Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My interview with Dr. Kevin Vost: From Atheist to Catholic, Part I

Alternate title: "Catholics, you need to learn this stuff and teach it to your children!"


"Superman" (Nietzsche) and "The Angelic Doctor" (Aquinas)
Art by Theodore Schluenderfritz


I am so excited! This is the first in a series of posts (don't know how many, don't know when they'll run) wherein I interview Kevin Vost, Psy.D., psychologist, physical fitness expert, and the author of several books, including the one I told you about that has me all giddy:

From Atheism to Catholicism: How Scientists and Philosophers Led Me to the Truth

To give a quick background: Dr. Vost has taught psychology and gerontology (look it up!) at the university level, and has served as a Research Review Committee Member for American Mensa (the high IQ society) which promotes the scientific study of human intelligence. Basically, the dude is super smart.

As you all know, I dialogue with several atheists on this blog, and I am fascinated by the things I've learned from them. Still, I can never quite get a handle on their thought processes, principles, or premises. Also, my debating skills are often lacking, as I am not classically educated and I don't have a background in history or philosophy -- at least not to the level I should as we march forth into this brave new (post-Christian) world.

Dr. Vost helped break things open for me, writing simply and accessibly about his journey into atheism as a young man, and I left his book much more educated than when I began. In the book, he introduces us to and explains the belief systems of the famous atheists he studied and admired so much on his intellectual journey, even acknowledging for the reader the nuggets of truth in their philosophies. Eventually, his studies led him to discover some of the greatest minds in history, which in turn led him (as it has so many others) straight to the door of the Catholic Church.

Dr. Vost's book is for everyone who wants to be better prepared for the cultural war in which we find ourselves now, including those with little to no philosophical or scientific background (like me!).

Let's dive in with the first question!


Q. Kevin (yes, I am on a first name basis with this man!): Raised a Catholic, you were drawn to atheism as a teenage bodybuilder who had a penchant for Nietzsche's "superman". Is it fair to say that you thought your way into atheism?

A. That is totally fair and accurate, Leila. As a young boy I was mesmerized by the television Superman – such awesome power and manliness in service of the good!  In my teenage years I was absorbed in the world of bodybuilding and weightlifting. At 17 in 1978 I attended a seminar by Mike Mentzer, the reigning Mr. Universe and heir-apparent to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mentzer was a brilliant man who revolutionized my understanding of things like the role of genetics and rational principles behind strength training and diet. I still employ those ideas today. His writings also led me into the world of atheist philosophers like Friedrich Nietzsche, famed for his very different and anti-Christian “Übermensch” (superman), and then to novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand. Her ideas influenced me for decades. Though I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic grade and high schools in the 1960s and 1970s, I did not have a clue about the profound philosophic underpinnings of Christian theology. I was easily led away by the arguments of philosophers like Nietzsche, Rand, Bertrand Russell, and the psychologist Albert Ellis, to think that God did not exist, that the idea of God just didn’t make sense and wasn’t true. To sum it up using four basic branches of philosophy, this is what I came to believe:

Metaphysics (the underlying nature of reality):  “Existence exists.” (a favorite phrase of Ayn Rand’s). Open your eyes and see the universe. It is the ultimate reality and is just plain there. We don’t need to postulate a God to explain it. It just is.

Logic (“the art of non-contradictory identification” per Rand): The concept of God is self-contradictory. God cannot be both all-powerful and all-knowing. If He knows what He’s going to do tomorrow, then He can’t do something different, can He? (New atheist Richard Dawkins also uses this one in his book, The God Delusion.)

Epistemology (theory of knowledge): Reason is our only guide to truth, and faith opposes it. (Rand said faith and reason go together “like poison and food.”)

Ethics (morality): We don’t need God to be good, as evidenced by examples of how noble pagan philosophers (e.g., Socrates, Aristotle, the Stoics) wrote about and lived by natural virtues like fortitude, prudence, justice, and temperance. Rand based her “Objectivist Ethics” on man as the highest standard.

So then, yes, thinking did lead me away from the faith. I thought in good conscience that I was seeking the truth. I knew there was so much practical good in the Catholic Church that I never hated it or spoke out against it. I just thought it was wrong about one little thing – the existence of God. (Please don’t let me forget to get around to explaining how I found that I and those four foundational atheistic conclusions were flat out wrong – 25 years later!)


Kevin, I most definitely will not let you forget!

Read Part II, here.





*Dr. Vost's signed book was a generous gift from two of my readers, Jennifer and Joseph Mazzara, who have been valuable commenters on the Bubble.




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45 comments:

  1. Interestingly, I stumbled across this man on the Internet during July. Eager to read more.

    This quote struck me: "I thought in good conscience that I was seeking the truth." Yes. Many atheists and agnostics are MORE sincere than some believers, as they are always questioning, always listening to that voice in their head that says "how?" or "why?".

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  2. Mary, you will find Part II very interesting….

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  3. Congrats to Dr. Vost for finding his way back home.
    Rand's "arguments" aren't even that strong. You can see just from his quick summary here how stunted her reasoning is. She's not taken too seriously among the philosophical set.

    And how ironic that she says, faith and reason go together “like poison and food." when it's pretty 'reasonable' to see that faith and reason work in harmony. They are "two wings of the same bird", as Fides et Ratio says.

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  4. Well it depends. You cannot use logic to explain the nature of God. It is insufficient. So if your worldview requires logic, and your faith can be derailed by something as common as a logical contradiction based on the dictionary definition of two words, you will probably have a LOT of crises about things far less significant than the existence of God :-p

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  5. Nicholas, true that logic cannot bring us to the point of understanding the Trinity (that is revealed Truth, not ascertained by natural law); however, logic and reason definitely can get us from atheism to theism.

    Speaking only for myself, my worldview definitely requires logic. It's the reason I am a Catholic.

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  6. Fair enough. I really just meant that there are lots of things that formal logic doesn't always cover. Or that pure logic can be misapplied to bad outcomes.

    And I suppose like everything else it will depend on how one defines logic.

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  7. And by the way, all I really meant Leila is that your worldview can be based on logic WITHOUT being sent into an existential crisis by something as pedantic as:

    "The concept of God is self-contradictory. God cannot be both all-powerful and all-knowing. If He knows what He’s going to do tomorrow, then He can’t do something different, can He?"

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  8. Our priest touched on epistemology in a way during his sermon yesterday. He said there is no such thing as "blind faith," that faith is (and I am sorry I am not quoting him directly, but I am doing so as best as I can remember) that faith is the combination of knowledge/intellect and grace.

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  9. I believe the term "blind faith" refers to secular faith rather than religious faith.

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  10. As I always say, I do not believe in Truth because I'm Catholic, but rather I'm Catholic precisely because the Catholic Church dares to teach The Truth.

    Trust me, as someone who grew up in that "utopian" athiest atmosphere of which religion is presented as myth, and no world views are held above any others - i.e. children are able to "make up their own mind." - I managed to logically reason my way INTO the Catholic Church and THEN discovered the beauty of Revealed Faith.

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  11. I am not Catholic, never was. My husband comes from a large Catholic family. He left the Catholic church in his late teens. He states that in all those years in CCD classes he was never taught that Jesus is the only way to heaven. His grandfather who was in his 80's recently passed away and he had never heard the gospel message of Jesus. His son, who also left the Catholic Church, shared it with him before his death thankfully. Is this something that is normal in the Catholic church or did my husband just grow up in a poorly run Catholic church? Do Catholics believe that a personal relationship with Jesus is important? I would ask some of my in-laws but most no longer attend mass and the others consider my family a bunch of "squatters" I think that was their terminology, because we attend a bible-teaching church. Anyway, I hope I have conveyed my question with the sincerity in which I am asking, I am not trying to offend or stir up debate just a sincere question.

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  12. Anna Mary, welcome! Great question! If you have time (it's a bit long), please read my "Reversion story" at the top of the blog. It will help you see what kind of CCD education your husband probably got. I would say that yes, Catholics who went to mass heard the gospel message every Sunday, but they likely had no idea what was going on in the mass (boring, long, not taught well), so they glazed over, like I did. But the gospel is read and Jesus is preached ever single Sunday (and weekday masses, too). It's not like Protestantism where the words "personal relationship with Christ" are stressed over and over (those words are not actually in the Bible)… but we have the Eucharist (can't get more personal than taking and eating the Flesh and Blood of our Lord… that is a communion of two persons that is mind-blowingly personal), and the sacraments, and we are encouraged and expected to "pray without ceasing" and have a deep and profound relationship with our Lord. We also firmly believe (and the Church has taught for 2,000 years) that Christ's atoning death is the only thing that could have saved our sorry butts. And that Christ is the only Way to Heaven.

    I wrote this is a previous post:

    Every human soul is made for one end: Union with God for all eternity. However, as we've discussed before, union with God cannot be achieved without the grace of Christ, which was won for us on the Cross.

    There is no salvation except through Christ Jesus, and it is simply impossible for anyone to get to Heaven without Him.

    The rest of that post is here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/12/can-non-catholics-be-saved.html

    I am so glad you asked the question! Again, my reversion story (up top) will tell you a lot about the failings of the way Catholics were taught in the last few decades in America.

    And that bad catechesis combined with the different way that Catholics and evangelicals use terminology has caused much confusion and misunderstanding about what we actually believe. :)

    I hope that helps, and if not, I have a lot more! :) Just ask; we love to talk about the Faith and our faith in Jesus Christ around here. :)

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  13. Welcome back Leila! So good to have you posting again!

    First of all, from one spelling Nazi to another (and this actually concerns my mother tongue): It's "Übermensch" or if you must "Ubermensch" :)

    Second, may I jump in with a request for some guidance after your reply to Anna Mary: Since we still have the same phenomenon in large parts of Europe about Mass not being properly explained to Catholics, poor catechesis etc., my wife and I have volunteered in our parish to teach catechesis to our 3-6 year olds during the Sunday sermon (we're not missing much there...), alternating on a bi-weekly basis with another couple who are similarly inclined. Could you, or any of the other commenters, point us to good resources for catechesis for small kids - to make it lively and yet instructive for them? I have some ideas, but I'm sure you've got great stuff. Many thanks, and keep up the great work!

    Sebastian

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  14. Sebastian, duly noted and corrected!! And, I am not so good on children's resources, but I would LOVE to hear from anyone who is! Catholic readers, do you have some good catechesis for small children to recommend to Sebastian?

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  15. Do Catholics believe that a personal relationship with Jesus is important?

    Absolutely 100%, a personal relationship with Jesus must be cultivated.

    A simple visual may help.
    There are two beams to the cross:
    The vertical, which signifies the relationship from creature to Creator in the heavens.
    The horizontal, which signifies the relationship between brothers and sisters on earth.

    The way we cultivate our relationship with Christ hinges in part on how well we love our neighbor. Catholics need to adhere and cultivate both sides of the greatest commandment in order to obtain heaven.

    Mark 12: 29-31: 29“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

    How do we cultivate our relationship to Christ? Through the sacramental life in the Church. The sacraments, instituted by Christ, are the fuel, the means, the source of energy we draw on to be able to love our neighbor, and to love God above all.

    The sacraments are the protein shakes that help us build spiritual muscle. You can't build physical muscle without adequate protein intake; as you can't properly love and serve, and build up the body of Christ without adequate intake of the sacraments.

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  16. Sebastian, I would recommend that you check Catholic homeschooling websites. Two that come to mind are Catholic Heritage Curriculum (catholichomeschooling.com) and Seton's homeschooling program. CHC has very gentle and sweet products for younger children. Their "Year with God" book has a lot of great ideas for celebrating Catholic feast days throughout the year.

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  17. Sharon, thank you very much, I will check them out!

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  18. Here is another great resource, Sebastian: Catholicicing.com
    It's a great website for kids and has a lot of easy crafts to help making teaching fun!

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  19. Hi Anna: I hope you don't mind if I ask you a question back because I honestly never knew what protestants means when they say "personal relationship" with Christ.

    My gut reaction is always to say "How can you not have a personal relationship with Christ?" But I always get the impression that would offend whoever I was talking too.

    I'm usually asked by people if I've accepted Christ as my personal savior. I finally told a friend of mine that that phrase sounds off to a Catholic ear. Sure, Christ _is_ my personal savior but a Catholic would be far more likely to say Christ is _our_ savior. He didn't just die for me, he died for all of us.

    I just never understood why the emphasis on the individual rather than all of humankind. I'm not trying to offend it's just one of those things that always made me a bit uncomfortable whenever these types of discussions pop up.

    Welcome back, Leila!

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  20. StarFireKK, personal relationship just means your own relationship with Jesus. It's not enough to just go to church and have corporate worship and prayer. You need to do your own bible reading and meditation on the word, prayer in your closet, enjoy time in his presence.

    Don't be mistaken. We put equal emphasis on all humankind. It's just that some forget the individual and just focus on Christ when in church and not at home, school, work etc. So the term 'personal relationship' is to help people understand to live their Christianity every day.

    Vuyo

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  21. Seriously, you guys need to read up on your catechism. A relationship with Jesus is NOT required to get into heaven, however a wilful turning away from Jesus will get you sent to hell.

    1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery." Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity. [emphasis mine]

    However, Pope Innocent III said: "There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all can be saved."

    In the catechism:
    1037 God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to come to repentance"

    But also states: 1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.
    And... 1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

    So, much like the Bible, have a read through and pick whichever bits happen to make you feel good about the church.

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  22. Seriously, you guys need to read up on your catechism. A relationship with Jesus is NOT required to get into heaven, however a wilful turning away from Jesus will get you sent to hell.

    You've annihilated and confused the true teaching by painting part of a picture.

    Contrary to your opinion (which I hope doesn't confuse Anna Mary) the Church does, in fact, teach the critical point of "knowing God" for salvation. For starters, see 1 John 4, Titus 1, 1 Thes 4, Gal 4, and John 15.

    Knowing God includes intimacy, it implies a relationship requirement. There is no other way to "know" God other than having intimacy with Him. The most intimate way of knowing Him is through the sacraments and life in the Church.

    It's the whole sheep and goats thing, March Hare. Will He recognize us as friends at our judgment? Or will He say, "Depart from me, I never knew you?"

    He'll recognize us by our charity. Of the three, which is the greatest - faith, hope, or love? Love, St. Paul tells us. Love is the light that we will be judged by. How well we have loved. How can we truly love God and neighbor? By knowing the One who is Love Himself and by living out the commandments through the life in the Church.

    Baltimore Catechism:
    6. Q. Why did God make you?
    A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.

    As to your confused comments regarding salvation and baptism:
    Baptism is the initiation to life in the Church, and it is required for salvation. There are certain forms of baptism; you speak of baptism of desire. That is valid.

    Catholics don't need to "pick through" the bible to make us feel better. We have the fullness of the teaching at hand. No need to waddle through and cherry pick our way into confusion. When we do that, we end up as confused and ill-instructed as you sound.

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  23. Anna Mary mentioned "His grandfather who was in his 80's recently passed away and he had never heard the gospel message of Jesus."

    Had his grandfather never heard the gospel message of Jesus but lived a 'good' life he could still have gone to heaven, according to (link below)1260, "Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved" which I believe is the current teaching of the church since Vatican II (please correct me if I'm wrong).

    This happens to conflict with what Pope Innocent III said (as I quoted above).

    You are correct in pointing out that the Bible is very much in favour of knowing and believing in Jesus being required for salvation, but since modern people are somewhat put off by the idea that those without even the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus will suffer in hell the Church put in place the workaround above. At least that's my thinking on why they would go against what Pope Innocent III and the Bible said.

    ref: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P3M.HTM

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  24. March Hare, I forgot that you were a new reader, because at first I was wondering how a reader of this blog could have said what you did, in light of this post from December:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/12/can-non-catholics-be-saved.html

    Enjoy!

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  25. In fact, I used a quote from that post above, for Anna Mary, but now let me put in the last few paragraphs, too:

    Those who were raised up in the Catholic Faith have easier access to the fullness of truth than others, with a quicker route to sanctifying grace. That is a blessing beyond words. However, "to whom much is given, much will be required". Those who know more will be accountable for more. To know God's will and yet neglect our duties as Catholics is to act in bad faith, and we become men of bad will. (We should tremble at the thought!)

    But non-Catholics who are sincerely ignorant of the necessity of baptism or who have never heard the Gospel are not responsible for the things they -- through no fault of their own -- do not know. After all, God is perfect Justice. He reads each human heart and knows who is truly seeking Him (even if that person hasn't quite found Him yet), and who desires to do His will (even if that person has it wrong at the moment).

    This is the soul who would without hesitation ask to be baptized if he knew that baptism was the will of God. This is the soul who might never actually hear the name of Jesus Christ on this earth, but will see Jesus upon his death and say, "It is You! You were the One I was seeking all my life!" He will know Jesus, and Jesus will know him.

    So yes, non-Catholics can be saved. And when these "men of good will" reach Heaven, when they are counted among the saints, every one of them (and us) will be of one mind and heart, one big Catholic family, professing Jesus Christ as Lord of all.

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  26. Nubby, I humbly apologise, I read your comment as "a personal relationship with Jesus must be cultivated (to be saved)" but all you actually said was that a personal relationship is important to Catholics. Hence my somewhat bewildered (if not straight out belligerent) message about salvation for those not aware of the Bible.

    Leila, that kind of covers it. If you want to explain why Pope Innocent III's statement is completely at odds with the church's current position that'd be nice, but it's completely tangential to this post and the comments therein. On that point, I'm looking forward to part 2.

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  27. Pope Innocent III said: "There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all can be saved."

    March Hare, this in no way contradicts the teaching of the Church. Every single soul who is saved is saved because of the grace received from and through the universal Church, which is the mystical Body of Christ. You need to read a little deeper, and understand a little better. I can refer you to good sources if you'd like.

    Did you read the link about "Can non-Catholics be saved?"

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  28. I read your comment as "a personal relationship with Jesus must be cultivated (to be saved)" but all you actually said was that a personal relationship is important to Catholics. Hence my somewhat bewildered (if not straight out belligerent) message about salvation for those not aware of the Bible.

    Well, let's hold on a second.
    It's important, yes. It's mandatory, yes.

    To the best of our faculties, we must know Him, love Him, serve Him. Understand: Indifference is another ballgame compared to ignorance.

    To what degree we all know Him, love Him, serve Him depends on a lot of factors. You pointed to the example of the grandfather having passed away, never having heard the good news (gospel message). It's a very common question.

    All things being equal, then, the grandpa was only responsible for what he knew (spiritually) and how well he responded to that invitation. God is merciful and just. He doesn't hold us to what we don't know, to what we could never gain knowledge of.

    The big caveat comes in when we do know and we aren't ignorant. Then the rubber meets the road.
    "To whom much is given, much is required." Luke 12:35-48. When you know more, you gotta do more (spiritually).

    Those that have the fullness of the faith, through the arms of the Church, in a relationship to Christ, are going to be responsible for more, held accountable for a higher degree of sanctity, really.

    Are/Were we good stewards with the Truth as it had been revealed to us in our own individual lives? What do/did we do with our portion? Our lot in life? How well have we loved?

    These are the questions God will ask of us, and read in our hearts at our particular judgment.

    Our degrees of knowledge and sanctity will vary, as we're all different individuals with different capacities. In the end, did we align our will to love?

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  29. Short answer: We are bound to the Church; God is not.
    But, like Leila said, all salvation comes through the Church, whether directly or indirectly, so to speak.

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  30. Wow! Sorry I stirred the pot. I wish there was a book that told me the correct words to use when speaking with those of the Catholic faith it seems it would make life easier.

    I was asked to clarify what I mean by "personal relationship with Jesus Christ." Well it means just that, I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I have confessed that I am a miserable sinner, I have accepted the fact that am I am nothing without the saving grace of Jesus Christ. My faith in Jesus is something I cultivate and live everyday through bible study, what I choose to listen to, to watch and even to wear. That relationship with Jesus affects every aspect of my life.

    There are many I know who know of Jesus and accept the fact that he is real, however they will tell you in the next sentence they choose not to follow him. They admit they really don't care what Jesus has to say about their life and they turn their back on him.
    So, I would say they do not at this time have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I don't know what the Catholics would call it.

    Hope that helps and doesn't cause too much backlash.

    Leila, thank you so much for answering my question I really appreciate it.

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  31. Okay, I just have to share this funny little story which will help you understand how much I know of the Catholic faith. When I was 11 years old I moved to a new school district. An area of WI that had a LARGE Catholic population. I had never met a Catholic before. This area also had a Catholic elementary school that shared the school bus system with us public school kids. I remember a girl from the Catholic school sit next to me, they were easy to spot because they had to wear plaid uniforms. She sat down and we started talking and I was amazed when she started talking about her favorite television show. I looked at her puzzled and said, "you have electricity and a television"? She looked at me strange and said, "yeah". I went home and told my mom that I couldn't believe the Catholic kids had electricity and she started laughing at me because I had confused them with the Amish. I've gotten married and no longer live in WI. Now I live next to a LARGE Amish community!

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  32. PS: Don't worry, you didn't stir the pot! It is a great question! And, the best book I know of that bridges the gap between our "languages" is this one:

    Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, by David Currie.

    SOOOO worth it.

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  33. Leila, thanks for the book recommendation. I've got it ordered!

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  34. Anna Mary, awesome! I will be interested to know what you think!

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  35. Hello all! What a lively group we have here! It is a real pleasure to see so much thoughtful, informative dialogue. I agree that Anna Mary’s question was a great one too. Responses have been so good and so on target that I’ll just add a couple comments on the periphery.

    I think it’s wonderful when any Christian seeks a personal relationship with Christ, one that, in Anna Mary’s words, “affects every aspect” of one’s life. I am a fan of David Currie’s book that Leila recommended and would also be like to know what Anna Mary’s thoughts on it.

    As for my two cents, for someone who would like to know more about what a personal relationship with Jesus might mean to a devout Catholic, I suggest reading a good biography about or the writings of one or more of the great canonized saints like Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila, or Thérèse of Lisieux, among many possibilities.

    I don’t intend to enkindle any kind of debate on Catholic or non-Catholic Christian views on the veneration of the saints, but simply want to opine that they provide fascinating looks at what it can mean to give one’s entire heart, mind, strength, and soul to learning about Christ, loving Him, and striving to do His will. All these saints imitate Christ in their own ways and through the flowering of their own unique personalities, arrays of gifts and talents, and places in time and history. They can inspire us to strive to do the same, with God’s grace.

    If I might jump ahead a bit in my own story, I’ll just point out that though my journey away from and back into belief in God was very much an intellectual one, influenced by philosophers, scientists, and theologians, I re-experienced some of my greatest joy when, after a hiatus of 25 years, I read the words of Christ in the Gospel again, and when I received Him in the Eucharist.

    P.S. My profile picture isn't uploading right now. I'll see if I can pop on in later.

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  36. Dr. Vost, that is a great recommendation, reading about the saints. Yes, their union with God is truly inspiring, and they are role models for what the most personal and profound relationships with Christ can look like! Teresa of Avila… oh my!!

    Amen to the rest, and I can't wait to continue on in our series of interview questions! Thanks so much for being here!! :)

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  37. 'every one of them (and us) will be of one mind and heart, one big Catholic family, professing Jesus Christ as Lord of all."

    Leila

    does this mean that protestants will become Catholics in heaven?

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  38. Johanne, yes, everyone who makes it to Heaven will know, understand and love the Truth that Christ revealed through His Church. They will love all of the Truths about God, the saints, the angels, etc, -- to a deeper extent than we understood it down here (exponentially, infinitely so!). And they will know and understand the moral Truths perfectly, as well, and how it really is all one Truth. All of truth, goodness and beauty will be revealed and known. Yes, everyone will share the same truth and live in the Heart of the Trinity. Yes, the Truth is "universal", which is the meaning of "Catholic"…. Yes, everyone in Heaven will believe in all the Truths the Church has always taught, with Christ as King, but we will see Him face to face then, where as now, we see through a glass darkly….

    So, yes, yes, yes. Jesus prayed that all may be one in Him, and we all will be. He is all in all.

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  39. It must be nice to believe all that. I mean that sincerely.

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  40. It is supernatural peace, Johanne, it really is. The world can swirl and crash around us, but the truth stands, and this earth is passing, just a blink of an eye when considered against eternity.

    If you read the saints throughout the history of the Church, like those that Kevin suggests (St. Teresa, ahhh, and St. John of the Cross, etc… those who were mystics, who had one foot in Heaven so to speak), you will find beautiful evidence that it's all true. There is evidence everywhere. Seek and you shall find. :)

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  41. Johanne, please read this, about the Beauty part of Truth, Goodness and Beauty. I neglect the Beautiful too much on this blog, but Bad Catholic nails it:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/08/a-sword-for-theists.html

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  42. Johanne, you too can believe in all that. God/the Truth exists for every person. You just have to be open to God and He will reveal Himself to you. So, give believing in all that a try. It's more than really nice, it is the ultimate love and peace that every human was made for.

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