For years, the Catholic Television Network (EWTN) has had a show called The Journey Home. My parents used to watch this show when I was a child, for the few years that we had a dish before we tore the roof off the house. To the best of my recollection, the purpose of the show is to display how Catholicism is an awesome religion because so many people convert to it. When I found out that all the episodes are available online, I decided to watch them and review them. It’s undeniable that people convert to Catholicism; my question is, do they have good reasons? How many of them started as some form of Christian in the first place? How many came from other religions? How many were atheists or skeptics? Why did they convert, and would the answer to that question be a convincing reason for a skeptic?
If you decide to watch these episodes with me, you may notice that I ignore a lot of things I could respond to. The target audience is Catholics, and this is clear from the very first minute that Marcus Grodi begins speaking. These stories aren’t necessarily meant to convince a skeptic, but to strengthen the faith of a Catholic, or possibly convince a non-Catholic Christian to convert, and there’s really nothing wrong with that. Nonetheless, I’d like to see if this collection of conversion stories contains any compelling reasons for a skeptic to convert.
The fourth episode is titled “Steve Wood: A Presbyterian Minister Who Became A Catholic – The Journey Home Program” and aired September 26, 1997. It can be viewed online here.
Once more, the guest was a serious Christian before entering Catholicism, in this case a Presbyterian minister. However, there is an interesting twist to this story, in that Steve Wood was not a Christian his entire life. That’s a first for this show, but it is only the fourth episode out of almost 20 years of weekly programming.
However, Steve was not a skeptic when he became Christian. He was into “New Age” things, and mentions that he believed in reincarnation. In fact, he says he began to read the Bible as an attempt to fix his karma. He basically says he had a personal experience of god, and that brought him from … whatever it was to Christianity.
What brought him from Presbyterian to Catholic was, apparently, the fact that Catholics take marriage vows as seriously as Yahweh does in the Bible, which is really not untrue. In particular, he was convinced by Pope John Paul II’s encyclical on the role of family. This once again illustrates how easy it is for somebody who already takes Christianity seriously to become Catholic.
I was very excited that they cut out the breaks for commercials for this video. Finally, they have some professional editing!
During the question and answer section, Marcus Grodi began talking about the idea that was in the last episode about people not being Catholic out of ignorance. Again, I cannot let that slide. As I said last time, it is precisely because I know about Catholicism that I left, and my experience is not unique. To say otherwise is, quite frankly, somewhat insulting.
So far, our breakdown of the guests’ religious state before conversion to Catholicism looks like this.
- Serious Christian: 4
- Lax Christian: 0
- Non-Christian, but religious: 0
- Non-believer, but not very skeptical: 0
- Skeptic: 0