Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H

Cafeteria Religion
On the human level it is the leader and founder's religion to lay down the objective standard of what the religion believes and entails even if he delegates that authority.


On the spiritual level the same thing is true but for a different reason.  If he is divine and able to heal the mind and soul from evil inclinations and sins it is another reason for taking what he has authorised as standard.


Christianity says religion is a person not an organisation or community.  Christianity is Jesus so if he is divine and able to help then it is about a personal relationship with him and the organisation and community are consequences.  The idea is that you don't make up the Church the Church just happens.


The teaching that the Church is one means the union with Jesus is so close that unlike every group which is really divisible into loads of other groups and it never ends there is harmony.  In this light, disobedient Christians are really just sectarians.


Clearly we should call those who want the Catholic or Christian label while thinking what they like and ignoring the teaching of Jesus what they really are - liars and hypocrites.  It is about more than just them - we are asked to put away logic and good sense in order to call them Christian or whatever!  If the Church tolerates them they misrepresent and abuse that tolerance.  In fact it is not tolerance at all for Jesus said he would deal decisively with the fakes and heretics.


Part of what religion is, is that it offers membership. Membership is not about mere enrolling but about keeping the membership alive. It’s a process not an event. A cherry-picker obviously cannot be a real member but an actor. Religions that deny these things are about nominal members and about labels and should be called pseudo-religions.

Jesus was explicit that religious disagreement is bad in a religion for a house that is divided against itself cannot stand.  By implication each religion teaches the same for it wants to exist.  It is good sense not just theology.  People trying to change Church doctrine to suit themselves is self-defeating.


Tolerance of heretics and sinners in the Church is based on the doctrine that they are parasitic on the goodness of the Church and how true its doctrine is. The truth and the good will always win which is why they are put up with. In a sense this is not tolerance of any kind at all.  Heretics who lie about Church doctrine don't care enough about their heresy to leave and that looks bad.  It is hypocrisy not support.  It is self-delusion.  If you have the truth and the Church does not then to support that truth and to allow to be heard and supported correctly you have to find the door.


Your opinion if it contradicts your religion should not count and does not count if you are not following what that religion is about in saying what you say.  Thus atheists must and should agree with religion considering somebody a heretic in the light of the fact that a religion has the right to be judge by those who obey its standard doctrine and not those who ignore it. Heretics are in a sense a compliment to that religion.  The heretics insult atheists too for a religion speaks to its own and those outside and we have a right not to be confused.
Baltimore Catechism, Q. 554. Could a person who denies only one article of our faith be a Catholic?

A. A person who denies even one article of our faith could not be a Catholic; for truth is one and we must accept it whole and entire or not at all.
Comment - not accepting the testimony of God when it suits you is calling God a liar so it means that you are only kidding yourself that you believe the rest of what he said. If you say you accept all mathematics except that 1 and 1 is 2 then it is clear that you don't really accept any of it for it is all interdependent and connected. It proves that not everything that looks like a minor matter really is. To deny a "small" doctrine of the Church is to deny it all for it is a denial of the basic core doctrine that God gives the truth and only the truth.


And the fact remains that the Catholic bishops are the authorised teachers of the Church and supposedly stand in the place of Jesus and are guided by him.  Truth is narrow and thus a religion that claims to be the truth has to be narrow. If they are narrow, they are only telling you what logic says.  A truth claim necessarily excludes those who dispute it or ignore it.  Nobody is entitled to complain if the Church disagrees with them.  Their only entitlement is to find a religion or secular group or be persons of no religion.
Why you must either believe all of a religion that claims to be revealed by a God of truth or none of it:


# A religion can fundamentally bigoted and anti-truth.  It can be patriarchal and anti-woman.  It can be fundamentally twisted.  Individual believers (if that is the right word for them!) can be different but that does not mean the religion can agree with them and still be true to itself.  Believers opinions about their religion cannot change the religion for the religion is not about what they want to think.


# If Catholic you must accept the solemn teaching of the Church as infallible for it is dogma that belief in all the dogmas is essential.  Vatican I decreed, “All those things are to be believed with divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written down or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment, or by her ordinary or universal magisterium, proposes for belief as having being divinely revealed. Without faith it is impossible to please God.”


#  With truth, the Church is right that whoever opposes so much as one thing that is true indirectly attacks truth in general.  If one truth is a lie then no truth can be trusted and it is stupid and dishonest to trust.  So whether or not your belief system is true or not, you think it is and thus have to see one truth being denied or treated as uncertain as attacking the whole lot.  An indirect attack is worse than a direct one in terms of practice for it hides the danger better.  For the sake of truth and yourself cherry-picking what you say is the truth is evil.


# You will only be seen as a heretic and not as a reformer or person who wants to see the religion reformed along the lines of your thinking


#Your minority opinion means nothing against the official teaching of the faith.  It is like how you can never call an organisation bad or wrong over the actions of a minority.  You cannot expect people to think your minority view is authoritative. If some bishops and church leaders, would agree with you about what doctrines of the Church are probably wrong, you cannot assume that the doctrines are not binding on you. That would be the fallacy of rash generalisation. It is not their job to promote discord and you have dissenters in everything in life. Christianity should not be judged on the basis of those who claim to be its adherents, when, in reality, they practice the opposite of what it teaches or ignore teachings they don't like. A person can claim to be anything.


#Your opinion is not official. Your cause backfires if you speak for yourself and claim to be about changing a religion. It makes the religion dig its heels in and makes many people think, "Who does that person think he or she is? A religion has the right to make its own rules and if you SERIOUSLY don't like them just go".


#It is said that real faith means you act like you believe, and if so, more than that, real faith means you believe the details that your faith asks you to believe - a cherrypicker is not a real believer and thus not entitled to be respected as a believer for she is not.


#The cherrypicker is not a friend to religious freedom. A religion cannot function if everybody starts going their own way. Real religious freedom is honouring and availing of the right to be in a religion that best fits your faith.


#It is outrageous when the Catholic cherrypicker takes communion and has no problem with the Protestant being barred from Catholic communion for having his religious views that differ from the Church and despite the fact that he wants spiritual help from that communion to serve God and goodness better.


#You are your own authority when you cherry-pick and it is about you and not God and not about truth.


#You put converts off. Why trouble yourself converting to a religion if you can trim it to suit yourself?


#You are a hypocrite claiming to be a faithful member when you are not.


#You are a hypocrite if you celebrate somebody making huge sacrifices to be a priest or minister or missionary for your religion. In fact you should be challenging them and discouraging them. You may say, "Okay, he has sacrificed years of his life to preach this erroneous or suspect message but it made a good man of him." But if he does good it is for the wrong reason - error. He is doing good out of loyalty to doctrinal error and not because it is good. (Think of the Mormon missionary. If he cuts grass for old people when he is on a mission - it is to help them become attracted to his religion not to goodness as such.) Part of his life is wasted and its possibly your fault. You wouldn't like it if people let you sacrifice for this religion if you didn't cherry pick it but assimilated it hook and line and sinker.


#You are dishonest for you are saying the faith is true while you laugh at some of its teachings.


#You insult the truly faithful members of the religion by looking for the same rights and treatment as them from the religion.


#If you are right and you know your religion is wrong then you should not be in it both for the sake of the truth and for the sake of honesty and also for the sake of those who will be influenced by you. The religion is a man-made set-up pretending to be taught by God. It is idolatry not to put God first and join the religion he has founded and authorised to speak in his name. Idolatry offends many religions and offends atheism for it is degrading and deluded and carries in it the seeds of stupidity and danger.


#Why do even insincere people make huge effort to evangelise others? Because there is a massive buzz when people accept your testimony to the truth of absurdities and superstitions. People like to feel they have great control over others. If you are a religious cherry-picker you will be seen just as another of them. Members of a religion who suspect it is nonsense will evangelise others for it seems to validate the faith they want to believe in. It helps them think they believe or not notice that they don't. It makes them hope that their doubts are wrong when others seem to believe and convert to the religion.


#Cherry-pickers think religion is a bad thing but if taken seriously - they only feel safe in a religion because they think enough people in it cherry-pick so as to keep the religion from doing much harm.


#Cherry-pickers think religion is not the servant of truth it says it is so they think they know better.


#Calling yourself a good Catholic when you are really just picking and choosing what you want, is enabling (promoting by example and perhaps by word) religious hypocrisy and religious relativism - it encourages others to do the same as you and worse. It leads to religious relativists promoting intolerance towards those who eschew religious relativism and claim to follow the truth.


#Cherry-picking Catholics are still welcome at Church services but may not be allowed communion if they publicly declare they oppose any teachings Catholics are obligated to accept. This welcome does not imply approval for their cherry-picking. It is about keeping in touch with them so that they will see the light and stop cherry-picking. If the light is not the light, or if the Church does not really believe the light, then to associate with it by attending its worship and giving it money is to consent to being manipulated. Cherry-pickers betray their own version of the faith.


#To contradict yourself is to be against yourself - it is to oppose your reason. Your reason is a tool to help you discover truth. Truth does not care what you feel or need. But you become dangerous the moment you disparage truth.

#When a religion looks big in size - through real committed members or superficial nominal members - it gives it a veneer of credence. The size of the Catholic Church is the main reason it is good at getting converts without doing much to look for them. A Catholic Church in the neighbourhood is all it takes to advertise the religion. If Catholicism starts off as a tiny sect today, and the whole world gets a free choice to join it or not, there will be very few new Catholics at the end of the day. Size could be better at getting converts than truth.


#Enabling corruption and error and lies is the greatest evil. Hitler was not the most evil person in World War 2. Those who enabled him by saying nothing were more to blame than he was.


#Our programming makes us look to the future to the extent that the evil the religion we are in has done in the past does not make us consider leaving the religion or drive us out. We are engaging in rationalisation - we do not know the future and the past should be a warning about the future. We just don't care enough that we might be enabling.


#In 2014, the European Court stated that the right to freedom of religion does not guarantee a “right to dissent” from religion. Thus, in the case of a disagreement between a religious community and one of its members, the individual’s freedom of religion is exercised by his ability to freely leave the community. In addition, the principle of religious autonomy forbids the State to force a religious community to accept or exclude an individual or to entrust the individual with any religious responsibility.


#To cherry-pick bits of your faith is to say that the evidence for the correctness of the faith is groundless. So when you affirm Church doctrine you are stating something groundlessly. What is groundlessly asserted can be easily and freely denied.


To cherry-pick bits of your faith is to say what you want to believe is more important than evidence or anything else thus you enable the one problem that fundamentalism and extremism need to thrive - the putting of doctrine before truth and facts and evidence. A decent person looks for evidence and values truth for they don't want to be in a religion and end up unwittingly using people or being part of an organisation that uses wittingly or unwittingly. Every religion, Catholicism especially, suffers from people who claim to recognise that it provides the truth and is an authority on the truth but who choose what they want to believe out of it. They turn religion into subjectivity and go as far as to try and impose that subjectivity on others and on their religion and bring disdain and sorrow on those who try to follow the religion seriously. It was this subjective kind of attitude that led to Germany collaborating with and enabling Hitler to do what he did. The conservative pope trying to be rational is far better than the pick and mix Catholic.


#Nobody picks and mixes what they want to believe from language, medicine, etc. They certainly do not pick and mix from the law of the land. But as religion cannot impose punishment on them through inability and laziness they will get away with treating the faith like a cafe menu and they take advantage of that. Such an attitude is no attractant towards liberal or humanist values - they come across as cowards and as shifty. Nobody thinks it is right to act like a believer in or to exploit a religion you believe cannot be true or don't believe in. Nobody thinks you should join the religion. So why then would you stay in a religion that you find untrue, manmade and implausible?


#All evil organisations such as the Orange Order in Ireland get supporters who reason that there are some good people in them so membership isn't so bad. The supporters are enablers who trivialise the evil in this way. They stay in the organisation despite the fact that the organisation might be condemned for being too far short of goodness. Don't be in an organisation because it is good when it is not good enough. That makes you a cherry-picker when it comes to corruption and honesty.


#Some say that principles do not come first and practice is what matters. But to celebrate the rejection of principles or violence against principles mean you cannot object if people decide to put their bad principles into practice. You don't say that the principle of paedophilia being bad is unimportant as long as people don't carry out acts of child sexual abuse. Your condemnation of their actions only makes you a hypocrite who tolerates their evil. Principles are not just rules but about people. For example, if you value truth you automatically value people's need for the truth and their right to it. Principles consider the bigger picture and look beyond pleasing some people to what is best for as many people as possible in the long-term. If you suffer for the truth it will pass and it is worse to give in to those who hate the truth.


#Each religion is a system held together by opinions. An opinion is a view that could be wrong and therefore to have an opinion is to be open to have it challenged. An opinion is weak if the person has little reason to hold it. It is strong if he has good grounds for it. If the person values honesty and truth more than his attraction for his opinion he will welcome the challenge and will see that if his opinion is indeed true it has nothing to fear from being challenged or questioned. People who encourage religious opinions no matter how weird or out of touch they are not thinking straight. They are forgetful or unaware that in matters of morality people disagree radically in many things. And they do not realise that some people think you can kill to make others happier and so on for happiness is what matters. And others think rules are rules no matter what the circumstances.


#If a religion's members are no better or worse than people in general, then why have religion? It only makes differences between people that some will pick on to create suspicion and havoc. For example, Catholic and Muslim children go to separate schools. Telling them to work for peace between religions will have no effect. What does have an effect is allowing them to mix freely.


#A religion is sometimes described as a club. A club is about the members deciding what decisions are for the best for them. Religion is not a club. The cherry-pickers are misrepresenting their religion by treating it as a club. Its a faith not a club. Its a faith not a collection of opinions.


#The leaders of religion make the decisions while caring little - if at all - for the needs of those whom they lead. They are the men who pretend that they give us the word of God. The believer never gets the word from God but gets it second-hand.


#Atheists do not set up terrorist groups. Some religionists do. If religion is mere opinion and causes that trouble then let that be a warning to us. If opinion can lead to bloodshed and terror then faith should do it far better.


#The cherry-pickers are intolerant in the sense that they detest religion as it is and pretend that it is mere opinion. They do not respect religion's opinion that if you think it is wrong then you must look for another religion and be true to it and yourself. The cherrypickers are no example of tolerance so they cannot expect religious leaders to be tolerant.


#Trust is by nature only lawful if it is not misplaced. It is simply cruel and twisted to have people trusting in what might not be true or which then will or could let them down. Trust implies, "I need protection and to be safe." A la carte people promote religion that they themselves see as untrustworthy. They promote it by example at least but that does not make it any less right. People trust others to pray for them so by implication they do not trust God and think God needs to be asked before he will bother to care. It would be strange to trust others to pray for you to God as if God can be trusted then. If he is not trustworthy, people getting him to act by asking him does not make him trustworthy.


#They may think that truth is not truth but just whatever you want it to be. They are relativists. A relativist Catholic can seem to be Catholic but because she denies the core doctrine of Catholicism that truth is real and not just opinion, she is not Catholic at all. If relativism is correct then there is no knowledge and therefore real belief. The relativist may pretend that her guesses and assumptions are her beliefs but they cannot be. Belief is based on what you think the evidence is saying to you about what is true.


#A religion has to be judged primarily on the credibility of its standard teaching. It has to have standards unique to itself though there may be overlaps with the standards of other religions in order to be a religion or a specific religion. If you can believe what you want then it follows that there is no true difference between Catholics and Hindus - only in the way the religions are presented. There is no excuse for being in a religion that officially teaches falsehood or that has standard doctrines that are incorrect. The point is not how good the members are but the truth. It is not about you or them but about honesty and truth

#To be in a false religion of your own choice, is to be insensitive to and tolerant of the damage lies and errors can do and to encourage others by your example to commit themselves to illusions and perhaps ones that are even worse than your own. The Mafia claim to be good Catholics and is it any wonder when most Catholics claim to be good Catholics and cherry-pick? The cherry-pickers enable the Mafia to feel better about what they are doing.


It is obvious that it is against the principle of honouring justice and honesty and truth to stay in a false religion when you know or believe it to be false. It is far worse though if you know. If you could do that there would be no need for different religions. And if you stay it will be because of feelings and not truth or principle. It is strange to say you will stay say in the Catholic Church no matter if it is wrong or not. It is strange because it is admitting that you only care about what you feel not about the truth. If your feelings are so terrific and sacred, then why are you so sure you will want to be Catholic in the morning?


#Hypocrisy is bad in the sense that those who preach goodness do not intend to practice it. It is good in the sense that it is still saying that evil is evil and to be avoided. So why do we despise it? Because we consider morality a curse not a blessing. We think it is about controlling us more than making us happy. This shows that we do not like morality as much as we tend to think. Therefore we cannot like religion. Picking what you like out of a religion's required teachings is just another way of saying you don't like religion much.


#When people follow a religion just because they are used to it and no longer see the bad side they may be confusing being used to the religion to believing in it. If you take it for granted that Jesus is God that is not the same as believing in it. You are merely assuming it and perhaps feeling it.


#Bad or good, a religion has the right and duty to set up required doctrines and to ask people who rebel against the teachings to leave. The person who rebels and won't leave is not respecting the religion or its right. And they are telling the world that the religion can reinvent itself and thus is man-made which is disrespectful when the religion claims to be god-made or the only faith approved by God. They come across as advertisements for their religion for they stand up for it at least to a point. People will see them as unrepresentative of the religion and failing to understand their duty to uphold the religion properly.


#By supporting religion or pretending they do, they are opposing truth though they pretend they are not. In the case of the cherry-picking Catholic, the question will soon arise, "They claim to speak as Catholics. Anybody can say that he speaks as a Catholic. How Catholic are they really?"


#People claiming to be good Christians while starving the poor and having sex outside marriage and ruining people's health by selling tobacco had to happen. You see a lot of it about. It had to happen for Christians put themselves before Jesus Christ. Jesus advocated blunt speech in opposition to sin and regarded social details such as etiquette and cultural religion to be a hindrance to the pure gospel. He told his followers that if they are authentic they will be hated by the world and slandered and they must take up their cross and not use religion as a crutch. In that light, it is unbelievable that Christians would reason, "Obeying the rules of Jesus or the Church makes me unhappy. Therefore I can be a good Christian and do my own thing." That attitude is hidden in their claim that they follow Jesus not the Church rules! They think religion is about them and their needs and desires only.


#Cherry-pickers all differ from one another. The "good" Catholic who uses birth-control and advocates it as being morally acceptable against the teaching of the Church may not approve of the views of the "good" Catholic who approves of gay relationships and is in one. Cherry-picking is no basis for unity. It only makes hypocrites who demand acceptance of their view and rejection of the views of others.


#If you can be a proper and good member of a religion while cherry-picking what it requires you to believe (an oxymoron) and the religion permits this then the religion is responsible for the evil done in its name (eg clerical sex abuse) or the evil done because it exists. You cannot then say, "It is unfair to condemn the religion because some abuse it and their position in it."


#Cherry-pickers deny that their religion is necessarily good in what it does as a religion, in what it teaches as a religion in matters of faith and morals. This is dangerous because if you harbour suspicions about your religion, a better the devil you know attitude will creep in and colour your outlook. You will fear other religions especially the ones you know the least about. Sectarianism is often based on the view that one's own religion is dangerous or possibly harmful but since you are used to it you decide to put up with it and tell yourself that other religions are probably no better if not worse.


#Why do believers worry about their opinion of God and what God should teach.  What about God's opinion?  Is he not allowed his?


#Belief determines how you will act - all unkind actions are down to unhealthy or irrational or stupid beliefs. It is important that a religion is true.


If something is a fact, it is a fact. Watch out for those who say that when you state a fact, “O that is only your opinion” or “You are entitled to your opinion”. Such a person is judging you and accusing you of dressing up an opinion that may be right or wrong as the truth. They are trying to trivialise fact and undermine you. They are possibly implying that are no truths or facts but only opinions. That is a dangerous idea and if they really believe it they will have to admit the right of a man to beat his wife to death as long as its his opinion. True respect for reason is true respect for people. Religious cherry-pickers are turning religion into opinions. They care little for facts.

You have atheists who cherry-pick.  You have seculars who do it.  A lot of people do it.  Now if I say I have no religion and still go to holy communion then I am cherry-picking non-belief. In many cases a person with no religion who cherry-picks Catholicism is no different at all from a person who cherry-picks and who says they identify as Catholic. 

Cherry picking anything is degrading yourself by being an advocate for lying and dishonestly and hypocrisy. Catholicism teaches it is the whole truth - the word Catholic means whole. Nobody has the right to take advantage of a religion that is unable to assert its standards, it cannot do much about heretics, by violating those standards in its name. A truly good religion or truthful or true religion will not need cherry-picking.  The fact remains that cherry-pickers still in some way, usually structurally, contribute to the voice and influence of the leaders and it is counter-productive to solving a religion's problems and unethical practices.  If cherry-picker Catholics left the Catholic framework the bishop would not be head of the local school.  That is an example.


The founder of a religion may have a definition of religion and what it is for. Even if the whole religion ends up with a different purpose from his that is still not what it is for. Only the founder can determine what the religion is and what it is for. You may have a purpose for his religion but it remains yours not the religion's.    A religion with a bad purpose is bad.  A bad religion is bad no matter how many good people are in it.  It is the purpose makes it bad.  The members degrade themselves if they refuse to do the bad things for they make themselves hypocrites.  And goodness is defiled when you let yourself be part of a bad religion.   To defile goodness is actually worse than to just be bad.


A cherry picker keeps up a religious structure that forces its will on others in certain circumstances.  While the cherry picker rests on laurels the priest may be thrown out for living with a woman or man.  The Church does it and the state does it in the sense of letting it happen and agreeing to let the Church run itself.  While the cherry picker is lazy on the sofa somebody who really is into the religion is persecuted.  And if somebody claims religious discrimination that can be difficult to prove if the religion is full of cherry pickers.  Refugees from Christian backgrounds have not been taken seriously as Christians simply because they came into a country full of Christian hypocrisy and inconsistency. 

The lesson is respect truth as far as you understand it and be open to changing your mind and living in honesty and remember that identifying as an atheist or Catholic or whatever does not necessarily mean you are competent in identifying so you could be mistaken.


Ideology is an addiction to an idea or set of ideas. Cherry picking or being selective with facts is the core ingredient. Liberal religion by definition is more dangerous than fundamentalism.