Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #25

Thanks for joining me today as we continue our series examining and responding to Catholic apologist and philosopher, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018).

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Claim #25: I am a Catholic because Catholics, like their saints, are a little crazy

In this chapter, Kreeft posits that the two ideals of the human heart, truth and goodness, can either be contradictory or complementary. He argues that as a person draws closer to God, the more the polar opposite ideals merge and the more radical and “crazy” the person appears to the non-Catholic world. Kreeft presents the Catholic canonized “saints” as exemplars of this “craziness.” As a person moves farther away from God, argues Kreeft, the more they follow only truth, leading to pragmatism, cynicism, and selfishness. Kreeft presents Hitler and Machiavelli as examples of souls focused exclusively on truth/materialism/pragmatism.

Response

This is probably Kreeft’s most philosophical and esoteric chapter to this point. I had to reread it multiple times to be able to decipher his main drift and compose the summary above. Innate in Kreeft’s argument is the Catholic teaching that a person becomes intrinsically holy/sanctified/righteous by availing themselves of the church’s sacraments, obeying the Ten Commandments and church precepts, and performing works of charity. Scripture contradicts the Catholic church’s salvation system and Kreeft’s esoteric philosophizing. The Bible declares there is none righteous, no not one, and that all of our impure “good deeds” are like filthy rags before perfectly holy God. All of us, “canonized saints” to the most heinous dictator, are sinners deserving of eternal punishment. But, God the Son, Jesus Christ, came to Earth and died for our sins. He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death, and offers forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all those who accept Him as Savior by faith alone.

The Catholic “saints” appear as “crazy” to the world with their hyper-pious religious strivings, but beneath the hagiographical veneer are sinners attempting to merit their salvation according to the dictates of the Roman Catholic church. In our review of chapter 21 (see here), we examined how many of the Catholic saints of yesteryear were involved in the violent suppression of genuine believers and non-conformists or were mentally-ill ascetics who practiced self-harm. If rigorous religious piety was the measure of genuine spirituality, I imagine many Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist clerics “outdid” Catholic saints in their “craziness.”

Accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. Religious über piety/craziness doesn’t save.

Next week: Claim #26: I am a Catholic because I know I should treat other people as if they were Christ

14 thoughts on “Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #25

  1. “I am a Catholic because Catholics, like their saints, are a little crazy” Agh, if he’s not reveling in some spiritual specialness I don’t know what Kreeft is doing.
    “A little crazy” just makes light of Rome’s history of great oppression upon numerous countries and cultures, starting in the middle ages onward. The heart of Catholicism is not “crazy”, it’s domination.
    Good post Tom, have a good weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lisa Beth! Very true. Kreeft focuses on the Mother Teresa “craziness,” but sweeps under the carpet the Inquisition “craziness.”

      Thanks and have a good weekend, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really really enjoyed the clear Gospel presentation in this post. Ironic he argue those who won’t be Roman Catholic would resort to pragmaticism but his “reasons” include a lot that don’t necessarily establish or lead to the truth of Romanism but its a pragmatic appeal. This is odd. Rome have a long history of compromising with a “host” culture to spread Romanism with its compromises. So this whole reason from Kreeft is all dishonest and problematic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, brother! Yes, Kreeft presents a hagiographic view of the RCC and the “saints,” but RCC church history is chuck full of popes, prelates, priests, and even many “saints” whose main aim was to increase the wealth and political power of the church and to suppress, violently if necessary, all opposition and non-conformists. Yup, it’s very dishonest to present this ultra-flattering view.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “If rigorous religious piety was the measure of genuine spirituality, I imagine many Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist clerics “outdid” Catholic saints in their “craziness.” ….Exactly !!
    Great post . Thank you Tom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Crissy! This chapter had me scratching my head regarding the admirability of “craziness.” Popes and prelates were quite clear-headed in their pursuit of wealth and power.

      Liked by 1 person

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