Returning to the Catholic faith


#1

Hello,
This is my first post, and I hope that I have posted this in the correct part of the forum.
I have just returned to the Catholic Church. I been away from my Catholic faith for quite a while. But over the last few months I have felt a real calling back to the Catholic Church. A few weeks ago I made an appointment to see my parish priest and had reconciliation and have been attending my local Catholic church since. My parish priest has been very supportive and welcoming. It is a wonderful feeling to be back.
My problem is that while I was away from the church I was involved with a spiritual group that believes that the Bible should be read metaphysically, and often pointed out errors in the Bible. I am now struggling to understand what is factual. Just as a short example I was told in the spiritual group that none of the authors of the Gospels knew Jesus and that it is not known who the actual authors of the Gospels were and that over the years man has made so many changes to the Bible.
I would be grateful if you could help me to grow in faith.
Thank you.


#2

Let me be the first on CAF to welcome you home friend ^^ I was also away from the Church for a while, and felt that same urge and calling that you did. It is a wonderful experience, isn’t it, to tangibly feel God calling out to you… ^^

Now then, on to your question.

As for pointing out “errors” in the Bible, I 'll say this bluntly and with absolutely no hesitation. There are zero errors in the Bible. Absolutely none whatsoever. Any perceived error is derived from a faulty understanding of context, historical time / position / writing styles / etc. We will gladly address any perceived errors if you have some specific ones that are bothering you. There are some great, and incredibly knowledgeable people on these forums; I’ve yet to have a question left unanswered.

As for the Gospel writers not knowing Jesus, I would ask them to present their evidence to that affect. There is actually quite a bit of evidence the John, at the very least, was one of Christ’s disciples, and traveled with Him during his ministry. John, at several points throughout his Gospel, gives accounts which could only have come from first hand experience, and makes several reference to “the disciple” which historians have concluded likely point back to the writer himself. (as a note, I’m pretty sure this is John, but I may be confusing it with Luke… sorry…)

As for the allegation of “changes” to the Bible… If by “changes” they mean minor modifications to translations as a greater understanding of the Greek and Hebrew languages are developed, then sure, there have been “changes.” None of those changes, however, affect the nature of the Book, or what is said, simply the most appropriate word selection for translation into a given language. (Greek doesn’t really translate all that well to English :p) If by changes, however, they mean changes in the meaning and overall history presented by the Bible, then they are absolutely mistaken, and I would once again ask them to present their evidence to that affect. I’d lay odd that they will be unable to do so. The first person to make any real and substantial changes to the Bible was Martin Luther, when he removed the books that disagreed with his personal, flawed interpretation of the Faith / Bible (Maccabees, for example, and its clear assertion that you should pray for the souls of the dead, indicating the existence of purgatory, which was a doctrine of the Church that Martin Luther flat out rejected)

It is also important to note when considering their claims, that the Bible as it is commonly understood today was not compiled until the early 300’s, and that it was compiled by the Catholic Church. This is a matter of historical fact.

Sorry if this has been a little long winded. The path to understanding the history of Church, and being able to defend it, is a long one, but one that many people here have embraced with great joy. The Church’s history is deep, and rich, and every belief is well founded in both scripture and history. You are at the start of a great journey to understand your faith, and should relish the great breadth of the centuries of dedicated study that have come before you.

If you have the resources, or if a family member is looking for a Christmas gift for you, I would highly, highly recommend the St. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible It is split into two books, one for the Old Testament and one for the New. I personally would start with the New. I received it last year for Christmas, and have learned so much from it. Each page is broken into two parts, one is the Bible readings, and the other is a scholarly description / explanation of various passages of scripture which are hard to understand without proper context / historical knowledge. In addition to this, it goes into great detail about the the origin of each Book, who the understood author is, the historical context and desired target of their writing, and a myriad of other details. In particular, it can address your concerns about authorship and the author’s relationship to Jesus and the Apostles. I cannot recommend it enough, and have learned more about my Faith from it than I can put into words.

God Bless you friend, I wish you great success in your journey, and urge you to stick around. I have learned a great deal from the people on these forums, and know that the same will be true for you should you chose to utilize them.


#3

**Welcome home **…:extrahappy:

And also welcome to CAF…You will find it a great resource.

My problem is that while I was away from the church I was involved with a spiritual group that believes that the Bible should be read metaphysically, and often pointed out errors in the Bible. I am now struggling to understand what is factual. Just as a short example I was told in the spiritual group that none of the authors of the Gospels knew Jesus and that it is not known who the actual authors of the Gospels were and that over the years man has made so many changes to the Bible.
I would be grateful if you could help me to grow in faith.
Thank you.

First off let me say that ProdiglArchitect has given a great answer. :thumbsup:

Second of all - I’d be leery of any group who says, in the same breath, that “none of the authors of the Gospels knew Jesus and that it is not known who the actual authors of the Gospels were”…
If they don’t know who the actual authors are - then how can they declare that none of them knew Jesus??..:shrug: Such things make no sense.

Now - Just to “piggyback” on what PA has shared let me say that there are different levels at which one reads the bible. There is the actual words - the intent of the author at the time and to his specific audience - and then there are the underlying lessons and the meanings that we can apply to our daily life.
I’ve probably not explained that well - but perhaps another can flesh this out for us.

I’m not sure how “metaphysical” might fit into these levels. When I looked up the word it seems to have a rather broad definition. So - I guess that there can be certain “metaphysical” elements to reading and understanding Scripture.

As far as “many changes to the bible”…This is another rather vague statement that really has no useful meaning without further information. As PA points out there HAVE been changes in translations etc. but not in the underlying truths contained.

As for what is “Factual”. We can know that the Gospels are factual. They relate to a real person who really walked the earth. The Gospels themselves fix the historical time frame by the usual method of those days - who was king or governor etc.
Apostolic succession likewise speaks to the factual nature of the Church and it’s leadership.
In addition the factual nature of the NT is affirmed by the fact that the Apostles themselves were willing to die for their belief in the facts of the message they conveyed - rather than to recant.
The OT contains books of several types - genres - and how “factual” some of these are might be debated…but nothing undercuts the truth of the bible.

Just some thoughts.

Peace
James


#4

I guess I’ll be the third to welcome you.

According to tradition the authors of the Gospels were companions of the apostles and members of the 70 disciples sent forth to spread the good news. While they might not have been in the “inner circle” they traveled with them and most likely had spoken with Christ or hear him speak. Heck, one of the most prolific writers in the new testament (St. Paul) only truely meet Christ after his death and resurrection. Does that make his teachings any less valid because he didn’t travel with the Apostles?

It is unlikely that we will have 100% knowledge of who wrote the gospels, but does it really matter? We have to remember that the gospels were transmitted orally for the first 40+ years after Christ died, but the epistles of Paul were written maybe 15-30 years after the death of Christ. Those letters support much of the gospel despite the fact that they hadn’t yet been recorded. In other words despite when or who wrote the gospels they are consistent with what Paul was writting to communities in the first couple decades after Christ died.


#5

I’m honored ^^

Thanks for the additions!

(I honestly can’t tell if this sounds sarcastic or not… it’s not meant to if it does… I think I need a break from sarcasm…)


#6

There is much disagreement with this dating suggesting the Gospels were not written until late in the 1st century. Almost all of this dating is based upon assuming they had to be written after the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD because Jesus predicted the fall. This is very weak grounding.

If you look to the Book of Acts, it abruptly ends with St. Paul in prison and still alive. It doesn’t even mention his execution in the mid 60’s AD. So it is highly likely the book was written before his execution.

And we need to remember that the Gospel of Luke was written before Acts. So Luke must have been written no later than early 60’s AD, probably earlier. Same with Mark and Matthew, which were written even earlier.


#7

You are welcome. I always enjoy your posts. :thumbsup:

(I honestly can’t tell if this sounds sarcastic or not… it’s not meant to if it does… I think I need a break from sarcasm…)

Well since it’s writing - it really can’t “sound” like anything. :smiley:
Often times in such cases, any sarcasm would have to be “read in” by the reader (me) and I try very hard not to “read into” or assume things in what I read here.
So - I can honestly say I saw no sarcasm.

Peace
James


#8

Thank you everyone for your lovely welcome and thoughtful comments.
These comments are exactly what I was hoping to find.
I really want to grow in faith, and have a very good understanding about the Catholic Church.
I also appreciate the recommendation of the St Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. I will definitely look for this.
I was brought up in the Catholic faith, but I don’t think that I really understood my faith and sadly I did not realize the gift that I had by being a member of the Catholic Church. This is the reason why I left as I had questions but didn’t ask the correct people, Instead my questioning led me away from the Catholic Church… but I am back now!
It is a bit of a solo journey for me now, as I come from a large Catholic family, but all apart from my elderly parents have fallen away from the church. Also my husband is agnostic, and can’t understand why I would want to attend church, although he supports and loves me, but we are travelling different faith roads.
I have lots of questions as for many years I was involved in this spiritual group which was not a particular faith, and did not read the Bible as the Word of God, rather viewed it as a mythical story, and viewed Jesus as a wayshower.
It is now great to have a place where I can ask these questions to members of the Catholic faith.
I really appreciate the support that has been given to me after my first post - thank you.
I am also very blessed to have a wonderful Parish Priest who has already given me a couple of books to read.
As mentioned I have lots of questions, and I look forward to growing in faith with you all.
Thank you and God Bless


#9

So what is a “wayshower”? Never heard that before…

Peace
James


#10

James, my understanding of a Wayshower is a person who is spiritually enlightened. Many people who call themselves spiritual but not religious view Jesus as a wayshower meaning he was a spiritually enlightened man, but not the Son of God. This was the view of the spiritual group I attended.


#11

Glory Hallelujah! Saints and Angels celebrate your return!

I can tell you that all four Gospels were written in the first century, three of which (Matthew,
Mark, & Luke) written no later than 70 CE, Mark being the earliest, while John could have
been written either before or after 70 CE, but no later than the first century. It is then safe
to assume that the Gospels were written by the Apostles, but even if but one was not by
an Apostle, it would have been by the direct disciples of the Apostles, whilst the Gospel
being preached was still rather “fresh out of the oven,” if you will.

Also, if you have any questions concerning the Deuterocanon, which Protestants exclude
from their bibles, I have a group here on this site designed to defend it and inform others
about it, debunk myths against it, etc. Contact me if you’re at all interested in that.


#12

Thanks…I guess Jesus as God is one of the things that they think was “changed” in the bible…Its really convenient to be able to just chuck out of the book anything you disagree with…:whistle::rolleyes:

Peace
James


#13

Hi Melrose88,

First of all welcome back!!! :extrahappy:

Second, I just have general advice concerning doubts while returning to the faith. I had/have many doubts that pop up while learning more about the faith. What I did and still do is pray to God for Him to help me believe more and more in Him and understand and accept Church teaching. Praying has helped me tremendously, especially in overcoming my natural skepticism. I especially recommended doing some of your prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Spending time with our Lord during Adoration can work wonders for you!

Doubt is a natural human tendency, and it is though God’s grace that we can overcome it. Hard work is also involved to overcome such doubt, and this involves educating yourself and asking lots of questions. Seek the Lord and he will answer all doubt that you have.

Also, this website was and is an incredible tool for all the questions that I have had, and has been very instrumental in my search for truth and return to the Church.

:blessyou:


#14

I cannot recommend this enough! There is nothing more… calming than praying in in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Whenever I’m feeling lost it always helps me find myself.


#15

Hi Melrose88,

Welcome back to the church. :slight_smile:

What you might find useful in your Bible study, would be a Catholic study Bible, and to get in with a Bible study group at your new parish.

I was given a study Bible as a gift. It has helpful notes already printed in it at the beginning of each chapter. It explains history, and also has translation footnotes in it at the bottom of each page.


closed #16

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.