Are doubts a mortal sin?

Is it a mortal sin to doubt the existence of God? I read this in a confession guide.

What if someone WANTS to believe, and HOPES that the teachings of the church are true, but is not completely-without-a-doubt sure? Is that person in a state of mortal sin? Should that person not recieve communion?

Receiving communion should not be approached with the same mentality that one purchases fire insurance or automobile insurance. If you don’t believe, then don’t receive. I cannot imagine that you would be considered by God to be in a state of grace if you died in the next few minutes in a state of unbelief regarding his existence, so I would have to say categorically YES, it would be a mortal sin.

I think you do believe in him though or you would not care enough to ask.

Yes, it is a mortal sin not only to doubt the existence of God but ANY Article of Faith. To doubt any is a mortal sin, and any peson who does so should and MUST abstain from Holy Communion.

[quote=nobody]Is it a mortal sin to doubt the existence of God? I read this in a confession guide.

What if someone WANTS to believe, and HOPES that the teachings of the church are true, but is not completely-without-a-doubt sure? Is that person in a state of mortal sin? Should that person not recieve communion?

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It depends on the circumstances. The devil is able to put doubts in our mind. These are temptations, not sins. Temptations only become sinful if we consent to them.

From what you wrote I certainly do not think you are in a state of mortal sin. As you said, you want to believe, you are trying to believe, but you are having doubts. Use this to turn a negative into a positive by studying to remove your doubts. I have found that there are very good answers to any questions that one can raise. By study and prayer, the truth will overcome error, and you will thereby remove the doubts and strengthen your faith.

We have to keep in mind that belief and understanding are two different things. Since we do not always understand what we believe, we can be tempted with doubts. That is what I think is happening with you.

What you should do is begin praying that God will come to your assistance and help you to overcome these doubts you are having.

Maybe you can post some of the reasons for you doubt here, and people can try to help you clear them up.

[quote=nobody]Is it a mortal sin to doubt the existence of God? I read this in a confession guide.

What if someone WANTS to believe, and HOPES that the teachings of the church are true, but is not completely-without-a-doubt sure? Is that person in a state of mortal sin? Should that person not recieve communion?

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Faith by definition precludes surety. If we know, then we don’t have to have faith. Faith can be enhanced by reasonable arguments, for example, Holy Writ speaks of over 500 people who witnessed the Living Christ after the Resurection. Many of them, all of the 12 except for Saint John, went on to affirm their faith by dying the death of martyrs. This seems a pretty credible support to Our Lord’s Resurection. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for.” When you say doubt, do you mean passing doubts or questions or do you mean a real state of virtual disbelief? I’ve heard it said that there is no bad question, only bad anwers. As to whether doubt immediately constitutes mortal sin, I think it might depend on the conclusion you come to.

I don’t see how it could not be considered mortal sin to doubt the existence of God. I could see for example if your mind were to wander for a moment here or there and you had casual thoughts like I wonder if there is a God, I wonder if the Marian doctrines are true, I wonder if the Pope is really the legitimate Vicar of Christ, etc,etc but the thoughts lasted no more than a second or two before you came back to reaility, then no, I doubt if this would be mortal sin.

If this person is having lingering doubts, then I think we have a different story. Again, I get back to my analogy about fire insurance, if the writer of the question is a part-time believer so as to cover himself in case there really is a God, then how could this person be in a true state of grace ?

At any rate the writer of the question should abstain from receiving the Eucharist until such time as he figures out the answer, and only then after he spends some time in the confessional booth to rectify this Mortal sin.

Having these doubts are normal temptations that all Christians face. It is only a sin if we do not respond to these doubts with faith. Every Christian must carry their daily cross. If we all knew for certain that every doctrine that the Catholic Church teaches is 100% true then there would be no faith involved and as Christians we are called to take that leap of faith.

So if I understand your question correctly, I really don’t think you are in the state of mortal sin.

A prayer I meant to post to you: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

[quote=CatholicCrusade]Yes, it is a mortal sin not only to doubt the existence of God but ANY Article of Faith. To doubt any is a mortal sin, and any peson who does so should and MUST abstain from Holy Communion.
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:hmmm: Sounds ever so harsh to me!

[quote=JKirkLVNV]Faith by definition precludes surety. If we know, then we don’t have to have faith.
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:thumbsup: Now that makes more sense. I was talking about this to my current PP in a confessional context. I’m a cradle Catholic and feel I have a deep relationship with God. My faith is desperately deep and personal. Outwardly, it is my nature to constantly question and doubt. I think of myself as a real ‘doubting Thomas’. My PP said we cannot have faith without doubt, just as JKirkLVNV posted there. My questions and doubts do not mea I do not believe, they’re a way of understanding better. I encourage my children to doubt and to question and to study. I have learned over the years a remendous peace in my faith. There is always a satisfactory answer, I have only to discover it, through the grace of God our Father.

[quote=FightingFat]:hmmm: Sounds ever so harsh to me!

QUOTE]

I’m curious, what do you find harsh about this ?

Read Rev. 3: 15-16 , and when it says that he will spue those out who actually believe, but are lukewarm about their beliefs, do you still think it is harsh to send non-believers to hell for eternity.

Did I miss-read the original writers question, did he not ask
"Is it a mortal sin to doubt the existence of God?

Of course it is a mortal sin, how can any other conclusion be reached. Again, if the doubts are momentary and easily dispelled and corrected by the person having these doubts (and I am talking nano-seconds of doubt, not days or weeks) then possibly it would not be mortal sin. If the doubts are lingering and persistent, how could it be anything other than mortal? You certainly would have no business receiving communion in this state of mind.
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[quote=nobody]Is it a mortal sin to doubt the existence of God? I read this in a confession guide.

What if someone WANTS to believe, and HOPES that the teachings of the church are true, but is not completely-without-a-doubt sure? Is that person in a state of mortal sin? Should that person not recieve communion?

[/quote]

This is the original quote. “Completely-without-a-doubt” is, by definition, possible only for those who already have died and who “see Him as He is.”

Of course it is a mortal sin, how can any other conclusion be reached. Again, if the doubts are momentary and easily dispelled and corrected by the person having these doubts (and I am talking nano-seconds of doubt, not days or weeks) then possibly it would not be mortal sin. If the doubts are lingering and persistent, how could it be anything other than mortal?


I don’t think that this person is talking about doubt in terms of disbelief, ie., I think he or she means something else. Sometimes when I’m going to Holy Communion, I am almost in an ecstatic state. Other times, I hear a small voice that say, “C’mon, you actually believe that little piece of bread is God HIMSELF?” When that happens, I make an act of faith or adoration (“Glory be to Jesus in the Most Glorious Sacrament of the Altar”). “Doubt” in terms of “final reprobation” would consign one to the darkness, but doubt that pokes at you and you poke back by seeking understanding, making humble submission, making acts of faith, acting IN faith in spite of the doubts, can only be a part of the journey of faith for some people. Blessed Theresa of Calcutta was, reputedly, plagued with doubt for many, many years.

[quote=JKirkLVNV]This is the original quote. “Completely-without-a-doubt” is, by definition, possible only for those who already have died and who “see Him as He is.”

Of course it is a mortal sin, how can any other conclusion be reached. Again, if the doubts are momentary and easily dispelled and corrected by the person having these doubts (and I am talking nano-seconds of doubt, not days or weeks) then possibly it would not be mortal sin. If the doubts are lingering and persistent, how could it be anything other than mortal?

I don’t think that this person is talking about doubt in terms of disbelief, ie., I think he or she means something else. Sometimes when I’m going to Holy Communion, I am almost in an ecstatic state. Other times, I hear a small voice that say, “C’mon, you actually believe that little piece of bread is God HIMSELF?” When that happens, I make an act of faith or adoration (“Glory be to Jesus in the Most Glorious Sacrament of the Altar”). “Doubt” in terms of “final reprobation” would consign one to the darkness, but doubt that pokes at you and you poke back by seeking understanding, making humble submission, making acts of faith, acting IN faith in spite of the doubts, can only be a part of the journey of faith for some people. Blessed Theresa of Calcutta was, reputedly, plagued with doubt for many, many years.
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I tend to agree, if the writer would clarify exactly what he meant, again by: EXACT QUOTE “Is it a mortal sin to doubt the existence of God?” Then much could be cleared up.

Otherwise I think the quote is, as they might say Res Ipsa Loquitur. In other words it speaks for itself.

:frowning:

It seems my priest lied to me in confession again!

I was doubting to the point of despair and schism the; Validity of the New Mass, the Validity of the Pope, The Validity of the Church. I was considering schism and all sorts of other terrible things. My priest told me this was perfectly fine and doubt wasn’t a sin.

[quote=JKirkLVNV]Sometimes when I’m going to Holy Communion, I am almost in an ecstatic state. Other times, I hear a small voice that say, “C’mon, you actually believe that little piece of bread is God HIMSELF?” When that happens, I make an act of faith or adoration (“Glory be to Jesus in the Most Glorious Sacrament of the Altar”).
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Thank you for your honesty.

Thank you to all for your replies.

I don’t know how to quantify doubt. I suppose it is on a continuum, like everything else. It has dimensions of duration, frequency, and depth, as does faith. You have all given me things to think about.

[quote=nobody]Thank you for your honesty.

Thank you to all for your replies.

I don’t know how to quantify doubt. I suppose it is on a continuum, like everything else. It has dimensions of duration, frequency, and depth, as does faith. You have all given me things to think about.
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Remember what Jesus said: “Would any among you, if your son asked for a fish, give him a snake?” If we ask Christ for faith, He will give it to us.

Doubt is not a sin. Even saints like Saint Thomas Doubt. Doubt is a natural human reaction, to faith, understanding and time. I think everyone but Jesus Doubted.

I’m curious, what do you find harsh about this ?

Read Rev. 3: 15-16 , and when it says that he will spue those out who actually believe, but are lukewarm about their beliefs, do you still think it is harsh to send non-believers to hell for eternity.

Did I miss-read the original writers question, did he not ask
"Is it a mortal sin to doubt the existence of God?

Of course it is a mortal sin, how can any other conclusion be reached.
[/quote]

Because of the definition of the term faith. What do I find harsh about it? It is so exclusive as a statement, it lacks charity and doesn’t engage, just excludes.

[quote=nobody]Is it a mortal sin to doubt the existence of God? I read this in a confession guide.

What if someone WANTS to believe, and HOPES that the teachings of the church are true, but is not completely-without-a-doubt sure? Is that person in a state of mortal sin? Should that person not recieve communion?

[/quote]

I detect scrupulosity here. One might claim in certain circumstances it would be a mortal sin e.g. if a lapsed Catholic who does not believe in God receives communion at a wedding of a friend but generally ten thousand difficulties do not make a doubt. It is only right that our mind can not comprehend the incomprehensible nature of a necessary Being such as God.

Is mere “doubt” heretical?

I don’t think you can doubt the existence of God and expect to particpate in his Heavenly feast, the two ideas are completely incongruent.

When God told Moses in Exodus 3:14 “I AM WHO AM” you will note that he never says that “I might be who am” !

Or read any of the following scripture passages from Jesus in which he proclaims who he is, and note that he never says “I might be”

** 1- I am the bread of life (Jn.6:35)
2- I am the light of the world (Jn.8:12)
3- I am the gate (Jn.10:9)
4- I am the good shepherd (Jn.10:11.
5- I am the resurrection (Jn.11:25)
6- I am the way and the truth and the life (Jn.14:6)
7- I am the true vine (Jn.15:1)

Is it any wonder then why in the Gospel of Mathew 25 vs 1- 13 that the foolish did not bring enough oil (faith) and Jesus was finally forced to say at one point “I say to you, I do not know you

I would be quick to study and reevaluate my position if I were a doubter, because it seems clear by reading the Bible who God is and know that at some point God will deny that he knows you.

(the end)

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