Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #36

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 #36: I am a Catholic because, as St. Thomas Aquinas says, no man can live without joy

Kreeft opens this chapter with medieval philosopher/theologian, Thomas Aquinas’ sentiment that no man can live without joy and “that is why those who are deprived of true joy go over to carnal pleasures.” Kreeft states that true, authentic, lasting joy only comes from God the Father through Jesus Christ. Argues Kreeft, “For Christ gives (joy) to us through His body, the (Catholic) Church, into which we are incorporated…That is why being a Catholic is life’s supreme joy, and life’s greatest adventure” (p. 118).

Response

True joy only comes by trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. By accepting Jesus Christ as Savior, a person’s sins are forgiven and they are born-again spiritually, becoming a child of God. Being God’s child and having assurance of eternal life through Christ is a joy unspeakable.

The Roman Catholic church in contrast teaches that salvation is achieved by receiving its sacraments to obtain alleged graces to help the recipient obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church precepts in order to hopefully merit Heaven at the moment of death. For the Catholic, the salvation process is a never-ending treadmill of works and more works. There is no genuine joy in this works-righteousness system because merit-based salvation is as elusive as the very next sin. In direct contradiction to Kreeft’s claims, Roman Catholicism is a religion of uncertainty, doubt, and fear.

“None of us can say…’I am already saved.'” – Pope Francis, December 8, 2015

One might think that Roman Catholic priests would embody this “Catholic joy” that Kreeft boasts of, but the scandalous headlines of the last twenty years starkly reveal that priests are the most miserable members of that joyless religion.

People of all false religions find a degree of happiness, satisfaction, and contentment in the familiar ceremonies, rituals, and community of their particular creed, but that is not the unspeakable joy of having one’s sins forgiven and having eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:8-9

Next week: Claim #37: I am a Catholic because the Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church, and I need the Holy Spirit to “haunt” me with the very life of God

25 thoughts on “Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #36

  1. “ True joy only comes by trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone.”

    HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LORD!!

    Have a blessed day in the Lord, Tom!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Beth! Yup, a soul realizes what genuine joy is when they’re able to step off of that religious treadmill into the arms of the Savior!

      Thanks and have a blessed day as well!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Poor Mr. Kreeft. “Joy” is not the essence if Catholicism, from Catholic friends over the years I’d have to say it’s guilt. Guilt/confess over & over.
    If joy WAS so alive in the Catholic Church crowds of people would be flocking there. Joy is the rarest commodity today!
    Instead, they’re leaving that church.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lisa Beth! Amen to all of your comments. I have read statements by several converts to Catholicism complaining that the members at their new parish are completely joyless. Famous convert Scott Hahn made that observation in his book, Rome, Sweet Home. Converts are enamored with their new works religion, but the sheen generally wears off after they’ve been on the treadmill for awhile.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly what you said! There’s a feeling of dread! I felt that when I went back into their building to remember/have a mass in remembrance- of a read relative-I was so uncomfortable it was obvious-several people say they noticed it (they didn’t say it to me of course) -I felt that dreaded darkness so heavy-they were saying an Our Father and I couldn’t make out their words-it was a bunch of dead mumbling-I can’t stand going in their building and I will do anything I can not too!!! 💔😭

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Totally agree with all you’ve written. Inside a Catholic “church” is one of the last places in the world I would wish to be. That’s just a figure of speech. I would NEVER want to be in a RC church.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Crissy. Yes, it’s impossible to experience joy when ceaselessly toiling on a religious treadmill.
      Thanks you and have an enjoyable rest of your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Man this guy makes all kinds of bad arguments where the observation doesn’t necessitate the conclusion he wants to make. SO people want to be happy…so therefore RC is right? SMH

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All works religionists claim a degree of “joy” and satisfaction in their spiritual chains.

      Kreeft touts Thomas Aquinas here because he knows many foolish evangelicals are infatuated with him. I’ll never forget when I heard R.C. Sproul say “I respect Saint Thomas Aquinas as much or more than any other theologian that’s ever lived. I think Saint Thomas was astonishing in his brilliance and in his consistent understanding of the things of God.” One of the most misguided and dumbest statements I’ve ever read from a conservative evangelical leader.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Funny yesterday I was talking to some Presuppositionalists who was getting made fun of by none other than fellow reformed believers who think Aquinas is hot stuff. Sadly Aquinas is the glue for ecumenical theological nerds…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Very good response! “None of us can say… “I am already saved.” Has Pope Francis never read Romans 10v9… “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the encouragement and the additional Scripture verse, Elizabeth! Catholics think it is the ultimate in presumption and arrogance to claim to be saved by Jesus the Savior, when it’s actually presumptive and arrogant for Catholics to think they can merit their salvation.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Tom,
    I am not a Catholic, so I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in the RC church. This post is very timely as I was thinking of messaging you recently with a question very much related to this post. I am still meeting with a group of Catholic men on Saturday mornings. These guys are very intelligent and very knowledgeable about the bible and what the Roman Catholic church teaches. From what I have read and understand, they would be ‘above average Catholics’. So, keeping this in mind, I am struggling to understand the draw for the Catholic system. Anyone can try to ‘be good’, but none of us can be truly good or truly holy. Do you have any insight into why a person would want to subject themselves to the rites and traditions of the Catholic church in order to only ‘possibly’ merit eternal life? Other man-made religions I sort of get as they remake God in their own image to suit their own worldly desires. Do you have any idea what worldly desire Catholics are trying to meet in their ‘man-made’ Jesus (plus Mary, the saints, etc.)?

    Perhaps, more specifically, I should ask, what is in the human (Catholic) heart that is satisfied by trying to earn merit with God? Is it the desire for self-righteousness that can be presented to God and therefore make Him our equal (or perhaps bring God “down”)? Is it some sort of warped pride? I know the Jews practiced something similar in there ceremonial laws and sacrifices. Make an offering to God that is ‘good enough’ and He will accept it. Again, is it the “pride of life” that makes us think we can offer something to God that is ‘good enough’? Or is it something else? I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

    I have missed a number of weeks of this series, so I will go back and catch up. I am really enjoying this, so thank you for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi noladl. Thanks for reaching out.

      RE: I am struggling to understand the draw for the Catholic system.

      I was a Roman Catholic for 27 years and I was definitely an “average” Catholic, just going through the motions as I was instructed. I didn’t become knowledgeable about RC-ism until after I left it and trusted in Jesus Christ. But I know the Catholic “mindset” very well.

      You make many salient points in your comments. The Catholic takes a great degree of pride in being a “good” person and in “working their way to Heaven.” It is the religion of Cain like all works religions. The genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone is scandalous to the Catholic. I’ve heard many Catholic apologists disparage the genuine Gospel as “easy believism” and “cotton candy Christianity.” Catholics see it as the ultimate in arrogance to claim to be saved, but of course it is the ultimate in arrogance for a person to believe they can merit their salvation.

      So, yes, it all boils down to pride. Works religion makes perfect sense in the mind of the natural man. Although Catholics feign humbleness and modesty, they are symbolized by the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14, believing they are doing a relatively good job of “cooperating with (sacramental) grace” and “working their way to Heaven.” One of my sisters spoke for most/all Catholics when in a conversation about spiritual matters she boasted she “didn’t need to be saved.” Although the RCC formally refers to Jesus Christ as “the Savior,” they are taught they must essentially save themselves by being “good.”

      Like

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