I’m a 20-something convert. After a little soul-searching and reading the New Testament I decided to return to the Catholic Church (I was baptized when I was younger, but received absolutely no further instruction, nor much of an example from my parents, contrary to the promises which they had made at my baptism *).
I have a real inferiority complex i suppose. I don’t know much about the faith, the bible, theology, church history, etc. The few Catholics I do meet my age (who haven’t joined the other lapsed catholics in the utter collapse of the faith since Vatican II) went to Catholic schools usually and have been learning this stuff since they were children. I guess it’s coming up on two years now that I’ve been trying to be a good Catholic, but I’m still just so ignorant of everything.
So for example, I have absolutely no idea what Trent or Vatican II really was about, what infralapsarian/supralapsarian, soteriology is, synergistic/monerygystic understanding of the economy of salvation, blah blah blah…all this kind of theology seems so far away from me. This goes as well for the Bible and Church history.
Added onto that, I’m involved with a catholic group that is pretty much like a catholicized campus crusade for christ. They are very focused on evangelization, but not so much on learning deeply about the faith, just an easy (and worryingly protestant/evangelical/man centered) version of the faith. Now given the utter collapse in Catholicism since Vatican II, this group is trying very hard to grow and reach more people. But I would assume they’re not focused on people who were raised atheist like me, but those many, many lapsed catholics. Anyways they always push me to share my faith, but I just really don’t know how to do this because I don’t understand enough to explain it clearly what I believe. What they tell me to say sounds so protestant that I don’t really find it effective anyway, just more white noise to repeat without any meaning.
So what’s the deal here? Is my problem that my “personal relationship with Jesus” isn’t what it should be? Is that why I’m so anxious all the time about my ignorance?
Honestly I sometimes question what I believe because I don’t know anything about the Old Testament, theology, nor 2,000 years of church history. And then when I try to start I just feel “information overload” and fall away soon enough.
And where does one start? Should one get a grasp of solid philosophy before studying theology like they do in seminary? Or should one begin with the Bible and Theology?
Also, what’s the time frame from becoming a neophyte who’s still feasting on the “milk” to eating “the solid food”? I really would like to know this so I can be realistic and stop being so anxious about my ignorance.
I’ve tried following along with the RCIA class, because I’m hoping to be confirmed this easter. But the lessons are based on the catechism, which for me is just so hard to understand. It’s so obscure and theological language is like trying to read a medical journal.
If you’ve read this far thanks and maybe add a comment.*