I left the seminary and began a lifelong search for the truth about God. Ultimately, I concluded that there is no such thing as God, and that all teaching about him is an illusion.
Today, as I drive by Catholic Churches on Sunday the parking lots are filled with cars. It is plain to see that millions of Americans still believe in the Church and still go to weekly mass. It astonishes me to think that with all of the scandals and errors of the Church, there are still a lot of people who want to believe that this is the true religion.
People do not seem to be bothered by the silliness of a Pope strolling around magnificent cathedrals clad in lustrous medieval vestments and wearing a fabulous medieval crown. They are not turned off by the absurdity of a Pope claiming to be infallible on matters of faith and morals. They are not in the least bothered by the claim that Catholic priests can turn bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus.
Catholics go on believing even when their rational faculties are attacked by the most bizarre claims of the Church. When the Shroud of Turin was exposed as a Thirteenth Century forgery, believers refused to accept the evidence and continued to venerate the cloth. . . .
. . . Somewhere in my youth, after leaving the seminary, I began to realize these things and stopped considering myself a Catholic. I don’t fully understand why most thinking Catholics do not do likewise.
Jack, this is perhaps why skepticism is floundering and some “Catholics go on believing,” as you put it. Actually, it is a great deal more, like dealing with accuracy.
First of all, it is not just a Catholic thing. Certainly the pope is. But the broader issue of God’s existence is not. Nor is the very specific example of the Shroud of Turin simply a Catholic thing.
Secondly, you need to address issues, not evade them as you have with the Shroud. A lawyer (you tell us you are, one) would certainly want a judge or jury to know that the exposing of the shroud as a thirteenth (or fourteenth, let’s be precise) century forgery has been thoroughly discredited by significant peer-reviewed scientific work. Facts are important, here. You may wish to disagree. Fine. But, you sir, must not “refuse to accept the evidence.”