Square Zero

Check Your Mind at the Door

Posted by Eric (May 9, 2006 at 1:18 pm)

The BrainYou’ve heard it a thousand times before: the Church demands that you “check your mind at the door.”

The first thing that’s wrong with this phrase, and which reveals the mind set of those who employ it, is the very idea that going in or out a door has anything to do with religious faith.

Yes, I realize this is a metaphorical door, but even so it must be a metaphor for something—for the line between the religious aspect of one’s life and all the rest, all that which hasn’t anything to do with religious faith.

If you’re drawing lines like that, you’ve already checked your mind at some other door, possibly your bedroom door—you were already handicapped before you made it to the kitchen.

Check your mind at the door.

I don’t think I ever really used this cynical phrase myself in my Decade of Apostasy, but for a long time I held the view that people with religious faith are misinformed and credulous—a view that had more to do with my effort to dismiss the moral demands of the Church than any actual encounter with Catholic intellectuals.

I first encountered such creatures on a Catholic e-mail list which at that time was mirrored on Usenet. I don’t remember how I stumbled on this particular group on Usenet. I was already warming up to Catholicism at the time thanks to the influence of an Natural Family Planning course my wife and I were taking from the Couple to Couple League. Perhaps I was looking for some way to fuse Catholicism with the liberal views that I still I held on such matters as recreational drug use and sexual orientation.

In any case, on this Usenet group I found a fascinating discussion on women’s ordination, starting with a post on why women ought to be ordained which I found insightful and persuasive. Then I went on to read the responses to this fellow’s argument, which were much more than insightful and persuasive—they were brilliant and convincing. I was amazed at how smart these orthodox Catholic guys were.

It’s been about nine years since then and I’ve learned that it’s not only possible to be a Catholic intellectual, but that most of the smartest guys around are Catholic—like the smart guys I’m working with over at BEMA. And I’ve learned that when you walk into a room of thinking Catholics, you’d better check your mind at the door—to be sure it’s revved up and ready to run at full throttle.

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2 Responses to “Check Your Mind at the Door”

  1. Square Zero » Blog Archive » But It’s My Right! Ron Says So! says:

    […] BTW, Barbara Nicolosi, one of those smart-guy Catholics I was talking about the other day—and a real hoot in the bargain—is Da Vinci blogging at Church of the Masses. Worth a visit. […]

    Comment posted May 17th, 2006 at 6:44 pm
  2. Gallus Anonymus says:

    I agree completely. It’s amazing at what lengths atheists will go to “prove” odd things, like how IQ is “on their side” or something equally as desperate. The shallow reasoning I often hear is so shocking. You begin to wonder what all the fuss is about. We’ve certainly moved from a society where such people simply didn’t bother with matters of religion, to one where an active attack is being staged. I think by far most people falling into this category are not atheists because of some “philosophical” reason (as vapid as it may be), but rather because of the discomfort, inconvenience and “burden” posed to them by the challenges the Catholic faith places before them.

    Comment posted August 6th, 2006 at 12:21 am