Saturday, December 1, 2012

A conversion story complements of St. Augustine

Thomas McDonald is kicking around St. Augustine.  The first post is here.  But this one caught my eye.  It's a tale of his journey back to Catholicism.  Me?  I was brought up in a pseudo-religious household.  But the surroundings were very much American-Protestant.  By the time I left, I embraced agnosticism only to give some intellectual muscle to my unbelief  which was really unbelief for convenience sake.  My own journey to the Faith was a hodgepodge of intellectual reflection, study, a few common sense hunches, a couple experiences, the witness of a few believers  and just general distastes for the modern secularism that I tried so hard to fit in with.  In the process, I came to a few conclusions, and I can't help but notice how often converts to the Faith, particularly that expressed through the Catholic Church, share certain experiences.  I was particularly thinking of this:
"Submission of the will and intellect is what the Church calls for on its central elements of dogma. Modern ears hear that as simple tyranny, because, of course, in our few decades of life experience we know far better than the inherited wisdom of ages as guided by the Third Person of the Holy Trinity working through the Church. You don’t really know much until you grasp the enormity of all you do not–indeed, all you cannot–know as one mortal living a circumscribed and brief life. That’s the great lie of the modern world: I am my own man! I am self-invented! I can figure it all out! I took a class!" (emphasis mine)
I realized that, too.  And to this day, I have the strong belief that we are a generation far less educated than we would care to admit.  We took Western Civ. 101, so we believe we know everything about European history.  We had to take Biology Intro 100, so naturally we are experts at the entire discipline of biological sciences.  Added to the fact that Google can make anyone sound smarter than they are, and I wonder how many decisions on what to believe are based on sound reasoning and research, and how many are based on the idea that somewhere, at some point, in some place in time, I took a class.

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