Needing help to know the truth

Hi, I’m new to the forums. I did send this to the “ask an Apologist” but my post is either too stupidly long and complicated to answer for someone else, or they haven’t got to it yet. I’ll try to keep this as short as I can… I was Christened as a baby but besides the commercialized holidays I had no religious influence growing up. I never had a sense of “faith”. A couple of years ago I was friends with an atheist. He made a good logical argument against religion (usually during angry rants) and convinced me that there is no God, religion is false and written/made by man and that life only has the purpose that we give it. My mind accepted it because there was no way around his arguments but it made me a very angry person. After a couple weeks I started to no longer fully believe/accept atheism and went back to feeling lost. I have also practiced Wicca but it wasn’t enough for me. I have struggled with depression and frustration about life for a long time. The atheism exacerbated my bad feelings - sadness, hopelessness, feeling lost in life. I have struggled with deep depression for close to four years. Over a year ago I met a new coworker who has a strong Christian faith. I still struggle with the concept of having faith. How do you believe and trust something when you can’t know? I want to believe. If the Bible is the truth then it would be great and I feel that it would help me to recover my happiness. I have been looking into Christianity recently and though I was supposed to be Anglican I was persuaded and now believe Catholicism is the true original form from the Bible. The days that I have been looking into this has made me happier and when I feel I have belief and this (the Bible) could be true it makes things brighter. It’s like my soul feels more healed than it ever has been. The problem I have is my doubt comes back, telling me that life is hopeless, meaningless, I am a waste of space, it is all bad. Telling me that this good thing can’t be true, people are just gullible. I have watched videos and documentaries that say that the Bible was only written by men as a way to control people and that Jesus was not the son of God, that they altered the texts to make it that way to make their religion the important one when others were emerging and disintegrating at that time. If they altered the words or made them up it wouldn’t be true and I don’t want to fall for a lie, how would I know what is true? I think they said they picked and chose texts and left others out that have been found, why? That men got together around 5AD to
“make” the Bible as they wanted it. How do I know if the Bible is true? I want for it to be true so badly, it’s upsetting. I want to believe but can’t force myself wholly to devote myself to something that I don’t know to trust and have usually been told is a lie. This is all about wanting to know the truth about existence and I’m skeptical because of all I heard prior. If it’s true I want to save my soul and change my life. Please help me to believe and have faith. If the bible and Catholicism is true please convince me. I feel awful and lost :frowning: sorry for such a long post.

John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

This verse comes to my mind when I read your post. Hold on to the hope you had when you decided to give Christianity a try and pray that God will show you he is with you and loves you. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are very real and want you to believe.

The Holy Catholic Church is the Church founded by Jesus. Trust in it. Talk to Catholics and join the RCIA classes at your local Parish. This will answer so many of your questions and will help you tremendously in your faith formation.

You are in my prayers.

May the Lord and His peace be with you while you’re finding your way.

What you describe sounds more like depression than like a theological issue, and I have met more than one person for whom hope (and thus faith) was impossible until they got their depression dealt to. On that basis, I would suggest seeing someone about getting that side of things sorted out, so that you do not have this condition always colouring everything bad.

Once that is done, the historical fact is that there is no way to prove or disprove the Bible, but our best evidence is that it was written by people who believed it to be true. Subsequent generations trusted them, and some still do.

Think about it…

Things that come from God are lasting and are eternal…The things not from God dies away like a fad because they bring false hopes and false dreams and they soon die… Kind of like what you’ve experienced on your journey…

The bible and the Church been in existence for almost 2,000 years and has changed millions of lives for the better because of it ever since so we see Christianity as something that brings goodness into our world which originates from God… If the bible and the Church were farces, it wouldn’t have this powerful affect on so many…Think of all the religious who have dedicated their entire lives for the purpose of Serving God and His Church… This IS the real deal you can count on it… But don’t take my word for it, pray to God, visit Jesus in the blessed sacrament chapel in your area and see how life Changing God can be as you become open to learning more about God… I could simplify it by telling you to ask, seek and ye shall find… Keep asking as you already have here till you have felt Gods presence in your life. I already think you have to some extent…:)…

Well if Catholicism, and thus the Bible, is false why would Saints Peter, and Paul, along with so many other martyrs die because they refused to renounce God?

May God lead you to Truth

I grew up a protestant, and battled depression and all that. Why? Because I always got a sense of not being good enough. If I had any problems, it meant that I wasn’t really a Christian. After all, didn’t Christ come to give us an “abundant life”? There were many other things that caused problems over the years, and they just compounded with the problems I already had. I still struggle with depression and my other problems, but that doesn’t mean anything. God is still real, He still loves me and Christ died to save me all the same. I’m no worse off than anyone else in His eyes. I am still His child.

To be honest, I explored wicca myself for awhile. But God dealt with that quick enough. Despite my doubts, I can’t not trust God. If He isn’t real, then life makes no sense. Life isn’t all about what we put into it, or get out of it. God is life, and love. Even during the times when I hate myself and my miserable life, I have to trust that God has a greater purpose for me. What that is, I may not know of in this life. But I have to go on trusting Him, for outside of Him is nothing.

My suggestion is to disassociate yourself from those who seek to tear down others’ belief systems. As Catholics we are living pieces of history in the universal Church with revered dogmas, traditions, and saints to back us up. Scripture exhorts us to focus on the good. Before reading the Bible make sure to petition for the assistance of the Holy Spirit. I recommend especially Psalms and Proverbs for when you are just randomly going through pages as we all do sometimes.

To some extent, Christianity is experiential - You have to “experience” the faith to understand the Bible and to “grow” in the faith.

Which begs the question: What kind of experience? What do I “do” to grow in the faith?

1.) Daily Mass, for starters.

If you want a life-changing spiritual experience, find a local traditional Catholic church that holds the Latin Mass every day. There is usually one or two such churches in most large metropolitan areas of the country.

Dedicate yourself to attending Mass every single day of the week for the next 90 days, and the changes you will see in your beliefs, your spirituality, and your attitude will astound you.

Sit in the front row, pay attention. Catholic saints attended daily Mass. If you really want to understand Catholicism, you have to gain the fortitude and dedication to attend Mass daily.

2.) Buy and use a Roman Missal.

If you attend the Latin Mass, you will need a good Roman Missal. The St. Andrew’s Missal is one of the most complete, though Baronius Press and other publishers have excellent Roman Missals as well. This is a great resource to keep pace with the daily Mass readings, and to better understand the faith and liturgical cycle of the year.

The Novus Ordo Mass has a Roman Missal as well. Since you will be going to Mass every day, you will want to have a Missal.

2.) Daily Family Rosary.

Buy yourself a sturdy Benedictine Rosary and then say the Rosary every day, preferably in Latin. If you can muster 3 Rosaries per day, more power to you. Aside from daily Mass, the Rosary is one of the most powerful spiritual tools for growing one’s faith, and thoroughly Catholic.

3.) Daily spiritual reading.

Start a personal library of great Catholic books. Start by picking up a copy of the Douay-Rheims Bible with Haydock Commentary. Get a good set of Butler’s Lives of the Saints, the single volume, “Christian Prayer” or a full set of the 4 volume Liturgy of the Hours, “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas Kempis, and the Rule of St. Benedict for starters.

Read daily.

4.) Listen to Gregorian Chant.

Purchase Into Great Silence: Office of the Night by the Grand Chartreuse, as well as several CD’s on Gregorian Chant by The Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos. Start expanding your Gregorian Chant collection over time.

Instead of listening to rock music or news commentary in your car, listen to Gregorian chant.

If you do these 4 actions above, and start to absorb the “experiential” side of Catholicism, you will only grow in the faith.

**Blessed Mother, please intercede for us.
Hold the sorrowful, strengthen the fearful,
mother and love the weary, abused, neglected
or forgotten among us,
give your aid to all needing help or healing,
assist those who are sick, in pain or suffering,
be with those needing peace,
console the lonely or brokenhearted,
comfort the lost or hopeless,
guard the unborn,
pray for those who are dying or who have died,
soften those with hardened hearts,
enlighten those who do not yet see truth,
help us be brave enough to let our hurt and anger go,
show us the way to do the right thing,
protect those who are in danger,
and guide us from every evil.
May all who keep your sacred commemoration
experience the might of your assistance.
Amen :gopray2: **

About 8 years ago, I could have written much of what you post here.

What helped me take the “leap of faith” – or more accurately the “leap into faith” – was my intellect. That may sound counter-intuitive, but the Catholic faith can be researched like a historian.

In fact, some of the questions you raise – about whether or not the scriptures were changed over the years, about what texts were left out of the Bible, etc. – were some of the same questions I had. Those who make the claim that scriptures were altered over the centuries, for example, have no evidence for that claim. In fact, if you do some research with reliable sources, you will find that there are incredibly few changes in the scriptures over the centuries, especially given the fact that they were all hand copied until the invention of the printing press!

You can also look into the writings of the early Church Fathers, like Irenaeus, who talk not only about the teachings of the early Church, but also about the beliefs (heresies) that were being rejected by the early Church. The dating of these writings have been agreed upon by scholars (non-Catholic as well as Catholic) for centuries. You can cross-reference their writings with the scriptures that were included in the Bible in the Council of Trent.

My goodness, I just don’t have the time or brain power at this hour to get into to more on this, but there is so much more I could say! Have no fear in searching for evidence in trusting the writings of Holy Scripture. But you do need to the research and the reading if you want to find that evidence. There is a lot of nonsense out there, so do choose your sources carefully. Personally, I always look at the bibliography of any book/article to help assess its value. Some books will posit all kinds of ridiculous theories…and then there are no actual sources for their theories – in other words, their theories are all opinions. Other books/articles will have bibliographies filled with opinion pieces, rather than primary sources.

Whenever possible, look for primary sources – Church Fathers, early historians, etc.

Check out this article from the Catholic Encyclopedia on NewAdvent.org. It may give you a starting place to help you find answers to your questions. You can also read the Church Fathers’ writings on New Advent :thumbsup:

You will be in my prayers, and God bless you!

Gertie

Amen.

Attending Daily Mass is a beautiful practice, however one must wait until one is Catholic to receive the Holy Eucharist.

It’s quite simple for me really, Eucharistic miracles. They happen. All the other stuff becomes meaningless when over and again these miracles happen and they all say the same thing: that the Eucharist is exactly what the Church says it is.

catholiceternaltruth.com/2013/04/Eucharisticmiracle.html

On October 5, 1999, in the presence of the Cardinal’s representatives, Dr. Castanon took a sample of the bloody fragment and sent it to New York for analysis. Since he did not wish to prejudice the study, he purposely did not inform the team of scientists of its provenance(the source of sample was kept secret to the scientists). One of these scientists was Dr. Frederic Zugiba, the well-known cardiologist and forensic pathologist. He determined that the analyzed substance was real flesh and blood containing human DNA. Zugiba testified that, “the analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle close to the valves. This muscle is responsible for the contraction of the heart. It should be borne in mind that the left cardiac ventricle pumps blood to all parts of the body. The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white blood cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken. It is my contention that the heart was alive, since white blood cells die outside a living organism. They require a living organism to sustain them. Thus, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken. What is more, these white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest.”

Then Doctor Ricardo Castanon Gomez arranged to have the lab reports from the Buenos Aires miracle compared to the lab reports from the Lanciano miracle, again without revealing the origin of the test samples. The experts making the comparison concluded that the two lab reports must have originated from test samples obtained from the same person. They further reported that both samples revealed an “AB” positive blood type. They are all characteristic of a man who was born and lived in the Middle East region.

Christ said, “I am the way; I am truth and life; nobody can come to the Father, except through me.” There are two kinds of truth: truth in God and truth in man. We follow here truth in God, which is absolute. He is unchangeable. If He thinks green, it is as we understand and sense it, green. Consult Chad Ripperger, FSSP. He teaches traditional Catholic doctrine. It’s not that modern Catholicism is necessarily bad, but confusing, especially for a new beginner. He’s at catholicaudio.blogspot.com/2007/08/talks-by-fr-chad-ripperger-fssp.html. I download all his talks and access it through my iPod. Hope this helps.

After this life there is immortality. We take with us only good and bad virtues and sanctifying graces with us, and they are frozen and ready for judgment. ( A second judgment, called general judgment, occurs at the end of the world.) We can neither add nor subtract from any good or bad. That’s it for eternity. So, you are absolutely correct to worry about life NOW, when one has time to change.

Hope this helps!

Tom

It’s a perfectly reasonable question. And you can know. But you can’t start with knowledge.

Please focus on the word know - and what that means. Think about the things that you really know. Knowledge is power. The things we really understand we have power and control over.

But God is transcendent to us. It is not possible for us to know him and thus have power over him and control him the way your atheist friend requires up front.

You will come to know him, but it has to start with faith. There is no other way.

But keep in mind you are in good company.

The best scientific minds in the world first had to have faith that there WAS an answer out there. They they could go find it. Even your atheist friend uses faith all the time.

All young people must have faith that what they are learning will help them in the future.

All people who have a relationship with a personal God (known as Jesus) started with faith.

As Einstein said, Knowledge is experience.

You can’t start out with that knowledge.

Thank you all for your helpful and kind replies, they answered some of my worries. I will do more research for the others. Thank you again! :slight_smile:

Keep studying, keep seeking the truth, pray when you’re able. God will answer-you’re faith will increase-because He’s there! And the Catholic Church’s faith isn’t based strictly on the bible- she’s been teaching the same gospel since the beginning of Christianity- before a word of the New Testament was written.

Could you actually be depressed or suffer from anxiety?
If this is the case, negative thoughts may continue to undermine your attempts to pull out.
I would think that the good advice you have received, should help.
If it does not, why not speak to your doctor.
Just sayin’ to cover all the bases.

Hi StickOfRock :slight_smile:

If you like StickOfRock, I have quoted an extract out of Timothy Keller’s book “Reason for belief” on the Historical Accuracy of the Gospels that I believe may help you -

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

I would also like to encourage you to continue with spiritual reading, especially with the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (and I would also like to suggest the Diary of St. Faustina too if you are able to) I believe you will come to see the truth, as Jesus say’s *“Wisdom is vindicated by all her children” *How many things we know are true simply because ‘they work’ because ‘they make sense’? In fact, everything we ‘know’ is based on that. In the same way, we know it to be true most of all because of the fruits His word produces in us.

As C.S. Lewis once said “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

It’s unfortunate that some people, instead of listening to what is becing said, they will listen instead to who is doing the talking, this is why I believe the proud will never find Christ, the truth.

An Apologist named John Lennox put it really well I believe when he said “Be careful not to confuse scientific statements with statements by scientists.”

I hope you don’t mind if I share with you a few small apologietic pieces I have come accross that I have enjoyed.

I believe without God, the words true or false simply become meaningless, so the question I ask the atheist, is if there is no God, why do you believe it to be true?

I believe to follow the concept of a purely material universe to it’s logical conclusion, pulls the rug out from under the New Atheists. As John Lennox say’s, If as they claim, there is nothing in the universe except matter and energy, some of which blindly and randomly evolved into the human mind, then how can we rely on our minds in the first place to arrive at this conclusion? Our minds are themselves, according to this Darwinian view, mere random purposeless movements of atoms, unable to recognise truth, or beauty, or goodness, to know anything, or to do science for that matter.

And yet other scientists of undisputed intellectual stature with diametrically opposed views concur that, ‘The reason why what is in my little mind can understand a bit of what is out there is because both of them are traceable back to the same grand designer.’

C.S. Lewis I believe also explains it very well.

*“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.” *- C.S. Lewis

The theory that thought is merely a movement in the brain is, in my opinion, nonsense; for if so, that theory itself would be merely a movement, an event among atoms, which may have speed and direction but of which it would be meaningless to use the words ‘true’ or ‘false’. C.S. Lewis

And I believe John Lennox also explains it well.

*The very fact that we do science, means we believe that the universe is rationally intelligible. Why does a scientist believe it is rationally intelligible? Atheism tells us that the human mind is the human brain and it’s the end product of a mindless unguided process, why should I believe anything it tells me if that’s the case? Whereas theism tells me that there is intelligence behind the universe and behind the human mind which fits perfectly with science.

In fact the rise of science in the 16th and 17th century came about because people expected law in nature, because they believed in the Law giver (God). So science and faith in God fit perfectly together.* - John Lennox

Thus I believe it’s not science and theism that are in conflict as most atheists like to claim, but actually science and atheism that are in conflict, because atheism cannot trust the cognitive faculties we use to do science, as C.S. Lewis say’s atheism and science is like expecting the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.

Thus I believe by denying God, the honest skeptic becomes skeptical of his skepticism.

Please continue to next post -

I also like this quote from C.S. Lewis -

And this one by John Lennox regarding the ‘God of the Gaps’ idea, as if God is an explanation for what we can’t explain yet -

Please continue to next post -

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