instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The scope is always eternity

Part of what I'm getting at, with my concern about viewing Catholicism through an apologetical lens, is that it can lead to confusing the map for the territory. We don't have faith in the Church's systematized doctrines; we have faith in the Church's Founder. Believing a doctrine is an act of faith in Christ.

If we make the system of beliefs the object of faith, then we're arguing for a falsehood. That's a tough sell, even to people who like systems.

But not everyone likes systems, and probably no one likes an arbitrary system that imposes suffering on them. Steven Riddle, writing against what he calls "Catholic Manicheeism," suggests that saying, "It's the law, get over it,"
may be true, but it is not inclined to helping the human and humane person get over it. It is this fundamental insensitivity to a major part of human life that I find problematic.
The LORD our God, the LORD is one. From this divine simplicity comes the unity of our Faith. To focus in on one small point may be necessary, but it can't be done outside the context of the whole of the Faith in God Who is Love.

(I like the image of coming to know the Faith as studying a multi-faceted gem. We can look at one facet only in relation with those it touches, and as we look at more and more of the gem we find the facets disappear; what we are holding is really a perfectly smooth pearl.)

If, in a discussion with another, we give the impression that the scope of the matter at hand is only this one point, then even if we win the argument with sound proofs, we are teaching at best a half-truth. Winning such an argument may only make things worse.