In fifth grade, we had a track meet against the other elementary school in our district. Stittville. As you can imagine, we made all sorts of generalizations about the students of our rival school; not to mention a host of unpleasant nicknames which emerged quite naturally for a school with such a name.
In sixth grade, we all went to middle school together. At first, there were clear factions. Us vs. Them. But it didn't take long for us to realize that the things we'd believed about our sister school were merely lore; badly exaggerated generalizations. Eventually, it was hard to remember who had come from which elementary school.
I grew up in the eveangleical church and even my recent move to reformed theology and a presbyterian church has left me with some ill-conceived notions about my Catholic brothers and sisters. I have recently had a few encounters with Catholics (mostly online) that have made me question presuppositions of mine, both conscious and subconcious.
Here are things (some of which are flat out false) that I have at one time believed, or even been taught about Catholic doctrine that gave me permission to discredit them entirely.
1. They worship Mary to a degree only suitable for Christ.
2. They think you need a priest to receive forgiveness for your sins.
3. They think Works save you.
4. They pray to saints.
5. They think the Pope is perfect.
6. Their communion bread must taste like cardboard.
7. Various others
Well, fortunately, I ran into the blog of a patient and rational Catholic Convert (from protestantism) whose posts have made me question the above, or at least want to understand them better.
It would be a mistake for me to say that I am considering converting, however, I just want a clearer picture of Catholic Doctrine.
My next steps are to read Orthodoxy, By G.K. Chesterton and By What Authority by Mark Shea.
It's a little overwhelming. I find myself in the usual spot. Where any investigation of any of my beliefs leads to the discovery that wiser men and women are convinced of the opposing viewpoint.
It's a discouraging place to be. It makes me feel that knowledge is useless and futile and that truth, while absolutle, is so unknowable that the best I can hope for is a "best guess for now" on issues of metaphysics, epsitemology and axiology.
The paint is wet on almost everything I believe, and just as I finish painting one wall, I start becoming discontent with the color.