Yes, the Catholic Church is absurd,
And its story the daftest I’ve heard
A tale hard to swallow,
Not easy to follow—
Of course, I believe every word.
Now, it’s not that I’m simply naïve
But a worse church, I cannot conceive
The incompetence, sin,
And corruption within,
Are the reasons I choose to believe!
See, the story that’s clearly the worst,
In the world, is most widely dispersed
Which would surely be odd—
So it’s evidence, God
Must have chosen the Catholics first
My conclusion must not be debated
Though religions are somewhat related
Mine alone must be real,
While the others, I feel
Are just something that mankind created.
They are quite simply far too believable
And their aims, while mundane, are achievable
Mine alone are insane—
Why, they boggle the brain!—
It’s the Truth cos it’s all inconceivable!
So, yeah, on my aggregator a post pops up, from the Catholic channel at Patheos, which actually made me laugh. It begins with a bit of special pleading:
The other day I tweeted a wisecrack: “If a Protestant says religion is just a man made institution, agree with him. His religion is a man made institution. The tweet elicited a reply from an atheist saying, “All religions are man made. Otherwise, why are there so many of them?”
It raises a good question. To answer it we first have to distinguish between the phenomenon of religion as it exists across the span of human history–and particular religions and then individual denominations. Are they all man made?
Turns out, the author argues, that pretty much all religions appear man-made. We seem to have a natural tendency to believe–from animism to polytheism to monotheism… But then, Christianity adds (uniquely, the author claims) Special Revelation–not just natural revelation, the evidence of gods found in the natural world, but Special Revelation, where God Himself reveals Himself. (Biology, chemistry, and physics can render natural revelation obsolete; it takes psychology to call Special Revelation into question. How one distinguishes Special Revelation from hallucination and delusion is never quite specified.)
What shall we do then, about the different Christian denominations? The fact of the matter is that none of them claim to be part of God’s revelation. My quip about the Protestants is correct, and they would agree. The individual churches are man made institutions. There is only one church that claims otherwise: the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church–comprised of both Eastern Orthodoxy, the Eastern Rite Churches and all other groups in full communion with the successor of Peter.
Here is the astounding claim of the Catholic Church: that we really do believe not only that God has revealed himself within the history of the Jewish people, and that this revelation culminates in the person of Jesus Christ, but we also believe that Jesus Christ founded a church on the rock that is Peter, and that he handed to Peter his own authority to teach the truth, forgive sins and take authority over evil. Furthermore, that this authority lives in the church today and that Peter’s successor is called Francis and that he lives just a few hundred yards from the site of Peter’s death and burial two thousand years ago.
Did we make it up? I contend that the claim is too audacious to have been made up. If I were going to make up a religion I would devise one that was easier to swallow. Nevertheless, the audacious claim is supported by history and by the existence and strength today of the Catholic Church. When you really know the Catholic Church and the human incompetence, sin, corruption and weakness within her you must conclude with many observers that she must be inspired and upheld by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Nothing else can explain her continued existence.
Sorry for the lengthy quote, but you needed the full flavor of the argument. It’s a dusty old argument, sometimes phrased in Latin, certum est, quia impossibile (I turned it into a campfire song, here). It’s a wonderful defense mechanism–the more absurd it is, the more you know it is true. Pedophile priests are, absurdly, part of what convinces the author that Catholicism is the one true religion.
Why, to deny it would be absurd!
So absurd, it must be true.