Should you say the creed if you have doubts?

Hi All

At the church I attend, on and off, we say the Nicene creed in the morning service and the Apostles’ creed in the evening service.

I have doubts about some of the content (God from God, true God from true God, etc). I don’t even know what this means, whether it is intelligible (apologies), never mind whether I believe it.

Also I cannot say I definitely believe Jesus was born from a virgin, and “I believe in the Holy Catholic church”… I always smile at that bit considering the church I attend is protestant :smiley:

My question is if you have doubts about any of the content, should you say the creed or not? Are you better not saying it and staying silent?

Or is it ok to say it, as it is a group declaration rather than a personal one?

I guess this is applicable to Catholics as well, as I guess there may be some here may face the same question.

I think all you need to do is understand the creed. You most likely believe much more then you think. You just don’t understand it. The part about one, holy, catholic,and apostolic church, the word catholic is refers to universal church. Lower case “c”. Not the Roman Catholic Church. That’s why Prostants say the creed too.

Say what you believe but first understand what you say!

Sorry, however I disagree most humbly that the one holy catholic apostolic church set out in the creed is not the “Roman Catholic Church.” It was the only one church in contemplation by the writers of the Creed. Catholic is indeed meaning universal, however Apostolic excludes the dissenting offshoot churches arising from the Reformation, including Henry’s Anglican Church.
The Anglican church having its separation from Rome arising from the Monarchy and not the people little was changed from its liturgy, thus their Mass is almost identical to ours, including the Creed. Pity their priesthood is no longer valid. My wife is an Anglican and I pray for the success of the ordinariate…
However I agree with the thrust of your post, that an understanding of the creed is necessary before ascribing your faith in its affirmation or not. May the Holy Spirit guide us all to the truths, common to many religions, but only complete in the Catholic Church.

He didn’t have questions about the word apostolic, just catholic;). I stand by the fact that creed includes the word catholic with a lower case “c”, and the word catholic does not refer to the Holy Catholic Church. :rolleyes: if you want to discuss apostolic that is a whole other topic! By the way I am Catholic with a capital “C”!

My non-Catholic husband recites the Creed but remains silent through the parts he doubts or downright disagrees with. It never occurred to either of us that he should recite the entire Creed or none of it.

Thanks for your responses.

I think best I remain silent through the bits I don’t agree with. I think that is better than saying something I have doubts over. I would like to understand it better, but feel as if the language used is from the past rather than the present, but this is just my personal take on it.

As a Cradle Catholic the prayers I have learned and recited over the years have been explained many times to me, sometimes in school and sometimes in sermons. The use of the word catholic in this prayer has confused me also as if it truly is meant as the universal church why not just use the word universal? However, the intent of the word is to refer to the universal church and your faith as well as others must agree, otherwise why would you profess belief in the Catholic Church in your services that are not Catholic? Hope you will be able to get some good answers from your pastor.

They use the world Catholic with a lower “c” as they created something called the branch theory (Catholic + Orthodox + Anglican + “Swedish Church” = The Catholic Church).

As Catholics we reject this theory of course. The word Catholic means universal yes, but the Catholic Church is the universal church.

That is a whole different story.

I think you are in the wrong church. The Anglican church is not in union with Rome, but even they did not go that far.

Officially they do. But unofficially, surveys show 25-50% of church of England clergy disbelieve in the virgin birth.

Sorry I’m not trying to be mean, but do the CoE believe in the Bible? If yes then how?

Officially it is the word of God. In reality there is diversity of belief.

It depends. The opinion is split, some believe it is the word of God, others that it is human words which need to read in the context of their time. There is a spectrum of belief.

On this forum, most tend to Bible literalism. I am at the other end of the spectrum, and think some of it as largely human writing of its time.

So you can believe in certain things in the Bible but not as a whole? If I see the Bible in your eyes, I would not believe in Christianity. Personally I will not follow a man made religion. But of course I belive that the Bible is the Word of God and his Church is established by Christ.

I prefer to have a weak faith, than none at all. I tried Atheism and didn’t like it :slight_smile:

I understand your position, may I suggest that you research more on these issues and the Bible and find out why we believe it is the Word of God. It might help.

God’s peace. The OP wrote,

“On this forum, most tend to Bible literalism. I am at the other end of the spectrum, and think some of it as largely human writing of its time.”

[LEFT]I was asked by one of my high school science students (I am asked this every year), “Do you believe the Bible?” My answer is, “I believe what the Catholic Church teaches about the Bible.” They don’t like that answer, but as I go on to explain, the source of authority for Catholics is not the Scriptures by themselves but the Magisterium of the Church. This authority was given by Christ Himself to Peter, the keeper of the Keys, and by extension to the other bishops of the Church in communion with the pope. It is *not *an authority that can be picked up by any individual or some other ecclesial community.

I was an Anglican once, and before that a seriously Calvinistic Presbyterian, so I understand your dilemma. The quandary you are in always traces back to the source of authority for what you believe. Left alone, I find myself getting quite literal in some areas of biblical interpretation and quite liberal or metaphorical in others. I have to serve as my own miniature pope in figuring out what to believe or disbelieve. But as a Catholic I am bound to look to the Church to explain what the Bible *means *(I can full well understand what it says).

There is a great deal of relief that comes with surrender to the authority of the Catholic Church. I can still remember the words the bishop asked me (almost 10 years ago to the date) as I prepared to enter into full communion: “Do you believe all things that the Church teaches and believes, as revealed by God?” My heart was filled with joy when I affirmed this question! I pray that you, too will find peace in surrendering your understanding to the care of the Catholic Church. Blessings, ~Br. Carlo~ [/LEFT]

The things you mention are dogmas that must be believed or you may be in danger of grave mortal sin. However, doubt and lack of understanding are two different things. You can certainly find them extremely difficult teachings.

The Catechism explains each phrase of the Creed in great detail. It is a good place to begin your study. (To willfully remain in ignorance is also grave.) There are also volumes of information on each of the dogmas. Speak to your priest as soon as possible. He will guide you. Most importantly, pray to the Holy Spirit who is within you and who reveals the Truth to you.

If you lack understanding, pray the Creed. If you lack real belief, do not pray it.

I will pray for you to find your way.

Understanding is important, and as another poster said, reading what the Catechism says about the Creed would likely be helpful. There is a lot of mis-understanding about the words; the confusion about “Catholic” (which refers to the Catholic church) vs. “catholic” (which means universal and is how it appears in texts of the Creed, both Catholic and Protestant) is one of those.

For many people born and raised within a Christian faith, reciting the Creed becomes an automatic, like many prayers and responses are. It does not appear that many people either understand what they are saying, or have given much thought about it. I would expect that if we randomly asked 10 adult Catholics leaving Mass what the words “Consubstantial with the Father” meant, you would not get a clear or correct response from all but one or two people.

You are “different” and relatively unique in that you have made a conscious decision regarding your faith, and have thought about what you are professing. Your doubts and questions about some of the statements in the Creed are not unusual for someone who actually thinks about it.

Hi Carlo - with respect, does that mean you let the Church do the thinking for you, instead of thinking things out for ourselves. If we “surrender to the authority of the Catholic Church” and follow everything the Church says, could people not be seen as machines and not as thinking individuals?

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