The Catholic religion idolizes the saints and Mary
Debate Rounds (3)
I believe the Catholic religion idolizes the saints and the Virgin Mary.
Idolizes- worships them in some form.
Thank you for reading this. I look forward to whomever I get to debate.
I speak mostly from my personal experience from going to a private Catholic school from grades 2nd-7th. Though they do not teach idolizing saints and Mary, I feel like they unknowingly worship them anyway.
My Reasoning #1: They pray to the saints for things they should pray directly to God for.
-I was told many times by teachers that praying to the saints was praying to them so they can bring the prayer to God. However I always wondered why they didn't pray to God personally. Instead I was told to pray to the patron saint of the one who could address my problem. For example, when I lost something I was told to pray to Saint Anthony of Padua who is the patron saint of lost things. I couldn't help to be reminded of Greek Mythology when each 'god' was in charge of a certain aspect. For example, Aphrodite is the goddess of love, and is prayed to when they had an issue regarding beauty. Though it isn't taught to be that way, I feel Catholics worship the saints the same way. Why pray to the saints for something you could take directly to God?
My Reasoning #2: The Catholics pray to The Virgin Mary, many times in front of statues, and often more than they pray to God.
- I understand paying respects and thanks to Mary (just like Buddhists to to Gautama Buddha), but I believe it goes way past paying respects. For example, at my old Catholic School, we would pray the rosary in front of the Mary statue. The rosary of which has 53 "Hail Mary" prayer, 5 "Glory Be" prayers, and 2 "Our Father" prayers. It felt wrong to me, praying in front of a beautiful Mary statue while I prayed more to Mary than I did to God. I must admit the pray itself mentions reference to God, and is very humble, but it still felt wrong.
My Reasoning #3: We choose who is a saint or not. We are literally praying to the ones we choose worthy.
-Saints are decided by qualified people based on their religious acts and deeds. Many are martyrs for the religion. Still they are chosen by living humans. In reality the living humans are praying to humans who have past away. As a religion they pick who they pray to. Praying to saints or Mary is not mentioned in the Bible. It is something we a humans come up with. Though practiced for innocent reasons, it has grown away from what it was originally meant to accomplish.
I admire everything the saints did to get their title, and the struggle Mary went through deserves to be acknowledged. But not like this.
Thank you for this opportunity to debate with you.
You title your reasoning's as 'unknowingly worshiping' and here's why you may be unknowingly misinterpreting church teaching.
Of course we should pray directly to God, this is also a church teaching. When you compare Catholics praying to Mary and the saints to Greek mythology the two beliefs could not be further apart, Catholics do not pray to Mary and the saints in order to get something directly from them, we ask them to take our prayers to God by participating in prayer with them just as we do for each other, we know how important and powerful prayers are, if they were alive on earth we would ask them to pray for us, why not now? Now they are in heaven closer to God where we know they are aware of our prayers (revelation 5:8) If you believe we should only pray directly to God then you shouldn't be asking friends and family to pray for you, that would be a contradiction. But its not a contradiction because we are only praying for the intercession of others, it is the same with Mary and the saints. When your teachers asked you to pray to the patron saint the important thing is emphasising praying. Prayers are so important and as Christians we are told to do it for each other. Yes it is true we as humans select saints but it is done through the church which Jesus Christ founded and left Peter in charge of. 'Upon this rock I build my church, whatever is bound on earth is bound in heaven and whatever is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven, the gates of hell shall not prevail' and today, 2000 years later Pope Francis and the church is living proof of these words, still going strong. And because the church has Gods authority it therefore has authority to select saints, although again this is irrelevant as it is simply the intercession of Mary and the saints we ask for when we pray to them. I would also like to point out that just because something isn't in the bible doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, where does it say in the bible that you need to get all your answers from the bible? It is a collection of books, inspired word of God, not a self help book. Gods word is not just written but oral and found through tradition.
"There are many misconceptions in your comments, first of all can I just point out that the church teaches that it does not worship Mary or the saints they are merely intercessors for us. That is the official stance of the church."
-I made that known. Why I stated they unknowingly worship the saints and Mary through their practices.
"When you compare Catholics praying to Mary and the saints to Greek mythology the two beliefs could not be further apart"
- The beliefs may be different, but similarities are astounding.
" Catholics do not pray to Mary and the saints in order to get something directly from them, we ask them to take our prayers to God by participating in prayer with them"
-Then why are they given patrons of things? Why not ask the saints to join you in prayer instead of asking them to do something? For example, why ask Saint Anthony of Padua to help you find a lost object? That is essentially why they are given patrons of things. Though not taught to be practiced that way, unfortunately that is how many practice it.
"If you believe we should only pray directly to God then you shouldn't be asking friends and family to pray for you, that would be a contradiction."
- Good point. However family and friends are living, and pray together to be heard by the divine God. They do not pray with other divine beings to be heard by a certain divine figure.
" And because the church has Gods authority it therefore has authority to select saints"
-Then why does God favor the Catholic religion, and give this authority to him? What about the Baptists, Methodists, Protestants, or "God's people" the Jewish?
" I would also like to point out that just because something isn't in the bible doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, where does it say in the bible that you need to get all your answers from the bible? "
-Then why do we have the Bible if we pick and choose what to follow, or ad in things for the sake of what we think? "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book." (Revelations 22: 18-19). We are not to add or subtract things from what god told us to do in the Bible.
I would like to add:
"The New Catholic Encyclopedia states that it was only "by the 3rd century [that] the efficacy of intercession of the saints was clearly recognized." That was some 200 years after Christ died. The teaching, therefore, did not originate with Jesus and the inspired Bible writers who documented his ministry."
Would con mind elaborating on the 'astounding similarities' between Catholicism and Greek mythology? Bearing in mind I pointed out in my last argument, if a catholic follows the church practice then we pray to Mary and the saints, not worship them. Is it maybe that you find it hard to believe that a dead Christian can pray for us? Even with the power of prayer and the unfathomable power of God? And the fact that because the saints are closer to God it may be possible prayers through their intersession may be stronger because of their further understanding of prayer? Don't forget as well as these prayers, Catholics are praying even more to our lord, going to mass every week to worship him but at the same time praying with our brothers and sisters, living and passed on.
Going back to Patrons, you shouldn't look at it as finding the patron saint of free cash and praying like crazy to that saint. Might it be that for whatever reason something happens in your life that reminds you of a certain saint, take saint Anthony for example, say you lose your wedding ring, if we know (from scripture) the saints are aware of our prayers and the fact that the saints are closer to God than us, and your love and faith for God is strong, and we know as Christians how strong prayer is, can I not pray for a fellow Christian like St Anthony's intersession? I'm not going to be ignorant enough to say those prayers are not valid or effective. It's not about praying to the right saint for cool stuff, it's about praying. I might not find my wedding ring but it wont dent my faith and it wont stop me asking for St Anthony's intersession.
God does not 'favour' Catholics, he loves everyone equally, so much so that we are able to discuss his sacrifice for us right now, and the fact that he came and established a church for us to learn about him because our limited human brains simply can't fathom God but because of his love for us he established the church so that we can know him and willingly choose him. Unfortunately as time passed and egos grew and because we do have free will and original sin people decided that they don't like Gods 'rules' and are naive to think that their ideas and reasoning's make more sense, and when one person does it then before you know it there are so many different religions and denominations. (Because of this it should be astounding that the Catholic church is still as strong as it is) but it doesn't surprise you if you know it's Gods church. I refer back to my last argument about how strong the Catholic church still is today 2000 years later, and the teachings haven't changed plus the fact the church has dogmas which could easily blow up in the church face with all the technology we have today which scientifically could disprove at least some of it, and yet it hasn't. (Just a note, I don't believe science and religion are in competition, that's for another debate). Jesus said it, Peter is the rock, the church is a rock, the gates of hell will not prevail against Jesus Christ church, its right there in scripture. I'm not saying there is no truth to certain aspects of other religions, they just don't have the fullness of the truth which is Christ' church, the catholic church.
Of course i'm not saying we don't need the bible, it is the inspired word of God, all i'm saying is it doesn't say in the bible that we should follow ONLY what is written in the bible, we are told that our works are also necessary (James 2:17) I don't understand what you mean by 'pick and choose what to follow' what are you referring to? As I stated earlier the church hasn't changed its teaching, it will sometimes have to give a teaching on a matter presented to her and as we know from scripture I cited earlier the Pope was given authority to 'Bind and loose' here on earth and that's why we have dogmas, an argument in itself why the catholic church doesn't simply pick and choose, once a dogma is confirmed it cannot change and to this day not one Dogma can be logically contradicted. Again, the gates of hell WILL NOT prevail against the church, because it is Gods church. It is an interesting passage you chose, this passage refers to changing prophecies which the catholic church doesn't do. I agree with you that we shouldn't pick and choose and I actually think the catholic church has the strongest position on this, if you look at Islam, they will accept certain passages but reject other passages from the same author, or in Protestantism in certain churches you cannot get 'married' if you are a homosexual but can in other protestant churches. If its consistency you are looking for, the Catholic church is the one.
Lastly, in regards to your 3rd century recognition of intercession comment, do you not see your errors? Yes it may have been recognised in the 3rd century but the teaching was always there in the bible it just wasn't picked up on until the 3rd century, we are only human after all. Also to extend on that, in 1517 a human mortal man named Martin Luther started the reformation which has led to thousand of protestant denominations each with there own tweeks (pick and choose) I think the passage you cited is much more relevant in this case. Also this was 1500 years after the death of Christ.
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