Studying Lies

I don’t often share my writing elsewhere unless it pertains to what I’m doing here. In that vein, I wrote a post on Wednesday over at Ignitum Today which discusses the benefits of studying other religions. Although it is told from my point of view as a Catholic, I think many of the lessons to be learned are applicable to any person, even atheists. Hopefully it also gives some broader background for what I am doing in this space.

With all of the hobbies to pick from, I choose to spend my free time studying lies. Everything from why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate holidays to why Hindus eschew cow. Of course, these are factually true, in that those practitioners do believe those things, but as a belief for Catholics, they are not. As Catholics, the differing views espoused by other denominations or faiths can be striking; they are misguided at best, outright falsehoods at worst.

When it is phrased in such a manner, religious studies can seem pointless. Where else in life do we choose to partake in learning untruths? Wouldn’t time be better spent understanding our own Catholic faith better? Heaven knows we have enough material to keep us occupied for well beyond our lifetime.

Despite their objectively incorrect theology, every religion has the potential to touch our lives. It may be in how a particular faith altered the history of our world, or how a traditional religious custom has become part of our town’s heritage. Religion can even sneak into our mainstream culture: many restaurants in the US restructure menus during Lent to offer more vegetarian and seafood options, while several Japanese cultural customs are remnants of Shinto purity beliefs. On some level, all of these scenarios hinge on understanding religion to comprehend their full meaning.

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3 thoughts on “Studying Lies

  1. A great article, and it’s essential for anyone wanting to engage in Catholic apologetics. It goes back to the old saying, “know thy enemy”. One of the biggest failures when dialoging with other religions (or Protestants) is talking ‘at’ them rather than talking ‘to’ them. If you don’t know where they are coming from, then you’re wasting your breath because you’re speaking past them. This is why when I do apologetics I often even use their own terminology and buzz words but put a Catholic spin on it, such as This Sola Fide Debate which stunned my opponent on the first essay because he was expecting the Catholic to totally not know Scripture nor ‘advanced’ Protestant lingo.

  2. Why the topic “Studying Lies” instead of “Studying Other Beliefs,” that is far more neutral and frankly kind. You seem pretty tolerant and understanding in your other posts. This title seems out of place. You don’t have to declare someone an enemy or use disparaging words to disagree.

    • Perhaps. But, I think it drives home the point. “Studying Other Beliefs” gives me the impression that I lend credence to those systems, which, to be blunt, I don’t. Now, I appreciate your thoughts on me being tolerant, and I do consider myself tolerant insofar that I enjoy hashing out the nitty gritty of faiths, both mine and everyone else’s. I like hearing their thoughts and viewpoints on other faiths (mine included, positive and negative) as well. But it doesn’t mean I believe that they are a) true, or b) OK to continue believing (depending on the belief, of course).

      I don’t mean to be disparaging, although I can see how it would come off that way. It is unfortunate that “lie” has such a negative connotation, when it is simply the definition of “not true”. Given the nature of the post (ecumenicism with Catholicism as the truth), I felt that the word choice made more sense considering the topic. However, I will consider changing it. Do you have a suggestion for another title that is less confrontational while still conveying the fact that I believe Catholicism is true? Perhaps your original suggestion would be a good compromise, and I just read too much into it. ^_^

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