Overwhelmed by religion


#1

Has anyone just been totally overwhelmed?
Here is my scenario. I graduated from a catholic university. Thought I was well read in philosophy and even different religion traditions.

I even go to protestant services with my mom ocassionally just because she is elderly, and I wanted to do “family” stuff with her.

I have protestant friends. I ussually avoid conversations about religion.

But recently I have another family member who is head over heals a protestant( I wont name the denomination)

Anyway , untill you see such a person upclose. I mean all of their evangelism. All of their judgements. You really have not experienced protestantism

I feel I am on trial by “Martin Luther”, even though this family member has no background in theology. It seems they are well versed in all anti-catholic stuff. I am not a religion major. I do not want to debate pre-trib, post-trib.

Anyway , I find myself tuning into TV preachers , just to listen. I used to respectfully turn the channel. But it seems to catch my interest ,just to find out what my family member thinks.
The reason why I care is because these are family members, I can no longer relate to.

It seems everything turns to religion with these family members. I used to be able to watch football with this family member. Now it turns to TEBOW-mania.
I dont follow politics, but every conversation turns to one political party or political issue. It has gone to far when I need to hear sermons about “gun rights that are in jeopardy”

Anyway, I have started to read alot about catholic history, and apologetics just to keep my own sanity. I refuse to get into debates about religion.


#2

Keep reading and learning about your faith. There’s lots of room for questions–but always remember not to stop with the questioning, but to seek the answers.

Is there a particular issue regarding Catholicism that you are having trouble embracing?


#3

Yes I did have a few questions that are troubling.

After really encountering a diehard evangelical. You feel as if your faith is destroyed. Everything is shattered.

I do not feel threatened by atheist. I am an engineering major. I thought I would lose my faith trying to decipher atheist arguements.

But I feel my whole belief in GOD was ripped away, by a evangelical who knows no theology, just the basic anti-catholic stuff.

It makes me feel, I hang around with a bunch of childmolester priests, and I am going to hell. or will be left behind in the pretribulation rapture. Whatever that is.

But I have started going to catholic bible studies, to get close to my faith. I am even going to join Knights of Columbus to be around catholic brothers.

I really do enjoy my protestant friends, but when a family member wont bring their kids around you because you might be a social drinker it really hurts.

But I prayed and learned my first step should never be to argue religion with someone like this. Or try to defend the catholic faith.

I still enjoy my other protestant friends, but a family member can hurt the most. Even though I am the last catholic in my immediate family, I get along with my other family members. It just appears, one person feels they are more religious than the others. I joke but I refer to them as “the vicar of Christ”. Once again I feel I am on trial by “Martin Luther” himself.

Who sits around thinking up this anti-catholic stuff, so anyone on the street can regurgitate it and sound like a Phd theologian.


#4

You really ought to defend your faith. Become learned in it so you can show your family the errors of their ways, not out of spite or a sense of superiority, but out of love. When they fill themselves with such pride and hate, as many evangelical types do, they blind themselves from God. Not to mention literally ALL of protestantism and non denominationalism has ZERO foundation theologically, scripturally and historically. The more you delve into your faith, the more you can see how it is only arrogance that holds the other traditions together.


#5

They know the anti-Catholic stuff because there are those out there who love preaching it. And what’s worse, many of those who do don’t even know the true Catholic position on what we believe, are the ones doing the preaching. They learn it from others, and then pass it on. They take what appears on face value and then twist it to appear evil or wrong. They often like to take Bible verses out of context, and will even try to use verses to contradict verses a Catholic evangelist/apologist might throw out there.

I would suggest you pick up a copy of “The Essential Catholic Survival Guide” which is a collection of tracts from the Catholic Answers website put into a single book that makes it easy to look through and study. It goes through, in most cases, as a hypothetical debate between a Catholic and a Protestant. It is a really nice and easy read. I learned so much from it when I started coming back to Catholicism with questions stored up from my Protestant friends. And now, I know more than I did before, and I continue to learn more. You can pick this book up on Amazon or the Catholic Answers store.

Since the book I read wasn’t mine (my brother’s), I went through it and made a bookmark list of the tracts on the website for both my computer and my phone, so in case I need it, I can whip out a bit of knowledge.

Study and learning your faith are the biggest things to do when it comes to being approached like that. The more you know, the better you can respond to false allegations.

Good luck, and study, my friend!


#6

hi Tweetiebird,

If you're up to more study, you might enjoy some of the books I studied as a Protestant prior to making the decision to join RCIA.

-If Protestantism is True by Devon Rose

-Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic

-Christ in His Fullness

-Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor

As converts from Protestantism (various denominations) each of the authors were well versed in their own faith tradition and some had strong anti catholic bias.

If you are going to get just one to start with you also can't go wrong with the Essential Catholic Survival Guide recommended by the previous poster.

:tiphat:


#7

Take the advice above. Also continue to hang around Catholics who also understand Catholicism.

Then…be kind. Be charitable. Eventually you will notice that a lot of the things anti-Catholics think we believe are not what we teach. You can help them better understand if you can do it without arguing.

Pray for them!

There are some things you and they might never agree on (like drinking, apparently.) If you get to the point where you can talk about their individual interpretations of the Bible, then it is good to challenge them on how they know they are right when so many Protestants would disagree with them.

One of the reasons I am Catholic and will remain Catholic is because of this. If God really wants us to know truth (and Jesus DID say He sent the Holy Spirit to teach us) there must be a way we can really know it. There must be a deposit of truth somewhere. That narrows it down a lot, because those Protestant churches weren’t there when Christianity was started. Some may claim to be, but if you check the history books, there’s no proof. I could talk more about this, but you get the picture.

Protestant churches will tell you that they could be wrong on some things…but on any individual issue, they will maintain that they are right. But how can they know? If they are wrong on some things, but don’t know what they are wrong on, how can they know anything?

The Catholic church claims to have the fullness of truth. That’s pretty impressive. And it makes sense. God must have a way for us to know the Truth.

I wonder…do they dislike other Protestants as much as they dislike Catholics?

Regarding the sex abuse scandal, learn more about that and you will find it’s a very low percentage of priests who have done that. The percentage is much higher almost everywhere else. Do they hate teachers for their sexual abuse of children, for example? It’s much more prevalent there. It’s even fairly prevalent in Protestant churches.

Where I am going is this: if it is too difficult, it is fine for you to stay away from them. But still, learn about Catholicism. If you do hang with them, be loving. Show what Catholicism is by example.

My daughter has…or had…an atheist, anti-Catholic friend. He has been her friend for a few years now. This year he has begun RCIA and is hoping to be received into the Church at Easter Vigil.

A very persuasive reason (to him) for becoming Catholic was because the Church seemed to have an answer for everything and a reason for everything. My daughter was able to show him this by being patient with him.

So pray for them, and be grateful to them because this is your opportunity to learn more and grow in the Church started by Jesus.


#8

#9

I would add:

  • Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating. Even though your friends may not be fundamentalists, it covers a lot of apologetics points in depth.

#10

Pick up a Book from Patrick Madrid called “Does the Bible Really say that? Discovering Catholic Teaching in Scripture”

And Patrick also has alot of awesome books you will find helpful as well. Check out his website at: www.patrickmadrid.com I believe it is. He is also on Facebook.

I have some friends of mine who attend a Fundamentalist Presbyterian Church who dislike the Catholic Church so much. But I find it interesting to sit and talk with them about it. When I was a protestant, I attended their church a couple of times and I got to hear alot of negative things about the Catholic church. And actually it helped me come Home to the Catholic Church believe it or not, haha.

As far as the priest scandal goes… It is a very small % of priests regardless of what you hear in the news. And yes it is a shame that it went on, but it also happens within the Protestant Churches as well. You just dont hear about it as much in the news, thats all. But continue to come on to catholic.com and ask all the questions you want and you will grow in your faith. Also listen online on Youtube to Steve Ray, Patrick Madrid, Father Mitch Pachei (spelling?) and Mother Angelica and check out www.ewtn.com as well. Will be praying for you! Stay strong in the Catholic Faith. I am so happy I am not Protestant anymore. I Love the Catholic Faith and I think the more you learn your faith the more you will love being a Catholic. :slight_smile:


#11

Yes I have felt overwhelmed…In fact, many times and in many ways, I still do.

But I learned long ago to keep thing simple…Jesus distilled the entire OT law and prophets into just two commandments. Love God - Love neighbor - (Mt 22:36-40). He gave a new commandment before His ascension, that we Love one another. (John 13:34-35). St Paul places Love at the very core of everything and greater than Faith or Hope (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)…Finally - St John tells us that God IS Love, (1 John 4:7-8)

So - based on these I ground my faith on Love…and try to act in accordance with this Love as we are taught in Scripture. (my success varies…:blush:)

Dealing with someone like you mention above is difficult to be sure…and I have a couple of random suggestions…

  1. Next time she wants you to say the “sinners prayer” with her…Say "sure…and then launch into the Act of contrition…:D…I wonder what her reaction will be…

Sorry - maybe that is not helpful…But I just couldn’t help myself…:shrug:

  1. You say that you have many protestant friends but that you never talk religion with them. This might be a mistake. There are many different flavors of Protestantism out there. Many of who would agree with you that this family member is “over the top”, especially with all of the Anti-Catholic rhetoric.

  2. I would suggest maybe talking with some of these people…the ones you know to be calm and reasonable people who you are certain are not “anti-Catholic”. By having reasoned discussions in a clam way on these things, you can be better prepared to answer the accusations of the A-C (Anti-Catholic) family member calmly and in charity.

4)If she then starts to get all hyper on you, you can then back off for a bit and if this is in a group setting, everyone will see her “uncharitable” attitude. Eventually you can simply express that you are happy to discuss these things but will not be shouted at or treated with disrespect.

  1. When accusations come up, I would suggest asking for sources. If she has “tracts” and such take those as well. Most of the A-C garbage can be easily refuted…and Catholic Answers has many wonderful tracts that you can print off and give to her that rebut what she throws at you…

Most importantly…Don’t be afraid. Build your faith upon the Rock.
Her faith is like a howling wind that seeks to dislodge those who have built on sand. But in truth her heart is in the right place…She is just misguided and spiritually immature.

Hope some of this helps…

Peace
James


#12

And say, “Where is the Sinner’s Prayer in the Bible, BTW?”

She won’t be able to show you that, tweetiebird.

Because it’s not in there. :nope:

Now, she may show you some random verses that talk about sinners, and talk about prayers.

But you won’t find a Sinner’s Prayer in the Bible.


#13

What doctrinal questions or disciplinary practices are troubling to you?

But I prayed and learned my first step should never be to argue religion with someone like this. Or try to defend the catholic faith.

Oh, but tweetiebird! You are commanded to defend the Catholic faith!

[BIBLEDRB]1 Peter 3:15[/BIBLEDRB]


#14

In addition to what others have suggested, it seems to me that the OP is trying to take on too many questions and too many different areas of study at once. No-one of any faith is meant to be a Wikipedia, and yet there seems often to be an attitude that you should know everything about your faith, both from actual believers themselves and their opponents
too.

Best thing to do is to firstly learn in depth about the basics of Catholicism, such as the Sacraments, the Rosary and Mary, some Church history etc. and really learn where the Biblical evidence and arguments are for these things.

Then choose a couple of subjects (not too many) to study further and do this. Read Vatican documents, the Bible, CAF tracts, tomes of philosophy, the Summa Theologica, anything which helps you.

This should then allow you to better defend your faith with regard to those areas rather than floundering because you’re bombarded with questions. If you don’t know or don’t wish to offer an answer, no-one is forcing you to do so and there is grace in refusal. Offer to look things up, or offer to show them a Catholic video/book/whatever which might answer their question.

It is also worth pointing out that many people may simply be wanting to argue, with little interest in the answer. Best to avoid these…


#15

Advice from a non-Catholic, fwiw…

Read G.K. Chesterton, “Why I am a Catholic.”

Reading apologia can help, of course, as can your close association with fellow Catholics. Nothing helps more than being in the thick of it. Participate as much as possible and live it as best you can. Nothing exposes the tactless and unjust doctrine of detractors like the pious and charitable lives of those whom the doctrine seeks to discredit.

Finally, it’s unwise to wander in strange lands when you know where your home is. Unless you feel restless, adventurous, or unsatisfied with what you have, it’s best to stay put. Avoid, to the extent possible, prolonged exposure to other religious influences. Remember that your protestant “friends” are sincerely converted to their particular brand of faith and believe that their efforts to pull down your faith are worthy and necessary for your own good. Unless you can have a mutually edifying relationship that encompasses religious belief, you should try and be clear that you don’t wish to discuss their religious ideas.


#16

:thumbsup:

I have a fundamentalist sister-in-law that really was quick to condemn the “errors of Romanism.” My mother-in-law also is no fan of the Catholic Church and takes pleasure in pointing out priest scandals and other uncomfortable issues when I visit. Keating’s book really does a great job of deflating the typical canards raised by the anti-Catholics. It’s a real help in dealing with this type of person. At the very least, you can give them a copy of the book and suggest that they read it to educate themselves about a lot of the fundamental misunderstandings that fuel the typical anti-Catholic arguments. Does a nice job with: “Bible alone” “Faith and Works v. Faith alone” “Purgatory” “Marian and the Saints” etc. etc.

Know your faith. Ours is a faith of reason. Anti-Catholic rhetoric always fails when confronted by reason.

Peace,
Robert


#17

:clapping:

One of the best suggestions I have heard in a long time. lol


#18

I actually would not recommend this book in the current situation. While Mr. Rose does bring up some good discussion points, I do not feel the book had enough logical rigor to benefit anyone who is not already open to Catholicism.


#19

I am sorry that you are going through this trial, but I have to say, in defense of Protestants everywhere, that what you have experienced is not “protestantism.” From the few details you have shared, the family member you referred to is Fundamentalist, not Evangelical.

The term Evangelical was coined in the early 20th century by Protestants who were alarmed by the exclusivity claims (you must be pre-trib!) and political mandates (you must be against evolution!) of the Fundamentalists of the day. They do not represent mainstream protestantism by any means.

A former Catholic myself, I believe that there are several very major points where the Catholic Church has erred. I wouldn’t go so far as to put you on trial for your beliefs, however. If we were to have lunch, I might share the details of my journey. I think you would find it interesting.


#20

How do you figure since Protestants came out of the RCC?


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