Well, it's been almost eight years since I joined Catholic Answers Forums and I am just as certain about my Catholic faith as I have ever been...

Well, it’s been almost eight years since I joined Catholic Answers Forums and I am just as certain about my Catholic faith as I have ever been.

Are you as certain about your beliefs?

Where were you eight years ago?

I ask this because, over the years I have met non-Catholic Christians who were “on fire with Jesus” and now are into something else. One of my friends, originally a Catholic , then an evangelical Christian is now a “spiritualist”… “embracing all religions”.

I have been criticized by non-Catholics here at CAF, over the years for, I guess, not being “Christian” enough. Now, some of those same people aren’t even Christian anymore.

Christianity is not, nor should it be viewed as a phase. Have your religious views changed in the last eight years? If they have, please tell your story.

It’s been about 7 or 8 years for me, too, and it feels like it’s been longer. I guess you could say that my Catholic faith has evolved somewhat. I’m in seminary now :wink:

-ACEGC

I danced with Islam for a little while (about 6months) but found the different interpretations of exactly the same verses in the Q’uran confusing and untrue. There is no single interpretation. I found my way back to my birth faith, the faith of my ancestors because it was TRUE, UNIVERSAL and ONE.

Eight years ago, I was in elementary school.
I questioned my faith a little about five years ago, but that was part of my transition from accepting to active belief.

Eight years ago, I was in the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I’ve come a loong way.

8 years ago I was, what would be best described, a cafeteria Catholic. I believed but not lived my faith, I was too immersed into my secular lifestyle and trendy ideologies. I believed I knew what was true and what was silly, old fashioned stuff that the church held on to. I tried to reconcile my Catholic faith with my secularism and of course, it didn’t work. As a consequence I was a very miserable person because I couldn’t let go of either.

About 5 years ago I started a difficult journey towards Christ and my true conversion of heart began. I discovered CAF shortly after I reached a point of no return, when I opened up to God and gave him all. This forum has been such a blessing, both in terms of learning about our beautiful faith, and for getting prayers and support in difficult times.

Eight years ago I was just coming back to my faith, just getting started. Has that faith evolved? I’ll say - I now teach religious ed. and have done several bible studies. My priest knows me well enough that he goes beyond the polite hello we give to people we don’t know. In fact, this past weekend when I greeted him after church he actually kissed my cheek (he’s been out of the parish for the last 6 months and just came back). Church feels like home to me now.
So yeah, I think my faith has evolved. :smiley:
Thank you God, for blessing me with a parish where I feel welcomed and cared for.

Eight years ago I was a protestant Christian who knew very little about Christianity in general. A year later I would be exploring and practicing (as much as a catechumen can) Roman Catholicism.

In 2006 I was Confirmed in Roman Catholicism. I taught CCD, 5th grade, attended the Latin Mass, said the rosary at least weekly.

In Advent of 2010 I began studying and looked into Orthodoxy. I was Chrismated on Pentecost 2011.

8 years ago I was a middle schooler who felt that traditional religion was silly and unenlightened. Are not oriental religions more enlightened, with all their sophisticated metaphors and paradoxes, like Zen sayings and haikus? Did not people see anime or play Japanese fantasy games with beautiful imagery and emotional music? I also had an interest in the idea of being psychic or having spiritual powers that were out of the world, out of the ordinary, to be somehow special.

Then I became a socialist.

Then I became an atheist.

Then I learned economics.

Then I became a libertarian.

Then I experienced divine reality.

Then I became a Gnostic Christian.

Then I learned that truth is more important than anything else, even feelings about hell.

Then I become non-denominational but more and more traditional.

Then I became more and more orthodox

Now I am becoming a Catholic. Still have not been baptized, but excited about it.

Hi Jimmy.

Nothing changed much. Perhaps it was better eight years ago, the prayer life and the enthusiasm for God. Now the computer has become the scourge that gnaws on prayer life and then there is that laziness for prayers and going out to do the work of the Lord. I would be glad not to go and if I go that is because I have to. Perhaps we should pray for each other to keep the fire of zeal and enthusiasm for the Lord always burning, that we will never be weary and tire to do the Lord’s work.

God bless.

No. Paradoxically, the only thing I’m certain of is the danger of certainty itself. I reserve certainty for the deathbed. Let the dying enjoy its comfort.

Certainty is the destroyer of Faith for it eliminates the need for trust. Certainty is the destroyer of Hope for it eliminates the need for courage. Certainty is the destroyer of Love and Charity for it judges the merits and motives of others.

The certain are possessed with a dogmatic stubbornness to never give an inch of ground because they already know the truth beyond all doubt. Only without certainty is it possible to change one’s mind and to choose another way. Certainty is a part of the language of determinism, that barren world John Calvin revealed to us wherein the moment a man is born into it, it is already too late to save him.

The actions of the certain do not reflect their inner selves–do not arise from their being. The certain must be knowers of things; it is not enough for them simply to be.

Christianity is not, nor should it be viewed as a phase. Have your religious views changed in the last eight years? If they have, please tell your story.

I discovered that the beliefs of others were every bit as sincere and deeply held as my own. I asked myself: Why should my own belief, my own experience, be privileged above that of another? Am I justified in my belief? I could not find a good answer for that. No matter what evidence I had for my own sure knowledge–the impressive learning of academics and apologists, the feelings of goodness and rightness, even the very voice of God–others had similar evidence for their own knowledge that contradicted mine. Their apologists were just as convincing, their experiences just as sublime, and even some of them had heard the voice of God whisper in their ear the truths that made them Sure.

Now, would you share with us why there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church? I was
reading the “Summa Theologica” by Thomas Aquinas and came about this statement.

I’ll give it a go:

If you’re not united to the Body of Christ, which is the Church, how can you have His life in you? Think about it, if you cut off one of your own members, it’ll shrivel up and die. So you have to be united to the Body to be saved. To do this, you need to be baptized into the one Body in the one Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), partake of the one bread as one Body (1 Cor. 10:17), profess the One Lord, one faith, one Baptism (Eph 4:4-5). Like Noah’s ark, you have to be on board to be saved (as the Bible says, like Noah’s ark in the flood, Baptism now saves (1 Peter 3:20-21), and as I mentioned earlier, we are baptized into one Body, apart from which, one cannot be saved–so the ark and the Body have the same significance in this regard).

The Church has also universally and definitively taught this dogma on at least three occasions (at the Fourth Lateran Council, by Pope Boniface VIII, and at the Council of Florence).

Here’s a good, short read on the finer points of this dogma from Pope Bl. John Paul II :
vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/alpha/data/aud19950531en.html

Hi Jimmy B, hope you and your family are well.

I’ve only been here for 6 years (it’s nearly 20 since I started arguing about religion online, good grief!) and I have to say that I’m just as certain about my faith as I’ve ever been as well.

Very good answer but, didn’t Pope John 23rd say that Catholics should stop with the claim
that the Catholic Church is the only one with the Truth? IWO, that there is no salvation outside the Church? He also said that all the other churches are also part of the body of Christ; although they have or want nothing to do with the Catholic Church. Some of them are even too hostile to Catholicism. And how about the Jews, are they irremediably lost if they are not baptized into the Catholic Church?

Eight years ago I was 21 and nowhere near anything that resembled Christianity.
I had the lifestyle to prove it too. Lots and lots of sin and zero direction in life.

Things have changed substantially since then…in a very good way! :thumbsup:

I don’t think Bl. John XXIII said that–I’ve never seen it. He seems to have taught the same thing:

Likewise, in his encyclical Ad Petri Cathedram, he ends with an invitiation for separated Christians to return to the Church.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Continued…

With reference to Jews, or any without faith in Jesus or having been baptized, we must first establish an important doctine:

[quote=CCC]The necessity of faith
161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.42 "Since “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.’"43
[/quote]

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s1c3a1.htm

However, in the link I provided earlier, the Pope explains that since God desires all men to be saved, he offers all men the means of salvation, even if in a mysteriuos way.

[quote=John Paul II]What I have said above [regarding those who never hear the Gospel], however, does not justify the relativistic position of those who maintain that a way of salvation can be found in any religion, even independently of faith in Christ the Redeemer, and that interreligious dialogue must be based on this ambiguous idea. That solution to the problem of the salvation of those who do not profess the Christian creed is not in conformity with the Gospel. Rather, we must maintain that the way of salvation always passes through Christ, and therefore the Church and her missionaries have the task of making him known and loved in every time, place and culture. Apart from Christ “there is no salvation.” As Peter proclaimed before the Sanhedrin at the very start of the apostolic preaching: “There is no other name in the whole world given to men by which we are to be saved” (Acts 4:12).

For those too who through no fault of their own do not know Christ and are not recognized as Christians, the divine plan has provided a way of salvation. As we read in the [Second Vatican] Council’s Decree Ad Gentes, we believe that “God in ways known to himself can lead those inculpably ignorant of the Gospel” to the faith necessary for salvation (AG 7).
[/quote]

So no one is lost definitively while still on this earth; God can lead them to faith, even at the last moment of their life.

Regarding baptism, the Church also acknowledges that the grace of baptism may be communicated extraordinarily–so one unable to eb baptized in this life, is not necessarily lost:

[quote=CCC]VI. THE NECESSITY OF BAPTISM
1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.60 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.61 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.62 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.
1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.
1259 For *catechumens *who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament. 1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."63 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.
[/quote]

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a1.htm

Again, though, as John Paul II mentioned in the other link I provided, these extraordinary means united the person to the Church, so they are not “outside” or “apart” or “without” the Church.

Otherwise, as the Council of Florence stated (as cited by John Paul II):

ewtn.com/library/councils/florence.htm

Did you expect joining the Catholic Answers Forum to challenge your faith in Catholicism? There is absolutely nothing wrong with joining the forum, but I find that to be a somewhat funny thought. (As someone who spends a lot of time with people who hold the same beliefs as myself, that was not meant to be critical. For context, I smiled while I typed it, and am smiling while I explain it.)

Eight years ago, I was eleven years old and a 6th grader. I had not gone through Confirmation, I knew very little about God or religion in general, and I honestly didn’t even really go to church. My family didn’t start attending with any sort of frequency until the next year.

Fast forward to the present, and pretty much everything has changed. I know a lot, not only about the United Methodist church (of which I am a part), but also about the Baptist church, the Catholic church, Episcopalians, Lutherans…the whole nine yards, basically. I’ve spent time with all the Christian denominations I could find. I’ve grown to respect all the branches of Christianity significantly more than I did years ago, which has really helped me grow in my faith.

I’m at University right now, and I’m an active member of the Methodist Student Ministry (The Wesley Foundation), and that is basically the best thing to ever happen to me. I just started the candidacy process, which will hopefully lead me to seminary and ultimately ordination, and I am so involved in the church that my faith is constantly being reinforced. To have surrounded myself with such constant edification is wonderful, and I never would have pictured it eight years ago. My faith has never been stronger.

It’s been a while, my friend. Hope you are well

=Jimmy B;10065800]
Well, it’s been almost eight years since I joined Catholic Answers Forums and I am just as certain about my Catholic faith as I have ever been.

This should be a surprise to no one that knows you. :slight_smile:

Are you as certain about your beliefs?

Pretty much, though I am more deeply aware with the catholicity of Orthodox Lutheranism, and disturbed that it has faded in the American Lutheran Church.

Where were you eight years ago?

Able to run a basketball court as a high school referee. :smiley:

I ask this because, over the years I have met non-Catholic Christians who were “on fire with Jesus” and now are into something else. One of my friends, originally a Catholic , then an evangelical Christian is now a “spiritualist”… “embracing all religions”.

My brother is a college professor at school that is not Lutheran. They refer to us as “the frozen chosen” because our worship and demeanor is not the “on fire” style of theirs. The problem with emotionalism is the lows.

I have been criticized by non-Catholics here at CAF, over the years for, I guess, not being “Christian” enough. Now, some of those same people aren’t even Christian anymore.

Not from me, Jimmy. Your faith has been one I repsect and admire. :thumbsup:

Christianity is not, nor should it be viewed as a phase. Have your religious views changed in the last eight years? If they have, please tell your story.

Not changed, so much as grown.

Jon

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