Contra “The Controlling” Catholic Church: Against the Caricature that Only the Blind and Ignorant “Faithful” Follow The Church   Leave a comment

1. Introduction

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)

As a child coming of age into young adult years, my Reversion to Catholicism is one marked by an initial hatred for The Catholic Church as I understood it. I was the poster child of Progressive Modernist thought who yet embodied a fierce New Age Protestantism about things pertaining to The Church and the surrounding cultural and spiritual developments that I found myself growing up around in. This series is written to rebuke the writings of my Youth, a sort of self-imposed Penance to atone for my own personal ignorance. The writings of my youth are held on the internet at the Yahoo! Voices website, there are 4 Articles written between July to November 2007, just after my graduation from High School. It should be noted that the rebuke is thematically addressed rather than chronologically answered.

The First Article written in July 2007 was titled, “Christianity Vs. True Christianity: A Problem with the Church?” This article embodied perfectly my Anti-Catholic view influenced by Progressive Modernism, Protestant propaganda yet New Age influences at the time. The Second Article written in August 2007 was title, “Church of Christ: The Church is Not the Real Thing!” This article embodied my confusion and the varieties of cultural propaganda set against the Church, this article sounds most like what I hear today, and that I have come to most fight against today. The Third Article was written in the same month and was titled, “Is the Bible Really Full and Complete?” This article was my argument that the Bible was incomplete and that since it has been left to many revisions it is no longer a trustworthy book, this attack the notion that The Bible was the Complete and Final Word of God. The Fourth and Final Article was written in November 2007 and was titled, “My Road to Christian Gnosticism” Here it is showcased for all to see my love of Heterodoxy and lack of understanding of Orthodoxy, of course in celebrating fighting against the superstitious ignorance of the Church I now confess that I was the one being superstitious and ignorant.



II. My Argument Against My Past Self

When I was younger and ignorant of the Faith that I was reared under, and as I came of age and saw faith as unsubstantiated belief, believed by the uneducated and backward peoples I saw The Church as the institution and gathering of the blind and willfully ignorant. For me at the time, I was at War against Ignorance and any and all forms of Ignorance had to be destroyed, whether spiritual or material. As I look back on it, I realize that I was not at War with Ignorance but just being impatient to know all things. This post is written to address what Faith is and how people are meant to live in it and how they actually live it.

Faith as people understands it today is confused with mere credulity. They say that Faith believes a set of propositions without evidence; I say that believing something without evidence is not a sign of Faithfulness but credulity. I say that Faith goes ahead of Reason not falls behind reason, credulity falls behind reason. In the Authentic Faith, there is no sacrifice of the intellect, for the intellect is designed to study the actions of God in Nature, however eventually we must admit that the study of nature can only take us so far in understanding God, eventually you will need Faith.

To demonstrate this, let us consider a human relationship. Now let us say its someone you have yet to know, but want to know. One can be a person who gathers a lot of information about the person they long to know by viewing their social profile or getting to know their friends, this is all within Reasons grasps to do these things. Let’s say you muster up enough courage to sit down and talk to this person, they can either confirm or deny the rationally acquired bits and pieces of information that you got before you met them. Eventually though this person will do something, they will reveal themselves to you Truths, Secrets, that no one may ever know, that no social profile or friends could or will divulge. They will give their Heart to you, and you will need to decide if you can trust them. The act of Trust is the Act of Faith, there’s no way to prove in any rational scientific sense these things that this person reveals to you, only your own Intuition and Empathy to guide you to saying Yes or saying No. How much more mysterious then is the creative act of “to be itself” who is the Ground of Personhood, compared to a particular person who is both an object and subject in creation?

One thing that I hear out of New Age circles is this notion of, “Surrender” I ask then, how can a person surrender if they do not Trust in the Presence of whatever it is they are surrendering too? This act of surrender requires Faith, it’s practically synonymous. Faith is not blind belief in mere propositions, the same way Faith in what a person reveals to you, is not blind belief in mere propositions, rather it is an opportunity to Trust. Faith is relational not propositional, it reveals what is right and proper to be revealed for the moment until the person is ready to be revealed more. Faith is intuitional, and one needs to balance out there sensation-based rational thoughts with the supra-rational thoughts founded in an Intuitive Trust in God.

Finally it has been said that Faith Seeks Understanding, in a word that in that Relational Intuitive Trust rooted in the Love of God and trying to follow Him we would become all the more intrigued and want to know Him even more. A Living Faith that Seeks Understanding runs counter to everything the modern culture understands Faith to be, since our modern culture sees Faith as a threatening unquestioning credulity to a set of propositions. The Living Faith seeks to be unpacked and understood, who among us when a person shares a deep intimate part of themselves with us (e.g. an experience and the emotions and thoughts that follows) would just leave it be and not try to understand it further? How much more so with God?

You might find yourself feeling at home in the Catholic Church but only if you can come to it in a manner that does not resemble mere credulity, all things in the Church need to be approached with an Intellect that unbiasedly investigates, but in the end Faith shows us that if what The Church says is True then all the dogmas of it are not lifeless and limiting but rather living and serve a liberating purpose. Faith keeps us in our place as we begin the process of understanding things, depending on our predispositions and Grace, we begin to understand at a faster pace. In a more worldly analogy, you put your Trust in an instructor and depending on the Skill of the Instructor and your own learning curve, you begin to understand the things the Instructor reveals to you. Another alternative image of God is that of a Teacher, it is no wonder why the greatest Intellectual in the Catholic Tradition, St. Thomas Aquinas called himself a “Dumb Ox” for he knew of his own learning curve in light of the awesome skill of the Lord God to teach, no wonder God tells us to be still for how can we understand if we are not still:

Christ as Teacher


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