As I was converting to Catholicism, I remained strongly relativist. I was a “cafeteria Catholic.” You had your own version of truth, I had mine, and that was what was comfortable for me.
I jumped around a lot in my faith life through out my years, and had no real connection to any “true” moral doctrine, viewing any I encountered as cute, but not worth the commitment.
I was an atheist until 7th grade, when I started to study Judaism on my own because it seemed like it had the largest basis for being the correct religion, and Christianity seemed too preachy with its followers going either to heaven or hell. I then actually started to go to a nearby Methodist Church the following year because my friends did, but gained nothing at from it. The one time I went to an adult service, I half-heartedly sang a few rock praise and worship songs, and pretended to listen to the pastor’s sermon, only going to the youth group because I wanted to fit in, gossiping and lying and living a pretty unmoral life to try to get people to like me, all the while calling myself Christian, but not really believing it.
A few Catholic friends of mine then invited me to their church and youth group, and so I went. I attended a few, until one day they were discussing a mixture of chastity, theology of the body, and abortion. I arrogantly got into a debate with the youth group leader, passionately defending what I believed were women’s rights, abortion was the women’s choice, men simply didn’t understand. He boldly told me no, “women are gifted with the amazing blessing of life bestowed by God, that only He has the power to take away, innocent life does not deserve to be taken unjustly!”
I was flustered, and countered, “surely contraception was the solution to the problem? Sex outside of marriage hurts no one.” He looked sharply at me, unfazed, and told me that contraception prevented true love as it is meant to be, that sex was a bond meant only for the married because it created a life-long bond and children, and damages those unready for the emotional and physical consequences.
I was shocked and humbled; I had never been so confronted with truth in my life, and felt that all I thought I knew and was secure in, come crashing down. I avoided that leader and youth group for quite some time, unsure of what was truth and what wasn’t.
I continued with the Catholic Church and formally began conversion in an RCIA course, when one day the priest leading it lectured on truth, beauty, and goodness. He detailed various permissive actions that our society quietly (but most often loudly) encourages, and I realized I was guilty of them.
Again, I was terrified and I was at a loss… here I was so sure of myself, and I couldn’t even define what truth is or looks like.
I, however, learned that the Catholic Church voices the truth everyday, to all that will or will not listen. She is not afraid of controversy, or to correct you, because every doctrine has real purpose and meaning. It is what has strengthened her over 2000 years. Throughout this time so many have bravely given their lives as martyrs, to be a witness for the truth.
Unlike our relativistic culture, and some other religions and philosophies, Catholicism believes truth is objective and knowable. We have minds that desire satisfaction and understanding. By upholding objective truth, the Church upholds man’s dignity and rebels against relativism, proclaiming, “fallacies do not cease to become fallacies simply because they become fashions” (G.K. Chesterton).
From that day on, I truly opened my heart to Christ, “the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and sought truth daily, so a real conversion could begin. Each challenge with truth I encountered drove me to answer the question of “why?” and to discover that the Church in all her glory is so much wiser than me, that she wants the best for me, and that by learning “why” I could share with others the same questions they have too.
Never apologize for the truth, it will defend itself, some may just be too stubborn to hear it, but trust me, you never know how it might cause them to reflect on their life and make them want to seek truth, so let it loose on the world.