In defense of anyone who was raised in a Catholic denomination (there are approximately 24 different Rites or brands), or converted to one, I find it insulting that some ignoramus knuckleheads insist that such persons are corrupted or stupid. Frankly, that is bull shit. I will push back against such nonsense. Since the accusing parties are atheists, their stance is hypocritical, or the pot calling the kettle, etc. Holier than thou atheism? No wonder some of us prefer agnostic.
How I got here
When I was a practicing Catholic of the Roman Rite, I often came to the defense of atheists and atheism. Now an unapologetic atheist, I find myself taking a stance that opposes the position of some atheists (anti-theists, as I see them) who seem to think all Catholics should immediately abandon their faith because church history is unclean. Religion is about God, not history.
Anti-theist atheists, and many others, struggle to deal with the fact that I did not embrace atheism because I rejected religion or embraced evolutionary science. I did neither. Nor did I reject God, as many believers are wanting to think. I simply concluded that it is all man-made nonsense. Since I find no reason to believe a god of any kind exists, religion is pointless for me. But not so for everyone.
A Cultural or Excommunicated Catholic?
I am a baptized Catholic who is an apostate, heretic, and to a lesser degree, a schismatic. I have been automatically excommunicated. Until the excommunication is lifted, it’s forbidden for me to have any ministerial part in the celebration of a Mass or other official worship ceremony. But anyone may attend Mass. I may not celebrate or receive the sacraments or to exercise any formal Church functions. I wouldn’t. I am good with that and I understand it.
I am not a cultural catholic who identifies with Catholic traditions. However, if invited, I would attend church at special occasions like Christmas, Easter, baptisms, weddings, funerals, and such.
What it means to be, or to, corrupt
If someone or something is corrupt, they’re broken morally or in some other way. Corrupt people perform immoral or illegal acts for personal gain, without apology. I have been accused of this because I was raised Catholic. I experienced much more informal corrupting influences outside of the Church in the secular world.
The irony here is that this is the same form of name-calling error believers make regarding atheists. We are corrupt and without a moral compass. Right?
In my case, I was labeled corrupt (indoctrinated would have worked) by a nonbeliever because I spent so many years in religion, particularly as a child. The same person also diagnosed me with cognitive dissonance because I do not regret my Catholic religious roots. He does not understand why I don’t see things his way.
When you corrupt someone, you convince them to do something wrong or even illegal. If you talk your little brother into stealing cookies from the cookie jar, you’re corrupting him. Something corrupt is rotten, spoiled, or out of commission, like a file that makes your computer crash.
To imply, or to directly state, that I was corrupted by the Church is fucking nonsense. In no way was I ever encouraged to do anything wrong or illegal by a Catholic church official or layman. If anything, it seemed to me that everything I wanted to do was morally wrong, according to the Church. In many cases, they had a point.
Should any religion be rejected?
I don’t know. That’s a personal decision. There certainly are a lot of things that should change in virtually every religion and within the minds of believers as well as skeptics. I have concluded that it is highly probable that no god exists, so I do reject all religion since the reason for it does not exist. Religions have done much harm, but also some good. It’s the people that count, not the dogma.
I struggle more with atheists behaving like ass holes, since atheist is how I currently identify. The same person accused me of guilt by association. I worry more about the association issue regarding my skepticism than anything in my past religious affiliations.
I do not expect the Catholic Church or its people to take all their marbles and report to Saint Peter anytime soon. I don’t expect atheists or any other group to suddenly be enlightened or to behave better. I don’t anticipate any of us will stop criticizing religion. I don’t expect a perfect world.
I do hope that most of us can follow the ancient tradition of treating each other respectfully. I also expect that when I see an innocent group being wrongfully maligned, I will take up the golden rule banner. If that fails, I don’t know what I might do.