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If Christianity is true, why doesn’t everyone follow it?

Question:

If Jesus is the one and only way to the father, why hasent the whole world embraced Him? Why do we have various other religions? — from ‘M’

Our Answer:

Ever since Adam, the whole world has hidden from God. We hide behind
the many religions we have invented, we hide behind the masks we wear
and the masks we put on God. We hide from God because we sin and
because we want to go on sinning, and because we are ashamed of all
this. At the same time, we desire God, so we try to find some middle
ground where we can feel righteous but not get too close to God. When
Jesus brought the world too close to the Father, the world put him to
death, hoping to gain some distance, but instead it broke Heaven open
and Grace poured out on everyone, making it even harder to hide God
from ourselves.

Hiding from God is more difficult than ever, but at the end of the
world, it will be impossible.

Ambitious Generals

We had reason to examine Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, and considered the question of where (and if) the Senate went wrong and why Rome “let slip the dogs of war.” Caesar’s ambition, could it have been controlled or thwarted by gentler means at an early stage? In applying such works of art as this to our lives, especially with regard to spirituality, what ambitious generals threaten our peace and drive us to the civil war which so often divides the tortured and conflicted human soul? Within us there are talents that can be managed for our benefit and the good of others, with the drives for accomplishment, affection, friendship, sex, food, rest, recreation, novelty and others being like generals who wish to marshal our time, resources and attention for their cause. Like the Roman Senate, we have the power of sanction (von Hildebrand: Transformation in Christ), the ability to control these generals so long as we do not allow any of them to become too powerful.

Like the Roman Senate, we often come to know our peril too late, when one or more of our passions has already crossed the Rubicon and our freedom has fallen with us left “to find ourselves dishonourable graves” (Act I Scene 2). Just as the Senate was driven to extreme and undesirable measures toward liberation from a tyrant, so we then must deprive ourselves of pleasures and endure want as means toward liberation from the drives and passions that impinge upon our freedom and make us less than we would wish, and much less than God desires for us. Unlike the Roman Senate, driven to tyrannicide, we have a greater General, one who desires our freedom and liberation, and this is where the similarity to the play ends. For (as St. Paul and Gandhi agree), we do not war against kingdoms but against ourselves and our defects, and we require one like us, and greater than ourselves, for our relief. We fight with Christ, our General, through prayer and fasting, through self denial and meditiation on our eventual fate, when we return to dust. We will outlive our drives and passions, so we are rightly their masters. This is our gift, free will, and we are defended by Christ, who will never take this gift away, but counsels us to protect our freedom by keeping lesser generals in their place, lest they become ambitious and proclaim themselves our rulers.

Power, Enslavement and Youth

For those of darkened intellect and weakened will, submission to government, entertainment or other social authorities is a certainty, if not actively then by default. Those who seek power over us, to shear us like sheep, want nothing more than stupid sex- and drug-addled drones to service and support them. History has shown this to be unsustainable, but evil men and women care only for their own reign with no concern for any future but their own. This is why Jesus ran afoul of the authorities of his day, and why American Catholicism, like the American experiment, is so nearly dead.

Democracy, as Theodore Roosevelt once observed, requires citizens of the highest caliber. Clear minds require clean living, and strength of will requires self denial. There is no better preparation for democracy than Christianity, which offers both in quantity and a living example in Christ and the saints. Further, the Christian is taught to consider sustainability from childhood, from the perspective that all actions are to be evaluated in terms of eternity. For each citizen to consider the effects of their actions and votes on the near and far future, to conside the impact on the whole world, is to work for real progress.

Politicians generally are about keeping their jobs, and there is no incentive for citizen improvement, or rather, their idea of citizen improvement is to keep the masses needy and greedy, fully engaged in mindless self interest, looking for the next fix, whether smoking mother nature, downing a six pack or watching TV or YouTube. Such a citizenry will never challenge congressional pork, wonder why members of congress become millionaires on relatively low pay, or wonder why billionaires are granted bailouts when they miscalculate.

What can be done? First, lay off the anasthetics: being drunk or high, having sex or buying useless possessions just clouds the mind. Ignore those who say these things are what make us human, or that only priests and monks renounce such things. As the mind clears, start to evaluate your life, and question everything. Seek the truth and love it. Deny yourself things, certainly the bad things, but also eat less. Food is good, but enough is enough. Get some exercise. Enjoy the outdoors, go to the park. Play with the children. Learn chess. Unplug from the Web. Work harder. Go to Mass faithfully, go to confession, find other people who care and spend time. It is not easy, but it is necessary. The alternative is slavery and the eventual collapse of society.

 

Earthly things can become gods to us

Sports: In the U.S., a number of sports dominate conversation and capture our passions. Many Americans, most often men, know the statistics of players and coaches, history of teams, team colors and sponsors and so forth much better than our beliefs or the Bible.
Entertainment: Many people around the world worship celebrities and know more about them than Jesus Christ. John Lennon once made this point in an interview (and people were upset). People wait in line to see a new movie, but can’t be bothered to get to church. A three-hour movie is fine, but a three-hour service, no way.
Sex: This should be obvious. People have made pornography and condoms big business. They will gladly give up faithfulness to God to either have sex or a romantic connection.
Religion: Our interest in our church can become more important to us than God, especially if our religion is not pleasing to God, or if it brings money or valuable business contacts. This happens a lot and brings disaster. When priests, pastors or other ministers are exposed as adulterers or pedophiles, or found to be taking money for their own pleasures, or abusing power, their focus was likely not on God. St. Paul warns us about this.
 
These are a few anyway, there are too many to list, but we can discover our own. Where do we spend our time, and what do we learn the most about? What do we think most about? A grown Christian should have read the Bible often enough to know most of it and quote quite a bit. For Catholics like myself, we should know the Catechism as well, and we should all be familiar with some great books, like C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” and “The Four Loves.” Bonhoeffer’s “Cost of Discipleship” is good and many others. If we have not put time into good reading nearly every day, something else may be our god. It happens a bit at a time, as we begin to care more and more about something or someone. It is gradual, as we often fail to see it happening.
 
This is worthy of an entire book, but I hope this little bit helps. It may raise more questions, which is good. It is so easy to be distracted, just as Jesus said.
 
Thank you for reading our site. We will pray for you tonight, that your faith and dedication to Jesus will grow and grow. Please pray for us, too.

Sloth and Suicide

By forbidding suicide, the Catholic Church (and some cultures), drive the individual toward a better resolution of their problems via self improvement. Just as Christ triumphed over death at a moment when he was close to despair (Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani), we are called to conquer sin, the cause of the despair. This focus on the root causes of human suffering results in glory and enlightenment. There are similarities in Zen as well, with the rejection of desire as a necessity to achieve enlightenment.

Changes to the Mass for 2010

http://content.ocp.org/shared/pdf/general/Advent2010.pdf

http://content.ocp.org/shared/pdf/general/TL102-NewRomanMissal-TheCreed.pdf

http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/examples.shtml

http://www.ewtn.com/library/liturgy/zlitur51.htm

The idea is to have all Catholics around the world using the same words, each in their own language. American english has been the exception for many years. We hope posting this is helpful. Please check for the change in the new missalettes, as we will all need to use these a bit more for a while, until we learn the new responses.