Former Militant atheist - Some Advice needed

Hi all,

I’m a former militant atheist, now just plain ole atheist. It has taken a long time but I’m seriously entertaining the idea I might be wrong.

I’ve come at this from a very different angle than I’ve seen other atheist converts to catholicism and I’m hoping there might be some out there that can help me research my rather confused questions further.

So two things.

  1. Is there a God.

I don’t know, but I used to think this ridiculous and irrational. I don’t think so anymore. I see lots of books , articles , topics on this but usually in the context of a particular religion. I’d love some more info just on the topic of “What might be true”. I keep digging deeper and deeper and still cannot draw a conclusion. My questions are just never really answered.

  1. What religion represents God.

This one is some-what easier. After reading about the various faiths, the only one I think could possibly be true, or have some truth is Christianity.But I have a very difficult time accepting any of the metaphysical parts of the Christian story.

I drew this conclusion that only christianity(and Judaism) could possibly be accurate mainly by studying Islam, by challenging my views on moral/cultural relativism and by sufferin through two years of Nihilism after I actually look my atheist arguments to their logical conclusion.

So I’m looking for resources that help me see the intellectual arguments as to why I should choose to believe there is a “theistic” God, and why I should accept the metaphysical aspects of Christianity(such as miracles, ressurection) etc.

I’m really stuck. I’ve read so much but it’s not really coming at me from an angle I can relate to. Too much “Just have faith” type information. That’s not enough for me.

Not sure if my posts make sense I have read some works by Lewis and others. I would love to believe certain things are true, but I won’t believe just because I want to.

Christianity has almost sort of snuck up on me, I didn’t expect to be taking it seriously at any point in my life.

I can recommend Theology for Beginners by Frank Sheed. It’s excellent.

Get a paperback copy of the Catholic Catecism (very cheap online used) and start there. It should have at least basic answers to the majority of your questions.

Some advice on studying scriptures:

  1. Remember that the Old Testament was written thousands of years ago and started as an oral tradition that was written down many years later. There are “parables” in there like Samson, Job and Jonah that shouldn’t be taken literally as they are stories with a moral message.

  2. At some point you will come to an impass where you will have to take sme things on faith. As Catholics we call this the “mysteries of faith” but you can ease into those.

  3. Start praying which can be awkward and difficult if it is something you haven’t done before and may actually seem silly at first. Just put yourself out there and ask God the questions that you have and ask Him to help you find the truth. Don’t expect some massive miracle as a sign but remember that God communicates with us through scripture, others and little whispers (small things that will become meaningful).

I wish you well on your faith journey and don’t hesitate to join a RICA class at any parish (just call the office for information) and that will help you learn more as well.

Best of luck on your faith journey!

Thanks Only $4 on Amazon Kindle for Sheed’s book. Downloading as soon as I can track down my kindle. :slight_smile:

The fact that you actually identify as a former militant atheist to me as evidence of Grace working in your life that’s actually really cool. If you are unfamiliar with the EWTN program journey home they have EWTN videos on there that you can watch these are people who converted to the Catholic faith from other Faith Traditions but there are quite a few that are atheist or agnostic. Jennifer Fulwiler is one of the former atheists on there, watch it if you get the chance. I wasn’t raised to be ridiculous religious but I was never really anti religious. My brother identifies as an atheist but he doesn’t seem to have a logical coherent argument but he’s actually older than me but all his kids well I don’t know what the baby is, he can’t talk. Although I do get kind of frustrated with people on the internet claiming that infants are atheists which is not logical since an infant cannot make the claim that God doesn’t exist. Anyway I’m getting ahead of myself but like I said watch the former atheists and agnostics on the journey home that really should help you if I recall correctly Chesterton was baptized Anglican but was an atheist for a long time and ended up becoming Catholic CS Lewis was baptized Anglican he never became Catholic but his writings are quite influential on a lot of Catholics he was an Anglican that had a lot of problems with atheism even while he was atheist. I think they have possibly the best arguments against atheism this is just a personal opinion though

I’ve started reading this online :slight_smile:

Some advice on studying scriptures:

  1. Remember that the Old Testament was written thousands of years ago and started as an oral tradition that was written down many years later. There are “parables” in there like Samson, Job and Jonah that shouldn’t be taken literally as they are stories with a moral message.

Finding out the Catholic church didn’t actually take it all as though it was dictated word for word by a God, surprised me. I became more interested in the church after that.

  1. At some point you will come to an impass where you will have to take sme things on faith. As Catholics we call this the “mysteries of faith” but you can ease into those.

I think if I could intellectually understand why the arguments for a God are better than the arguments for there not being one, faith may not be as difficult.

  1. Start praying which can be awkward and difficult if it is something you haven’t done before and may actually seem silly at first. Just put yourself out there and ask God the questions that you have and ask Him to help you find the truth. Don’t expect some massive miracle as a sign but remember that God communicates with us through scripture, others and little whispers (small things that will become meaningful).

I feel very silly I will admit. I will try harder. I do talk to myself sometimes(hehe) so It’s not that different I guess.

I wish you well on your faith journey and don’t hesitate to join a RICA class at any parish (just call the office for information) and that will help you learn more as well.

Best of luck on your faith journey!

Thanks

Have you researched metaphysics? You can pm me if you’d like.
Thomas Aquinas has a lot of good explanations, but they may be a bit advanced for someone just beginning to explore Christianity unless you are familiar with Aristotelian philosophy(I have a feeling you might be). Checkout the Summa anyway. Its great to be skeptical, because that’s how you really find the Truth. The Catholic Church, unlike other Christian traditions, embraces both Faith and Reason. God gave us both for a reason so use your logic.

Welcome Dameedna, it’s a big forum & I’m delighted I caught sight of your post.

Unconventional ways of coming at anything are always excellent because contrast lends better perspective.

(I’m a Catholic with an unconventional history so I have officially disguised myself as “henotheistic agnostic” :wink: )

It occurs to me a crucial factor is that Christ sent the Paraclete (see Jn 14) which means advocate, comforter, supporter.

It’s also crucial to hear from people with an existential account of a living relationship.

Some folks at CAF have known a lot, for many years, so keep asking your questions and hopefully they will be responded to by a spread of members.

Taking time building those foundations is very much the right way of going about it.

Thomas was the Fine Doubter (Find-outer) (the quip comes from Enid Blyton!) :wink:

I’m heavily into the loaves and fishes at the moment. The meaning of the miracle is even more important than the mind-boggling physics and chemistry of it. They were sat down in groups of 50 (small communities for catechesis). A boy had a bit of food but he didn’t say to the crowd “look what I’ve got” but the disciples brought him to Jesus (helping people exercise their gifts because we have the “other halves” of each others’ gifts). There were 12 baskets of leftovers (a symbol of enough good news to evangelise the nation).

One of my favourite books is Genesis and some acquaintances are opening my eyes to the book of Revelation.

Holy Scriptures are an aide-memoire or series of bullet-points on which doctrine (catechesis) was and is hung. It took 3 solid years for Jesus to teach the 12, and the Apostles a lifetime to teach their flocks.

I’ll not spill all the beans now because I’ve got to hit the hay, hoping to join in again and meantime praying people will cross your path who are Catholic or the sounder sort of protestant who might have the mot juste for you.

It’s always right to put brain work into believing!

I haven’t much yet. I do find the writings a little heavy. Friends on FB often quote Aquinas, who I used to find as ludicrious as I found all things “god” and “christian”. Now I find it profound.

Might be a good time to learn more about Aquinas. Do you have any good recommendations that might enable me to wade through it a little more easily?

Thanks for your reply. I have been watching video’s like that. Some of the converts appear to have had some kind of experience or it comes from a place of emotion. I’m happy for them but that’s not where I come from.

Other’s however, seem to have taken years and a lot of their arguments and understandings are the same ones that are dawning on me.

It is really weird to contemplate it. I really do know what they mean when they say I was blind but now I can see. Like a fog, a cloud has lifted from a muddled brain.

It is however as though I have been dragged kicking and screaming. Maybe that’s what you mean by grace? :slight_smile:

I will check out EWTN, thanks for the recommendation.

Dameeda,

Here is a link to “Triumph” which is a history of the Catholic Church and is written very well and a great read. It will help give you a global view of the Church’s accomplishments.

amazon.com/Triumph-Power-Glory-Catholic-Church-ebook/dp/B001TLZEVO?ie=UTF8&Version=1&entries=0

Here are some links that describe the Church’s role in science and some of the great priest that made some of the world’s greatest discoveries.

catholic.com/magazine/articles/fathers-of-science
en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_Catholic_cleric-scientists

It’s not all about theology and will help put together a complete picture for you.

Thanks WT1. I’ll grab that first one also. I have “How the church built western civilization” but haven’t read it yet.

So another one to add to the list.

Any recommendations just on the concept of “god” without it being focused on any particular religion?

Thanks. I am very interested in hearing about people’s accounts of their faith. It is not something I usually understand but people take such delight in it.

I wish I had what they have.

Here is a direct free link to the Summa, the beginning is the Treatise on God, check them out.
sacred-texts.com/chr/aquinas/summa/

Id also hit up youtube and check out the Fulton Sheen Life is worth living series, he explains everything highly logically.

Edward Fesser’s “Aquinas” is a good introduction for those of us who know nothing of metaphysics or philosophy. He provides that background before examining Aquinas’ Five Proofs for God. Peter Kreeft is also known for his work on Aquinas, like his Summa of the Summa that has footnotes to explain things.

As for the existence of God in general, a friend gave me William Lane Craig’s “On Guard” as a present. He’s an Evangelical, if I’m not mistaken, and has argued against Catholicism, but he focuses on the existence of God and argues against relative morality in the book, so it should be okay for basic apologetic understanding.

Great thanks. I have that bookmarked.

I’m was going to mention Sheen!. I have a Catholic friend that constantly quotes him, and I think he’s amazingly wise, although I hadn’t heard of him until very recently. I will check out that series. Thanks so much.

You can read all the books you want but you are not going to find an answer to the question, “Is there a God” in a book.

You are going to find the answer deep within yourself, when you are alone for a while, when it is very quiet and you are able to be still.

If there is a God, that’s when he will speak with you.

-Tim-

Good luck in your continuing journey.

I hope you do not mind if I follow your progress in this…what may serve instructive to you may aide me also…further, congratulations on your 1000th post…:wink:

I’ve just posted to this thread:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=1009716

(my post is post 12)

to whet your appetite while waiting for someone to make a more “official” recomendation :wink:

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