Hi! My name is Jason. I was raised catholic until I was a teenager and then became a atheist/buddhist because I couldn’t accept the churches teachings at that time. Fast forward 15 years, after hitting bottom with health issues and pornography addiction I reached out to god with prayer. Something changed inside me that I can’t explain. I asked god to show me and I felt his presence. At the same time Pope Francis became pope and his compassion and humility truly inspired me. I started going back to church and it’s been a very positive experience for me and has brought me closer to god. At first I went with a cousin to many other non denominational churches but, it felt like a show. It didn’t feel authentic and it felt as though they picked and choose what they like and how they want to interpret thing very loosely. Coming back to the catholic church, I knew it was for me. However, I still have so many doubts and questions. Some serious ones at that. How do I know Jesus was really the “Son of God” and not a prophet and moral teacher. How do I know the bible is legitimate? Do I need anything other than my own relationship with god, virtue and love? These are some of the questions I hope to answer here with your help. I want to be a good person and grow stronger in my relationship with god. Any insight would be helpful. Thanks!
I’m not sure if we can know Jesus is the son of God since we weren’t eye witnesses, we have to rely on the testimony of men. We can believe the testimony of the apostles to be true. The apostles passed on their word and it kept being passed. It is captured in the gospel. The living church is here because Jesus was a real person. He lived and died and was resurrected. His apostles went into the world.
Studying the early church fathers may help you.
Reading what others have said such as C S Lewis about why Jesus being human meant He was a madman or the Son of God. There isn’t any room in between for other POV.
Contrast this with other religions, the personal revelation was passed on to a human who did not claim divinity by an angel. Jesus was the word, both God and man. Either He really lived or He didn’t. If He really did live then His claim to be God was either true or it wasn’t. There were many others who have come and gone to claim to be the messiah but none have left the world with what the church has left us.
Whoa, Kingston, that is not treading confidently in what the Church teaches and could be very confusing.
Jason, welcome to CAF! You’ll find lot’s of information here, but be sure to double check things. Catholics can get things wrong about Catholicism.
The greatest part about coming back as a ‘revert’ is one confession lines you up to start getting all the Graces God has for you through the greatest prayer, the Mass.
Coming back to the catholic church, I knew it was for me. However, I still have so many doubts and questions. Some serious ones at that. How do I know Jesus was really the “Son of God” and not a prophet and moral teacher. How do I know the bible is legitimate? Do I need anything other than my own relationship with god, virtue and love?
Christ proved that He is God.
The historian Eusebius in his Church history, 4.3, 1.2, tells us that writing about 123 A.D., apologist Quadratus cited those in his day who had been cured or raised from the dead by Jesus of Nazareth – prime witnesses – long after the miracles, crucifixion and death of the Son of God. [Eusebius, *Church History, 4.3, 1.2; See Free From All Error, Fr W. Most, p 12]
The facts of Jesus miracles were 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].
The historical accounts in the Gospel, factually through eyewitnesses, show the establishment of Christ’s Church on Peter the Rock, His miracles, His claim to be God and His Resurrection, and to accept that His Church with His authority can then teach infallibly and tell us what writings are the inspired Word of God!
- The documents of Scripture are HISTORICAL (it is absurd to claim that Scripture is inspired without the authority of God to know that it is inspired.
- However, HISTORICALLY, the documents of Scripture relate that the man Jesus claimed to be sent by God, claimed to be God, proved His claim by His miracles and His Resurrection, established His Church on St Peter to continue His teaching until the end of time.
- HIS CHURCH, HISTORICALLY ESTABLISHED, then teaches what writings form God’s Word and that all of those writings, and no others, are inspired by the Holy Spirit. No one else can decide what books are inspired or has any authority to do so.
When the Twelve are sent on mission, they are told by Christ “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words…shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment than for that city.” (Mt 10: 14-15).
Those who don’t know their history need to. The authorisation from Christ, and the choice of His Supreme Vicar St Peter, and His Church, didn’t fall out of thin air, but from Christ’s mandate to teach all that He had commanded.
Since the facts prove the certification and authorisation of the Sacred Scriptures by Christ’s Catholic Church (O.T & NT) from His Vicar, as the canon of the Scriptures for use as the inspired Word of God, all attempts to evade these truths merely show not only the false god of private interpretation but privation and deprivation for those so victimised.
Thus only the Catholic Church has Christ’s authority to interpret the Sacred Scriptures – Her faithful wrote the New Testament.
Which part? Can you be more specific so I don’t make the same mistake twice.
Some thoughts on the matter:
What is needed is to build a true relationship with God, to really know Him, rather than of Him.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be talking as if He weren’t here.
Let’s ask directly, “Jesus, help us to grow in love and know you ever more fully.”
You will find that the more your life revolves around God, the clearer it all becomes.
One’s relationship with Him develops through loving action, prayer, contemplation of what He has revealed to us, participation with others in the celebration of the mass and the partaking of the Eucharist.
We approach God individually as part of one humanity
A couple of comments that may help shed some light.
The direct eyewitnesses to His miracles, including the Resurrection, were willing to go to their deaths rather than renounce their claims of His miracles. Really ponder this for a second. These weren’t fervent believers after the fact. They were DIRECT EYEWITNESSES. So they would KNOW if the stories they told about Jesus were true or not. They claimed to PERSONALLY witness His miracles and His resurrection.
You would be very hard pressed to find even ONE person who would willfully go to their death instead of renounce something they know to be a lie. Imagine finding dozens or hundreds. And yet that is what happened.
As to the reliability of the Gospels and the NT: We have very early manuscripts from all over the Mediterranean world, and those all are faithful copies that do not differ. If there were fakes, or additions/changes, you would see differences in these copies, as manuscripts were hand-copied, expensive, and did not travel quickly. If something was added/changed, you would see older versions in other places which differed from these. And yet you don’t.
Do you need anything other than yourself and God? The answer is YES. We are part of the Body of Christ. A foot can’t say to the hand, “I have no need for you”. We need each other, and we need the Church. We need the sacraments. We need the communion of saints. You are part of Him, and need the rest of the Body.
As to the question about Jesus just being a moral teacher or prophet. Well that’s not what Jesus claims. He did teach, and He is a prophet, but He is also High Priest, and King. Jesus claimed He was God. A prophet never does such a thing.
Jesus was a prophet, a moral teacher and the Son of God. A better question would be, how do i know that Jesus wasn’t really just a man and a liar, because Jesus himself claimed that he was the Son of God. Asking the question, how do i know He didn’t think of himself only as a prophet, is like asking how do i know Gandhi didn’t think of himself as a warlord? It is illogical to assume that Gandhi thought of himself as a warlord, because he never claimed such a thing, in fact he claimed exactly opposite.
Now the muslim view Jesus as only a prophet and not the Son of God. But they have no evidence that Jesus said such a thing, all they have are bear claims of a man that was never able to fortify his position. It is also illogical that God would allow His word to get corrupted like this, leading many people astray, and then finally 600 years later, present His new incorruptible true Word, that wouldn’t basically tell nothing new that hasn’t already been told before.
Read it. It has “something” that no other “holy” book has. It is impossible that God would let His Word get corrupted.
You need the Church, which will guide you to do the right, moral things and be even closer to God. We cannot always tell for sure, if something is moral or not. The Church will also help you to glorify, love and pray to God in a community of people.
Be open for the truth, but don’t fall for every doubt. Obey His commandments and obey the teachings of His Church.
I wish you all the best in your journey back home. I too wasn’t always a Catholic, but God brought me back:).
The best evidence of the resurrection is the mere existence of the Catholic Church 2000 years later…no other institution has survived and endured for such a long duration on a basis that has later been proven to be false.
In your human state you need a moral compass other than yourself. Your understanding is always and forever “tainted” by your ego. Jesus established the church to provide a moral compass of the ultimate truths revealed through Jesus and the Popes/Saints/Mystics in Catholic Theology.
In order to actually surrender to a power greater than yourself you need something other than your idea of God (your head). The Church provides a concrete and practical means to seek within the tradition and learn from the billions that have walked before us.
Welcome Jason, I was agnostic for the first 47 years of my life. When the Holy Spirit started breaking through to this skeptic and put in my mind a curiosity (and a little bit of a longing) to attend a church. I went to the Religion section at Borders Books and started reading books about Christianity. The four that helped me the most were:
’A Case for Christ’ by Lee Strobel. I started with this book first because it investigates Christianity and its claims of Jesus as the ‘Son of God’ from a skeptics point of view. It examines the evidence step by step to prove or disprove the claims of Christianity.
’Rome Sweet Home’ by Scott Hahn. Scott Hahn was a Presbyterian minister and theologian who had an anti-Catholic bias, he investigated the Catholic Church and its origins and he (and latter his wife) became Catholic. Scott Hahn is now a Catholic theologian, Professor and author.
’Catholic and Christian’ by Alan Schreck. Which is easy to read, and is written for Protestants (and others) to explain what Catholics believe and it is written for Catholics to help them better understand their faith.
’Four Witnesses’ (The Early Church in Her Own Words) by Rod Bennett. This for me was a good introduction to four of the important early Church Fathers and helped explain the importance of these men who came to the Church during and right after the apostolic period when the New Testament was written.