Non-practicing son doesn't make sense


#1

I am trying very hard to help my 26 tear old son come back to the Catholic faith.
He wants to debate his many issues with the Catholic Church and it’s becoming exausting trying to answer all of his objections.

I have asked him to read the Catechism and the Bible but he can’t even chose a Bible because he says he thinks that they are corrupt in their interpretations.

I think he may suffer from some mental problem like OCD because he is all over the place with his thoughts. Even if I am wrong and he’s just an eccentric genious. He still needs God in his life and I am trying so hard to help him sort things out before he falls into real trouble.

The trouble I think he is falling into is eastern practices like restricted diets, fasting and martial arts. He seems to be embracing eastern medicine and an eastern theology.

I almost think at times that he is being influenced by the devil (oppressed, I think they call it) because he doesn’t make sense to me anymore but he acts like he is making perfect sense.

I don’t know how to help him because I am so confused about what’s going on with him.


#2

From your son’s POV, I’ve been there. Let him know that although the word has been translated and re-translated multiple times, and abused by various rulers, it is still the word of God, his God if he’s still a believer. The Word is the Word no matter how you say it. The supposed knowledge from the bible should transcend how it’s written when you read it.

Certainly don’t treat him like he has OCD. Do your best to answer his questions, go to a priest or something if they get difficult.

It might be he’s coming a grand realization of his faith. If he’s coming to the conclusion it’s not real, or as he expected, i’m sure that might leave you confused and disoriented in your thinking, perhaps for a while. I would think, the best thing for you to do is encourage his questioning and point him towards the resources to his questions. Perhaps look for flaws in his logic if you think he’s wrong. People act as rationally as they can with the knowledge they have.


#3

[quote="lynx, post:2, topic:230327"]
From your son's POV, I've been there. Let him know that although the word has been translated and re-translated multiple times, and abused by various rulers, it is still the word of God, his God if he's still a believer. The Word is the Word no matter how you say it. The supposed knowledge from the bible should transcend how it's written when you read it.

[/quote]

Re-translations are quite rare, actually. Nearly every modern translation is from the original languages, Hebrew and Greek. The only books that are "re-translated" these days are the Deuterocanonicals (called Apocrypha by Protestants) which are translated from Greek because their Hebrew originals are lost.

There are some poor translations, naturally. There are also some interpretive translations (which introduce a skew from the translator). The majority of translations are sufficiently literal to avoid those problems.


#4

[quote="m_crane, post:1, topic:230327"]
I have asked him to read the Catechism and the Bible but he can't even chose a Bible because he says he thinks that they are corrupt in their interpretations.

[/quote]

Perhaps you can just give him one. The NRSV is a faithful translation made in collaboration between Catholic and Protestant scholars. It is fairly literal so it avoids the "interpretation" issues of a paraphrase translation.

The trouble I think he is falling into is eastern practices like restricted diets, fasting and martial arts. He seems to be embracing eastern medicine and an eastern theology.

That is a problem. Too many people fail to realize they are participating in other religions because they don't understand their actions. Prayer is definitely called for.


#5

Um... 'embracing' Eastern Medicine and Theology may be part of his spiritual journey to God. My grandmother's family has Native American roots, and she embraces the spirituality of Native Americans because it has a deep respect for living things and promotes high morality. Maybe she is not right, but she considers herself a very devout Catholic, and I think she is a very grounded and spiritual person. Embracing and believing are two different things.

I appreciate the peacefulness and kindness associated with Bhudism, although I don't believe it is the true faith because my faith lies in God. One could say respect and appreciation for other people's faith traditions is 'embracing' them, it is a fine line.

A note on martial arts and eastern medicine; although both have theological roots in eastern faith traditions, they have both been extremely secularized. I receive acupuncture and take Chinese herbs for many chronic conditions, it beats the heck out of taking a billion medicines prescribed by my family doctor who couldn't give a hoot about me or God's plans. Martial arts have been very Americanized, most martial arts courses no longer mention Chi or energy at all. It may be that he is interested in Eastern culture from an academic perspective? It is natural to be curious about the traditions and faiths of other cultures than our own. I would look a little more into why these things appeal to him.

He will choose his own path, and we can hope and pray he finds his way back to the one true God, but we have free will. Up until his adulthood, you did everything you could to show him the true and righteous way to go, but his choices are now his own.

Hope my 2 cents help~
Love and God Bless,
M


#6

[quote="m_crane, post:1, topic:230327"]
I am trying very hard to help my 26 tear old son come back to the Catholic faith.
He wants to debate his many issues with the Catholic Church and it's becoming exausting trying to answer all of his objections.

I have asked him to read the Catechism and the Bible but he can't even chose a Bible because he says he thinks that they are corrupt in their interpretations.

I think he may suffer from some mental problem like OCD because he is all over the place with his thoughts. Even if I am wrong and he's just an eccentric genious. He still needs God in his life and I am trying so hard to help him sort things out before he falls into real trouble.

The trouble I think he is falling into is eastern practices like restricted diets, fasting and martial arts. He seems to be embracing eastern medicine and an eastern theology.

I almost think at times that he is being influenced by the devil (oppressed, I think they call it) because he doesn't make sense to me anymore but he acts like he is making perfect sense.

I don't know how to help him because I am so confused about what's going on with him.

[/quote]

As frustrating as it may be for you, I don't think spiritual exploration by itself constitutes evidence of OCD or demonic possession. Now, if he feels compelled to recite a certain mantra while he washes his hands 10 times after touching anything, THAT might be OCD!:D

As for a young guy not making sense to his father, that's been the pattern since day one.


#7

I personally can relate, my 26 year old son has gone apostate as well. I for some reason do not have the same anxieties as you. Basically because I have resigned myself to:

[quote="themeginthemoon, post:5, topic:230327"]

He will choose his own path, and we can hope and pray he finds his way back to the one true God, but we have free will. Up until his adulthood, you did everything you could to show him the true and righteous way to go, but his choices are now his own.

M

[/quote]

My family prays for him daily. I have no doubt that graces are flowing to him and our prayer for his soul will be answered. He will suffer much and there is nothing I can do in this regard. If it brings him back to our Lord, so be it. Everyone must carry their own cross.

You however are still in contact with your son. You seem to have other issues with him as well. Do not assume that there has to be heavier influences than just dealing with the world and all its temptations. It can get pretty ugly out there.

I will offer St. Monica, patron saint of mothers. If you have not read her bio I suggest you do. Look up prayers through her, with her and the Blessed Mother evil doesn’t have a chance.

Have faith your prayers will be answered, even if you are denied to witness their result.

With God's graces


#8

Martial arts, restricted diets, etc are NOT symptoms of joining Eastern Religions.

I would strongly suggest that you stop confronting him. That rarely, if ever, works.

You can best lead by example.

If you truly want to see him come back, refer him to someone that is very knowledgeable about the church, and is a LOT more familiar with dealing with fallen away young adults than you are. Your pastor would most likely be able to refer you.


#9

I once read about a guy who said he quit being Catholic because his mother couldn’t explain how communion was not the equiv. of canabolism. :eek:

All I could think of was wow… It’s a good thing she’s a genius regarding everything else??? Like the laws of physics, and how gravity works. Why his car starts in the morning… or he couldn’t believe in that… Oh, but he can see those… some of them.

I call this a lazy excuse to quit doing something that’s hard.

When you say it gets exhausting… I understand. However, I wonder why your son thinks you should be his ONLY teaching in this area. Granted you may be quite versed. But there is NO WAY really that your such the expert that you can meet his every question.

Tangent
Honestly, the only person I can mentally excuse in their rational from turning away, is… the one that has studied and studied for years. With CATHOLIC theologians, and priests and such. Then, if they say, “yeah, there is no way…” At least they tried. But when, for example like the case I’m related to… His brother studied a handful of religions and “he’s really smart”, and he says they (all religions) are all wrong… and hey did you know they didn’t use the word “virgin” in the real writing." And so now he has his answers… And the LOOK on his face when I say, Yeah, you’re right. They didn’t use the word for Virgin. They used the word for “marriagable.” Which you know EVEN TODAY in the middle east means you’re a virgin, or your father has the right to kill you… If you’re marrriagabe you HAVE TO BE A VIRGIN… or that word is not correct!.. Ok, I digress! Lazy arguements… What are you gonna do?

For example. How is he learning about martial arts? Does he take a class from a Blackbelt, and read about it, watch chuck norris and Bruce Lee movies? Or does he learn from a tv show? Is he a master in his “own mind” so to speak? How is he learning about other anything else? And which form of martial arts is he taking. And UM… how pure is THAT art? For he’s taking it in the US, probably from a white guy? Has he returned to the mother land of said form. Why that form?

I suspect, right now, this Catholism) is just not holding his interest. And this is fairly normal. It’s restrictive, and sometimes boring.

My advise would be. Do not imply that he must choose between his hobbies and his religion/faith/God. Martial arts is NOT a religion. It’s an ART! He will learn much about his body and self control, disipline and aweness. Things in the end that will lend much to his faith should he gather it back! Eastern medicine has MUCH to offer. It’s no where near as toxic, and often addresses the cause of illness… not just the symptoms, as western medicine. Jesus fasted often too! So do many Catholics…

Talk with the experts on apologetics. Get advise on the best gifts for your son with regard to Medals, Books and such. There is NO REASON he can’t be a Catholic Tae Kwon Do Master. Get him a medal for THAT! St. Sebastion is the patron saint of Athletes and soilders. Says one google search!

I’m at a stage in my life that I would not consider myself a master on the Catholic faith. However, my favorite reads have to do with Padre Pio for those that are falling away. WHY? Because he’s current (1970’s). His story isn’t so old that it’s been told and retold to appease the mindful creations of others. His history is as real as JFK’s. There are online stories of WWII vets that saw him in the sky turning their bombing efforts away from a certain village. Padre Pio, Man of Hope is an excellent read. Fast too. And you know what. It will also address the HUMAN element that has and will continue to part of the “problem” with the church. If there is one. In that there were men, entrusted by the Pope to report on Padre Pio’s Stigmata. They returned to the Pope and LIED about it’s reality. They lied because they were jealous. The human element came into play. That’s a reality among us humans. Sometimes it really is hard to see the forest for the trees. But just because one tree is rotting… it does not mean the whole forest is not real or lost…

Hang in there. It’s so natural to fear that your child is lost. Physically, or Spiritually. But God knows what’s going on with him. He knows the path your son will choose ALREADY. Know that there is a plan. You can can continue your prayers. And you can continue to answer his questions. And always be honest… I don’t know that answer to that question. We will both have to do some research to figure that out…

Hugs and Prayers!


#10

I am sure it is heart breaking for a parent to see his son leave the faith. It makes me think of teh Prodigal Son's story.

The father allowed the son to leave and learn from himself. And when the son came back, he welcomed him with open arms. Obviously it is easy for the Father in that story, he got the ending he wanted. But when you are at the beginning of the story with no guarantees your son will come back - Yikes what a hard situation.

Not to mention, your son will always be your baby boy and you will always feel the need to bring him back.

I would NOT tell him to read the bible. The more you push, the more he will feel the need to assert his adult status and walk away (even if deep down he wants to come back). When he does show interest, answer his questions matter of factly. If you say things like 'It makes me happy to see you take an interest', the defensive will go baci on. He will resent feeling the obligation to make certain choices to keep you happy. He wants to know you love him regardless of what faith he holds. Again, even if secretly his is dying to lead a Catholic lifestyle

God Bless

CM


#11

[quote="m_crane, post:1, topic:230327"]
I am trying very hard to help my 26 tear old son come back to the Catholic faith.
He wants to debate his many issues with the Catholic Church and it's becoming exausting trying to answer all of his objections.

I have asked him to read the Catechism and the Bible but he can't even chose a Bible because he says he thinks that they are corrupt in their interpretations.

I think he may suffer from some mental problem like OCD because he is all over the place with his thoughts. Even if I am wrong and he's just an eccentric genious. He still needs God in his life and I am trying so hard to help him sort things out before he falls into real trouble.

The trouble I think he is falling into is eastern practices like restricted diets, fasting and martial arts. He seems to be embracing eastern medicine and an eastern theology.

I almost think at times that he is being influenced by the devil (oppressed, I think they call it) because he doesn't make sense to me anymore but he acts like he is making perfect sense.

I don't know how to help him because I am so confused about what's going on with him.

[/quote]

Could he be bipolar? In their manic phases, they can have all sorts of grandiose/strange ideas, speak very fast, and be almost unintelligible. They believe that they are making sense but no one else can keep up with them. They don't sleep very much and their ideas can be very off the wall.

Everyone who has responded seems to think that you just need to give your son space and time, but it troubles me that you said he doesn't make sense to you and that he is all over the place with his thoughts.

The other 2 things I thought of were drugs, and schizophrenia. I hope it's none of the above but if he will cooperate, I would take him in for a check-up as soon as possible. If you have to make up some reason to get him in front of a doctor, I would do whatever it takes. If he really is having some mental illness, it's not going to get better. If it's drugs, he'll refuse to go and he might get royally angry at the suggestion that he go to the doctor. But the mental illness might cause the same thing.

Let us know how it goes, OK?


#12

Your son is most definitely NOT mentally unstable. He is, in fact, probably at a high point for mental aptness. Your view of him indicates that you think only your way of thinking is correct. I know Catholics are not fans of free-thinking and want everyone to conform to their views as I have experienced this in my life. The ones who can stand for their inherent beliefs, like your son, are the strongest people.

However, if your son does decide by his own will that Catholicism is what he truly believes, then good for him. In the end, people will believe what they are naturally inclined to. Many forms of brainwashing exist today and deprive people of their basic right to freedom of thought.


#13

People do not leave the Church because they have questions about the Faith. They leave because they have chosen sin.

Those arguments about Eastern pagan religions or Eucharist cannibalism are all over the internet. There must be millions of arguments, and your son could easily lead you around by the nose with them until you die.

Freethinkers love to tell other people to question their faith, but do not question their own faith.

This is a link to a selection from Bishop Sheen on the matter:

books.google.com/books?id=gEuakFdoPnUC&lpg=PA19&dq=bishop%20sheen%20man%20of%20the%20theater%20questions&pg=PA19#v=onepage&q=bishop%20sheen%20man%20of%20the%20theater%20questions&f=false


#14

Actually, some of the articles in that book before and after the one I linked to are pretty appropriate also. Great examples of thinkers who refuse to think.


#15

[quote="m_crane, post:1, topic:230327"]
I am trying very hard to help my 26 tear old son come back to the Catholic faith.
He wants to debate his many issues with the Catholic Church and it's becoming exausting trying to answer all of his objections.

I have asked him to read the Catechism and the Bible but he can't even chose a Bible because he says he thinks that they are corrupt in their interpretations.

I think he may suffer from some mental problem like OCD because he is all over the place with his thoughts. Even if I am wrong and he's just an eccentric genious. He still needs God in his life and I am trying so hard to help him sort things out before he falls into real trouble.

The trouble I think he is falling into is eastern practices like restricted diets, fasting and martial arts. He seems to be embracing eastern medicine and an eastern theology.

I almost think at times that he is being influenced by the devil (oppressed, I think they call it) because he doesn't make sense to me anymore but he acts like he is making perfect sense.

I don't know how to help him because I am so confused about what's going on with him.

[/quote]

Although mental illness generally appears in the early 20's somehow I feel that this isn't the case.

First, Martial Arts can be practiced by catholics. My mom does kickboxing and is a brown belt, and I know a catholic who's a blackbelt in karate.

Second, your trying to help him is probably making matters work the more he feels like you're forcing the issue, the more he's gonna pull away. The more he's going to think of stupid reasons not to believe, weither he believes them or not. He is likely simply being contrary and trying to be smarter than you.

Third, my brother has gone through a ton of phazes, catholic, christian, then onto wierd things, mormons, myans, pastafanariasm, astrology, and even the whole 2012 thing. He's just as sane as he always was but is just curious...he wants to learn. The catholic church isn't as exciting to him, but as he reads and reads, I think he's slowly getting closer to the church. On his own, with no one encouraging or discouraging. My parents have backed off becuase they see that this is going to be the only way.

Remember, God has abundant mercy for HIS children, far more than you have for your son. Your son is going through something and God is watching. God knows his mental state and what he's trying to accomplish. God will be the one judging. So chill. Yes, you must be vigilant, be there for your son and pray, but don't get yourself into a panic that he is hellbound.


#16

[quote="AWguitar007, post:12, topic:230327"]
*Your son is most definitely NOT mentally unstable. He is, in fact, probably at a high point for mental aptness. * Your view of him indicates that you think only your way of thinking is correct. I know Catholics are not fans of free-thinking and want everyone to conform to their views as I have experienced this in my life. The ones who can stand for their inherent beliefs, like your son, are the strongest people.

However, if your son does decide by his own will that Catholicism is what he truly believes, then good for him. In the end, people will believe what they are naturally inclined to. Many forms of brainwashing exist today and deprive people of their basic right to freedom of thought.

[/quote]

Now how in the world can you assert this??? The OP said that his son's thoughts were "all over the place," and that he wasn't making much sense. I don't know what is going on with his son which is why I brought up possible other problems, not that his son is merely disagreeing with the father. It would be one thing if I said, "My son is questioning his faith and I think his arguments are total BS," and it's another thing if I said, "When he talks, he can't stay on one subject and his speech is unclear and has no logic to it." Which is similar to what the OP said. I think the father can tell the difference between a son who is thinking correctly, even if he disagrees, and one whose thoughts are "all over the place."


#17

It’s not hard. If you said you were abducted by little green men, and their flying saucer was being piloted by Elvis Presley, I would think you were right on if the same little green men abducted me too.


#18

[quote="CatholicBoy1957, post:17, topic:230327"]
It's not hard. If you said you were abducted by little green men, and their flying saucer was being piloted by Elvis Presley, I would think you were right on if the same little green men abducted me too.

[/quote]

:rotfl::rotfl::whacky:


#19

Because he has an opinion that quite frankly a lot of people in this world share he suddenly has a mental problem because it’s not similar to yours?


#20

I never said he was metally ill. I said conversations are difficult with him because if he has to make a conclusion or commitment in a discussion, he can’t.

Example: he can’t read a bible (he wants too) because he says all versions are corrupt. He has been reseaching for 3 years to try to find a bible he feels comfortable reading and he still has not chosen one.

Does that sound reasonable?

He can’t choose a profession or direction. He is a college grad. He now works for me at a job more suitable for a high schooler (something I am not happy about).
He can’t decide if he wants to be a lawyer, teacher or go on to get his graduate degee. He graduated from college 5 years ago.
And I have to correct myself, he’s 28, I think I said he was 26 somewhere. Sorry about that.

He doesn’t even try to date because he is too busy.

He goes to court about 30 times a year, for traffic violations and parking tickets(this takes up alot of his free time) because he believes he has the right to park where he chooses and go above to speed limit if he deems it safe.
He usually wins!!! (I think he wears the judges down)

He is involved in radical activist groups. Many are conspiracy groups. This worries his dad and me the most. ( I’m his mom).

These are example of my sons behavior.

I love this son with all my heart and I think he is one of the best people I know but I am beginning to think he may need some help. But Like I said he could just be some kind of genious that us regular folks can’t understand.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.