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 fourteenth episode is titled “Terrye Newkirk: A Unitarian Who Became A Catholic – The Journey Home Program” and aired December 12, 1997. It can be viewed online here.
For the first time, this episode focused on the experiences of the guest and not the intellectual journey. Terrye became Catholic because she had a vision of Mary, and other experiences that led her to believe god was calling her to be Catholic.
For the first time, this is a reason that speaks to me. If, when I was struggling with my faith, when I wanted so desperately to stay in (and, later, return to) Catholicism, I had had a similar experience, I think I might have been able to call myself Catholic even until now. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for my goal of believing as many true things and as few false things as possible, that is the exact opposite of my experience, as I have already recorded. I do not think I will ever be open to that kind of experience again, although I still search for reason to believe.
If your father abandoned you, could you ever trust him to be perfect again? So it is with me and god, but worse. For knowing god’s love for me cannot be perfect, I can only conclude that there is no Supreme Being worthy of the descriptor “all-loving”. Knowing there is no god who loves me perfectly – for that is what my experience teaches me – I can only conclude there is no god worthy of the name at all. From my experience, Christianity must be false.
So far, our breakdown of the guests’ religious state before conversion to Catholicism looks like this.
- Serious Christian: 9
- Always Catholic: 2
- Lax Christian: 1
- Non-Christian, but religious: 2
- Non-believer, but not very skeptical: 0
- Skeptic: 0