Serious Doubts/Questions about Faith

For a while now, I have considered myself an atheist of sorts. But it seems as if an internal intuition keeps compelling me to rejoin the faith community. At times of anxiety I often suddenly feel as if I can just pray and become calm; however, I purposely stop myself (despite an intense feeling) because of my lack of religion. Frequently I feel like and ask about going to church and partaking in its traditions, but this is stopped by what I believe to be irreconcilable differences about the theology. The bottom line is, I want to return to Catholicism. I feel God’s presence and will, I sense how powerful community is. But there are a number of significant roadblocks in the way.

Questions:

1) Why does God allow suffering to exist in the world?

-I’ve seen answers from the Catechism, this very website, and many other sources. And I am not satisfied with them. Why would an all-powerful and all-loving creator feel the need to “test” his children with temptation (referring to the fall of man in Genesis), willing to rain fire and condemn an entire species to misery for something he established? Why do we seem to exist for his pleasure alone and not ours? He can easily remove all crime from this world for the sake of his people. but he chooses not to seemingly out of pride (you play bad due to an imperfection that I can fix, but you will still be the full one to suffer for it). It doesn’t add up. Honestly, it seems like an endorsement of crime just so we can learn to follow him and sacrifice much, almost deriving pleasure from teaching a lesson that hurts innocent people.

Murder, theft, systemic crime, poverty, etc. These can be attributed to human fallibility. But what about hurricanes, tsunamis, droughts, cancer, and so on? Why does God afflict us with these ailments? Again, apologists say it’s to “test” our strength/faith. But when I see friends and family die needlessly, I don’t see God’s tough love. I see something that a truly benevolent creator would have never created in the first place. I don’t know any decent human alive who would make all members of a species suffer to test loyalty, or to avenge the sins of parents from thousands of years ago.

2) Why is politically opposing civil same-sex marriage so central to the faith?

-I understand and am willing to follow the church’s teachings on this matter. Marriage only being between a man and a woman. However, who are we to force this belief on other people? Furthermore, many scientific organizations/studies have demonstrated that children raised by LGBT parents are not likely to show any sort of deficiency long term, nor are they less likely to be heterosexual. Thus gay and lesbian families can provide great homes for needy children. What matters to me is not gender, but love. This should trump any argument people make for “divinely inspired design.”

3) Why is “God” necessary for "good?"

-More specifically, why would good people go to hell simply for not believing in Catholic doctrines? I know many friends and fellow citizens who are dedicated to their communities. I myself have founded and am in charge of many volunteer youth groups and civic clubs (helping to raise much for charity). Despite the fact that we are honest people who want to make the world better, why does the church warn that we will be damned for not attending mass or eating the body and blood? For worshiping a different deity or none at all? If one is truly all-loving and all-knowing, it seems as if helping others and demonstrating character should be enough to earn everlasting life.


I do not ask these questions to be hostile. As I’ve stated above, I want to return to the Catholic Church. Every day I feel a strong urge to (sort of like a craving for food), but these obstacles are simply too strong and expose too many holes in what I would profess.

-I’ve seen answers from the Catechism, this very website, and many other sources. And I am not satisfied with them. Why would an all-powerful and all-loving creator feel the need to “test” his children with temptation (referring to the fall of man in Genesis), willing to rain fire and condemn an entire species to misery for something he established? Why do we seem to exist for his pleasure alone and not ours? He can easily remove all crime from this world for the sake of his people. but he chooses not to seemingly out of pride (you play bad due to an imperfection that I can fix, but you will still be the full one to suffer for it). It doesn’t add up. Honestly, it seems like an endorsement of crime just so we can learn to follow him and sacrifice much, almost deriving pleasure from teaching a lesson that hurts innocent people.

Murder, theft, systemic crime, poverty, etc. These can be attributed to human fallibility. But what about hurricanes, tsunamis, droughts, cancer, and so on? Why does God afflict us with these ailments? Again, apologists say it’s to “test” our strength/faith. But when I see friends and family die needlessly, I don’t see God’s tough love. I see something that a truly benevolent creator would have never created in the first place. I don’t know any decent human alive who would make all members of a species suffer to test loyalty, or to avenge the sins of parents from thousands of years ago.Extensive response from Radio Replies is as good as I’ve ever seen.

2) Why is politically opposing civil same-sex marriage so central to the faith?

-I understand and am willing to follow the church’s teachings on this matter. Marriage only being between a man and a woman. However, who are we to force this belief on other people? Furthermore, many scientific organizations/studies have demonstrated that children raised by LGBT parents are not likely to show any sort of deficiency long term, nor are they less likely to be heterosexual. Thus gay and lesbian families can provide great homes for needy children. What matters to me is not gender, but love. This should trump any argument people make for “divinely inspired design.” Because the church was established by Christ to spread His standards of faith and morals.

3) Why is “God” necessary for "good?"

-More specifically, why would good people go to hell simply for not believing in Catholic doctrines? I know many friends and fellow citizens who are dedicated to their communities. I myself have founded and am in charge of many volunteer youth groups and civic clubs (helping to raise much for charity). Despite the fact that we are honest people who want to make the world better, why does the church warn that we will be damned for not attending mass or eating the body and blood? For worshiping a different deity or none at all? If one is truly all-loving and all-knowing, it seems as if helping others and demonstrating character should be enough to earn everlasting life.Because as a perfect being and creator of all that is He **is **good and therefore without Him no good would exist.

I do not ask these questions to be hostile. As I’ve stated above, I want to return to the Catholic Church. Every day I feel a strong urge to (sort of like a craving for food), but these obstacles are simply too strong and expose too many holes in what I would profess.

:shrug: Perhaps you’ve been “feeding” yourself the wrong mental food?:slight_smile:

God created man and the world to be free, if God was to tinker with every little aspect of mankind then men would not have freewill .The bible says that God can get good out of evil, he’s the master at this beyond your understanding.Everything in this world is just Temporary… a blink of the eye compared to eternity. :slight_smile:
catholictreasury.info/books/eternal_wisdom/ew14.php

Hi Joko2599 :slight_smile:

I would like to start by saying that I would definately recommend praying the Rosary or Chaplet of Divine Mercy if you feel ‘called’ or a ‘desire’ to do so, as I believe that it is in prayer that much light is granted to the soul.

I would also like to strongly recommend the book ‘Mere Christianity’ by C.S. Lewis that I believe will greatly help you.

amazon.com/Mere-Christianity-C-S-Lewis/dp/0060652926/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436425105&sr=1-1&keywords=mere+christianity
(Note: I dislike the cover picture they have on the book, as I think it looks childish, but I assure you it’s nothing of the kind).

I believe there are two kinds as you have pointed out, ‘Moral Evil’ and ‘Physical Evil’ Moral Evil is the sufferring we cause on ourselves and each other, and Physical Evil is the suffering like Tsunami’s, Volcano’s, Cancer, Disease etc.

I hope you don’t mind if I share some quotes in regards to Moral Evil that I believe may help you -

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Please continue to next post -

As for the second one, ‘Physical Evil’ I am still learning about this one, but I Believe it is certainly to do with the fall and corruption of man in the sense of ‘Moral Evil’ which I believe can be extrapolated to ‘Physical Evil’

I also remember reading in C.S. Lewis’ book ‘The Problem of Pain’ it having something to do with only in an indifferent environment, can we have free will, because in order to say something ‘good’ or ‘bad’ our vocal cords need to be indifferent to good and bad, they only need to allow the possibility of speech.

However, the following verse I heard at Mass the other day I believe is most telling in regards to ‘Physical Evil’ being an extrapolation of ‘Moral Evil’ -

I hope this has helped with your first question. Please continue to my next post for the second question.

God Bless You

Thank you for reading
Josh

I don’t believe it is.

I believe It only appears to be so central at the moment, because that is what so much of society is getting desasterously wrong at the current time. If a maths student was having trouble understanding how probabilities work, than the teacher would focus on probabilities and I believe it would be fallicious to believe that probabilites were so central to Mathematics as a whole.

Okay.

I agree, I believe you have fallen into the fallicious arguments of those who are fighting for same sex marriage. The first thing I would try to point out is that ‘same sex marriage’ has nothing to do with legalising or criminalising a homosexual union. The second thing is that ‘marriage equality’ is fallicious, as before you can recgonise something ‘equally’ first you have to define what it is.

May I ask, have you ever met somebody who thought their biological parents were completely irrelevant to them? It upsets me greatly when people use these arguments, as a childs biological parents absolutely do matter, sometimes it happens that a child is left without their biological mother and father, but to intentionally set it up that way is just so very wrong in my view.

What starts out with *‘great homes for needy children’ *turns into ‘great homes for all children’. Thus biological parents are seen as completely irrelevant and interchangable in order to maintain the facade of equality.

I hope this has helped, Please continue to next post for Question three.

God Bless You

Thank you for reading
Josh

I believe the best and most straight forward answer here, is because God is the source of all good.

I believe it’s not simply ‘not believing’ in Catholic doctrines, but more ‘rejecting’ them, as Jesus said that none come to the father except through Him.

The Devil helps people too, I believe our definition of ‘helping’ and ‘good’ can be very important. I believe the following is the best explanation -

Remember the fall of Satan, even the best thought out plan, philosophy etc is doomed for failure apart from the source of all that is good.

As for when it comes to Mass, I believe the following post may help you - forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=12947040&postcount=9

I hope this has helped, Please continue to next post -

God Bless You

Thank you for reading
Josh

I would very much like to recommend the book ‘Mere Christinaity’ as I believe it will help with alot of your questions and doubts. I would also like to share some previous posts with you that I believe may also help -

forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=13006282&postcount=2

forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=13006283&postcount=3

I hope this has helped

God Bless You

Thank you for reading
Josh

Josh, I don’t know if it helped the OP, but I read every word and it helped ME! Thanks for your time and effort! :slight_smile:

:slight_smile: Thank you.

God Bless You

Thank you for reading
Josh

Does the Church teach that? No, it does not.

Joko, thank you for posting, as I’ve wrestled with some of these same questions. Josh, thank you for the lengthy & thoughtful replies. :slight_smile:

I’m not certain that I’d characterize God’s will as “testing children with temptation.” Rather, He loves us so much that He’s not going to tell us what to do and then force us to do it: instead, He tells us what’s right and invites us to follow Him. If we choose not to do so, then He honors that choice. If we do choose Him, though, then we spend all eternity with Him. It’s kind of like He stands by that old saying, “if you love someone, set him free. If he comes back to you, he’s yours; if not, he was never yours in the first place.” (Kind of; not exactly. But, can you see what I’m getting at?)

Along those same lines, I’m not seeing “willing to condemn an entire species to misery.” Rather, I’m seeing it as “willing to allow each person of an entire species to freely choose Him or freely reject Him.”

Why do we seem to exist for his pleasure alone and not ours?

I’m not seeing this objection, either. Did Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection happen for God’s pleasure?

He can easily remove all crime from this world for the sake of his people. but he chooses not to seemingly out of pride (you play bad due to an imperfection that I can fix, but you will still be the full one to suffer for it).

He could; that’s true. But, in doing so, he’d be removing free will from those who commit the crimes, right? How can there be true free will if there’s only the ‘free will’ to do good?

It doesn’t add up. Honestly, it seems like an endorsement of crime just so we can learn to follow him

No – it’s an endorsement of free will, so that we have the opportunity to freely choose Him.

Murder, theft, systemic crime, poverty, etc. These can be attributed to human fallibility. But what about hurricanes, tsunamis, droughts, cancer, and so on? Why does God afflict us with these ailments? Again, apologists say it’s to “test” our strength/faith.

Huh? What apologists would these be? That’s not what the Catholic Church says!

Aquinas talked about different kinds of evil – weather events and diseases being part of what he called ‘natural evil’. If you’re into philosophical approaches to the question, I’d recommend you read this essay on Aquinas and the Necessity of ‘Natural Evils’. Would you be willing to read it and then ask questions here?

I don’t know any decent human alive who would make all members of a species suffer to test loyalty, or to avenge the sins of parents from thousands of years ago.

Again, these are straw man arguments – that’s not at all what God is doing.

2) Why is politically opposing civil same-sex marriage so central to the faith?

It’s not ‘central’, but it is important. It’s ‘central’ to today’s society; so, when society keeps asking the question – and the Church answers! – society responds by asking “why are ya’ll so hung up on this?!?” :sad_yes: :rolleyes:

-I understand and am willing to follow the church’s teachings on this matter. Marriage only being between a man and a woman. However, who are we to force this belief on other people?

I understand and am willing to follow the Church’s teachings on the matter that murder is immoral and sinful. However, who am I to force this belief on other people? :wink:

What matters to me is not gender, but love.

Love is good – no doubt about it. Yet, there’s a distinct difference between the various expressions of love and love itself; not all expressions are appropriate for all kinds of love. I love many married people; yet, it would be highly inappropriate for me to have sex with a bunch of married people. I love my biological family; it would be absolutely immoral for me to have sex or attempt to marry members of my biological family. LOVE. IS. GOOD. Not all expressions of love are appropriate to all the various forms of love. Can a man love another man, or a woman love another woman? Absolutely. Does this mean that it is moral for them to appropriate expressions of that love in ways that are applicable only to the marital union of a man and woman? No.

3) Why is “God” necessary for "good?"

-More specifically, why would good people go to hell simply for not believing in Catholic doctrines?

You know, of course, that the Catholic Church doesn’t teach that “only Catholics go to heaven”… right?

Despite the fact that we are honest people who want to make the world better, why does the church warn that we will be damned for not attending mass or eating the body and blood?

This applies only to Catholics – that is, it only applies to those who know that this is necessary. For those who, through no fault of their own, do not know this is true, it is not binding. There are, of course, Christians who make the claim that “if you’re not Christian, you’re going to hell” – but Catholics do not make this claim.

I do not ask these questions to be hostile. … but these obstacles are simply too strong and expose too many holes in what I would profess.

Yep… absolutely! I don’t, at all, get the impression that you’re trying to be hostile. What I’d say, though, is that what it exposes are some misunderstandings of what the Church actually teaches…

I understand this in regards to actions we take here on earth, in our bodies, sure, that makes sense, actions have consequences, I think we all agree on that, if we choose to do something that causes harm to another, or takes anything from them, that should have consequences, that is just…BUT, when it comes to the ultimate choice, whether we feel we should have a relationship with and worship our creator, there is a WRONG choice, this is proven, if we refuse to do this (no matter what the reason may be), we could have been the best person on the planet, donated all their money to help others, never said a bad word about anyone, was a good person at heart, yet they end up in a place that is considered punishment (just due to that ONE wrong choice??)…this means there is a right and a wrong choice…that is NOT free will, not true free will anyway.

So, God is saying its WRONG to not worship ones creator, its wrong not to desire a relationship with our creator.

Its always been said God gave us free will because he didnt want a world full of ‘robots’ who just automatically worshiped him…well, that is what he really wants, that is apparent, he just wants us to make the choice, anything less is deserving of eternal punishment?

As long as we dont hurt others thru our actions, I dont believe there should be a right and wrong choice when it comes to if we choose to worship and invite our creator into our lives, free will should make that OUR choice, but there should be no ‘wrong’ choice, both would be neutral.

The above question is perhaps the most difficult for all of us to understand. The answer to the question has already been stated in the terms of “Love” and “Freewill”, but the context of those words is quite different depending on how one has formed their conscience. To those who have spent a lifetime forming themselves to the secular notion of those words love and freewill are bankrupt of meaning. Love is what makes you feel good or a society fell good and freewill is an adolescence mindset of doing what they want to do. The focus is almost always on themselves.

The way those who have posted use these words is quite different. Love is external and has little to do with yourself, and has as its aim the good of another person, and freewill is not doing what you want to do, but doing what is morally right even if no one is watching. That is where true freedom comes from and that is when you become free from the shackles of sin.

To sum up what Archbishop Fulton Sheen said on this subject about evil. Think about a father who is an architect. The man has built large city buildings and magnificent structures. Let us suppose his son comes to him and ask him to build a bird house. The father set out with his son to build a bird house, but this is not the best house the architect could build not by any means, yet it may be the best house for the purpose that he has in mind. That is a dwelling for bluejays. You are right to assume God could have built a better world, and He could have built a world without suffering, stealing, murder, crime etc. That is not the world He built because that world was not His intention. You see God wanted a world where someone could say Yes. A world where someone could love. A world where we have a choice. If we do not have the ability to say yes to God’s love then we would not be any different that grass or stones that we step on as we walk. To say yes is beautiful because we could have said no. And the greatest gift God has given us a part from His Son is freewill, and he will not take that away from us. HE WILL NOT take away our freewill. God chose to create a moral universe where we are free to love Him. If we do not want a dictator or someone to force themselves upon us without our choice this is the consequences of a moral universe. So here on earth there will always be darkness mingled with light, despair mingled with hope, no’s mingled with yeses, but if that were not the case your dignity would not be different from the lowest animals or beast of the earth.

You are right to pray and to say, “Yes, God I am here”, and the more you say that the more invite God into your heart the closer you become to the city set upon hill. Then at the end of your life you will be in the eternal city where there is ONLY love, joy, peace, and happiness.

The spiritual family of God invites you home. Just remember that those people in pews with you are sinners just like you and me. Please be a good example and help myself and others say Yes to God’s love more than we ever say no.

This a good analysis; yet, it makes one mistake: it sees all choices as being equal. The choice to ‘be a good person’, the choice to share one’s resources with others, the choice to speak well of others: these are all important choices. These choices have one thing in common: they address how we treat God’s creation and His creatures.

One choice, however, outstrips all of these: not just how we treat creation, but how we treat the Creator. This is why your analysis, at its heart, is correct (although you do not guess the reason behind it): your analysis rightly recognizes that it is this relationship that is the one that is most important. We cannot truly be “the best person on the planet” unless that goodness is based on love of God; we cannot truly love those to whom we donate money, unless that love has its source in love of God; and we cannot claim to be a “good person at heart” unless that heartfelt goodness reflects our acceptance of the goodness of God. ‘Love’ of God’s creation but rejection of God Himself is not sufficient (unless, of course, you’re talking about ‘invincible ignorance’, but you seem not to be making that case).

You’ve got it right, although you’re searching for the reason that it’s right; and the reason is that love of God is ultimately what we are expressing by love of neighbor. Loving our neighbor but hating God – that is, hating the Creator but ‘loving’ His creation – makes no sense.

(There are other cases, of course: some have had experiences that have so distorted their understanding of who God is, that they’re unable to love God; that’s the exception rather than the rule, and it’s at the heart of ‘invincible ignorance’ and why it does not deny salvation. That’s not what we’re talking about here, though, is it? We’re talking about the general case, right? The case of people who know God but refuse to accept Him.)

…this means there is a right and a wrong choice…that is NOT free will, not true free will anyway.

Hmm… I’m not sure I understand this assertion. Are you saying that, unless there’s no moral difference between the choices, there’s no free will? That is, when one choice is ‘right’ and another is ‘wrong’, there’s no free will in the choice? That doesn’t stand to reason. If you have the choice to kill someone or to not kill them, you’re saying that this isn’t ‘free will’, since one of these is ‘right’ and the other ‘wrong’?!? :hmmm:

So, God is saying … its wrong not to desire a relationship with our creator.

I don’t know how to answer this other than… “umm… yeah!”

As long as we dont hurt others thru our actions, I dont believe there should be a right and wrong choice when it comes to if we choose to worship and invite our creator into our lives, free will should make that OUR choice, but there should be no ‘wrong’ choice, both would be neutral.

I can’t agree with you here. If God creates us out of His goodness, then the height of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ must be how we relate to Him. The way we treat the rest of His creation is certainly one aspect of this ‘rightness’; but if there is no ‘right and wrong’ to our relationship with Him, then I can’t see how there’s any merit in our relationship to His creation. :shrug:

1) Why does God allow suffering to exist in the world?

He doesn’t. God has promised that deliberate man-made evil/suffering is temporary and will not go unpunished. And the morally neutral suffering that accompanies natural events, (God made water - people sometimes drown. God made gravity - some people’s parachutes fail,) has a useful/meaningful purpose.
If you take God away (atheism) all suffering is irrelevant and man-made suffering is trivial - Hitler never faces final judgment before God.

2) Why is politically opposing civil same-sex marriage so central to the faith?

It’s not. Vocal defense of heterosexual marriage is optional - it’s not essential for salvation.
Other people’s sin is ultimately their problem not mine. I have two choices. Remain silent or speak the truth. What I can’t/won’t do is lukewarm compromise saying one thing in public to be popular and yet knowing that something like SSM is actually against Gods law.

3) Why is “God” necessary for "good?"
He isn’t. Two humans can (theoretically) be good and agree on their own terrestrial moral ontology and live happily ever after.
BUT…the problem arises when those same two humans one day find themselves disagreeing over what IS good. (Epistemology) And the argument ends in a nil-all-draw because neither human has transcendent, omniscient authority or omnipotent power over the other.
An objective umpire who can and does enforce rules isn’t necessary, but very useful.

Hmm… no; that doesn’t really work. Sin affects us all: “am I my brother’s keeper?” has only one implied answer, and that’s a resounding ‘yes!’

3) Why is “God” necessary for "good?"
He isn’t. Two humans can (theoretically) be good and agree on their own terrestrial moral ontology and live happily ever after.

Can’t say I agree with this perspective, either. Without the source of Goodness, there is no good on earth. With a source of Goodness, people can be good – even if they think they’ve developed “their own terrestrial moral ontology,” without realizing that it springs from God.

Well I deliberately said…“Other people’s sin is ultimately their problem…”
“Ultimately” means they are judged for their sins and I am judged for mine.

No, my point was that there is no reason - as I said - why two humans can’t “theoretically” be good and agree with each other that it is good to be good etc.
And they might just happen to agree that stealing is wrong and murder and adultery etc.without ever having previously heard of God. (Even a clock that doesn’t work is correct twice a day.) And they might be smart enough to realise (as God does) that it is wise to act in certain ways and unwise to act in other ways.

But where their moral framework falls apart is when/if they find themselves in an argument over whether something (like abortion for example) is or isn’t “good” and they lack an objective, all knowing, third party umpire to adjudicate the True Moral Good.

The other problem they face is that, unlike man-made laws, God’s law is enforceable. One human can ‘claim’ that their law applies to another but unless a law is enforced, it hardly qualifies as a law. It’s merely an opinion - fleeting, subjective, optional.

This is certainly the single best reason not to be a believer.

For human evil, I think the best explanation is free will. It’s not even so much about “testing,” but about the possibility that God couldn’t create free beings who would freely love Him without the possibility of their turning away and committing grave evil.

But this still leaves the question: why such grave evils? Why can’t God do more to prevent evil? And what about “natural” evils, as you point out?

A Protestant theologian named Greg Boyd has tackled this issue through what he calls “warfare theodicy.” Basically, his argument is that

  1. In order to create free beings, God deliberately chooses to limit his power by giving creatures a “sphere” in which they can not only control their own actions but also significantly affect others.

  2. Satan and other powerful created beings fall, and tempt humans into falling as well. This affects nature as well as humanity.

  3. Ultimately God will defeat Satan and restore creation, but it is a real battle right now and God does not control everything that happens.

This is, of course, very controversial. I have my own issues with aspects of it. Here’s the final post of a seven-post series I wrote on the subject. But I think he’s basically on the right track in saying that the answer to the problem of evil has to have something to do with God’s respect for creaturely freedom, and that this has to be widened to include Satan so as to account for “natural evils.”

All of that being said, I think that in the end we’re all going to be struggling with this one as long as we live in this broken world. The question we have to answer is whether, in fact, we are in a broken but created world, or whether we are in a world in which, ultimately, the whole question of good and evil has no meaning. In other words, I think that giving up on God because of the problem of evil raises a whole set of other questions. I’ll get back to that in response to your last point.

2) Why is politically opposing civil same-sex marriage so central to the faith?

I think that tactical questions about how to promote a healthy view of marriage are questions on which there are many opinions possible within orthodoxy.

However, for Catholics I think the key point is that marriage is an institution of natural law. Insisting on a “traditional” definition isn’t “forcing our faith on others,” it’s simply speaking truth about how humans are created. I agree entirely that many people overemphasize the question and that probably under present cultural circumstances it’s best to beat a retreat on this one. The Catholic author Joseph Bottum expressed such a view (more strongly than I would, in fact) in this very controversial article.

If marriage is defined as most in our culture define it, then gay marriage is obviously the right way to go. But from an orthodox Christian perspective, marriage shouldn’t be defined that way.

3) Why is “God” necessary for "good?"

-More specifically, why would good people go to hell simply for not believing in Catholic doctrines?

These are two completely different questions.

The Church does not teach that good people will go to hell for not believing Catholic doctrines.

It teaches that people (possibly such as myself) who are convinced that Catholicism is true are obligated to follow through on their convictions, and that ultimately refusing to do so will lead to damnation.

But that doesn’t cover the vast majority of non-Catholics, arguably including many ex-Catholics.

On the other hand, God is necessary for good to exist, because God is necessary for anything to exist!

Without God, the word “good” would seem to mean either

  1. Something purely subjective, or
  2. Whatever benefits human beings and/or living things more generally.

That’s the main reason not to reject theism because of the problem of evil. the problem of evil presupposes that there is something called “evil” which ought not to exist. Our very revulsion against evil makes sense only in a world in which there is something called “good.”

Obviously an atheist can say, “it’s only a problem if you believe in God.” But my argument is that, in fact, most of us feel that evil should not exist, and most of us can distinguish between evil and something that is just unpleasant.

Every day I feel a strong urge to (sort of like a craving for food), but these obstacles are simply too strong and expose too many holes in what I would profess.

Well, I have the same urge, for what it’s worth. (I am already a Christian–indeed one of the reasons I haven’t followed “the urge” is that I’m tied to non-Catholic Christian communities already).

Edwin

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