Difficult Question


#1

I was in RCIA last night, and the director was talking about the Trinity. He said that God is Love, has always been Love, and always will be Love. He said that we, creation, are a byproduct of His Love, which boiled over. He said there is Love between God, and his Son, Jesus, and that Love is given and received by them, throug the Holy Spirit…

Anyways, in the Old Testament, God showed his Love by openly acknowleding His creation, through voice, or in other ways where it could not be disputed by the prophets. He played a very active role all the time. In the New Testament, it says that God SO LOVED the world, that he gave His Son, as a sacrifice, so it might get our attention, and save us from our sins (which it obviously has had that effect on a large amount of people).

I’m struggling to know where God has been for the last 2,000 years. It seems that everything God does now, is cryptic. His acts cannot be proven, but rather, everything must be taken in faith, which for a great deal of people, is obviously quite difficult (e.g. fallen Christians, agnostics, atheists). On top of that, God says that unless we come to know Him, we will face eternal damnation, as a result of our sins. At the same time, God doesn’t seem to make a real big effort to get our attention, other than giving us a collection of books inside of a larger book, The Bible, and giving us The Church, which has traditions which have been passed down forever and ever.

Why does God not make Himself more accessible? Why play “hide and seek” with us? Is this not the case? What’s the thrill? I mean, Jesus was here, He lived, and had lots of followers. He then says “I will return someday”, and POOF, we have nothing else for thousands of years, other than people supposedly having divine revelations, the “warm n fuzzies”, which some like to attribute to the Holy Spirit, etc.

I feel really bad for people who just outright cannot believe. Why? Because like myself, many people are accustomed to believing what they can experience with the five senses. We are wired in this fashion, and God, knowing this, not only involved Himself with us in the OT, but then sent Himself, incarnate, to interact, love, and teach us, in person, in the NT. And now, it’s like He doesn’t want to really prove His existance, thus all the debates, thus all the theories, all the doubt, all the churches. And I’m supposed to believe that if one does not openly accept the teachings of The Bible, entirely out of faith (which again, some people struggle with), they’re screwed?

Something isn’t adding up here, people… :confused:


#2

Allow me to answer your question with a story about an Hasidic master, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Morgensztern of Kotzk – called the Kotzker Rov, or called the Kotzker Rebbe – who spent the last 20 years of his life in seclusion. Commenting on this, Rabbi Daniel F. Polish states that some maintained that he had withdrawn to spend all his time in communion with God; others recognize that he withdrew from human contact in response to the way he felt God had withdrawn from him. His anguish became an expression of the depths of his faith. His silence – and God’s --became the hallmark of his own pained piety. Martin Buber recounts an episode from the years before the Kotzker Rov removed himself from the world.

A disciple came to him:

“Rabbi,” he complained, “I keep brooding and brooding, and don’t seem able to stop.”
“What do you brood about?” asked the rabbi.
“I keep brooding about whether there really is a judgment and a Judge.”
“What does it matter to you?”
“Rabbi! If there is no judgment and no Judge, then what does all creation mean!”
“What does that matter to you?”
“Rabbi! If there is no judgment and no Judge, then what do all the words of the Torah mean!”
“What does that matter to you?”
“Rabbi! ‘What does it matter to me?’ What does the rabbi think? What else could matter to me?”
“Well, if it matters to you as much as all that,” said the rabbi of Kotzk, “then you are a good Jew after all….”


#3

If God were to ignore us (or fall asleep) we would simply fail to exist.


#4

How do you figure?


#5

It’s a good question. Why doesn’t God make himself better known? Why does he allow some peole to doubt?

The fact is, throughout all of history, including the time of the Old Testament and during Jesus’ time on earth, there were plenty of people who doubted God and did not have faith. It’s easy for us to assume that we’d have a stronger faith if we could’ve walked with Jesus and witnessed his miracles, but lots of people saw him and talked with him and heard him and yet didn’t come to believe. In fact, a mob of his peers put him to death because they thought he was lying. So it isn’t a given that people will notice and be converted when God does something remarkable like send his only Son.

We also know that just living at a time closer to the prophets wasn’t guarentee for salvation. For example, Jesus tells the story of Lazarus and the rich man. When the rich man dies and goes to hell, he begs for reprieve. Abraham explains that there is a great chasm between heaven and hell. Then the rich man wants to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his five brothers about hell. Abraham replies that they can be warned from listening to Moses and the Prophets. But the fact that the rich man is so concerned about the disbelief of his family members demonstrates that not all people were convinced by the words of the prophets.

I would argue, in answer to your question, that God still plays a very active role in our lives. I see this most keenly in the sacrament of confession. I think that hearing the priest say, “And I absolve you of your sins” is more intense than would be hearing a prophet say, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” No other experience on earth has matched my experiences in the confessional, and no other experience has had the power to help me overcome my owns sins. This sacrament really cemented my Catholic faith for me.

Why doesn’t God make himself more accessible? Well, he comes down to the alter at my local Church every day. And he’s always present in the tabernacle. I don’t know how much more accessible you can get. And while the Eucharist may be unconvincing to atheists or agnostics or people of different faiths, (just as Jesus was unconvincing to many people of his own day), it shows us that God does have abundant love and care for us. Ultimately, though, faith is a gift and we ought to pray for it to be bestowed on ourselves and others.

The Church does not teach this. From the Catechism:

[quote=]Every man who is ignorant of the gospel of Christ and of his Church but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity (CCC 1260).
[/quote]

God bless.


#6

Every man who is ignorant of the gospel of Christ and of his Church but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity (CCC 1260).

Wait, so does this mean, if I were to up and decide to convert to Islam or Judaism or something like that, and I honestly poured my heart and soul into honoring the one whom I call God (and many people view God in different ways, some as different persons, some as nature, etc), I will be given grace and allowed into heaven?

That quote from the Catechism seems to discount what Jesus said, that only through Him, can you get to the Father.

Did I miss something here??


#7

Are you ignorant of the gospel of Jesus Christ?


#8

We are all ignorant from time to time. To doubt, is to be ignorant.


#9

Before Jesus, God only interacted with the Hebrews. He sent a prophet or two every other generation and made a few very great miracles happen to keep them close. By contrast today we have the sacraments in every corner of the world every single day. Plus the miracles in honor of the saints, and Eucharistic miracles, and personal visits from Jesus himself and his mother… So what on earth are you complaining about? :shrug:

We are all ignorant from time to time. To doubt, is to be ignorant.

True ignorance is being genuinely uninformed. That is the only out, and only if you are actually paying enough attention to grace to truly do God’s will in your life.


#10

To doubt is to lack conviction. Ignorance, or not being aware, of the gospel so that its message is unknown is another item. Of course, this involves questions of how the gospel is communicated: does a scandalized person go to heaven, as well? However, in the fourth Eucharistic Prayer, we pray, “Remember those who take part in this offering, those here present and all your people, and all who seek you with a sincere heart. Remember those who have died in the peace of Christ and all the dead whose faith is known to you alone.”

What’s at heart though is the unequivocal truth of Christ as the Way, Truth, and the Life, and the unification and sanctification we Catholics achieve with God through the instituted sacraments.

To be a baptized Christian and then to apostasize is to re-crucify Christ “[f]or it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift and shared in the holy Spirit and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to bring them to repentance again” (Hebrews 6:4-6) for "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’ (Heb 10:28-39)


#11

Okay, let’s start with a few “ignorant” views of the “sacraments”:

Baptism - the belief that by applying water to someone, they become a child of God. To the eyes of a person, all it is is a man (priest, pastor, etc) applying water to someone. It is not God in the water, or anything like that. Thus, it has no significance, other than through faith - it is not God being blatantly obvious that He is among us.

Eucharist - is believed to be the body and blood of Christ to the Catholic church, whereas other churches view it as being symbolic, and non-believers and those doubting may merely view it as juice (or wine) and a cookie. We think (or have faith) that a transformation occurs, though it very much remains a cookie in texture and taste, and wine in texture, taste, color, etc, that it is somehow not. I can think all I want that a grape is a strawberry, but it still remains a grape. Thus, it has no significance, other than through faith - it is not God being blatantly obvious that He is among us.

Reconciliation - is believed to be God working through the priest (or the priest using the authority of God, as handed down to Peter (e.g. it flows downstream)) to forgive people of their wrongdoings. The priest raises his hand, and says “I abolish you of your sins, go and sin no more”. This is not proof of God being here, or interacting with us, as I could easily go up to anyone, raise my hand upon them, and say some words, with authority (wether I have it or not). Whats more, when sin is removed, there is no way to tell. I mean, a person may have their guilt lifted, etc, but sin cannot be seen, felt, tasted, heard, etc. Sin is a state of being, not an object. Thus, it has no significance, other than through faith - it is not God being blatantly obvious that He is among us.

Need I go on? I’m not saying I don’t appreciate and accept these things for what they are. I believe in the concept of having “faith like a child”, and can do that. I do not consider myself gullable. I can have a leap of faith, like jumping out of an airplane, and trusting the parachute will open. I’m merely saying, God does not make His presence and thoughts on things known to us, outside of the Bible, and outside of man-made testimony. There is nothing obvious about this, and unfortunately, if one cannot fully accept what cannot be sensed, they are to be eternally punished… right?


#12

I have a “Best Twelve” from Blaise Pascal on my blog and your question clocks in at #12. The other 11 will probably occur to you at some point also.

“If God had wished to overcome the obstinacy of the most hardened he could have done so by revealing himself to them so plainly that they could not doubt the truth of his essence, as he will appear on the last day with such thunder and lightening and such convulsions of nature that the dead will rise up and the blindest will see him. This is not the way he wished to appear when he came in mildness, because so many men had shown themselves unworthy of his clemency, that he wished to deprive them of the good they did not desire…”

Continues here with a Peter Kreeft commentary:

payingattentiontothesky.com/pascal-the-first-modern-christian-by-edward-t-oakes/twelve-from-blaise-pascal/

regards

dj


#13

I agree with you, djeter, if God were not present with us we would not know of him at all. Christ spoke to Thomas on the day of his resurrection and said, " Blessed are you, Thomas, for you have seen and believe. But more blessed are those who DO NOT see and believe." God meant for us to wait for his return in glory, that we who believe without doubt, will have salvation in the Lord’s presence in our lives, now and in the hereafter. It is not until God returns that we will see him. And to believe in his love for us, from those children, that he created, in his image, is to be in the presence of God. The holy spirit is within us all, and so is God’s love for our fellow man and ourselves. Be patient and believe in God, he is with you always until the end of time.
:slight_smile: God Bless you.


#14

There are several reasons for this. As noted above, God has already spoken, and His words have been miraculously kept for us down through the ages. Now we have the completed canon of scripture, and we need no further miracles to “validate” the Bible. In His perfect Word is everything we need “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible is complete and is perfectly able to make us “wise to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15), a “more sure Word of prophecy to which we would do well to take heed” (2 Peter 1:19). We need nothing more, and we are not to seek extra-biblical revelations. To do so calls into question the efficacy of Scripture which God has declared to be sufficient.

Second, we have within us the Holy Spirit whom God has given to us to “lead us into all truth” (John 16:13). He speaks to us continually, teaching us (1 Corinthians 2:3), reminding us of all things that Jesus taught (John 14:26), guiding, correcting, and convicting us of sin (John 16:8). God is indeed “speaking” to us today through the Holy Spirit, who is certainly not hidden. Another reason for God’s seeming concealment is alluded to by the prophet Habakkuk: “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). God does not give His people a continual chain of miraculous signs; He expects them to trust what He has already done, search the Scriptures daily, respond to the Holy Spirit within, and live by faith, not by sight (Matthew 16:4; John 20:29).

Finally, let us remember that even in those times when it seems that God is doing nothing, He is still the sovereign Lord of all creation, and He is constantly at work, bringing about the fruition of His perfect plan. One of the best examples of God’s “hidden” working is the book of Esther, in which God is never mentioned, but which plainly shows His sovereign hand at work from beginning to end.


#15

I think you need to read lumen gentium. that would probably healp. also, at the start of the post you indicated that you were taught that our creation is a by=product of god’s love. i don’t know if the intent is there, but the implication is that we were not a deliberate act on god’s part, which would be a false assumption because god direcly wills each one of us into existance.
the things you’re looking for do happen. they just aren’t happening around you. still today there are real miracles all around the world. try googling some (they don;t make it into the news very often), or asling other people what god has done for them and others they’ve know. you’ll be suprised at what turns up.


#16

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