Monday, December 7, 2009


I suppose this is what they call a "trial of faith." Could it be a mark of improvement? I don't know. But it breaks down like this:

I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Resurrection, and so forth. I believe that the Catholic Church is the embassy of the Holy Spirit on Earth, in this life. I find it unlikely that the Apostles simply "made it all up," as a group of Galilean peasants "mistaking" their rabbi for Jahweh Himself is a patent absurdity; He either had to be God, or they had to all be deceived or deceivers -- it's a statistical and a moral impossibility. Furthermore, if the Apostles are the ones "really responsible" for the Church, then they must have been a lot smarter than their Master, because the facts they present are clearly beyond reason. Either their claim that their Master is God is true, or the most berated, undermined, spit upon, targeted, idiosyncratic people that ever lived "invented" a religion that would have baffled even Plato.

And yet -- why am I invaded by a pernicious sense of doubt? What happens goes like this: some absurd question arises in me about the authenticity of the gospels, or the honesty of the Apostles (though it never occurs to me to implicate St. Paul, who everyone now likes to make the whipping boy -- somehow I always assume St. Paul is right, and that may be a rock to hold on to), or some such thing, and then I consider the actual objections in the form of questions, and, go figure, the questions always have an answer; I can show how the objection isn't even viable, how it betrays a misunderstanding, or what have you, and I win one more for the team. And yet, and yet.... That's what it's like: "And yet, and yet...." In other words, there is no rational or evidentiary basis for these "and-yets", yet they still bother me. They are not based on reason or upon data; they are based on imaginary hypotheses, "what-ifs," obsessions, or emotions.

This is why the church regards Faith as a virtue. It is not believing something even in the face of contrary evidence: it is simply holding on to what one's reason has previously judged true. That is, one has faith that, given the derivation of two from the square root of four, it will always remain so in every possible world: faith is based on reason.

If after many good reasons you're still bothered by doubt, the problem is with you, not with the data.

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