Theology of the body

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Mom23's picture
Theology of the body

I am working hard on my “That’s nice dear” responses to my newly baptized Catholic daughter, but I would love to get an opinion from someone about her latest passion.

She was very excited to attend a “Theology of the Body” lecture by someone named Christopher West. I asked her what it was all about and the best answer she gave me was it was about the Catholic position on “the human person”, as Pope John Paul described it. When I looked online, I found Christopher West is a teacher at the Theology of the Body Institute. It all sounds really bizarre to me, and more about what the Catholic church want people to believe about sex. Does anyone have any insight about what this is all about?

She has also started telling me that she might just want to devote herself to a spiritual life and not get married or have a family. Again, I try to just say very little other than “that’s interesting”. To be honest, it’s driving me crazy, so I am back on the forum to get a reality check.

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Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Mom

@ Mom

You will find a simple explanation here....

Well as simple as a crock of shite can be made complicated....

David Killens's picture
Mom23, it must be very

Mom23, it must be very painful to witness your daughter's actions. I am a stranger who does not have anything invested in you or your daughter, we are strangers. Thus I am usually reticent in getting involved in such family interactions.

It is obvious your daughter is becoming religious. Maybe it is time to stop the “That’s nice dear”.

Many decades ago I was an irresponsible asshole who did not manage his money well. Every few years I would turn to my parents to co-sign a loan to keep me afloat. But eventually I was turned down, and my father lovingly explained that I was not learning about fiscal responsibility, and I had to learn. Because as long as my parents enabled my bad habits, I would not improve, I would always have financial problems.

At that time, I was butthurt, how could my parents not throw a lifesaver to a drowning son? But as I look back, I now understand they did the right thing, and they did it out of their love for me.

My suggestion is that you make sure your daughter learns tools such as critical thinking and epistemology.

How old is your daughter? Is she still dependent on you and still living at home? If so, then you can negotiate a deal with her, that you will not stand in the way of her religious studies, but she must also attend instruction (or equal time to religious studies) on critical thinking and epistomology.

Mom23's picture
My daughter is 25 years old,

My daughter is 25 years old, has a good job, her own apartment, and is independent, happy and as far as I can tell, fairly well-adjusted. I cannot treat her as a child. We have a good relationship. She knows that I am an atheist, and our religious discussions don’t go far beyond me asking, “How was church?” And her saying, “It was good.”

Since she has gone down this path, I have been trying to educate myself on epistemology, I have been reading the Bible, and reading books such as Nailed, Misquoting Jesus, and Who wrote the Bible. The thing is, the more I read, the more “devoutly atheist” I have become, if that’s a thing!

I guess the bottom line is, I don’t want her to be a Catholic, or a Christian. But if she does want this, I at least want her to have considered the evidence that the Bible and God are a myth. She is a very intelligent logical thinker, and I just don’t get how she ended up here.

I’m not sure there is an answer for this. I think I just need to continue doing what I have been doing. Give her space and love her no matter what. I suppose I just needed an understanding ear to listen to my thoughts. Thanks!

David Killens's picture
I feel for you Mom23, such a

I feel for you Mom23, such a situation must tear you apart inside. It appears you raised your daughter properly, she is living a responsible adult life.

Most likely she is also suffering the same pain, that her mother disagrees with her choices.

The only other suggestions I can make is to make sure that you tell her every day you love and respect her, and always will, no matter what the outcome.

And never forget, that despite your misgivings, what she is doing is making her happy. Don't support her path to religion, but do not condemn her actions.

LogicFTW's picture


The thing is, the more I read, the more “devoutly atheist” I have become, if that’s a thing!

The same is true for me, and I suspect for most of the regulars here. The more you read, the more you realize it is all just "talk" with zero evidence or anything to tie it to reality.

She is a very intelligent logical thinker, and I just don’t get how she ended up here.

I have spent a lot of times on these boards, other discussion groups like this, in large part to interface with people in a safe way about their beliefs and why they believe. People that are intelligent, kind, hard working, well read, went to college and even get degrees in the sciences. While every case is unique. I have settled on a few major motivators, mostly around fears. Fear of death, fear of not belonging, fear of the unknown.

I consider religion to be like the mythical a sirens call, pulling sailors off their boats and crashing boats into rocks. It offers a lot of very tempting goodies from the outset. A shot at immortality, ability to see lost friends and family again, answers for everything, a grand sky daddy that has a plan and delivers ultimate cosmic justice to everyone, etc. With the "curtain" religion creates only being pulled away upon ones own death, when no one is able to report back, "guess what everyone it is all bullshit!"

I suppose I just needed an understanding ear to listen to my thoughts. Thanks!

Unfortunately that may be all we can do. If I knew of a way to bring people back to reality on this topic I would do so. So far I seen no one that has been able to reliably pull people out of their religion delusion. People usually have to do it themselves. All we can do is set an example, if they ever get to the point to even consider the possibility that is all just stuff people made up 1000's of years ago.

boomer47's picture


Welcome to the forum.

Recovering Catholic of 52 years here.

The fictional character Dr Greg House once said "If you could reason with religious people there wouldn't be any"

In my opinion, religious belief has nothing do do with reason or logic. It's about faith,"a belief in that not seen" . Jesus himself is reported as saying;

(to 'doubting Thomas) John 20:29 " Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed."

Having said all that, I think THIS is the crux: "I don’t want her to be a Catholic, or a Christian. "

I don't mean to offend, but your daughter's beliefs about religion or anything else are not about you. Your wishes are irrelevant. Allow your adult daughter to find own way. Being a believer is not a negative thing for most people , they don't turn into arseholes.

Your daughter's moral core was formed before the age of 12. That is almost impossible to change. Trust her to remain the person you reared .

I am an agnostic atheist and loathe organised religion. There are no individual believers I loathe or even distrust, as long as we stay away from religion. That's because I'm intolerant and tend to become angry when confronted with the party line of any organised religion.

My parents were devout Catholics unto death. My father was the most ethical man I've ever known, and a loving father . My mother was a 'small c' christian . Kind and compassionate, mum gave witness to her faith by the way she lived and by the way she treated others. Mum died last year at age 92, and died too soon.

Nyarlathotep's picture
For what it is worth; in my

For what it is worth; in my very limited experience:

People who weren't raised to believe in religion, but adopt one later in life; tend to bail on it when they get burned by their church. I hope you get to witness this yourself in your daughter. If it does happen, hopefully with your support she won't just waltz next door to the next church.

Cognostic's picture
FIRST: Your response is

FIRST: Your response is perfect, to a point.... You are completely correct with the "That's Interesting," comment; however, I encourage you to also share how you really feel. This is a great opportunity to empower your daughter with a sense of self. Try saying something like this and see if it does not feel more genuine.

"I might want to devote herself to a spiritual life and not get married or have a family."

"You know of course that, that drives me crazy, (Say it Good Naturedly - off the cuff - playfully but true) but it is interesting and it is your life." There is nothing wrong with letting your daughter know HOW YOU FEEL, as long as you recognize your feelings do not dictate her choices. This tactic may also lead to deeper discussions.

"Why is it driving you crazy?" Well... ? Be sure to use facts, logic and what is real. Your daughter knows how you feel, she should also know that you are willing to talk about it and that she is also free to talk about it. Don't make anything taboo and be sure to remember that your daughter does, in the end, get to make her own choices and that you love her no matter what.

I used to tell parents this sort of thing when they wanted to talk to kids about using marijuana or any drug for that matter. You tell a kid that Marijuana is harmful and you have already lost the battle. "Not as harmful as Alcohol!" The real inquiry is "Is it harmful, what are its affects, how can you use it responsibly, what are the reasons for using it, and how is it affecting your life." Curiosity beats pointing the finger every time. And, you always have a right to your own feelings and your own beliefs.

Good luck to you.

Mom23's picture
Thank you Cognostic for your

Thank you Cognostic for your insightful comments. I had not thought about talking to her from that point of view. I have always been able to talk to her about anything, but when it comes to Christianity, I feel like I have to keep my opinions to myself to avoid conflict. Perhaps approaching it from a non-judgmental point of view will allow me to express my thoughts and hopefully open up more of a dialogue without her taking offense.

elphidium55's picture
It's funny about how we

It's funny about how we oftentimes don't see the really familiar. I remember sitting in a pew at our Catholic parish one Easter and noticing the altar girl who was carrying the cross in the entrance procession. I'd witnessed scenes like this for 60 years and more but this time it struck me like a Mac truck. Here was a young girl in a white robe marching into the church while carrying a stick with some kind of bloody doll nailed to it. WTF!

dogalmighty's picture
Hey Mom,

Hey Mom,
Dialogue is key...if you and your daughter have a clear unfettered communication, then let her know how you feel, and why...and listen to her if she does the same. Often people don't even consider how things effect others, without being made aware of a situation. or may jump to the wrong conclusion when the full picture is not illuminated. When a healthy dialogue is initiated, confusion or misunderstanding are avoided. I can not count how many times frank communication has cleared the air between my wife and I, Friends and family. Just my two cents.

Cognostic's picture

Frankly, it all just sounds like another Christian personality cult. The articles were interesting but didn't really say much. Apparently the Child Molesting Catholics are going to start talking about sex and love as a true expression of the love Jesus has for us.

Your response to your daughter is priceless and completely appropriate. "That's nice dear," keeps you non-judgmental and "In the loop." Let her know that you are there for her whenever she wants to discuss things.
You might want to look into "Street Epistomology" as a means of conversing.

raphael28589's picture


I have few experience in talking to religious people, but I watched a lot of street epistemology videos.
he is really nice)

And basic epistemology like (
don't have english references, but there are subtitles under his videos if you ever want to watch)

Even great scientists sometimes become believers (but they let religion aside when they do research).
You have to talk to her.
If she only talks with believers, nothing will ever change, and you'll remain uncomfortable interacting with her.

It must be a friendly conversation though. If you use feelings, she might "hide" her beliefs instead of just stopping to believe.

You just have to stay calm, take your time, and never argue against her opinions. (or you will trigger reactance | "arguing" includes using facts. Never try to use facts, that doesn't work 99% of time, even when you're not doing street epistemology. (few experience I got irl + talks online I had and watched))

Ask her why she believes in whatever instead.
Listen to her explaining to you why, write down and organize her reasons, repeat or rephrase for her (make sure she agrees, if not ask her why you rephrased wrong and correct yourself).

Do this many times over the course of the year (idk how often you see her), when she agrees to.
That's just a one way conversation. She talks about something she likes, you listen to her.
The aim is to make her realize slowly that she has no reason to believe.

That's street epistemology.

If you watch the cordial curiosity youtube channel (first link I brought) or anthony magnabosco, you'll learn that everyone land on the same basic arguments, which all boils down to faith or personal experience.
Try to imagine thought experiments your daughter can perform to show logical fallacies.
Never impose yourself over her by giving out a straightforeward response.

Really, you just have to be ready yourself before talking to her, watch other people doing street epistemology conversations and it will come by itself after a dozen vids.

Raise your children with love, but always teach them to doubt about what they know.

Whitefire13's picture
Hey “mom” - fellow female

Hey “mom” - fellow female parent here...

My typical conversation with my boys (give you guys some insight as to why I’m “up” on conspiracy and woo woo)

“Whoahhh - did you know some people believe the earth is flat?”

ME: “Really?”

“Yah! They showed airplane trajectories and talked about the curve percentage and how it should be able to be measured and stuff...”

ME: “huh, that’s interesting...I’ve never really thought about it. I’m not a pilot. I’ve been on planes though...I can’t remember whether I even looked for a curve...”

“Oh, if there is a curve it’s because the window glass is shaped that way...”

ME: “yah, I could see how window glass could creative a “curve” theory, I know people use to believe the earth was flat.”

“Yah! And I was raised with a globe, so I never thought about it!”

ME: “ I wonder which one it is?”

Now off we go- ... I had them use measurements of atmosphere height, the various layers of atmosphere, height at which planes fly, height of satellites, compared to “field of vision”, etc - had them explore - they came to their own conclusions (the earth is round)

When one went to a “site” (flat earth) to gather data for our experiments and calculations, his face was priceless when on the same site he read “how God put a dome in place over the earth” and asked me - does this guy think we live in (one of those shake/snow/bottle thingys) ...I’m like, “what do you think from what he’s describing?”

My advise? Stop educating yourself about “what she’s learning”
She’s 25!!!!
Get her to “educate” you for a change.
She’s not stupid. She’s coming to her conclusions for a reason.
Maybe the level of evidence isn’t good or high enough for you (it isn’t for me either), but it may be at a level acceptable for her.

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