I can't stand religion


#1

Something that has been bugging me recently is… religion. I am not trying to be offensive at all, but I just do not understand how people can be Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, whatever. My history is that I was raised a Catholic by my parents. Around the age of 17 I began to question all of it. By the age of 18 I can safely assume that I became a Deist. If I had not believed that existence itself was a miracle, I might have even became atheist. I’m 20 years old now and recently had this experience.

So I was recently at a Christmas mass with my family, and I was just looking around at everyone in the church, and I felt anger build up inside of me. These people were worshiping something that I felt I just couldn’t really take part in. My reason is quite is simple - I don’t know what’s up there. I don’t know what created this universe. And neither does anyone else. Nobody knows 100% for sure that what they believe is the TRUTH. You can take drugs and have visions, have amazing lucid dreams, believe in astral projection, and etc - but how does anyone know what they experience, or believe is the truth? How can anyone just pick a side?

And what even angers me more is when someone believes they are right, and another wrong. I remember when I was 14 or so, during a mass, one of the priests was talking about how “we Catholics are right, and have been right for thousands of years” - this comment, had I heard this in a mass today, I would get up and leave.

I just pretty much overall want to know, why are you, if you are, Catholic, or part of any other organized religion? Do you really believe something that someone else tells you, telling you that the Bible is the only evidence? Which who knows how close today’s version is to the original. Or is there some other reason you’ve decided to become part of an organized religion (other than being raised it, and never really questioning it, because than I believe you were brainwashed).

Sorry if I’m coming off as offensive, I really don’t want to be, but this is pretty much an opinion I really do not where else to have discussed.

Thanks.


#2

Young man you have a good mind!

Why would you get angry? Is that not a bizarre response? I don’t get angry when I run into Hindus or Jews. Perhaps you have felt disrespected in your search? But you should not get angry simply if you observe someone with conviction.

I questioned my Catholic faith in-depth during college when friends prompted me to answer to certain Catholic beliefs. I ended up more Catholic than ever! If you believe in the inspiration of the Bible, then you will end up Catholic the more you read it. If you need evidence of the reality of the Bible as containing God’s revelation, there are many books to the subject, including archaeological treatments. But a simple historical testament of the many, many Christian martyrs beginning with the apostles, to the fulfillment of the prophecies of Judaism should alone give you tremendous consideration to Catholicism. Most other religions rely on the testament of a single individual, i.e. Muhammed, Buddha, Luther…etc…rather than a gigantic collective witness of many.

This question starts with the presumption that one religion cannot be right, no? Well, wherever did you get that idea! :slight_smile:

At any rate, welcome to the forums. I hope everyone is charitable to you. Do not feel bad for asking such questions. Plenty of Biblical characters cried out to God for answers. If you’re a deist, don’t be afraid to pray to God for guidance, wisdom, and mercy. :o


#3

Well, I am a Jew. I too used to be Catholic, but came to doubt. I tried out Episcopalianism but came to doubt it, too. Then I realized it was Christianity I had my issues with (really more the Christians than anything) and returned to the religion I had been mostly reared in. It was the return to that which I found to be culturally relevant that I came to understand that religions are probably not true/false propositions, but rather some religions may be more culturally relevant to one than another.

I truly don’t believe that any religion is 100% true for all people. Religion is a Constitutionally protected opinion in the States, to me it is also a combination of cultural and ethical traditions that provide a framework for the journey.

But I do not angry that others have different opinions. Everyone is free to worship what they will and even to tell me I’m wrong. That’s the magic of opinions–everyone has one.


#4

#5

It seems to me that what the OP is professing is not atheism, the belief that God does not exist, but rather Deism, an entirely different metaphysical schema in which one concedes the existence of a divine creator but denies that this creator has had any further influence on creation. The most popular illustration of this principle is that of a clockmaker who builds a clock and then abandons it to run in his absence. In order to adequately answer the OP’s quandary, we must avoid giving proofs for the existence of God, since the OP concedes this point. Instead, we must focus our efforts on demonstrating God’s active participation in history from which follows religion.

It seems to me that the act of creation itself does not lend itself to the god of deist imagining. What purpose could possibly be fulfilled for this deity in creating the universe only to abandon it? Since the only quality about this hypothetical creator deists are sure of is its indifference, then there is no reason creation ought to exist. Such an entity has no need for creation.

Neither can this entity be said to be dependant upon creation. Should this deity in some way be in need of creation to fulfill some purpose for itself, then the creation cannot be abandoned. Indeed, the deity’s active participation in history beyond the act of creation would be a necessity for maintenance alone.

It should be noted at this point that neither of these deities can be the Christian God. For Christians, God is at once infinitely self-sufficient absent creation and yet an active participant in its history. The answer of Christians, that God is love, is the only internally consistent way to answer the question of creation. Love, by its nature, seeks to expand itself. This is not due to some deficiency in need of correction but merely a product of its inherent good will. This further answers why it is that God intervenes in His creation, since His love cannot permit it to decay.

The answer to why I believe as I do boils down to this problem of creation outlined above. It is only the Christian’s answers about God, His nature and creation that come close to solving the riddle of why it is that we are here.


#6

Hello, and welcome.

After five years of atheism, I became convinced of the truth of Catholicism by the evidence (things such as prophecies having been fulfilled centuries later). Now, however, I have the evidence within my own soul, which has experienced first-hand the saving power of Christ. You could no more convince me that God is unreal than you could convince me that my wife or sons are unreal.

I don’t need other people to tell me that God is real, I experience that for myself. But yes, I do trust the witness of history regarding the details of God’s interactions with humanity (Catholics do not believe the Bible constitutes the “only evidence” of God’s revelation to mankind).

As far as the accuracy of Biblical texts, most ancient documents are much less reliable than the Bible. For instance, the oldest surviving copy of Homer’s “Odyssey” came from over 2,000 years after Homer lived, yet nobody questions whether we really have an accurate copy of the original. In contrast, our oldest surviving New Testament texts are from about 150 years after the originals were written, which is extremely close in time, in terms of archaeology. We also have many, many fragments, which when compared would have revealed any changes.

No, I spent five years as an atheist (from ages 14 to 19). I became persuaded of the truth of Catholicism by the evidence, not by conditioning.

Incidentally, being raised to believe something is not the same as “brainwashing.” I teach my boys not to play in traffic, is that “brainwashing?” Even secular society teaches values (in the Western world, things like democracy, racial equality, etc) but nobody labels the teaching of those values “brainwashing.” Why is it suddenly “brainwashing” when the topic being taught is religion?

God doesn’t want “brainwashed” believers. Just the opposite: the Bible tells us to love God “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength,” Lev 19:18.

Nothing to apologize for — asking questions is the sign of an open mind! Good for you for exploring these issues.


#7

Me too: it’s a very silly remark, which would -*** if*** valid; which it isn’t - be a far stronger reason for being Hindu rather than Christian, Catholic or not.

Besides, it’s horribly bad as theology. Christianity is valid, not because a lot of silly people run around doing King Kong impressions & beating their chests & bellowing that they are right, but, because Jesus Christ is Righteous. Not because Christians are right. No - Christians are all, without exception, wrong, useless, hopeless, rotten, helpless losers. The only thing that is really right about any of us, is not religion, but the Redeemer & Saviour Who stops us trusting in useless rubbish like that, by allowing us to trust in Him instead.

I hate the kind of garbage you’ve just described - it degrades faith in Christ, by turning His Holy Church into a rotten little political faction. But the world is dying of them. If the Church of God has nothing more to offer than more of the same old stale old party spirit, it is not being the Church, for the Church is meant to preach a Gospel of reconciliation with God; not of enmity to men.

I just pretty much overall want to know, why are you, if you are, Catholic, or part of any other organized religion? Do you really believe something that someone else tells you, telling you that the Bible is the only evidence?

The Bible is of no importance, left to itself - only the Spirit of God makes it alive & life-giving. If He is not heeded, it can be deadly.

Which who knows how close today’s version is to the original.

It’s possible to have a pretty good idea of what it should say & mean.

Or is there some other reason you’ve decided to become part of an organized religion (other than being raised it, and never really questioning it, because than I believe you were brainwashed).

Sorry if I’m coming off as offensive, I really don’t want to be, but this is pretty much an opinion I really do not where else to have discussed.

Thanks.

Offensive ? Not in the slightest :slight_smile:

Nobody can “pick” the Church - it is Christ’s, & He alone decides whom He wants in it. We do not. If we choose to be in it, that is because our choosing is made effective by His choice. Nobody tells Him what to do :smiley: :slight_smile:

FWIW, being organised is not in itself a bad thing - it can become bad, but need not. The Church is an organism, like the human body. The human body develops into a highly complex organism from one single seed, but nobody complains of the needlessness of the spine or the right foot on that account :wink:

A heap of bones, muscles, left pupil, right cornea, & a few dozen hairs, is not a human body. Still less is it a living, intelligent, active, effective human person. And something like this applies to the Church, which is a body - & therefore, is organised - of human body-parts with a Divine Identity that is more than the sum of them. No human being or group of them “is” the Church - only Jesus Christ “is” the Church; practicing Christians are precisely that: practicing. And we often make a rotten mess of it. :o

Or do you mean “established” ? Or some other thing ?


#8

I must say, “LostSoul87,” it seems you and I have a lot in common!

[LIST]
*]I, too, was raised Catholic by my Catholic parents.
[/LIST]
[LIST]
*]When I was in high school, I also began to question the teachings of the Catholic Church, my faith, and even God Himself.
[/LIST][LIST]
*]I am also twenty years old, and searching for answers.
[/LIST]

I understand the feeling of having anger rage up inside of you, even though you are unsure of its source. I guess it’s a natural part of growing up, right? Anyhow, I know it can be really frustrating at times to see people who are taking part in something you can’t feel or understand. I’ve been there before, too. And those feelings are not bizarre in any way, shape, or form.

You may have heard before that there are some things you should accept unquestioningly, but in today’s society I find this request to be absurd. From the time we are little, we are taught to question everything! How else are we to learn if we do not question? What makes the grass grow? What is 2+2? What causes the rain to fall from the clouds?

As we grow older these questions become more and more complex, and hold deeper meaning for us than simply getting good grades on a report card. There are deeper questions which we need the answers to. So naturally, being the curious humans we are, we begin to question and search anywhere that may offer us an answer.

I don’t believe that God requires us to accept things without question. In fact, I would even venture to say that God wishes us to question our beliefs, for it is only in researching and studying and praying that any belief can truly become your own!

I say all this because I want you to know that you are not alone, nor have you ever been. Answers to the questions you are asking now have been sought after for millenia. Don’t get too bogged down at the thought, but know that there is fellowship in your journey. Forgive me if I sound like I’m lecturing, but I just completed an introductory philosophy course at university, and it has gotten me thinking a lot… and reading a lot. Some of your questions remind me of the writings of Plato, others of Augustine’s works, and others bring to mind the writings of Thomas Aquinas.

You see, though at times I have questioned the teachings of the Church, there has always been something to draw me back. And whenever I examine a disputed teaching or principle, opening my heart and mind to whatever may flow within me, I hear God speaking to me through the Faith. Obviously He isn’t actually calling me up to tell me something, but it is something I begin to hear in my heart.

And please don’t think I’m a saint. Far from it! I continue to struggle and question and sin… but whenever I examine my heart, I find God calling me back to Him. You see, it’s not so much “picking sides” as it is a perpetual search for Truth. Or at least it is so in my case. Faith is not something you inherit or can learn. It is a continual journey.

It used to frustrate me when there was something I didn’t understand about Catholicism. And believe you me, there was a lot I didn’t understand! However, one of the things that I love most about Catholicism is that no matter how much I question, there is always more for me to learn. I find it rather beautiful that in our search for God and for meaning in this life we may look to the questioning of thousands of theologians, and reflect upon what it was that they, in their heart of hearts, found as Truth. No matter how much we question, there is always more to learn about both Catholicism and God.

And in all my searching I have managed to find some shred of Truth. It may not come immediately, and it may not come announced, but I believe that in earnest searching Truth will inevitably find its way into your heart.

If you’d like some suggestions about some philosophy to examine, just send me a message. And please know that I am praying for you on your journey…

May God bless you in your search for the Truth.


#9

Hey LostSoul, as others have addressed many of your questions I will only concern myself with “Why Christianity and not Islam/Buddhism etc.?”

Christianity makes some bold claims about the world. It claims that it was created by God and that He loves His Creation. So far so broad.

However, perhaps the primary claim of Christianity is that God incarnated Himself in the form of Jesus Christ, and then died for the sins of the world, only to rise again three days later. This stands in stark contrast to Hindus who view Jesus as merely one more avatar of Brahman or Muslims who don’t think that Jesus died on the Cross at all (Koran 4:178-179)

Jesus, then is the centre of Christianity. Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians that “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you remain in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15). The Resurrection of Jesus either did or did not happen. If it did happen, then it would make a lot of sense to say that Christianity is true, and if it did not happen, then, as Paul puts it “we are to be pitied more than all men”.

Try listening to a couple of talks given by Christian historians of the New Testament and see if you find their arguments persuasive. I’m not Catholic, but here is a link to one of the most popular evangelical NT scholars around today and he specialises in the Resurrection.

www.reasonablefaith.org

He also wrote a book aimed at those who already believe in “some sort of Supreme Being but are unsure whether or not he/she has reveled themself” called “The Son Rises” which you can purchase here:

amazon.co.uk/Son-Rises-William-Lane-Craig/dp/1579104649/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198803839&sr=1-10

God bless and good luck with your searching :slight_smile:


#10

Even moreso, since deism denies divine revelation in addition to the basic idea of God no longer interacting with his creation, one really does have to wonder exactlly why it’s apparently so reasonable according to these deistic principles to actually conclude that God exists in the first place.


#11

I understand the anger. I sometimes get angry when it seems that God is answering others and not me. I know how hard I try. And sometimes it seems to come to others who do not even try. That is when I figure out I am trying too hard and I need to lose some ego and let God speak to me by shutting up and listening. It does not always work. Right now I am in a anticlimactic holiday funk. I just thank God I have not had a dark night of the soul that lasted as long as Mother Theresa’s! I get very angry with ‘religion’. That is when I need to do a retreat and spend some quiet alone time with my spirituality. I find it easier in such times to address Mary as intercessor. I go deep into my rosary, even if it feels like I am only repeating a chant, after a while the meaning comes back.
Nt all anger is bad anger you know. There is righteous anger. As long as it does not lead you to sin, it can be healthy. Perhaps you just have a fiery temperament. Learn to direct the anger into passion. DO something to fill in the blanks until the light comes back. Get a safe hobby. Something that accomplishes good. By all means as has been suggested keep praying.


#12

Wow thanks for the really quick responses! I haven’t got a chance to read through all of them yet, but I’ll try and address some questions right now while I have a bit of time.

It seems to me that what the OP is professing is not atheism, the belief that God does not exist, but rather Deism, an entirely different metaphysical schema in which one concedes the existence of a divine creator but denies that this creator has had any further influence on creation.

This is actually currently what I associate myself most closely with. I DO believe there is a “God”, but this was based off my own logic and reason. But as far as creating and leaving the universe to run on it’s own, I’m not exactly sure, but I don’t believe it matters either way.

Why would you get angry? Is that not a bizarre response? I don’t get angry when I run into Hindus or Jews. Perhaps you have felt disrespected in your search? But you should not get angry simply if you observe someone with conviction.

I honestly have no idea! Maybe it’s because I maybe envy that these people have found something that I’m just not feeling, or maybe I just think they’re being dumb and ignorant. Maybe I’m just subconsciously being arrogant. I really don’t know exactly, wish I could tell you, and myself. :blush:

If you are fairly certain that you do exist, then start to delve into why this is so and how it came to be. At this point you may also want to start considering how it’s even possible for you to contemplate your own existence, history, meaning, or identity.

At one point I came to conclusion, it’s either nothing or it’s infinity. Two scenarios, either nothing and I don’t exist, but I do, so it’s infinity. Nothing is the case, so this is a delusion, meaning infinity is the case as well. They co-exist with each other in one giant delusion, hope you understand what I’m trying to say. But overall, yes I do believe I exist, but why I exist… I’m going to stop there.

However, perhaps the primary claim of Christianity is that God incarnated Himself in the form of Jesus Christ, and then died for the sins of the world, only to rise again three days later.

How do we know Jesus wasn’t just someone who had some extra-ordinary powers? I mean like I’m not sure if I can believe every single thing I’ve heard about him because I wasn’t there to experience any of that first hand.

I’m going to start a new post on an issue I have with faith as well…

Also, sorry that I didn’t reference the quotes, but you know if I’m referencing you anyway.


#13

My issue with faith is that “faith” sounds like you are putting your hopes and beliefs in something else, when you are really just believing in yourself.

Like… “I have God will make things better…” really means “I have faith in other people and myself and things will be better…”

“I have faith God gave me a reason…” -->> “I have I myself will find my reason”

Kind of like that. Faith to me sounds like someone is giving up hope in themselves to get something done. I guess faith isn’t a bad thing, but when in the end, do you really have faith in some supernatural entity or yourself? :shrug:


#14

I think I can sympathise with this. I’ve been there before and I will probably go through this again at points as well. It really can be struggle to sustain one’s faith at times. The prayers of others can indeed sustain us when we’re weak. :slight_smile:


#15

“Religion” comes from the Latin word, religare, which means “to regulate.” That’s what a religion does, it regulates one’s intellect and will, one’s way of behaving and believing. You voluntarily choose a religion. When one says they “believe” in a religious sense, what they are saying is that they freely submit to being regulated by their religion.

How will you regulate your life?

Beliefs are based upon three kinds of evidence:

  1. experience,
  2. reason, and
  3. testimony of others.

Since each and every person has varying ability to reason, they experience different things, and have been exposed to varying testimonies, it should be no surprise that there are so many different beliefs in the world. Whether or not those beliefs are true is another thing, however. Some are quite unreasonable. Many are rather contrary to experience, and many conflict with trustworthy testimony.

Pope John XXIII affirmed, “***In essentials unity, in doubtful matters liberty, in all things charity.***” This is the axiom that I too affirm.

So what is essential? You see, that’s the question which the various religions cannot seem to agree upon. One must choose for themselves who and how to worship based upon: 1) reason, 2) experience, and 3) the testimony of others.

Sociologist Peter Berger wrote a book called, *The Heretical Imperative. *In it Berger uses the word “heresy” to mean “to choose for one’s self.” The irony pointed to by Berger is that even when on chooses orthodox values, he or she has to exercised “heresy” because in the process of intentionally choosing any set of values, even the traditional ones, alternatives must be considered. In his book, Berger addresses the modern situation with its multitudes of religions, philosophies and paradigms, declaring that we each live with “a heretical imperative.”

Harvard professor R.B. Perry wrote that the root of religion is, “***the attempt of man, conscious of his helplessness, to unite himself with the powers which do actually dominate.***" He further affirms, "True religion is better than false, but it is not less certain that religion is better than irreligion.” Religion. An Introduction - Lectures on the Harvard Classics (1909-1914)]. If this is true, then everyone who recognizes that he is not the power which dominates, has a choice to make. Again, how will you regulate your life? Religion is better than irreligion (ie. a non-regulated life).

Given your experience, reason, and the testimony you’ve been exposed to, can you know the best path to take? The path where you will find rest for you soul? Must we be absolutely certain about everything before we can proceed forward in our growth and maturity? I hope not, otherwise we could never move forward.

Those who contend one can never know truth with any degree of certainty–sufficient to decide–are fooling themselves. In other words, it is foolish and contradictory to asserts the thesis, “It is certain that nothing can be known with certainty.” The study of math, science, philosophy, and theology and other fields of study ALL rely upon varying degrees of certainty which are less than absolute in order to progress. Individuals must also progress, grow, mature without having absolute certainty.

As an analogy, although my eyesight is not perfect, that doesn’t mean that I can’t see some things clearly enough so as to have some level of certainty about what I see. In contrast, if nothing can be known, then we are always necessarily in doubt, and even our own existence cannot be known to be true. In fact, even our doubts must be doubted.

There are indeed some things about reality that are “incomprehensible” to human nature. However, that does not imply that *all *things cannot be knowable to sufficient degree to grow, to mature, to believe. The conclusions of our daily existence can and must be an assent based upon the preponderance of evidence. If we discover new evidence which is contradictory, we simply draw different conclusions. That’s how life works.

We can and must draw conclusions based upon the preponderance of evidence, even though human reasoning can be flawed, or our experience limited, or some of the testimony before us is false. To do otherwise would be detrimental to maturity, growth, and living one’s full potential.

If I were you, I’d start with what Scripture calls the perfect religion, then move forward from there.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27)


#16

I think a lot of Christians view it as having faith in themselves, rather than in God. But really, it’s about letting God into your heart than anything else. But people still like to think that they are on top. It’s quite sad, really.


#17

LostSoul87,

I was also rather Deistic in my youth. Trust in God. Pray to Him every day in the way you are most comfortable with. He will without doubt guide you to Truth and Love, even amidst a world which is often filled with darkness.

I also recommend considering what Pope Benedict XVI states here:
"We see how in young people there’s the search for something “more,” we see how the religious phenomenon is returning, as they say. Even if it’s a search that’s rather indefinite. But with all this the Church is present once more, and faith is offered as the answer…

Reawaken the courage to make definitive decisions: They are really the only ones that allow us to grow, to move ahead and to reach something great in life. They are the only decisions that do not destroy our freedom but offer to point us in the right direction. Risk making this leap, so to speak, toward the definitive and so embrace life fully…" (Interview With Benedict XVI (Part 1) 2006-08-17 ])


#18

I was in a similar place as you 40 some years ago, and I wanted TRUTH. I craved it.

  1. Do you? That’s the first question that you, or anyone, needs to answer for themself. If you do, then the next step is to ask the question -
  2. Who knows the TRUTH? Who do I go to to find out the truth? Who determines/decides what is TRUTH? When you recognize that if there is such a thing as TRUTH, that it is God alone who knows and determines it, then you know where to go, so
  3. Plead with God to give you the TRUTH.

He’ll answer.

Nita


#19

"When you recognize that if there is such a thing as TRUTH, that it is God alone who knows and determines it, then you know where to go, so
3) Plead with God to give you the TRUTH.
He’ll answer."
Nita

He’ll answer, but you have to LISTEN for the answer and RECOGNIZE it when He gives it to you. Then ACT upon the answers he gives you prayerfully.


#20

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