Having been raised a strict Catholic, for as long as I remember, I asked questions and received answers that simply seemed contradictory and nonsensical. I thought that in time I’d come to understand these things with “wisdom,” however, as I aged, I came more to the realization that as George Carlin put it, religion is the “biggest bullshit story every told.”
That said, I would suggest that in today’s world (outside of the long historical context) that Catholicism is the most reasonable Abrahamic religion with regard to being open to science. Compared to the Protestant fundamentalists advocating Young Earth Creationism, official Church doctrine is a world apart. And then comes the “reasoning” outside of science.
I was recently browsing the web checking out Catholic teaching on Evolution and ran across how Pope Pius XII stated in the 1950s that there is “no apparent way to reconcile” polygenism with the Biblical idea of original sin (i.e. Adam and Eve separated themselves and thus all humans from God). Now, put simply, it appears the Church is leaning more toward the idea of accepting polygenism (good, any credible scientist does!). Meanwhile their theologians are working on reconciling this with the Adam and Eve story; i.e. creating a story to move yet another step away from the a literal biblical interpretation and try to reconcile their mountains of documentation with itself.
This is where the conflict between dogmatic Catholics becomes quite intense. Accusations are hurled about how this still can’t reconcile, especially when Jesus mentions the story of Abel specifically (Matt 23:35). Well, that’s a very good point and a very problematic point! So, Jesus, who is God, who is omniscient, mentions the blood shed by a non-existent human. Ok, so the next step is that Jesus was speaking figuratively there in terms they could understand. Why mention a person? What figurative way is there to interpret this? If he’s not talking about a person, what blood was shed? Abstract blood?
This is probably but one of a mountain of these types of inconsistencies that could be pointed out. I spent a good part of my life trying to reconcile things like this and gave up as a rational person. This is where Sam Harris likes to point out that the religious just call it “mystery” and it doesn’t make sense because we’re not supposed to understand it in our limited minds. So we’re not supposed to understand the literal story Jesus told as a parable to make us understand? How then do we understand anything written in these books? Well, we can understand some, not all, it’s a mystery. There’s just no end to this circular reasoning.
Thoughts, criticisms? I just bring this up because I find the whole thing absolutely fascinating in a sort of maddening way.