Paralysis by Analysis


Back when I had a real job in the business world, there would be instances of various levels of management unable to make decisions. “If only we had more information.” “We don’t even know what information we’re lacking.” “We need to analyze this in more depth.” “Go back and run the numbers again.” “We can’t make a decision unless we have ALL the information.”

Major decisions would be deferred or defacto killed due to this paralysis by analysis. And more nimble competitors would move in and take our customers, employees, etc. Companies go out of business due to this. (Of course, businesses vary).

The answer in most cases is to make “the decision” with something less than 100% of the facts you’d like to have. A reasonable decision based on a reasonable analysis of the situation.

So what does this have to do with religion? In a nutshell, I see paralyis by analysis all over these forums.

[Exaggeragion mode on:]

“I’ve been seriously examining Catholicism for 39 years. Examined each word in the CCC and analyzed it. Read everything by the ECFs and all the encyclicals, no problems there. But I’ve still got these 20 things that bother me that I need to get resolved before I swim the Tiber. And oh by the way, if these 20 things get resolved sucessfully, I’ll keep looking until I find another 20, then another 20, etc.”

[Exaggeration mode off:]

I’m not suggesting jumping into a new religion based on a whim. But I do suggest that no one has the time to learn 100% of the facts. Or to determine with absolute certainty what are true facts versus made up facts.

But one fact is certain. No one knows how much time they really have at all. Maybe you need to make the decision with a reasonable amount of confidence rather than absolute certainty.

But God bless you for trying – it certainly makes the forum a busy place :smiley:



Yes, we can miss the call of God through such dithering. Like the rich young man. He wasn’t willing to give up what he had in order to get what God wanted for him. It’s a hard step for people to take and a certain amount of time spent struggling with the teachings of the Church are expected for most. But, when the prepondrance of evidence in favor of the Church becomes evident, then it is time to make the move from uncertainty to faith.


The OP has a good point. Nonetheless, a non-Catholic has to be convinced, through whatever processes this may take, that the Catholic Church is where God wants him to be. Otherwise, why convert?


So how much time do you have, rr1213? :ehh:

Enough time to ever be 100% certain and convinced?


Only God knows the answer to that question.


Well, we are talking about a decision that has consequences for people’s immortal souls here - it behooves them to take it more seriously than any other decision they make.

Although I think it is possible to dither too much, of course, and that one will never be 100% convinced by external evidence alone on such matters.


I understand that Constantine deferred his own baptism until very late in life, presumably because he wanted to have his cake and eat it, too, so to speak.

At the core of Catholicism is submission. At least, that is how it is for me. When I was a Protestant, I felt I had to understand everything, and my bookshelf was full of bibles with various leather bindings, and books from every evangelical writer in print. Still, I never felt “saved” as much as confused about authority. I kept having this nagging thought that the little people to whom I was being asked to submit for discipleship, weren’t really up to the task, especially since few of them agreed with each other on the meanings of fairly important Christian doctrines.

Eventually, I just threw up my figurative hands and said, OK, I can’t figure out, on my own, what all of these controversial Bible things mean. I can’t trust Pastor Bob. So I will submit to the authority of the only Church with the claim to fame from a strictly historical point of view. I will accept its teachings, even the ones I don’t yet know about. I will humble myself, stop being my own pope, get with the program, and see what God has to teach me through humble submissiveness rather than arrogant know-it-all Bible verse babbling.

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