Serious Struggle with Faith, Lots of questions

I have recently discovered the Church, and was fully convinced of the authority of the Church, being disillusioned by my Baptist upbringing. However, in talking with my wife and family, they almost have me convinced that there is no absolute truth. That no matter what “denomonation” you decide to be part of, you can get to heaven if you just ask Jesus into your life. But wouldn’t that make Jesus a liar, if He lead no one into all truth, even though he said the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth? Through all of this, I have had a serious struggle of faith, even coming to a point where atheism is starting to look pretty good. However, I am not convinced there is no ultumate purpose in life. However, looking into the fact of evolution has had me questioning my faith in God at all. Can someone help me straighten these things out?

The square-root of two is an irrational number. This is an absolute truth. It’s a mathematical truth, and not a philosophical truth (though the elegant proof that the ancient Greeks discovered is entirely rooted in philosophy).

René Descartes proposed a philosophical truth from which he felt that all truth could be derived: I think, therefore I am.

Philosophy is the essence of absolute truth. If A=B, and B=C, then A=C. This is the transitive principle of philosophy. It has been adapted to math (as much of philosophy has), but it is not founded in math - it is founded in philosophy.

FWIW, the word “logic” is largely synonymous with the word “philosophy.” Early computer scientists, who envisioned and constructed “logic gates” (AND, OR, NAND, XOR) did not wish to use “ancient” terms to describe their “space age” technology. They invented a “modern vocabulary” for philosophy.

There is most certainly a concept such as absolute truth, and the science of philosophy is brimming with it. Theology is, first and foremost, an extension of philosophy. The greatest philosopher of the Western world was (and still is) - who? Do you know who? It was St. Thomas Aquinas. He proposed five philosophical proofs of God that do not rely one bit on religion, but upon philosophy (such as the “unmoved Mover”).

That no matter what “denomination” you decide to be part of, you can get to heaven if you just ask Jesus into your life.

WHO makes this claim? Are the same people who say there is no such thing as absolute truth saying that this is absolute truth??? Huh???

But wouldn’t that make Jesus a liar, if He lead no one into all truth, even though he said the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth?

The Catholic Church has always (for these past 2000 years) taught that this teaching applied to the Holy Spirit leading the CHURCH into all truth. Not each individual. If we accepted the latter interpretation then obviously the “promise” would be completely bogus and an absolute lie, since individual Christians might have a completely different idea of “truth.” Indeed, Our Lord never intended for us to each individually discover the Truth for ourselves. Our Lord came to establish a Church, and that’s exactly what he did.

However, looking into the fact of evolution has had me questioning my faith in God at all.

The topic of evolution is (kinda) off-limits on this Forum at the moment (though some side-remarks have been permitted, and I hope my following remarks are no different).

The Church has allowed that a faithful Catholic may accept evolution, but not that it has occurred by random chance, but guided by God as the process of Creation. As a scientifically-minded guy, I accept and believe EVERYTHING that any evolutionist believes, EXCEPT the causative agent. Evolutionists believe that random chance is the causative agent. I am actually a mathematician, and I reject this claim, because I understand probability (which is why you will NEVER see me in a casino). The human DNA molecule consists of 3.5 BILLION nucleobase pairs. A roulette wheel has 102 slots, and the longer you play, the more likely you will loose everything (there are two green slots, zero and double-zero). The odds always favor the house. ANY house in the universe would be giddy to set up a roulette wheel with 3.5 BILLION slots with the expectation that a gambler place a bet on each of 3.5 billion winning spins. Or even 3 billion. Or two billion. Or one million. Or a hundred thousand. Or thirty thousand (we are now getting into the realm of yeast - among the most simple organisms known to science). And, the odds are NOT 1 in 30,000, but that the gambler will beat those odds 30,000 times in a row. And that’s for YEAST.

I’m a mathematician. I know math. And I know probability. Yeast is highly improbable based on DNA alone, without even paying regard to external circumstances, such as humidity, temperature, pressure, atmospheric mix, etc.

Science teaches us that everything in the universe originated from nothing at all (science calls this the “Big Bang”). Science teaches that all of humanity can genetically trace its ancestry to a particular female (known to science as “mitochondrial Eve”) and a particular male (Y-Chromosome Adam). Genetics tells us that they most likely lived many thousands of years apart from each other, but they are shared ancestors for all of humanity.

For those who have read this far, I have a bonus joke for you: René Descartes was in a bar, and the bartender asked him if he would have another beer. He said, “I think not,” and he instantly vanished.

Think about it, if someone says that “there are no absolute truths”, well isn’t that statement itself and absolute statement? Thus, the statement is self-contradictory.

There are absolute and objective truths that we can know. For whatever reason, maybe fear, whatever(I don’t know) they seem to be trying to talk you away from the truth.

The Lord didn’t create “denominations”, He created a Church. If you’re beginning to discern what the Catholic Church, 1) continue to pray to God to lead you to the truth, no matter where it may take you, & 2) don’t stop and don’t allow others to stop you in your search.

Jesus commanded a lot more from us than to “just ask Jesus into your life.”

It sure would…

I abandoned my fundamentalist upbringing for atheism years ago, and it took a long time and a lot of searching just to find meaning and purpose in life before I even found the Church. There is nothing “good” about atheism.

I’m also worried about what you call “the fact of evolution”; last I checked it was only still a theory. I am in no way a biologist, and maybe others here can help you on that front, but I think its prudent not to get ahead of yourself and call things “a fact” when there really is no consensus that that thing IS a fact.

From a theological standpoint, there is nothing in certain aspects of evolution that is directly contradictory to how God may have created the world. But where evolutionary theory begins to go off the rails, IMHO, is when they purposefully try to negate God by certain “spurious” means.

I haven’t seen anything which would suggest that anything in evolutionary theory directly contradicts God’s creative action.

Hopefully others here could elaborate further.

ZJackson
From the acceptance of the reality of God to the truth of Catholicism is based on the history of Christ Himself.

Quadratus writes (circa 123 A.D.) that in his day there were still persons around who had been cured or raised from the dead by Jesus – prime witnesses. [Eusebius, *Church History, 4.3, 1.2; See Free From All Error, Fr W. Most, p 12].

Not only are the facts of Jesus miracles recorded by His own Apostles who were present – Saints Matthew and John were companions of Christ, and Saints Mark and Luke lived in constant contact with His contemporaries.

His miracles “were so frequent, the eyewitnesses so numerous, and the evidence so stark, that not even Christ’s enemies disputed the fact of their occurrence. Instead they ascribed them to the power of the devil, or defied Him to perform another one in His own favour.” (See Mt 12:24; 27:39-42; Jn 11:47). Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, Sheehan/Joseph, Saint Austin Press, 2001, p 104].

It was Jesus who said to His apostles “he that hears you hears Me” (Lk 10:16)

All four promises to Peter alone:
“You are Peter and on this rock I will build My Church.” (Mt 16:18)
“The gates of hell will not prevail against it.”(Mt 16:18)
I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven." ( Mt 16:19)
“Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” (Mt 16:19) [Later to the Twelve].

Sole authority:
“Strengthen your brethren.” (Lk 22:32)
“Feed My sheep.”(Jn 21:17).

Thus was His Catholic Church founded.

The vast gulf between Catholicism and any other religion is that the Catholic Church has been founded by a Divine Person who lived with a human and divine nature and claimed to be God, proving that claim by His Resurrection and many recorded miracles. When God leads us through His Church, others fashion their own beliefs and morals.

Sometimes it is very hard to believe there really is a God, even priests sometimes struggle with that issue, but there is a God. A loving, forgiving God. Without Him there would not be anything. We can’t create what He can, and that is a thing I would try to think about if I would ever lose faith.

Often people ask “why God, why?”, but the only answer is our faith. True faith, no matter to what Church we may belong, is to let our faith control us, we don’t need to be “super humans”, believing in the truth is all we really need.

Of course there are many questions, but we don’t need to ponder, seeking the “right” answer, the “right” answer is written in The Gospels, and that should be enough. What use do we have to try to find out what God really is? That will lead us away from the truth. There are three reasons to asking questions: a) to get reassured that we have faith, b) to get evidence that God does not exist, or c) to understand the truth and be able to help other people to find the truth. Strong faith, though, is the only thing we need, we can control the truth, but strong faith control us. (And what more do we need?) And where do we find this truth? Listen to The Church, read The Bible and accept that we don’t have a need to know all.

Christ did say that He also have other flocks to shepherd, and I think He did mean that there will be many Christian Churches and that it is OK, and that He will lead those too so that they also will find the truth, because Christ also did say that: “where two or three are gathered in my name, there I will be”. (Free translation from my memory.) We all are called to Gods supper table, that is what God want. He will lead is flock and keep it safe until He return. That is all I need to know, and I wish it would be enough for everybody else too, and in moments of despair, look at His Church, it is His body, He did die so that we would live, He did conquer death so that we would live, is that not enough?

I think one of the most powerful evidences in the new testament is the criterion of embarrassment.

Think about it for a minute my friend. In the gospels who were the first people that found the tomb of Jesus Empty? It was the women :slight_smile:
The testimony of women in first century Jerusalem was worth less then zero. In fact they werent even trusted to give testimony in court.

Now if the apostles were truly lying about that empty tomb they certainly wouldnt have written about women being the first witnesses would they. This is a powerful historic testimony that they genuinely were telling the truth of what they saw and wrote about.

As far as evolution, I dont see why that would pose a problem to your faith. I was a theistic evolutionist for 42 years before becoming and intelligent design advocate and not once did evolution pose a problem for my faith.

Here are a few appologetic links that will help you out my friend.
One is from protestant Professor Gary Habermas called the minimal facts approach
garyhabermas.com/articles/southeastern_theological_review/minimal-facts-methodology_08-02-2012.htm

here is one from my favorite Catholic apologists Professor peter Kreeft

and another article from Habermas called dealing with doubt :slight_smile:
garyhabermas.com/books/dealing_with_doubt/dealing_with_doubt.htm

You first need to identify what areas you are doubting then you can address them and pray to God for guidance :slight_smile:

Dont panic as everyone has been through dry periods in their spiritual walk.
The main thing is to persevere and never lose your communication link with the lord which is prayer :slight_smile:

peterkreeft.com/topics/first-cause.htm

Welcome to CAF.

Others have been dealing with the matter of Absolute Truth so I will not belabor that point.

In truth, if they are Christian and Church goers - I don’t think they really believe this themselves. I think that what they are actually doing is defending the protestant view of multiple independent churches. The confusion and variation of belief in the protestant world more or less forces them to opt for one of two worldviews. Either multiple views are acceptable (no absolute truth) or only their particular strain is correct and everyone else is damned. Obviously most protestant groups have opted for the "multiple views is OK option.

As to the matter of “Just asking Jesus into your life” etc.
People toss such things out without really thinking about what that really means.
What does it mean to ask Jesus into your life? What does that entail and what does that demand of a person? It’s like someone saying that you are saved by faith alone…I say - OK - what is entailed in the word “faith”…and the conversation proceeds from there.
My point is that such simple statements can certainly be true but they are much deeper and more involved than the statement itself indicates. You have discovered this because your journey is really driving you to seek the Truths of Christ rather than just take a simplistic view of the matter.

Of course - for all of the complexity of life and trying to come to understanding these things, ultimately it IS extremely simple. It is all built upon the foundation of Agape Love. Love of God our creator and Love of neighbor as yourself. All of the Law and prophets are based on this (Mt 22:36-40). God has given us a single command in the NT - Love each other as He has loved us (John 13:34-35), and then the ultimate statement of simplicity - God IS Love (1 John 4: 7-8).

Jesus teaches Love as an absolute. No real wiggle room there. We are to Love even our enemies. We are to become perfect in Love. He loved us even unto death. St Paul rates Love above faith or hope as the greatest virtue - without which all else is useless.

Love - simplicity itself - - - Yet so difficult to see, embrace and live out.

When one asks Jesus into their lives…this is what they are committing to. They are committing to embracing His teachings and these are radical yet common sense, basic yet complex, easy yet so difficult to grasp and employ.

Sorry to prattle on so…I do that sometimes…:blushing:

I hope some of the above helps a bit.

Peace
James

how is it that evolution is effecting your faith? I can help you with these issues if you want to ask me them. As for the Church Protestant church’s are in heresy but this does not mean the lose of salvation. The Catholic Church has the fullness of truth and is the most secure path to heaven. Jesus does save but the way he meant to save people after his death and resurrection is through the Church and the sacraments. All of the Church fathers agree with this and so does the bible.

Also the Truth is God himself so Jesus will always lead you to the truth. There is an ultimate purpose in life and that is to love God and others.

Praying for you.

The Catholic Church teaches that there are ordinary means and extraordinary means by which God can provide salvific grace to a person (through which heaven is attainable). In this case, “extraordinary” means, “outside of the norm” (and not “better” as the word tends to imply in general conversation these days). Generally speaking, Christ set up his Church and the sacraments to be the ordinary means by which sinners are reconciled with our Heavenly Father and the gift of salvation is bestowed. Christ did this for our benefit. An example of the ordinary means by which God cleans us of sin is through the sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation (a.k.a., confession).

But Christ, in his love and mercy, also operates by extraordinary means to try to reach as many people as possible, working within what they know and understand (all the while respecting their freewill). An example of an extraordinary means in which God can provide salvific grace is what we call “baptism by desire”, a teaching which is a theoretical in nature.

Because God acts in both ordinary and extraordinary means, I will certainly not make detailed assertions as to exactly how someone does and does not get into heaven, which is the basic topic your wife and family are addressing. After all, there are different ways to accept Jesus and be in a state of grace.

But the question at hand is what is best for people to be doing in order to have Jesus in their lives and accept the gift of salvation he offers. The problem with relying upon extraordinary means is that we don’t know exactly how they work on our end of things because God has not revealed this knowledge to us. That seems to be what your wife and family are doing, because they state that all you have to do is “ask Jesus into your heart.” But the question is, exactly how does one do that? I’m sure that if they attempt to answer this question, they will launch into a number of assumptions and personal interpretations of Scripture (and they have no guarantee that their assumptions and interpretations are correct).

The ordinary means involves appealing to what Christ has revealed to his Church under the guaranteed guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, this takes the guess-work away from us. For example, if people receive a valid sacramental baptism, their sins are forgiven. If they commit sins after their baptism but make a good confession and receive absolution in the sacrament of Reconciliation, their sins are forgiven. We have a guarantee that the sacraments achieve what Christ set them up to do, so long as they are conducted in a valid manner and we are open to receiving the grace they channel.

In light of all this, I recommend that people resort to the ordinary means by which God operates whenever possible. They were given to us for a reason because it is impossible for us to understand the mind of God. So instead of trying to figure out what God thinks (and making decisions based on our assumptions), we should stick with doing what God has clearly revealed to us. This should draw us closer to the Church rather than acting as independent Christians trying to work things out for ourselves.

That process would be interesting to hear about.

Seems they’re convinced they are stating truth, but how are they going to convince anyone of it or of anything for that matter, since they think there is no absolute truth?

Jesus tells us how the HS will teach truth. John 16:12-15 Therefore we know where the following came from
[LIST]
*][1 Timothy 3:15](“http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1 Timothy+3:15&version=RSVCE”) there’s only one Church Jesus established.
[/LIST]If one however, believes that there is no absolute truth, then it would be impossible to have faith and belief in Truth itself, …Jesus, …right? Everything collapses on itself then.

Everything we see in creation is the result of cause and effect. Once you back up through all the causes and effects, one can’t ignore that in the beginning of it all is the uncaused cause which is God.

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