Why we’d all be Catholic if we really thought about it | Thomas M. Doran | The Dispatch at CWR
And why the only rational alternative to Catholicism is fatalism-hedonism
In the modern world, where we shouldn’t presume to tell others what’s true and false, good and bad, or right and wrong, saying we’d all be Catholic if we really thought about it is sure to provoke scorn and ire. What about happy and generous Buddhists, Muslims, Lutherans, atheists? Didn't this sort of close-minded thinking go by the board a hundred years ago? Isn’t this the problem with ISIS and Al-Qaeda, that they think they have a corner on the truth?
The novelist and essayist Walker Percy, who converted to Catholicism from secular humanism, once wrote a self interview in which he had the following exchange with himself:
Q: How is such a belief [in Catholicism] possible in this day and age?
A: What else is there?
Q: What do you mean, what else is there? There is humanism, atheism, agnosticism, Marxism, behaviorism, materialism, Buddhism, Muhammadanism, Sufism, astrology, occultism, theosophy.
A: That’s what I mean.
So, here goes. And yes, those with other belief systems share some of these things. And no, no other belief system embodies all of them.
• Catholicism insists that every person is created to be great, a hero, to rise above human weaknesses and mistakes, to be more than just a smart animal, and that becoming this hero has permanent significance.
• Catholics are convinced that heaven is a glorious adventure, not eternal boredom or conformity or mindless obedience, and if heaven is real, as Catholics believe, even the longest and most fruitful life on Earth is just a speck compared to life in heaven as your best self.
• What if hell—the misery of self-absorption and separation from your Creator—is real, and people actually go there, as Thomas Aquinas, Dante, C. S. Lewis, and others have described and depicted? For Catholics, hell is the willful rejection of the means the Creator gives us to get to heaven, where our Creator ardently desires us to be.