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A Catholic Convert talks about faith and life

The Church of the Youtube Guy

re·li·gion/riˈlijən/

Noun:
  1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
  2. Details of belief as taught or discussed.

This video currently has over six million views on youtube. I have a feeling that it has helped to form the opinions of at least some of those six million people, and that is a scary thought. Not that I disagree with everything the young man says, actually I agree with quite a bit of it, especially in the second half when he is talking about what Christ did for us even though we are not worthy.  A lot of it is very well thought out.  My problem is more with the “no religion” portion of the video.  It is fairly obvious that “religion” is a veiled reference to a specific church. Continue reading

The Church of Claude Lemieux

Continued from yesterday, how I stumbled my way into the Catholic faith.

In my hockey example from yesterday we were left with Detroit fans thinking one thing and Colorado fans thinking something else, but who decides who’s right and who’s wrong?  Well, in the hockey world the referee on the ice makes the initial determination by deciding to call a penalty or not.  Then the league will review the play to see if additional measures are needed, such as a suspension.  In this case, Lemieux was called for a penalty by the on ice official, and suspended for two games by the league.  Case closed. Dirty play, right?  Not so fast, Avalanche and Lemieux fans will still say it’s not a dirty hit regardless of the league ruling.  And they will make that determination watching the exact same video that all sane people use to prove it was dirty.  So, again, only Lemieux knows for sure.

But, what if Claude Lemieux had formed the NHL.  What if he had gone out and picked twelve Canadians and told them they would form a league, and that league would continue until the end of time.  Through lockouts, player strikes, bad calls in Stanley Cup finals.  He would teach the twelve Canadians everything he knew about hockey, and he knew the game perfectly.  He would commission them to go out and expand the league as they saw fit, even to far away lands like Tampa and Dallas.  To forgive or punish plays based on their discretion, because he had given them the authority to do so.  Then, these men passed the teachings of Claude Lemieux on to other men because, after all, the league had to last until the end of time.  It could not just fade away with the death of the twelve Canadians.  Then, those men passed it on to others, and so on, and so on, until today.  Would that league have the ultimate authority and knowledge to rule on the hit, and what Claude Lemieux meant when he did it?

Now, I know this isn’t a perfect example.  Claude Lemieux can’t start the NHL and then many generations later be penalized by the same league, I’m aware of that.  What we have in Christianity, however, is somewhat similar.  I came to believe the Catholic Church’s claim that Jesus founded a Church, and that Church has handed down the teachings of Christ from generation to generation for 2000 years.  At about the 1500 year mark there were some folks who were getting very upset with some people within that original church, with some valid reasons,  and decided to start their own Church.  Now, that split church is about 30,000 different churches, molding the teachings of Christ to be just about anything under the sun.  If you can dream it, you can find a church that will say that it’s OK for you to do it.  On the other hand, that original Church is still here, still teaching the same things about Christ as it was 2000 years ago.  There is tons more that goes into this particular argument, but in a nutshell that’s it.  One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church – in my belief there is only one that fits the bill.

Later I’ll explore how I came to that belief.  To be continued…

 

 

The Bible Answer Man Debate Part 1

I’ve been listening to this CD set called “The Bible Answer Man Debate”.  It is a debate that  took place between Jimmy Akin, a Catholic apologist, and James White, a protestant theologian.  After finishing the CDs I came to one conclusion – both sides are capable of defending their position very well.  For those of us who are not church scholars and theologians I’m not sure how we could ever come to any consensus.  Now, of course, I thought that Jimmy Akin got the best of the debate, but I am not exactly an impartial observer.  I have chips in the game, I’m a Catholic.  I’m sure that all protestants that heard the debate felt that James White came out victorious.

Both men are capable of citing scripture, Vatican documents, writings of church fathers, and using these things to prove their point.  In fact, many times they use the exact same passage to prove completely opposite points!  If you are completely unbiased, how can you possibly choose between the two theologies?  For most christians, they either were raised Catholic or protestant (Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, the Non-Denominational Denomination, and so on, and so on….) and they stay that way.  Some, on the other hand leave one denomination for another.  The reason, however, rarely has anything to do with doctrine.  Usually the reason is much deeper, like “I like the pastor better at this church”, or “The music is better over here”, or “They have more activities for kids”.  You know, really profound reasons for abandoning your faith.

As far as people leaving the Catholic Church, there are are few reasons that I hear over and over again:

  1. They asked for money for a Church addition so my parents left.
  2. My (insert evil relative’s name here) was Catholic and he/she used to (insert evil, sinful act here).
  3. I wasn’t being fed

Again, little to do with doctrine, more to do with actions of men.  Now, I can go on and on about all three of the reasons above (and maybe I will yet this week) but most of how we feel comes more from bias than facts.  I relate it to sports, I relate lots of stuff to sports.  In the NHL in 1996 the Detroit Red Wings were playing the Colorado Avalanche in the Conference Finals – the winner goes on to play for the Stanley Cup.  During the game Kris Draper of the Red Wings was hit from behind by Claude Lemieux of the Avalanche and fell forward smashing his face into the boards.  Draper broke his jaw, lost teeth, and looked like someone hit him in the face with a baseball bat.  Players and fans in Detroit were outraged by what was obviously a cheap shot with intent to injure by Lemieux.  Players and fans in Colorado said it was not a cheap shot, the only thing that made it bad was the way Draper fell into the boards.  Both sides saw the exact same thing, both had completely different opinions.  Their opinions are buried in their bias, but one of them is correct and one is wrong.  Only Lemieux knows, and he may never tell, but he knows if he meant to injure Draper or not.  Everyone else is just speculating.

Now, in the protestant/Catholic debate the same holds true.  We have the same book, or pretty close minus seven books the protestants threw out, to give us our rules, with very differing opinions.  Someone is right and someone is wrong.  It’s that simple. How to decide who’s right and who’s wrong is not that simple.  Tomorrow (or soon) I’ll get into how I made my decision.