The warp and the woof. The meat and potatoes. The heart of the matter. Where the rubber hits the tarmac : Believing and Not Believing have to do with CREDULITY, our sometimes excessive readiness to believe, and with CREDIBILITY, the believability of people, statements and events. Blind Faith is believing with an overdose of credulity someone or something suffering from a serious shortage of credibility, which is why we equate it with Blind Folly. The blog in a nutshell.
How credible is the Catholic Church ? For many centuries, Christendom was Catholicism. Deciding to believe what the Church or its spokemen said about anything and everything was a no-brainer. It came with your mother’s milk. It came with the territory. Differing opinions could be voiced by learned theologians but “heresies” – like Lutheranism and …heliocentrism (!) – were quickly condemned. To question authority, that of the Church or the ruler, was suicidal. Might was right for the monarch and the Church’s authority was absolute because divine, its judgement final and its secular arm ferociously effective.
Inevitably the time came when the credulous began to wonder just how credible the Church was. A recent author has suggested that the emergence of scientifically proven facts, hitherto contradicted by the Church, dealt a severe blow also to its credibility in the non-scientific domain of morality. Steven Pinker, in his article “Science is Not Your Enemy” in “The New Republic” (August 6, 2013), put it bluntly : “By stripping ecclesiastical authority of its credibility on factual matters, (science indirectly) cast doubt on its claims in matters of morality.”
So on what does the Church base its credibility as the People of God, its Supreme Pontiff as His Vicar on earth, and its rôle as moral leader of the world ? On the presumed factual historicity of the “events” recounted in the Gospels, and on their supposed divine inspiration, itself decreed as a fact by the Church. Even the credulous can recognize a vicious circle when they see one.