I have tried to be brief. There is more I could say. In summary, I am tired of God’s silence and my body’s defects and bodily pain, to the point that it seems the Church is wrong. I do not know how to understand God as Father, and I am not sure what to do to be happy again.
My current crisis dates back to when I interpreted the Bible to say that if we obey God, and trust in God, and ask God for something good, that God will give us that good thing. Moreover, the Church says that God is our Father, and so I thought God would interact with us as our human fathers do – communicating with us, helping us in substantial ways. I thought asking God to miraculously heal my body was a small thing, equivalent to asking a wealthy person for pocket change, and I have not been able to come up with any strong objections to the idea, since skeptics would be free to reject their miraculous nature, their free will preserved.
Over the course of two years, then, these ideas have undermined my faith, as they have underscored the silence and distance of God, which, in turn, strengthens the plausibility of the idea that my relationship with God is a delusion, that there is no Christian god. I have consequently spent what might be an excessive amount of time trying to convince myself that I’m not delusional, that the Church is correct. Finally, the thought occurred to me that my situation was absurd and unreasonable: Namely, that I cannot reasonably say that the Church’s teaching that God is a Loving Father can be reconciled with my experience wherein I am vainly reading the Bible praying to the Holy Spirit to learn His will, as Fr. Larry Richards taught, and being met with silence and some ancient history which appears irrelevant to my life today.
I then encountered Dr. Richard Carrier, who argues the origin of Christianity – the Gospel preached by St. Paul and others – was myth rather than reality, and that the Christian movement grew out of myth later misunderstood as fact. I have seen him take Ehrman’s material out of context, and make an argument from silence from the Bible regarding the Slaughter of the Innocents, and while it seems likely that he takes Paul’s writing out of context as well, I have not seen a refutation of his theory, nor have I seen his response to the assertion (made by Craig, Horn, and recently Jimmy Akin) that the majority of scholars disagree with him. He has made statements either to Trent Horn or to William Lane Craig suggesting many scholars’ historical methodology is flawed, and that there is not such strong disagreement with many of his claims.
I’ve been reading content from Gary Habermas, but so far I have not seen him refute Carrier, nor has he said anything I haven’t already heard before. As for philosophy, I have studied more than twenty arguments for God’s existence and I can point out problems or refute every single one. I have read several books already, e.g. from Swinburne, Lewis, Kreeft, Spitzer, Tacelli. I am left with my suffering in silence with the implication that the Church is wrong, and I do not know what I ought to do. The more I pray the more the Church appears to be wrong (since God does not answer), and the more I study the more I frustrated I become, as I appear to be wasting my time.
Finally, I am very much alone in Japan. My pastor cannot meet my needs and my Japanese is insufficient for attention elsewhere, so I cannot get any spiritual guidance locally. My problems are compounded by how busy I am, working more than full-time. Additionally, I think I am suffering from depression, and have had difficulty receiving medical treatment.
What should I do?
Here is what I am currently doing:
*]Reading Bible & Catechism according to a simple one-year schedule.
*]Praying for healing from the intercession of Venerable Michael J. McGivney & Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, usually with a few other prayers for others.
*]Receiving sacramental absolution of sins on Saturday
*]Receiving the Eucharist and attending Mass on Sunday
*]Keeping a journal trying to record good things in my life and what I have done for others
*]Trying to change the course of my life so I can begin receiving medical treatment for depression
*]Studying free content online (I am heavily in debt to the US Department of Education and so cannot justify buying anything)