Fragile Faith...

Hello,

Long time lurker, on quite a few forums… so I finally decided to actually become involved instead of just spectating all the time.

OK… I’m Catholic, mostly because my father was at a very early age and is quite obsessed with it (he is currently in the process of becoming a deacon) and later, through independent research, I justified it to myself as this is right.

I’m the kind of person who looks at every possible argument, a thousand different ways. I’m constantly trying to find holes in a variety of subjects. But one thing at a time, right? As the title of this thread suggests, “fragile faith” is my latest dilemma and I would enjoy reading everyone’s opinion regarding this.

I will try to narrow this down as much as I can. Basically, my faith is easily shaken, even broken and I become upset, because I’m sort of entertaining thoughts such as (I will give you my latest, and obviously big one) doubting if Catholicism, or for that matter, any religion is true, heaven or hell, nothing.

What brought on these devilish thoughts is a different forum I’m quite fond of. I don’t know if anyone here has heard of it, but it’s a simply unriveled board in terms of both raw numbers of people and spirited debate. If you will, please bring up the following link:

forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=155725

The negative thoughts I have seem to have inner-connections, this being the latest one, meaning materialism, and the question is are we truly looking for truth, or just wishful thinking? When I pray at night, I always cant excape the thought of it’s just my own mind answering my own questions to satisfy me, and not god. I really just go crazy sometimes because just when I think I have a somewhat solid grasp on faith, it just slips away. What do you guys think??

Romans 10:17
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Reading the bible every day streangthens your faith. If you read the new testament for 10 or 15 minutes a day it will help. Also if the website you referenced is causing you to have a crisis of faith stop looking at it.
I find that sometimes I have doubts myself that life amounts to anything more than what you can see, but dealing with that is a part of faith.

The James Randi foundation is a Skeptical organization. Now, James Randi says that you can be a Skeptic and Christian and there there is nothing about Skapticism which says you have to be an atheist. That being said, I would estimate that 90+% of Skeptics are atheists. Here is what I would recommend, buy a couple books that cover some of the classic arguments for a God, learn those arguments and how to use them and do this before you visit boards like the James Randi foundation which have a highly atheistic population which is generally educated in this area.

This is called putting on the armor of the Lord!!!

I would recommend books but I only know Protestant books and I don’t want to derail your faith, so I’ll leave the suggestion of specific books to a Catholic.

Is it just with regard to religious faith that you find yourself in difficulty? What about faith in reason, or in people (like a spouse or parent)?

Wow,
all the respondents to date have been our Protestant breathren. In any case, these skeptics have been arguing against the Catholic Faith since the days of the Apostles. Give us a shot at debunking the specific arguments that are driving you from the Faith. We’ve heard them all before and certainly can help you reason through the issues. While many of the skeptics are skilled debaters, they do not have the truth on their side. What is bothering you specifically?

I think that is the first question you need to take up and answer for yourself. Do you really want TRUTH? How much do you want it?

Michcool

I do not know how old you are but I will say that is not uncommon for a lot of us to have gone through a period of our lifes ( sometimes for years) of searching.

It is not uncommon to find folks who decide that Jesus,mohhammed, and Buddah were all “sons” of God, or get into the para-normal, or ufo’s, nostrodomus, various visons, to try to understand just what is “god”. I am sorry to tell you this but you will never attain understanding God because once you think you got it down pat, God will always outsmart you.

Sometimes our intellect is our own worst enemy. God gives us these minds with all of our curiosity.

I am going to offer you a suggestion. Talk frankly with Jesus. Tell Him all your doubts, your yearnings to understand , well, everything. Even tell Him you are not sure if He is Who He says He is. Just for your own sake of your soul, ask Him to stick by you. He will.

Prayfully, I anticipate the day that you will be able to thank God to have allowed you to live long enough to have come full circle back to Him.

And with no insult or argument meant to anyone, by HIM I do mean Him, not a church, or a denomination, or rome or Greece, or whatever.

Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you, no matter how far you wander in the far country. And when the Father sees you on the road of return, not only will he welcome you back, He will run to you and meet you down the road.

First off, I just wanted to say I really appreciate the huge influx of helpful responses and people willing to help, that comforts me.

I see some of you are familiar with this website. Like I stated, I found it interesting with just so many people and so many topics, I spent quite a bit of time actually reading just about every comment for a God, and as someone stated in this topic, the replies are overwhelmingly atheist.

What specifically bothers me is kinda of hard to boil it down to a single thing, but it mostly has to do with the thoughts and theories of materialism, and the argument of what actually is material. Since anything spiritual is outside this system, it cannot be studied, in any way. I’m sorry guys, you see I’m juggling a thousand different things now and its was hard to get this reply in a reasonable manner. I’m spent, I will get specific problems and post them here very soon.

yes this is very specific in regards to religious faith only. I tend to see the good in people.

Perhaps you should think about the role of faith in the use of reason, which it plays an important part in. Philosophy, and science as a result, both depend on faith to work.

If you understood how that was the case and what it meant, religious faith might be put in better perspective for you. It really isn’t as totally strange as it seems at first. I think in general most people are just not taught well about the foundations of human reason, so they thing it is totally different from faith.

**God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Heb 11:6
**
The more we turn to God, the more He reveals Himself to us. A lot of it has to do with coming to a point where we place His will-and worth- above the worlds opinion of Him-and of ourselves.

Michcool1987,

I would suggest the following books for someone in your position. Try getting Peter Kreeft’s book The Handbook of Christian Apologetics and Frank Sheed’s book Theology and Sanity.

Most importantly I would agree with others on three fronts:

  1. Stay away from materials and websites such as the one you mentioned.

  2. Pray always and seek the truth with an honest love and open heart toward God. The Lord never disappoints.

  3. Read scripture daily especially within the context of the Church and liturgy.

God bless.

P.S. I will pray for you.

Find anything William Lane Craig v. an atheist and watch or read it.
youtube.com/watch?v=S-fDyPU3wlQ

I’ve been where you are. I lost my faith my first deployment to Iraq, and studied philosophy, theology, Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, etc. It led me to be Catholic, as you can probably tell by my profile info.

Here’s the thing. As long as you base your faith on head knowledge alone, it will waver. There is always somebody with a more trenchant argument, a better play on words; and it can eat at you, stick with you, and gnaw at your heart. The fact is, there is ALWAYS an element of doubt, otherwise it wouldn’t be called faith. You won’t honestly get your faith just by the head knowledge. You get it by doing.

Don’t just know the gospels, go out and actually visit somebody in prison. Have you? Have you gone out and got a man food instead of driving by? Do you pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament? That singlehandedly saved me, and I was a self-forced alcoholic, had PTSD, and my marriage was in shambles. Pray. Bow. Kneel. Learn faith through your body, not just your mind. Be Christ to other people, and you will get your faith.

There’s an old story about an orthodox priest that goes to his senior and says “forgive me, but I have lost my faith. I don’t know what to do.”

The old man says “do 100 prostrations.” The man went home and did these prostration, getting flat on his face while praying, one hundred times. He came back and said “I have regained my faith.”

The strongest Christians aren’t necessarily those with the greatest minds, they are those that live out the teachings of Jesus, and then they somehow know that He is real. Prayer. Helping the poor. Giving to those in need. Preach the word, then live it. Learn faith by doing, not by knowing.

In the end, realize something. The Catholic Church has had some of the greatest minds the world has known, and people have been trying to snipe Her for 2,000 years. And she’s still here. History repeats itself, and so do agnostic arguments. Chances are, they’ve already been more addressed in an ancient form a thousand years ago, but because it’s new to you, you feel all alone. Don’t. Because you’re not. I’m here. The people on this forum are here. Your dead saints in heaven that sang on the way to the waiting jaws of lions are here. God is here. Mary is praying for you. The angels surround you. Be at peace.

Fantastic post! Brilliance.

Nathan Wagar,

I am in awe of the spiritual depth of your response. Well done!

:thumbsup: very cool-and instructive-post

You are not alone. It can be scary when God allows our faith to be tested. The scriptures say “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). This means that if you seek God first, all the rest will come to you, according to His will. Seek Him because He is a God and Father who wants what is best for you.

The world only has confusion and false joy. It seems so good at the time but leaves us empty and hungry. If we seek our fulfillment in the world we become addicts, constantly seeking the next new thing to satisfy, even if only for a short time. You are searching for the things of God in the things of this world. Only in the things of God will you find what you desire.

Talk to your Dad. If he is studying for the Diaconate, he should be able to direct you to some good reading material. He loves you and wants you to have the same joy he has in his faith. I am sure it would mean a lot to him to share his faith with you on a new level.

Go to the Church. Nathan nailed it. The Church has been around for 2000 years. Every question you have, has already been asked and answered. Go to confession. Sometimes there is a sin in your life blocking you (been there myself actually!). Go to Mass and receive Jesus in the Eucharist and ask Him to show you the Father. Go to the Church.

Finally, pray, pray, pray, right now you need to spend time talking to God. Do not worry about how you feel, do not analyze yourself. Just get on your knees and pray for increased faith and let God pour his love into you.

God Bless You

:thumbsup: Thank you!

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