So I've been e-mailing with a Jesuit scholastic (someone who is studying to become a priest) about some family values issues and I wanted to blog my response to something he said about beliefs and how I arrive at them:
"Going to be tough to chat via phone... have a very busy schedule over the next few days. Plus, admittedly, I'm a writer. I kind of hate the phone and do my best thinging when I can sit, go back to something, think about it... I find the phone to be unecessarily syncronous when my brain doesn't work that way.
Plus, this is the way the Paul did it, right? :) He would have made a great blogger.
I'm sure we'll run into different definitions of the word faith, but here's one from the Catholic Encyclopedia that seems that you would go on that I have a lot of trouble with.
"...faith must necessarily result in a body of dogmatic beliefs....Objectively, it stands for the sum of truths revealed by God in Scripture and tradition and which the Church presents to us in a brief form in her creeds..."
"That such Divine faith is necessary, follows from the fact of Divine revelation. For revelation means that the Supreme Truth has spoken to man and revealed to him truths which are not in themselves evident to the human mind. We must, then, either reject revelation altogether, or accept it by faith; that is, we must submit our intellect to truths which we cannot understand, but which come to us on Divine authority."
The problem I have, where this breaks down for me and where it breaks down for a lot of Catholics, or people in general, is that once you get to the point where religion needs to be explained to you by someone with a lot more schooling that you, you don't trust it... because you know that no one is infallable and we are all subject to our own biases. Religion has been used to exploit people, as an excuse to start wars (not talking about today), and as an instrument of fear. (You should see V for Vendetta, btw...) Individual faith doesn't have those negative charactoristics, or at least not to the same extent. If I base my faith on what I believe in my heart and my innate sense of right and wrong, while it is no doubt subject to my own biases, I also don't get the sense that I am using religion to justify an end. Whereas, when you have Divine Revelation explained to you by others that seems to contradict what's in your heart, people get a little suspicious.
So, you could tell me that there is Divine revelation that dictates what family means, but I say that, to me, family is love and support and I see the best kind of love and support in a multitude of different arrangements and architectures. I believe that... it is my own personal faith that it is acceptable to God. Scholars and experts could point out otherwise, but then again, some Church scholars thought the world was flat at one point, too, and that notions of a round world were contrary to scripture. Such is the result when imperfect people try and interpret the Divine."