Helplessly

Ignorant

 

XXXXXXX

 

The Nonsense of

a Perfectly Intelligent But Strangely

‘Invincibly Ignorant’ Person

Somehow ‘Unable’

to Know Catholicism Is True

in Order to Find Salvation, Whilst,

Instead, Getting into Heaven

by Being ‘Sincere’

 

XXXXXXX

 

“If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.” (John 15:22 DRC (Douay Rheims Challoner). All emphasis added in this and other scriptural quotations.)

 

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice: because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.” (Romans 1:18-20 DRC)

 

 “But all men are vain, in whom there is not the knowledge of God: and who by these good things that are seen, could not understand him that is, neither by attending to the works have acknowledged who was the workman… For by the greatness of the beauty, and of the creature, the creator of them may be seen, so as to be known thereby. But yet as to these they are less to be blamed. For they perhaps err, seeking God, and desirous to find him. For being conversant among his works, they search: and they are persuaded that the things are good which are seen. But then again they are not to be pardoned. For if they were able to know so much as to make a judgment of the world: how did they not more easily find out the Lord thereof? …And it was not enough for them to err about the knowledge of God, but whereas they lived in a great war of ignorance, they call so many and so great evils peace.” (Wisdom 13:1, 5-9, 14:22 DRC)

 

 “Brethren, the will of my heart, indeed, and my prayer to God, is for them unto salvation. For I bear them witness, that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they, not knowing the justice of God, and seeking to establish their own, have not submitted themselves to the justice of God How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him, of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they be sent, as it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things!’ [Isaias 52:7, Nahum 1:15] But all do not obey the gospel. For Isaias saith: ‘Lord, who hath believed our report?’ [Isaias 53:1] Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say: have they not heard? Yes, verily, ‘their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the whole world.’ [Psalm 18:5]” (Romans 10:1-3, 14-18 DRC)

 

 “Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: ‘Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree in paradise?’ And the woman answered him, saying, ‘Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat: and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die.’ And the serpent said to the woman: ‘No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.’” (Genesis 3:1-4 DRC)

 

“But I fear lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted, and fall from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Christ, whom we have not preached; or if you receive another Spirit, whom you have not received; or another gospel which you have not received; you might well bear with him… For such false apostles are deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no wonder: for Satan himself transformeth himself into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-14 DRC)

 

“Knowing this first, that in the last days there shall come deceitful scoffers, walking after their own lusts, saying, ‘Where is his promise or his coming? For since the time that the fathers slept, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.’ For this they are willfully ignorant of, that the heavens were before, and the earth out of water, and through water, consisting by the word of God, whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished… But of this one thing be not ignorant, my beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine, but dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance.” (2 Peter 3:3-6, 8-9 DRC)

 

“And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-11 DRC)

 

 “But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. Of sin: because they believed not in me. And of justice: because I go to the Father; and you shall see me no longer. And of judgment: because the prince of this world is already judged.” (John 16:7-11 DRC)

 

“Here is wisdom. He that hath understanding, let him count the number of the beast. For it is the number of a man: and the number of him is six hundred sixty-six.” (Apocalypse 13:18 DRC)

 

“Jesus said to them: ‘If you were blind, you should not have sin: but now you say: “We see.” Your sin remaineth.” (John 9:41 DRC)

 

“And the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.’” (Genesis 3:14-15 DRC)

 

 “And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail. And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars… And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod: and her son was taken up to God, and to his throne And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels: and they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him… And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Apocalypse 11:19-12:1, 5, 7-9, 17 DRC)

 

COMPOSED & EDITED FEBRUARY 2016 TO OCTOBER 2017.

 

XXXXXXX

 

Intended by the Author of This Book

for the Greater Glory of the Adorable Triune Catholic God,

for the Worship of the Sacred Heart of King Jesus Christ of Nazareth,

for the Praise of the Immaculate Heart of Queen Mary, the Blessed Ever-

Virgin Mother of God,

unto the Protection & Propagation of the Holy Roman Catholic Church &

Her Most Precious Heavenly Dogmas,

and

under the Euphonious Patronage of St. Cecilia, the Eloquent Patronage

of St. Catherine of Alexandria & the Efficacious Patronage of

Ven. Mariana de Jesus Torres, Virgins &

Martyrs.

 

XXXXXXX

 

Domine, non est exaltatum cor meumneque elati sunt oculi meiNeque ambulavi in

magnis, neque in mirabilibus super me. Si non humiliter sentiebam, sed exaltavi animam

meamsicut ablactatus est super matre suaita retributio in anima mea.Speret Israel

in Domino, ex hoc nunc et usque in saeculum. (Psalmus CXXX,Vulgata)

 

St. Francis Xavier, Patron of Catholic Missioners, Ss. Catherine of Alexandria & Francis of Sales, Patrons of Catholic Philosophers & Apologists, respectively, and St. Peter of Verona, the Glorious Martyr, may you be pleased to guide this arrow to its target, either unto eternal life or eternal death! Now thanks be to God, who always maketh us to triumph in Christ Jesus, and manifesteth the odour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are the good odour of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one indeed the odour of death unto death: but to the others the odour of life unto life. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16b DRC)

 

St. Francis of Assisi, Humble Seraph of the Incarnate God, and St. Dominic the Preacher, Dogged Cherub of the Triune Deity, pray for your children that they may not fail the test but suffer the malice of the wicked gladly and so gain the Crown of Life!

 

XXXXXXX

 

 

+++ 1. What Is This Book About? +++

 

This book is about the idea that human beings don’t need to know about --- and don’t need to believe in --- the Roman Catholic Religion in order to save their souls.

 

Enthusiasts for this idea wax eloquent about the power of ignorance.

 

At the very least, say they, in a world filled with countless different religions and philosophies, how can we know which of them is true?

 

Whilst others, who claim to believe in a particular religion or philosophy, nevertheless go a step further and ask, how can a sincerely ignorant person be guilty of believing in the wrong choice when such a person cannot know for sure which of them is correct?

 

Hence, they insist, no hell or punishment or any unpleasant fate awaits a human being who is ‘sincerely’ committed to the wrong religion or philosophy.

 

After all… how can a loving God be so cruel?

 

+++ 2. And Why Is It Important? +++

 

This notion contradicts the ancient Catholic teaching of ‘no Salvation outside the Church’. People who call themselves ‘catholic’ but think non-Catholics can get into Heaven --- despite these non-Catholics having intelligent minds while never bothering to use this intelligence to seek earnestly for Catholicism or become Catholic --- either don’t know about, don’t care about, or don’t interpret the Salvation Dogma to mean what Roman Catholics have always understood it to mean since earliest times.

 

We will look at some of the proof for the ancient and unchanging meaning of the Salvation Dogma later on. Curious or skeptical readers can also examine For Those Who Consider Themselves Catholic and The Catholic Church Is the Only Way to Save Your Soul, No Exceptions Admitted --- and Here’s the Infallible Proof! The former article can be found in the First Things First section of The Epistemologic Works website, the latter in the Letters & Admonishments section.

 

Meanwhile, please note how this book is not about ‘baptism of desire’ (BOD).

 

The fight over BOD is only indirectly related to ‘no Salvation outside the Church’, an indirect link that, notwithstanding, has become critical during the last three centuries. More information about BOD can be found in the lengthy tome, Baptismal Confusion: What the Fight Over ‘Baptism of Desire’ vs. ‘Water Only’ Is All About and Where Both Sides Get It Very Wrong, Falling into Heresy or Schism as a Result . It is in the Books & Articles section of The Epistemologic Works.

 

+++ 3. Why Tout the Power of Ignorance? +++

(The Ostensible Reason Restated)

 

As pointed out in the first chapter, people today justify believing in whatever religion or philosophy they choose for the following ostensible reason:

 

How can anyone tell which religion or philosophy is actually true?

 

Of course, the most modern of people don’t necessarily think any of them are true. They may not believe that a Creator exists; and, if they do, they probably prefer to think that this Creator doesn’t care what tiny little creatures believe or practice.

 

In short, they assume all religions or philosophies of a traditional or formal nature are manmade --- mere fantasies concocted by human beings to allay their fears or give them solace in the face of suffering or inevitable death. All the same, they won’t hesitate to use the reason above as a justification for not acting like one particular religion or one particular philosophy should command their allegiance.

 

Yet are such people, then, not religious, and, therefore, a kind of religiously neutral person?

 

This is where most of us are curiously blind.

 

We’re taught to think that --- somehow --- modern people are free of the ‘prejudices’ of earlier generations. Somehow we, of all human beings, have become so very, very ‘enlightened’ and don’t think it matters what religion a person is.

 

Religiously speaking, we claim everyone can do as he or she likes.

 

Except… isn’t this a religious teaching?

 

In other words, as long as the idea of religion exists amongst human beings in the first place, isn’t saying it doesn’t matter what religion you are a teaching that is just as religious as saying you’ve got to be one particular religion and not another?

 

And so we see the prejudice that dominates modern times. Because even agnosticism and atheism are religiously dogmatic. The first (agnosticism) religiously teaches us as a dogma that I can’t know for sure a supernatural deity exists or that one of the many religions in the world today is completely true; while the latter (atheism) religiously teaches us as a dogma that I can be certain a supernatural deity doesn’t exist and, additionally, that no religion could possibly be wholly true.

 

It’s simply that what they preach isn’t considered ‘traditional’ since most people have never before believed in their peculiar dogmas. Moreover, until recent centuries, most of our thinkers and leaders have never made public schooling a requirement and then used that means of compulsory education, along with laws and policies against ‘religious discrimination’, to make us think and act like it doesn’t matter what religion you are.

 

To top it off, neither agnosticism nor atheism have widespread rituals or worship.

 

Notwithstanding, they both teach what we are supposed to believe is the truth about the idea we call ‘God’ --- citing evidence and logic thought to be powerful and persuasive that there is no real need for a Creator in order to have a first cause, or any kind of life, or sentient creatures, or a structured cosmos --- and are thus, indeed, the both of them, inescapably teaching something that is religious.

 

+++ 4. Why Tout the Power of Ignorance? +++

(What It Really Boils Down to, Part 1)

 

But is the reason stated above truly why they tout the power of ignorance?

 

Think about it.

 

Have any of them bothered to carefully and adequately study and investigate the religions or philosophies they say it’s impossible to know which --- if any --- is true?

 

Would that answer be… no?

 

Hmmm.

 

And why would that be?

 

For atheists, it’s because they don’t think it’s worth searching. Why look when the thing sought is imaginary? (Although, as already noted, atheists will happily mock adherents of traditional religion by invoking the ‘how-can-you-know-which-one-is-true-when-there-are-so-many-different-beliefs?’ argument, in spite of them assuming that all of these religions are imaginary.) For agnostics --- and other persons a little more sincerely touting the remarkable power of ignorance during the modern era --- it’s hopeless. Why look when the thing sought, however real (maybe), is never, ever, going to be found?

 

Which leads us to point out the next obvious thing:

 

How do they know this?

 

We say again:

 

Left to ourselves and our own limited knowledge to begin with… if somebody doesn’t bother to examine the subject of religion or philosophy carefully, with patience and intelligence --- not to mention a lack of pre-determining bias in the matter prior to starting a thorough examination --- then how can anyone be sure it’s ‘impossible’ to know which, if any religion or philosophy, is fully true?

 

I mean, we are talking about people with sound minds.

 

Yet none of them are omniscient (all-knowing) to start with, right?

 

So how can they be so cocksure that they can’t know the answer --- or that there’s no answer worth finding --- when they haven’t bothered asking the relevant questions and then use their intelligent minds to investigate the facts?

 

Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse?

 

Whereby we see another peculiarity about modern times. Namely, that, while so many people today profess a kind of ‘invincible ignorance’ as the reason why, purportedly, it’s so very ‘impossible’ to know which religion or philosophy could be true, the ignorance under which they claim to labor is neither ‘invincible’ nor, in the end, justified.

 

It’s like a child flung upon his bed, pouting and crying.

 

“Why don’t you clean up your room and put away your toys?” asks his mother. “You’re sure to find what you lost.”

 

“I can’t,” he moans. “It’s too much stuff.”

 

“I’ll help,” she replies. “We’ll take it one thing at a time. Okay?”

 

“I don’ wanna!”

 

+++ 5. Why Tout the Power of Ignorance? +++

(What It Really Boils Down to, Part 2)

 

Except the toy that modern humanity has lost, and thrown a tantrum over, is no mere plaything. It’s something a whole lot bigger.

 

Leading us to point out another obvious thing:

 

There is a vested interest in not believing that in which you don’t want to believe.

 

I mean, if you’re an atheist or an agnostic, do you really want to be convinced of the complete truth of any particular religion? Probably not. Will it not entail admitting you were wrong and changing your life dramatically?

 

Or, if you’re the staunch adherent of one particular religion, do you really wish to be convinced that another religion is the correct religion, the one you’re supposed to be? Unlikely. Will it not entail admitting you were wrong and changing --- with, perhaps, even more pain involved than for the atheist or agnostic who has never before committed to a formal religion --- your life dramatically?

 

This is just the ‘psychological’ argument that so-called ‘non-religious’ people like to wield against a ‘religious’ person (you only believe because you need to feel like someone cares, that a supernatural god looks after you and protects you, or gives you a pleasant fate after death) turned back upon themselves, revealing the other side of this double-edged sword and how it can be used in an argument by both sides intellectually:

 

Because doesn’t a ‘non-religious’ person hate the thought of a supernatural god being real, of having to please this powerful deity by being properly religious and so avoid an unpleasant fate either now in this life or later on after death?

 

Naturally.

 

And does not this hatred make the ‘non-religious’ view of religion a tad bit suspect?

 

To be sure.

 

On the other hand, does this then mean God must exist just because the ‘non-religious’ person hates the thought of Him existing?

 

Of course not.

 

One does not follow logically from the other. A person’s bias often can predispose that person’s beliefs illogically, nevertheless, a human being is also capable of using his mind in a perfectly logical fashion, and so conclude intelligently that something is true regardless of his previous wishes about that thing being true or false.

 

Ergo, we must recognize that this kind of ‘psychological’ argument can never conclusively win the debate for either position. Both ‘religious’ people and ‘non-religious’ people can invoke an opponent’s ‘psychology’ to belittle his stance.

 

+++ 6. Why Tout the Power of Ignorance? +++

(What It Really Boils Down to, Part 3)

 

But does this have anything to do with the ultimate truth?

 

Not at all.

 

Just as there being, supposedly, ‘too many’ religions or philosophies to know which is true, has, in the end, nothing to do with the ultimate truth in the matter of religion. The Triune God of the Roman Catholic Church either exists or He doesn’t exist. At the same time, a person either wants to believe in this God or doesn’t want to believe.

 

Notwithstanding, the person’s preference has no real bearing on God’s actual existence. You don’t create God; He creates you. Hypothetically speaking, a person could want this God to exist, and yet, perhaps, He doesn’t. While, to the contrary, a person might prefer that this God does not exist, and yet, perhaps, He does. In the final analysis, one’s preference is irrelevant for this aspect of things.

 

God exists --- or doesn’t exist --- independently of a person’s preference.

 

Unfortunately, the preference of most ‘non-religious’ people is blatantly clear. The reasonable and honest mind cannot help seeing that, no matter how intelligent the ‘non-religious’ person may (or may not) be, he wields arguments that are frequently fallacious, often ignores simple and easily established facts that are not helpful to his stance, refuses to seriously consider every point able to be made from all sides of the argument, and then repeatedly fails to recognize or admit his own assumptions, thereby also failing to take into account his extremely strong personal prejudice and deal with it fairly.

 

He very much has an anti-religious axe to grind.

 

Not that ‘religious’ people don’t sometimes have an axe to grind, too.

 

It’s just that ‘non-religious’ people tend to put themselves forth as religiously ‘neutral’, being, they like to think, non-partisan and exceptionally clear-minded about these things. All the while such a person cannot see that he is pretty much acting solely on his personal preference, and that this preference of his has no real bearing on God’s existence, or on whether this religion or that religion is fully true… if, indeed, any of them are.

 

Which doesn’t then mean that an individual’s theistic preference is utterly irrelevant. After all, a religious adherent may only waste his time and strength and opportunities of life here on earth (although that’s pretty sad in and of itself when you think about it) if he or she winds up being wrong in the end, there being no Creator in existence and no life after death… or, no Creator Who, despite actually existing, cares what we do when it comes to religion.

 

Yet if a person is wrong about the Catholic God not existing?

 

Way different!

 

Because then a human being faces an eternity of suffering beyond his or her ability to experience here on earth, let alone fully fathom, prior to physical death.

 

And it doesn’t go away just because you don’t want to believe it exists.

 

+++ 7. The Trillion Dollar Question for Intelligent +++

People: Are You Willing To Look and Think?

 

Do you begin to understand, dear reader, why the Catholic Church has always sought the conversion of unconverted people to Her Religion?

 

It ought to be obvious, but maybe you’ve never thought about it clearly:

 

It’s an act of supreme love.

 

Whatever the shortcomings --- real or imagined --- of various Catholics throughout history (including me, for I am a horrible sinner!), proselytizing for the Roman Catholic Faith is done out of concern for immortal souls. Even if a true Catholic is obstinate and proud (like myself), acting more out of a motive to exalt one’s self as the single person who is completely right, there is no real reason to defend Catholic Rome as utterly correct if Her Church is not the sole way to save a person’s soul.

 

Period.

 

In other words, even the obstinate and proud Catholic would not be obstinate and proud about the Catholic Church in the first place, if, in actuality, he or she did not really believe that the Roman Catholic Church is completely correct when it comes to religion, and, hence, that this same Church really is the one and only way for any human being to save his or her infinitely precious immortal soul.

 

Again… period.

 

Think about it.

 

From a true Catholic’s perspective, if this Catholic was acting out of some kind of deep-seated hatred or dislike or disdain for others when he or she proselytizes --- positively drooling over the thought of such people burning in hell --- then what, do you think, would be the surest way to hurt all of these proselytized people the most?

 

Right:

 

To not proselytize them!

 

Then people are much more likely to go to hell and suffer hideously forever.

 

Is it starting to sink in?

 

You may find it annoying to face a real Catholic. You may think a true Catholic is a stuck up prig for insisting that there’s ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ --- and for reminding you that this universally despised phrase means exactly what it says, no ifs, ands or buts.

 

Yet you haven’t got a clue.

 

Because in judging the Catholic for being ‘judgmental’ and ‘hateful’, you yourself are being judgmental and hateful toward this Catholic by presuming out of thin air that his or her motive is merely ‘hateful’ and ‘proud’  --- or at least ‘stupid’ and ‘asinine’ --- for daring to tell you that there’s no other way to save your soul.

 

Or are you, my very dear reader, any less ‘hateful’ and ‘proud’ --- or ‘stupid’ and ‘asinine’ --- for daring to believe, without first examining the matter carefully, patiently and intelligently, that it isn’t?

 

Once more, the sword cuts both ways.

 

Perhaps we ought to stop pretending to know the other person’s motive with absolute certainty. Perhaps we should give each other the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps we should really listen to each other, really discuss it, and think about religion intelligently.

 

Perhaps.

 

But will you?

 

If so, then read on… with care and patience and intelligence. While not claiming to have written a comprehensive treatment of the subject, we will nevertheless examine, one by one, many devastating problems in touting the amazing power of ignorance when it comes to the question of which religion or philosophy, if any, is totally true.

 

+++ 8. The First Big Problem With Ignorance: +++

Can It Ever Really Be ‘Invincible’?

 

People with sound and intelligent minds can be ignorant. This is a simple fact and no intelligent person doubts it. Anybody who lives long enough runs into plenty of situations where a lack of knowledge causes you to assume wrongly or act foolishly, sometimes with quite embarrassing and even harmful repercussions.

 

Mere ignorance, then, is not at question here.

 

The real puzzle is this:

 

Can an intelligent person with a sound mind ever experience an ignorance that --- despite his best intentions and most strenuous efforts --- is absolutely impossible to overcome?

 

To wit, an ignorance that is invincible?

 

Mind you, we’re not talking about a mere ‘stumper’ here. We’re not talking about a situation where something confounds you for a good long time, but, in the end, you can eventually figure it out and get it right.

 

No, we’re talking about an ignorance that is so mighty, so unconquerable, that you can never, never, never, never figure it out… no matter how hard you try, no matter how good your intentions are… and even if you strive until the very end of your life.

 

That’s what invincible ignorance is.

 

We’re also applying this concept to religion.

 

And since most traditional religions insist that there are sentient beings that are normally invisible and that have a vital interest in intelligent earthlings --- and who are fully able to interact with us, not to mention generally more capable than we are in many ways --- then the puzzle becomes the following:

 

Can an intelligent person with a sound mind ever experience an ignorance about religion that --- despite both his best intentions and most strenuous efforts, as well as the very best of intentions and most strenuous of efforts on the part of these normally invisible beings who are fully able to interact with us and consider us important to them in some way --- is absolutely impossible to overcome?

 

This is the real puzzle.

 

A puzzle that doesn’t take too long to figure out, either. Because the answer is staring us right in the face, ensconced within the very set up of the factors in the question above, thereby giving us the rational starting point for solving this conundrum:

 

Why, no. No, indeed.

 

If both an intelligent person with a sound mind and normally invisible beings with a vital interest in intelligent earthlings --- who are fully able to interact with us, not to mention generally more capable than we are in many things and who consider us important to them in some way --- strive, with the very best of intentions and most strenuous efforts, to banish an intelligent earthling’s ignorance about a particular religion that just also happens to be totally true, then how could it ever be impossible for him or her to discover and understand the truth he needs to know about this religion in order to cooperate with it properly?

 

End of lengthy, conditional, interrogatory sentence.

 

And, what do you know?

 

Suddenly… religious ignorance doesn’t look so very invincible.

 

+++ 9. Do We Want to Blow Up Everything? +++

 

Not only that, but we have a more fundamental problem.

 

Consider.

 

Let’s say you call yourself a ‘catholic’ --- and of, seemingly, the most ‘conservative’ or ‘traditional’ kind. You acknowledge the ancient dogma that there is ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ and claim to uphold it. But let’s also say you insist that someone who is not actually Catholic can, nevertheless, with a sound and intelligent mind, wind up being saved in the state of his non-Catholicity.

 

This is because you say such a person cannot help being non-Catholic. He really does think his non-Catholic beliefs are the correct way to believe when it comes to religion. He really can’t know any better --- that Catholicism is the true religion --- and really is ‘sincere’ about his non-Catholic convictions.

 

Hence, if he could know better (but he can’t!), then he’d become Catholic.

 

He is, therefore, the quintessentially invincibly ignorant person about religion and not to blame for his lack of Catholicity. Which, by the way, makes him ‘invisibly connected’ to the Church and thus ‘inside’ Her without anybody knowing it… not even himself.

 

The problem?

 

If somebody with a sound and intelligent mind, who is not Catholic, can be ‘invincibly’ ignorant about religion, then what’s to stop it from working the other way, too?

 

We say again:

 

If somebody with a sound and intelligent mind, who is not Catholic, can be ‘invincibly’ ignorant about things concerning religion, then why in the world can’t someone with a sound and intelligent mind, who is Catholic, be ‘invincibly’ ignorant as well? Why can’t someone who is Catholic be helplessly ignorant, too, that his Catholic religion is not actually the one true religion, all the while he so very innocently (and helplessly!) thinks the Catholic religion is the true religion?

 

Do you see?

 

Yet again the sword is double-edged.

 

A double-edged sword that ‘proves’ way too much… since it ‘proves’ two very different and contrary things at the same time, like an overly powerful bomb indiscriminately destroying the entire earth.

 

For how can the self-styled ‘catholic’, who says a non-Catholic person of sound mind is potentially ‘invincible’ in his ignorance about the Catholic Religion, then turn around and pretend that he alone, of all people with sound minds, is oddly exempt in his Catholicity from a potentially ‘invincible’ ignorance when it comes to any of the other religions?

 

How can he, the so-called ‘catholic’ with a sound and intelligent mind, be absolutely certain that Roman Catholicism is totally true?

 

What if he’s the one who’s ‘invincibly ignorant’ that a non-Catholic religion is actually the true religion?

 

The bottom line is the bottom line.

 

If ‘invincible ignorance’ can afflict people with sound and intelligent minds, then anybody with a sound and intelligent mind can be unavoidably and helplessly wrong for his or her entire life about religion --- including the person who is Roman Catholic, thinking Catholicism to be the True Religion.

 

+++ 10. Who Wants to Be a Solipsist? +++

(Getting Even More Fundamental…)

 

Yet the problem can get even more fundamental.

 

Because while most modern people believe in the religious dogma that no one single religion is totally true --- or else why don’t they seek this One True Religion and practice it? --- they nevertheless gladly resort to the ‘how-can-you-know-which-religion-is-true-when-there-are-so-many-different-religions-to-choose-from?’ argument in order to appear ‘justified’ in their peculiarly modern religious stance.

 

Which, as I have implied, is simply another variation on ‘invincible ignorance’.

That is to say, the self-styled modern ‘catholic’ says it’s just too hard for some intelligent people with sound minds to figure out that Roman Catholicism is totally true… so how can they be guilty of the sin of not being Catholic?

 

How can God condemn them, as if they are intentionally rebellious?

 

I mean, God is merciful. He doesn’t want anyone to die forever, right?

 

Consequently, the self-styled ‘catholic’ reasons:

 

They are invincibly ignorant; their sincerity will save them.

 

Meanwhile, a typical non-Catholic person of modern times says it’s impossible to know which religion, out of all the religions out there, is totally true… so, why even try?

 

But he smirks as he makes this point (if only inside himself, within his own private thoughts), knowing very well that he certainly doesn’t think that any of them are actually and totally true.

 

All the same, it’s a common refrain --- routine ‘justification’ that all kinds of people with perfectly sound and intelligent minds use nowadays to refuse allegiance to any particular religion of a more traditional and formal nature.

 

Per the typical non-Catholic person:

 

We are helplessly ignorant; how could we possibly be in the wrong?

 

Which, when you think about, is really just a type of reasoning that serves as a temporary transition to the eventual logical conclusion of, “You know, God didn’t start any of these religions. They are manmade and God doesn’t care which of them --- if any of them --- you choose to be. When it comes to religion, do what you want.”

 

Thus, is it any surprise that more and more people today refuse to practice any kind of formal and traditional religion? After all, if they’re each of them fantasies made up by mere human beings, then what in the world does it matter to be one of those religions? Just the thought of believing in a religious fantasy --- to be suckered and taken in --- is highly offensive to the overweening, peacockish pride of modern sensibilities.

 

Why even bother to practice such a thing?

 

Notwithstanding, their Achilles’ heel is stark to the ruthlessly honest thinker.

 

As we pointed out in Chapter 4:

 

Have any of them bothered to carefully and adequately study and investigate the religions or philosophies they say it’s impossible to know which --- if any --- is true?

 

No?

 

Which is why we then asked a very simple question:

 

So how do they know this?

 

Left to ourselves and our own limited knowledge to begin with… if somebody doesn’t bother to examine the subject of religion or philosophy carefully, with patience and intelligence --- not to mention a lack of pre-determining bias in the matter prior to starting a thorough examination --- then how can anyone be sure it’s ‘impossible’ to know which, if any religion or philosophy, is fully true?

 

+++ 11. Who Wants to Be a Solipsist? +++

(…and the Bottom Line, Morally Speaking)

 

Hence, even if it’s really just a way of thinking (that is to say, it’s impossible to know which religion is totally true) which is, in the end, only a temporary transition to another logical conclusion altogether that more and more modern people are arriving at (i.e., all traditional religions are merely manmade fantasies), the bottom line is once again the bottom line.

 

To wit:

 

To assume, out of thin air, that you can know something is unknowable without even trying to examine the matter carefully, with patience and intelligence, is the same thing as saying that you can’t know anything for certain at all.

 

We reiterate:

 

To pretend, out of nowhere, that you can ‘know’ that something is unknowable without even trying --- in any truly serious, down-to-earth way --- to investigate the matter carefully, with patience and intelligence, is tantamount to saying that you can never know anything for certain at all, period.

 

End of sentence.

 

For while modern people are slowly but surely transitioning into the assumption that every traditional religion of a formal nature is merely a manmade fantasy, the end result still amounts to the same thing, morally speaking, in the final analysis.

 

Which leads us to tweak the previous paragraph to fit the modified stance:

 

To pretend, out of nowhere, that you can ‘know’ something is a fantasy without even trying --- in any truly serious, down-to-earth way --- to investigate the matter carefully, with patience and intelligence, is tantamount to saying that reality is whatever I want it to be, period. I am all-powerful God; I can do what I want.

 

Nonetheless, don’t be fooled.

 

Because a clever modern-thinking person will try to justify his or her ‘traditional-religion-is-a-human-concocted-fantasy’ accusation by resorting to the ‘anything-that-is-supernatural-is-unknowable’ argument. Which, when you get right down to it, is just another way of saying:

 

“If I can’t see it, then I don’t have to believe it.”

 

But this is disingenuous.

 

After all, don’t modern people believe in all kinds of invisible things?

 

To be sure. Think about it.

 

Aren’t far away, distant stars, or x-ray emitting black holes --- no matter how intrinsically bright in their own wavelengths --- invisible to the naked eye here on earth?

 

And yet any educated person accepts, as a matter of indisputable fact, that the vast majority of celestial objects are realand despite being invisible to the naked eye in the average human being’s everyday life.

 

Or, for instance, aren’t Antarctica and subatomic particles something most of us --- indeed, in the case of nanoscopic particles, all of us --- have never seen?

 

Absolutely.

 

And yet any educated person accepts, as a matter of indisputable fact, that the southern-most continent and quantum objects are realand despite most of us (and, for the latter, all of us) having never perceived, directly with our own eyes, their actual existence.

 

The point?

 

Modern people pretend that ‘supernatural-and-invisible’ means ‘it-never-materially-interacts-with-or-effects-us’ in the natural, material and visible world.

 

Which, as a result, makes them believe that they’re ‘justified’ in thinking that ‘supernatural-and-invisible’ is always the same thing as saying ‘a-human-concocted-religious-fantasy-which-has-no-real-relevance-in-my-everyday-modern-life’.

 

Hard to swallow?

 

You bet.

 

Because since when does an intelligent and honest person ever assume out of thin air without careful examination that calling something ‘invisible’ is the same thing as saying that it is ‘unreal’?

 

+++ 12. Who Wants to Be a Solipsist? +++

(Raise Your Hand… Or, Er, At Least Your Virtual Hand)

 

Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty.

 

Both approaches --- you-can-never-know-anything-for-certain and reality-is-whatever-I-want-it-to-be --- are really just two sides of the same epistemological coin.

 

During modern times, as people more and more reject traditional religion of a formal nature, they have used (even if they’re not smart enough or thoughtful enough to know it) the first approach to justify their rejection. Meanwhile, as people more and more arrive at the logical conclusion of this transitional reasoning in their rejection of traditional religion, they have used (again, even if they’re not smart or thoughtful enough to recognize it), the second and last approach to justify themselves in their rejection.

 

The first approach is blatant ‘solipsism’ and papers over one’s modernist pride in a veneer of ‘humility’, as if you ‘humbly’ acknowledge your limitations in being able to ‘know’ that any one particular religion of a more traditional and formal nature is true.

 

Solipism’, by the way, is from Latin for ‘self alone’.

 

Meaning, it is not possible for me to know for certain that anyone or anything --- other than myself --- actually exists.

 

It’s a popular theme in science fiction or cyberpunk fiction of the last half century or so, the most well-known version of it being The Matrix film trilogy about a ‘virtual reality’ generated by fantastically complex computer code which enslaves physically ‘jacked in’ human beings as a kind of biological power source for intelligent machines that earlier humans tried to destroy by ‘searing the sky’ and blocking solar radiation. In the films, a few human beings figure this out and manage to escape from virtual reality into actual reality, albeit with the very shrewd connivance of a professorial ‘architect’ of these machine intelligences.

 

Pure solipsism, incidentally, is not escapable. That is to say, if a total and pure solipsism is true, then no one can know for sure that anything other than one’s own self exists.

 

Ever, period.

 

But, of course, pure solipsism is untenable. For, if true, who can know anything different than the virtual yet imaginary ‘reality’ that someone perceives as the ‘truth’? And, if impossible to know otherwise, then it is rational to act as if everything is real.

 

I mean, what sane, non-suicidal person would step out in front of a speeding train or pour boiling hot water on his head and say it’s alright since it’s not real?

 

Natch.

 

Nonetheless, more and more modern people are taking it one step further and daring to think --- and as much as say --- that their own minds and own perceptions ‘create’ reality. That is to say, reality is not just, so to speak, ‘indeterminate’ because it is ‘unknowable’. Rather --- and in what appears to be, superficially speaking, a kind of logical paradox --- reality is ‘indeterminate’ because it can be whatever I want to ‘determine’ it to be.

 

We see this tendency expressed in an increasingly popular interpretation of quantum mechanics, wherein, it is said, the ‘observer’ (i.e., the physicist conducting a quantum mechanical experiment) somehow ‘determines’ the location or path of a subatomic particle as he or she ‘observes’ it. Or, should we say, in as far as it is possible to determine within the position-vs.-momentum boundaries of Heisenberg’s famous Uncertainty Principle.

 

(This, by the way, is a phenomenon which seems related to another quantum phenomenon known as ‘entanglement’, both of which are puzzling to recent scientists since the latter appears to flout a sacrosanct Einsteinian speed limit on light’s velocity, and since the former implies that an ‘observer’ and the ‘observed’ are connected in some mysterious way. However, do away with a needless speed limit and admit the possibility of superluminal velocities --- and hence some superluminal medium connecting the ‘observer’ and the ‘observed’, not to mention a rather ‘novel’ way of interpreting such phenomena that looks ‘mysterious’ when judged by our present conventions  --- and quantum puzzles like these tend to be less enigmatic and far more easily solved.)

 

Put philosophically, this is a type of ‘Berkeleianism’.

 

In Berkeleian philosophy, reality is a sort of inversion of Platonic reality, and what appear to be material objects are only ‘ideas’ within the mind of the observer, such that nothing material can exist without being perceived. Or, to put it differently:

 

Perception is reality. If it is not perceived, it does not exist.

 

This is the flip side of the coin of solipsism.

 

From ‘I-can-only-know-that-I-exist’ the increasingly modernized human mind goes to ‘existence-around-me-is-whatever-I-want-to-exist’. It is, as it were, the ‘deification’ of mere humanity. Because, from a truly wise Roman Catholic point of view, the only solipsism that really exists is the Divine Solipsism. To wit:

 

God alone exists from all of eternity. Whatever God deigns to create out of nothing, is what is real and exists and can be perceived. Everything that exists, apart from a sentient creature’s own self, is most certainly real because God alone is eternally real and freely determines to make everything else real, and, thus, perceivable.

 

The destination of modern humanity is self-deification.

 

Like a child with his eyes closed, modern humanity is determined to believe that nothing around him is real, and, if anything apart from himself is real, it’s only real because he wants it to be real.

 

And all because he doesn’t want what is truly real to be actually real.

 

The Triune God of the Catholic Church is that distasteful to him.

 

Who wants to be a solipsist?

 

Raise your virtual (and imaginary) hand.

 

+++ 13. The Second Big Problem With Ignorance: +++

What’s the Point of an Infallible Church?

 

Thus far in my text I have been trying to include --- along with people who consider themselves Catholic --- readers who may not think of themselves as Catholic, or Christian, or, indeed, any particular religion or philosophy.

 

Yet the idea of ‘invincible’ ignorance is a peculiarly ‘catholic’ concept.

 

Hence, in talking about the devastating problems with this idea, during modern times, we have to start using a lot of terminology unique to the theology of Catholicism and start focusing like a laser on those who purport to be ‘catholic’… and even if they’re really not what they claim to be.

 

And so we turn to the Dogma of Infallibility.

 

What is infallibility?

 

It means someone cannot be wrong in what he professes to believe, or in what he teaches is true, provided that we interpret the statement of this profession or teaching fairly, intelligently and correctly.

 

We say again:

 

Infallibility means someone cannot, period, ever be wrong in what he or she professes to believe to be true, or in what he or she teaches is true, provided that others interpret the statement of this person’s profession or teaching in a way that is fully and completely fair, intelligent and correct.

 

End of sentence.

 

Why is this important?

 

Because Roman Catholicism asserts that Her Singular Church is “…the church of the living God, the pillar and ground [foundation] of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15b DRC, all emphasis & annotation added. Emphases & annotations added to all scriptural quotes unless otherwise noted.)

 

And, of course, a “pillar” is what holds up something heavy and important and tall and protectively covering everything, whilst the “ground [foundation]” is what is under someone and must bear up everything without moving or shifting or crumbling.

 

+++ 14. The Saving Truth Upheld by the Church: +++

Dare You Ignore It?

 

Starting to get interesting?

 

This “…church of the living God…” strongly and immovably supports “the truth”!

 

Which Singular Church, by the way, is, as St. Paul also tells us, “…of Christhis body…” (Colossians 1:24b, c DRC)

 

Did you get that, dear reader?

 

God’s Church is Christ’s Church, which is His Body!

 

And what person ever has more than one body?

 

Or what person has the parts of this body lying around disconnected or uncoordinated and without a head, while, absurdly --- somehow --- he or she is alive and well?

 

Do you savvy, dear soul?

 

Ergo why Jesus’ Church is His Singular Body and not a plural ‘bodies’:

 

To wit,, an Ecclesial Body of One arranged for a living purpose…

 

…all of Her different parts connected together as a whole

 

…under the coordination of an intelligent head…

 

…everything in a sacred harmony.

 

But why is this Singular Church Body “…the pillar and ground of the truth…”?

 

Because Christ Jesus, Who proclaims He is the truth (John 14:6 DRC), must, of a necessity --- while He is in Heaven and not physically present here on earth to explain and uphold this “truth” of His with us in Person --- teach us and remind us, and protect and guarantee for us in its original and correct meaning, this vital truth through this Singular Church Body of His, which is indeed very much physically present with us through Her various persons and their united testimony to this incorruptible teaching, most especially in Her hierarchical leadership, the many sacred priests who devote their entire lives to God’s Holy Service, guarding, feeding and instructing His humble, submissive and loyal flock in this powerful, precious and salvific “truth”.

 

A “truth”, incidentally, that is absolutely crucial since St. Paul warns us:

 

“And then that wicked one shall be revealed… whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8a, 9-11 DRC)

 

Now, a “truth” that is not loved by many people and which, consequently, causes these haters of “truth” to perish and not end up being saved, because they do not believe this “truth” --- which, instead, to the contrary, impels them to “believe lying” and “lying wonders” that unavoidably oppose this saving “truth” --- is a “truth” that is, very obviously, absolutely necessary to get right.

 

Think about it.

 

Who wants to wind up in hell damned forever?

 

No honest person in his right mind who has an ounce of good will.

 

And yet St. Peter assures us that God is “…not willing that any should perish…” (2 Peter 3:9c DRC) Notwithstanding, did we not just learn from St. Paul how people, who are spiritually perishing, perish “…because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved…”? (2 Thessalonians 2:10b DRC)

 

To be sure.

 

How, then, can God expect people to save themselves --- not wanting anyone to spiritually perish --- if He does not give them an ironclad means to be able to know this vital truth that saves their souls?

 

Do you see?

 

+++ 15. Can You Ascend unto Heaven Without +++

a Pillar’s Strength or Avoid Descent into Hell

Without Ground Stability?

 

This is why Christ Jesus declared to St. Peter in front of His disciples:

 

“Blessed art thou [blessed are you], Simon Bar-Jona [Simon son of Jona, Peter’s name from birth]: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee [mere human beings have not taught you the truth that I am God in the Flesh, which you have just proclaimed with infallible assurance, see Matthew 16:17a], but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee [you]: that thou art Peter [you are Rock, the meaning of the nickname ‘Peter’ from Aramaic via ancient Greek, then Latin, till finally it arrives in our English as ‘Peter’, a moniker that is no longer thought of as a nickname since today in our part of the world it’s an everyday name]; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:17b-18 DRC)

 

Because Peter is the linchpin upon which God hangs the Gift of Infallibility that He bestows upon His Church, keeping the “truth” He taught while on earth --- whether via Himself in His Sacred Flesh or via His Twelve Holy Apostles after He had ascended into Heaven --- from being forgotten, twisted or denied within His Singular Church Body here on earth thenceforward. Or, should we say, that Peter, being the Rock, is the base of the pillar and the bedrock beneath the ground of this Singular Church that upholds the Saving Truth!

 

A “truth” that hell, the abode of Satan, very much wants dead and destroyed.

 

As Jesus informs us:

 

“He [the devil, Satan, see John 8:44a] was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh [speaks] a lie, he speaketh of his own [as if it’s his native language]: for he is a liar, and the father thereof [Satan invented lying and rules over anyone who lies, which liars are his children and the citizens of his infernal kingdom].” (John 8:44b-c DRC)

 

Hence, while any member of Christ’s Singular Body exercises this Church’s Gift of Infallibility by believing or teaching the Saving Truth, it is Peter, the Rock --- and his successors down through the centuries, those who legitimately rule as real and true head bishops of the Diocese of Rome, the place where Peter established his rule and ended his days on earth as a martyr --- who is the crux of this infallibility, by God’s Mighty Power making sure the Saving Truth is kept whole, pure and undefiled, as well as our comprehension of this Saving Truth sometimes expanded and deepened… yet always without --- we repeat, WITHOUT --- ever, ever, ever contradicting the correct, true, and perpetually unchanging meaning of this Singular Saving Truth as constantly understood by all real Roman Catholics from the very beginning in the first century with Jesus & His Twelve Apostles.

 

Now put on your thinking cap and ponder carefully again.

 

Why does Satan and his domain, hell, try to “prevail” (Matthew 16:18c DRC) against the truth that saves and behave like a “murderer” (John 8:44b DRC) toward it, and why does Our Sovereign Creator expect us to believingly “love” this saving “truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10b & 11 DRC) as well as guarantee its survival and comprehension in our world by erecting a Church that is His “body” (Colossians 1:24b DRC), a Church Body that is, too, a “pillar and ground [foundation]” of this “truth” (1 Timothy 3:15b DRC) and built upon a most solid and unyielding “rock” (Matthew 16:18b DRC) --- which “rock” is also the most unusual and distinctive nickname He gave to only one of His many disciples, “Peter” (Matthew 16:18a DRC) --- if, in fact, it is not actually necessary --- and always possible --- for every human being of sound and intelligent mind to very literally  know this saving truth upheld infallibly by the pillar and ground of a One, Holy, Roman, Catholic & Apostolic Church that is founded firmly on a Constant, Unchanging & Unyielding Rock? (See the scriptural passage of Matthew 7:24-27 for Jesus’ clear, logical inference of His Church Body being very necessarily founded on the Apostle He uniquely called Peter --- Rock --- and thus upon any of his true and legitimate successors where they exercise this rock-like responsibility.)

 

Are you following me?

 

Dear reader, the conclusion is pretty obvious:

 

There is no real reason to guarantee truth on earth with unconquerable rock-like certitude in opposition to a murderous hell if, in fact, anyone of sound mind on this earth can save his or her immortal soul without actually having to know --- not to mention resolve to properly understand, accurately believe and humbly obey --- this unyieldingly-supported, infallibly-guaranteed and thus, without any doubt, most-certainly-knowable-in-its-original-and-unchanging-meaning saving truth.

 

End of sentence.

 

+++ 16. The Third Big Problem With Ignorance: +++

Why Warn Against Being ‘Outside’ the Church When, in

Fact, Nobody Can Ever Be Sure Who’s on the ‘Inside’?

 

Real Catholics have always believed in ‘no Salvation outside the Church’.

 

That is to say, it’s one of the ‘common’ dogmas of Roman Catholicism --- something taught plainly to everyone since the first century with Jesus & His Apostles, something anyone of sound mind and intelligence must know and understand rightly in order to be Catholic to begin with.

 

It can be stated in various ways (for instance, ‘you can’t be saved without Jesus’, the Church being Jesus’ Body and thus necessary for a human being to belong to and hence be alive with Him in this resurrected Body of His, someone He can take along to Heaven as part of Himself and therefore save), yet the correct meaning is always the same. From at least the third century some form of the unique way stated above at the start of this chapter, to wit, ‘no Salvation outside the Church’, can be found in the writings of St. Cyprian of Carthage, a north African bishop and one of the fathers of the Church.

 

But what is the correct meaning?

 

An intelligent (and patient or curious) person can study the copious writings of ancient Christians --- including the Bible --- and find this simple, indisputable truth:

 

True Christians (read: Roman Catholics) have always known, always taught, and always believed, that ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ means ‘there is no Salvation possible for anyone not visibly connected to the Roman Catholic Church’, this visible connection being the materially discernible signs of a right baptism into, and --- for those with adequate minds --- right profession of the Most Singular Religion of the Roman Catholic Church, which is Jesus Christ’s One & Only Ecclesial Body.

 

Period.

 

Why belabor this point?

 

Because clever proponents of the amazing power of ignorance dare to assert not only that a supposedly ‘invincibly ignorant’ person can die and escape guilt at final judgment for not being Catholic (and therefore punished in hell for other sins, however, not for the sin of being non-Catholic), but can also, in this state of so-called ‘invincible ignorance’ be propelled, by the equally amazing power of ‘sincerity’, into the Reward of Heaven!

 

And even though such a person is not visibly Catholic at his death.

 

The problem?

 

Anybody who studies the early Christian writings and Sacred Scripture, carefully and thoroughly, knows that ancient Roman Catholics never understood ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ to make an exception for supposedly ‘ignorant’ persons. That, instead, for a person of adequate intelligence to die in ignorance about Catholicism was, for them, as they plainly knew and plainly taught, equivalent to being certainly in hell forever.

 

So what do these clever enthusiasts for the power of ignorance do in the face of this indisputably documented historical fact, so as to save their pretense of calling themselves ‘catholic’ from falling into ruins and make their claim on behalf of the incredible power of ignorance and salvation through sincerity sound ‘believable’?

 

+++ 17. Doesn’t It Look Like the ‘Power of Ignorance’ +++

People Are the Ones Truly Ignorant… and Deliberately So?

 

Easy.

 

They say our understanding of doctrine has ‘deepened’, that the rule of ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ is now known to include those people who --- through no fault of their own, say they --- died ‘invincibly ignorant’ of Roman Catholicism while in ‘sincere adherence’ to their various and false religious beliefs. Ergo, say they, such people have an ‘implicit desire’ for water baptism (if not validly baptized in water already) and are ‘invisibly connected’ to the Very Visible Ecclesial Body of Jesus’ Catholic Church.

 

Problem solved.

 

Or… so they would like to think.

 

Because for an understanding of doctrine to truly ‘deepen’, it must not deny what all earlier Catholics of a sound mind and staunch orthodoxy knew for a fact to be the correct understanding of this teaching.

 

Whereas the idea of ‘salvation-in-the-state-of-ignorance-and-sincerity’ most certainly does deny what earlier (indeed, as ancient as you can get) Roman Catholics have always understood the dogma of ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ to mean!

 

And, prior to modern times, almost no one purporting to be Catholic had ever taught ‘salvation-visibly-outside-the-church-via-ignorance-and-sincerity’ along with the innovative notion of a totally ‘invisible’ connection to the same.

 

We repeat:

 

Prior to the modern era roughly beginning around the AD 1500s --- certainly since the start of the 2nd millennium! --- there was almost no one going by the name of Catholic who dared to teach, or openly believe in, the newly-minted notions that a human being of sound mind and intelligence could save his soul, whilst dying visibly outside the Roman Catholic Church and visibly upholding false religious beliefs, by the power of an ‘invincible ignorance’ and ‘deeply held sincerity’, thereby making him or her somehow ‘connected’ to this Catholic Church in a totally ‘invisible’ way, (so ‘invisible’ that no one on earth --- not even themselves! --- can know that they’re an invisible ‘part’ of this Very Visible Church), and, as a result, able to enter the Eternal Reward of Heaven Above.

 

End of really long sentence.

 

+++ 18. Could Vatican II Have ‘Changed’ the Dogma? +++

 

There is no way to get around this for an honest and intelligent person.

           

If you know recent history and are truly Catholic, believing in ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ in its most ancient, narrow and correct sense, then, thinking about it carefully, the most significant (and shocking) thing about our increasingly and tyrannically modernized world is not divorce, immodesty, abortion, homosexuality, or --- when speaking solely about those who call themselves ‘catholic’ nowadays --- interreligious dialogue, public religious prayers and unity with Talmudic Judaism, a Novus Ordo Mass (literally, a ‘New Order’ Mass), the liturgy and ritual of the Church’s Sacraments re-written and toyed with, the silencing of Our Lady of Fatima’s seer, and etc., etc.

 

No.

 

The really significant (and shocking) thing to occur, during the past century or so of relentless modernization of this earthly world, especially when it comes to the Church and those people who are supposed to be Catholic, is Vatican II during the 1960s.

 

At this council, the composers of its sixteen documents made it look like they had ‘enshrined’ the novelty of ‘salvation through ignorance’ as a ‘doctrine’ of the Catholic Church; for instance, see paragraph sixteen of their major statement regarding the Roman Catholic Church, Lumen gentium. And as the most influential and leading theologian of Vatican II, a German named Karl Rahner (famous amongst the learned for his theory of the ‘anonymous Christian’ --- which is just another name for the idea of ‘salvation-in-the-state-of-ignorance-via-sincerity’), openly admitted in one of many voluminous writings, the most astonishing thing about Vatican II was that this council publicly taught this notion of ‘salvation through ignorance’ in a solemn setting, and in the most official-looking way possible (a worldwide council held at the Vatican itself in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy!) for the very first time ever, in all of history, and…

 

…(drum roll, please, as we come to the dramatic conclusion)…

 

…no one publicly batted an eyelash.

 

We say again:

 

To my knowledge and to the best of my ability to historically study this council in a scholarly and systematic way, not a single one of the many hundreds & hundreds of bishops participating at Vatican II from 1962 to 1965 raised a single peep of public protest about the novelty of ‘salvation-through-ignorance-whilst-visibly-outside-the-Catholic-Church’ being explicitly enshrined within its documents in at least three different places (see Lumen gentium, Paragraphs 14 & 16, and Ad gentes, Paragraph 7, which can be found in various languages, including English, at the official Vatican website itself in the Resource Library section), the pope at the end of this council, Paul VI, then promulgating these notorious & pertinacious lies like Peter in a modern day version of his threefold denial of Christ during His Passion.

 

Like the Twelve Apostles of old, when Christ was arrested, they all fled.

 

Peter denied Jesus and none of the others stood with Him or resisted the lies being asserted against Him & His Teachings.

 

Likewise, almost every one of those bishops (a bishop being a successor to the Twelve Apostles) at St. Peter’s Basilica voted for each of these Vatican II documents.

 

And, to the best of my ability to know, not a one of them voted against any of these sixteen conciliar documents because of the salvation-in-ignorance-via-sincerity heresy ‘enshrined’ pertinaciously & notoriously at three separate points within their texts.

 

Not a one.

 

The tragic irony?

 

Purported ‘traditionalists’ --- who can really look like they’re ‘catholic’ due to their sometimes very strict adherence to the ‘tradition’ of the Church, clinging to the great majority of Catholic teachings and Catholic practices, apart from the one critical exception of most of them not adhering to the Salvation Dogma in its ancient, narrow and correct sense --- will often carp at Vatican II for introducing, or allowing, all kinds of novelties and innovations, even, occasionally (if they’re so-called ‘sedevacantists’), accuse the council of teaching outright heresy and permitting all kinds of travesties.

 

All the while they are, most of them, strangely blind to the one innovation and one heresy Vatican II pretended to ‘enshrine’ as ‘official’ when it plainly, repeatedly, notoriously and pertinaciously upheld the lie of ‘salvation-in-the-state-of-ignorance-and-sincerity’.

 

Weird?

 

Absolutely.

 

Oh, and by the way, the answer to this chapter’s query is simple:

 

No.

 

No pope or council --- regardless of how general, universal and ecumenical it is --- has the authority to change the meaning of a single infallible dogma.

 

Period.

 

+++ 19. How Is This Related to the ‘Great Apostasy’? +++

 

Religiously speaking, if you can see straight (i.e., if you’re truly Catholic and realize something hideous is going on in our world today), then this is flabbergasting.

 

It’s as if the human structure of the Ecclesial Body of Christ rotted out from the inside like a mighty oak in the forest --- to which other trees around it pale in comparison --- decades and centuries before Vatican II ever transpired. And then, when the ‘winds of change’ came that John XXIII and Paul VI’s council unleashed during the 1960s, turning into a storm gale of global apostasy, this mighty oak… which has stood visibly untrammeled in the face of all kinds of visible opposition for nearly 2000 years… suddenly appears to topple under the onslaught of the Religion of Modernism.

 

In a trice, overnight.

 

It’s like the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ all over again.

 

Only this time, it’s His Ecclesial Body, the Roman Catholic Church, that’s laid in the Tomb, the wicked and powerful of this world rejoicing that they, the Moderns, have at last --- seemingly --- decisively won a long and difficult war against their enemy, the Catholics. A war that has involved both blatant foes against the Church and, too, secretive and hidden traitors within Her own ranks, like latter day Judas Iscariots.

 

Whither the Religion of Catholicism?

 

“But yet the Son of man, when he cometh [comes], shall he find, think you [do you think], faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8b DRC)

 

In other words, when Jesus Christ returns in His Visible Human Body to our world here below the Highest Heavens, do you think He’ll find hardly anyone left who is still visibly professing the Catholic Faith whole & entire, and hence a real & visible member of His Singular Roman Catholic Ecclesial Body?

 

It will be the same then at His Return as it was in the days of “Noe [Noah],” Jesus tells us a mere one chapter earlier in Luke 17:26 DRC.

 

That is to say, it is the Great Apostasy today that we live through, just as the Holy Ghost via St. Paul foretold in his New Testament letters as part of Sacred Scripture. Namely, and especially, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11, as well as 2 Timothy 3:1-14.

 

For just as the vast majority of people on the earth, way back then during the time of Noe, didn’t want to believe in the Triune God of the Catholic Church Who would punish them for their terrible sins with an equally terrible Global Flood, refusing to enter the One & Only Saving Ark of St. Noe, so, too, the world today does not want to believe that they are threatened by an Inescapable Flood of God’s Wrath for their terrible sins --- worst of which is their disobedience to God’s First Commandment by denial of His One & Only True Religion! --- in the equally terrible fires of an everlasting hell, and, consequently, they most adamantly and indignantly refuse to enter the One & Only Saving Ark of Roman Catholicism, instead insisting --- perhaps with a smirk or Sphinx-like face, if they are not yet moved, with the powerful passion of a deep-seated hatred, to outright anger --- that they are perfectly fine just as they are, in whatever religion or particular religious ideas they choose to believe.

 

How dare you tell them otherwise!

 

It’s the 21st century, you know… so how could any intelligent person not realize that the inevitable passage of time somehow, ‘magically’, always means something called ‘progress’ and ‘enlightenment’ as we ‘modernize’ and move into the future?

 

In other words, how could you be so archaic as to believe a religious teaching that we modern people have long since jettisoned as obviously wrong?

 

+++ 20. We Drive It Home… What’s the Point of +++

Saying ‘No Salvation Outside the Church’?

 

The catch?

 

The Triune God of the Catholic Church had His Ecclesial Body teach the dogma of no Salvation outside the Church’ --- as if it’s a vital Ark of Salvation --- plainly to everyone everywhere since the AD 30s for a most excellent & urgent reason.

 

What is the reason?

 

To be a solemn warning.

 

For those already visibly inside the Church, it’s a warning not to leave Her Sanctuary lest you die visibly outside the only hope of salvation and go to hell forevermore.

 

For those not yet visibly inside the Church, it’s a warning to enter Her Sanctuary as soon as you can lest you die visibly outside the only hope of salvation and go to hell forevermore.

 

In either situation, it’s the same principle:

 

Don’t you dare be caught visibly outside the Church lest you die and go to hell!

 

We reiterate:

 

Don’t you dare be caught visibly outside the Roman Catholic Church lest you die on this earth without being Catholic and, at your judgment before God Almighty, are condemned to the flames of an everlasting hell, there to suffer horribly in separation from your Creator forever, in Whose Image you are made, and, without Whom, you will never experience happiness and peace in the eternity to come.

 

Period.

 

Think about it, dear reader.

 

There’s no good reason for God to tell us ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ when, in fact, nobody can be certain who’s actually inside the Church and who’s actually outside.

 

The statement would then serve no practical purpose.

 

It’s like St. Noe warning his fellow human beings to get inside the Ark before the Flood arrives, lest they die in the catastrophe to come. I.e., ‘no Salvation outside the Ark’.

 

What if someone argued it’s okay that they don’t physically & visibly get inside the Ark because they’re ‘invincibly ignorant’ and ‘very sincere’ in their disbelief about the impending Deluge, thereby already ‘invisibly connected’ to the Ark and, therefore, somehow ‘sure’ to survive the awful catastrophe to come?

 

And even though, in reality, they are physically and visibly outside the safety of a physical & visible Ark, built at God’s command to serve as an exclusive & physical means of salvation for those who actually get inside its sanctuary --- they being eight in all as Sacred Scripture tells us (Genesis 6:9-10, 7:7, 1 Peter 3:19-20) --- everyone else in the whole world dying a most literal, physical & visible death in the painful horrors of a most destructive, literal, physical, visible & worldwide Flood.

 

And so we ask one more time:

 

What’s the point of saying no Salvation outside the Church’ when nobody can tell who’s actually inside this Ark of the Church and who’s actually on the outside?

 

Case almost closed with this devastating problem made clear.

 

Except for the fact that we’ve got four more huge and ugly problems to deal with before we truly close all of the most pertinent arguments against the ‘amazing power’ of ignorance, and ‘saving efficacy’ of sincerity, with a truly damning finality.

 

+ + +

 

Part Two of Helplessly Ignorant (Chapters 21-48)

 

Part Three of Helpless Ignorant (Chapters 49-69)

 

Part Four of Helpless Ignorant (Chapters 70-99)

 

Part Five of Helpless Ignorant (Chapters 100-134)

 

+ + +

 

Pilate’s query met:

www.TheEpistemologicWorks.com

 

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