Hopefully this is the right forum for this- Otherwise please let me know!
I was brought up Catholic, but have considered myself agnostic at least since I was a teenager. Nevertheless, I believe that the church today is mostly a force of good and is badly needed in today’s world. I do not share the attitude towards religion and God that many public atheists have. I have felt much closer to the church lately, probably because I feel it is so necessary and the attacks against it by the mainstream are extremely disproportional and vicious. I also feel people need to come together in these difficult times. Many of us see the storm coming, and I think practically all of us can feel it at this time.
Some are proposing that religion is part of the cause of our problems and should be done away with to “free ourselves” and make a new world. I find this not only preposterous but extremely dangerous, even as an agnostic. Instead I see such people tend to substitute traditional religious beliefs with religious-like beliefs in science, technology, the state or simply man, which believe to be a disastrous error.
I find myself agreeing with Jesus’ teachings and feeling very close to him. I agree when others say he was a wise teacher, but somehow that doesn’t quite seem to capture his full totality. On the other hand, I also find him being “the son of God/God incarnate” also difficult to accept. I don’t find the emphasis on Israel in the old testament particularly relate-able and the modern political infatuation with Israel frustrates me and doesn’t seem Godly to me.
At the end of the day, I don’t even know if I believe in God. But I feel closer and closer to the church and Jesus, regardless. I’ve come to the point where I WANT to believe, but I can’t. I’ve started reading the Bible, discussing it with a Catholic neighbor and praying every day. I intend to start attending mass. But I’ve got to admit that I feel a little silly praying. I feel childish (I did pray as a child). And even though I do often defend the church, I feel embarrassed at the thought of proclaiming myself a Catholic.
I have a Catholic friend who is well versed in Church theology, and we’ve talked quite a bit about it over time. I think I am probably more aware of Catholic teachings than a lot of Catholics, though I know there is still much for me to learn.
What advice could you give me to break through my disbelief and not be embarrassed to call myself a Catholic? I was baptized Catholic, and I would like to confess (for the first time since I was a child), since there are a number of things I’d like “off my chest”. But can I receive the body of Christ afterwards without the belief I desire? Do I need to believe before I receive the Eucharist or will receiving the Eucharist help me believe?