Critical thinking, like common sense, is not very common. Instead of reasoned discourse when refuting an argument, an appeal to feelings is employed. Often an attack is made against the person expressing a point of view (ad hominem) instead of the argument. This is a common, and decidedly uncivil, tactic by bloggers who disagree with the Catholic Church’s moral teaching especially on the hot button issue of same sex marriage.
Instead of attempting to learn what the Church actually teaches about human sexuality and marriage and why, the charge Catholics are bigots and stupid is made.
I have had people accusing me of needing an authority to “tell me what to do”, because I am insecure or lack something in my character.
Well poor Christian that I am, I most certainly am lacking in many of the virtues. Maybe even all of them. But I accept the teaching of the Catholic Church because it is true and not because I am a needy dependent person. I recognize my total dependence on God, but that does not mean that I left my brains in the baptismal font.
Then there is the lovely condescending accusation that, because I trust in the teaching of the Church of Jesus Christ, I am blindly following. In other words I am not very bright. Never mind that I read my way back into the Church beginning with the Catechism and that I have never stopped studying for even one day since, I must be lacking in intellectual rigor.
This is because what, too often, passes for intellectual rigor in our ever so enlightened culture is to have an open mind. This means that asking questions is the highest good. But finding answers is not. You must seek but not find.
But all that such a perpetually open mind leads to is uncertainty and doubt without end. It leads to dissent and sin.
Seeking truth leads to the discovery that truth is absolute because Jesus Christ is truth. Everything else is a lie.
“Err. I guess that would make SS Augustine, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, Albert the Great, Maritain, Dawson, vonHildebrand, Edith Stein, von Balthasar etc etc the greatest philosophers, theologians and faithful Catholic thinkers of every age to be non thinking, brainwashed dummies.
No, it doesn’t wash. The Catholic Church does not demand that her members be brainwashed zombie cult members. There is a difference between dissent and discovery. The Church calls us to use our reason to explore the richness of the Church’s teachings. Even when it is difficult especially when it is difficult we are called to engage with the teachings of the church with an enquiring and questing mind. The questions are not the problem. Questions are good. The attitude is the problem.”
Heh. I am relieved to know that the Church is not a zombie cult!
Faith is indeed a struggle. Belief in something greater than ourselves is a struggle. I sometimes have moments of doubt. But I refuse to feed the doubt. I persevere in prayer and faith.
Fr. Longenecker ends his post thus:
“Nevertheless, from the emails and comments I get from around the country it seems that a very large proportion of the American Catholic Church are still locked in the downward spiral of dissent and doubt. This attitude goes nowhere at all, and all people get from it is a false freedom. The call license ‘liberty’. Lack of discipline they call ‘freedom of conscience’ and disregard for the sacred tradition they call ‘creativity.’ The dissenting Catholics in this country are basically making up their own religion, and whenever we make up our own religion we only end up worshipping one thing: ourselves.” Do read the entire post here.