The function of Catholic dogma is mostly the description of a world in which Christian morality is the natural way of acting. So conversion has its theoretical side. The world should look different. A couple of random thoughts on what that might mean:
- Putting God—an objective reality radically other than oneself—at the center of things, and the assumption that in the end things are in his hands, should give one a greater concern for truth. Since God made the world you don’t have to force anything to be other than what it is. You should try to know them as they are. Some say that the consequence has been the self-demolition of Christianity as new truths overthrew old dogmas. Still, it seems to me that the demolition of Christianity has been a result not of concern for truth but of an attempt to make man as the standard, which has led to a refusal to recognize as truth anything we can not fully possess.
- While reading Paul’s letters this weekend I noticed how much more populous his world was than the one most educated people think they inhabit today. Instead of atoms, the void and selves (whatever
they are) it had bodies, minds, spirits, thrones, powers, dominions, God, Christ, the Church, and no doubt much else, all as substantial realities. I think the failure of ontological generosity that tries to turn all things into logical or psychological constructions from a few repetitive soulless elements comes from the desire to turn truth into something we can fully possess and manipulate—which is not at all the same as truthfulness. To become a Catholic then is to live in a restored world containing more things that are dreamt of in your philosophy. Angelology lives!