Karl Keating: A Life-long Catholic & Apologist

For more information about this series of posts and this TV series, see this page.

The sixteenth episode of The Journey Home is titled “Karl Keating: A Life-long Catholic & Apologist” and aired January 2, 1998. It can be viewed online here.

Karl Keating, as the title suggests, has been Catholic his entire life. He founded, almost by accident, an organization called Catholic Answers, which is a large apologetics organization. I own, or at least used to own, the booklet Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth mentioned in this show.

I was all set to be completely bored by this episode, because there just isn’t a conversion story here. This is the first episode where they open the lines for viewers to call in early, so they can answer questions. The theme they picked for this first time was “Must one be Catholic?”, essentially discussing whether there is a path to Heaven outside the Catholic Church. Like I said, I was pretty prepared for boredom!

Then, though, Karl said this: “”[Jesus] never did anything frivolously. Read the whole Gospels, not a single frivolous act.” Karl is trying to make the point that Jesus started the Catholic Church, and that’s the number one reason we should belong to it. Obviously, there’s a lot of groundwork that is just being ignored, such as “Are the Gospels reliable historical documents?” and “Is there a god?”. Let’s ignore all of that, though, because this claim that Jesus never did anything frivolously is super interesting. Really? Never? What about the time he cursed a fig tree for not having a fig when he wanted one, despite it being “not the season for figs” (Mark 11:12-14 , Matthew 21:19)? That seems pretty frivolous to me.

So far, our breakdown of the guests’ religious state before conversion to Catholicism looks like this.

  • Serious Christian: 10
  • Always Catholic: 3
  • Lax Christian: 1
  • Non-Christian, but religious: 2
  • Non-believer, but not very skeptical: 0
  • Skeptic: 0

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