    We too, brothers and sisters are preparing our ultimate sacrifice. Oh, yes, that’s what life is in the footsteps of Jesus. We can’t do it without Faith and a religion to express it in.

    Don’t be afraid to admit that you are weak. Jesus cried over Lazarus; Jesus begged His Father to take suffering away from Him in the Garden; Jesus got disappointed in His disciples for falling asleep in the Garden.

    His Faith and His Religion supported Him and kept Him from Human Despair. He picked Himself up and went out to wage the ultimate battle against sin. The Spirit of that Divine Strength carries through all these centuries and human beings like us admire Him so much that we too willingly follow Him in the preparation of our personal ultimate sacrifice.

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  8. From Justa:
    Which is better? Religion is for the weak, women, and the poor or Atheist? Are we not born with that innate desire to search for what fills that emptiness that after what's been said and done its stil void of its satisfaction? Karl Max was probably prophetically right. The poor are indeed intoxicated with hope, that there is a purpose for their very existence, a very noble one at that. This is a gift. Given to the poor and simple to spite the wise. Taking this whole back to the beginning of time. Lucifer did
    not delude himself about the existence of God, he saw Him. He just refused to accept the fact that He mattered. "Non Servio", he dared to utter. We can say Religion is man in search of God. Or can we also say God is in search of man. "Where art thou Adam"?
    Hidden in his nakedness of pride. We see it in the history of life, of salvation, some got out of the web, some did not.
    How amazing is God's grace!

    Justa, Group Prayer Leader

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