What if someone's sincere personal belief is that there is one God and that the pope is his spokesman on Earth. What if I believe that God wants us to be part of His Holy Catholic church.
Are you saying that I must not believe this?
No. But first, let me clarify something. I should have phrased the following statement a little differently:
Our religious institutions encourage an all-or-nothing view of their own beliefs. You must believe this. Anything else is wrong.
It should have read like this:
Our religious institutions encourage an all-or-nothing view of their own beliefs. They tell us, "You must believe this. Anything else is wrong."
My point is that every person on earth has control over their minds. Every person has individual power to consider their beliefs. They can even choose to surrender that authority to the Pope. Or they can look outside of organized religion. But I am fairly certain that even good Catholics all have a voice inside their head that evaluates statements that are given to them, even by the Pope. And sometimes, they pass their own verdict on the Popes statements...such as the church's views on birth control. Any Catholic can say to themselves, "I disagree with the Pope on this." The Church may not like this. It may tell it's members that such thoughts put them in danger of hellfire...but it's going to happen.
I think that seeking answers is a process of hearing an idea, evaluating it's merit, and some experimentation on our part. We are given free will so that we can experience life, try to better ourselves, and we can "try on" any beliefs we want to. It's how life IS, whether our religious institutions say it is or not.
I do not think it is wrong to be Catholic. If that is the religion of your choice, I hope it is fulfilling to you. But your faith is never going to be completely "perfect" to the Pope or the Catholic Church or whatever religious institution you join. They can only offer you their ideas on belief. Your mind will always make the final choice on WHAT you believe.
And in my own belief, I think we'll all get to the truth in time, over many lifetimes.