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Catholicism and the Magic Eye Experience

I often find it hard to explain to people why I like Catholicism.  Aren’t many Catholics kind of crazy?  Sure.  Isn’t the Mass boring?  Sometimes.  Aren’t most of the people at Mass thinking about something else?  Probably.  Doesn’t some of the theology seem wild and improbable?  Yeah.  Haven’t Catholics done many horrible things throughout history?  No doubt.

So why do you like this thing?

Well.  This is a hard question.  Because I don’t think Catholicism is something that can be explained to someone.  It has to be shown.  In this way, Catholicism is a lot like a Magic Eye picture.  These are the pictures that are computer generated so that when you hold it just right a 3D image unexpectedly pops out.  If the image is too far away, or too close, or at the wrong angle then it is just a bunch of abstract lines.  But when you hold is just right, relax, and wait suddenly a surprising 3D image comes out.

Catholicism, in my view, is grounded on Magic Eye Experiences of this kind.  These kinds of experiences, however, can be elusive.  Sometimes I have these kinds of transcendent experiences fairly regularly other times I go quite awhile without seeing it.  During these empty stages I squint and try to relax and see things like I did that one time, but nothing happens.  You can’t really force these things.  Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t.  You have to wait for it (well, Him) to come to you.  During these times I just wait and eventually I glimpse it again.  That is what I am waiting for.

In my view these experiences are what Catholicism is really all about.  I think that Jesus on the cross is a kind of Magic Eye picture.  If you look at it just right then a surprising glimpse of the Divine emerges.  That is the Jesus thing.  In this sense I am certainly a mystic insofar as I think that deep truths here cannot be explained.  But I am not entirely a mystic.  I think that we need to justify the validity of these experiences with reasons.  There is always the chance that the experience is illusory.  Thus, reasoned argument is essential.  But while argument is important it is secondary, in my view, to the experience.  Until you have had at least a little of the glimpse of it none of the rest of it will make any sense.

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