HOW do you believe?


#1

I was raised as a Jew but I’m an atheist. I’m not a Dawkins style atheist. I have no desire to convert the world to atheism.

But I do have a question for Catholics here.

HOW are you able to believe?

Even if I wanted to I could not believe in, say, virgin birth or a man rising from the dead. Nor could I believe in Noah’s Ark or the flood.


#2

The inability to answer that question is sort of what led me to agnosticism. There is no evidence that God exists, nor any compelling reason to think there is a god, so faith in God seemed illogical.

I don’t really have a problem with a virgin birth, etc. If there were an omnipotent God, it seems logical that he could make a virgin pregnant or bring someone back to life.


#3

Easy, you have to WANT to Believe, God doesn’t force you to go to Heaven. :wink:


#4

It isn’t required for Christians to believe in a literal Noah’s ark, though one could if one wants to. It doesn’t impact our salvation one way or the other.

For other, more important, questions such as the virgin birth and the Resurrection, you of course find it impossible to believe because you are starting at the wrong end. First you must believe in God – an all-powerful and all loving God to whom nothing is impossible.

You need to address this issue first above all. Only then will you have a premise to address the implications.


#5

You exist, I exist that is my evidence for an existence that comes from somewhere.

That somewhere, go back far enough is God.

So you then seek what is that beginning. If you seek then God will manifest Himself to you somehow. For each of us it is different.

Logic and answers were the reason for my belief, plus a realization inside that God exists by my asking God to give me faith.
If He doesn’t exist, nothing would ever happen.

I cannot prove anything to you unless you are open to accept an explanation a faith. I could “prove” Mars exists, yet to someone who doesn’t accept it no arguement will suffice. Anyone can deny everything as we all have free will and selfish desires, some to more extent than others.

It all begins with, what would it take for you to believe?
If your parents love you, do you believe that and what is the evidence?

In Christ
Scylla

(Catholics don’t start at the Bible, they start at God, the Bible was made for Catholics to read at Mass, about 392AD)


#6

Even if you can’t believe, but you want to, you meet the first step. God will not force Himself on you. First, you must want to believe.

Then you have to
Ask God to help you… even if you feel ridiculous and say something like “Hello God, if you exist, please show me that you do.”

While it’s not incredibly likely that God will immediately do something huge and obvious, He will start to slowly build your ability to have faith in Him.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”


#7

The ability to believe (faith) is a gift from God. There is nothing we can do to achieve faith without God’s assistance.

Some years ago, when I was in my twenties, I was in a desperate situation and I prayed, “God, if you exist, please help me!” And He helped me and gave me the gift of faith at the same time. Up until then, for me, God had been just a nice idea and the Bible was just an old book full of made-up stories. However, after receiving the gift of faith, for me, God became real and immediate and the Bible became relevant and full of truth.


#8

On one level, once I accept the hypothesis that the truth of any belief I adhere to depends only on my adherence, that means I am free to construct any belief system I wish. That being the case, I will surely construct a system that answers all my questions and satisfies fully all me deepest needs (not ephemeral desires). That belief system, lo and behold, is precisely articulated in the teachings of the Catholic Church, which professes the God I want, promises the relationship with God I would demand and expect, and pursues to their logical conclusion the consequences of all their dogmatic statements. So on that grounds alone I could choose only Catholicism.

On another level, I have, through the sacramental economy of the Church, a personal knowledge, love and relationship with God in His Trinitarian Unity. Can I prove that or even that He exists on that grounds? No, you might just as well ask me can I prove I know, love and have relationship with my parents and family. I could prove their legal existence to your satisfaction, but in no way could I prove the love or the relationship, other than by our actions toward each other, for which you would have only our personal testimony.


#9

tortasaurus

One must accept lovingkindness!

Or, one must believe lovingkindness.

One step further, one must accept lovingkindness and say yes to allowing God to do lovingkindness through us.

Which is to say, one must accept lovingkindness.

If you are still on this thread, please let me know your idea concerning this. Thanks!

Love and faith go together like love and marriage, but love is first!


#10

In order to believe, you must relinquish your desire for Tort Reform.


#11

Hello Tortasaurus, first of all, you’re very welcome to the forums and thanks for dropping by :slight_smile:

Faith is a gift from God. I believe that in order to be given faith in God we need to have humility and we need to ask/beg for it. We humans may be the top of the pile as regards the natural world but yet we don’t fully understand creation because we didn’t create it. The universe is still a big mystery to us despite our intelligence.

It saddens me to see how the world has become so very cynical, unbelieving, secular, materialistic. Those who believe are laughed at and persecuted. I can’t believe for an instant that life expires when we die! I can’t accept that life has no meaning!

To me, the atheist is guilty of pride because he believes himself to be the greatest being in the universe. I say be humble and bow before your Creator! Before you were born you didn’t exist and now you’re an intelligent being capable of wondering about God. Do you really belive that you’re just a bunch of molecules arranged in a particular manner?

I think you only have to look at the beauty of nature to realize that it was created. Why isn’t nature ugly? We humans can create nothing. We can change the form of matter but we can create nothing. Isn’t it amazing how an acorn grows into a huge oak tree?

The lives of the saints always inspire faith in me. The became incredibly close to God and were touched in very tangible ways leaving with no doubt whatsoever as to the existence of God.

I highly recommend St. Faustinas diary for inspiration!
amazon.com/Diary-Faustina-Kowalska-market-version/dp/1596141107/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-0468476-6095858?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180539132&sr=1-1

That’s enough rambling from me!

God bless,
Noel.


#12

Hi tortasaurus and welcome,

We have the opposite questions! I’ve never been able to understand how people could not believe in a God. I went thru a loss of faith in Jesus at one time, but never in the existence of God. The logical necessity has always been apparent to me, from little on. Paul’s words in Roman 1:20 express it well:

“Ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature, namely His eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. …”

Nita


#13

Even the desire to believe is itself God’s gift. If He gives that - why should He not give you the grace of being able to believe, &, of believing ? Do you want Him ? Only you can decide.

No, by yourself, you can’t believe - neither can anybody else. :slight_smile: Not on this forum, or anywhere. The question you have to answer - we cannot do it for you - is, whether you want to believe. If people are sincerely seeking for God, He never disappoints them. For “those who seek, shall find” (Matthew 5).

Not all of those things you mention are of equal importance BTW - the Resurrection is essential to the very meaning of being Christian; the Ark, is not.


#14

I was an atheist for 25 years. 2 books written by a non-Catholic Christian helped me revert to the Catholic Church.

I highly recommend Lee Strobel’s Case for Christ and Case for Faith. They are intellectual books, not of the ‘witness’ variety.


#15

Hey, Tortasaurus (great name, that)! Your question is, in essence, “Are miracles possible?” The answer is, of course, yes they are, if God is real. Miracles, by their very nature, are making the impossible happen. If God exists, He can make the impossible happen, because He can do any good thing He pleases.

The deeper question is, “How do all of you know God exists?” Deeper still is the question, “How do you know what He is really like?” Perhaps the the deepest is, “How can any of you really know Him at all?”

Personally, how i believe is that i examine the evidence and go where it leads me. Like a CSI, i let the evidence speak for itself. I’m convinced that anyone who does consider the evidence with an open mind will believe, not because they want it to be true, but because they know, without a doubt, it is true.

Tort, please tell us, what evidence convinces you that God does not exist?


#16

If there is no God, why would anybody even act half decently? Why would people be faithful to one spouse (why would one even have a spouse), why do most people have at least some element of self-control, why would we feel guilt for hurting others?


#17

For me to believe in God, I have a fair chance of eternal life in heaven.

And to not believe in God, I lose that chance and spend eternity in hell.


#18

I would like to respond from a different perspective - that of a social historian.

I will make this reply brief, and perhaps come back with a more informed reply tomorrow (late here in South Africa).

The fact is that humankind has persistently sought, for whatever reason, for faith in a higher being. This has been a constant aspect of human behaviour since humanoids evolved. Part of this intuitive behaviour is probably sited in the ancient part of the brain called the hippocampus.

As communities, cultures and civilisations evolved, each - almost without exception - developed what is called a creation myth, or a story about where they came from, how they got there, and who or what was responsible for it all. There was generally a central figure in the creation myth, often with acolytes (in the case of Hinduism, very many).

The creation myth usually incorporated the beliefs, values, behavioural systems of the culture or community, and reflected its ideas of ‘correct’ relationships between individuals.

In many cases, such creation myths, combined with the value system evolved into religions, became ‘real’ and current, and tended to form the community instead of being formed by it.

In the case of Christianity and Judaism, the first six books of the Old Testament are in fact a statement of the creation myths of the Semites and others in that region.

And so a religion evolves; and so people become religious; and so here we are - believers or non-believers.

The fact is also that we must remember that all great religions rise and fall, unless they grow, shift, adjust to reflect changes in the founding civilisation and subsequent adherents.

Is that different enough for you? I find elements of this factual paradigm persuasive, as a quester myself.


#19

In my opinion, Dostoevsky said it best when he about our conduct…"If God didn’t exist, everything would be possible"
and also said “If God does not exist, we find no values or commands to turn to which legitimate our conduct.”

Personally, I think Peter said it best to Jesus when he said in John 6:68 “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

I believe in God for many reasons, but the most simplistic and pursuasive of them all is the moral argument. Every society essentially structures their laws (yes with some exceptions) around the ten commandments. In fact, I’ve not found any society in the world that has laws that allow unjustifyable murder as an option for everyone at any time; yes I know abortion is murder and I agree but I said “everyone” not just the unborn. That stealing anothers goods is universally accepted as wrong in every society. Even in the most remote place in Africa, South America where tribal groups exist and where there is no structure of governmental laws, if a member of one tribe steals from another, the one who was wronged inherantly “knows” that he was wronged, doesn’t he?
He knows that murder is wrong, because he/she has a conscience an inherant God-given knowledge “in their heart” of right and wrong, even the most primitive people on Earth know deep down what is right and wrong so some degree.
This follows what Paul wrote in Romans 2:15-16 “They [the Gentiles] show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people’s hidden works through Christ Jesus.”


#20

Find a good rabbi and do some studying. You’ll be glad you did.


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