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?


Christianity is based on the unerring authority of Jesus Christ. A la carte Christian is her or his own authority and thus attacks the very basic supposition and doctrine and what the Church terms fact of Christianity. Strictly speaking this person is not a follower of Christ and should not be using the Christian label. Strictly speaking you cannot really obey yourself so the person has no authority at all! Talk about following your own authority is metaphorical and a figure of speech.

Religion puts forward a system of doctrine and ethics that it says is revealed by God so you are working against God and unsupportive of God if you reject any of it. Religion recognises that people will have doubts and difficulties and religion says that that is fine as along as you do not deliberately encourage them. It is fine as far as your good intentions go - you must not intend to doubt but to believe. But it is not fine as far as truth is concerned if the religion is the truth. The true faith deserves to be accepted fully without reservations. What you do if you have doubts and difficulties is strive to believe everything properly. You pray and you read and you consult respected Church authorities to resolve the difficulties and doubts. If you find the doubts are justified you have to look for another religion for it is a sin to support a false religion. Doubters and believers alike in a religion have to regard acceptance of all the teachings as an ideal to strive for. If the religion is wrong then there is no such ideal.
People do what is forbidden by their religion.  They may develop beliefs that are forbidden and that involves doing as well.  Doing shows what you believe.  Belief and action are connected.  Such people are causing a belief dispute and may fall into the following categories:
# They know what the religion teaches and ignore it for they don't want to obey it. They may either do this because their conscience tells them to or because the teachings are simply inconvenient. They should not be complicit in error or man-made religion. There is no virtue in doing things because they suit you. That is not doing them because they are good but because you only care about what you want good to be.
#The Catholic claim that Jesus teaches it the truth and the truth cannot be changed is THE core doctrine of the Church. Catholics who say things like, "I believe in the core teachings of the Church such as love of neighbour but not that God really turns bread into Jesus or that Mary was not with a man to produce Jesus" are fooling themselves.
# They know what the religion teaches and disobey because they are confident they will be will be forgiven by God and/or the religion. That is insulting divine mercy.
# They may not know of the ban. They will have enough religion then to make them unwittingly rebellious. Those who claim to be Roman Catholics may say, "I follow Jesus not the Church". If they do then why not practice Christianity informally and what are they going to Mass for? They often do not know much about religion. They may think its respectful and tolerant to argue that Christ matters but not religion but that attacks the Catholic doctrine that Christ works through the Catholic religion and has passed his authority to it. It challenges and offends and upsets Catholics who take the religion seriously. If a Catholic does severe penance and lives like a saint of the Church and thinks with the Church and not against it, that person is insulted and degraded by people who unrepentedly take the benefits the Church has to offer when they are mere cherry-pickers. Cherry-pickers think the religion is man-made - it has to be if you may discard what you think is rubbish - but they often won't admit it.
# They may know of the ban but think that the ban is not intended to be very strict. They do not understand the seriousness of the matter should a religion be in fact merely man-made and based on human authority. A religion that claims that God set it up when he didn't is at best unwittingly anti-truth and men are benefiting from claiming they are acting with divine approval and authorisation that they haven't got. It is not fair on God. A wrong religion is bad by default no matter if it does good or not.
# They may even think that the ban was a misinterpretation of the religion's teaching that has been made by the religion. They think that the true teaching endorses their attitude! They claim to know more than the theological experts! They may argue that as the religion teaches that it just cares about truth that this is justification for disagreeing with the religion about the action being really evil.
# They think religion is about keeping them happy. But religion is about keeping God happy.
# If you cherry-picked a French dictionary arguing that it was up to you to decide what words in it were really French and what were not you would be regarded as insane. You should get the same evaluation should you cherry-pick divine revelation. Religious cherrypicking can only happen in a society that is largely doubtful or sceptical about religion even if not totally sceptical. An unbeliever in Catholicism who says the rosary at least in public and goes to Mass for he likes tradition is still an unbeliever and is proof that cherry-picker is really an unbeliever.
# Cherry-pickers believe in belief. They also don't believe in belief when they reject what they are supposed to believe. The Christian says that to believe in belief in God is idolatry for you are to believe in God. If idolatry is harmful then the cherry-picker is dangerous and should not get the respect and enthusiastic promotion they get in the media. The cherry-picker assumes that not everything her religion teaches is good for you so you may pick and choose what to believe. Instead of trusting the religion properly the cherry-picker trusts what he or she wants to believe. This is belief in belief. The cherry-picker Catholic is a bigot if he opposes his priest deciding to cherry-pick and turn bread and wine into the body and blood of the Virgin Mary rather than Jesus.
# The Bible says that cherry-pickers are guilty of grave sin and are heretics and will go to eternal punishment if they die. The cherry-picker can be understood as a religious extremist in the sense that he suspects the Bible should be taken seriously and won't do so thus risking eternal damnation and encouraging others to do the same. Cherry-picking is based on lies and some cherry-pickers pray a lot and do severe penance and go to great expense to go on pilgrimage. That only proves how much their deception means to them. And the more religious they are the more lies they are telling themselves - and indirectly or directly they are lying to others. The pagans knew the myths about gods and goddesses were lies and inventions but the nature of myth is that you can suspend your disbelief or unbelief and imagine that you really believe it. The pagans "believed" the myths during prayer and at the temple and once it was back to normality they embraced reality again and were sceptics. It is human nature for Christians to be like that too. I think we call it two-faced!
# They know that dishonest "believers" take advantage of the honest so they want to stay honest and they leave. If you wish to be dishonest, you can only do it if you befriend and manipulate honest people to make yourself look good and honest. Dishonest people are reminded of their dishonesty when they see how an honest person lives. It is like a mirror. Thus they will either hate or slander or exploit the honest person. That person is a threat to their own facade. If Catholicism is a fraud, the fraudsters need enough honest people in the pews to carry on their fraud. For them the appearance of honesty is the best policy. Involve honest people in your scheme and your dishonesty will become more efficient and effective and dangerous.
# They act as if all that matters is being charmed by religion and the nice or "nice" leaders of the religion. It is sadly true that we care more about being charmed and feeling good than about right and wrong. When we pray, we may feel better. It is that that matters to us not prayer as such. It is not even God that matters to us.
# They dismiss strict members of their religion as extremists. They have no right to do that when they do not know enough about religion. They soon end up pretending that there are extremist Muslims for example without asking that these people might be the really loyal Muslims with the moderates being mere hypocrites guilty of having watered down the faith.
If it is true that a religion must not be judged as bad or dangerous just because a minority do things it forbids such as child sex abuse, then how can people take the cherry-picker as a credible example of a good member of the religion? The Catholic who lobbies for promiscuity to be accepted in society and the Church will only be accepted as a reflection on the Church by stupid thoughtless people. He is only really an enemy to his own cause and playing into the hands of the Church which warns that heretics will always be with us and that heretics to the extent that they agree with the Church show the Church should be taken seriously and not them.
Islam claims to have the truth in its fullness. Catholicism claims to have it in its fullness. Mormonism too. All these faiths teach that the truth comes first. They insist one must go to the religion that has the truth. To say, "My religion advocates truth so I am a true believer though I have the truth not it. I understand it correctly" is just an excuse for the Muslim and the Catholic and the Mormon can use it. Why bother having separate religions at all if you can be selective? It is a refusal to see that the religion is not the representative and servant of the truth that it thinks it is. Whoever is in a religion that claims to teach the truth, and who argues that it doesn't always teach the truth, is intending to enable that religion in its lies and errors and should do the decent thing and go.

If Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church and said he would teach through it rather than in person then he is to blame for the harm done by the errors and lies of the Church. It is annoying to hear Catholics who cherry-pick claim, "I follow Jesus not the Church." It is stupid and they often cannot even name the four gospels.

Liberals are often people who just water down and lie about their religion’s dark side. They are really disobedient. They only seem to be helping but they are not. Disobedience to a religion is really saying, “The religion has such and such a standard but I will not obey.” The disobedient person of faith is as much a supporter of an evil faith as the obedient. In what way? The disobedient only look like rebels or people who won’t face the truth. They advertise their religion through their own intellectual dishonesty. They make people want to be honest believers unlike them. You look like a person who has the true standard but won't submit. You are still indirectly an advertisement for the standard.
The Catholic Church's main argument against Protestantism and non-Roman Catholic Churches is that they end up fragmenting for everybody is allowed to think what he likes. Protestants form thousands of sects simply because each sect interprets the Bible differently. But sceptics towards Catholicism argue that the Roman Catholic Church is just a label put on many "Catholicisms". They see the unity of Catholicism as artificial as there is as much disagreement among Catholics about doctrine and morals as there is among Protestant sects. The Catholic response to that is that it is not the same for the risk of division is not facilitated by or inherent in Catholicism. The Roman Church claims to give the truth and forbids members to disagree with that truth. But the other religions endorse private judgement - each person deciding for himself or himself what to think. The Catholic dissident then is seen not as Catholic as the pope but as a person who is inadequately Catholic. It is important for the sceptic of religion to realise that the person who picks and chooses what he wants to believe out of Roman doctrine and who claims to be Roman Catholic is then in fact indirectly lending support to orthodox Catholicism.
You are not a true member of a religion if you cherry-pick the teachings that are essential or follow from the essentials. A religion cannot function if it permits you to do that. Again cherry-picking makes you look like a hypocrite. People should actually be attracted to the teachings by you hypocrisy for it puts them off being like you.

Hinduism lets you believe what you want as long as you revere Hindu culture and the caste system. Those who practice Hindu ritual and adore its gods but who reject the caste system are not Hindus. They deny the caste system. To accept them as Hindu is really to say that we might as well pigeonhole the Pope as Hindu.

To call yourself an xian or whatever when you are acting like a God who turns things into the truth by wishing them to be is to become a lie to yourself and a lie to others.  The sea of lies is what helps dangerous fundamentalist religion to grow.  You are putting water in that sea.