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Three Reasons Catholics Leave the Church

© Waiting For The Word / Flickr

Daniel Paris - FOCUS - published on 08/16/14

“There is nothing to be done with the intellect until imagination has been put firmly in its place.”

– Frank Sheed

2. “The main point of Christianity is to do good and be a good person. I can do that without all of this religion stuff.”

When I ask people what they believe to be the central message of Christianity, the most common response I get is, “Be a good person.”

If this were the true message of Christianity, I wouldn’t blame people for leaving. Who wants to follow all these rules and hold all these unpopular political stances and spend all these hours sitting and kneeling and standing when I could abandon this whole religion thing and still be just as “good a person?”

Jesus Christ was not just a good person. He was the Son of God made man, and he died so that we might live in eternal, loving relationship with Him. It is up to us to respond to this invitation by committing our very lives to Him.

“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” – G.K. Chesterton

3. “Individuals in the Church have made plenty of mistakes and poor decisions. This Church is full of sinners, and I want no part of it.”

We must always remember to be sensitive to those who have been hurt by individual members of the Church. They’re right – the Church is full of sinners, and always has been – ever since the betrayals of Peter & Judas.

But while the Church may be full of sinners, it’s still the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit. Abandoning the Church because it’s full of sinful people is like abandoning a gym because it’s full of out-of-shape people.Let us always seek reform in our Church, but let us do so from within its walls.

“The Church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.” – Abigail Van Buren

The Cure: Rediscovering Mystery

I’ve just named three of the biggest lies about Christianity – lies which, once steeped in our subconscious, can prevent us from ever truly grasping the true Gospel message.

Thankfully, there are ways to combat the “I’ve heard it all before” syndrome. If someone you know has fallen into this trap, try some of these inoculation-smashing techniques:

1. Bust the myths. Help them to see through the false gospels they’ve been fed by our culture.

2. Contemplate the Scriptures. Don’t let the faith become “old hat.” Teach them to experience the miracles of the Incarnation and Resurrection anew through the eyes of the early Christians.

3. Be like Ling. Challenge them to approach our Lord with honesty, humility, and an open heart. When we do, the God who makes all things new will transform us in ways we never thought possible.     

I’ve named just a few of the false gospels I’ve encountered. What other weakened forms of the faith are out there, preventing others from receiving the life-giving message – and person – of Jesus Christ?

Daniel Parisserved as a FOCUS missionary at Harvard and George Washington University. He now works in Formation/Training and Quality, Growth & Innovation at the Denver Support Center. He holds a Master’s in Theology from the Augustine Institute in Denver as well as a Bachelor’s in psychology from the College of William & Mary.

This article appeared originally on the website of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) and is reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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