To Atheists - why God does not appear to us


#1

Since the thread in An Atheist Prayer has been closed, opened this thread to continue this topic. This is response to Drew.

You see design. I see random mutation and natural selection.

And yet a small voice in your head would convince you that God exists? To you this may be proof that God exists. To a psychologist …

But even if I was convinced that an “intelligent designer” existed that still wouldn’t tell me what he/she/it wanted me to do with my life. Or even if the designer cared what I did with it.

He did reveal this to you - through the Bible and the His Church.

But lets say, for the sake of argument, that God did appear to every person, who sincerely prayed for it, to tell him what to do. And lets say, for the sake of argument, that the Catholc faith is true.

This would mean that the Bible and the teachings of His Church would no longer be necessary. Why should I submit to them, when God reveals to me directly what He wants me to do? If God directly revealed things to me, I would be on par with the apostles, the saints of old, with the pope. Whatever I write would be just as inspired as the Bible. The pope should then kiss my ring, not the reverse.

Pride would then seep into my soul. I would feel I was more important than those poor unenlightened who did not receive revealation. I would be less submissive to the Bible and His Church then ever. I would be closer the Hell than I was before.

This is why God only appeared to saints. Only saints can receive such revelation and still be humble. When the Church seeks to determine whether an apparition is genuine, they look at the character of the seer. Most of the saints prayed not to see the apparition because they were afraid it would tempt them to be prideful.

Written decades after the actual events, using unnamed sources, how easy it would have been for rumors, legends and speculation to be reported as fact in the pages of the Gospels. Therefore, I think it’s prudent to view the New Testament with much skepticism…How do we know that they did die in this manner? Similar to my answer above, I don’t think you have any reliable records you can reference to verify this claim.

For the time being, I choose not to argue the validity of these miracles of the past.

And yet you are ready to believe some still small voice in your head? You would believe in in some apparition that appeared to you.

When Jacon Marly appeared to Scrooge, Scooge told Marly that he was just a pirce of indigestion. Why would you not feel that way if God or a messenger from Him appeared to you? Since you have arguments against God’s other miracles, why would accept a miracles that happen directly to you? If the apostles were wrong when they said the saw Christ, why should we believe you if that ever happened to you? And why should even you believe it happened?


#2

This is a continuation

I know this is not the main point of your post but I’m just curious - did this prophecy of Jesus ever come true? Is there anything in the Bible that shows that the Son of Man spent three nights in the “heart of the earth”?

When we ourselves says “What a wonderful sunrise!”, does that mean we believe that the sun revolves around the earth? Is not a “weekend” an inaccurate description of Saturday and Sunday, since only Saturday is the end of the week and Sunday is actually the beginning of the next? These are idioms of our culture. In the same way, certain expressions in the Bible are idioms of the Hebrew culture. “Heart of the earth” is no less true than “sunrise”.


#3

The bible was written by men, like all holy books. All religions have the same amount of evidence for their existance. I have asked but have yet to recieve anything - feeling, sign, vision, etc…

How do you know that you’re right? If it’s just faith, I need more then just to believe in something because I need to beleive in something. I can’t help it. That is the way I’m wired.

But lets say, for the sake of argument, that God did appear to every person, who sincerely prayed for it, to tell him what to do. And lets say, for the sake of argument, that the Catholc faith is true.

Hey I’d settle for “Hey, it’s me, your heavenly father. I Love you, although I have a plan that doesn’t always make it look that way. You’ll eventualy understand why that is. For the meantime the XYZ 's are practicing the true faith I taught them.”

Something that shows me that:

  1. He exists
  2. That XYZ faith is the right one

This would mean that the Bible and the teachings of His Church would no longer be necessary. Why should I submit to them, when God reveals to me directly what He wants me to do? If God directly revealed things to me, I would be on par with the apostles, the saints of old, with the pope. Whatever I write would be just as inspired as the Bible. The pope should then kiss my ring, not the reverse.

See my response above

Pride would then seep into my soul. I would feel I was more important than those poor unenlightened who did not receive revealation. I would be less submissive to the Bible and His Church then ever. I would be closer the Hell than I was before.

Even if all I want is to know from him is what path is correct?

This is why God only appeared to saints. Only saints can receive such revelation and still be humble. When the Church seeks to determine whether an apparition is genuine, they look at the character of the seer. Most of the saints prayed not to see the apparition because they were afraid it would tempt them to be prideful.

See Above again

When Jacon Marly appeared to Scrooge, Scooge told Marly that he was just a pirce of indigestion. Why would you not feel that way if God or a messenger from Him appeared to you? Since you have arguments against God’s other miracles, why would accept a miracles that happen directly to you?

They wouldn’t be hearsay, to me anyway.:wink:

If the apostles were wrong when they said the saw Christ, why should we believe you if that ever happened to you? And why should even you believe it happened?

You would have much reason to doubt me because it would be hearsay evidence. If you should believe in hearsay evidence than you should also beleive in Alien abduction, The Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, Yeti, Faeries, etc…


#4

I thinks that’s a great post Monarchy, some very important points and a lot of my own feelings mixed in- I’ve often prayed to God to reveal himself to me in some small way, just so I would know.

I used to get round it by thinking it would kind of mess with my free will if he did, and after all, who can know the big guys ultimate plan?

I think my life changed when my family came along, but I spent a lot of time in Lourdes working with sick & handicapped children and God did speak to me then. At the time I was awe struck at what had happened but as time goes by, it becomes mundane and you lose sight of it.

Perhaps it just more important to live as best you can and the best I can means being a Catholic and trying as hard as I can.


#5

Paul I think you would really enjoy the book noted below. It spans a three year period of a father and son conversing by letter about belief and disbelief in God. The son is a minister and the father a non-believer. It is a short, entertaining and thought provoking read.

tinyurl.com/yunst


#6

As a former atheist I had a decidely pagan view as I started to come into faith. I wanted miracles or locutions as evidence of truth. I expected things to happen when I started to read the Bible for the first time. My view or religion was closer to magic and these thoughts had to be weeded out. I wondered why God would not show himself or do something miraculous for my benifit.

Later I saw that the amount of miracles that the Jewish people during the Exodus saw did not keep them being faithful. The New Testament miracles did not turn all Jews to faith in Christ.

Faith that is based only on miracles is hardly faith at all. Sometimes they might be used to plant a seed or to help along faith. Jesus said in reference to the Apostle Thomas that it was better to belive than to see.

Faith is a free gift from God that does not come from intellectual or miraculous acts. Once we have faith then we can come to the intellectual and spiritual treasure of the Catholic Church.


#7

There are those who scoff at the school boy, calling him frivolous and shallow. Yet it was the schoolboy who said, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”
Mark Twain, Following the Equator, ch. 12, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar” (1897)


#8

Hey I’d settle for “Hey, it’s me, your heavenly father. I Love you, although I have a plan that doesn’t always make it look that way. You’ll eventualy understand why that is. For the meantime the XYZ 's are practicing the true faith I taught them.”

God has already revealed Himself to us in a myriad of ways.

  1. He revealed Himself in a general sense through creation.
  2. He revealed that Jesus is God through the fulfillment Old Testament prophesies.
  3. God revealed that Jesus is God through His resurrection. We have at least 12 eye-witnesses of this fact, who were all martyred forn their testimony.
  4. God revealed that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Christ, by certain miracle, such as changing the host to the actual of body of Christ for all to see in Lanciano, Italy. Scientists have verified this miracle.
  5. God has revealed Mary as being immaculately conceived by miracles still being performed at Lourdes, France. At least 70 of them have no possible scientific explanation.
  6. God has reveal Mary to us through the miracle of Fatima at 1917. Here the blessed Virgin predict through the three children that the war would end soon. It happened. She predicted a worse war would then happen. It did. She predicted that Russia would be the niggest threat to worl peace. It did. She predicted that Russia would change once the pope consecrated Russia to her Immaculated Heart in union with all the other bishops. Pope John Paull II finally did this. A year later, we saw the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

But the biggest miracle was that a particular day, Mary promised a miracle for all to see. On that day the sun danced in the sky. This phenomenon was reported in the newspapers the next day.

If all these miracles do not convince you, why should a small voice in your head convince you?


#9

[quote=PaulAckermann]God has already revealed Himself to us in a myriad of ways.

  1. He revealed Himself in a general sense through creation.
  2. He revealed that Jesus is God through the fulfillment Old Testament prophesies.
  3. God revealed that Jesus is God through His resurrection. We have at least 12 eye-witnesses of this fact, who were all martyred forn their testimony.
  4. God revealed that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Christ, by certain miracle, such as changing the host to the actual of body of Christ for all to see in Lanciano, Italy. Scientists have verified this miracle.
  5. God has revealed Mary as being immaculately conceived by miracles still being performed at Lourdes, France. At least 70 of them have no possible scientific explanation.
  6. God has reveal Mary to us through the miracle of Fatima at 1917. Here the blessed Virgin predict through the three children that the war would end soon. It happened. She predicted a worse war would then happen. It did. She predicted that Russia would be the niggest threat to worl peace. It did. She predicted that Russia would change once the pope consecrated Russia to her Immaculated Heart in union with all the other bishops. Pope John Paull II finally did this. A year later, we saw the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

But the biggest miracle was that a particular day, Mary promised a miracle for all to see. On that day the sun danced in the sky. This phenomenon was reported in the newspapers the next day.

If all these miracles do not convince you, why should a small voice in your head convince you?
[/quote]

Are you insecure of your own ‘faith’? Be honest with yourself.


#10

[quote=PaulAckermann]God has already revealed Himself to us in a myriad of ways.

  1. He revealed Himself in a general sense through creation.
  2. He revealed that Jesus is God through the fulfillment Old Testament prophesies.
  3. God revealed that Jesus is God through His resurrection. We have at least 12 eye-witnesses of this fact, who were all martyred forn their testimony.
  4. God revealed that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Christ, by certain miracle, such as changing the host to the actual of body of Christ for all to see in Lanciano, Italy. Scientists have verified this miracle.
  5. God has revealed Mary as being immaculately conceived by miracles still being performed at Lourdes, France. At least 70 of them have no possible scientific explanation.
  6. God has reveal Mary to us through the miracle of Fatima at 1917. Here the blessed Virgin predict through the three children that the war would end soon. It happened. She predicted a worse war would then happen. It did. She predicted that Russia would be the niggest threat to worl peace. It did. She predicted that Russia would change once the pope consecrated Russia to her Immaculated Heart in union with all the other bishops. Pope John Paull II finally did this. A year later, we saw the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

But the biggest miracle was that a particular day, Mary promised a miracle for all to see. On that day the sun danced in the sky. This phenomenon was reported in the newspapers the next day.

If all these miracles do not convince you, why should a small voice in your head convince you?
[/quote]

All of these so called revelations are contingent on whether or not you believe in the first place.


#11

[quote=dredgtone]All of these so called revelations are contingent on whether or not you believe in the first place.
[/quote]

Even if you do believe, these so called ‘revelations’ have absolutely no verifiability. I’ll leave aside the fact that most of them are unsubstantiated with any amount of fact. The important thing to know is that even to christians, these assertions are merely untestable assertions, and are not proofs of anything. They are all dangerously religious.


#12

When you spend 10 days working with a child that can’t move or talk, you have no experience with disabled children and struggle to wash, them, cloth and toilet them. When you start the experience terrified of what lies ahead, wondering why they are alive and what you are doing and then finish, and the child looks up at you and smiles broadly- you have all the answers you ever needed.


#13

Seems to me the requirement for direct personal revelation in order to believe is going to be tough to get around in this discussion…I bet you guys who require this had a lot of trouble in school with all the “hearsay.”


#14

[quote=PaulAckermann]Since the thread in An Atheist Prayer has been closed, opened this thread to continue this topic. This is response to Drew.

[/quote]

Thanks for reopening the thread. I was pretty disappointed the old one got the ax. Not sure how long this one will last since we’re pretty much discussing the same subject that was banned before. But here goes…

Why do you keep assuming that God is limited to speaking in a “small” voice? Why couldn’t he use a big, booming, majestic voice?

The ultimate goal is submission to God’s will, isn’t it? As long as you were attempting to accomplish that goal why would it matter whether you did it through the Bible, through the Church or through direct revelation? In other words, the Bible and the Church are just means to an end, not an end in themselves.

You just said you would be on par with the Pope, not superior. Why would there be any kissing of rings at all?

The hypothetical scenario you proposed has God appearing to everyone who sincerely prays for it. So it’s hard to see why pride would be a problem when God is as accessible to everyone else as he is to you.

Why would this be unless God was teaching you something that contradicted the teachings of the Bible and Church?

Again, I think your concept of God much too limited if you think he is incapable of distinguishing himself from indigestion.


#15

[quote=dredgtone]All of these so called revelations are contingent on whether or not you believe in the first place.
[/quote]

You are missing my point. In this thread, I am not interested in arguing these position. That is for another time.

My point is that if you are not apt to believe these revealations, then you are not apt to believe a direct revelation to you eith.

Take for instance, the argument that the 70,000 people witnessing the sun dancing in the sky at Fatima. The only natural explanation I have heard is that was a mass halucination.

But if 70,000 see the sun dancing in the sky, why would a person believe it if God would speak in a small? If a person excuse the Fatima witnesses as halucinating, would not that same person think he was halucinating if God were to personally reveal Himself to him?


#16

[quote=PaulAckermann]You are missing my point. In this thread, I am not interested in arguing these position. That is for another time.

My point is that if you are not apt to believe these revealations, then you are not apt to believe a direct revelation to you eith.

Take for instance, the argument that the 70,000 people witnessing the sun dancing in the sky at Fatima. The only natural explanation I have heard is that was a mass halucination.

But if 70,000 see the sun dancing in the sky, why would a person believe it if God would speak in a small? If a person excuse the Fatima witnesses as halucinating, would not that same person think he was halucinating if God were to personally reveal Himself to him?
[/quote]

I agree with you, sorry for missing your initial point. It comes down to a matter of interpretation that fits your world view. On a side note, I’ve actually had two religious hallucinations. I felt God’s presence for about 5 minutes then woke up an atheist again. They were sleep paralysis episodes however, no miracle here.


#17

I’ll admit the I have had doubts in the past. A person who never has doubts is not being intellectually honest nor humble. They believe they are always right and everone else is always wrong. There are many people who are “secure” in theior faith. Bigots are absolutely sure that other races of people are inferior. People who suffer from paranoia schizophrena are “secure” in their faith that peopl are trying to kill them. Delusional people in the insane asylum are “secure” in their faith that they are Napoleon.

I am afraid that by your own accusation that you yourself never doubted your own position. I am sorry you are so closed-minded. It sounds that you are closed to the possibility of being wrong. Instead of siding with the thinkers in the past, who are able to honestly re-evaluate their positions, it seems that you are taking the side of the bigots and other delusional people who are secure in their faith. And, frankly, I am not so sure I understand why you are even open this forum. Since you are so “secure” in your faith that God does not exist, what are you planning to get out of this forum, unless it is some sadistic pleasure in attacking other people’s beliefs?

Be honest with yourself, since you are so secure in your own faith that there is no God, you are obviously not here in order to possibly change your position. Your only intention must be to destroy the other people’s belief in God. But why? If my belief in God helps me to find meaning in life and face my own mortality, why do you find a need to destroy it unless you take sadistic pleasure in it?


#18

Your presumptions sadden me. To the atheist with no desire to believe in God, there is absolutely nothing in this world that could convince him God exists. The fact that it takes believing without seeing implies a strong emotional desire to believe, one which most atheists do not have. The desire isn’t there because first of all, I don’t need religion and secondly i find the notion of God as described to be unfathomable.

You accuse him of not doubting yet Jesus says you must have faith and not doubt the father. So what is it? Doubt or no doubt? Either way I’m sure he’s had his doubts when the obligatory questions demanded to be raised by the answer was easy to find.


#19

[quote=dredgtone]Your presumptions sadden me. To the atheist with no desire to believe in God, there is absolutely nothing in this world that could convince him God exists. The fact that it takes believing without seeing implies a strong emotional desire to believe, one which most atheists do not have. The desire isn’t there because first of all, I don’t need religion and secondly i find the notion of God as described to be unfathomable.

[/quote]

Your presumption saddens me, too. You presume that a believer only believes in God because he desires to, and that an atheist does not have a strong desire to not believe in God.

First, if I only believed simply because I desired to, I would have chosen something other than Catholic Christianity. I would have chosen Islam, which would have allowed me to have as many wives as I wanted, and in heaven I will receive 70 beautiful virgin. I would have chosen the Eastern religions, in which if I do not get it right the next time, I will just come back again. If I had to be Christian, and believed in it simply because I desired to, I would be Protestant - then I could believe that I have absolute assurance of heaven simply because I believe. And if I had to be Catholic, at least I would desire to be a dissident Catholc, who did not follow the strict teachings of the church and doubts the existence of Hell.

But no, I became a conservative Catholic. And all in all, it took me twenty years to convert back to Catholicism. It took so long because I did not want this to be true. I came back fighting along the way. As a Catholic I believe in a heaven and a hell. Sure, heaven is something to desire. But who desires hell. And unlike the Protestant, who only sees hell for the opther guy, I see hell as a possiblity for myself. Why would I desire to believe this? And not only that, but I also believe in Purgatory. Again, I do not believ in Purgatory because I desire my own suffering. And who would want to believe a religion that says that sex must be only within marriage, that you cannot use birth control, that you cannot be a clergyman unless you vow never to be with a woman, etc.

Second, although some atheists have since intellectual problems with the existence of God, there are also atheists who not believe because they do not want to - and all their arguments are mere smokescreens. Some may be in open rebellion to their believing parents. Some may choose not to believe in God because they enjoy their sins and would rather not face the possibilty of eventaully be acountable to God.


#20

[quote=dredgtone] You accuse him of not doubting yet Jesus says you must have faith and not doubt the father. So what is it? Doubt or no doubt? Either way I’m sure he’s had his doubts when the obligatory questions demanded to be raised by the answer was easy to find.
[/quote]

Faith and doubt in theological terms are not contradictory. Faith is the act of the will - I choose to give my life to God and rely on him. Doubt is a feeling. The bigger the commitment, the more the doubt. A couple that buys a house may have doubts. Did we do the right thing? Can we pay the mortage? Will we be happy there? A couple that just rented an apartment would have far less doubts. A person about to be married may doubt whether the other is right for him. A person who is about to date would not worry about it. If the person is not right for him, just do not go out with that person again. The more committed a person to God, the more likey he doubts. A person who says he believes but does not do anything about it is not plagued with much doubts.

Mark 9:24, man asked Jesus to heal his son. He cried out “Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief”, mean that he believed in Christ, but still had feelings of doubt. Christ then healed the boy, showing that it is possible to have faith that pleases God and yet still have doubts. Jesus himself, when on the cross, cried out “My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?” Even Jesus Himself had doubts about His relationship with the Father. And yet, as an act of the will, he entrusted His spirit to the Father when He died. St John of the Cross talked about the “dark night of the soul” - where we experience feelings of doubts. St Therese of Lisieax died slowly, having a lingerly death that lasted for two years. She admitted experiencing the “dark night of the soul”, being filled with doubts. In spite of it all, she trust in God.

Jesus said that we must bear the cross and follow Him. He doubtsed on the cross, and so His followers will doubt as well. God is pleased with our faith when we choose to follow him in spite of our doubts. My doubts strengthen my faith in the long run. They humble me before God. The force me to search for the answers which eventually reassure my faith.


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