Hello everyone. Before I begin, let me describe myself in order for you to get a better understanding of my predicament. I am a high school senior guy with everything going right for me on the surface. I have great grades, am well liked by peers and teachers, and am involved in several sports. My family and I are practicing Catholics. However, over the past couple years I feel as though I have slide into spiritual confusion. I used to be very confident in the teachings of the church and had a firm understanding of who I was and what my place in the world was. Nowadays, I cannot get the idea of doubting everything out of my mind. My questions range from the classic “Is there a God” to questioning specific doctrines of the church to questioning reality itself. All of this has made me feel like a shell of myself and hypocritical because of the confident way I project myself in the outside world. Is there any way to get back onto firmer footing and to regain the confidence in God and the church again? I apologize pre-emptively if the question is a little vague, but that is the nature of my dilemma- vague and confusing.
You are at an important age when questions and doubts like these naturally arise.
It is important to question things because this helps you learn the reasons for them. But two things are important to remember with this: (1) follow through with your questioning so that you reach the truth about it; (2) let the teaching of the Church be your primary guide.
If an idea or practice is contrary to teachings of the Church, then you know the right answer for it, even if you don’t yet know the reasons why…find the reasons, but don’t go against Church teaching.
I can’t help you with your spiritual confusion. But I can assure you, as an agnostic with a degree in philosophy, the teachings of the Chuch isn’t absurd or obviously wrong. One can be a Catholic and be on good philosophic ground even if I don’t agree with their arguments.
Just remember - every argument in philosophy has counter arguments. No argument is solid and unquestionable. Even the arguments about religion that move me have serious problems that a theist could attack. So don’t feel absolutely lost. Study. Learn about the subjects that you have doubts in. I think you’ll find the peace you want.
Doubting is of course the only sure way to find the truth after reasoning. Confusion is unavoidable until you know the truth. Good luck with your journey toward the truth.
The same thing happened to me. I even put off receiving Confirmation for a year, but decided to get Confirmed before going to college. I grew up thinking I didn’t really need the church, and could just pray at home, but now I’ve learned so much more about it, and have stronger faith than ever before. I had never actually even read the bible (besides hearing the readings at mass), but now I’ve almost read the entire Old Testament. I would look up things I didn’t understand and always found amazing answers on this website. One day when I was scanning the radio, I found a Catholic radio station called Stations of the Cross, and now it’s all I listen to in my car. On the Catholic Answers Live Segment, Trent Horn always gave such logical answers. There is so much to learn about our faith, you just have to never stop exploring it.
Well, what’s you moral life like, might I ask? Sometimes our sins begin to obscure our faith when we indulge in them. It’s important for young men as well as anyone to stay away from sexual immorality. And being a teenage guy, that can be a hard thing. Make sure you keep going to confession. And keep yourself pure sexually. Just some advice that might help. There are of course many aspects to consider when addressing your concern.
Don’t allow yourself to believe that something we are required to believe is impossible. Just in addition to what has already been posted.
I almost didn’t get confirmed either. Doubt is not necessarily a bad thing. But you need to push through to the other side at some point.
Take this for what it’s worth, I’m going to recommend two books–
Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft
Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
Questioning is a good thing–it makes you dig deep and clarify the doubts in your mind.
Be at peace, I’m For you!
Hey everyone. Thanks so much for the feedback and prayers. This was my first post on Catholic Answers as I created an account specifically to ask this question. The response is exactly was what I was hoping for, and I’m feeling more confident already. That being said, allow me to ask a follow up question. Like I said, recently I’ve been plagued by radical doubt of everything. Is it possible to believe in God and be part of the church yet at the same time being cognizant that there is the possibility it could all be a deception? Also, thank you @0Scarlett_nidiyilii for the book recommendations. You can be sure that I will check them out. And @Mavzylor, thanks for the info about Trent Horn. I will check him out as well.
Seasons of doubt can strike a person at any time. It’s all part of having a mind and having intellectual curiosity.
it sounds as if you are overly confident with yourself.
1 Corinthians 10:12
"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
One question I have … Are you ‘sure’ that you are well liked by them all?
Do you think that they find you almost ‘perfect’?
Do you find yourself to be almost ‘perfect’ and almost ‘perfect’ without God in your life?
If you do, you are not the only one that feels and thinks that way about self… That ‘way’ is becoming predominate with youths today.
That is why they have a very difficult time getting ‘out of the way’ of others. They are beginning to expect that others get out of their way despite the fact that the others are senior aged.
But like you said, these persons are well liked by peers, teachers, and dress nice and are clean kept and well groomed…
They’re not as ‘thugs’, per say, to have need to be afraid of but they show worse cases of disrespect and not acknowledging respect. They don’t even acknowledge you are there.
They will even run head on into you because you are that not acknowledgeable.
Of course looking at this from the Biblical point of view, it would be more easily understood. Them having a very high regard to self without God would mean that they are somewhat pretty ‘low’ on the ladder leading upward.
But remember that each person, in their level, has great possibilities if they allow God to work with them on the level they are on… They can reach many persons others might not be able to reach.
So as long as there IS a Ladder, there are going to be persons on each ‘level’… And maybe a certain person on a certain level can help the others on that level or surrounding levels learn about respect and others towards the other ‘levels’. Both upward and downward and for themselves.
Remember… You’re a Senior in High School… One day, even another generation, another person will be sitting in your seat in the high school you are attending now.
Sometimes the student becomes a teacher in their High School Alma Mater and watches new students occupy their own seat year after year.
Prying into someone’s moral life is just rude, if not wrong.
The young man should find a good priest to talk to. These things are normal. Best wishes, little brother.
I don’t understand where this hostility is coming from @daverod. I was merely trying to give a quick background of my life in order to help readers understand me. You grossly misstated what I said and turned it into an exaggerated personal rant. I am not overconfident of myself. If anything, my post shows my humility in that I seek to learn more about God and need help from others. Please learn to keep your opinions relevant and respectful. Good day.
You will also run in to posts like these on this forum or worse, but don’t be discouraged.
Thanks @Mavzylor. I was so confused as everyone else has been so helpful. I don’t know if u saw my follow up question, so I’ll just repost it. Basically, is it allowed in the catholic church to live life believing in God and following the church but doing so because your faith in God is an educated guess? As in realizing that there is a chance that everything I know could be wrong. It’s kind of like a variant on Pascal’s wager.
It is only natural to experience doubt at times, but I don’t really have the answer as to what extent is acceptable while practicing. Looking back, I still have the same questions. Is it wrong that I received the Eucharist while struggling with the doubt that it is actually the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ? I didn’t fully believe in the Transubstantiation, but I kept receiving out of habit, and never asked those questions back then. I’m sure the answer is out there though. You should definitely discuss your doubts with your priest at Reconciliation and it should be helpful.
Only reason I said this is that your moral life affects your faith life. I’m not implying anything And I wasn’t insinuating anything. Take it for what it’s worth.
Don’t worry about that guy, I’ve found that many people on this forum are jerks and like to find fault with others even when it isn’t there. I’ve had a person accuse me of being angry when I wasn’t at all simply because they didn’t agree with me about something and couldn’t articulate why, which means they probably were angry themselves - so whatever you’re being accused of, the other person is probably projecting onto you to feel better about themselves. For what it’s worth, I didn’t find your post to be conceited or whatever it was that guy called you. It just seemed like a nice young man asking for some advice.
I post on this forum mainly in order to distract myself from migraine headaches and to kill time, but in my short time here I’ve found that even though there are some lovely people here, there are also many who can be unhelpful and even obnoxious, and I just hope that I don’t become one of them. Haha.
Because I haven’t been in your place, not having been born/raised Catholic and then having doubts regarding long-held beliefs, I don’t feel that I have the experience I would need to offer specific advice that would be helpful to you, so I didn’t comment on your situation specifically, but I do hope that you can find a good priest or religious to talk to that will be helpful. For what it’s worth, I know that many saints suffered from some serious doubts, so reading what they had to say and how their doubts were resolved may be helpful to you. One thing I just thought of that may be of use is to pray the Act of Faith a few times a day. God bless!
To answer this new question, I would just like to remind you that what we believe can’t be “proven” in a lab setting as it were and that so long as you do believe what the Church teaches, it’s not “wrong” or “not allowed”. Instead of worrying about that, try praying for a more lively faith. Of course there’s a “chance it could all be wrong” and that’s why we do have faith. If it could be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, we wouldn’t need faith to begin with, right?
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1