I am a former atheist turned Catholic. Being raised in a Protestant Christian environment, I came to reject Christianity because I could not reconcile it with reason. After entering adulthood and opening myself back up to the religious question, I came to appreciate the rich intellectual tradition of the Church. Upon pursuing Catholicism, I came to see Catholic Christianity as the completed picture, and much more palatable than the Christianity I knew as a child.
It’s been about a year-and-a-half now since I was received into the Church, and I am currently having a “crisis of faith.” It is this: Why should I accept that what the Church says is revealed by God is precisely that? Why should I take the Church on her word, and not Muhammed or Joseph Smith or someone else?
I myself can examine the Church’s arguments in favor of God’s existence, or God’s personhood, or the existence of the soul, et cetera. They appeal to my reason, and I can accept them or deny them with this faculty. Indeed, the doctors of the Church have done much to convince me that the Church is right on a great number of things. At the very least, I would upon giving up Christianity embrace some other form of dogma-less theism.
But when it comes to what is revealed by God: Scriptural authority, the trinity, et cetera… I cannot hold these things against the light of reason. That requires me to simply put my faith in the Church’s testimony. If the Church tells me that Holy Scripture is divinely inspired and truthful, and Scripture (or, again, the Church) tells me that Jesus was God and died for my sins, I seemingly cannot appeal to reason to see if these things are actually true. To some extent, I can tell whether or not they probably or probably aren’t true, or whether they could be or couldn’t possibly be true, but it really requires a leap of faith to accept as true.
Ultimately, I don’t see why God would require this from me. And if he should, how do I know to trust the Church and not one of the myriad other religious bodies or individuals claiming divine revelation? And why should the eternal fate of my soul hinge upon this decision?