It’s a poster with a phrase saying,“Who needs Satan when you have a God like this?” I don’t know if you can view it in this post but you would probably be able to see if you put the above phrase in a search engine. The background is pictures of intense suffering and death. I came across it almost by accident, and has deeply troubled me ever since. The fact that my faith seems to be in a sense of a crisis only enforces the negativity I feel. It almost seemed as if me finding the picture reflected my current mood. I’ve been flirting with atheism for the past few days and in the usual erratic nature of my faith, this is quite an unexpected turn. Environment doesn’t help all that much each other, especially at school. I would reckon, out of the eighty or so students in my year, I’m more than likely the only practicing Catholic. The rest of them seem to be atheists or agnostics. Thoughts have been swirling around in my mind like, “What does it matter if there’s one more? They all seem to be enjoying themselves, happy out without a belief in God, why can’t I be the same?”
Also, the fact that Catholicism would have me look at myself and others as hapless, sinful creatures with no chance of doing anything proper without God, is not sitting proper with me, as I would hope to become the best or the strongest at something. I’m tired of feeling this way over Catholicism and I feel that I could be devoting my time to a better cause than concentrating on something that isn’t a hundred percent true and more than likely, could be nothing more than a crutch. I remember when I told my grandmother and my aunt about the recently approved Eucharistic miracle in Poland and seeing the amazed expressions on their faces, I thought to myself, “How do you feel like that? What draws such a reaction out of you?”
Your prayers, my friends, that I may end this vicious cycle and see the truth.
This goes along the lines of when people ask “If God is so good, why does he allow so many people to suffer? Why does he allow wars? Why does he allow children to go hungry?” etc. I hear it especially from atheists and non-believers.
My answer is: “It isn’t God that is allowing this; it is Man that is allowing this. Man made this problem. Man must fix it.”
In response to your issue with being unable to do good without God, I’d like to answer. This is going to be somewhat theologically deep, and if you’re, as you said, erratic with your faith, I don’t necessarily expect all of this to make sense, but here goes.
Part of the issue arises from seeing God as some kind of judging emperor waiting to punish you. While this is not an uncommon misconception, it is untrue and is quite contrary to God’s Justice, which is inseparable from His Mercy. As an example. A good parent does not punish for revenge or as an act of spite or some selfish motive. Any punishment and discipline incurred by a child’s actions are done with the intention of teaching the child and actively guiding them to be a functional, healthy, and good adult. God’s Justice is all the more perfect and merciful. God is not waiting to punish us, but to the contrary is waiting eagerly to accept us, and moreso for us to accept Him.
Another comparison. As to why we cannot do anything without God. That is emphatically NOT to be understood as a denigration of our own abilities and potential. It is the exact opposite. It is through and with God that we are able to reach our full potential in anything. Personally, I’m in a creative field (architecture and art). My work never feels more complete to me than when I can look at it and say that it reflects something of God’s nature. It is not a hindrance that we need God to do good. Our nature is to exist in communion with God. It goes against our nature to act without Him. God loves you, individually, so much that, as has been revealed to multiple Saints, had His Passion saved only YOU, He still would have gone through it, and would it covert but one soul, would go through it again. Littlestsouls has sources for those quotes I believe, I’ll have to look. In any case, imagine what life would be like without your parents, best friend, significant other, and any other person close to you. These relationships are signs of those people’s love for you, and on a deeper layer are reflections of the infinite love God has towards you, as He is the source of all Love. Life without those relationships, where there is no love, is analogous to the state of ones soul without God. God should not be included in your life by force. God wants to be invited into your life and your actions just as you would your best friend, closest sibling, what have you. If you’re in a position where the veracity of these things is questionable, I doubt I can really give an explanation that fully encapsulates the concept, but hopefully that helps a bit? I’ll try to type something more coherent when I get to my computer.
Nasty comments about God or anyone else that do nothing but sneer are easy pot shots without honor or even reason to support them. It’s condescending nonsense dressed up as cleverness.
When I was your age the sexual revolution and the hippie movement were in full swing. Never once did I envy anyone caught up in it. I could only shake my head and think “Those poor mindless sheep. One day they’ll deeply regret the things they’re doing,” and then I’d pray for them because I too could have been in their shoes. Don’t envy people who are descending lower than the animals in behavior. Pity them for wasting the best years of their lives on mindlessly following the crowd instead of standing for virtue and self-control. We are not slaves to our glands or our desires unless we want to be. Don’t tell yourself otherwise because you’ll make yourself a puppet rather than exercise your free will.
Also, the fact that Catholicism would have me look at myself and others as hapless, sinful creatures with no chance of doing anything proper without God, is not sitting proper with me, as I would hope to become the best or the strongest at something
I don’t know where you got this odd idea, but it’s completely untrue. We are not hapless, helpless creatures who can do nothing without using God like a crutch. It’s just the opposite. God enlivens and enables us to be the best human beings we can be. He restores us not hampers us. We are wounded creatures–evidence for this exists in our daily news. None of us is able to do all the good we’d want to or understand all we could or escape the fact that we are in need of healing in our hearts and souls. God makes it possible for us to see reality as it is, to know who we are, to be able to do the good we know we should do. We aren’t completely helpless or we wouldn’t have to answer for our sins. Rather, we cooperate with God in his restoration of our human nature. This is done through his free gift of grace. He’s provided all we need to do it. We simply have to want it and apply it to our lives.
I’m tired of feeling this way over Catholicism and I feel that I could be devoting my time to a better cause than concentrating on something that isn’t a hundred percent true and more than likely, could be nothing more than a crutch.
And you should be tired of feeling this way because it’s not true. Falsehoods always drag us down and make us dreary because they sap our souls and our spirits. I know of no faithful Catholic who believes his faith is keeping him back or is using it for a crutch. It’s not a crutch, it’s a pair of wings–that allow us to soar to the highest heavens.
I remember when I told my grandmother and my aunt about the recently approved Eucharistic miracle in Poland and seeing the amazed expressions on their faces, I thought to myself, “How do you feel like that? What draws such a reaction out of you?”
Instead of being shocked at reactions you can only guess about, why not ask them? Like most of us moderns they’ve no doubt been told all their lives that real miracles don’t happen any more. Even faithful Catholics have been infected with this odd idea–as if God cares what century we’re living in. Of course such miracles can happen. If they do, they can be signs to let us know he is just as active in our lives as ever. We aren’t bound to believe in such miracles, but they do remind us that every time the bread and wine are confected by the priest a miracle happens–Christ becomes sacramentally present so we can have the closest communion with him we can have in this lifetime. That’s the real miracle.
Your prayers, my friends, that I may end this vicious cycle and see the truth.
Of course. It’s hard for young people these days when our faith is under attack by social elites who are able to discourage and even destroy people’s faith with their lies and twisting of the truth. There is such a thing as truth. Don’t let anyone tell there isn’t. Not believing in truth is what has nearly destroyed our civilization. Indifferentism and personal sin have been exalted above truth in order to try to destroy it. But the truth always wins out and is always freeing rather than imprisoning. It is falsehoods that depress and hold us bound, not the truth found in Christ and his Church.
About looking amazed about the miracle… for me, the closest word is amazement, but not amazement that God *could *do it, but gratitude that He *did *do it, that He shows us His love. It’s closer to the feeling I have when I hear a magnificent musician do something fabulous on his instrument than the feeling I would have if a 2-year-old did it… a rush of appreciation and awe.
I can relate to what you’re saying. I have too gone through experiences of doubt, depression, and despondency. My question for you would be this: do you think the problem is with the Catholic faith as a whole or with (and I don’t mean to be combative) how you relate to it?
If it’s a problem with how you relate to it, then that doesn’t show anything about whether or not the Catholic Church is true.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’
The Eucharistic miracles allow us to see God if we are pure in heart.
There is real spiritual warfare going on around us. You must stay pure at heart. That means not being your own God like atheists are.
The more you erode your soul with sin the more you loose your faith.
Stay humble and pure at heart. Feel God with your heart. See that when God sees the suffering you mention that HE is the own who feels the most pain. Remember that God dies on the cross. He knows suffering.