Friday, May 27, 2016

Without Truth, There's No Church

I'm reading a book right now on why Catholics, particularly young ones, are leaving the Church. It gives several reasons derived from surveys, all of them valid. I'm in a hurry this morning, so I don't have time to give you the list; I'm sure you can guess most of them.

I agree with it at the micro level, but not at the macro level.

At the macro level, what has happened is that we no longer believe in the Truth. That is, there is no one Truth for people to find about life, morality, salvation*, God* and the other over-arching questions in life. Catholicism is all about defining the Truth through logic, experience and prayer. If there is no Truth, there's no point looking for it and no point in an institution that purports to offer it.

The Church is like a store that says it sells unicorns. Since unicorns don't exist**, there's no point frequenting the establishment. It's not that God is like a unicorn, it's that Truth is like a unicorn. Most of the people leaving the Church aren't becoming atheists, they're just bailing out on the institution.

More ponderings on this later.

* - Assuming, of course, that God and salvation exist.

** - Update: In the comments, Foxie points out the flaw in my unicorn analogy. The Truth really does exist, it's just that we don't think it does. The store really does sell unicorns, but the customers refuse to see them and therefor don't come in to shop. It's still a lousy analogy, but at least now it's a bit better. Thanks, Foxfier.


tim eisele said...

" Most of the people leaving the Church aren't becoming atheists, they're just bailing out on the institution."

Yes. This. Thank you. My perspective is that the Church says that people should stay in it because of all the (nebulously-defined) benefits that it provides, but then after taking a person's time, money, and commitment, it does not actually provide these benefits. So why go?

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is, that store has unicorns.
But instead of going: "Here! This is a unicorn! Look, you can touch the coat, you can see it, you must feed it like thus and here's two thousand years of evidence, from us and from others!"--- they just go "nobody will believe unicorns. Let's talk about how we've got sort of unicorns, or really nice horses with horns...don't want to scare anyone off. "

They've got bleeping unicorns, and instead they try to drum up the nebulously defined benefits Tim here mentions. :/

That's before the whole not-giving-people-the-resources-they-need-to-defend-the-church thing; I was exposed to the teachings, but never given any help to defend them. (Say, the teachings on contraception. Got LOTS of propaganda on that at school, got lots of hassling from other kids, got... coloring pages at CCD class. As a teen.....)

K T Cat said...

Foxie, you said it much better than I did. We spend our time within the Truth-less world of the popular culture instead of asserting that the Truth exists.

Ilíon said...

Perhaps the root of the problem you're seeing traces back to the (false) idea and semi-doctrine that "Without the (RC) Church, there is no Truth"

Anonymous said...

Your metaphor; it just works so well I could expand it a tad.

K T Cat said...

Foxie, I corrected the post and gave you the credit you deserve. Your thinking was much clearer than mine.

K T Cat said...

Ilion, another improvement on my post! You're absolutely right and you state the reason I've remained a Catholic and become a stronger one every day. The Church has the best, most evolved vision of the Truth. Not a perfect one, but the best one.

Ilíon said...

^ I think you missed my point.

At the same time, what you *said* -- "The Church has the best, most evolved vision of the Truth." -- seems to highlight my point.

There is no such thing as "version(s) of truth"; there is truth and non-truth, with no graduation ... and there are understandings of truth, which do come in graduation.

I presume that you meant that, rather than what you did write. And, of course, we'll have to disagree on the proposition that "The [RC] Church has the best, most evolved [understanding] of the Truth".

But, even if it were true that "The [RC] Church has the best, most evolved [understanding] of the Truth", the fact would remain that This Truth is neither determined nor created by the RCC, but merely discovered by it.

My point was that many Roman Catholics *do* believe the (false ... and absurd) idea that the RCC does not merely discover The Truth, but actually creates it.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem (and it's church -- and synagogue -- in general, but also organizations as well) is that people don't want to be part of a group any more. "Bowling alone." It's not that people are leaving the Catholic Church to go to OTHER churches; people at leaving organized religion, in droves. The Catholic Church isn't have quite the problems that the fluffier churches are -- the one that bend to the latest fad. Churches that remain more traditional bleed fewer members than do the more modernized churches.

In addition to leaving church, people are not joining the social and benevolent organizations that their parents and grandparents did. Many are hurting; some barely exist.

Church used to provide people with a larger surrogate family/tribe; so did the social and benevolent organizations. It was nice.

It's not just about Truth. I think it has to do with the bill of good we've been being sold by the Gramscian March through our fine ivory tower institutions. All the little boys and girls who've gone off to college for the past fifty years have graduated to become teachers, journalists, writers, lawyers, professors, MINISTERS, etc., promoting more of the Gramscian nonsense in little tiny cuts, until we're have what were have now...

I grew up in a very small conservative farming town. EVERYONE went to church. Now, in the same town, few do. I recently went "church shopping" -- looking for a place to pray for the Christians being slaughtered in the Middle East. I went to three Catholic Churches and not a ONE mentioned anything about it. The poor Moslem refugees were more worthy of mention. The rest of the homilies and announcements (outside of parish stuff) were more apropos of a left wing college student group. (And I'm not in a college town!)