If I can find an answer to these questions, I will turn back to religion


#1

I was raised Catholic and have always been very interested in religion, however I have two problems (with all religions) that I’ve never been able to find a sufficient answer to, which has caused me to become more spiritual than religious. I guess I’m just hoping to find answers to these questions that make sense to me so that I can turn back towards organised religion.

  1. Why would God create the entire universe for the sole purpose of having people worship him? This seems very egotistical to me, and I just can’t get my head around the fact that our only purpose in life is to worship God. This is not to say that I am not thankful for what I have (I don’t have any issues with worshipping god), it’s just that I don’t understand why God would be so needing of worship that he created our entire reality just so that he can get it. I feel like it would make a lot more sense if he created us for a purpose other than this.

  2. It is a scientific fact that everyone’s personalities and actions are formed by two things 1. Their biology, and 2. Their experiences (nature and nurture), however nobody is personally responsible for these things - meaning that nobody is actually responsible for their actions. Since God is responsible for both the biology of people and for the situations/experiences they have, he is therefore also responsible for their actions and every decision they make. This means that nobody is personally responsible for their ‘sins’, so how can God send people to hell when it is actually HIM who is the one who caused them to sin?


#2

He didn’t. He desired love and relationship, because, after all, Deus caritas est - God is love.

No. 2, I’ll leave for someone else :slight_smile:


#3

For the 2nd…free will or the lack of it isn’t a scientific fact. It’s more of a philosophical one that has been debated often. You would find answers from Catholic philosophers if you look it up. Maybe someone will link you to them.

Also, I’m quite confused. Do you truly believe that people are not responsible for any of their actions?


#4

Jesus in in our hearts, not in our heads.

Less thinking more love. Do you feel Jesus with you? do you allow Jesus to be with you or do you push Him away


#5

To be fair, we tend to ‘feel’ a lot of things. Faith based on what you feel is weak when these feelings fade.


#6
  1. Not so. The Church teaches that we are given an intellect and a will (“made in the image of God”). Both are “developable” faculties, meaning they must be developed and used, or they will eventually give themselves over to serve the passions, the appetites.

The intellect helps us to know the truth.
The will helps us pursue the good.

Sin (little choices at first) can eventually cloud the intellect, making it difficult for the intellect to know the truth.

Sin (little choices at first) can weaken the will, making it ever more difficult for us to pursue the good.

If we sin enough (deliberate choices at the beginning, leading to habits of sin, making it ever more diffcult to get back on track) we will serve (our intellect and will will be co-opted) our passions and appetites (the flesh, sex, our stomach, our ego, ambitions, our fears, etc).

Then that leads to bigger trouble, and division and strife among people, mainly those people in our life, but in society too.

The Church teaches about these “human factulties” and about our tendencies toward sin (Original Sin).

The Church teaches how with God’s grace (the Sacraments, a lively prayer life, practice of the human virtues, teaching for the intellect, etc) we can become ever more holy and closer to God, more “useful” to Him as well.

We can’t do this by ourselves - without His graces given through the Church - but we can’t do it with our “hands off the wheel” either.


#7

Human beings pro-create. We co-operate with God in human existence. We have agency; meaning we are able to act.
Actions have consequences. God sees all things and knows all things, and at the same time God allows us free will. Without free will there is no love.
In acting on our free will we help to choose our own destiny. We don’t choose our biology etc…and certain personality traits are beyond our personal agency, but our actions have consequences. We are responsible for our experiences to a large degree.

Love can only exist in freedom.
True freedom requires responsibility.
Sin is a denial and failure of our responsibility.
Sin has consequences that detract from our own good and that of others.


#8

feeling Jesus within you, feeling the outpouring of the Holy Spirit within is faith.
at some point faith is from the heart, not the head.
And when that occurs we love Jesus.
Love is never weak. Love of Jesus. It stops us leaving. It keeps us right here walking with Jesus.
So I guess my definition of feeling might be different from the one you are using.


#9

If God wanted robots that are here to “worship” and do whatever God had planned then that’s what He would have created. We are not robots. God desires love because as someone said above (and so does Scripture) God IS love.

God gave us free will and therefore the complete freedom to choose good or evil. Yes God knows what choice we are to make but we still have the freedom to make that choice. The anti free will argument that God’s knowledge of our choices means they must inevitably happen is a common argument and it’s also logically fallacious.

God also does not send us to hell. What happens to our souls after death is the result of this freedom.


#10

He didn’t. He created the universe because He desired to share His love with us. It is an act of love, not of ego. He doesn’t need it, but He desires it because He desires to share His infinite love.

God doesn’t cause us to sin, and He gives us grace to reject sin. God is also not actively responsibly for every situation a person faces. To understand this you need to know a bit about the difference between God’s active will, and His passive will. The active will is that which is, well, active. It is what He directly wills, such as our salvation, or the continued existence of creation, or that His son should sacrifice Himself to atone for our sins. His passive will is that which He allows. This is generally where our free will intersect with His will. His passive is that which allows things even if they don’t align with His active will. This is why God doesn’t just stop every last person about to sin and snuff them out of existence. He actively wills that we should have free will, which require His passive will to allow us to act against Him. The good of our free will outweighs the evil that we can do with it.

As such, God is not actively responsible for every last thing, and especially not our sins, which are a rejection of Him.

As for the Hell question, everyone in Hell chose to be there. That’s hard for us to understand, but you have to realize that God give everyone sufficient grace for salvation, it’s just up to the individual as to whether or not they accept that grace. If someone refuses to accept God’s grace, that’s not God’s fault.


#11

God is love. Love is not inwardly directed, but outwardly directed. By His very nature, God, from all eternity, wills to spread His love through creation. In creating us, God desires not that we worship Him, but rather that we as individual intellectual persons each come to know Him and Love Him by our own free will choice. Love is never forced or coerced, but is a free choice.

God’s love for us is so great that rather than creating “robots” or programmed beings that were guaranteed to love Him, He instead restrains His own omnipotence and control over us in order to allow us a choice.

In doing this, God says to us, “Thy will be done”. In our life, with every decision we make, we have the freedom to either choose to align our will with God’s, or to align our will with our own desires. We can respond to God by either saying “Thy will be done” or “MY will be done.”

When we die, the decisions we have made in life will ultimately culminate in one of these two statements.

If we say to God “MY will be done”, He will not overwhelm us with grace and force us to love Him or worship Him. He will just respond to us with “Thy will be done”. He loves us enough to let us reject Him for our own selfishness.

If we say to God “THY will be done”, then He will lovingly honor that desire of our hearts as well, and will respond with “MY will be done” and we will share eternity in His love.

God is Love. To Love is to will the good of another. The most perfect good for anyone is to conform their life to the will of God, which is for us to come to know Him and Love Him so that we may be in relationship together for eternity.

CONTINUED…


#12

That doesn’t follow at all. Biology and experience certainly influence us, but we certainly have (with the exception of some very mentally-ill people, of course) a great deal of control over what we choose to do and not do.


#13

…CONTINUED
To address your 2 points in number 2:

1.Our biology is not directly assigned to us individually by God. When God created Humanity, it was created in perfection. It is through sin that imperfection entered into the world.

For example, imagine a woman who gives birth to a baby while addicted to and using drugs. The baby is then born with an addiction and suffers from the symptoms of withdrawal upon birth. It is not God who gave the baby an addiction, but the choices of the mother.

Another example is someone who struggles with alcoholism because of a long family history of alcoholism. God did not force that person to be genetically predisposed to alcoholism, but rather the choices of their ancestors led to that predisposition.

Imagine a brother who rapes his sister, who then conceives a child because she happens to be undergoing the natural biological process of ovulation. The child is later born with genetic abnormalities because of the inbreeding. God did not assign this child this genetic makeup. God did not force the girl to be ovulating at the time of her rape. God did not force the brother to rape her. These are all results of human choices.

We are made in the image of God, meaning we have an immortal, rational soul that is capable of love. Just like the natural outcome of God’s love is creation of life, we have also been given the ability to create new life. God does not force us to create. Rather, it is a free will choice of either one or two humans to partake in a creative act. God does not assign us our biology, our parents, ancestors, and natural biological processes do.

2.Our experiences are not assigned by God. God does not have an infinite supply of pre-created souls sitting around that He deliberately or randomly selects and assigns to a particular biological and experiential setting. It is through and at the time of a human procreative act that a new soul is created. God does not decide to create us, but rather we are created in response to the free will choice of humans to partake in procreative acts.

We as individuals cannot control our biology, or our environment. We cannot control what friends we will encounter in our lives, or if our parents are loving and nurturing, or abusive and neglectful. Just like God, who through His loving self restraint, does not control all the circumstances of life, we also cannot control all the circumstances of our lives.

CONTINUED…


#14

Begin over at Strange Notions

https://strangenotions.com/god-exists/


#16

As others have mentioned, creation isn’t for the sake of worship, it’s for the sake of love. God wished to create beings who didn’t – as you suggest – exist for the sake of mindlessly worshipping Him. Rather, he created sentient beings who have the free will to make decisions on their own. And, since humans are free to decide on their own, they are free to decide whether to love God. And, at the end of the day, that’s what God is hoping for, from us.

Be careful with what you call “scientific fact”. Psychology doesn’t admit of facts so much as it trucks in theories, and “nature vs nurture” is one of the theories of human development.

Even if it’s a theory that’s currently in vogue (and, if you’re being honest, you’ll recognize that the scholarship of the 20th and 21st century is filled with debates lionizing nature or nurture (and demonizing the other view!), leading us to the current situation of not being anywhere near a conclusion!), there’s still the question of what “nurture” means.

If your claim of “lack of responsibility” holds up, then it requires that forces of “nurture” have an end-point, beyond which no further development takes place. And, if that end-point occurs prior to the point at which a person may take responsibility for his actions (and therefore, for the experiences which shape him), then he is in a frozen state – that is, since he was not of an age of responsibility when his development ceased, he is never in a state of responsibility.

However, that’s not what the nurture argument proposes. Rather, we continue to be influenced by our environment – including the consequences of actions freely chosen! – throughout our lives! Therefore, we do bear responsibility for the ‘nurture’ effects which we encounter through our choice of environments and activities as adults.

So, the radical determinism that proceeds from your claim of a “lack of personal responsibility” is an assertion, I’d argue, that is in error.

(We could continue the discussion of “divine responsibility” by talking about the classical philosophical distinction between “primary” and “secondary” causation, but I suspect that we’d make more progress discussing your premise, first.)

Can you support your theories of lack of personal responsibility in light of what ‘nurture’ really says about ongoing environmental influence?


#17

…CONTINUED
Let’s go back to the example of the family with a history of alcoholism. Why do some people with similar genetic predispositions to alcoholism and similar family situations end up as alcoholics while others might not?

Imagine a set of identical twins born into a family with a history of alcoholism. They have identical genetic make up, they share the same home, the same family, etc…, yet they are still unique persons.

Twins share the same biological and experiential reality, yet even from the youngest age twins have different personalities, different interests, different traits. How could this be?

Perhaps one of them thinks something is funny while the other does not. Perhaps one is an introvert while the other is an extrovert. Perhaps one loves the color blue, while the other prefers orange. Perhaps one loves sports while the other does not. Perhaps one struggles with SSA, while the other does not. Perhaps one succumbs to the alcoholism that runs in their family, while the other rises above it. How could this be?

Despite their identical biological and experiential situations, they are each are individual, rational beings; each possess an intellect that has the free will to respond to or reject God’s grace.

We are all unique, no matter how different or similar our biology or life situations may be. We are each an individual being with the free will to choose our own will, or to conform ourselves to God’s will.

Because of this free will, it is not God who is responsible for our sins, but us.

Why would we want to conform to God’s will instead of our own? Because God is Love. Love is to will the good of another.

In His omniscience and omnipotence, God is perfect, His Love is perfect, and His will for our lives is perfect.

And finally, as to your statement about God sending us to hell, this is false. God does not send, but rather allows us to choose to be separated from Him for eternity.

Because God is pure Love, to choose “not God” is to choose the absence of all love, all happiness, all joy. Hell is a door locked from the inside.

Why is there a Hell? This short video explains it better than I can:


#18

Greetings, Liz, and very nice to meet you. I too have felt exactly as you do. Still do to some extent, but that’s when my mind tends to drift back to the days I was “in between” beliefs, so to speak. I am a Protestant who attends only Catholic churches, just so you know where I am at right now.

It can be very difficult to make sense of certain things pertaining to the divine. Your first query reveals a pre-supposition I once shared. Others have dealt with this one, though, so I don’t feel the need to add much more. I no longer feel God desires my worship of Him. What is understood, however, is that when I do worship it becomes of great benefit to me. It keeps me in a frame of mind far more likely to default to a position of mercy and compassion when dealing with tough people and difficult issues. Following in the footsteps of our Lord means taking on his mentality and what he demonstrated as a human being.

The second portion of your original post I would deal with thusly; Yes, God created my personality and biology, my tendencies resulted from my environment, and my prejudices from certain influences earlier in life. But with those tools in hand, I am given the opportunity now to create in my life something much grander. With the awareness of God within me, I can take the raw materials provided by a most generous and merciful creator and begin to renew myself with his guiding hand. The sins I commit are akin to the mistakes and errors of the laboratory which teach us better ways and opens up better choices. I find all of this most satisfying within the confines of the Catholic Church. Blessings to you, my friend. :slight_smile:


#19

I think you are making an assumption here that cannot be substantiated. Yes, God created the whole universe. Scripture is silent about the why. You as a creature though have the responsibility to act in harmony with the fact that God is the Creator, and we are the Creature, created by his design for his purpose. I also think you need to re-look at your whole concept of worship. Worship doesn’t just mean going to Church and singing hymns. Worship means living in obedience to God’s will and purpose.


#20

God doesn’t need us. That’s why his desire to create us was an act of love. “Bonum est diffusivum sui,” goes the old philosophical maxim–“the good is diffusive of itself.” What is good desires good for other things. It is better (that is, more good) to exist than not to exist, so since God is goodness itself, he desired that other things would have being. Love is to will the good of another, and so we can say that God, by his nature, loved all things into existence. He loved humans into existence, and gave humans a special share in his nature–we have the ability to know truth and to choose the good. By knowing the truth and choosing to do what is good, we are more authentically human, and we attain greater union with God. God does not need us, for he is complete of himself, but he desired that we exist out of love, and created us to freely return to him, for love must be freely given.

It’s a bit of a leap to say that “no one is responsible for his actions” as a result of the circumstances for which he is not responsible. If no one is truly responsible for his actions–meaning that no one has free will–then no one can be praised or blamed for his actions. Do you think the murderer needs to be set free from prison, since he wasn’t responsible for his actions? Do you think that we can justly fine someone who parks in front of fire hydrant, since he wasn’t responsible for his actions? If I steal your cell phone or computer, you can’t report me to the police–I’m not responsible for my actions. If there is no free will, we can be neither praised nor blamed for anything we do.

(continued below)


#21

And it is also a scientific fact that people are formed by not only what happens to them from without, but by how they respond to it. We can find great meaning even in the midst of our suffering, even in the midst of a broken upbringing. We are not responsible for what happens to us from without, we are responsible for how we respond, and all of this contributes to the formation of ourselves as persons. I sometimes deal with anxiety, which is due to a variety of circumstances–some imposed from without, some a result of aspects of my upbringing, and some self-inflicted damage at various points. And yet I find great meaning in it. Read my posts on scrupulosity on here–I wouldn’t understand how to help people with scrupulosity if I hadn’t experienced similar issues myself.

The beauty of the Catholic faith is that at the heart of its teaching is one very simple idea: God is love, and out of love he created us, and out of love he redeemed us and made us more glorious than we had been created to be to start with. Even our wounds and faults and sufferings are redeemed, just as the wounds of Christ went with him to heaven.

-Fr ACEGC


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