I've mentioned my frustrating e-mail exchanges with professional anti-Catholic Mike Gendron before, but this time I have to give props to him. He said something with which I wholeheartedly agree:
Let us have a greater compassion for people committed to a religion without any real understanding of what the religion is about. For example, to be "committed to Roman Catholicism" simply because a person was born into a Catholic family is foolish. To be loyal to a religion without investigating its core doctrines and history, is complacent ignorance masquerading as faithfulness. People who follow religious leaders and rituals blindly are either too proud, too lazy or too intellectually dishonest to admit their lives are empty and too paralyzed by deceit to investigate the truth. They do not know why they believe what they do. They have blindly inherited someone else's tradition. Their religion determines their identity and they will defend it even if they are not actively involved in it. Their faith is so "personal" that they dare not speak of it to others?(emphasis mine)
Amen, Mike. On this, we agree. I was complacent in the denomination of my birth until Collin told me his intention of converting to Catholicism. Once I started investigating the beliefs of my Lutheran faith, I found that they didn't stand up to rigorous intellectual scrutiny, or logic (and I found that the ELCA's beliefs on abortion were equally illogical and contradictory).
As a result, I converted too, and I found out that truly faithful, practicing Catholics didn't just blindly follow the Vatican but rather recognized that the teachings of their faith fit perfectly along a logical continuum. And now I'm always ready and eager to give a reason for the hope that is in me (1 Peter 3:15).