Agnostic looking for God

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?

You might want to talk with a priest about this. But I’m not sure you’re ready for confession yet. Why? Because of your doubts about God. But a good priest can probably help you with that… I mean, I can suggest things, but it might not be appropriate for your circumstances.

For years I had a problem with believing in God. I have been diagnosed as mentally ill. More than just one diagnoses. When I was feeling my worst was when I wanted to deny God. I felt that if there were truly a all powerful, all knowing God who is love, then why all the suffering? I’ve come a long way since then. But as long as I have breath, I know that I’ll be learning. It’s hard, especially when someone really tries my faith, or at least questions it. I’m the only Catholic in my family, which doesn’t help. But, with God’s grace I do the best I can each day and try to keep going on the bad days. I pray that you receive the answers you need, but remember one thing. That God is the only one with all the answers. He doesn’t always give us what we want, but he will give us all we need, if we were only to accept it.

Maybe you can find a source of inspiration and admiration, like Miriam James

twitter.com/onegroovynun

Here is my favorite source, representing Israel: Yael Eckstein of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

facebook.com/YaelEckstein/info

:thumbsup::signofcross:

I agree with the previous Forum member, , I am wondering would going to RCIA help you, best thing make an appointment to see a priest and ask Father all the questions you have, and would he advise you to go to RCIA… There is no point coming back to the Church if you don’t believe in her teachings, BUT the Lord does not refuse a person who is seeking Him, Lord help my disbelief.

Pray, and read.

The One you Seek, Seeks you.

Walk with God through his revealed truth the Catholic Church.

All I can share, is I had no knowledge of God prior to a near death experience at the age of 4. It was during that experience, not from others, that I learned God existed. How did that happen if there is not a God?

Don’t let your doubt stop you from going to Confession. Make the first thing you say to the priest after the standard “Bless me father for I have sinned, it has been X years since my last confession,” that you doubt the existence of God. And make sure you talk to him about your doubt and let him know that it’s not obstinate. There is a vast difference between “I can’t see how God could possibly exist so I refuse to believe,” versus “I am struggling with doubt when it comes to God, but I desperately want to believe”. Make clear your desire to believe, even though your doubt is currently an obstacle.

You still shouldn’t receive the Eucharist even after confessing, if you don’t believe it’s really Christ. Part of receiving the Eucharist is saying Amen, which means “I believe”, when you are told “The Body/Blood of Christ”. You don’t want to lie.

I can understand where you’re coming from. I was raised Catholic but stopped going to Mass and living the sacramental life in early 1995. In 2008, I made my first Confession in 14 years. I felt silly praying back then, but did it anyway. I do better with praying now, although I admittedly forget to pray regularly all too often. I do try to pray the rosary daily, and more often than not I remember to do it. I still feel self-conscious at times when I have my rosary in my hand out in public, but less than I did in 2008. Some things take time :blush:

Going to Confession every 1-2 months for the past five years has helped tremendously.

For the time being, I would encourage you to read through the four Gospels and not worry about the rest of the Bible for a while. The Gospel message is what you should be looking at first, leaving the rest until after you come to terms with the central message of the Gospel - the revelation in Jesus Christ of God’s mercy to sinners. Some good things to read and pray about would probably be:

John 3. Do you see yourself in need of repentance? Do you need to be saved from your sins? Or do you think you’re fine as you are and have no sins?

John 10. Jesus doesn’t just have nice things to say, but also claims to be God. Is he a liar? Is he crazy? Or could he possibly be who he says he is?

Luke 15. Are you lost? If so, do you want to be found? If you can accept that God is loving and merciful, not harsh and judgmental, does that make it easier for you to believe?

If you truly seek answers with an open mind and heart, keep praying and you will receive them.

This has nothing to do with Catholic teaching. The followers of Christ are the new Israel, not the political state that is Israel. Too often people mix up their political views with their Faith. Catholic doctrine does not insist (or even suggest) that Catholics ought to support the political state of Israel.

Brother,

What a great post! I wish there were more Catholics that said as much as you! You said you feel close the Jesus and His Church! Wish we could all say as much. Many people who call themselves Catholics would never express as much.

Just go with the warmth you say you have with Christ! Ask Christ to reveal Himself to you. Just be open, dont be afraid to doubt, but dont be afraid of belief either!

There is a Lord of infinite joy and love awaiting you. I think you know Hes there and what awaits you, but your mind is putting the breaks on. We don very often wonder what is love when re receive it from a lover or family member. We just assume its real and valuable and enjoy it. Since we cant see God clearly all the time, we question what that Love is. Yet , we cant completely reject the fact that that Love is God, whether we see Him or not.

Im not sure this really addresses what youre going through, but it just felt like something you might be dealing with. I just feel like youre so wanting to know that perfect Love but are afraid to step into other unknown.

Take the leap, Brother! Your words alone tell me you are someone sorely missed and needed in the Church today!

The only other suggestion or caution is that you probably should refrain from the Eucharist if you have not yet confessed your unbelief in the Christ and the Eucharist.

Otherwise, we look forward to your journey back home! God bless! Thanks for your great post!

One thing that I’ve found really helpful in terms of philosophy (if an amateur / poseur like me can call my thinking that!) is to recognize that ALL of us are profoundly shaped by the culture that produced us. For us, that means examining the assumptions we absorb without noticing them!

One of those assumptions is what I’d call, for lack of better term “scientism.” Science makes an outstanding servant, but it’s a tyrannical master. Without realizing it, we’ve adopted a mindset that anything we can’t demonstrate or verify via scientific method isn’t real. Scientismists then proceed to make the seemingly logical conclusion that since I can’t prove God with my petri dish, scale, camera or electron microscope, then He isn’t real. They THEN proceed to scoff at believers for their superstition and assert an equivalence with a flying spaghetti monster… What such intellectual giants miss in that analysis is that they commit the VERY sin that they so scorn Christians for. Christians take for granted that God exists and is who He says that He is in revelation. These atheists take for granted that God doesn’t exist since their methods can demonstrate Him.

In other words Christians put their blind faith in God. Atheists put their blind faith in the scientific method. But if God exists, then by definition He is supernatural and cannot be measured via the scientific method. So the lack of ability to prove God scientifically (often falsely labeled “rationally” which is something else entirely) wouldn’t be so surprising to atheists if they didn’t have a blind and unexamined faith in scientism in the first place.

It’s easy to become browbeaten into a sort of agnosticism by the modern intelligentsia who assert that anyone who doesn’t assent to THEIR blind faith propositions is an idiot. But you don’t have to. You’re here because you sense that there is more than just electrons and chemical reactions and random forces in the universe. Trust your gut. There is. And the really cool secret is that the REASON you can’t find him in your microscope of petri dish is that He’s chosen not to be found there. He doesn’t want your subservience due to fear, He wants your fidelity out of love. Look for Him in THAT sense and you’ll find Him. He doesn’t hide that way.

First of all, congratulations on wanting, and trying, to find your faith, again!

:):thumbsup::bounce::yup::clapping:

I think you would need to believe, go to confession, and then receive communion, in that order.

In the meantime, I’d say to spend time praying for faith in front of the Blessed Sacrament and spending more time with practicing Catholics. When you pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, one short prayer you can do would be “spiritual communion”; ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/blsac4.htm

Listen to Catholic radio, and spend time on the Catholic Answers forum.

Insofar as trying to get your faith back, I’d recommend reading St. Thomas Aquinas’ 5 proofs of the existence of God. There are also 20 proofs, now, for the existence of God:

peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm

Also, there’s a video, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”, which is probably in your public library, which argues as to why we should teach Intelligent Design in public schools.

I’ll also say a prayer for you.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blest is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. :gopray:

hi, a most admirable post/ as i doubt sometimes myself/ sometimes i miss mass due to doubt/my current record is good to show up anyway/ i would say that a good prayer life comes from a ‘good’ sacramental life/ or vise versa…a good sacramental life makes a good prayer life/ the actual horses out the gate event-that you inquire, ie from doubt to belief-i could not say, nor would i want or need to be involved to interfere with your future reconcilliation/

the confession is also known as reconciliation/ by your post-perhaps you will turn out to be a better example than i have been…your post is admirable to view the church in a good light…and seems secretly-your great desire-made public -i admire: likewise, as much as efforts of any sport-such as Foot ball-the players, the athletes…these, in context, ‘to be admired…’/ i mention that in pretext to- i also admire, in context, those little old ladies in church who pray the rosary-you will see them (prayer athletes)…listen-over hear their effort , a “WHEW” as though they had ran a mile (as they pray)…they pray well-you see?; i admire them/ well in my example i cannot compare to be like them totally,as they are a fax like the office fax…of saints-the little old ladies in church tell me what the saints must being doing/perhaps these little old ladies are like the office fax of saints/ well , in secret-unknown to you -is that they are praying for you…they will see you…and your observation will have more important inquiries-just as your questions want to find an answer to remove doubt, look closer-be patient-so as soon as you see those little old ladies in church seated and praying-(i tell you their secret faith) Their prayers are for you!!!
they have great measureable affect/so, take heart-and God will answer your questions-there will be soon a horse event-like the kentucky Church hill downs…and no doubt you will be in it…
(Church hill-remember that)

Welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

I was going to write my own reply in answer to your questions, but I’ve decided to share a recording made by Father Hugh Thwaites. The title of the recording is “Our Glorious Faith and How To Lose It.” This recording is perfect for you and will answer every question you have.

Although the recording is a bit long, I really recommend that you listen to it:

youtube.com/watch?v=MQKNcxz1H_E

I’ll also keep you in my prayers.

Thank you ALL for the wonderful replies! They are helpful.

A simple explanation would be a hallucination, especially one created when there was a lack of oxygen to the brain. That is not MY preferred explanation, but it is a reasonable one, and one that would get a lot of traction from non-believers as well as from some believers. I sometimes wish I would have a similar spiritual experience to bolster or cement my faith, though. I know other people who have and they have benefited from their experiences.

I don’t even like kneeling. Even though try to be humble in my daily life, I think my own ego is a stumbling block for a relationship with God. Lately, I have been swallowing my pride, praying daily and offering myself to God. I suppose if I owe my “obedience” to absolutely anybody it would God and his law.

I am happy to hear that. Hopefully it will help me, too. I will, of course, consult a priest beforehand.

Thank you for that information. I recently saw this video in which the speaker talks about how Christians have inverted the relationship between politics and their faith, and I think that is very true. Although I have no problem with a defensive-pact with other countries, including Israel (And in general I think such agreements are good for the world, as they discourage abuse and bloody war) the “Israel can do no wrong” camp really bothers me.

Thank you. I think I would benefit from the church and hopefully it goes both ways, as I want to contribute all I can.

My gut? Well, that’s just muscle tissue and protein, right? I kid, I kid…

I am, in fact, VERY aware of these beliefs in “Scientism”. Though, as you say, I believe it exists subconsciously in most people in our society. I am very driven towards science and scientific reasoning. But to see the universe as merely cause and effect with no purpose or objective morality is dreadful and illogical to me. In spite of my struggles with belief in God, I see clearly that we human beings have purpose and that morality is not something merely relative.

Amen to that!

Oh Aquinas is magnificent. I have read him, and am sure I will enjoy his proofs. Thank you for the link!

I heard the complete recording. Off-hand I agree with A LOT of what he said- especially concerning Television and media. I can also see a little about constantly (over-)exposing yourself to literature that is contrary to your faith.

But I admit that I tend to disagree a bit on the part of not exploring other faiths. I don’t see other faiths as necessarily equal or even religiously true, but as (sometimes very beautiful) cultural expressions, and I don’t see harm in that- in fact, quite the opposite. I can’t imagine that missionaries would blindly go into a region without at least familiarizing themselves with the local beliefs and religions. This would seem foolish to me.

I also found it funny how he couldn’t help but see humanity’s first step on another world, even if its just the one around the corner that we see clearly in the sky on most nights, as almost a “distraction” in light of God’s work. I suppose he’s right. BUT at least I do find that genuinely interesting and historic, especially considering the trivialities that people concern themselves with everyday. Still, he was amazingly non-worldly, at a level that most priests probably only aspire to be, even when man was putting his foot on another one for the first time.

Overall, I found the recording very provocative and worthwhile. Thank you so much for the link.

And again, thanks for ALL the replies and prayers.

Overall, I found the recording very provocative and worthwhile. Thank you so much for the link.

You’re very welcome and I am glad you enjoyed the recording.

Father Hugh Thwaites was an amazing priest. He converted to Catholicism during the Second World War. Father Thwaites was taken as a prisoner of war by the Japanese in Singapore. He was the last of the old-time English Jesuits. A very holy man indeed.

dana.org/Cerebrum/Default.aspx?id=39179

Here’s an excellent example of a man who confuses reason with scientism. He thinks he’s critiquing Dr. John Eccles (Nobel prize winner) for biased reasoning in regards to his opinion that science has not disproven the assertion that the mind exists outside the brain. In reality, he is only criticizing Eccles for failing to accept HIS biases. Nothing in his critique illustrates an incompatibility with the brain as a TWO-WAY communication device with the soul. He thinks it does because he thinks Eccles asserts the brain as a mere receiver for messages from the brain. Amazing misunderstanding for someone so bright. Or perhaps willful stubbornness?

In any case, I find Eccles’ arguments delightful and refreshing. It’s awesome to see that after all this time science is unable to quantify and measure actual thoughts. Probably because they exist outside of the realm of physical measurement!

I wanted to update this thread with the fact that I recently had my first confession (since becoming an adult). My faith may fluctuate, but I am glad to have those “mortal sins” off my chest anyway! Thanks again to all of you who are interested in and are helping in my journey, whether through posts or prayers.

Thanks for the update. You’ll be in my prayers.

There is objective proof of God.

Consider 2 scientific rules to our universe:

  1. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. (Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion)
  2. Everything tends towards entropy. (Second Law of Thermodynamics)

The Big Bang Theory was concluded to be a gold mine for atheists. I beg to differ! If, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, then it follows that for every reaction, there is an equal and opposite action. What being posses the ability to perform an act so powerful that it required that kind of a reaction!? No, really, that was not a rhetorical question! That is where science meets God for the first time. It cannot be that every OTHER reaction that took place required an action, but not that first big important one…that one happened all by itself! Ridiculous!

Everything tends towards entropy/disorder. (This is oversimplified, as I’m sure any atheist will argue. However, their arguments will tend to be of the semantic type, where if we were looking for shared meaning rather than the correct wording we would find that we mean the exact same thing.) The properly applied Law of Entropy, for example, means that a chemical reaction that releases energy can happen spontaneously, but not one that requires an input of energy. It cannot happen without an input…heat, enzyme, catalyst, etc.

You can make an argument for one event happening in the right conditions–and by instance I mean two chemicals finding themselves in a system with the proper activation energy to react. However, not in an organizing fashion. Only at random. How about an event that requires several equally unlikely events to occur spontaneously with flawless precision in order for it to take place? You start getting into probabilities of events that make the billions of years since the Big Bang drastically insufficient for even one coordination of necessary ideal parameters to exist.

A system in which matter accidentally organizes itself into a simple organism capable of regulating itself and replicating itself is absurd. The universe is far to young to expect this to come to pass once. For that initial organizing system to, working entirely against the Law of Entropy, become more and more organized into more complex systems without causality requires a modification of the Laws! The Law of Entropy must be flawed. But it is not. No attempt to create the right conditions to allow this organization to occur spontaneously has been fruitful, even with hindsight-given knowledge on what those conditions probably were, and they fail BECAUSE of Entropy.

They fail because the organization of matter and energy into the perfect conditions for one action to initiate a series of ever more improbable concurrent events leading to the organization of species and planetary order requires an Organizer. Of incomprehensible intelligence. You plug an intervening Creator into the mix, and all of the scientific laws can still make sense. Without Him, science is a disaster!

Science IS proof of God.

Oh, no, now you have me started.

Consider Biology: the Study of Life!! Life is an animating factor that has never once been granted by all of the studies of mankind. Never have we created a living system that can sustain itself. We can’t even recycle the old, proven life-capable systems–we cannot put life back into a previously self-supporting system after life has left it. It is enough to drive a mad scientist, well, mad, isn’t it!! Because with all the knowledge and technology and science we know everything we can test for and explain by science is accounted for, and it still won’t work! So what are we NOT accounting for? Perhaps it is as we were shown at the beginning of our creation: there is a Creator. And there are creations. All of creation exists to give proper glory to the creator. The study of life is the study of the glory of creation, and the right response is to adore the Creator who is/was/will always be capable of giving us such profound evidence–and caring enough to act on that capacity.

And once you can no longer deny the wondrous and truly Almighty God, you must admit that He possesses a knowledge that is so vastly superior to our own, it makes total sense to trust Him completely.

As to other religions being valid…I agree about the rich culture that is expressed in them. However, I will refer you to Socrates, or at least his logic, to explain why they can be dreadfully wrong about God. In a true contradiction, both sides cannot be correct. If I say there is one God, and you say ten, one of us is in error. The only way it does not matter is if God Himself does not care what we think. If that is true, then why did He create a world that obeys scientific laws consistently, only to act flagrantly against them? He wants us to know Him. He does care.

I imagine you will probably be led into further questions and challenges. Let me remind you of one thing. We’ll, first you’ll just have to trust me, I walked your journey and challenged everything I could and the only place that has right reasoning to back its teachings on God is the Catholic Church, and so I will presuppose a whole lot of answers to further questions and jump to the part where you KNOW Jesus Christ to be the one true God and one source for any and every salvation…

Jesus healed the blind. He said, “Open your eyes and see!” He also made a promise: seek and ye shall find. He also established His Church, and warned that not even the gates of Hell would prevail against it. He himself told them to wait for the Holy Spirit, for by the Holy Spirit living in them they would have guidance. The earliest members of his Church dedicated themselves to the preservation of Truth as it was revealed to them through Jesus in person and by the Holy Spirit in time. After all, the enemy is the father of lies and deception, and that Truth is constantly under attack. But true to his word, that Church has prevailed in the preservation of Truth. There is not a question asked or challenge brought against the Church that has not been sufficiently answered for those who have opened their eyes and are honestly seeking Truth. But you have to see how the Church defended itself to find the truth. Most people who will challenge you will tell you what they believe the Church teaches, believes or means. They are deceived. And they aren’t the first ones. Don’t trust an enemy of the Church to tell you the true defense of the Church! If they knew the true defense of the Church, they would likely be in the Church!

Oh, and Our Loving Father wishes us to choose Him, and so he won’t violate your free will to choose to be deceived. So it is always wise to begin with a simple prayer, from your own heart and in your own words of course, to the effect of…

Dearest Father, I desperately want to see. Please open my eyes to the truth. Whatever you wish me to know, lead me to it. I wish to know you, please show me what I need to see to follow you truly. Please give me faith, that in your gift of faith I might begin to truly believe.
Amen.

Or something to that effect.

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