I can't do this anymore--please read


#1

Up until so recently I was very, very strong in faith. I loved God with all of my being and doing so transformed my life. I loved to pray the rosary, loved the Mass, loved so many other things on earth as a result, as well. Until I started reading. I found many books, internet sites, etc. that have, as terrible as this sounds, caused some major, major doubts which I can’t seem to expell no matter what I do. Now my faith seems ridiculous. My belief in God seems formulated, the idea of having God in my life totally impossible. I feel terrible, can’t enjoy anything properly now that I’ve had these thoughts. These points below in particular have caused me awful sadness and doubt. I’ve heard all these things from books, websites, atheists, etc, but no matter who tells me otherwise, it has entered my mind that what they say just has to be true. Here are the issues that I’ve been confronted with:

  1. The idea of a monotheistic god simply evolved out of the earliest, polytheistic perceptions of God. People’s lives were changing–they just had a new idea about how to deal with it. The Bible wasn’t inspired by the holy spirit; it’s a made-up story. There is no way to differentiate between a story someone made up from something inspired by God.
  2. Jesus never died for our sins. That idea was formulated by the apostles who, shocked by his murder, struggled to come up with a reason for its taking place. They never saw him ressurected.
  3. The Holy Spirit does not exist. The apostles simply decided that some remnant of the savior must have come to them–otherwise, who would be there to guide them?
  4. Christianity can’t be true because so many people lived prior to the birth of Christ. Are they all going to hell?
  5. Christianity is derived from pagan religions centered around the sun. Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection are all based around the passage of the sun during the year. I’m not actually too clear on this one, but it’s troubling no matter what.
  6. God is what we use to stop being afraid of death, nothing more.
    I’m so sorry to post this stuff, I just really need help. I’m not trying to offend anyone. I feel like I have nothing, no one, no God looking after me and loving me, no one praying for me, and as if nothing, ever, will change my mind, short of divine intervention. I need someone to show me something that will dispell these thoughts and doubts and help me get my wonderful faith back. Without it, I’m absolutely nothing.

#2

Hi, Silyosha, are you a convert? I’m guessing not … because these ideas are so common, really cliched, it was ideas like this that I first encountered when I began looking into Christianity and the Catholic Church (coming from an atheist background). They are pretty easy to move past.

  1. As far as the idea of monotheism evolving out of polytheism or as a way to make people’s lives easier, if you read the Old Testament, it is clear that monotheism was a shocking idea at first and that it was very difficult to practice in the ancient world because the Jews were surrounded by polytheism and because polytheistic practices were very tempting. It was more tempting to sacrifice your children to whatever god you wanted help from than to try to live according to a difficult Law laid down by an invisible God who insisted that no images be made of him. It was not easy, and it did not take the form of an evolution, but a (terrifying) revelation that required pain and sacrifice from the Jewish people to live up to (and they still relapsed into polytheism/idolatry).

  2. This is an assertion with no proof at all. Also, if the apostles were simply traumatized or grief-stricken, then how was it that they went from hiding in terror for fear they would be killed, to preaching openly everywhere, converting people in huge numbers, and braving prison and martyrdom? What happened that caused the change? I don’t think that either a made-up story or a delusion due to psychological trauma would enable them to change so completely and convert so many people.

  3. Another statement with no evidence.

  4. No, that is not what the Church teaches. The Church teaches that the people who lived before Christ who did God’s will, died and did not go immediately to Heaven, but when Christ died He freed them from death and took their souls to Heaven with him.

  5. There’s no evidence for that. Yes, the liturgical year is structured so that Christmas falls during winter and Easter falls during spring. So what? What does that have to do with the origins of Christianity? That doesn’t come close to demonstrating that Christianity was derived from paganism. :shrug:

  6. Again, there is no evidence for this. There are, however, many good arguments for the existence of God, which argue from nature and have nothing to do with death or our feelings. I know I’ve said this before, but Thomas Aquinas’ arguments for the existence of God at the beginning of the Summa Theologica are worth reading.

Does that help?


#3

Think about this, as it has helped me in times of doubt:

(paraphrased from Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

Why would the apostles, who were there with Jesus, die horrible deaths by torture, beheading, and crucifixion, if Jesus’ Resurrection was in doubt?


#4

**I think what you need to do is use more discretion about what you read.

If something upsets you or undermines your faith, simply don't read it.**


#5

Yes, that’s only just now occuring to me, regardless of how obvious it is. :blush: I feel as if I need to read that stuff so I can be sure I’ll be able to disprove it, if that makes sense.


#6

I'm sorry that you're struggling.. maybe this would be a good time to put away all those websites and read some good solid apologetics. Ever read CS Lewis?

  1. The idea of a monotheistic god simply evolved out of the earliest, polytheistic perceptions of God. People's lives were changing--they just had a new idea about how to deal with it. The Bible wasn't inspired by the holy spirit; it's a made-up story. There is no way to differentiate between a story someone made up from something inspired by God.

just because polytheism came before monotheism (and by the way this is questionable!!) doesn't mean that monotheism is not true. What we believe as Christians is that non Christian religions were human attempts to find God.... so of course their experiences, etc,affected what they believed. But Christianity is God revealing Himself to us. And unlike any other religion, it's based on particular historical events and well documented miracles.

  1. Jesus never died for our sins. That idea was formulated by the apostles who, shocked by his murder, struggled to come up with a reason for its taking place. They never saw him ressurected.

if they made it all up, why did they then die for it? they died proclaiming an event they saw with their own eyes..not just their faith. If they made it up, why did they leave behind their homes, families, countries, everything, and go face death and torture for Christ?

  1. The Holy Spirit does not exist. The apostles simply decided that some remnant of the savior must have come to them--otherwise, who would be there to guide them?

the Holy Spirit is not someone we can see... but we can see the effects He's had in people's lives. It's like the wind..you don't see the wind, but you do see the tree branches swaying in the wind. Read up on miracles and the lives of the Saints.

  1. Christianity can't be true because so many people lived prior to the birth of Christ. Are they all going to hell?

that's based on some ignorance of theology imo. No one actually believes this. When Jesus died, He went to hades and brought the righteous people (who died before him) to Heaven. They were saved through invinsible ignorance.

  1. Christianity is derived from pagan religions centered around the sun. Christ's birth, death, and resurrection are all based around the passage of the sun during the year. I'm not actually too clear on this one, but it's troubling no matter what.

people who say this get their pagan myths all mixed up..it's based on really unclear research, and has been disproven. check this out:
zeitgeistresponse.info/
maybe it would help to read this whole website.

  1. God is what we use to stop being afraid of death, nothing more.

the reason I believe in God is not because I'm no longer afraid of death. Sometimes I'm still afraid of it. That's not what keeps me believing. We need to believe in God because He's the only one who fills that empty place in our hearts. We need the love that only He can give us. We were made for this.

have you ever read this book?
philosophyforlife.com/mctoc.htm

God bless


#7

[quote="Silyosha, post:1, topic:180103"]
Up until so recently I was very, very strong in faith. I loved God with all of my being and doing so transformed my life. I loved to pray the rosary, loved the Mass, loved so many other things on earth as a result, as well. Until I started reading. I found many books, internet sites, etc. that have, as terrible as this sounds, caused some major, major doubts which I can't seem to expell no matter what I do. Now my faith seems ridiculous. My belief in God seems formulated, the idea of having God in my life totally impossible. I feel terrible, can't enjoy anything properly now that I've had these thoughts. These points below in particular have caused me awful sadness and doubt. I've heard all these things from books, websites, atheists, etc, but no matter who tells me otherwise, it has entered my mind that what they say just has to be true. Here are the issues that I've been confronted with:
1. The idea of a monotheistic god simply evolved out of the earliest, polytheistic perceptions of God. People's lives were changing--they just had a new idea about how to deal with it. The Bible wasn't inspired by the holy spirit; it's a made-up story. There is no way to differentiate between a story someone made up from something inspired by God.
2. Jesus never died for our sins. That idea was formulated by the apostles who, shocked by his murder, struggled to come up with a reason for its taking place. They never saw him ressurected.
3. The Holy Spirit does not exist. The apostles simply decided that some remnant of the savior must have come to them--otherwise, who would be there to guide them?
4. Christianity can't be true because so many people lived prior to the birth of Christ. Are they all going to hell?
5. Christianity is derived from pagan religions centered around the sun. Christ's birth, death, and resurrection are all based around the passage of the sun during the year. I'm not actually too clear on this one, but it's troubling no matter what.
6. God is what we use to stop being afraid of death, nothing more.
I'm so sorry to post this stuff, I just really need help. I'm not trying to offend anyone. I feel like I have nothing, no one, no God looking after me and loving me, no one praying for me, and as if nothing, ever, will change my mind, short of divine intervention. I need someone to show me something that will dispell these thoughts and doubts and help me get my wonderful faith back. Without it, I'm absolutely nothing.

[/quote]

Oh really??
People will suffer and die for something they know to be true.
People will suffer and die for something they think is true but is not.
People do NOT suffer and die for something they know to be false.
All the Apostles apart from John suffered and died horrible deaths because they witnessed the Resurrection and they knew it to be true.


#8

I know where Silyosha is coming from; I too often think along lines like that :frowning:

Maybe it comes out of being too intellectual, I don’t know…

I think for point 2 Silyosha means that he/she thinks Jesus was not the Messiah, and the Apostles, shocked by his death and no Resurrection came up with a reason to keep going, acting like He did actually Resurrect. Basically Silyosha thinks the Apostles were tricked by this “false prophet” of Jesus, but lied to keep the faith going. Kind of like when the Temple priests payed off the soldiers, telling them the Apostles came at night and stole the body. Same sort of concept.

It is confusing to explain, so don’t feel bad if you get lost in my post :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh and Silyosha, I apologize if I’m putting words in your mouth. :frowning:

check this out:
leaderu.com/everystudent/easter/articles/josh2.html (proof of the Resurrection)


#9

Think Adam and Eve. Monotheism came first, even the devil can tell you that, but he wants you to think monotheism is only secondary and made up.

You must be reading pagan or agnostic sources of history.

When people fell into sin and fell away from God, they created their own gods to worship.


#10

[quote="DihydrogenOxide, post:9, topic:180103"]

Monotheism came first, even the devil can tell you that, but he wants you to think monotheism is only secondary and made up.

[/quote]

Yeah that's how I've been feeling lately... I even started a thread called "How do we know there is 1 God?" Not good :(

Well, I'll stop now; I don't want to jack this thread :)


#11

[quote="Silyosha, post:5, topic:180103"]
Yes, that's only just now occuring to me, regardless of how obvious it is. :blush: I feel as if I need to read that stuff so I can be sure I'll be able to disprove it, if that makes sense.

[/quote]

It does make sense. I think it's fine to read such things, I also feel like I have to in order to be prepared and strengthen my own faith. The trick is, one cannot ONLY read anti-Christian material, it has to be balanced with good intelligent Christian apologetics. I remember Flannery O'Connor said in one of her letters to a young Catholic who thought he had lost his faith, that for every book that seemed to refute Catholic teaching or just took a secular, materialist approach, he should read a book of solid Catholic apologetics. IMO, the trick is not to avoid anything that denies the faith, but to balance it so that we do not lose sight of what is true.


#12

God is what we use to stop being afraid of death, nothing more.

I used to think like that, too. It seemed to me that atheists were superior to theists, because they were bravely accepting their mortality, while the weak Christians needed to delude themselves with this drug called God.

But now, when I am struggling to believe and to understand God, I find it to be not easy but difficult. Not drug-like, but more like giving up drugs. God might be beauty, and truth, and knowledge, and justice, and love, but one thing he certainly is not is EASY. The whole issue with “taking up the Cross” seems to be pretty real to me by now.

My advice to you is to keep reading, making sure you keep the balance the above posters have mentioned, between quality apologetics and atheistic material.


#13

**It makes sense–for someone else, not you.

The fact that this material is undermining your faith suggests to me that you are not supposed to be an apologist, at least not at this time.**


#14

\God might be beauty, and truth, and knowledge, and justice, and love, but one thing he certainly is not is EASY. The whole issue with “taking up the Cross” seems to be pretty real to me by now.\

I really like what you’re saying here, Erethorn! :thumbsup:

I think it was C. S. Lewis who said something like, “If you search for truth, you will find comfort. But if you search for comfort, you will find neither comfort nor truth.”


#15

short story–your faith was not in God, your faith was in whatever you had previously read, studied or heard that convinced you to believe in God, in short, you believed in the people who wrote and spoke, not in God. Now you have place your faith in other people who write, post and speak different things, and you believe them, and believe IN them, having made them, their websites, their books, themselves your god.

Leave off listening to anyone who teaches without direct, explicit authority from God himself. There is no one on the planet outside the Catholic Church who teaches with this authority, and only those within the Church who teach with the mind of the Church and teach what God has revealed as preserved and handed on through His Church through sacred tradition and scripture are teaching with full authority. Place your belief in God, not in those who teach about God.

When you lose your keys or phone you go back to the place where you last saw them and used them. Do the same. Return to the place and situation you were when you last felt a faith in God and begin from there. Listen to and read God’s Word in scripture and in sound teaching through the Church. Pray. Pray even when you do not know if God is there or listening. Simply ask for faith. You will receive it. Cease immediately any habit of sin that prevents you from listening to God speak. Pray and keep praying, even when you can’t stop these things. Ask for strength to stop. It will be given to you. Ignore random feelings and emotions, focus instead on your soul and God’s presence there, and make it all about God, not about you.

God bless you. If you want to be where God wants you to be He will get you there.


#16

No, you’re not putting words in my mouth. That’s exactly what I meant. Unfortunately. Thanks for that link btw, I’ll check it out.


#17

Thanks for your reply. That’s exactly what I was afraid of, but you’re right–my faith was begun in that way. It’s strange to see it put so baldly, but you haven’t offended me or anything.


#18

It is ok to read such writings, but only if you also read strong Catholic defenses against these false claims. We all want the Truth, the whole Truth & nothing but the Truth, not half-truths or false assumptions!

The seed of doubt is far easier to sew than the Truth! We all have doubts at times. i recommend you use Sacred Scripture, the Catechism & resources like CA to research & learn the Truth about these false claims. Take them one by one, read & take the questions to the Lord with you in prayer

The Church has survived these false claims for 2000 years because Jesus said; "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. " (Mt 16:18).

No government, no empire, no man-made organization has survived that long. The Church, made up of flawed,weak sinners, has survived because we are the Body of Christ & He is the Truth.

Doubt can strengthen your Faith, i read the Catechism, cover to cover, twice, trying to disprove some of the Church’s teachings. In the end, i came to believe by the Grace of God. It is not easy, it was far easier to throw out difficult teachings & only follow the easy ones!

**If you are intellectually honest, and ask God for the Grace of Faith, it is impossible not to believe. **

Why do so many doubt, because it is far more convenient! As Dostoevsky points out (paraphrasing here); **‘Without God, anything is permissible!’
**

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

mark


#19

that’s true, it’s not easy to live the Christian life… I mean, God helps us, but it’s still hard cause we still make our own choices… He doesn’t take away our free will. And taking up the Cross is also very real…

:thumbsup:


closed #20

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