Hi everyone. My question comes as I’m seeming to lose faith in God’s existence. I struggle with the idea of God a lot. I’ve grown up Catholic my entire life. I’ve truly believed that we were created by God who also created all things. I struggle with depression/anxiety and have asked God to take away these ailments. I’ve prayed and prayed and God has not done so. I also have low self esteem, so I don’t give myself credit for any progress I make, usually saying God has helped me. But what if he hasn’t? What if it’s me making progress and me alone? My mother also had cancer. I prayed and prayed and she underwent treatment and is cancer free! I’ve given credit to God and the wonderful doctors all these years. But what if it was just the wonderful doctors who made her better? Also those starving in third world countries. They probably pray and pray, yet hundreds if not thousands die everyday. I can go on and on with almost endless examples of God’s silence, even to good, holy people. You read in the bible about God doing all these miracles and helping so many people, even unworthy ones, but why has he stopped? It does not seem like God performs miracles or even simple favors anymore. And most “miracles” do seem to have human explanation to them. I want to believe in God, I really do. But almost everything suggests he does not exist. Even Stephen Hawking said it is very unlikely there is a God. Thoughts?
God doesn’t always work when we want him to. I just endured an epic battle in my faith life and wanted to leave the Church and give up because I felt like God wasn’t there for me anymore. I thought I would never escape all of these hardships, but I got confirmed last Saturday despite everything. God plans so ahead of time that he knows everything that will happen to you. He wants you to rely on him and wants you to give all of it to him. Every messy problem, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
One thing I have seen online that helped me is that a teacher is always silent during a test. Perhaps God is testing your faith and wants to see how you endure under hard situations. Maybe the devil is trying to take you away from God and beat you down with anxiety and doubts. I know so many people say this, but God really does love you. You’re His child and wants to see you happy. I have found myself screaming at God a couple times, wondering about this or that. He loves you for every messy thing about you and will never give up on you. He doesn’t care what you’ve done, he just wants to love you and see you happy as the person he created you to be.
I will be praying for you!!
Please remember that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. I’m not saying there is no evidence for God, but I am saying that just because God is silent doesn’t mean he’s not there.
It is perfectly normal that you are experiencing doubt, so please do not beat yourself up over this. You are embracing your doubts and accepting that that’s what’s happening, and that’s good! Keep doing that. Everyone doubts, including atheists. “What if” questions seem to be part of human nature.
To be clear, is your main reason for doubting unanswered prayer?
I’ve struggled with anxiety too. I would strongly recommend reading C.S. Lewis’s book “Mere Christianity” it is a very good answer to your questions. The best you wouldn’t have to read the whole book as I believe Lewis answers many of your questions in the first 3 chapters.
As far as prayers and blessing; we all must remember we are not entitled to anything and God didn’t promise a happy-ever after anything. I’m not saying that’s what you wrote (you didn’t ) but as someone that did suffer through anxiety; I myself would seem to spiral more downward if something seemed to not go as expected or even prayed for ( rosaries, adoration, masses etc…). But for me the promise of God’s love and care was more apparent not in anything material but in the manifested love from family, friends, and now wife and children. If lacking in the family or friends department (I was) I was lead to a great area with great people that have grew in great friendships.
As far as miracles, God still allows miracles. In the NT when the Jewish priest also demanded miracles from Jesus, Jesus responded that He already did miracles and they didn’t believe what else could He do that would make them believe. Today if a miracle happens most people look for natural explanations to explain those miracles. Which natural means may have occurred to bring about something miraculous but that still wouldn’t answer the “why” it happened, it would only explain the “how”.
When you write “almost everything suggest he does not exist” what can you cite as an example?
In a way, yes. It seems like God won’t answer my prayers, or the prayers of others. Sure we’re told to give him thanks and praise, but for what exactly? I don’t even mean to sound aggressive or angry I just truly wish to know.
It’s okay to be angry, even at God, so long as it’s only anger and not resentment. Anger is a natural human emotion. Don’t worry, I know what it’s like to doubt. I’ve doubted before due to unanswered prayers.
Have you read the book of Job in the Old Testament?
Yes I’ve thought about this. But another thing I’ve been frustrated with is the fact that the devil gets to tempt us and send us hardships SO EASILY, yet we don’t find God’s grace even when we look our best to find it. It says in scripture that Good always triumphs evil, yet it seems like the devil has more easy access to us than God does.
Thank you, by the way!
There is a plethora of information here:
Also, Bishop Robert Barron showed in a youtube video recently;
the errors in Stephan Hawkins philosophical arguments.
For one thing, nothing means nothing, it is an immense dishonesty
to define the word to mean something.
If you truly study all the free material at Credible Catholic; much scientific;
besides the philosophical & metaphysics & theology.
Peace and prayers for a good objective discernment.
I like to think this. But how do we know it’s God’s love working? What if it’s genuine love from good family, friends, wife, and children? Why do we plaster God’s name on this? Not that its impossible that God is involved, but it seems like we give him credit for us/others being good people. Hope this makes sense.
I’m not going to act like I have a list of things to cite, because I don’t, but it seems like the most intelligent people in the world concluded that God does not exist. Stephen Hawking, for example. Of course, he could be wrong, but I know there are others who doubt God’s existence.
I know, but it’s very frustrating and I _almost _ resent him. “If He even exists,” I think. Yes, I’ve read about how Job suffers and suffers and still praises God. I have a hard time in believing in the bible as well. Many of the stories, sound like fairy tales, if I’m honest: ex: Noah’s ark. I know we are to believe in the bible, but it’s just what the church tells us to do. It’s almost like for every doubt, the church has an answer that keeps them in power. I’m not saying the church is just wanting power, but it does seem very institutionalized, and that the church threatens that people will go to hell if they don’t live according to their way. If it wasn’t the church, this would be a tactic to gain power if used in any other institution. I hope this makes sense.
I think you may be missing the point. Even if they are just stories, they’re stories with a purpose. Even if the events with Job didn’t actually happen (I believe they did at least to some extent), the story is told for the purpose of explaining to us that, for one, not all bad times are punishments, and two, if we persevere even when God is silent, we will be rewarded.
If you feel that the Church is threatening anyone with Hell, I’m sorry you got that impression. Personally, I’ve always seen the Church as calling people to healing, not as using threats.
I understand your concerns, but I guess I don’t really have answers.
I truly appreciate you trying to explain. I dunno I guess I just get the impression of what ifs when it comes to church. Although i want to believe, I hear about the sexual scandals. I don’t base the whole religion on the sins of these priests, but it seems like, “what if the church was man made and was just a way to gain power over the people who generally donate money and such?” I do want to believe, but I’m finding it harder and harder as time goes on.
There are always what ifs. Hypothetically anything is possible.
To be totally honest no one knows what will happen when one dies, no one. Not one religion nor one person. Anyone who says they do is obviously selling you something. Obviously I have become more agnostic as I’ve gotten older but have realize that life is really short and we are all brothers and sisters on this little blue Speck so be kind and love one another thy neighbor and thine enemy.
I’ve thought about this deeply as well. I feel like we can try our best to be good to one another, but I almost wish there was a way to know God is there: to know that our life has purpose and that we aren’t so “disposable.” The thought of no God makes me sad yet its hard to trust the church when it tells you to believe a, b, and c but not provide evidence of God. Just “have faith”
Blind faith can be very dangerous when misguided, which happens most of the time. I’m extremely terrified of dying, but know that tomorrow is promised to no one, so believe in peace and love.
There is evidence. The Church has never taught blind faith. How much apologetics have you gotten into?
Anyway, if it’s worth anything, I admit that I am not absolutely certain either. I have faith that my religion is correct, so I say that I “know” what happens after death (i.e. I am confident that there is an afterlife based on our acceptance or rejection of Jesus), but I cannot know with absolute certainty.
What evidence if you don’t mind me asking? I’m not challenging you or anything but I just want to find some sort of conviction. I don’t know how true it is, or how familiar you are with the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe? Well I’ve heard that after she appeared to him and his cloak had the picture of her upon it, I’ve heard it is somewhere in Mexico and scientists have done tests on it. Apparently they can’t fathom how it has lasted to this day. It’s a story I’ve heard along with others. Like one of the holy eucharist, “host” being covered in blood to a priest who didn’t truly believe. I don’t know if these stories are true, but just some food for thought.
Well, where would you like me to start? There is evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, then there’s evidence that Jesus founded a particular Church, and there’s evidence that it was the Catholic Church, and so on.
Note, however, that just because there is evidence doesn’t necessarily mean you will be convinced. Similarly, just because you may not be convinced doesn’t mean there is no evidence.