The real number of American Catholics is hard to tell because so many people, including the Catholic Church, lie. They pad their numbers with non-attending families. They include dead people until they know for a fact that 120 year old woman is dead. And in surveys people raised Catholic who no longer attend mass answer as Catholic without any disclaimers or follow-up questions. What difference does it make? It can mean a lot, as shown in the how does god guide you question in the recent GOP Presidential debate.
The real number of Catholics in America hides people who are good without god. What does it mean to be good without god? Are you good because you want to be good, or because you are forced to be good?
it is a very easy to understand concept – just go watch the latest LoTR movie trilogy, and see how good Gríma Wormtongue was as a member of the community. Did they break any codes of acceptable conduct of their community, commit any crimes against another person or the property of other person?
Or did they just not act good?
Or in the film adaptation trilogy of The Hobbit, we find another character who is generally seen as despicable for their actions, Alfrid Lickspittle. While they do no true evil, they do not do any good, except for their own benefits or that of the Laketown Master. What good is being good if it is only self-serving, is that good?
Good only because of the fear of god – is that good?
If you are only being good because you are afraid of hell, judgment in the next life, and an eternal damnation, many would question whether you are actually being good. The surface result is the same, but what is your driving force — being watched? How will you behave when you are not being watched?
Oh that is easy, your god just has to be given the power of all knowing and all seeing omnisciences — since there are hundreds of millions of followers of religions with such a concept, there must be little to no crimes in the world. After all, who would commit even the slightest of an infraction against another when they know what will happen, and that while they can lurk in the shadows from the public eye, their final judgment will bring them before a judge that knows and sees.
There are far more people who claim to be members of a religion, but do not follow it, practice it, or even support it. Maybe if we asked people more in depth questions when they claim to be of some religion, to challenge their stakeholder position as a member of that religion, we would have a more accurate view of the world.
The real number of American Catholics
Do you without doubt, believe that transsubstantiatio occurs and you at the sacrament of communion are eating the body of Christ and drinking of the blood of Christ?
Yes or No
It is a fundamental tenet of being Catholic.
If you don’t even know the word transsubstantiatio how can you answer the question.
If you say no, then how can you lay claim to being a member of the Catholic Church, when its core tenets are not real to you? Did they offer membership as semi-Catholic, Catholic-light or near-Catholic? If so, where is that in scripture. Or do you just ignore the scripture when you find it convenient to life your life.
Seems easy to do if it is not divine. Since your scripture is no longer 100% divine word of your divine god, it isn’t. Again a Yes or No
Right or wrong
Good or evil
Divine or not
How many American Catholics are there?
Ask the Catholic Church and they will lay claim to anyone who is a member, their family, and without expiration, everyone unless dead and they know about it. They will not verify. They will not send out membership exams, questionnaires or exams.
Because they want their numbers to look as high as possible for marketing purposes. They lie to themselves and each other to generate peer pressure to bring you into their religion.
Because the truth is far worse
Around me we have closed churches and religious schools sitting vacant. Many are for sale with multi million dollar price tags. Why? Those buildings were paid for years ago with donations and volunteer programs to raise money and care for them. Why would a Catholic Church be selling something it got for free, and can no longer use for highest bidder prices? And in my neighborhood, 2,000 Catholic FAMILIES of record, but before closing the church was lucky to see 100 PEOPLE total each weekend. People who attend see who is there and the empty spaces. Why pretend?
Because maybe it is all pretend?
Then why hold onto hundreds of families in the rolls who don’t attend mass, don’t participate in sacraments, and don’t support the church? Because they might come back one day. That sounds more like marketing the a philosophical or spiritual act of a group representing the divine here on Earth.
What harm does it do?
When you answer a survey and say “Catholic” or some other religion, you lend credibility to the agenda of those who do attend. And usually those are the hard core, if not the extremists. When you just give a half-thought out answer, or call it in, you convert something of value to our society, the real number of Catholics in America, into a tool for a minority to have more influence over our society then they are entitled. How is that being good?