G.K. Chesterton said, “The difficulty of explaining “why I am a Catholic” is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.”
It’s not easy to give a concise response to the question, “Why did you choose Catholicism?” What follows is a list of four, key stopping points on my journey to embracing Christ’s Church.
- God exists.
I know this claim can spark a lot of debate. Usually, the debate centers around the existence of a being that is the biggest and most powerful of all beings (for example, the “flying spaghetti monster” or the “invisible friend in the sky”). However, the Catholic concept of God is that God is not just a supreme being among beings, but being itself. In other words, you and I can’t exist without “being.” So, there is a God. God’s existence is self-evident, like the right to life for example.
- Religion makes sense.
Since God exists, humans naturally sense God’s existence and seek to know and understand God. Much of what we call “religion” is a manifestation of this natural, human, seeking process. We are hard wired to yearn for God (i.e. created that way). However, not all religions are the same. If we try to blend them together in some way or create our own “personal belief systems,” we simply create new religions. So, which religion to choose?
- Christianity stands out among religions.
The world religions are generally humanity’s attempts to search for God or for ways to “be good people.” Christianity stands apart as God’s search for humanity. God, being fully aware of our floundering, came to be with us and guide us. God not only came to us, God stayed with us. Christianity is about God’s goodness and our natural desire to be linked to that goodness.
No other founder of any other religion compares to Jesus. He didn’t just teach people a “good way to live.” Jesus claimed to actually be God and then he proved it. He healed diseases, controlled nature (including the weather), took charge of the spirit world and even overcame death itself. All of this he did before many witnesses.
- Catholicism stands apart from other Christian denominations.
Catholicism was founded by Jesus in order to counteract sin and death*. Protestantism was founded by men in order to counteract Catholicism.
The inherent protesting and splintering of Protestantism carries through indefinitely and continues to the present day. Consequently, there are innumerable Christian denominations with opposing doctrines and ideas of what Jesus and the apostles taught. Although these denominations contain elements of truth and grace, they are incomplete.
Catholicism has remained consistent with moral teaching while other Christian denominations have succumbed to cultural pressures and influences, particularly where the dignity of life and family are concerned. That which was immoral yesterday is still immoral today. Morality does not shift with public opinion.
There are many non-Catholic Christians who will say, “I’m not really protesting anything, I’m just Christian!” My response is, “Then there’s no reason for you not to be Catholic!”
*Some people claim that the Emperor Constantine “started” Catholicism by legalizing Christianity and then mixing paganism with it. There is enough historical evidence to debunk such a theory. The Church was Catholic in name and practice well before Constantine.