Someone I know very well just told me he stopped going to church two years ago and is now an atheist. He said he no longer believes in it. I'm shocked. He's 51 now, was an altar boy for many years, attended Catholic school, worked in the church rectory, is a Godfather, always attended weekly mass. He brought up the priest pedophile scandal quite a few times. When that big scandal broke years ago, he still attended mass. As an altar boy, he and other boys were friends with a priest who was accused of misconduct many years later. The priest wasn't allowed to administer the Sacraments and is retired now. This guy said if it's true, he feels sorry for the victim, not the priest, but he did say he didn't have a bad experience with this priest himself.
I don't think a person wakes up one day and says they are an atheist after being a practicing Catholic for so many years. Something must have happened. (No, he isn't in a relationship - it's not a Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes type of thing)....
Hi Julie! Wow, well, nobody can speak for your friend except for him. I grew up Protestant and believed in God as a child. I was a very good child and tried really, really hard to be the very best person I could. As a teenager, there was church corruption in my church and in some others. I started to question churches. In college, when I was 18 I took a religious studies class. I learned about all the large religions of the world, Hindu, Buddhism etc. I guess I felt like how could so many millions of people be wrong? These are huge religions around the world...if Christianity was the only way to heaven...why would God do that to so many millions of people? I immediately stopped believing and did not look back for over 20 years. I admit, I was completely at peace with this decision...and I never had any change of heart until about two years ago. I still don't exactly know why I like the Catholic religion. I am not afraid of heaven, hell etc. More than anything I guess I find beauty in the goodness of it. There is a lot of scandal and corruption...and believe me two years ago...I would bet a BILLION dollars you would NEVER ever see me as a Catholic! I found the religion, weird, sexist and a disgusting use of peoples money. I have since learned of all the good things...and I do think they over weigh the bad...and that may be where your friend is. There are a lot of scandal is this Church...just yesterday the sentenced the Pope's (I think secretary) to 18 months prison for the whole VatiLeaks scandal...and a few months ago one of the top people (2 or 3 down from the pope) stepped down due to corruption in the Vatican. Again, it is for each individual to weigh the good vs bad and try to keep their belief. I do think these things turn people from the Church, and turn people from faith. It happened to me. I am still not Catholic, do to the RCIA program. I missed it the first year...then I had a very serious injury was bed bound and on disability for most of this year. I have decided to take my time...and I enjoy being in the discernment phase:o) That is simplifying things a big...but hope that this gives some insight!