Why I Am Catholic

Patheos has asked bloggers to finish the sentence: Why I Am A

They’re giving us 200 words to answer. I don’t need 200 words to tell you why I am Catholic. I only need four:

Because Catholicism is true.

St. Thomas Aquinas gave me the tools I needed to understand my experience of God

It’s that simple. It’s not a matter of “belief.” Belief presumes that there’s some option: that I have a choice in my favored model of reality.

No such choice exists. (I would have chosen … something else.) As I tell my students: this is Truth. You either accept Truth, or you reject Truth. What you want to “believe” is wholly beside the point.

My whole life I looked for truth. I shed this faith as soon as I was able, along with what I saw to be its silliness, emptiness, and illogic. I thought I found a better model for reality in the god of the philosophers, but it did not suffice. Fifteen years after I lapsed, I was given a profound experience of the living God.

I doubted it. I resisted it. I applied reason and logic to understanding it, and reason and logic are what allowed me to come back. I was given the gift of a conversion experience through Christ, and the church gave me the tools to test it. And in testing it, I found my way home again.

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    Since this is linking on the Patheos main page, I imagine I’ll be getting all manner of trolls. Please read the comment policy at the top, and be aware that I’m not going to run myself in circles answering the 1,000,000th iteration of “God doesn’t exist and I hate him.”

  • Gloria Laudes

    Thanks be to God!

  • Mark Shea

    I notice you never mentioned chickens in this post–even though Vatican insiders report that a disgraced former Pope denied Jesus in a way that ties him *directly* to *your* DOCUMENTED obsession. What are you hiding? WHAT ARE YOU HDING????!!!!

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    Chickens exist. Therefore, God exists. It’s self evident.

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  • Advocate

    Thank you, Tom. The acknowledgement of the Faith as Truth did not entirely hit me until I faced the death of a relative. Standing in the hospital room, I was suddenly struck by the fact that my belief in God, the soul, Final Judgment, Heaven and Hell were not personal preferences. They were either True or Not True.
    I learned that my faith is not so much a personal belief as an acknowledgment of true state of things. I did not understand faith as such until it was put to the test by those event, much like a mountain climber does not concern himself with faith in his rope until he is hanging from it suspended in midair.
    It also helped me to understand that the truth of the Faith does not lie in my effort to believe it, but rather that my faith depends upon my willingness to acknowledge the Truth, no matter how inconvenient or difficult.

  • Kathy J

    Thank you for your brief and strong defense of the Faith. I have just recently started reading your blog, but I am getting a lot out of it.

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  • John Langton

    Except, it’s not true. That’s the pesky thing about facts, Tommy. They are true whether you believe them or not. There is no god, only the natural world.

    You’re as intellectually dishonest a person as you claim the atheists are.

  • Patrick

    Could you shoe me the theorem or logical progression that led you to “know” it to be true? I would like to see if I can follow along.

    One of the most difficult obstacles is the incompatibility of a First Cause with the notion that all things have causes. While the latter is, in essence, a scientific theory, the former does not seem to even have an comparable example we could use to support the possibility, much less the fact.

    Thanks for your time.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    Let me get this straight: I’m supposed to spend my time re-explaining the Quinque viae and Aristotelian notions of causality–rudimentary information available in literally thousands of places on the internet–for … for what purpose, exactly? Is this information you cannot find anywhere else? Because if you want to know where I stand on it, I’ll save you the trouble: I accept it as true. Because it is true. And a model of reality that denies this fundamental truth is thus false, and not worth serious debate.

  • Patrick

    You had not provided any detail to your argument in the blog post as I read it. You have given me a couple of basics to go with. I appreciate that. I mean no ill will, it is just something I like to know – the reasons and reasoning.

  • http://fidesquaerens.org/ Marta

    Can you elaborate a bit on how you got from the Five Ways to Christianity and Catholocism in particular? I can see how they prove theism, but accepting the faith seems… Well, faith-based. I am a Methodist who respects Catholicism but still is happy in her Methodism. I’d be curious what about those texts led you specifically to the RCC, if that’s the case.

  • Jim D

    Marta,
    Here are a few of things that Catholics can brag about, and no one else can:
    1. 250,000 people that show up for the installation of their leader
    2. Far and away the most interesting “Why I am a (such and such)” responses on Patheos.
    3. G.K. Chesterton
    4. More sinners than any other denomination.
    5. THE, central focus of hatred by Secular Liberals, Communists, Fundamentalist Christians, Atheists, and the KKK.
    6. Has been behind the times for thousands of years and probably will be behind a thousand years from now.

  • c matt

    One of the most difficult obstacles is the incompatibility of a First Cause with the notion that all things have causes.

    That obstacle is precisely the strength of the argument. Maybe it will help you to look at it as contingent vs noncontingent, or necessary vs. unnecessary, rather than uncaused vs. caused. Or, to give it a more biblical flavor, uncreated vs. created. The notion of “causation” has two modern connotations that make it a little more difficult to wrap your head around the argument, and therefore to properly evalute it. First, as you point out, causation has a scientific notion about it, which obscures the fact that the question is fundamentally a philosophical one, not a scientific one. And second, causation tends to imply a temporal relationship, which, as temporal beings ourselves, makes it difficult to understand (and therefore accept) concepts that are beyond temporal relationships.

  • Theodore Seeber

    The trouble is the blog post was limited to 200 words, and the subject has been done to death elsewhere.

    For a modern version though, I recommend Fr. Robert Spritzer’s _New Proofs for the Existence of God_, which is basically what Thomas pointed you to but updated with the latest research in cosmology and quantum mechanics.

  • Theodore Seeber

    It is #4 that drives some cradle Catholics out of the Church and into the arms of Atheism, unfortunately. They have problems reconciling the idea of a Church Militant with a Church Suffering with a Church Triumphant- or to put it another way, an institution that claims to be Holy when every single one of its individual members sins.

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