January 12, 2004 at 12:53 am #622
My name is Benedict.
Who I am: A junior Forensic Toxicology and Criminalistics major at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City aiming for a Differential Equations Mathematics minor and studying Chinese. I am originally from Arizona and hoping to go back as soon as I graduate. When I am not roleplaying or defending/exploring the Catholic faith online I am usually trying to be helpful around school, church, and home in any way I can.
Religious background: I was baptized as an infant but my religious life seemed to end there. It was only when I became involved with my neighbor’s Baptist church and they wanted to baptize me and my brother that my mom told them no because we were already baptized Catholics. I came to the Catholic Church again years later when I investigated what the Church said about itself instead of what it’s opponents said about it. I owe a great deal to apologists and evangelists like Frank Sheed and Tim Staples. On May 25, 2003 I was confirmed as Benedict and received our Lord in the Eucharist for the first time.January 12, 2004 at 5:33 am #2295
Benedict, it’s nice to have you aboard, welcome!
Thank you for sharing a little bit of your faith story – it’s our experiences that makes our faith so real.
I have a similar story in that I was baptized, but my family went to church for a little while, then stopped. I started getting into Catholicism when my mom decided I should get confirmed (even though we did not go to Mass regularly) in 11th grade (that’s when my parish did it).
If it wasn’t for her though, I don’t know that I would be where I am today and that includes this website.
What kind of roleplaying games do you play? (i’m assuming that is what you are talking about with roleplaying).
-JonJanuary 12, 2004 at 10:18 pm #2297
All kinds, really. I play computer roleplaying games like Neverwinter Nights, video roleplaying games like FinalFantasy, and table-top war and roleplaying games like Warhammer and Dungeons & Dragons. I also do free-form roleplaying on internet message boards.January 17, 2004 at 9:14 am #2321
And how are you able to bring together your role playing experiences and your faith?
I hear a lot of things about role playing games as being kind of this sub-culture steeped in darkness a little bit – especially with the Dungeons and Dragons game. So, I am just wondering what you have to say about this kind of thing and how it affects your faith or how it is connected.January 17, 2004 at 6:45 pm #2323
The most fun way to answer that question is: Jack Chick’s view of D&D is as scholarly and true as his view of Catholicism. :rolleyes:
I can understand where people on the outside looking in might believe there is a good connection between roleplaying and occultism but in 10 years I have yet to learn a single spell. (Sorry if I go through this with constant joking.) The truth is, roleplaying is generally like playing fantasy video games with friends. An accurate depiction of a typical D&D game can be found here[/url:1o9biwh7] (flash video with sound; and yes, sometimes it is more fun but oftentimes this is exactly what happens). The guy in the bar expresses the typical teenage-boy attitude.
I came to be saved in a Baptist church because of roleplaying. I left Protestantism behind within a year after I found that what I was taught was contradicted by the Bible (salvation by faith alone) or was illogical and inappropriate for a being like God (such as once saved, always saved). In high school I met my best friend because we both played Dungeons & Dragons. He was instrumental in bringing me (back) to the Catholic Church by giving me books like Theology for Beginners by Frank Sheed and even a Catechism.
I also find that the game is full of opportunities for expressing the Christian faith. The main premise is to take on the role of a hero who fights evil. The most prominent hero-type in the game is the paladin, based on groups like Charlemagne’s knights and the Knights Templar. D&D discards any notion of moral relativism by stating flat out that Good and Evil are objective. The core rules are very Christian friendly and, in case you heard anything to the contrary, they espouse no real world or fictional information on the occult. They are, for the most part, what you might find if you looked at the coding for a computer game. The closest thing to occultism that I have ever seen was the fact that every gamer has his lucky dice and that is as condemnable as a baseball player’s lucky socks.
Throughout my life roleplaying has been a positive experience. I have met people who became my friends, I have bettered my vocabulary, my math skills, my communication skills, my imagination, and I have come to my faith.
There are certain traits that are common among roleplayers (such as social noncomformism), and some of those traits are common among certain non-Christians. One of my friends was a druid and his sister was a witch and they both roleplayed with Catholics and non-denom Christians.January 19, 2004 at 6:08 am #2331
Wow, this is really interesting. I didn’t know much about the details of the D and D game so I was just saying what I had heard.
This is a great story about faith and people.
Yeah, I agree with you, Jack Chick is not too scholarly – just way off base.
Btw – I get your humor so it’s ok if you joke around a lot. ” title=”Wink” />January 19, 2004 at 4:54 pm #2336
I always love sharing the first half of my faith story with people who think D&D is evil. I usually hold off on the second half because those same people tend to think “anti-Christ, Whore of Babylon, etc.”January 20, 2004 at 8:16 pm #2340
So then when are you going to share the rest of your faith story with us?
You know, I am in the works of trying to compile a faith stories section for this website. I already have a couple stories, but I could use a few more. I plan on writing my own soon.
If you want to see them here are the links:
He is for Me: A Conversion Story[/url:1e2o1das]
My Faith: Through Prayer, People and Sacrament[/url:1e2o1das]
If you have some friends that have any kind of faith story that would be cool if you could get them too. Let me know if you are interested in any of this and we can talk out the details in a PM or something.
-[i:1e2o1das]Jon[/i:1e2o1das]January 23, 2004 at 4:48 am #2346
You guys got my whole faith story. The second half is meeting my best friend and coming to the Catholic Church. Jack Chick would take that as proof text of D&D’s evil.
I do have a “conversion story” somewhere on my websites. It was written rather quickly for a webboard I used to visit.
[quote:1deht9gi]I am not sure if I should be called a convert or merely a delayed member.
I was baptised catholic. My mother raised me without any religious overtones. I was supposed to be good but not because I was Christian; I was supposed to be good because otherwise it would reflect negatively on my parents.
I began attending a Protestant church with my neighbors. My brother and I were invited to a group known as AWANAS (I forget what it stands for). On the surface it was a place to play games and have fun. After the first few weeks, the mentors began to preach to the friends of church members (ie my brother and me).
After being saved we began attending church there.
The ministers of the church came to my house and spoke to my mother about baptising my brother and me. My mother, surprisingly unmoving in a renewed sense of Catholicism, refused to allow them to baptise us outside of Christ’s Church. With that, my brother and I stopped attending the church (as did the neighbors who first invited us to go).
Left to my own devices, I began to read a number of religious texts. I studied hinduism and buddhism and zen and a host of other religions and philosophies through books and found them lacking in some way or another. I turned once again to Christianity. I began reading a number of Protestant books about the Bible and what it says. I would read the passages cited in the text with a mind to see what they told me but oftentimes I did not find it. When I began reading the verses before and after the cited verse I saw a meaning contrary to or slightly different from the what they told me I should see.
I accepted a few things as true. Jesus is God. Jesus died so that I might live. God is good and I am not. Anything beyond that was of no concern. This was the attitude I took into high school, though I continued to read Protestant literature and accept or reject what I found convincing (based on what I was told in AWANAS, that I, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, had the ability to understand Scripture for myself).
I joined my school’s National Academic League team (we placed 2nd in state our very first year and took the National Title the next). I met my best friend on the team. Through our friendship I learned he was Catholic. I determined to read about the Catholicism that was so universally condemned in what I had previously read. To put it in the words of Tim Staples, “I decided to read what the Catholic Church had to say about itself, rather than what those who disagreed with it said.”
My delving into the world of Catholic literature was very slow. I had no real idea what Catholicism was and why it was supposedly wrong. I thought, “If the important thing is to be saved by faith, what stops a Catholic from being saved by faith?” Preliminary readings indicated nothing to bar Catholics from salvation.
My aunt and uncle came to visit. They are very staunch Catholics and, as I was later told, had a bit of a problem that my mother was not raising her children in any faith let alone the Catholic faith (they are my brother’s godparents). I do not know what transpired, but I do know that any visit from my aunt and uncle means a trip to mass (which, until this time, I had never realized was church nor did I know it was Catholic). This was the first time I participated in a mass (though, of course, I did not receive communion). I loved it. Something about the whole ordeal just felt right. I began attending mass every Sunday, though I was not Catholic by any means.
After a year attending mass I noticed a change in my mother. She used to speak out against the Church at times (her favorite being, “I don’t have to follow any man-made rules” in reference to Lent) and I never knew her to attend mass. Now she was going to mass every Sunday with me and it turned out she was Catholic (I never knew that about her either).
I finally resolved to get up to my arms in Catholic literature to see what was what. I had only gone a small bit before and observing mass only teaches you so much about the Church. I got out my Protestant books and bought a number of Catholic texts and sat down to compare what was said. The Protestants made a case for such and such an issue using the ubiquitous Bible passages. The Catholics showed what the Bible passages were saying in context (which, unlike my earlier disagreement with the Protestant claims, made perfect sense), provided quotes from the early church fathers (I had never seen quotes by these men in any Protestant book I read), and then showed the same point through logic (something I had believed had no place in religion). Point by point the Catholic texts refuted what I had learned at the Protestant church and what I had read in the Protestant books.
I began to study Catholicism. Before I was seeing if what Protestants claimed about Catholicism was true. Now I was seeing what the Church said about itself and about the faith. I learned many things and continue to learn. In my readings I encountered many things that were hard to grasp and I fell into many traps (such as believing Catholics worshipped Mary).
In my readings I learned of other religions. Far be it from me to neglect the LDS Church and JWs because I found Catholicism first (also my cousins are Mormon so I thought I would see what kind of things they did). Putting aside Catholicism for a while, I read about Mormons and JWs. JWs intrigued me because they claim the all-powerful Jehovah is capable of so little (especially in the case of the 144000). I wanted to know why I should join a religion that could not guarantee me a place in heaven like the Protestants, Catholics, and Mormons. Of course, Mormons were even more appealing than the rest. Why join God in heaven when you can be a god? But, as with my early days of Protestantism, something felt very wrong about the LDS Church.
Feeling that I had given Protestantism the short end of the rod, I began reading books that specifically dealt with refuting the claims of the Catholic Church. Book after book left me unsatisfied of the veracity of their claims. Most often I found cases of very poor logic (on a variety of levels) and the feeling of wrongness continued inside. I literally felt like each passing article damaged my soul. I turned to deeper prayer and continued attending mass (I found that after I first began attending a Catholic church and praying to Him, God would grant me wisdom at the most beneficial times).
Skip all around.
My last comment reminded me of something more. When I attended the Protestant church and watched Protestant television and listened to Protestant radio, I often felt no relation to what was being preached at the particular time. Rather than having any direct bearing with my situation in life, it seemed distant. I took the message to heart but had to wait before it became relavant. However, when I began attending mass I found that each week the readings and homily addressed exactly what I needed. It happens so often it actually happened this morning. The past few days I questioned how I should go about defending the faith. This morning the homily was about using your individual strengths and talents to spread the faith and bear witness to the Lord. Even more striking was that this morning was when I decided to attend mass every day. A question, a prayer, and an answer delivered, as always, in the midst of a Catholic mass.
Back on track.
I am a baptised, unconfirmed adult. Due to a recent move, I was unable to enter deeper into the faith. Now that I am settled I plan on joining the Catholic Church in full. I look forward to the day I can receive the Eucharist.
On May 25th, 2003 I was confirmed in St. Paul the Apostle Church in New York City by Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona and I received the Holy Eucharist for the first time.[/quote:1deht9gi]January 25, 2004 at 6:05 am #2351
I just wanted to comment on a part of you faith story.
[quote:9maf7tf3](I found that after I first began attending a Catholic church and praying to Him, God would grant me wisdom at the most beneficial times)…I found that each week the readings and homily addressed exactly what I needed. It happens so often… [/quote:9maf7tf3]
This happens to me often as well. Especially with the Catholic daily prayer book that I use. It amazes me every time. It just goes to show (as you say) that God really wants to offer us advice and give us wisdom. ” title=”Smile” />
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