Saturday, February 12, 2011

Uncertainty, 'Being Religious,' and This Catholic

I intend to start doing some serious catch-up in this blog. It's been late December, 2010, since there were regular posts here. There's a reason - reasons is more like it - for that. I discussed some of that sort of thing a couple weeks ago. ("Facts, Frustration, and Fear" (January 28, 2011))

Religious People Think They Know Everything?

I'm intensely interested in words and language. When I was growing up, I was one of those folks who read the fine print on cereal boxes during breakfast.

I also think it's important to understand what words mean. Communications theory 101 - and that's another topic.

Take "religious," for example.
  • Religious:
    • Concerned with sacred matters or religion or the church
    • Having or showing belief in and reverence for a deity
    • Of or relating to clergy bound by monastic vows
    • Extremely scrupulous and conscientious
      (Princeton's Wordnet)
I'm a practicing Catholic. And a convert. I'm "religious," according to a couple of those definitions.

On the other hand, I'm not all that "religious." Not the way the word is sometimes used colloquially.

I'm not absolutely certain about everything concerning God, me and the Church, you see. Like what my street address may be in the New Jerusalem. Or whether I'll have a street address. If I was very literal-minded, I'd 'know' that there'll be street lighting. And that's yet another topic. Several. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 756; Revelation 21:2, 10-23)

That uncertainty includes my ultimate status. At the end of all things, I'll either be with God - or not. I hope and pray that I'll be with God. But I don't "know I'm saved." I have free will, and could - in principle - decide to reject God and choose damnation. (Catechism, 1730; November 20, 2010, June 24, 2010) That'd be a daft decision, in my opinion. But in principle it's possible. More topics.

God Knows: That's Enough

Does not being absolutely certain about what I'll decide for the rest of my life mean I don't 'really believe in' God? Or trust Him? No.

I've decided that God exists.

Either that, or the Catholic Church is an incredibly lucky institution, the folks Moses led out of Egypt were an unbelievably lucky bunch - or maybe I'm the only thing that exists and everything else, including you, are figments of my imagination.

Applying Occam's razor, I think that God being real is the simpler explanation.

The odds are very, very good that I'll continue to decide that God is real.

If I'm smart, I'll follow His lead. But I'm not certain about that. Not absolutely certain.

God knows what happens in time - including the part of time that we aren't in yet. I don't have that sort of knowledge, and that's okay.

I also don't wander around with upturned eyes and blank smile, being "too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good." And I don't yell at other folks for not being like me. (April 8, 2010, August 26, 2010)

Which are yet again more topics.

Somewhat-related posts:

2 comments:

Left-footer said...

Fine post. Tweetable and tweeted.

God bless!

Brian Gill said...

Left-footer,

Thank you! Much appreciated.

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.