Getting to a point where I could simply read words like those in the meme below — without getting offended or angry; without superimposing a lifetime of indoctrinated filters that demanded I defensively bluster about the audacity of anyone who dared speak ill of my faith, or the Pope, or Jesus — took me a long time.
Seriously. I used to get angry if I heard anyone utter the slightest dissent to Catholicism.
But I was trained to think that was a good response to thoughts that challenged my indoctrination. I was trained to believe I already possessed truth in its fullness, and my only job was to defend it.
It is not.
Try it. Try reading this “meme” for the word value only. If you’re a Catholic, strip away the desire to protect an existing belief. Squelch the desire to say, “This is absurd because I KNOW the truth of my faith.” Repress your desire to see the word “imbecile” or “lunatic” as a personal attack on you and your identity. Tamp down your appeals to authority and history and tradition.
Can you be objective when it’s your belief?
Short of flashing the trump card of indoctrination, “Because I’ve been taught otherwise,” how is the belief in transubstantiation any different than adopting a belief in Elvis and pancakes, or in the flying spaghetti monster, or aliens?
Oh, I know, there will be a rush of “sophisticated theologians” pushing forward to dismiss the idea. “Cartoonish caricature of religion,” they’ll say.
But it is not: I was taught (as were most if not all Catholics) that transubstantiation is the literal conversion of the host and wine into the body and blood of Jesus.
Can you get to a place where, objectively, you can say, “Yes… this is a fair point.”
A place where you don’t defend your tribe?
When I was finally able to stand outside myself and look objectively at the words I had been taught to defend, I was free.