With the help of God’s grace, which will not be refused if you desire it, you are able to believe that it is true. A classification of possible states of mind will clarify things for you. (1) After due study of a certain proposition, a man might see that its truth is intrinsically evident, as one knows for example that two and two make four. By intrinsic analysis the opposite is evidently false. In this case a man has not an opinion, nor a belief. He has knowledge by intrinsic evidence, and is not free to think differently. He does not merely incline to think so. (2) Another state of mind, however, is that of the willfully ignorant. One who adverts to the fact that there is a certain problem can refuse to study it, and freely choose to have no opinion on the subject. (3) Another stage is that of the willful doubter. He studies the question to a certain extent. After thinking it over somewhat inadequately he says, “I do not know. There seems to me to be six for, and half a dozen against. I am not inclined to accept one position rather than another. I am in doubt about the whole matter.” Such a man can choose to let it go at that, or to continue his investigations until he solves his doubts one way or the other. (4) After due reflection, a man can come to the conclusion that there is intrinsic evidence neither for nor against a given doctrine. As far as he knows, it could be true, or it could be false. But he knows that some authoritative person has said it is true. There is nothing in the proposition itself to prevent his acceptance of it. All is a question of the credentials of his informant. He diverts his attention to the qualities of this authority. If he is satisfied that his authority must know and is truthful, he is free to accept the doctrine because of faith in his teacher, or he is free to disbelieve it on the score that it has not been intrinsically demonstrated to his personal satisfaction. Now you have studied Christian doctrine, seeking always intrinsic evidence of its truth. You have chosen to adopt the position that it will be false unless you find such intrinsic evidence. You are quite unable to prove it intrinsically false. In the circumstances you are perfectly free to divert your attention from the aspect you prescribe, study the credentials of Christ as a divine teacher, and, once convinced of their value, accept the doctrine upon His authority. If you do not do so, it will be because you do not choose to do so.
Radio Replies Volume 1 by Rev. Dr. Leslie Rumble MSC and Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty
The Case for Catholicism - Answers to Classic and Contemporary Protestant Objections
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