Questioning my faith....


#1

Hello there,

First off: I am a Catholic and I am NOT an athiest. Since I have been attending a university, I have started to question my faith from an intellectual perspective. You see, last semester I took a college level philosophy class and we studied many things. We focused on God, the problem of free will, ethics, and the human brain. During that semester, I really started to question God, His plan for humanity, the free will, and the essence of God. Now, here are some very hard questions/analyses.
(((Please give me some feedback on these questions from a LOGICAL perspective and try to use pure reasoning. Please don’t quote the Bible because…as my philosophy teacher would say…that would be “begging the question.”)))
We’ve all been taught that God has a plan for humanity. Before any of us were concieved in the Mind of God, He had a plan. Now, if we fastforward to today and if we look at the current state of the world…

  1. How could a good God plan everything that has happened in the world? Think of all the wars, disease, poverty, and everything else that has happened.

  2. Since infinity has no beginning and has no end, God can see “time” in all possible states: past, present, and future. Here is another question: If God knows everything in the future(even the end of time) what is the purpose of life? Why does God allow us to keep living if he ALREADY KNOWS our fate?(Heaven or Hell) For example, that would be like me playing a game of chess with a friend. Lets say I had the ability to see how the game ends. What would be the point to playing the game?

  3. This next and last question is a very hard one. 2,000 years ago was when Jesus/God founded the ONE, TRUE, and CATHOLIC apostolic church. Now, just over 2000 years later, there are many different religions spanning the entire globe. For example, look at the religion of Islam. It is the 2nd biggest religion in the world; it lags behind Christianity. Islam also has a history just like Christianity. Looking at the world through the eyes of a muslim,they believe with there whole heart, whole mind, and whole soul that Islam is the true religion of the world.
    Who are we to say that they are in the wrong? To them, WE are wrong! Again, who are we to say that Buddism is a flawed religion? It has a history passed down through the generations just like Christianity.

  4. Now for my final question: We know that God is all powerful…right? Well, why would God allow mankind to concieve of other idolistic/blasphemous religions to CONFLICT with the ONE,TRUE Church that GOD HIMSELF founded on earth???

CONCLUSION:
I previously stated earlier that I am a Catholic. Well, it’s the truth. I do believe in Jesus, but I can’t help the fact that through my reasoning/intelligence I ponder these questions.
I hope I don’t anger you with these questions. I would like some feedback on my thoughts…maybe you could point me in the right direction.

Thanks for reading my post,

Nathan


#2

Hello there,

First off: I am a Catholic and I am NOT an athiest. Since I have been attending a university, I have started to question my faith from an intellectual perspective. You see, last semester I took a college level philosophy class and we studied many things. We focused on God, the problem of free will, ethics, and the human brain. During that semester, I really started to question God, His plan for humanity, the free will, and the essence of God. Now, here are some very hard questions/analyses.
(((Please give me some feedback on these questions from a LOGICAL perspective and try to use pure reasoning. Please don’t quote the Bible because…as my philosophy teacher would say…that would be “begging the question.”)))
We’ve all been taught that God has a plan for humanity. Before any of us were concieved in the Mind of God, He had a plan. Now, if we fastforward to today and if we look at the current state of the world…

  1. How could a good God plan everything that has happened in the world? Think of all the wars, disease, poverty, and everything else that has happened.

  2. Since infinity has no beginning and has no end, God can see “time” in all possible states: past, present, and future. Here is another question: If God knows everything in the future(even the end of time) what is the purpose of life? Why does God allow us to keep living if he ALREADY KNOWS our fate?(Heaven or Hell) For example, that would be like me playing a game of chess with a friend. Lets say I had the ability to see how the game ends. What would be the point to playing the game?

  3. This next and last question is a very hard one. 2,000 years ago was when Jesus/God founded the ONE, TRUE, and CATHOLIC apostolic church. Now, just over 2000 years later, there are many different religions spanning the entire globe. For example, look at the religion of Islam. It is the 2nd biggest religion in the world; it lags behind Christianity. Islam also has a history just like Christianity. Looking at the world through the eyes of a muslim,they believe with there whole heart, whole mind, and whole soul that Islam is the true religion of the world.
    Who are we to say that they are in the wrong? To them, WE are wrong! Again, who are we to say that Buddism is a flawed religion? It has a history passed down through the generations just like Christianity.

  4. Now for my final question: We know that God is all powerful…right? Well, why would God allow mankind to concieve of other idolistic/blasphemous religions to CONFLICT with the ONE,TRUE Church that GOD HIMSELF founded on earth???

CONCLUSION:
I previously stated earlier that I am a Catholic. Well, it’s the truth. I do believe in Jesus, but I can’t help the fact that through my reasoning/intelligence I ponder these questions.
I hope I don’t anger you with these questions. I would like some feedback on my thoughts…maybe you could point me in the right direction.

Thanks for reading my post,

Nathan


#3

If you ask me, these are the “easy” questions. If you start with creation and logically work your way through the consequences of knowing that you exist, you will discover a creator who is reasonable. The rest is accounted for by other corollary factors. How about starting with Thomas Aquinas? Or start slow with Charles E. Rice’s book, 50 Questions on the Natural Law.

Questions like “how can a good God permit evil?” are almost trivial. Too bad you’re not taking a philosophy class that actually answers the questions instead of just asking them.


#4

God actively wills only good things, but he permits lesser evils to exist because he is so good as to be able to bring about a greater good from them. This is true of physical evils as well as moral evils because of the free will which God has given some of his creatures.

  1. Since infinity has no beginning and has no end, God can see “time” in all possible states: past, present, and future. Here is another question: If God knows everything in the future(even the end of time) what is the purpose of life? Why does God allow us to keep living if he ALREADY KNOWS our fate?(Heaven or Hell) For example, that would be like me playing a game of chess with a friend. Lets say I had the ability to see how the game ends. What would be the point to playing the game?

God created us for our benefit, not for his. He has no need of us whatsoever. Therefore, the purpose of life for human beings is our own happiness, which amounts to knowing and loving God in this life and forever in Heaven.

Even within the framework of the chess game which you used as an example, if I know with infallible certainty the end of the game, but I intend the end (Heaven) and because of the nature of the game I must play through to the end to get to the end, I ought to continue. This is true especially if I’m “playing the game” not for my benefit but out of love for the other person.

It’s not that great of an example, though, because it presumes that the two players of the game are relatively on par with each other. In reality, God is the absolutely necessary being (Being itself) and we are completely contingent on him for existence.

If God stopped maintaining our existence constantly, we would cease to exist; God has absolutely no need of us but freely chose to create us.

Read the first paragraph of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  1. This next and last question is a very hard one. 2,000 years ago was when Jesus/God founded the ONE, TRUE, and CATHOLIC apostolic church. Now, just over 2000 years later, there are many different religions spanning the entire globe. For example, look at the religion of Islam. It is the 2nd biggest religion in the world; it lags behind Christianity. Islam also has a history just like Christianity. Looking at the world through the eyes of a muslim,they believe with there whole heart, whole mind, and whole soul that Islam is the true religion of the world.
    Who are we to say that they are in the wrong? To them, WE are wrong! Again, who are we to say that Buddism is a flawed religion? It has a history passed down through the generations just like Christianity.

The one Catholic Church is worthy of belief because it was established by God. We are guaranteed that it teaches the truth because of God who cannot deceive or be deceived.

The mere fact that not everyone agrees does not mean that some people are not right while others are wrong. The truth is not true because I assent to it. Rather, I ought to assent to it because it is true.

Now, if you want evidence that the Catholic Church is the true religion, that’s another question, but introducing an opinion to the contrary doesn’t change the truth.

That would be like saying, “I sincerely believe the capitol of New York is New York City, who are you to tell me I’m wrong?” You’re going to be wrong no matter how sincere you are whether I tell you so or not.

  1. Now for my final question: We know that God is all powerful…right? Well, why would God allow mankind to concieve of other idolistic/blasphemous religions to CONFLICT with the ONE,TRUE Church that GOD HIMSELF founded on earth???

Because God created human nature to have intellect and will. He gives reality to the effects of our free choices because he created us for our happiness. Our happiness consists in the perfection of our union with God. Because of what we are as human beings, this union must be freely consented to by us.

CONCLUSION:
I previously stated earlier that I am a Catholic. Well, it’s the truth. I do believe in Jesus, but I can’t help the fact that through my reasoning/intelligence I ponder these questions.
I hope I don’t anger you with these questions. I would like some feedback on my thoughts…maybe you could point me in the right direction.

Thanks for reading my post,

Nathan

Good questions. The Church does not proclaim a fideistic faith in God. In fact, the Church has dogmatically defined that it is possible to know God through the use of reason alone.

I recommend studying more philosophy and reading the Catechism, which presents the Catholic Church’s teachings in a systematic way.


#5

you have opened more than one thread on the same topic. this is against forum rules. please post each question separately on the appropriate forum.


#6

Nate, I’m sure others far more capable than I will come to your assistance, but briefly I’d like to address your first question:

  1. How could a good God plan everything that has happened in the world? Think of all the wars, disease, poverty, and everything else that has happened.

First, know that pain and suffering are not the same; just on the natural level pain is good for us. Suffering, otoh, arises from Original Sin.

God first willed to manifest His goodness; next to do that by having His Son be our Incarnate Savior as the first born of many brothers in glory, thereby permitting the Fall and its consequences. This suitably manifests His Merciful Love. It is not God’s intention that we sin or fall, but in creating us free He thereby creates the possibility of that and permits it for the higher purpose of His Merciful Love being most suitably manifest. This Merciful Love is what we share in His Divine sonship by grace freely and unforced. He could have stepped in on each occasion and given extraordinary graces every time we might have fallen, but that would not have manifested His Merciful Love as suitably as it does to give ordinary graces for that which is refused often and giving extraordinary graces sometimes and He has not been niggardly with either in the Economy of Salvation.

God did not create - nor has He redeemed - to benefit Himself, but out of pure selfless generosity and goodness towards us, i.e., that we share eternally His Personal Life and Happiness.

In His wisdom what comes as a result of sin, suffering (which is a lesser evil compared to sin and ultimately a sign of it) embraced with Divine love given us as a grace of the Spirit in Christ, calls for a bestowal of greater love and intimacy with God in us. This spirit of sacrificial love purifies US to become like the selfless God Who IS Love Who has been so generous to manifest His goodness towards His creatures of men and angels in the first place.

Nate, it might help you to consider - along with your personal prayer and participation in the sacramental life of the Church - that far greater intellects than you (and those of your professors! :wink: ) have rigrously and beautifully been witnesses to the truth of Christ and His Church. One only has to think of our present Pope, or of our beloved John Paul II, or such greats as Thomas Aquinas and Augustine. (Also, the works of the philosopher and teacher Mortimer Adler, a convert to Christianity, might be helpful to you.) God bless you in your seeking for His Truth!


#7

Hello Nathan…nothing wrong with questioning our Faith…it is Faith seeking understanding. Questioning our Faith and seeking to understand can be quite healthy and a growth curve in our life of Faith. It can facilitate and enable us to explain our Faith to others. The problem enters in only if we should begin to doubt or deny our Faith. Difficulties are not doubts or denials…difficulty means we are searching and have not found our answer as yet.
You could always ring up a religious order and ask to speak to one of the priests, who are very often very well educated indeed both secularly and in matters of Faith and Spirituality.
May The Holy Spirit guide, guard and protect you.

Regards…Barb:)
http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/16/16_14_5.gifJMJ


#8

Hey there,
Good on you for your questions - I know when I was in university, I was in a similar position. Unfortunately, I am at work and there is no intellectual discourse going on here, nor will there ever be time for it but in our faith, we are very fortunate to have intellectual writers such as Aquinas, who I am sure you have read.

I will have to come back to this thread and see where the discussion takes us.


#9

I’ve thought a lot about these things myself. So, I will give you the answers that kind of settled it for me personally.

1&2) God did not plan all of the wars, poverty, disease, etc that have happened in this world over time. They are a result of original sin. We have the free will to choose or reject God and his goodness. So, we do have the free will to go against God. Really though, since he is all knowing and has known all along the choices that we would make, he knows how to use those instances where we go against him to actually accomplish his will. He really is the ultimate chess player in that regard. So, the way I see it, whether you are acting for him or against him, ultimately you are still accomplishing his will. If you choose to act against God though, what you will find is that you are only hurting yourself and others and are driving yourself further and further from the saving grace of his love. So, you are probably wondering then why God goes through this whole process. He does it for us. He does it because he desires us to have a relationship with him. God is love and love is other centered, not self centered. He would not be the God of love if he did not care for others. Life is a process in which we learn the meaning of love, of sacrifice. The more we love our neighbor and love God, the more we prepare our souls to actually be capable of having a close intimate relationship and ultimately union with God.

  1. I think the more you study other religions, the more you will understand how much they have in common with each other. There is something innate in all of us that seems to recognize and seek out God. It is natural that people who grow up in cultures where they have little exposure to Christianity would seek to know God in ways that are more accessible to them. God knows this, and in ways that are unknown to us, he does make himself known to all. In some basic ways we are all born with the essnetials of what we need to attain salvation. Religion can make it more clear for us, when we might be confused and enmeshed it worldly matters. I do believe though that Christianity, and Catholicism in particular, is the way that God chose to reveal himself and his plan to the world. He chose to stoop down to our level, to become man, so that he could draw us closer to him. He chose a point in time where there was written history, so that his miracles and his teachings might be recorded for all so that they might believe. He did not choose to appear at a time when there was video news being broadcast live to the whole world. That would have given us undeniable proof and would robbed us of our faith. It would have robbed us of having the chance to come to him in love. Furthermore, God chose to reveal himself to a select few people when he could have just as easily revealed himself to each of us individually. That is because he wants us to go out, have loving relationship with each other, and bring each other closer to him. Again, it is our love and concern for others that prepares us for true love of God. As well, it is our love of God that helps us to love others in a way that is truly love. It is this communion with God and with each other that is really the purpose of our life here.

  2. God is not who brought these other religions into being. We are the ones who brought those about. Why does God let them to continue to exist? He likes us to search for him, to seek him out. If we are lost out there, I know that we can count on him to find us. He promised us he will. It’s sort of up to us to follow him home though.


#10

Psh, don’t let a college philosophy class bring God into question for you. What most college philosophy professors forget is that their field of study sprang forth BECAUSE of the church. I recommend a class called philosophy of religion (after ethics, of course) which will give you much better insight into these questions.

We’ve all been taught that God has a plan for humanity. Before any of us were concieved in the Mind of God, He had a plan. Now, if we fastforward to today and if we look at the current state of the world…

That is an incorrect way of saying it. God does not have “a plan.” God does not have a “before any of us were concieved.” To God, all things exist in the present. From the creation of the world to the end of the world, all things represent NOW to God (hence the reason we say God lives in the eternal present). This concept will help with my later answers.

  1. How could a good God plan everything that has happened in the world? Think of all the wars, disease, poverty, and everything else that has happened.

First, as stated before, God doesn’t “plan” in the sense that we do. You are making the error of applying a finite concept to a [potentially] infinite being.

Second, here is the issue:

  1. Wars are caused by humans and as such are a result of free will of the created, not the fault of the creator.
  2. Disease could lead to death, but death is only bad when defined by human (and more accurately atheist human) standards. Death represents reunion with God and eternal life to the saintly and those in a state of grace need have no fear of disease.
  3. Again, who says poverty is objectively evil? it is presumptuous of the rich to assume too much hurt on the part of the poor.
  4. Everything else: there are two types of evil. Human evil and natural evil. Human evil is a direct result of dissention from the will of God. As such it is purely a result of free will in the absense of God’s perfect will. Natural evil (volcanoes, earthquakes, etc) might kill… but again to those who believe in eternal life, what about death could ever be considered objectively evil?
  1. Since infinity has no beginning and has no end, God can see “time” in all possible states: past, present, and future. Here is another question: If God knows everything in the future(even the end of time) what is the purpose of life? … For example, that would be like me playing a game of chess with a friend. Lets say I had the ability to see how the game ends. What would be the point to playing the game?

Again, God does not see ANY future. God has no future. All our lives from creation at conception to our death exist in one eternal present moment for Him. Let’s use your example of Chess… You don’t see the end of the game coming up in the future and get to base your decision on your precognisance. Instead you see the game all happening at once and you also have to make all your decisions at once. The very nature of God is entirely different than what you are positing as a problem

continued…


#11
  1. This next and last question is a very hard one. 2,000 years ago was when Jesus/God founded the ONE, TRUE, and CATHOLIC …Again, who are we to say that Buddism is a flawed religion? It has a history passed down through the generations just like Christianity.

this is not a hard question at all. the answer lies in rational thought. Essentially we can know by logical deduction the character of what any God figure would necessarily be and we can surmise the rough idea of what teachings of God would be. We can, therefore, discern Christianity is correct because (not only it’s history but) it’s doctrines are the only one’s that withstand a true test of rational logic.

  1. Now for my final question: We know that God is all powerful…right? Well, why would God allow mankind to concieve of other idolistic/blasphemous religions to CONFLICT with the ONE,TRUE Church that GOD HIMSELF founded on earth???

Too late, you already said number 3 was your last question…

Okay, so, why do parents let their children do anything outside the house when they know that could lead to trouble? God loved us enough to give us free will. He also loves us enough to let us leave His house and attempt to wander on our own. It is, of course, in our best interest that we come back to God since God is infintely perfect and doesn’t, in fact, need US.

CONCLUSION:
… I do believe in Jesus, but I can’t help the fact that through my reasoning/intelligence I ponder these questions.
…maybe you could point me in the right direction.

Reasoning and intelligence are great, but recall that a reasoning which leads us away from the faith is false reasoning. if you want to be pointed in the right direction i would say that pointing is to say that (if this is really your interest) you need to take a good phillosophy of religion course. Pax Christi and let us know if you have more questions.


#12

What makes God good? The problem with your question is that it already assumes an objective moral law. There is no way to get an objective moral law, without God in the picture. If atheism is true, ultimately there is no moral law in this universe. And any moral law we come up with is either utilitarian, pragmatic, subjective or emotive. Anything that is good or bad is purely a product of your environment, and your culture. Take the holocaust for example, at the Nuremburg trials the Germans were making a case that what they did was okay, due to the fact that Jews by German law had been declared less than human. To kill them was just under the law. What the prosecutors had to ask them selves was if there was not a law above our laws.

I would suggest listening to The Ravi Zacharias Q&A with Dr. William Lain Craig addressing the top 5 questions asked by University students. You can find it under the Archives at RZIM.org Look at the Let my People Think Archives, it is a five part series.

#1 What is the meaning of life?

#2 How can we know the Christian god even exists?

#3 How can the Christian God who is all powerful and good, allow such disasters such as the holocaust, or natural disasters to occur?

#4 Historicity of the resurection of Jesus? Is it Reliable.

#5 Exclusive claims of the Christian Gospel… How can this be fair?

All of it is addressed at a highly logicial level. And should be right up your alley.

Cheers.


#13

QUOTE=natedagw824;2566217]
3) This next and last question is a very hard one. 2,000 years ago was when Jesus/God founded the ONE, TRUE, and CATHOLIC apostolic church. Now, just over 2000 years later, there are many different religions spanning the entire globe. For example, look at the religion of Islam. It is the 2nd biggest religion in the world; it lags behind Christianity. Islam also has a history just like Christianity. Looking at the world through the eyes of a muslim,they believe with there whole heart, whole mind, and whole soul that Islam is the true religion of the world.
Who are we to say that they are in the wrong? To them, WE are wrong! Again, who are we to say that Buddism is a flawed religion? It has a history passed down through the generations just like Christianity.

Hi

GodAllahYHWH has given us a chance to find out the truth with a little effort with rational, reasonable and logical arguments from amongst the so many denominations/faiths/religions/agnostics and we would be duly rewarded for making this sincere effort just for His love.

It is interesting.

Isn’t it?

Thanks

GodAllahYHWH is All-Knowing and All-Wise; one should invariably give straight passages for Claim and Reason on all important issues from one’s Revealed Book that would make one more rational, reasonable acceptable to the secular masses at large. Any faith that tries that and is successful in doing that is sure to win the race of winning hearts globally, in my opinion.


#14

go buy yourself a basic caticism book! Your are making yourself look stuiped


#15

I cut out the so-called “hard questions” because all of them are based on faulty presumptions not sound “philosophy” as your atheistic teachers have told you. Your teachers in this case are like magicians who make you think you are seeing an elephant disappear before your very eyes, when actually it is a deception based on drawing your attention away from what is really happening, in other words, away from the truth.

No doubt you have been reading the works of philosophers who agree with your teachers. And if any who disagree are mentioned they are dismissed as unworthy of your attention. Am I right? Have you asked yourself why that is?

They aren’t giving you an education they are indoctrinating you–and doing a good job of it because you haven’t been taught from the greats of Catholic philosophy like Thomas Aquinas and in more modern times Fulton Sheen and G. K. Chesterton of whom you’ve probably never heard but whose books: “Orthodoxy” and “The Everlasting Man” are classics of Catholic philosophy. Try reading them or even the Catechism of Catholic Church and then ask your teachers how they could ever be so uneducated as to not know that your supposedly “hard questions” have not only been answered, but answered brilliantly by better men than they!


#16

Who are we to say that they are wrong. Jesus Christ made a most reasonable statement when he claimed to be the way, the truth and the life. That is is the only way. Truth by definition is exclusive. The law of non contradiction proves this. If Christianity makes a certain claim i.e. Christ was crucified upon a cross, and Islam makes a contrary claim i.e. jesus was not killed, and was ascended into heaven both statements cannot be true. The statement that all truth is relative does not hold up either. It is either an inclusive statement, or an exclusive statement. If it includes its self, then logically it is also only relative, and therefor not always true. If it is exclusive, then it denies an absolute, while positing an absolute at the same time.

You also seem to be assuming that all religions are fundementally the same. Also, with your final statement (with what I have quoted) you make the case that both Christianity and Buddism have a history. So What? This doen’t mean they are the same. You are presenting a logical fallocy. Just because two things have one thing in common, does not mean they have everything in common. Other wise, Elelphants have ears, my brother has ears therefore my brother is an elephant.

It is much more reasonable to say that all religions are wrong, in comparison to say that they are all right. There is one religion that seems to include all religions, however it in its self excludes exclusivists, in its own right becoming an exclusive faith.

Also, to point out in your question, you mentioned that now 2000 years later, there are many different religions spanning the entire globe. This gives the impression that there weren’t many different religions at the time of Christ. Which there were.

Also, in evaluating a faith, you have to put it to the test of truth. Truth is the most valuable thing in the world. Don’t attest to a religions truthfulness, based upon its number of adherents.


#17

Ahh philosophy my personal love in life and my primary point of education.

He gave us free will.

It is not proper to say that God can see aspects of time but rather that God sees all of time as a single point of a moment. In your analogy you are putting yourself in the place of God seeing time. Time is not for God but rather for us. While God wills things it does not mean that they come to fruition because God’s permissive will allows for our freedom. Though he does know what our choices are and will be but the point is that he loves us so much that He will not interfere with the freedome He has gifted to us. In effect God is bound to play by the rules He set.

Yes but they cannot reasonably claim truth but rather only piety. The truth of the Catholic Church is not one based only in historical progression but rather through reasoned belief coupled by Divine Inspiration that is also verifiable even scientifically (which is only a probable method of truth).

Love = freedom


#18

Now that’s begging the question. Ignore it.
Instead, obtain a copy of Healing the Culture by Father Robert Spitzer, SJ.
All of the your questions will be answered by a philosopher, theologian, physicist.
Or pick up a copy of Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli. Answer philosophy with philosophy, but never forget that in Catholocism, it is the combination of reason AND faith, not either/or.


#19

I’d encourage you to take a gander at some of the philosophical Catholic blogs out there. Many are run by professors or doctoral graduates in Philosophy.

A couple off the top of my head would be

Mike Liccione’s blog www.mliccione.blogspot.com
Phil Blosser’s blog www.pblosser.blogspot.com
Jonathan Prejean’s blog www.crimsoncatholic.blogspot.com

There are quite a few others out there, and many of them can be quite specialized in certain aspects of Catholic philosophy and theology.

Continue to seek the truth and you will find that not only does God exist, but that the Catholic Faith is also true! :thumbsup:


#20

As G.K. Chesterson once said, “without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.”


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