Someone I love very much asked me recently why I believe in God, and why I believe that the Catholic Church is the One True Religion. Big questions, but I believe that this is a great opportunity to share what is most important to me. My belief in God came in my adulthood and my becoming a Catholic later, so this is a brief recounting of my thinking.
- I remember seeing the movie “The Ninth Configuration” when I was a teen. It wasn’t a great movie but the over arching point was that the probability that the universe was created randomly is so much less likely than by intelligence- and it was a compelling argument. I later heard this articulated as “”if you toss a box of loose Legos in the air a million times, they will never land in the shape of a building” – basically the same argument. The world is so filled with beauty and order- and that has never come from chaos. The existence of God is therefore, to me, obvious.
- So then the question is if you believe that God exists, why the God of Christianity? For me this was a long process to get to that conclusion- where for years I thought that all religions were pretty much the same, and all were just made up by people trying to understand God, and most of it was superstitious nonsense. But I came to understand a few things:
- Christianity is available to all people – and I would think the God of creation would want all of His creation to know Him.
- Christianity focuses on being peaceful, helping the poor and weak, loving your neighbors – things universally understand to be good
- There is a moral law that is written on everyone’s heart. As C.S. Lewis discusses in “Mere Christianity“, people can argue that everything is relative and there are no “right and wrong” that is absolute- but those same people will appeal to “fairness” when they -are wronged.
- Jesus was either a “Liar, a Lunatic or the Lord” as well articulated by Lee Strobel in his book “A Case for Christ”. Essentially non-Christians mostly agree that Jesus was some sort of a historical teacher and “good guy”. But He said he was the Son of God and part of the Trinity. So either he was lying- and why would he go to the point of being violently murdered to keep the lie going (as well as his followers being willing to be martyred for that cause)? Or, he was a lunatic, and there aren’t any instances of lunatics getting a following for 2000+ years, whose messages get stronger and transform the world. I agree with Mr. Strobel’s conclusion that Jesus must, therefore, be Lord. (Watch the Netflix movie A Case for Christ or read the book for an even better explanation).
- Once I accepted that God is real, and that Christianity is the religion that He established (as the fulfillment of Judaism which He established prior), then which of the thousands of Christian groups is the “right one”? Here is a good summary, but essentially it was the Church established by Jesus and it was thousands of years of Christianity before any splinter groups formed. Why not go to the source? The Catholic Church gave the world the Bible- again, the source of God’s word. But there are other appealing things about the Catholic Church – such as the contributions to science– the Church has always recognized the need for consistency between faith and reason. Many people are surprised to know that it was a priest who was responsible for the formation of the Big Bang theory, for instance.
- There are numerous – very well documented- miracles that have occurred. Over the years I have enjoyed reading more deeply about many of them. The key is the third party validation- of which there has been many. Miracles of healing, miracles of visions, Eucharistic miracles- there are so many. These are glimpses that God gives us of His presence and of His desires for our lives. One thing that I have heard many non-believers say “if God wanted to let us know He is there, why wouldn’t He be more direct about it to eliminate the confusion.” I would say that all of nature and God’s miracles shout His existence- but we need to be willing to listen.