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Victoria Santos wrote:

Good afternoon,

Being an active Catholic, I often get asked the question:

  • What makes Catholicism the chosen or right religion to follow?

For myself, I feel in my heart that this is exactly what God wants for my family and me; and He wants us to pull more people closer to Him, but of course, that is no answer that would persuade others.

  • Could you help in answering this question?

Thank you and God Bless you.

Victoria

  { Can you give me a persuading answer to what makes Catholicism the right religion to follow? }

Eric replied:


Well, the primary answer is that Catholicism is the right religion to follow because it is true.

This leads to the question:

  • Why is it true or how do we know it is true?

For that, we can look at the Scriptures and history.

If we first take the Scriptures as historical documents (not necessarily inspired), we see that Jesus was a historical person who:

  • lived and taught
  • was crucified, and
  • according to his followers, rose from the dead.

If he did not rise from the dead, it seems quite unlikely that a group of sniveling, cowardly disciples would suddenly proclaim a lie (or at least an unsubstantiated fact) with such boldness and courage. We also see how the Scriptures accurately portrayed the faults of the leaders of the early Church. Ancient writers tended to hide negative information about themselves but Peter denied his Master and they put it right in the Book. This is evidence of authenticity.

We might also use the liar, lunatic, or Lord trilemma <an argument analogous to a dilemma but presenting three instead of two alternatives in the premises> — in other words, there are only three possible conclusions about Jesus:

  1. He lied, in which case he was the worst kind of evil man, which seems unlikely since he had no worldly ambition and died an ignominious death he could have easily avoided;
  2. He was a lunatic, but he doesn't behave like one; or
  3. He is who he claims to be, Lord and God, in which case He should be followed.

Anyway, these historical documents tell us they founded a church with Peter as its leader, and we see that church in other historical documents of the time. Since it's unlikely, as I said, that such a church would be founded on an event in doubtful, tenuous, or unsubstantiated veracity given its explosive growth and amazing fervor, something must have happened, and there is no reason to suppose that the Resurrection didn't really happen.

Thus, accepting that Christ is God and rose from the dead, we trust the testimony of the Church itself and move from considering the Scriptures as historical documents to inspired documents, and demonstrate that the Church is the conduit of all truth (1 Timothy 3:15, John 16:13,
John 14:26, John 3:34, Isaiah 59:20-21, Jude 3, Isaiah 2:2-3)

Now it is plain that I am oversimplifying things and glossing over some big leaps of logic, but this is a skeleton of what you would do. This is not an easy argument to make. To be honest, it is the
Holy Spirit who convicts and converts, and unless He does, no one will believe. Avoid futile arguments. Have first recourse to prayer. Don't waste time on someone whose goal is to argue; unless you sense true sincerity behind the question.

May I recommend the Handbook of Catholic Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli.

May St. Justin Martyr pray for you!

Eric

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