Posted by: gebs | September 25, 2010

Faith Today

If we were to ask a blind person why they believe in the existence of colour they would most probably answer that their belief is solely based on peoples testimony about colour. Although we cannot for certain know the actual contents of the blind persons understanding of colour, having never seen it, it would be false to say that the blind person should not trust what so many people have to say.

Why should this be different for our belief in God? It is logically fair to say that I believe in God because of people’s testimony, and the more I read this testimony, and witness it in my own life, the greater my belief in God becomes. Just because we are spiritually blind doesn’t mean that spirituality does not exist and that we should not believe in it. Just like the blind person who cannot see colour, we are all blind to God, yet the people who have seen colour, or known God, are credible sources of testimony which should be trusted and can become a foundation for belief.

I think a major feature of the modern day western attack on the Catholic Church has much to do with the fact that the Church has become so exaggeratedly tarnished that people can no longer see its messengers as being credible witnesses to the message of Truth. Although our ancestors, up to about a century ago, had knowledge of their own history, the modern minds is solely concerned with the present and the future. The modern world looks forward, with little concern for the past, which we understand as being only a necessary phase of human evolution. We live in a world of instant communication and information overload where today’s news quickly becomes old news. Technology has changed the world and the very structure of human existence. We are different beings now. If we hear a report about the shocking abuse of children by the Catholic Church, our mind is instinctively driven to disregard anything else, but the present information being received and make our judgement solely on it. In other words, a few hundred years ago, if people heard some scandal in the church (and like any other human organisation, the church is not short of scandals), this would not automatically mean that the whole church, which they were an intricate part of, is no longer valid, or that God, for that matter, is a myth. This is our mentality. As soon as the Catholic Church is mentioned, emotions run wild in the human being as their mind, and the instinctive inferences it makes, is moved to anger and disgust. All religious language tends to result in such emotions today, like the word sin, which even I tried to avoid for a period in my own Catholic life, seemingly ignorant to the fact that this word has a treasure of meaning spanning back thousands of years. In my modern day ignorant mind, I simply want to replace the word sin, with a more neutral and politically correct word. If I had knowledge of what the word sin means, however, I would quickly see that no other word can capture the implicit and explicit weaknesses that seem to limit life, peace and happiness, for both my self and the entire world.

For those of us who are choosing to remain Catholic in this hostile and dominating world, we need to understand that the church will be a different thing in the future. Church numbers are dwindling and the average age of members is growing. As the theologian Karl Rahner, once said, God will have a different place in the world of the future. Perhaps the Church will have to give up everything one day, and move back into the caves, and as shocking as this may seem, in truth, it is not the most important concern, the most important thing is to keep our Catholic faith, even without the buildings, so that the Good News of Jesus Christ continues to change the world and peoples hearts. Those of us, therefore, who are holding onto what seems like a sinking ship, should find comfort in the fact that the original church had no greater treasure that its message, and it is the message that we need to inherit and keep alive in our world today. We are the witnesses to this message today, and it is our testimonies that will help our children discover their faith and the know power of its Good News.

Hold on firm all ye children of Zion, for Jah has been with you form the beginning, and will remain with you until the end. Although you may find yourselves in Babylon, do not loose faith in your despair, and keep your eyes fixed on the Holy Mountain of Zion, where Jah stands watching over the whole world.

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