I need some help. Please read.


#1

Hello everyone,

I am new to the forums (just joined today), and I'm still not entirely sure where to post this. I decided to choose the "Prayer Requests" forum, because it seemed the most reasonable, but it's a little bit more than that. Allow me to explain.

I am 26 years old, and I've been on somewhat of a complicated spiritual journey that started in late high school/early college. I was baptized and raised Lutheran, but attended Catholic school from grades 6 through 12. I attended a very large, liberal university for my undergraduate studies, dated a devout (non-denominational) Christian for 2 years, made frequent visits to a good friend at Franciscan University, and acquired a vast variety of (mostly atheist) friends and experiences throughout my college and post-college life. I should also note that I've been struggling with anxiety and depression for many years, and at one point in my life was seeing a Catholic counselor who gave me a copy of the Catechism and was trying to lead me to Christ through the Catholic Church.

I've done lots of research and read lots of books, articles, and blogs, but sometimes it's difficult for a pessimistic, cynical person like myself with anxiety and depression, because I often get worked up and upset, and end up staying up until 4 AM reading or crying/panicking. At the end of the day, all I want to know is the one, universal Truth - there can only be one. I'm a smart, science-minded person, and I don't want to believe in fairy stories if they are not true, even if they will make me feel better. Therefore, I've found myself at an impasse. After researching the various offshoots of Christianity, as well as dozens of world religions and secular beliefs out there, I have decided that the Truth lies in one of two places - atheism, or the Roman Catholic Church. Basically, either God exists, or he doesn't. That's what I'm trying to figure out.

Obviously, since I've posted on this forum, I am leaning toward Catholicism mostly out of hope for the meaning of life, and for something better than what this world has to offer, but I'm willing to accept atheism if I discover it to be the Truth, even if it's not something I desire. I find myself a bit reluctant to post this on atheist forums, only because I feel like many of them (not all of them) would say something along the lines of, "DON'T GO TO CHURCH! IT'S A TRAP FULL OF LIES! RELIGION IS THE WORST THING TO EVER HAPPEN!" What I am looking for is encouragement, questions to consider, and possible pros/cons for me to weigh, instead of blatant demands to not go the other way because of X, Y, or Z. Does that make any sense?

What I am asking for is this:
(1. What do you believe? (I'd like responses from Catholics as well as non-Catholics/non-religious folks.)
(2. Why do you believe it is the Truth? (Defend your faith, or non-faith.)
(3. Can you recommend any books for me to read? (I'm particularly interested in Catholic apologetics.)
(4. Prayers for my conversion. (One way or the other. I can't live my entire life being stuck on the fence about this.)

If you've taken the time to read all of this, I sincerely appreciate it. One more thing I'd like to add is to please let me know if you think I should be posting this on a different forum for some reason. I just don't want to be wasting forum space on something that seems out of place.

Thank you so much for your time. I eagerly await your responses.


#2

Hello, my advice is try and stay away from atheist forums. You're in the right place here.
The way I see it is, if it is the truth then great I'm living it , if not, what have I lost nothing. But if it is the truth and I'm an atheist I could lose my soul.

I feel for me it's the truth because it feels so right. There's nothing on earth that compares to receiving Jesus in Holy Communion or being in the real presence. I personally chose a couple of years ago to delve right in. I have never regretted it!! And I have never been so happy in my life.

Praying for you :gopray:


#3

[quote="Stella_Luna_Sol, post:1, topic:305615"]
Hello everyone,

I am new to the forums (just joined today), and I'm still not entirely sure where to post this. I decided to choose the "Prayer Requests" forum, because it seemed the most reasonable, but it's a little bit more than that. Allow me to explain.

I am 26 years old, and I've been on somewhat of a complicated spiritual journey that started in late high school/early college. I was baptized and raised Lutheran, but attended Catholic school from grades 6 through 12. I attended a very large, liberal university for my undergraduate studies, dated a devout (non-denominational) Christian for 2 years, made frequent visits to a good friend at Franciscan University, and acquired a vast variety of (mostly atheist) friends and experiences throughout my college and post-college life. I should also note that I've been struggling with anxiety and depression for many years, and at one point in my life was seeing a Catholic counselor who gave me a copy of the Catechism and was trying to lead me to Christ through the Catholic Church.

I've done lots of research and read lots of books, articles, and blogs, but sometimes it's difficult for a pessimistic, cynical person like myself with anxiety and depression, because I often get worked up and upset, and end up staying up until 4 AM reading or crying/panicking. At the end of the day, all I want to know is the one, universal Truth - there can only be one. I'm a smart, science-minded person, and I don't want to believe in fairy stories if they are not true, even if they will make me feel better. Therefore, I've found myself at an impasse. After researching the various offshoots of Christianity, as well as dozens of world religions and secular beliefs out there, I have decided that the Truth lies in one of two places - atheism, or the Roman Catholic Church. Basically, either God exists, or he doesn't. That's what I'm trying to figure out.

Obviously, since I've posted on this forum, I am leaning toward Catholicism mostly out of hope for the meaning of life, and for something better than what this world has to offer, but I'm willing to accept atheism if I discover it to be the Truth, even if it's not something I desire. I find myself a bit reluctant to post this on atheist forums, only because I feel like many of them (not all of them) would say something along the lines of, "DON'T GO TO CHURCH! IT'S A TRAP FULL OF LIES! RELIGION IS THE WORST THING TO EVER HAPPEN!" What I am looking for is encouragement, questions to consider, and possible pros/cons for me to weigh, instead of blatant demands to not go the other way because of X, Y, or Z. Does that make any sense?

What I am asking for is this:
(1. What do you believe? (I'd like responses from Catholics as well as non-Catholics/non-religious folks.)
(2. Why do you believe it is the Truth? (Defend your faith, or non-faith.)
(3. Can you recommend any books for me to read? (I'm particularly interested in Catholic apologetics.)
(4. Prayers for my conversion. (One way or the other. I can't live my entire life being stuck on the fence about this.)

If you've taken the time to read all of this, I sincerely appreciate it. One more thing I'd like to add is to please let me know if you think I should be posting this on a different forum for some reason. I just don't want to be wasting forum space on something that seems out of place.

Thank you so much for your time. I eagerly await your responses.

[/quote]

1) I believe in Catholicism 100%
2) Its long and complicated. For now ill go brief--a) Philosophically God seems logically necessary (b) Christianity makes logical sense and is backed in history and much thought has gone into Christianity. From my experience it is good! (c) History and Jesus --not just he existed but hte implications of each possible scenario it seems almost indisputable he is God. (d) the nature of the Church and how it has lasted and stays strong and unchanged (e) The miracles. Lots here! Lourdes, Fatima, Divine Mercy, Saints, Padre Pio, Shroud, etc.

3) From what I hear, Peter Kreeft is a good author although I have never read him and therefore I'm not gonna say for certain. Read the Catechism. Read the older Catechisms. Maybe get a copy of Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma.

4) I will pray for you to embrace Christianity as knowing God's love and mercy is a true Joy. I'll add a suggestion to learn the devotion to the Divine Mercy. I highly suggest praying and learning God's mercy. Learn this devotion (the one taught by St. Faustina) use the image (if you like it, or use a similar one like one of the Sacred Heart.)
Trust in Jesus

Tom::thumbsup:


#4

I beleive (see Nicene Creed for a more eloquent version) in one God, a personal God that made and governs all, and interacts with all that he governs in a personal, if at times, unseen way, and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, and the saviour of the world. To save humanity, the Father sent the son, Jesus Christ, to make the ultimate sacrifice for all people. Christ was born of the Virgin Mary (who maintained perpetually her virginity and is Immaculate), preached the Word of God so that all people may hear, and after being crucified returned to sit at the right of the Father in Heaven, and that Christ will come again to judge all the world, the living and the dead.

After Christ's ressurection, he commissioned his followers (the Apostles) to spread the message of salvation through the creation of what is visibly known as the Roman Catholic Church. I beleive the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, is the Vicar of Christ and has the authority through apostolic succession to legitmatly and accuratly preach Christ's message to the world, and that the Holy Spirit guides the Church. As humans we are all children (of course, not in the same way that Jesus was the Son of God), and God loves us all.

I beleive in my faith because I am blessed to have a strong conviction that the Roman Catholic Church is correct and fuly represents Christ and the will of God. Also, everything the Church teaches is solidly supported on scriptual grounds.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a very easy way to familiarize yourself with Catholicism. Read at your own pace.

Also, for some more light-hearted fun and inspiring reading, I personally recommend all books by Fr. James Martin, SJ.

Please know you are in my prayers.

:highprayer:


#5

Stella, I will keep you in my prayers.

Do you have a Rosary? If so, please try to pray at least one decade of it each day and ask Our Lady to help you.

As you already know, there IS only one Truth. I assure you that the Catholic Church is the one true Church. There is no other. If the Catholic Church is a sham, the rest of them aren't even worth considering.

God bless you!


#6

Praying for you


#7

(1. What do you believe? (I'd like responses from Catholics as well as non-Catholics/non-religious folks.)
(2. Why do you believe it is the Truth? (Defend your faith, or non-faith.)
(3. Can you recommend any books for me to read? (I'm particularly interested in Catholic apologetics.)
(4. Prayers for my conversion. (One way or the other. I can't live my entire life being stuck on the fence about this.)

  1. i believe in everything Christ and the Church says. its all summed up as so: i believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His only Son Our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit.born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell and on the third rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. From thence He shall come forth to judge the living and the dead. i believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.
  2. because i just know. i have doubted my faith a little in the past and have gone out and researched about the Church and have studied other faiths and i reassure you, i knew my faith was the one faith after that. no other religion can compare! (or denomination for that matter). i see other denominations all try to have or incorporate different parts of the Catholic faith, but none of them have all of it. some have a "form" of the Eucharist, some have a type of "confesssion", and some even have "priests". they all aspire to be Catholic, whether they realize it or not, but either they dont see that the Church is the answer or they are just .... idk. but i do know that when i receive the Eucharist (aka the Blessed Sacrament) every mass, i feel the most supreme calmness overcome me, and i am just sooo peaceful and happy. nothing in the world can compare to receiving the Blessed Sacrament. and that is how i know. my heart just feels right in the Church. also, this one author whose name slips my mind, was also just as you are now, "stuck on the fence", and he was examining other denominations and faiths, and he said that the one thing that would convince him that that religion was the true religion is when he felt forgiven of his sins and felt mercy and peace. sure enough, he found the Catholic Church was that faith and confession was when he finally felt forgiven of his sins. just a thought there....
  3. i would recomend a book called "Rome Sweet Rome" thats what converted my stepdad. it didnt "convert him" but it really made him see the Church was the right one. also, a good author who i HIGHLY HIGHLY reccomend is Scott Hahn. he was a baptist or lutheran himself ( i cant remember) and he converted after going to a Catholic Mass one day. he has all sorts of stuff on TONS of subjects and he ties alot of it into the Bible and shows how Catholicism is Biblically based and of course, the True Faith.
  4. i will include you in my rosary tonight. you are seeking the truth and i praise you for this. i pray you find it :thumbsup:

#8

I will keep you in my prayers. Browsing the Non-Catholic Religion Forum here at Catholic.com will give you a lot of information.

While I and others will be praying for you, it is important for you to be praying as well. If you can find a local RC Church with an Adoration Chapel, that is a good place to go and just sit with Jesus.

Good luck on your journey. Matthew 11:28-30 has helped a lot of people going through struggles like yours (both theological and emotional).

PAX


#9

[quote="Stella_Luna_Sol, post:1, topic:305615"]

What I am asking for is this:
(1. What do you believe? (I'd like responses from Catholics as well as non-Catholics/non-religious folks.)
(2. Why do you believe it is the Truth? (Defend your faith, or non-faith.)
(3. Can you recommend any books for me to read? (I'm particularly interested in Catholic apologetics.)
(4. Prayers for my conversion. (One way or the other. I can't live my entire life being stuck on the fence about this.)

If you've taken the time to read all of this, I sincerely appreciate it. One more thing I'd like to add is to please let me know if you think I should be posting this on a different forum for some reason. I just don't want to be wasting forum space on something that seems out of place.

Thank you so much for your time. I eagerly await your responses.

[/quote]

Stella,

Have you tried listening to the Catholic Answers radio show? Archived programs can be found here:

catholic.com/radio/calendar

You can also browse through the shows to find topics of interest. The guests are very knowledgeable about Catholicism and give in depth answers. Check especially for the forum shows for "non-Catholics."

This recent non-Catholic forum with Trent Horn was particularly informative.

catholic.com/radio/shows/open-forum-for-atheists-7537

Peace


#10

What I believe: Everything the Catholic Church teaches

Why I believe: I wouldn't be able to fit it into a post. It's more like a huge testimony that started with why I believe in God, then why Christianity, and finally, why Catholicism. It's quite long. I'm currently working on a blog (slowly, but surely) in which I will tell my tale, but it's not far enough along. I will say that science has a lot to do with my reasons for believing in God.

Books: The Catechism is good for knowing what we believe and reasons why, but it is more for those who already have some faith. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis is a nice place to start in reasoning out that God exists, but I don't feel it's complete. Many Catholic apologetic books are defenses against Protestant misconceptions and beliefs about Catholicism. I don't know of any specific ones about a general defense of Christianity over agnosticism or atheism, but there's likely to be some out there.

Prayers: Coming your way


#11

First off, I like your username ;)

I can really REALLY relate to your story, sweetie. I too go to a liberal university and am surrounded by angry atheists and agnostics and unfortunately, when I was very young and a freshman, their views began to affect me. I didn't want to believe that there was any possibility that there wasn't a God because I was so sure prior to college that there was...but I still had a nagging doubt in the back of my mind that I just couldn't shake. I went through a period that I can only describe as a Dark Night of the Soul. I kept seeking God, even when I wasn't sure He was there. I groped through the Night with my eyes on the stars and moon, looking eastward for the sun, so to speak. I sought light; I waited for Dawn, even when I wasn't entirely sure it would ever come. But God did. He shined His Light back on me again, and I am so grateful. What I realized after my horrible experience was that God was there all along, even when I couldn't feel Him there. I can see now how He was guiding me the whole way through. I know now God put me through this not because I did something bad, but because He loves me and wanted me to actively seek Him and stay close to Him and trust in Him completely. It taught me faith. I will never doubt whether God exists again. I know He does.

Perhaps you are going through your own Dark Night right now. My suggestion is for you to seek Light. Never give up. The easy thing to do is surrender to the world and give up on God. The hard thing is to have faith. Believe when you do not see or feel His presence.

  1. What do I believe? I believe in the Catholic faith, in every aspect. I believe that God it Truth, Love, Justice, Peace and one can only find Truth, Love, Justice and Peace through God.

2 +3. Why do I believe it to be Truth? I suggest you read up on St. Thomas Aquinas's 5 proofs of God. I suggest you study quantum physics and read some non-atheistic based philosophy. I never much liked non-religious philosophy. It never seemed as logical to me as religiously-based philosophy does. ;)

I am VERY analytical (sometimes to a fault ;) ) and think scientifically, so the acceptance of faith did not come lightly for me. I prayed a lot and did my research. What I have come up with is that Catholicism answers every question I have. I have come to realize that science does not discredit religion like so many people say it does, but rather they explain each other, atleast science and Catholicism do :).

  1. I'll pray for you sweetie. I'll pray that you see that God is the only Truth. You see, I'm a truthseeker, myself. Always have been and always will be. I have found Truth, Love, Peace, and Justice in God. I pray you will too. I've been where you are and it is not fun. God Bless you. The fact that you are seeking God is a very good sign! Don't give up. Don't let the world defeat your soul.

God is Truth. If you want Truth, you will find it no where else but in and through Him.

God Bless you. :crossrc:


#12

Check out EWTN's THE JOURNEY HOME with Marcus Grodi. You can bring up previous accounts by going to his wed site. The show focuses on the various journeys converts have made to the Catholic Church.

CATHOLICISM FOR DUMMIES is also recommended.

CONFESSIONS OF A MEGA CHURCH PASTOR, and the books by Scott Hahn.

Every day pray to God to show you the way. He will. God bless.


#13

Praying for you, Stella. Dont give up the Catholic church is the TRUTH. Keep praying and reading and dont let the unbelievers discourage you.
God bless you and guide you to the Truth!
:heart::hug1::signofcross:


#14

Please visit this site:peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm

Also, I know you are going out of your comfort zone here, but simply pray to God to know the truth.

Furthermore, here is why God makes sense. I'm not a logician, so tell me if i'm wrong.

This assumes the big bang is true, if not, it still applies

you, and everything around you that you know of is made of atoms. Those atoms are matter. This matter expanded in the big bang, and if not, still had to come from somewhere. Even if there is some undiscovered force that creates matter, and something that creates that, that had to come from somewhere too. Where did this come from? If you do not believe in God, this cycle continues without an end or ends with the argument that nothing created something. God is the only logical answer. Seek truth and may God guide you along this difficult journey.


#15

[quote="Christine85, post:2, topic:305615"]
Hello, my advice is try and stay away from atheist forums. You're in the right place here.
The way I see it is, if it is the truth then great I'm living it , if not, what have I lost nothing. But if it is the truth and I'm an atheist I could lose my soul.

I feel for me it's the truth because it feels so right. There's nothing on earth that compares to receiving Jesus in Holy Communion or being in the real presence. I personally chose a couple of years ago to delve right in. I have never regretted it!! And I have never been so happy in my life.

Praying for you :gopray:

[/quote]

Pascal's wager.


#16

P.S. You are not going to find many non-religious folk up here. This is Catholic Answers:)

Also check out the conversion story of C.S. Lewis


#17

Hi Stella,

It seems like you are going through a lot of confusion and frustration.

I wanted to let you know that there have been many Catholics who have gone through the period you have, of searching, confusion, and having a sense of no direction. I've gone through it to some degree myself.

However, personally for me, I always felt as if God came to me. That is, he revealed aspects of himself to me, slowly thoughout my life (I'm pretty young, so I hope there is more to come. :D) Now, I'm not saying to stop studying, praying and discerning. But, you don't have to freak out about this. I know it can be frustrating, but try to take it easy. Don't stay up all night reading articles and worrying yourself. It isn't healthy and it won't make things clearer. God isn't going to punish you for not coming up with the right answer. You are trying to seek him out. I truly believe that is something he has put in your heart and that he is already working in your life. Take things slowly. He will guide you in his love.

I'm not sure if this is going to be weird for you or not, but try to take some time just to speak to God. Just tell him honestly how you are frustrated in your search for him. Tell him your pain and your joy. Just speak to him as you would a friend. It will help you to be calm about this and advance you in your spiritual journey. As well, God LOVES to hear from you. :)

If you are interested in the Catholic Church I would recommend going to the nearest parish and asking if they can help you out. They can answer any questions you may have and guide you. You don't have to express any wish to convert right away or anything; just say that you are interested in finding out more about the Catholic faith. Perhaps they can equip you with a spiritual director. I'm sure they will be happy to guide you. In the unfortunate case that your nearest parish isn't filled with the most helpful of people (sadly, it happens), try to contact the head office of your diocese and ask them to direct you.

1.*What do you believe? *
Catholicism

*2. Why do you believe it is the Truth? *
It is actually very hard to explain! In some ways its one of those things you have to experience. But I will do my best to explain.

As I said earlier, God really revealed himself to me. Not that he appeared to me, but he sort of just put it in my heart to seek him out. I guess I can echo St Paul's words: I love him because he loved me first.

I guess I believe because it just makes sense to me (I know that isn't helpful ,lol). I just feel like the world makes sense with God and with the Catholic faith. (See my reading recommendation below)

I also just think its amazing that there is a God who loves me so much, who died for me, who is interested in me. And he wants nothing more than for me to return his love. Something about that just seems so beautiful to me. I guess its that personal relationship. I just have a longing to unite with something beyond me.

3. Can you recommend any books for me to read? (I'm particularly interested in Catholic apologetics.)
I would look at some of Pope John Paul II encycicals. papalencyclicals.net/JP02/index.htm

I like Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason), but they are all worth reading.

4. Prayers for my conversion
I will keep you in my prayers.

God bless and take care.


#18

I admire your courage in the pursuit of truth. I reccomend you repost this in the apologetics section. You will get some helpful replies here, but most people are here to pray (not to say that prayer isn't useful, but it doesn't introduce many helpful discussions).

I will mark this thread and send you a message tomorrow, after school.

In the meantime, a few helpful books:
Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis
A Catechism, preferably the Catechism o the Catholic Church. It wll answer just about any question you have about Catholic morality, doctrines, dogma, etc.
The Everlasting Man G.K. Chesterton

You will be in my prayers. Look forward to talkin to you tomorow. Happy Thanksgiving!


#19
  1. I am Catholic. I came from atheism, then agnosticism, and (along with those) moral relativism to the Catholic faith.

  2. Many reasons, but most were personal experiences, which really won't help you unless you have those kinds of experiences yourself. Sort of like trying to explain to someone who has never tasted fruit what a mango is like! :) However, one of my reasons was that morals, IMHO, cannot be explained by evolution or by culture--only by God. For instance, our culture may encourage some things that we know are not good--but no matter how much the majority wants it to be good, we can still know that those things are not good. It can't always come down to "what I want," because sometimes the good thing to do is most definitely not what I want to do, and not the easiest nor most fun thing to do. And we can also choose to do good things that don't make much sense in a "survival of the fittest" kind of way, iykwim.

  3. If you haven't read them already, The Case for Faith (fyi: the movie's not nearly as good as the book) and A Refutation of Moral Relativism helped me sort out my own inner struggles, and a friend of mine used some things from Darwin's Black Box (by Michael J. Behe) to win many debates with me based on science (though I have yet to read it myself, so take that recommendation with a grain of salt).

  4. I will pray for you, for discernment, so that you may know the truth--whatever that may be. ;)


#20

[quote="CatholicRaven, post:19, topic:305615"]

Many reasons, but most were personal experiences, which really won't help you unless you have those kinds of experiences yourself. Sort of like trying to explain to someone who has never tasted fruit what a mango is like! :)

I love that. Totally agree ;):thumbsup:

[/quote]


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