Until recently I was a very confident and faithful Catholic but recently I have undergone a great deal of tribulation and doubt that is really tearing me apart. I believe that I am fairly well informed on Catholic teaching and indeed, it was my research and study of the church, its history etc. that has led me down this dangerous path. I have tried to remain faithful through prayer, mass etc. but I am terrified of loosing my faith - not in God but in Christianity.
There are many interconnected problems that I have been facing but two of the most serious are these:
- A Christian who takes part in the sacraments is assured of salvation and many would say that an ill-informed non-Catholic who abides by his conscience and the moral law also has a chance of salvation. This makes sense as we can only be responsible for our own sins and failure to obey God. However, what about someone who is never raised as a Christian at all and examines the Bible and the Church tradition and comes to the conclusion that, though it is a very inspirational story, there simply isn’t enough evidence to believe.
Im sure we have all experienced doubts pertaining to the authenticity of the teachings of the church, the infallibility of scripture, etc. It is completely possible to see how a reasonable and generally good person could approach scripture from a skeptical perspective and fail to believe it. The fact that there are biblical scholars of the higher critical school who devote their life to the study of scripture and yet dismiss it as heavily altered, unhistorical etc. is evidence of this. That these people are condemned forever to hell seems a bit unfair.
Additionally, why would God reveal himself to us so subtly and selectively through Christ? God is infinite love but some people will never experience him because they come from different intellectual traditions or have so much standing in their way of experiencing the holy spirit. They are victims of their society, in essence. This conflicts with the concept of free will and is very unsettling.
- This question is not as seriously troubling for me but is something I wonder about anyways: Why, if God is omnipotent as we concieve him, did he create us? An omnipotent being doesn’t require anything, so why would he require someone to worship him?