Losing faith- need help to know where to research answers!

Some friends have offered to help me in my ‘quest’ to find God. There are certain points I need to know:
That there is a God (I wish to respect atheists but no longer ‘wobble’ over whether they are correct or no)
That He is infinite/endless in quality* (despite what one scientist friend of mine says!)
That *ALL things reflect Him and that all loves, thereby, are fulfilled endlessly by His being (a disputed point: some believe all things (ducks, Dracula, fried rice, ANYTHING) reflect part of Him in so much as they exist (evil is negation of goodness not creation in itself), whilst others believe only some things reflect Him and still others believe that nothing reflects Him at all and that His goodness is seperate to the Creation’s goodness He made).

Question is, HOW to research such things? Where to look? I have personally tried listening to certain individuals viewpoints (all clashing and different) and read widely. Is there a church where these above ‘facts’ are a given? What to do?

I’m a creature of logic so, though it is a shame, ‘just praying’ and waiting for answers won’t work…If I get answers that way, I’d doubt my own inclination they are from God, as it’s easy to delude oneself.

(*One thing I don’t get, is I love Boethus’s idea man is only fully satisfied when He has nothing left to have or yearn for. But I don’t understand it in the context that we only get a ‘bit’ of God in the end, being finite ourselves. Almost seems to defeat the point of having an ‘infinite yearning’. How to find a way around that?)
(*and I mean all! That is part of the research that I need to do- I need to research an aspect of the faith that is open-minded to the idea all things reflect Him. It’s hard to tell when a theologian genuinely means ‘all’…How to tell?)

I know all of this is a big ask, but I’ve been losing my faith and it’s crunch time- I need definite answers and, as my friends propose to help me, we need something definite to chase or this mission of ours is going to be for nothing and we’ll just wind up with a million different uncohesive ideas. Which is essentially where I am now. When you simply cannot say anything at all about God without doubt, it’s a problem…

Aquinas answers many of the questions you pose. Have you looked into him at all? Boethius is a good and inspiring figure in history, and his works provide a foundation to many other philosophers and theologians, such as Aquinas, but Aquinas brings so much together, considers so many different views. He is truly wonderful to study once you get a grasp of his basic Aristotelian background assumptions.

God bless,
Ut

Have you ever considered becoming Catholic, why don’t you put these questions to a Catholic priest and not your lay friends who might not be so totally as informed, and take it from there.

God Bless and walk with the Lord.

If it is logical, learned explanations you want, then, as Ut says below, Thomas Aquinas is your man. Difficult study though, you just can’t sit down and read him like a novel, it takes real application. But perhaps it will come to easier to you than to most. Start with Part 1 of his Summa Theologiae.

newadvent.org/summa/1.htm

Many people get a lot out Augustine’s Confessions.

Then there is the Catechism of the Catholic Church which you can access from the bottom of this page. Sure it is based on Divine Revelation, but throughout you will be given reasons for faith. And in the end, a completer understanding of who God is can only be had by accepting Divine Revelation as transmitted through the Catholic Church. And yes, the Catholic Church does hold all the favorable convictions you mentined.

Linus2nd

I would suggest you read a book by Ronald Rolheiser – years ago when I was pretty “down” – my husband had passed away – my children all lived far away – I made a one-day retreat at a local retreat center on the “Eucharist” by Fr. Rolheiser – he was SO inspiring I made a promise to myself that I would go to Mass every day to receive the Eucharist – I was able to do that until recently when I was getting too old to drive and donated my car to a local charity – so it makes it harder to get to Mass every day.

Hello, …good news here. Yes there are answers to all of your questions, because God does exist. He is real.
The Bible says “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

Romans 1:20
The Bible also says that “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

‘Things that have been made,’ - this includes all nature, the animals, the heavens, the earth, the universe,…’

The bible says that by the things that have been made that we can see, we become aware of the knowledge of the things we cannot see.

“All nature declares the Glory of the Lord.”

Read your bible, pray before you do, asking for help, talk to the Holy Spirit directly and ask Him to make you aware of God.

Start with the book of John, in the Bible. Read your bible out loud, so you can hear
it aloud.
Don’t despise small beginnings, another Bible quote, keep on reading, and praying,…over a period of time.

What I have said is a place to start. Philosophy is really not a way to start with God. You need to obtain faith to start with the things of God, (yes there are some proofs in the Bible and outside of it, but you need to start with the way to obtain some faith, and the Bible says that Faith comes by hearing the Words of God- the Bible is the Word of God, inspired to many diff. men who recorded it, wrote it down, however, the Bible is a supernatural book in many ways that can also be proven.

Nature and creation declares the Glory of God, so take many walks in nature, and enjoy it, look it over, think about what you are seeing, think about the animals,…walk through the zoo,…drive in the country, at diff. times of the day and night,…look at the stars,…see all the different sunsets,…do an internet search on nature, the animals,…
the beauty places on the earth. Look at lots of photographs of the beauty of the earth.

“All creation declares the Glory of the Lord.” Read about the unique things about animals,
how they live, how they eat, and read about many of them. The bible says from doing so, that things that are “invisible” will be shown or taught to you, by the things Creaiton that is visible.

In other words, you will see design,…and from this your will see a designer.

I was just thinking yesterday about how neat it was that God revealed his name as the most simplest of names that says so much about himself and his existence. “I AM,” how unusual. “I Am” a message that He exists.
I read somewhere recently that names are given by someone in authority ex Parents name their children. Pet owners name their pets. So with the early idolators, the gods were named by the people. Our God’s name, ‘I Am’ is not a proper name like Ra or Apollo but revealed and exemplifies his being. So he is not owned by his creatures because he is the creator.
I just think “I Am” is genius.

I agree, He is Genius.

Wonderfully said! Truth does not, contradict truth. There can be no real conflict between faith and science or philosophy, properly understood.

Take note that for Aquinas, this is fundamental: “All creation declares the Glory of the Lord.” This is the final end of mankind - what Aquinas calls our final cause, and all creation itself.

But I agree that one should not investigate into deep philosophical matters without having a heart directed to God, his word, and a deep prayer life. I also believe that the Lord gave us the Church which gave us the Bible. Between these two sources of truth and its interpretation, you can’t go wrong.

God bless,
Ut

My Protestant friend, this book may help. It is by a Catholic, summarising a fellow Catholic’s writing. But it is also by a philosopher, summarising a philosopher’s writing.

amazon.com/A-Summa-Thomas-Aquinas/dp/089870300X

It is called “A Summa of the Summa”. By Peter Kreeft. I have not read it myself, but I’ve dabbled in the “Summa Theologica” (which this book is a summary of) and read Kreeft’s work. Kreeft is an excellent philosopher and writer, as is St. Thomas - both of sound logic, as well. Hopefully this book will help give you answers based in the authority of clear reason.

If that fails, you can try the Summa itself… newadvent.org/summa/1.htm

Well…where did the HS lead St. Paul to determine if his gospel was the gospel of Christ, definitely?

Galatians 2:2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.

And to know the Truth…from 1John 4… Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world……………6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

I just feel knowing Jesus and and The Catholic teachings and The Catholic Church…I am no scholar…No teacher of any kind. I just strive to do my best in my Catholic Faith in reading God’s Word The Bible and learning about The Saint’s teachings. Two things I do are meditation and prayer. When the Church doors are open, and I am the only one there with Jesus…just looking at Him upon the Cross…I meditate and pray. Many times I don’t say a word…I let Him open me up…He knows what I “lack” He knows my confusions, my hurts,…He knows everything about me. I PRAY for His guidance in these things. I do this same thing at home…I meditate on a picture of Jesus while I pray. I like the one where He is staring up at a corner…It’s always good to have your children see you pray,…They learn by example. but also it is good to where there is just that “alone time” between you and Him. Prayers move mountains…Don’t ever lose faith…If you do, the devil wins.

Being a “creature of logic”
Please, what is your first axiom?

I do apologize…I did not understand your reply.

Decarte’s ‘I think therefore I am.’

Nothing else can really be proved- but by extension of my axiom I have ‘faith’ that my perception of reality exists. Perhaps that is illogical but I don’t really fancy losing my sanity today.

So, yeah, as a starting point, ‘I exist’.

Thank you.

Personally, I prefer “apologetic” discussions which start with the truth of one’s own existence. I have plenty of flesh which I can pinch. :slight_smile:
I appreciate Descartes’s realization that he could think independently of his surroundings.

From the starting truth, “I exist”, which would be more helpful to you?

  1. We can continue to find truths related to one’s human existence. For example. "As an existing human being, I have rational tools. Or as an existing human being, I have innate desires for both material nourishment and intellectual nourishment. Or as an existing human being, I treasure my sanity.:slight_smile: In this manner we can continue to explore our own human nature.

  2. We can look ahead to one of the points of faith which concern you. Technically, we would reason on two different tracks. One which is the truth about ourselves and another track which we perceive as true but are not totally sure that it is true. There does come a point in time when we decide to accept something as true even when it is difficult to materially/physically prove its truth in our own material/physical environment.

I think your second premise is probably the best.
The first might unocover a deep need in people for more than the World can offer them. But, unlike my hero, CS Lewis, I would not say that this suggests there is something else for some people to have…For instance, it is natural for mankind to want sweet food- in ancient times, they were hard to come by and hence, as they can provide important energy, we evolved to value sweet foods and hence try harder to find them- that we probably desire more sweet things than we can manage is not proof that some men are designed to cope with endless sugar. it’s something that once was a healthy desire, reaching saturation.
One might say the same of ‘joy’. It was useful to desire it and not be too easily content (our growth as a species wouldn’t have got far if that weren’t the case!) but maybe that we now live in a society where it’s easier for some people to get what they want, this ‘unlimited ambition’ makes all our victories seem small and we have an unhealthy yearning for ‘nothing in particular’ as we’ve exhausted all known possibilities.

I believe I exist in a Universe that must have had an extroadinary cause and, within that Universe, I know I have certain loves I hold dear. I know they are genuine loves because I have always desired such things, though they are the opposite of what most of my peers/society love and desire. I gain nothing through loving them, except love.

  1. Read this:

reasonablefaith.org/the-new-atheism-and-five-arguments-for-god

  1. Watch a few of the video debates between William Lane Craig and various atheists here:

reasonablefaith.org/media/debates/latest

There is a lot of wisdom, gained by deep thinking, in your response. Somehow, those observations need to be worked into or alongside of the truth – I exist as a human being.

This is another truth – As a human being, I exist in an Universe that had an extraordinary cause. No matter what the extraordinary cause is, there is the evidence of the extraordinary human species which only an extraordinary cause could have caused. This does sound close to tongue twisters such as Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.:stuck_out_tongue:

I do recognize that I keep shifting the wording of the first axiom about personal existence and will probably do so with the above truth about the Universe. I do think it is important to include what you are which is one extraordinary human being. Do you have a preference?

Knowing about oneself is important. I am curious about the genuine loves you hold dear; however, I consider those things in the personal or private category. Perhaps the basic truth is – as a human being, I am capable of loving and receiving love. Now puppies can “love” us. But there is an essential difference between our loving and a puppy licking our hands.

In my humble opinion, by holding a mirror to our own nature, we can find both the tools for and the reason for seeking God. We can answer most of your opening post.

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