Still Doubting...


#1

Original Thread
Fr. Vincent,
I don’t consider people believing as special… I consider the supernatural events and the people they rely on as special. I don’t consider myself as special in that I am not questioning God’s motives but people’s motives.
I believe that the Catholic perspective on why God created us is as valid as anything.
I agree that we are inadequate to understand Him.
You ask, “Who of us if we were God would deal with sin in the world by becoming one of our own creatures and allowing ourselves to be tortured and put to death?” I believe that is actually a very human (not divine human) response. Any of us would die for our children, or for the best of causes. If a human believed His suffering would enlighten us to the need for Love… that seems logical. If you are asking if GOD would send His child to the slaughter for a good cause, ask the parent of anyone in the military the same question.

If you believe that Christ’s Passion is the “starting point” you have missed the point. Christ’s passion relies on five covenants, thousands of years and the passed down traditions of nomadic peoples.

I do not propose that we project, but observe. Observe our existing environment of human, divine, physical, spiritual and attempt not to color it with our pretenses. I do understand that this is not possible, which is why I cannot believe that God would give us a specific chain of Humans to follow as a matter of necessity to know truth.

You have an excellent understanding of my question but I am not really struggling against Catholicism or God, but human institutions that presume responsibility for God. I realize that the answer to the question is tainted by any answer and is opposed to the goal of the question. If you ask me if I dream, I will say yes, if you tell me to prove it I will tell you I dream.

I guess, God must send down an Angel for me to wrestle or send down Lazarus because I cannot hear the prophets.

Doubting


#2

This probably is not a water cooler thread.

The Universe contains the exact amount of mass so that galaxies and thus planets can be formed. A little more mass and the Universe would have immediately imploded upon itself after the big bang, a little less mass and the Universe would have exploded upon itself.

Here is a link about it.

answers.com/topic/missing-mass-essay

If there is no creator, then you won the biggest lottery of all time. The universe happened to have the exact right amount of mass so our galaxy, solar system and planet could form. Our solar system formed with the perfect angular momentum so our planet could become sufficiently stable, but not so stable that it couldn’t support life. Our planet had the perfect amount of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (or chemical systems to create them) to be able to support life, our planet just happened to create this possible life on its own. This life through evolution, just happened to evolve into an intelligent being, capable of making moral decisions even though it was not required to further its existance.

As a mathematician, when a probability is sufficiently low, it is essentially zero. Let’s compare this to you winning both the Powerball and MegaMillions lottery ten consecutive times each. My dear sir, the chances of all this happening without any outside help whatsoever, is for all practical purposes, zero.

You must have an awful lot of faith to think this is what happened.


#3

I do believe in God… your right… WOW… This ain’t no coincidence. Please read my posts, you will find that I am definately a theist, not atheist.

I doubt religion, not God.


#4

I have no idea if this will help you, but here are some thoughts of mine. God chose to use human beings to institute His plan for many reasons (if I understand you correctly, it seems like this is what you’re wondering about).
First, God wants us to live in communion with each other as well as with Him. He does not want us to all get our own private revelation and spend time with Him while neglecting others. The need to rely on the experience of others in the spiritual realm (and in other areas as well) reminds us of our dependence on others, helping teach us how to be truly humble.
Second, God loves us, and in His love, He wants us to cooperate with Him. For most of us, this means merely responding to His grace with a “yes.” God can use our responses to help others in ways we do not see. There are many people who have helped me without even trying to just by trying to respond to God’s grace. If all of us can cooperate with God’s plan in these little ways, it doesn’t seem improbable that God would also use us in bigger ways. Everyone of a certain age (with rare exceptions) can use language, and a few people, such as Shakespeare, can use language in ‘bigger ways.’ The fact that everyone can use language would make it likely that some people can use it in a very particular way, and the fact that all of us can cooperate with God’s grace would make it likely that historically some of us have cooperated with it in very particular ways. It’s not a perfect analogy, but I hope it helps.
Third, we are social creatures. We learn nearly everything from other people because that is the way we are as creatures. Not only do we learn academic subjects, such as history or science, from the testimony of others, we also learn more basic things through other people. I learned that hot stoves burn our hands not by burning my hand, but by my parents’ instruction about hot stoves. It is so ingrained in our nature to learn from others that I don’t find it odd that God would use this part of our nature to teach us things about Himself.


#5

Excellent Response!
I don’t exactly buy it, but VERY well done, a much more real approach than I have heard yet.

If I believed that God could expect such a huge task of imperfect humans I would still be Catholic.
Christians recognize this deficency and rely on the Holy Spirit for truth despite humans.
The question is then, why would he pick particular humans to inspire in certain ways to be influenced to create a belief system
and not others? I don’t believe that God chose the Jews as his favorites, it makes no sense to me.

Human interaction is vital, and the connection is obvious, however the logic leads to competition, war and factions as well as teaching truth.

Thanks for posting!
God Bless
Doubting


#6

Doubting,

Forgive me for jumping in the middle of the discussion here, but I’m a little confused as to what the problem is. God has made it apparent objectively to all generations that He exists and that He loves us; you can look around you and see. (For an example of somebody who intellectualized himself into Christianity–with a little divine intervention–read C.S. Lewis.) The problem is that many people don’t want to see the evidence and so have closed their eyes to it.

As for why God would entrust people to pass His truth on from one generation to another, again I don’t see why people would have a problem with that. It’s not like the older generation is passing onto the younger generation something totally foreign to them; it’s more a case of explaining “This is the meaning of your experiences that you are having.” I hard a saying once, “God has no grandchildren.” Each generation must find Him by itself, certainly with the help or hindrance of the preceding generations, but certainly not depending solely on them.

If I may draw an analogy, you spent several years in school. During your years in school, you had passed on to you the truths that had been figured out by preceding generations. This is a great shortcut that allows the human race to avoid reinventing the wheel every twenty years or so–literally. There is nothing wrong with this. In the same way, I don’t see anything wrong with one generation passing onto the next generation the revealed truth about God.

  • Liberian

#7

[quote=Liberian]Doubting,

Forgive me for jumping in the middle of the discussion here, but I’m a little confused as to what the problem is. God has made it apparent objectively to all generations that He exists and that He loves us; you can look around you and see. (For an example of somebody who intellectualized himself into Christianity–with a little divine intervention–read C.S. Lewis.) The problem is that many people don’t want to see the evidence and so have closed their eyes to it.

As for why God would entrust people to pass His truth on from one generation to another, again I don’t see why people would have a problem with that. It’s not like the older generation is passing onto the younger generation something totally foreign to them; it’s more a case of explaining “This is the meaning of your experiences that you are having.” I hard a saying once, “God has no grandchildren.” Each generation must find Him by itself, certainly with the help or hindrance of the preceding generations, but certainly not depending solely on them.

If I may draw an analogy, you spent several years in school. During your years in school, you had passed on to you the truths that had been figured out by preceding generations. This is a great shortcut that allows the human race to avoid reinventing the wheel every twenty years or so–literally. There is nothing wrong with this. In the same way, I don’t see anything wrong with one generation passing onto the next generation the revealed truth about God.

  • Liberian
    [/quote]

Hi Liberian,
Jump in! No worries… I don’t find that passing on information is wrong, I find it incomplete and often inacurate. Just fyi, I am not atheist, and am until recently a very devout practicing and teaching fairly well informed Catholic.

God Bless
Doubting


#8

[quote=doubting thomas]Excellent Response!
I don’t exactly buy it, but VERY well done, a much more real approach than I have heard yet.

If I believed that God could expect such a huge task of imperfect humans I would still be Catholic.
Christians recognize this deficency and rely on the Holy Spirit for truth despite humans.
The question is then, why would he pick particular humans to inspire in certain ways to be influenced to create a belief system
and not others? I don’t believe that God chose the Jews as his favorites, it makes no sense to me.

Human interaction is vital, and the connection is obvious, however the logic leads to competition, war and factions as well as teaching truth.

Thanks for posting!
God Bless
Doubting
[/quote]

I’m glad I could help.
I don’t think anyone is entirely sure why God chooses some particular people to inspire in certain ways rather than choosing others. Obviously, part of it is in a person’s response: there are many people who could have been great servants of God if they had responded to God’s grace with a “yes” but instead chose to reject God’s grace. Even then, it does seem like some people receive special graces that others don’t get, such as the grace to be a prophet, an Apostle, or a bishop or Pope in charge of defending and bringing people to a deeper understanding of truth. We have to theorize based on what we know about God: that He is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful.
St. Therese of Lisieux wondered why some saints seemed to have so much special grace from God while so many other people seem to have received less than that. She found her answer in looking at flowers:

He has created the great saints who are like the lilies and the roses, but He has also created much lesser saints and they must be content to be the daisies or the violets which rejoice His eyes whenever He glances down…God’s love shows itself just as well in the simplest soul which puts up no resistance to His grace as it does in the loftiest soul. Indeed, as it is love’s nature to humble itself, if all souls were like those of the holy doctors who have illumined the Church with the light of their doctrine, it seems that God would not have stooped low enough by entering their hearts. But God has created the baby who knows nothing…He has created the poor savage with no guide but natural law, and it is to their hearts that He deigns to stoop. They are His wild flowers whose homeliness delights Him. By stooping down to them, He manifests His infinite grandeur. The sun shines equally both on cedars and on every tiny flower. In just the same way God looks after every soul as if it had no equal. All is planned for the good of every soul, exactly as the seasons are so arranged that the humblest daisy blossoms at the appointed time.

So God chooses to inspire certain souls instead of others because He has other gifts for the ‘simple’ souls that are not inspired in the same way.

As far as the Jews being God’s favorites, there are other people who know more about this than I do and could probably give you a better answer, but here’s my take on it. As Catholics, we acknowledge a tremendous debt to the Jewish people through whom God chose to reveal Himself. At the same time, we see that all cultures have some elements that prepare them for the truths of Catholicism, so it’s not like we think God only cared about the Jews. Even Isaiah, a Jewish prophet, spoke of how God used Cyrus, a Persian ruler, to teach Israel a lesson (Isaiah 45:1-17). The Jewish people were entrusted with certain revelations that no other people had, but they also had greater responsibility. The prophets often speak more harshly of Israel’s immorality than they do of other nations’ practices because Israel should know better. Jesus himself said that the towns of Israel that rejected Him would have more to answer for than Sodom and Gomorrah because they had more reason than Sodom and Gomorrah to repent and recognize Who Jesus was. “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48).
Why did God choose Israel? Like I said, other people know far more about this than I do, but I think part of it is that they were a people who started from almost nothing, and God often chooses the lowly in the world to demonstrate His power. Another part of it is that if God wanted us to know Him, someone had to have the truth about Him, and there was no reason not to choose Israel. I hope that I’ve at least shown that it wasn’t like Israel got special favors without also obtaining special responsibilities.

I agree that often human interaction is subject to competition, war, and factions. Even the family, the place where our natural impulses should move us to work together, is subject to disagreements and arguments, and sometimes even worse. To me, that seems to be a natural result of original sin.


#9

[quote=doubting thomas]Hi Liberian,
Jump in! No worries… I don’t find that passing on information is wrong, I find it incomplete and often inacurate. Just fyi, I am not atheist, and am until recently a very devout practicing and teaching fairly well informed Catholic.

God Bless
Doubting
[/quote]

Doubting,

Thank you very much. So … what seems to be the problem? When individual people pass on information, it is always incomplete and frequently inaccurate. Different people correct each other. And in the case of God’s revelation, He sent the Holy Spirit to guide the Church to make sure nothing important got left out. But in addition, there is all this evidence around us for the correctness of Christianity and so on, that each generation can rediscover for itself.

  • Liberian

#10

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