How Do You Form Your Beliefs?


What single factor is most important in determining what you believe?

I start with the Latest Teachings of the Magesterium, then run it by Scripture, Church Fathers, proclamations of Ecumenical Councils and Reason just to make sure that the Magesterium hasn’t gone off track.


Neil…I’d go back and alter the poll to make it multiple choice. I can’t answer it the way it is.


what is “latest” magesterial teaching? Catholic doctrine is unchanging because it is revealed by God through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition handed on by the Church established by Jesus Christ, protected from error by the Holy Spirit. I believe it because the Catholic Church teaches it, as received from Christ and led by the Holy Spirit, and I accept the Scripture as the Word of God because the Catholic Church has canonized it as revealed in the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son, the Word made Flesh.


It asks you which is most important. It’s kind of like an election, where each choice seems terrible except when compared to the other choices :wink:

The advantage here is that you can explain why you picked what you did!


Modern catholic encyclicals certainly have new outlooks on things, otherwise why would they bother publishing them? No one can deny that the present teaching on, say, the status of other religions is different than it was in the middle ages. I’m not saying they are incompatible, only that on the surface they are different, with different emphases for different times. It’s actually quite difficult to compare the old teaching of “no salvation outside the church” with the new teaching of what it means, and see that they don’t contradict each other.


I look around at and study differing opinions on what to believe, and after studying the various sides I pray about it and ask God to lead me to His Truth. Ever since I’ve been doing this, I’ve been led to Catholicism.


I cannot pick from just one of the selections that are given.


I wish it would allow us to vote more than one because my belief is formed by Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Magisterial Teaching on Divine Revelation.


Sacred Tradition: it includes Scripture and the Fathers…:thumbsup:

Prayers and petitions,


I think first, and foremost, the grace of God has to move me to want to believe, to have faith, to know the truth, to want to know Him. After that a foundation is built on Scriptures, sacred tradition, and [current and past] magesterial teaching. Finally the liturgy sustains me.


I chose reason. Most of the beliefs I hold, I had before I joined the Catholic church. In fact, I ended up converting because a Catholic I met pointed out to me my beliefs were Catholic. Since joining the Catholic Church, there have been additions to my beliefs from tradition and learning about the Catechism.

I have personal beliefs that I hold because of reason that are not officially Catholic, but neither do they conflict with the Church. So much of the Catholic Church is reason, which is why I love it. I always defend the hierarchy and authority of the Church, but have to say it is reason that I follow. To this day, however, I have to say the two have never conflicted.


The Holy Spirit, without whom I would not be Catholic (nor many other things, like chaste). If I weren’t Catholic, I would believe much differently than I do. The second most influential thing was being raised in the Christian faith. By that I mean the people around me, what I did, what opportunities I had, what I was told was true, the witness of the saints.

If you mean currently, when confronted with the opportunity to believe something that I don’t, what do I do? Like, say I didn’t know that Christ was present whole under each species. If I were suddenly confronted with this, I would most likely try to confirm it by an ecumenical council. It might be a good idea to try looking in sacred scripture about that topic, but I would be likely to think I already knew the Eucharistic passages therein, so I probably would not look, at least, not right away. Once I found it in an ecumenical council, then I easily might want to re-read those passages with a new eye. Also, I must point out that the easiest way to find out where such a thing is and in which council is to consult a theology text (or now that the CCC exists, it might have it) and check out its footnotes. Oh, and to find out which page to check footnotes on, I’d use the index. :thumbsup: I love books with nice indices.

BTW, I am aware of the meaning of 1 Cor 11. I’m ignoring that for the sake of guessing what I would do. Also, I probably would not look in an ecumenical council first if the topic were embryonic stem cells.


ok here goes, scripture.


Because its already been run through the following:

Scholarly critical analysis of scripture
Writings of the Church Fathers
Declarations of Ecumenical Councils
Sacred Tradition
Personal Revelation Through Prayer
Private Revelations

I would hope those that put it all together were critical and listened to each other and things that had happened. I imagine they all prayed looking for revelation and applied reason to their decisions.


wasnt the whole point of writing down the scripture and putting it in a neat book to have a starting point for all discussion?? Like whats the point of it, if its not first?

Latest Magesterial Teachings (maybe not this one if latest means recently) :shrug:


I came to the Catholic faith, from atheism, through reason. Once I became convinced that my wife (who I had recently met at the time) and I were made for each other, I knew that there had to be a Maker. I began to study the religions, and found obvious logical inconsistencies in all of them except Catholicism. As such, I came to faith in the Church. For me, the fact that the doctrines of the Church all fit together without contradiction is strong evidence of the truth contained therein. As such, I continue to trust my reason to form my beliefs.


My beliefs have formed by, first, what the Church teaches, through Scripture, the use of my reason, and pulling this all together into my life experiences.



I am an Ahmadi a peaceful Muslim. The beliefs may be formed in my mind based on several factors. Since one could tick only one in the polls, so I have ticked “Scriptures”.
I would have ticked the following in addition to the aboeve.

Sacred Tradition : By which I mean Sunnah. Hadith is also acceptable to me if it is in line with the Scriptures.
Personal Revelation Through Prayer : Seeking guidance from GodAllahYHWH
Other (please explain): Quran.



I had trouble choosing one, but finally selected reason. Because of that I have difficulty with some of the doctrines of the Church. Take transubstantiation, for example. It is hardly reasonable that the priest at Mass has the authority and/or power to turn bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ. Reasonable? Of course not.

 In the same way, I have trouble with the Virgin Birth, the Immaculate Conception, and various stories found in the Bible. God killing all the first-born in Egyptian homes? That certainly doesn't fit my view of God. Or, how about Joshua and Saul and others ordered by God to slaughter every man, woman and child of certain rival tribes. Reasonable? I don't think so.

  At Christmas time, I even find certain scriptural stories difficult to believe. The angel speaking to the shepherds. The star and the wise men. The flight into Egypt. Etc. The genealogies not only contradict but they are of Joseph (why Joseph and not Mary?), and the Luke genealogy pretends to go back to Adam. Give me a break.

   Religion is a lot like art or music. You don't ask: is it true? You ask instead: what does it say to me? what is the message behind the lyrics/music? It can provide faith and beauty and purpose and still be an allegory or a parable or even a legend.


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