Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Top 10 Ways to Kill Your Faith
1. Assume that the Church is lost.
Listen to dissidents and others who attack the faith without making sure your own faith is solid enough to handle it. Constantly listen to rants of fundamentalist street preachers on how the Church is the whore of Babylon; give serious consideration to the various invectives levelled against the Church by the National Catholic Reporter. Think of Hans Kung as the best theologian the Church has ever had. Take the objections to the faith on websites like Carm.org very seriously.
By doing this, you can begin to feel isolated, angered at the rank dismemberment of a once-beautiful faith, and assume that the majority of Catholics today are completely out of the ballpark. Any religion begins to look attractive once a few videos of liturgical dance puppets are viewed; furthermore, your faith will take some good, hard, and possibly fatal knocks if you take the standard rants against Catholicism by fundamentalists, those who wish to dismantle the Church from the inside, and anti-Catholics seriously.
2. Be as over-scrupulous as possible.
Scrupulosity is a particular problem amongst us Catholics - indeed, when confronted with the awesome reality of the Real Presence and all that Holy Communion entails, one can become almost acutely aware of their own sinfulness. A healthy regimen of conscience examining is a good and healthy thing - indeed, frequent confession can really aid in rooting out sin and at least placing one's feet on the right path. But if you want to drive yourself into a state of Nietzschean lunacy, dive right into sifting through your every little action with a fine-toothed comb. Consider every sin a mortal one - live in fear. I guarantee that your faith will wither in these kinds of flames.
3. Out with the Mercy, in with the Justice.
Following on the above, begin to take the view that God is merciless - adopt the view that He is a tyrant just drooling at the thought of hurling you into Hell - this will not only kill your faith and your love of God, but it will also lead you into the opposite world of anti-Christianity and worse.
4. Focus on everyone else's spiritual life but your own.
Dissect the spiritual lives of others, and focus on anyone's life but your own. Refuse to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
5. Don't engage in intelligent conversation about matters of religion - argue instead.
Debate and discussion are fountains of wisdom - arguments are not. Therefore, anytime your faith is challenged in any way, begin to fume and let that tongue loose. Argue until you pass out in a blue heap on the floor, ignore what the other person is saying, and get yourself as frustrated as possible.
6. Do the bare minimum that is required of you.
Become a lazy Catholic. Start by going to Mass only on Sundays, then work your way down to skipping out sometimes, and before you know it, you'll be showing up only at Christmas and Easter.
7. Don't know your faith.
A great way to let your faith die is by not even knowing it. Avoid reading the Scriptures; ignore the Church Fathers; leave those theology books aside (dusty old things!); refuse to study history. This way, when someone inevitably questions or attacks your faith, you'll buckle immediately and consider other options.
8. Avoid frequent reception of Holy Communion.
Given that we strengthened by the Precious Body and Blood of Christ Himself, it follows that frequent reception of Holy Communion can only aid you in every way possible in your Christian life. Therefore, if you wish to grow weak, avoid receiving Holy Communion. Refuse to go up even when you can, because you will only feel cleansed and whole and absolutely rejuvenated everytime you receive Him.
9. Cower when your faith is challenged - lie, hide, run.
This one is key - whenever your faith is somehow objected to, attacked, slandered, or whichever else, turn tail and run. Better yet, morph into a little quivering ball of apologies and shamefacedness. This will help you to feel false in your faith, unworthy of receiving Holy Communion, and just like a general all-around coward in the end. Sure, there are times and places for defending one's faith and it is not always meet to suddenly mount to get into a heated battle over religion over the dinner table with someone who is merely being rude, say. But if you wish to hurt your faith life severely, I do recommend being a coward about it.
10. DON'T PRAY.
Above all else, if you wish to slaughter your faith, don't pray. Not praying cuts you off from the divine conversation, as it were. It cuts you off from your family in heaven, and from conversing with God Himself. If you really want your faith to die, this is the way to do it. Prayer is the water that keeps that tree of life growing - refuse to water it, and watch it shrivel.