Having second thoughts about Christianity


#1

I’m a former protestant Christian who turned into somebody with no religion (sometimes on the almost atheist side).

But God himself seems to be tracking me down, and that was okay. I accepted that he probably existed.

But lately, I’m wondering if Christianity couldn’t have been real. I was convinced it wasn’t because too many religions seemed to have the same God as Christianity. Jewish interpretation of the prophecies in the OT don’t match the ones in the NT.

But people have been praying for me to end up back in church and by my own desire (not anybody pushing me into it), I went to a mass last weekend. It’s like God answered them. Why would he do that? The skeptic in me has to find out. I’ve always thought Catholicism is probably deeper than other forms of Christianity, so I want to check into that again.

Sorry to drop this on you, but does anybody have any arguments for why this stuff is real? Not wanting to argue. Just want to hear some answers.


#2

Hey Skeptic!

Welcome to the boards.

Your story sounds like an inside job to me! And from my perspective, only One is likely to have that kind of access.

I do think God is tracking you down. What intrigues me most, however, is how you came from a Protestant/Athiest/Agnostic background and yet have found yourself in Mass and here!

You ask why God would pursue you as such? Because you are important. Because he loves you. Because he saw you, yes YOU, from the beginning of creation and wants you to see and know him.

It’s your turn.


#3

[quote=Skeptic]I’m a former protestant Christian who turned into somebody with no religion (sometimes on the almost atheist side).

But God himself seems to be tracking me down, and that was okay. I accepted that he probably existed.

But lately, I’m wondering if Christianity couldn’t have been real.
Sorry to drop this on you, but does anybody have any arguments for why this stuff is real? Not wanting to argue. Just want to hear some answers.
[/quote]

Welcome to the Forum, Skeptic!:clapping: God is indeed tracking you down! There’s a poem entitled “The Hound of Heaven.” You probably can identify with it!

And don’t worry about asking any kinds of questions. The Catholic Church welcomes an honest look at our foundation and teaching.

Where to begin? A book by (Protestant) Josh McDowell comes to mind: More Than a Carpenter. It has a lot of basic arguments for Christianity. Also, (Protestant) Lee Strobel’s Case for Christ. Yes, Catholics do write these kinds of books, too. I’m reading Peter Kreeft’s Between Heaven and Hell.

To cut to the chase, what Christianity has over any other religion is the empty tomb. That is, Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity and the Son of God, really rose from the dead to make a way for us to heaven. And there are good, solid arguments why it’s all true and not a made up story.

God bless you and be with you in your search,
JohnPaul


#4

Well you say that the OT doesn’t match the NT. Could you be more specific possibly in a new thread with the question in the title so others with the proper knowledge can see the question?

I say the Bible is a wonderful cohesive thing that does not contradict itself at all. I would need to see where you think it contradicts itself to better answer your questions.

Clearly God is working on you:)

May God bless and keep you safe,
Maria


#5

Thanks guys. I’ll look at those links, and I’ll consider making that new thread saying why I keep thinking the OT doesn’t match the NT tomorrow. I have to get some sleep so I can go to mass. Again. OMG.

Actually, I had an interesting in Catholicism years ago. I just thought it was richer, not all about the bible. I can’t help but think if any denomination could better answer my questions about Christianity, this one could.


#6

Skeptic:

Check out GK Chesterton’s book Orthodoxy. You might find that you’re not the only one who went through doubt and came out the other end with hope.

Stick around in these forums…you’ll pick up a bunch of ideas that you may have overlooked.

in XT.


#7

Thanks guys. I’ll look at those links, and I’ll consider making that new thread saying why I keep thinking the OT doesn’t match the NT tomorrow.

Do you mean why does God treat His people differently in the Old Testament or why you don’t feel Jesus Christ is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament? I’d recommend dealing with the question “Is Jesus Christ the promised Messiah from the Old Testament?” first.

I have to get some sleep so I can go to mass.

Although I encourage you to attend Mass just remember not to receive Holy Communion. You might be interested in the book “The Lamb’s Supper” by Scott Hahn if you are interested in learning more about the Mass.

I’ve always thought Catholicism is probably deeper than other forms of Christianity, so I want to check into that again.

I recommend looking into history (someone more knowledgable than me can hopefully give you some recommendations) and try to answer the question “Is the Catholic Church the true Church founded by Christ?”

Also check into the difference of a “Bible only religion” and the “three legged stool” (Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, The Magisterium of the Church) of the Catholic Church.

Check out GK Chesterton’s book Orthodoxy. You might find that you’re not the only one who went through doubt and came out the other end with hope.

How is Chesterton’s “The Everlasting Man”? Would that be a better start?

May God Bless your journey home.


#8

[quote=Skeptic]I’m a former protestant Christian who turned into somebody with no religion (sometimes on the almost atheist side).

But God himself seems to be tracking me down, and that was okay. I accepted that he probably existed.

But lately, I’m wondering if Christianity couldn’t have been real. I was convinced it wasn’t because too many religions seemed to have the same God as Christianity. Jewish interpretation of the prophecies in the OT don’t match the ones in the NT.

But people have been praying for me to end up back in church and by my own desire (not anybody pushing me into it), I went to a mass last weekend. It’s like God answered them. Why would he do that? The skeptic in me has to find out. I’ve always thought Catholicism is probably deeper than other forms of Christianity, so I want to check into that again.

Sorry to drop this on you, but does anybody have any arguments for why this stuff is real? Not wanting to argue. Just want to hear some answers.
[/quote]

There’s basically no way to argue the reality of it all. It’s experiential. I didn’t believe until I started experiencing drastic changes of heart with no explanation. I was borderline atheist for a long time, then into Eastern religions, and ended up Catholic. I never in a million years would have imagined it turning out this way.
Suddenly you might find yourself feeling more open and receptive to what’s trying to work inside you. Before you know it you’re surrendering and there’s an unimaginable wave of relief and bliss from knowing you’ve been given the Truth. If you deny your own ideas and realize that you’re incapable of knowing much of anything without it being given to you from above (which isn’'t easy), true humility and meekness will start to develop within. If you cultivate these in yourself and pray that you will be instructed by the Holy Spirit, you will be. A secret prayer said from the heart contains so much power.
Hopefully you’re taking the first steps into what is the most important decision a human being can make.
The key is not mistaking the sometimes mundane exterior of the institutional church for the reality of what the true Church is. What you can perceive with your senses through the sacraments can be beautiful or sometimes feel routine, but they are merely outward representations of something completely unspeakable and beyond our comprehension. If you ever find yourself restless or bored…realize that’s your own fallen nature and the feeling will pass. When you let go of your notions of what you think reality is, and receive the Eucharist, you’ll come to realize you’re making actual physical contact with God. No other religion can give you that.


#9

[quote=Skeptic]I’m a former protestant Christian who turned into somebody with no religion (sometimes on the almost atheist side).

But God himself seems to be tracking me down, and that was okay. I accepted that he probably existed.

But lately, I’m wondering if Christianity couldn’t have been real. I was convinced it wasn’t because too many religions seemed to have the same God as Christianity. Jewish interpretation of the prophecies in the OT don’t match the ones in the NT.

But people have been praying for me to end up back in church and by my own desire (not anybody pushing me into it), I went to a mass last weekend. It’s like God answered them. Why would he do that? The skeptic in me has to find out. I’ve always thought Catholicism is probably deeper than other forms of Christianity, so I want to check into that again.

Sorry to drop this on you, but does anybody have any arguments for why this stuff is real? Not wanting to argue. Just want to hear some answers.
[/quote]

When you say “this stuff,” what do you mean?

(1) Whether God (“a non-material being considered the ultimate source of exisence”) exists?

(2) Whether freedom from suffering is possible?

(3) Whether God has spoken to human beings?

(4) Whether God can say one thing to one person, and something different to another person (because each person is at a different stage in spiritual understanding)?

(5) Whether Christianity can help you commune with God?

(6) Whether Christianity’s ability to help you commune with God, means that Judaism, or Islam, or Buddhism, or Hinduism, therefore, are inferior?

(7) Whether you can rationally and with integrity say that you recognize the Pope as infallible when speaking ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals?

(8) Whether you have a personal, devotional connection to Yeshua of Nazareth?


#10

This stuff is real beacuse we are real. I’m sure you’ve heard the argument that since we exist we must have been created. If you follow that through why were we created? Who created us? It must have been for a reason, right? Just thinking about the fact that we exist leads us in so many directions that both realize more our inherent dignity, how we have betrayed that dignity, the awe-inspiring aspects of he who created us, etc.

We can tell that we are real, the whole I think therefore I am. We know we have a spirit. How can we reconcile both those things? Some people say that there is no such thing as a spirit, only the flesh. Others say there is no such thing as reality, only the spiritual. Look at yourself and realize that you are both, and you are real, and you are present.

Now here is where this line of thnking has lead me, we were not just created to exist, we were created to live. To laugh and cry, sleep and work and rest and play, to learn and teach, to grow and age, to be strong and weak, to love. Being called to live and love is such a real almost tangible thing.

Now I’m proably not answering your questiong, but why is it real? Because we can see it. Why is it real? Because it was made that way. Why has He created us to live and love? Because he lives and has loved us first.


#11

[quote=JohnPaul0]Welcome to the Forum, Skeptic!:clapping: God is indeed tracking you down! There’s a poem entitled “The Hound of Heaven.” You probably can identify with it!

[/quote]

I thought of that immediately as well. :slight_smile:

www2.bc.edu/~anderso/sr/ft.html


#12

[quote=Skeptic]Sorry to drop this on you, but does anybody have any arguments for why this stuff is real? Not wanting to argue. Just want to hear some answers.
[/quote]

The Chesterton book recommendations are good. Also take a look at some of Peter Kreeft’s writings on his website: www.peterkreeft.com

The shortest answer I can give (more a meditation than an answer, really) is that it all makes sense, it answers all of humanity’s big questions, and that it’s too amazing and too beautiful to be made up. That is all the more mysterious because to those who don’t believe it neither makes sense nor is it beautiful.


#13

[quote=VociMike]The Chesterton book recommendations are good. Also take a look at some of Peter Kreeft’s writings on his website: www.peterkreeft.com

The shortest answer I can give (more a meditation than an answer, really) is that it all makes sense, it answers all of humanity’s big questions, and that it’s too amazing and too beautiful to be made up. That is all the more mysterious because to those who don’t believe it neither makes sense nor is it beautiful.
[/quote]

Which comes first: believing in it, or seeing the beauty of it?


#14

[quote=Skeptic]But lately, I’m wondering if Christianity couldn’t have been real. I was convinced it wasn’t because too many religions seemed to have the same God as Christianity. Jewish interpretation of the prophecies in the OT don’t match the ones in the NT.
[/quote]

Well, modern day interpretations certainly wouldn’t. After all, they’ve had 2000 years to ruminate over it. I’m not trying to say that they’re insincere, I’m just saying that it would be very difficult for them to have the same interpretations 2000 after rejecting Christ. I know that on these boards there is a wonderful lady (I think she is a she, but I apologize if I’m mistaken), Ghosty, who converted from Judiasm to Catholicism. She would probably love to help you if you asked her. Also, you might want to check out Second Exodus, by Marty Barrack, a Jew who converted to Catholicism, and perhaps, 'Salvation is from the Jews,’ by Roy Schoeman, also a convert from Judiasm. I know Marty is concerned with showing the Jewish roots of Catholicism. I’m not quite sure if Roy Schoeman is. But I’ve always heard good things about his book.

Sorry to drop this on you, but does anybody have any arguments for why this stuff is real? Not wanting to argue. Just want to hear some answers.

Dear Skeptic,

My personal problem is between theism and atheism-- I have trouble on the issue of whether God exists or not. But my own conclusions are this: if God exists, Catholicism is right. This has to do with my own belief that Christianity is the most plausible of the monotheistic religions, and Catholicism the most plausible of the Christian denominations. You are right, there is an astonishing depth to Catholicism. The theology is beautiful at times. Good luck in your search.

-Rob


#15

[quote=Ahimsa]Which comes first: believing in it, or seeing the beauty of it?
[/quote]

I expect that there is no set order. I was brought back into the Church by beauty, in particular, the beauty of the sacred music performed by my wife’s choir (and what an amazing thing it was that God used my wife to give me this gift!). The beauty I experienced was not the beauty of the entire Catholic deposit of faith, but it was a window to the Truth. It was the ever-important initial revelation.

After that I would say the greater beauty and deeper understanding continue to come hand in hand. Looks like I’ll be going through life from now on with the wide eyes and giant grin of a child. Christ’s words about having the faith of a child certainly reflect my own journey.


#16

[quote=Skeptic]Sorry to drop this on you, but does anybody have any arguments for why this stuff is real? Not wanting to argue. Just want to hear some answers.
[/quote]

All of the Martyrs! Why would all of these people give up their lives for something they did not find to be true? All they had to do was to denounce it, but they chose death.

As for converting, a young sailor, about 19 or 20 came to my priest in total confusion. He said he was not Catholic but had this feeling he was suppose to be a Catholic Monk. He was a very light Protestant, and he felt God was leading him this way. He said he could not fully explain it, but he just felt like God was calling him to be a monk. He thought this strange because he was not even Catholic. Since then he has been visiting the nearest Benidictine Monastary every weekend for vespers. He said he has an overwhelming peacful feeling, like he has found home when he is there. Even though the Navy has just given him orders to go some place else to finish his commitment, he says he is going back to that monastary in two years. God does track you down when you need it!

As for being of different or little faith, I think it was because you were already questioning things. You did not find what you were seeking in your first faith, and society (especially in the science field) tries to take that confusion and turn it into doubt. You can wonder in doubt for a long time, but sooner or later your soul will seek God, this is what we were created for. So weither it is God tracking you down because you wondered a little too far away or because your soul needs to find him, WELCOME HOME!

As my hubby said, once all of the information was infront of me, converting to Catholicism was the logical choice, it makes sense.

As for beauty, the more you discover and awe in the mysticalness of God, the more beautiful it becomes. It is beautiful from the outside, but when you see the meaning behind the words, traditions and sacraments it creats a joy and peace with in your soul.


#17

I got back my old password for this board confusing it for another and was in shock at my username that popped up.

Anyway, for anybody who might have been around way back when, I converted to
Catholicism in April of 2006. It hasn’t always been a happily ever after because I found myself doing stuff like wanting to attend Sunday school and craving ways of making friends (had trouble doing it in Catholic Church). Seriously considered leaving, but I keep staying.

When I made those posts years ago, I didn’t want to believe I would be converting. But I did, and it was really amazing.


#18

The God Who Is There
a Book by Francis Schaeffer

This is an excellent work that lays a solid case for the proposition that God “Has” to be there…written by Protestant like yourself. It helped a great deal to bring me back to Christianity.


#19

You would need to see if this result is repeatable. It could also be pressure and anxiety to produce results for those who prayed for you. Or, it could be God did it.


#20

It’s a great conversion. My case is quite different because I was baptized 2005 but actually fully converted during my “search” 2006-2008! I can’t believe myself being a catholic in the truest sense.

God is Greatness!


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