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  #1  
Old Mar 25, '10, 5:22 pm
mistfall mistfall is offline
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Default Does God speak to & through non-believers?

During a period of praying for help knowing and doing God's will, I found a book written by a Hindu who is big on "The Secret" philosophy that "the Universe" will "manifest" things in your life that are in accord with the attitudes of your heart.

Much of what she said seemed easily "translatable" into orthodox Catholic beliefs, such as the necessity of believing and acting out of complete trust that "the Universe" (here I read: God) truly has the will and the benevolence to desire the greatest good for you, as well as the power to make that happen. She said many things about expressing gratitude after your prayers of petition and living in a way that expresses your full confidence that you have received what you have asked for that were exactly what I've heard from some Christian authors. It also struck me that she said those seeking their soulmate must be sure to sever the spiritual bonds that are formed with previous lovers - I've never before heard a non-Christian acknowledge that previous relationships are an impediment to finding one's spouse.

However, she and some of her fellow pagans whose success stories are presented in the book used things like astrology and fortune tellers in their search for love and meaning in their lives.

I know that some Catholic authorities who I respect would advise that any advice tainted by paganism is poisoned at the source. Perhaps it was Satan, not God, behind the intuitions and sometimes miraculous circumstances that brought these people to their hearts' desire.

On the other hand, I don't want to be like the Pharisees who were so certain that they knew exactly how God communicated to his people and how He did not that they rejected the truth when it appeared where they didn't expect it.

So what is the better choice- pick out the gems from the dross? Or throw it all away ?
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  #2  
Old Mar 25, '10, 5:27 pm
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Rascalking Rascalking is offline
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Default Re: Does God speak to & through non-believers?

God does speak to atheists/agnostics/etc-my question-are they listening?

God speaks to Hindus (there was a famous Milk miracle, where statues of Ganesh drank milk in spoons offered from the lowest castes-I am not so arrogant as to paint God as merely Juedo-Christian, I think it was a miracle), Pagans, Buddists, Zoroasters, Jews, Muslims, you name it.

I think fortune tellers and all that stuff aren't really God speaking, but I DON'T think it's Satan either. Catholics (and all other Christians, for that matter) need to be very careful when they say things are demonic-it cheapens the word.
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  #3  
Old Mar 25, '10, 5:29 pm
Student09 Student09 is offline
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Default Re: Does God speak to & through non-believers?

Given the natural law, if nothing else, I would say that all unbelievers possess some truth, and some possess more than others. I certainly believe that the Holy Spirit works with unbelievers.

What I don't understand is why you - who have been privileged with having been given the fullness of Truth - would bother with partial truths mixed in with a lot of potentially dangerous/misleading New Age nonsense. There are plenty of books written by saints and intelligent Catholic theologians. Read those.
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  #4  
Old Mar 25, '10, 6:48 pm
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Mark77 Mark77 is offline
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Default Re: Does God speak to & through non-believers?

God speaks to us through every one of His creations from the stars, a Sunrise, the wind, a tiny flower, a beautiful baby.....

On this Feast of the Annunciation, say a prayer to our Blessed Mother Mary, thanking her for saying "Yes" to God!

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Pecatoribus!

mark
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"For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man's most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths." (CCC 1776).
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  #5  
Old Mar 25, '10, 7:02 pm
mistfall mistfall is offline
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Default Re: Does God speak to & through non-believers?

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Originally Posted by Student09 View Post
Given the natural law, if nothing else, I would say that all unbelievers possess some truth, and some possess more than others. I certainly believe that the Holy Spirit works with unbelievers.

What I don't understand is why you - who have been privileged with having been given the fullness of Truth - would bother with partial truths mixed in with a lot of potentially dangerous/misleading New Age nonsense. There are plenty of books written by saints and intelligent Catholic theologians. Read those.
Oh, I do read those. Voraciously. But I believe it is a common experience to find that one can hear a truth a hundred times without it truly resonating within, and yet hear it presented in a slightly different way the hundred-and-first time , and find that it now makes sense in a way it did not before.

Catholic saints and theologians often focus on the Cross to such an extent that it seems like God's only desire for our lives is to put us through a sort of pain endurance test designed to see how much suffering we can take without rebelling.

When bringing to them the question of a deeply held, unfulfilled desire, the answer they often give comes across as "God loves you enough to suffer horribly for you, and He expects you to prove you love him by returning the favor. If you have a deep desire and He hasn't fulfilled it, it's probably because he wants to give you another cross. So rejoice, the more it hurts, the more he loves you."

Without a profound personal understanding of God, it is so easy to perceive this as cruel. I have been immersed my whole life in Catholic theology and the sacraments and still found myself deeply depressed and uncertain if I could survive the "endurance test". I find voices that convey to me God's love in a way that makes it clear that he's not a cosmic sadist who's all about the pain and stingy with the joy, to be a real lifeline in times of despair.
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  #6  
Old Mar 25, '10, 7:29 pm
Student09 Student09 is offline
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Default Re: Does God speak to & through non-believers?

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Originally Posted by mistfall View Post

Catholic saints and theologians often focus on the Cross to such an extent that it seems like God's only desire for our lives is to put us through a sort of pain endurance test designed to see how much suffering we can take without rebelling.

...

Without a profound personal understanding of God, it is so easy to perceive this as cruel. I have been immersed my whole life in Catholic theology and the sacraments and still found myself deeply depressed and uncertain if I could survive the "endurance test". I find voices that convey to me God's love in a way that makes it clear that he's not a cosmic sadist who's all about the pain and stingy with the joy, to be a real lifeline in times of despair.
Sounds like you need to go back to the Catholic theology. Have you read St. Therese's "Story of a Soul"? How about "The Diary of Divine Mercy"? Anything by St. John of the Cross - his theology or his poems? Have you read Gerard Manley Hopkins' poems?

This doesn't even scrape the surface ... there is so much variety in Catholic writing. These mystical writers do not say the same thing over and over in the same way.

I'm a convert so maybe I have a different perspective. But it just seems concerning to me if you feel that you need to go outside of Christianity in order to be convinced that God is not a cosmic sadist. What you need is not outside of the Catholic Church, it is in the Church but you are misunderstanding it. Particularly, I think you are fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of the relationship between pain and joy - I mean their relationship in life, not just in Christianity.
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  #7  
Old Mar 26, '10, 5:25 pm
mistfall mistfall is offline
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Default Re: Does God speak to & through non-believers?

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Originally Posted by Student09 View Post
Sounds like you need to go back to the Catholic theology. Have you read St. Therese's "Story of a Soul"? How about "The Diary of Divine Mercy"? Anything by St. John of the Cross - his theology or his poems? Have you read Gerard Manley Hopkins' poems?

This doesn't even scrape the surface ... there is so much variety in Catholic writing. These mystical writers do not say the same thing over and over in the same way.

I'm a convert so maybe I have a different perspective. But it just seems concerning to me if you feel that you need to go outside of Christianity in order to be convinced that God is not a cosmic sadist. What you need is not outside of the Catholic Church, it is in the Church but you are misunderstanding it. Particularly, I think you are fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of the relationship between pain and joy - I mean their relationship in life, not just in Christianity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Student09 View Post
Sounds like you need to go back to the Catholic theology. Have you read St. Therese's "Story of a Soul"? How about "The Diary of Divine Mercy"? Anything by St. John of the Cross - his theology or his poems? Have you read Gerard Manley Hopkins' poems?

This doesn't even scrape the surface ... there is so much variety in Catholic writing. These mystical writers do not say the same thing over and over in the same way.

I'm a convert so maybe I have a different perspective. But it just seems concerning to me if you feel that you need to go outside of Christianity in order to be convinced that God is not a cosmic sadist. What you need is not outside of the Catholic Church, it is in the Church but you are misunderstanding it. Particularly, I think you are fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of the relationship between pain and joy - I mean their relationship in life, not just in Christianity.
Certainly I've read St. Therese. She speaks often of all her suffering and self-denial she practiced to please the Lord. She speaks of how she wished Jesus to consider her as no more than a plaything in his hands, that he might toss or cast aside as he wished. I don't really recall her having much to say about the relationship between joy and pain. Certainly she was joyful, because she had an relationship with Jesus intimate enough to leave her in no doubt of his lovingkindness.

I've read St Faustina, too. It is a great comfort and hope to be reassured of God's mercy, but it seemed to be in reference to his willingness to forgive sins. This seems to be unrelated to the issues I was struggling with.

I've read only exerpts from St John of the Cross, but those I recall were largely about enduring intense spiritual suffering faithfully. GMH was a wonderful poet.

I congratulate you for understanding the relationship between suffering and joy! This understanding has proven elusive to most of humanity. Even C. S. Lewis, who was neither a fool nor weak in faith, considered it problematic enough to devote two books to. The best I can come up with is that pain is the necessary tool required to carve out the soul into a vessel sufficient to contain joy.

No doubt this theory is highly flawed. But even a perfect knowledge of the theology of suffering is little comfort if one's heart doesn't comprehend it as well as one's head. And heart-felt of God's love does not come by simply being told one ought to have it.

It's as if a child can't remember his father hold him or speak kindly to him, but was always being admonished by his mother, "You ought to realize he loves you- look at how he goes to work for you! Look at how much he's given up for you!"
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  #8  
Old Mar 26, '10, 6:38 pm
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JCnMe JCnMe is offline
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Default Re: Does God speak to & through non-believers?

You are a seeker-You need to Trust God in all things- and with that ,Trust that these other teachings and experiences are being shown to you for a reason.....Take what resonates within you and leave the rest- you'll find your way and your answers....and I think you will find you are just being taken on the scenic route to define yourself and in doing so becoming a teacher/example for others-...but will arrive safely where you belong-stronger in your convictions and Faith and will be able to help those who are struggling with the same issues you are now- ...
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  #9  
Old Mar 26, '10, 7:59 pm
Student09 Student09 is offline
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Default Re: Does God speak to & through non-believers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistfall View Post
Certainly I've read St. Therese. She speaks often of all her suffering and self-denial she practiced to please the Lord. She speaks of how she wished Jesus to consider her as no more than a plaything in his hands, that he might toss or cast aside as he wished. I don't really recall her having much to say about the relationship between joy and pain. Certainly she was joyful, because she had an relationship with Jesus intimate enough to leave her in no doubt of his lovingkindness.
She actually went through a long period of painful doubts after she came down with tuberculosis. For 18 months she found it nearly impossible to believe in Heaven and this lasted up until right before she died. She did have doubts, and terrible physical and emotional pain at the same time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistfall View Post
I congratulate you for understanding the relationship between suffering and joy! This understanding has proven elusive to most of humanity. Even C. S. Lewis, who was neither a fool nor weak in faith, considered it problematic enough to devote two books to.
Ahh, sorry if I sounded smug. It was not intended.

Of course I struggle with the relationship between suffering and joy just like the rest of humanity, but, perhaps because I have so much suffering in my life, it is something I have grappled with on a very deep level, and while I do not enjoy suffering, I am thankful to God for it because it is through and in the suffering that I find Him most deeply present. Anything that unites the soul to God is a gift, and suffering does this when it is accepted in love. The grace to accept it comes from Him and is something we need to pray for. You are no doubt right that it is ultimately not a matter of knowing the theology (though that helps) but of living it and knowing it with the heart.

God bless.
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  #10  
Old Mar 26, '10, 8:30 pm
Felix_Il_Gatto Felix_Il_Gatto is offline
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Default Re: Does God speak to & through non-believers?

The Church's position is that we should embrace the good in all religions.
I'm not sure of their official position on whether or not God speaks through non-Catholics, but it is my personal belief that He does.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistfall View Post
During a period of praying for help knowing and doing God's will, I found a book written by a Hindu who is big on "The Secret" philosophy that "the Universe" will "manifest" things in your life that are in accord with the attitudes of your heart.

Much of what she said seemed easily "translatable" into orthodox Catholic beliefs, such as the necessity of believing and acting out of complete trust that "the Universe" (here I read: God) truly has the will and the benevolence to desire the greatest good for you, as well as the power to make that happen. She said many things about expressing gratitude after your prayers of petition and living in a way that expresses your full confidence that you have received what you have asked for that were exactly what I've heard from some Christian authors. It also struck me that she said those seeking their soulmate must be sure to sever the spiritual bonds that are formed with previous lovers - I've never before heard a non-Christian acknowledge that previous relationships are an impediment to finding one's spouse.

However, she and some of her fellow pagans whose success stories are presented in the book used things like astrology and fortune tellers in their search for love and meaning in their lives.

I know that some Catholic authorities who I respect would advise that any advice tainted by paganism is poisoned at the source. Perhaps it was Satan, not God, behind the intuitions and sometimes miraculous circumstances that brought these people to their hearts' desire.

On the other hand, I don't want to be like the Pharisees who were so certain that they knew exactly how God communicated to his people and how He did not that they rejected the truth when it appeared where they didn't expect it.

So what is the better choice- pick out the gems from the dross? Or throw it all away ?
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  #11  
Old Mar 27, '10, 5:09 am
John Russell Jr John Russell Jr is offline
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Smile Re: Does God speak to & through non-believers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistfall View Post
During a period of praying for help knowing and doing God's will, I found a book written by a Hindu who is big on "The Secret" philosophy that "the Universe" will "manifest" things in your life that are in accord with the attitudes of your heart.

Much of what she said seemed easily "translatable" into orthodox Catholic beliefs, such as the necessity of believing and acting out of complete trust that "the Universe" (here I read: God) truly has the will and the benevolence to desire the greatest good for you, as well as the power to make that happen. She said many things about expressing gratitude after your prayers of petition and living in a way that expresses your full confidence that you have received what you have asked for that were exactly what I've heard from some Christian authors. It also struck me that she said those seeking their soulmate must be sure to sever the spiritual bonds that are formed with previous lovers - I've never before heard a non-Christian acknowledge that previous relationships are an impediment to finding one's spouse.

However, she and some of her fellow pagans whose success stories are presented in the book used things like astrology and fortune tellers in their search for love and meaning in their lives.

I know that some Catholic authorities who I respect would advise that any advice tainted by paganism is poisoned at the source. Perhaps it was Satan, not God, behind the intuitions and sometimes miraculous circumstances that brought these people to their hearts' desire.

On the other hand, I don't want to be like the Pharisees who were so certain that they knew exactly how God communicated to his people and how He did not that they rejected the truth when it appeared where they didn't expect it.

So what is the better choice- pick out the gems from the dross? Or throw it all away ?
My dear friend

God speaks through not just all people but everything. What your dabbling in can lead you away from God though. satan speaks through people too and virtually never makes it obvious. he's very cunning. Not that they can't be saved. But for your own soul stick with the church and Saints. There you will find a very loud voice of God showing you the way. That's my 2 cents. Hope it helps.

God bless you and pray for me please

John
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