I need some help. First off let me explain a little bit about myself. I was raised Catholic sort-of. I never went to Mass as a kid with my family. I eventually went to Catholic school because I got kicked out of Public school. I was a punk back then. I graduated high school and join the Marine Corps. I served 4 years going to Iraq twice. I am now married and have a beautiful daughter. My wife and I go to Mass every now and then. My daughter loves to dance to the music. I read the Bible mostly every night. I pray through out the day. I usually ask for forgiveness and say thanks for my blessings but, I still have great doubt that there is a God. I want to believe but, I always find a reason why there couldn’t be a God. I am asking for any suggestions on how to have faith. I hear of people who have had profound experiences with God and I am envious of these people. Why is it so hard for me to believe and have faith. I’m at the point of giving up and living my life as an atheist. Thank you for your time and hope to hear from many people.
It depends somewhat on how you approach things generally, but I think a safe bet would be to say that if you want to experience God, then it would help to spend more time with him. So more frequent mass attendance, and perhaps some time in front of the tabernacle.
Beyond that, varying approaches will effect different people to different degrees, simply because different people put more weight on different sorts of things. You may try attending group prayer meetings or retreats, or working with a Catholic charity, or immersing yourself in study of Catholic thought, or pursuing the various devotional practices that exist, or some combination.
The turning point in my own faith, when it transitioned from something my parents told me to do to something I actually believed (via a very large amount of doubt and a near dismissal) was primarily intellectual. I ran across what probably are some of the same reasons you’re coming up with now, and nearly became a nihilist, until I spent some time thinking and started shooting down the opposing reasons and finding supporting ones.
If that is the approach you think you need to take, this site can be a great resource for examining any arguments you have found going either way (as well as for devotional information etc), but again, I have heard enough people say that reason has never converted anyone (despite that not actually being true) that it seems that many people don’t find that sufficient.
What I would probably recommend is finding Catholic answers to any intellectual objections you might have (and they do exist) together with ramping up mass attendance. But both will likely be necessary, even if you find that your objections are primarily intellectual: During my own big struggle, and occasionally even now, I found myself for no reason and irrationally saying to myself that none of this can possibly be true just because it can’t, and since that is not an intellectual attack, it can’t be met with intellectual defense. Hence, more mass, more prayer.
hi, as you state “I am asking for any suggestions on how to have faith.” and sure, here goes:
i share with you that i have two bosses that are x marines…as they say, once a marine always a marine…and for the persons reading this…as well as you…i would talk to you as if they were in the room. there is mr j of whom i would run through fire if requested (well i would think about it;)…he has an interesting leadership skill…to ask nicely, always a gentlemen, very sharp, with high expectatons…i am convinced that there is no dilemma that he cannot hurdle/and so the management skill of x marines is noticeable, if agreeable; mr j can be concerned about his workers, as if to make sure the troops are in good shape, as he might ask me of my health; or per task and evaluation of how well i am doing on the job, he might search for me and find me, and say,’ there is dirt in the lobby,’ and ‘dont make us look bad again…’ i say it wont happen again, sir…(because i know that he cares)
so Faith, a broad topic-it can be philosophical from the mix of philosophy and religion; yet, the bench mark is the crucifixion of jesus christ…this would be a central point of all the history of the world/
that being said-review jesus’s words from the cross, a good starter…i always thought that Jesus last words must sum up the highest truths/ as inquiry could be to ask about turths of the church/while doubt challenges if it is truth/ that might yield a good point to start with talking to a priest/ there is a leadership skill of jesus from a time up to the cross to right after the resurection/ after the resurestion, jesus could be seen to visit a group/i think that jesus used his leadership skills in the group;in that group was Thomas, remember thomas’ reaction-the same man of whom might touch the wounds of jesus? this puts context to the leadership skills of jesus-he knew what building the apostles where in; he found them; he knew their doubt; he was checking on his troops…so ask for the gift , as most posts will advise in a thread to… don’t forget to ask the Lord for faith, you see?
Maybe those “reasons” that you mention are a good place to start. This is an apologetics forum - here is where we explain and defend the Catholic Faith. If you have doubts, we are happy to help (it’s what we do - it is the purpose of this Forum).
Nobody here will ridicule you. Your questions are welcome, and will be answered in charity and in truth. And with a good dose of logic.
BTW, my youngest son is also USMC, LCpl Filmer, Alan (the ONLY Marine with his surname). He’s a newbie, recently celebrating his first year anniversary (measured, of course, from the time he reported to Boot Camp at MCRD-SD). He has been “in the fleet” for about six months. He had requested an oversees assignment, but wound up at Camp Pendelton, which wasn’t what he wanted, but it didn’t cause his mother and me much distress. Of course, you know the motto of the Marines - Semper fidelis (“always faithful”). The Catholic Church has exemplified this ideal for 2000 years.
I will tell you a story, and you will see for yourself.
I was playing on YouTube one morning where I came across a video about some person who tied down a dog, set it on fire and killed it. The video has since been removed from YouTube but at the time, the comments section was flying. There was only one conversation happening: God.
People used the incident as “proof” that there was “no God”, but I knew better. I typed my comment, explaining that the person who set the dog on fire did not have God in his life, and that if he did, he would never have done such a thing. At the exact moment when I typed it, the morning sun suddenly shone through the window, beaming very brightly, directly in my face. It was not possible for me, to think, that it wasn’t God, shining Light on the truth, as it was being communicated to HUNDREDS of people. I told them how the sun had, in perfect, perfect timing, lit up so bright and intense, just at the moment where I typed the explanation to them. For myself, it is not possible to *not *believe.
If you LOVE God, and from your Heart, not your mind, ask to *experience *God. You can also ask for a personal relationship.
Beanie-I am asking for any suggestions on how to have faith.
I’ve had a strong faith all my life. One of the things I don’t do is say “I doubt this.” I always say, “I believe this, but how can this be true.” And then I search to find the answer. It is very important to believe first, then secondly to question the issue and not doubt it. When we doubt something, we are shreding our faith not building it up.
It is the difference in the answers of Mary and Zachary.
Mary believed the Angel Gabriel and asked how she would conceive.
Zachary did not believe the Angel and asked how his old wife could conceive and laughed.
Mary was blessed for her answer without doubt.
Zachary was punished for his answer of doubt.
It works the same with us.
May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.
oh i forgot to say-i think it is alright to be an athiest for , 8 hr a day…as the saints might pray 20 hours a day;well that is a bit extreme-but on the span of a mans life there is a spiritual journey-the clock pendelum swings…to extremes …(my fellow catholics who post might disagree); here is a music video…i like the lyrics
As someone who goes to church regularly, grew up reading the bible, and praying, I too sometimes get moments of …not so much doubt, but just wondering. Wondering what real proof do we have. How do we know God is really out there? I like science, and I like philosophy. I have read a few different view points from atheists and theists. I would suggest you do the same, but never settle on one answer. Explore and question. If you don’t question it, you’ll never find the answer.
One thing I enjoyed realizing is this:
There are two types of reality: some say it is apparent reality and ultimate reality. Apparent reality is everything that we are able to touch, see, hear, taste…basically, a notion of ultimate reality, our limited comprehension of it (theories, hypothesis’ and beliefs)…apparent reality is not always Truth. Ultimate reality is the state of things as they actually exist. We are unable to see it fully, or even comprehend it, but we know that it exists .
We discover aspects of ultimate reality all the time though our five senses. Take for instance the laws of gravity. The laws of gravity were always there, but we didn’t know they existed. We didn’t author those laws, they were there waiting for us to discover them. But our discoveries of certain aspects of ultimate reality are not just confined to our five senses. The knowledge of good and evil does not rely on any of our five senses, but we are all aware of it (even people who do not believe in God are aware of it, because they commonly state they do not need religion to be a good person).
The only true constant in the universe is ultimate reality. It does not change, so therefore it was, it is, and it always will be regardless of the state of anything else. It is everything. Ultimate reality is God.
Einstein said this on the subject of God and the universe: “We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly.”
Just my two cents on this subject. I wish you the best in your journey to the Truth.
It is interesting that you are envious of “people who have had profound experiences”. Such feelings, I would consider a message, a reminder that there is something missing in your life, that you could be closer to God. I suppose you can believe people to be delusional or liars when they say that you can know God. Whether you answer God’s call, remaining firm, searching for Him (as you are doing here), or whether you go in another direction, is up to you. Remember the prodigal son; God will not give up on you and neither should you.