“If the Church wasn’t divine, it would have destroyed itself by now.”?


I may be bungling it with my paraphrasing, but I’ve heard this argument several times recently when someone asks how we can be confident the Church is what it claims to be. I don’t get it, though. We still have Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. So why wouldn’t the same argument apply to them too? (I’m not asking the bigger question right now of how we know this is the true church. I know there are multiple other reasons. I’m just seeking an explanation of the quote.). Thanks!


I dont know where the quote came from but it is not necessarily true.

The whole thing about a ONE true faith seems to me unnecessarily exclusive. Of course almost every religion believes it of themselves.


Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism are not organizations. People like to say that a religion is a set of beliefs, and that’s true, but in Catholicism it’s also a structured institution with a single leader at the top. No comparable institution has lasted as long and through as much turmoil, in fact other institutions crumble so fast it is possible to calculate a norm for how long human institutions last. By all standards, Catholicism surpasses that norm, and by so far that it cannot be explained solely by natural causes.


Actually, the quote makes sense to me. The Church is fundamentally unique compared to other religions. The unbroken Papacy, the clear authority of the Bishops and Magesterium, the Church’s role in history, the Vatican, and it’s works of education, charity, hospitals, and religious orders are all unique.

No other religion has a clear “government” like the Catholic Church. No other religion has a world-wide recognizable leader like the Pope. No other religion claims unbroken apostolic succession.

A couple of links I found:

What’s Special About the Catholic Church? by Fr Groeschel…

First, there are the obvious things: The Catholic Church is by far the largest and most diverse coherent organization on the face of the earth. Islam is a very large movement, but it is not reflected in a coherent form of government. As priests know very well, decisions made by the head of our Church can affect things very quickly, directly, and locally in our lives.

The Catholic Church is also unique because of its long history, its contribution to civilization, and its worldwide works of charity.

3 Things that Make Catholicism Distinct from All Other Religions

Many men have tried to destroy the Church and failed, both within and without. To me, it seems unique among the religions of the world.


No other religion can claim what the Church can… the founder killed, the inner circle of followers killed, and large numbers of followers killed for 300 years. Heresies from the beginning till now have not destroyed it. When democratic revolutions swept the world and power became secular, most people assumed the Church would disappear, yet it is still standing.


The Church is not Divine, God is Divine, in the Trinity, each member of the Trinity is Divine. They have Divinity.

The church claims to be the body of the church. Christ Jesus is at the head of the church. WE, everyone of us, is the body of the Church.
Christ represents the Divine nature of Jesus. Jesus represents the humanity of Jesus, the human nature of Jesus.

So our claim to our Church is that Jesus is at its head, we all make up its body.

And it was established by Jesus and is sustained by the Holy Spirit,



That’s from private revelation from Jesus: " If the Church only rested in Mans hands, it would have fallen apart a long time ago."


Well objectively there should be one true faith. Christianity and Islam (or any other religion) for example can’t be both true.

For the most part, either one of the many religions is definitely true, or none at all


Many make claims . But are the claims verifiable ?


It seems to me that God’s universe is exactly how He wants it. Everywhere I look I see diversity and an abundance of diversity at that. Perhaps such diversity brings out qualities in us which otherwise would not happen?

I know one thing, I would not get the best or even genuine behaviour from a group of people if I micro managed them.


Not entirely true. The Bishops and Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church also have legitimate claims of Apostolic succession. This can also be said of the Copts and Oriental Orthodox churches as well as they would ultimately claim. However, you have a point that the Catholic Church is unique in this regard.


It’s the only logical conclusion. You can’t have 5 faiths all claiming conflicting ideas as truth. Only one can be right.


@Toomanycats , it comes from Hillaire Belloc . He spoke the words to William Temple , Archbishop of Canterbury .

He said , "The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine – but for unbelievers the proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight . "


I think the “One True Religion” approach is a mistake.

To start with, God is mystery, a Sacred Mystery. We have reason and revelation to understand aspects of the Mystery. But reason and even revelation conditional of times, cultures and sometimes even politics.

As Catholics we have a long tradition of carefully defines belief and teachings as well as hierarchy (which currently haas failed us). I think we have the most to offer. But the “one True” language seems to me to be an unnecessary comparison. Like saying our symbols are the only true symbols.


But dogma wise, it’s either true or not. Jesus is either God, a prophet, just some ordinary guy, etc. All of those things can’t be true at once.

Stuff like the rules placed on the Jews back then and analogies etc can be conditional and religions can have truths here and there. Like Satanism is partially true because it acknowledges Satan but the religion as a whole isn’t true and would not be compatible with Islam for example.

Of course saying something is the one true religion is almost useless because like you said, everyone thinks so. But technically if God exists and has already revealed himself in one way or the other, one of the religions on Earth has to be true. It makes no sense for God to tell one prophet that he’s the God of Abraham, and to tell another that he’s Zeus or something. That’s basically my point


I do see your point. Two contradictory claims cannot both be true except in the cas of paradox. But let’s not go there. Jesus, Mohammad, and the Buddha walk into a bar…well, let’s not go there either.

I just think it is better to talk about the aspects of each religion that seem helpful or in common. The disagreements lets just recognize as what they are and make our choices which we we want to go, remembering that we are essentially dealing with a Divine Mystery and not get too smug about having the One True Religion.


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