Little Problem, Need Help


#1

I heard a very true saying that says something like “Protestants who know church history cease to be Protestants”.

My problem is I know world history and can see the Catholic church in the context of thousands of years of world history and countless religions. From an objective point of this historical view why even be christian let alone Catholic?

I have read and loved Scott Hann. He is so on fire for the Catholic faith and before that he was on fire for his Calvinist faith. Through gods grace and the study of history he came to the Catholic Church. I am a cradle Catholic and attend mass daily. I however love ancient world history. From the perspective of world history the True Faith doesn’t look so true anymore.

Help me but don’t tell me to pray, have faith or just stick to it. I have done all those things for years and now I want intellectual answers so I can convince my mind and give my heart a break.


#2

What problems of history do you have with the Church? That would make it more clear. But I would say, don’t look at the humans mistakes that are of the Church, but look at what the Church has taught all these years and look to the saints too.


#3

[quote=alterserver_07]What problems of history do you have with the Church? That would make it more clear. But I would say, don’t look at the humans mistakes that are of the Church, but look at what the Church has taught all these years and look to the saints too.
[/quote]

I agree. Can you be more clear about your specific concerns? That would help.


#4

I would begin with the fact that Jesus clamed to be God and came back from the dead after three days is a good place to start. I don’t have any doubt the truth of it. I spent years trying to find out if this is true or just hype! I found the truth and pray that you will too! But I damn sure won’t do your work for you. It would be such a diservice! You find out on your own.
God Bless You on Your Quest,
Mike


#5

My problem isn’t with Church history or thinking that the church did something bad so I dont want to belong anymore. It’s deeper. It’s looking at the Church from the perspective of world history. I’ve read the Catechism. I loved it. I’ve read several good church history books. As far as religions go, the Catholic church has all others beat.

I understand why protestants on fire for Jesus join the Catholic Church. As a cradle Catholic totally immersed in secular culture and an avid reader of history, I doubt the Catholic church is the “True Faith”. Does that make sense?

I go to mass almost every day because I doubt. I don’t want to leave the church but if it isn’t the True Faith I intend to find it. I am trying to be as intellectually honest as possible with myself.
I believe in the morality that the Catholic Chuch teaches. I am not looking for reasons to leave the Church because I want to pursue my personal sins without guilt either. I want to know the ultimate truth.


#6

There is more than a slight difference between history and theology.

You perhaps need to give the history of the Church a rest, and start studying theology - what the Church says about God.


#7

[quote=DarinHamel]My problem isn’t with Church history or thinking that the church did something bad so I dont want to belong anymore. It’s deeper. It’s looking at the Church from the perspective of world history. I’ve read the Catechism. I loved it. I’ve read several good church history books. As far as religions go, the Catholic church has all others beat.

I understand why protestants on fire for Jesus join the Catholic Church. As a cradle Catholic totally immersed in secular culture and an avid reader of history, I doubt the Catholic church is the “True Faith”. Does that make sense?

I go to mass almost every day because I doubt. I don’t want to leave the church but if it isn’t the True Faith I intend to find it. I am trying to be as intellectually honest as possible with myself.
I believe in the morality that the Catholic Chuch teaches. I am not looking for reasons to leave the Church because I want to pursue my personal sins without guilt either. I want to know the ultimate truth.
[/quote]

So is your question about proof of the existance of God? Or do you believe that there is a "God’–just, you are unsure of who he (or she or it) is? I am still a bit unsure of where you are coming from–and that makes ALL the difference in a proper response.


#8

"And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.’ "

Mark 10:13-15


#9

I understand since I have trouble defining the problem for myself.

I believe in God.

I doubt that the Catholic Church is the True Faith. Many religions claim to be a True Faith. I have read a lot of Catholic Theology and have my own little Catholic library. It presupposes a basic faith I don’t know if I have anymore.

Jesus came to counter-act original sin. Which means I must literally believe the Adam and Eve story. I don’t. The jewish creation story comes from the Babalonian one which come from the Summer one. Much of the Torah come from the code of Hammerabi.

Is Jesus the only guy to rise from the dead? Nope, there are many Chinese stories of their mystics rising from the dead.

You see history. Based on the fact that I doubt original sin and the story that it comes from, how can I believe in Jesus who came to release us from it?

Thats clearer I am a little scared to say.


#10

I think it was Chesterton who said something like this: he couldn’t understand why anyone would doubt the doctrine of original sin, since it was the only one that was empirically demonstrable by human behavior.

Believing in the doctrine of original sin is not necessarily the same thing a believing in a literal interpretation of Genesis.

Did the writers of the Pentateuch use outside sources in their writing? Perhaps so, just has Aquinas used Aristotle, and authors throughout history have reworked other material to give it new meaning. That doesn’t mean that the biblical authors weren’t inspired by God to say what He wanted said. After all, the theology behind the Epic of Gilgamesh is NOT the same theology found in the story of Noah.

Perhaps you’ve read just enough history to make you skeptical. Maybe you need to read a lot more history.


#11

If you seek perfection in men then you will abandon all faith. All the life of mankind is his pursuit of perfection (ie: God) and having fallen in the garden our very nature is scarred with weaknesses and the tendency to sin (the .50 term for it is “concupiscence”.) as you are probably aware of from your own life. Just because other seekers fall and mess up in no way invalidates the revelation of God through His own church.

Consider Peter and all the apostles… the NT shows then very much as imperfect humans, yet their love for Christ and perseverence in following Him is the example for us all even as they followed the example of Christ Himself and inspire us (hopefully) to do the same.

I hope this helps and I’ll remember you in prayer. :slight_smile:
Pax tecum,


#12

Sounds like the problem is your “history” texts. Most texts nowdays are full of BS and made up history than anything else. The Bible is the most printed book of all time and has stopped the greatest minds dead in their tracks.

Go do some catholic charity work like loaves and fishes or something and see for youself what religion is REALLY HELPING out people every day. Check out the history on charity work around the WORLD and see who is the salt of the earth. Blessed Mother Teresa wasnt messing around when she gave up her life for Jesus. When ANY world leader stood next to her the light of Christ brought them to their knees.

The Catholic Church is ALIVE and LIVING history, the Sacraments, Missions and Saints are history.


#13

[quote=DarinHamel]I have read a lot of Catholic Theology and have my own little Catholic library. It presupposes a basic faith I don’t know if I have anymore.

[/quote]

What specifically is the presupposition(s) you take issue with?

Jesus came to counter-act original sin. Which means I must literally believe the Adam and Eve story. I don’t. The jewish creation story comes from the Babalonian one which come from the Summer one. Much of the Torah come from the code of Hammerabi.

Well… first, you misunderstand Jesus and His “role”–He was not a “Plan ‘B’”–Jesus was from the beginning part of the whole deal…

Thats clearer I am a little scared to say.

Be as clear as possible–God knows your heart and if you need help–he knows it and wants you to ask.


#14

[quote=DarinHamel]I understand since I have trouble defining the problem for myself.

I believe in God.

I doubt that the Catholic Church is the True Faith. Many religions claim to be a True Faith. I have read a lot of Catholic Theology and have my own little Catholic library. It presupposes a basic faith I don’t know if I have anymore.

Jesus came to counter-act original sin. Which means I must literally believe the Adam and Eve story. I don’t. The jewish creation story comes from the Babalonian one which come from the Summer one. Much of the Torah come from the code of Hammerabi.

Is Jesus the only guy to rise from the dead? Nope, there are many Chinese stories of their mystics rising from the dead.

You see history. Based on the fact that I doubt original sin and the story that it comes from, how can I believe in Jesus who came to release us from it?

Thats clearer I am a little scared to say.
[/quote]

If these are your only problems, you are in luck because there is an answer to each of them:

  1. The Church does not require you to understand the Adam and Eve story in a literalistic (strictly historical) sense. What it does require you to believe is the point it is making: that at some point representatives of our species took a definitive action to disobey God and that from this action, man incurred a sin nature that put man in rebellion against God since then. As you stated, God sent Jesus to reconcile us to Him and free us from this situation.

  2. As for the rest, don’t fall for the logical fallacy that because the Bible relates events that resemble these ancient stories, that this is where they originated. It is more accurate to say the the pagan myths and folk accounts are a distorted reflection of events that we are given definitive revelation of in Scripture. The Church recognizes, based on Romans chapters 1 and 2 and Hebrews 1:1-2, that man has been able to catch glimpses of God’s plan but not having the benefit of revelation could only see through the glass darkly.

  3. Finally, the big difference between Christ’s resurrection and the “resurrection” myths of other cultures is that it is rooted in history. When you find these types of stories in other cultures, no one claims their historicity–it is clear they are myths or legends. The Bible itself, as far as the antiquity and sheer manuscript numbers, is better attested history than most of all the ancient histories we have, including that of ancient Rome. This is in addition to other Church writings and incidental mentions of Christ by historians such as Josephus and Pliny. In other words, we have more documentary evidence that Christ lived than we do Julius Caesar!

Hope this helps.


#15

DarinHamel, I mostly just read through the threads on this site and rarely reply. I felt the desire to reply to your problem.

First, I would say that you will not find God or increase your faith strictly from a carnal mindset. Remember, Jesus told us that many things are hidden from 'the world." You must seek to know him not just the history about him.

Second, when talking about Jesus as compared to other historical figures that did similar things as Jesus, consider the following points:

  1. Of all the key religious figures in history, Jesus was the only one who was predicted to come.
  2. He was the only one who claimed to be God.
  3. He is the only one that has reference to time centered around him (A.D. - Anno Domini).

If nothing else, these three things make him unique compared to the rest. As has been said many times, Jesus was either insane or he was truly the Son of God. There is no indication that he was insane either in Church history or secular history.

Jesus said that no one will enter Heaven unless they do the will of the Father. I would spend more time on finding out what His will is and conforming to that. I believe that is when you will find your faith again.


#16

Hmmm… good stuff guys.

Fidelis,
I think your sort of understanding my problem.

1- I completely understand this, yep.

2-Objectively no. The earier texts are much longer and more detailed that the Torah account. I have heard your reasoning for years and still don’t buy it. Many world saviors have died on a tree, went to hell and risen from the dead. Most times they are written of as myths or as prefigurations of Christ. I don’t buy that either. Sons of God are common throughout history, even today there are many claiming divinity and doing many good works.

3-Their resurrection stories are just as credible as ours. In the Koran it says the disciple stole his body. The Jew says the disciples stole the body. I personally believe he rose from the dead. But I also believe mystics all over the world have risen from the dead. I don’t deny God.

St Felicity,
You peope are really making me focus. I have believed all my life. Just this morning I was the Lector at mass and I volunteered to help our new priest evangelize. I don’t share my doubts. I am a believer and now maybe I want proof.

What I really take issue with most is original sin. We have mapped our genetic history. Why does original sin have to be the explanation for our imperfections. Calling our imperfections sins presupposes a standard of behavior that doesn’t exist outside of something that can only be established with circular reasoning.


#17

[quote=DarinHamel]I heard a very true saying that says something like “Protestants who know church history cease to be Protestants”.

My problem is I know world history and can see the Catholic church in the context of thousands of years of world history and countless religions. From an objective point of this historical view why even be christian let alone Catholic?

I have read and loved Scott Hann. He is so on fire for the Catholic faith and before that he was on fire for his Calvinist faith. Through gods grace and the study of history he came to the Catholic Church. I am a cradle Catholic and attend mass daily. I however love ancient world history. From the perspective of world history the True Faith doesn’t look so true anymore.

Help me but don’t tell me to pray, have faith or just stick to it. I have done all those things for years and now I want intellectual answers so I can convince my mind and give my heart a break.
[/quote]

Wow! What a letter!

You would be a very interesting person to know, personally.

The great challenge of life is this…

We think, therefore we are, right?

But, our minds only go so far, and no farther. In answer to questions, our minds generate more questions.

Contrary to the Scholastics and the Catholics and Protestants who enslave their minds too much to the Scholastics, we can’t prove that there is a God. The Scholastics “proofs” self-destruct.

So, the question – Is there a Maker there on the other side of the darkness? – remains.

If one talks to the darkness – “Maker, if you’re there, please talk to me!” – then faith will come. It really does.

But it’s a mystical answer. (Beware of discounting the mystical as such. The great challange of life is, Should I place my plight in the hands of the mystical, and of a conscience that only whispers “give, give”? Or, Should I place my plight in the hands of what I can feel – grabbing pleasure and avoiding pain, and flesh that only whispers “take, take”?)

If you want to see intellectual proof, you might enjoy dedicating yourself to understanding Bible typology.

I used to teach it in another website, and the 4 or 5 out of 300 who actually took the trouble to learn Bible typology agreed, “He’s right. There’s something amazing in the Bible, that *must * have been put there by a God., and *can’t * have been put there by mortal man.”


#18

Darin, may I jump in??

[quote=DarinHamel]…2-Objectively no. The earier texts are much longer and more detailed that the Torah account…
[/quote]

Be careful of the assumption that the more detailed story necessarily came first.

[quote=DarinHamel]…3-Their resurrection stories are just as credible as ours. In the Koran it says the disciple stole his body. The Jew says the disciples stole the body. I personally believe he rose from the dead. But I also believe mystics all over the world have risen from the dead…
[/quote]

I don’t know what formal background you have in history, but you may want to get a book entitled “Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1” by Josh McDowell. It’s a discussion of the rules of historical evidence and an analysis of the claims of Christianity in light of those rules, and it makes a very compelling case for the uniqueness of the evidence in support of Christianity.

My formal education in history is limited to the core classes I took as an undergrad, but I’ve asked around and have heard that McDowell’s presentation of the rules is accurate. McDowell is an evangelical Protestant, which may color some of what he says; I’ve heard that there may be a similar book written from a Catholic perspective.

[quote=DarinHamel]…What I really take issue with most is original sin. We have mapped our genetic history. Why does original sin have to be the explanation for our imperfections. Calling our imperfections sins presupposes a standard of behavior that doesn’t exist outside of something that can only be established with circular reasoning.
[/quote]

First you need to establish whether or not it really is circular reasoning (I propose that it’s not).

Then deal with the question of authority: to whom, if anyone, did Jesus give the authority to teach binding doctrine on matters of faith and morals, and what did those people teach with that authority? This was the question that ultimately brought me into the Catholic Church, and the answer leads me to conclude that “because the Church says so” is the best possible answer whan faced with theological issues that I can’t fathom.

Thanks for the great thread.


#19

Hello Darin,

Why is length and detail in the earlier stories important to you?

What are your sources for these accounts of history? Who were the authors, how many people contributed to the research, who were they writing for, what are their credentials? What conclusions were they trying to support?

In my understanding, the Catholic Church has a “deposit of faith”, that having been built upon over the last 2,000 years by many people (under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit) has the “fullness of truth”. No one person has that full understanding of the truth by themselves.

Paraphrasing Caryll Houselander: Truth would be a small and petty thing if it could find it the mind of one individual.


#20

Hello Darin & All,

I see you’ve went offline, I hope you come back to this thread. Most of all because I want to thank you for starting it - the replies you have been getting are the kind of thing I come here for. (excuse the bad grammar).

Also, I wanted to say I’ve had similar thoughts to yours. I’ve looked for God in history, I’ve looked for God in science (astronomy, particle physics - wow! - but they still have questions on how everything actually exists), but I’m now also looking for God in my life - my everyday life, and the people around me. Please pray for me. I’m praying for you.

Respects.


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