I don’t know anymore there’s just way to many religions. I just don’t know which one to choose I don’t have a religion currently I guess you could say im an atheist. How does one know their religion is right though? Sorry if it’s in the wrong parts of the forums if it is.
If you knew with cast iron certainty your faith was correct, you wouldn’t need faith.
Well, that’s a bit like asking “How does one know that this suspect has committed this crime when there are millions and billions of people on Earth?”. It is hard to give a short answer much better than “One should investigate.”.
Still, there are some outlines you might find useful, for example, in “Catholic Answers” tract “Proving Inspiration” (catholic.com/tracts/proving-inspiration) or in a blog post by Edward Feser “Pre-Christian apologetics” (edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2014/05/pre-christian-apologetics.html).
I used to be an atheist. I used to be non-denominational. I used to be Protestant. Now I’m Catholic.
“Why Catholic?” is very easy, really. “Why Christian?” is much harder. I’m still working on this question but I’ve made some progress.
I’ll start with this really clever thing that i heard somewhere that I repeat to myself sometimes. Christianity is, as far as I know, the only Trinitarian religion. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So, God is love, right? This is established. In order to be love, He must be every bit of love. With the three Persons, the love is in a complete cycle. The Father, who loves. The Son, who is loved. And the Holy Spirit, who is the love that flows between. An endless cycle forever.
So (quick catechism), first we have the Father, who is the creator of everything, whether directly or indirectly. The Father is infinite, no beginning and no end, and omnipotent. Then we have the Son, who is consubstantial (of the same substance) with the Father, but also a man. I’ll talk more about that later, because obviously Jesus is the most important reason for choosing Christianity over any other monotheistic religion. Then we have the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost) who is God in invisible spirit form; when people say that God is everywhere, they refer to the Holy Spirit; when people say that God is within you, they refer to the Holy Spirit; when people say that God is guiding the Church or that God is always with you or guiding you, they refer to the Holy Spirit. So each part of the Trinity has a distinct purpose, if you will, and each part works together to create one full, omnipotent God. Like a jigsaw puzzle.
So why did Jesus come to earth? What was he doing here? I don’t know how well catechized you are, but basically he came to be a mediator between God and man. He came to “perfect the law” that God had given. Think about it. We are God’s people. God loves us, and we are meant to love Him. We are meant to be close to God in daily prayer, attendance of church, and much more. But we are really quite far away. God gave the law to the Jews in order to close this gap, so that by living our lives in a godly way they may be close to God. But as you can see in the New Testament, some of that didn’t work our too well. They kind of took the law and ran with it and the idea of sharing godliness was lost along the way. In Christianity, Jesus fills the gap. He is fully God and fully man, and he not only perfected the law that might let us live in a godly way, but brought faith so that the law can now be summed up in two phrases: Love God with all your heart and soul, love your neighbor as yourself. So we can see that the Messiah was necessary to a bridged gap between both God and man: The one who is both. We can pretty much see, from an objective viewpoint, that if anything is put into the hands of humans it will be completely messed up. However, God is just, and humans must be involved in the building of this bridge (imagine that you have two houses separated by a river. If you want to build a bridge across that river, both parties must say they are ok with having a bridge in their backyard. So in order for God to be just, he will not build this bridge alone). So what do you do?? You find a man who won’t mess everything up: The one and only sinless one, the savior of the earth. Jesus Christ.
So in a somewhat disorganized paragraph, that is why Jesus Christ is necessary in a religion that professes a close and loving relationship between God and man.
So why is it necessary for there to be a close and loving relationship between God and man?
Very simple. Why did God create us? He created us because He loved us. Why must He have created us out of love? No other reason makes sense. Love in the driving force of our world, found behind any and all things good. Had God created us because he wanted to be angry with us because we are sinful, then anger must be the driving force of the world, as long as an angry god is running the world. If God created us because he wanted to poke fun at an inferior being (first of all, why would he even make himself known?), then isn’t it sensible to think that our world would be run off of poking fun at everybody? Being created in God’s image is a very Abramahic-faith idea, I grant you that, but to think that God would create a world that runs completely contrary to what He is, is kind of ridiculous. The fulfillment of the law is love, our way of life is based off of love (where would we be without family ties, cooperation, marriage, generosity? There is a great deal of unkindness and selfishness in the world, but there is much more love given that it is found even in the most rotten people and certainly, love is much more powerful. Just talk to any mother for a while and you’ll be fast convinced), our world is driven by love. Therefore God is a loving God, and He created us out of love.
Would an eternal and omnipotent being create a world and people out of the strongest of love and then just walk away and ignore it? That goes completely contrary to what we know love to be. It takes two to love, and so it’s only logical that we were created to love God in return. How can you love something that is so far away? There must, somehow, someway, be a bridge between the two that will not break down.
So if we know that the world is driven by love, then God must have created us out of love. if we know God created us out of love, we know that he wants us to love him in return. If we know that we are meant to love God, then we must have some sort of connection to God that enables us to have a relationship to God. By looking over the Scriptures and understanding the imperfect nature of humans, it becomes clear that this connection, this mediator, is the one we call Jesus Christ.
If you also want to know why the Catholic Church, I also have very strong feelings on that. Lemme know.
At some point in my life, when I was a teenager, I decided there was a “right” and a “wrong” way to live. I could see people living both ways.
So, my big decision was to live the right way. That made me pay attention more closely to the Catholic Faith in which I had been raised.
In college, I had the chance to test my faith, to see if there was anything wrong with it or better with another Christian church (I didn’t see myself losing my Christianity).
The Catholic Church is a church of sinners, so, without joking, I know I’m in the right place. There can seem to be an overwhelming amount of stuff to know about it.
In the movie “Hannah and Her Sisters” Woody Allen made jokes about joining the Catholic Church. In one scene there was a priest who handed him a stack of about 8 thick books to read “for starters.” Of course, Allen had loads of laughs making fun of the Catholic Church.
In one sense, it comes down to believing in a religion that began thousands of years ago with people migrating in the Middle East. Could it possibly be that it is true? The Bible gives people a lot of problems – there are so many ways to interpret it.
Protestants – as their name implies – reject a lot of teaching of the Catholic Church, but then they really just made up their own religions in its place. I don’t think that’s a good place to be. Becoming a Catholic means to change how you think and feel inside about things, and really taking control of your life to get rid of the bad things – that either hurt God or other people.
Sure, a lot of Catholics just drift along in their faith,then leave. That doesn’t prove anything. You always have to stick with what you learn to be the truth.
In the Bible, the lesson is Believe and Understand. People try to understand FIRST – they say, I’ll believe it if it makes sense. But, the greatest truths you get in Catholicism you get when you first BELIEVE – THEN you can understand.
One important thing in the Bible: Why does the Church meddle in people’s private things like sexual conduct? It’s our fundamental belief that (from the Psalms) God owns the world and everything in it. So, we belong to God and need to follow his rules for our personal conduct. We believe that God dwells in us, so there is no room for immorality, sexual or otherwise.
You are important. Even our country (U.S) believes we have rights that are given by God, not by men. The “bad” governments in the world are those which especially control what rights people have and believe that all right comes from the government.
Catholicism makes sense, from top to bottom. You might not feel motivated to say the Rosary (beads and prayers) at first, but you will come to love the prayers and intimacy with God.
My faith from so early on as a child, recognized the voice of the Good Shepherd in Jesus. My faith was supported and encouraged through the faith in the Evangelical Free church I was raised in. Then when I was at the age to pursue the Church, I recognized His voice calling me to His full Communion. There is one Bread, one Church.
Now, as always, I struggle against sin. Though the love of Jesus is faithfully overcoming doubts and temptations. His love brings peace, but not without suffering our crosses. If He suffered, so must we.
Peace be with you. Open your heart to His Spirit, through prayer and fasting… He will guide you.
For myself, it is a series of questions, like a pyramid, that build on one another. Each lower level must be answered first, and thoroughly examined before you can really be confident at the higher levels.
The first and most basic level is the question of “Does God exist?” For myself, this question was pretty easy. I think we overthink this question because God doesn’t make Himself known blatantly. But if we REALLY look, the answer is apparent. We exist. There is simply no reason for this. Matter and energy don’t create themselves. The universe is here, and if there is no God, there is no reason for the universe to exist, and no possible way for it to exist.
The next level is “What is the nature of God?” We’ve determined that God must exist, because our entire universe is contigent and dependent, including ourselves. Our entire universe is affected by time, so it does not exist outside time. And our entire universe is created, it does not create. So God must not be any of these qualities. God must be outside time, completely limitless, without beginning or end, and completely independent. He relies on no one for His existence and relies on nothing for anything.
Once you become comfortable with this “level”, you can move to the level of “Is God a personal God, or impersonal God?” This is the question where we ask if God is intimately involved in our existence, or if He is the “detached clockmaker” some believe. This belief, I posit, has a very fundamental flaw that is apparent at the previous level. The “detached clockmaker” view is a fundamental misunderstanding of God in that it ascribes our limits and views on God that do not apply. God is infinite, and created us out of nothing. He was completely and perfectly whole without our existence, and lacked nothing. So His creation of us was completely out of His good will and love. And He is limitless and infinite, so the view that He is “detached” is nonsense b/c it shows a view that God has limits to His knowledge, His ability to be everywhere at every moment. He knows everything. He is eternal and present at every moment in time. He is not over-booked, or over-loaded. He doesn’t have a limit on His time. He can spend eternity contemplating every single fiber of our body and soul. He is outside time.
Now, once you reach this level, the question becomes, “Since God is not detached, how has He interacted with humans?” Would He leave us wandering aimlessly? No, He wouldn’t, as we see above. He created us out of pure love. He cares about us. So He would want to guide us to Him. So how has He done this. Well begin to look at the claims throughout history where someone has claimed to interact with God. Look for those times when the claim is to interact with a God that meets our previous qualities about God (eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent). This rules out several religions because their claim about God does not match this. In fact, it rules out all but the three main monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Next we need to examine the three claims here between the 3. The following questions need to be addressed: Is Judaism true? Is Christianity a true expansion and perfection of Judaism? Is Islam a true expansion or perfection of either the other two.
And after you go through these questions, you have to address the question of which Christian denomination is the true one? Or all they all true? How would you recognize the true one if there is just one true one?
I have to sign off now, and will continue the “pyramid” if you are interested.
Catholic. Irregardless of the Rite, Catholics are right.
One reason I cannot be an atheist is that most atheists are materialists, and I cannot believe that this world is only matter and nothing else. How do we know beauty, love, justice, goodness if matter is all that is?
Once you allow spirit in, however, you get into C.S.Lewis’ conundrum, as he laid out in several books–Mere Christianity, Surprised by Joy, and The Pilgrim’s Regress come to mind–that to be consistent, Spirit has to be also divine, and if Spirit lives apart from us, it can also speak to us and hope for us to be worthy. If you are consistent, Spirit pretty soon becomes indistinguishable from God.
And then the next step is, If God fashioned us and does care about us, then where is God? And we find one set of faiths that does have God coming to us and speaking to us. Hinduism, for example, is the human effort to reach out to god and understand god. But only in Judaism and its offspring does God reach out to us and show us what needs to be done.
From there, Christianity seems the logical consequence: God actually coming to us to teach and save us. And among Christians, Catholicism is the most faithful to the Gospel, to the constant tradition of the community of disciples Jesus founded, and that still is a universal Church, active in every people and nation across the world, and functioning in every Century since it was established by Jesus. It alone has the four marks of the Church: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. So for me, it is the Catholic faith and Church.
We see there is good in the world. We contemplate on good and wonder what the best good is. We see the levels of goodness and somehow know it comes from somewhere. That must be the greatest good. You can use this word “good” and substitute many words like love, beauty, truth, etc and know that there is an ultimate that is yearned for. We must believe that there is a reason for our lives and a purpose to all of life. We know that this purpose or reason must come from outside of us and from a higher level. We try to reach out to that higher level like our desire to climb a mountain because it is there. We know that that higher level or God has been slowly revealing Himself to us and that in the Incarnation He came to physically be with us for a time to show Himself and tell us of the Way.
I tend to follow the Way that was presented in the Church He started, not one that popped up centuries later. That is why I am Catholic and not a non-denom or something else. But this is me and you may have different experiences. But they all point to God if we don’t let the world get in the way.
Learn about the one and only one Jesus establisahed and gave all His promises to. #[FONT=Arial]34[/FONT]
The right religion for you is the one that works for you. Try a few of the big ones and see which one fits you best. To start with, try at least one of the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Then try one of the Dharmic religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism. If none of those fit you then try something else, Daoism say.
I find that the Abrahamic religions lack meditation compared to the Dharmic religions. Their gods are generally more laid-back than the Abrahamic God, which suits my style. I went through a similar process myself. I was atheist for a time, but that alone was not satisfying to me. I ended up as a Buddhist:
To avoid all evil,
to cultivate good,
and to cleanse one’s mind -
this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
– Dhammapada 14:5
The one with the best hats.
Unlike other religions, God chooses you in the Christian faith. God calls you, you respond positively or negatively.
The filter mechanism may help you. If you believe in A God, then some of the Godless religions would be off your list as well as those with multiple gods.
Then what do you seek? Truth? Jesus says he is the truth and the way and the light. What do the other religions say? Some are human based religion. Buddhism/Confucianism/Daoism are based upon ordinary folks who have no intention of starting their own religion.
What is the end goal? Eternal salvation? What religion offers you that? Some says the goal is nothingness. And you keep on reincarnating and on an on till you reach nothingness. Is that your end goal? Or is your goal 72 virgins in heaven?
Sorry Rossum, I don’t think you have the right answer. Religion is not a bunch of commodities that applies to different people when it fits. It is us pursuing God as God reveals Himself to us. It is us becoming a new creation and children of God. Our time here is a test of our faithfulness and religion is not about a feel-good or friendship based, or amusement type excitements.
God is a real person that loves us and wants us to be with him forever. He wants us to be with Him in his supernatural state even though we are in a natural state now.
Jesus has said He is building a Church founded on Peter and that is the one that has lasted since the time of Christ. That is the one that I listen to because it is His body that I fit into as a small part with others making up the rest of the parts. We all have God’s will to do to make the body function according to the purpose God has intended.
Which is not much help at all. Do we go to the Mosque on Friday, the Synagogue on Saturday, the Church on Sunday or the Temple on whatever day the Hindus use? There are a great many gods, and some of them are jealous and do not like you paying attention to the other gods.
Jesus has said He is building a Church founded on Peter
And Mohammed said that he was the Messenger of Allah and Krishna said he was the avatar of Vishnu.
There are a lot of religions with a lot of claims. How do we decide between the different mutually exclusive claims of the many different religions?
When the Buddha was asked this question, he gave basically the answer I gave:
“Yes, Kalamas, it is proper that you have doubt, that you have perplexity, for a doubt has arisen in a matter which is doubtful. Now, look you Kalamas, do not be led by reports, or tradition, or hearsay. Be not led by the authority of religious texts, nor by mere logic or inference, nor by considering appearances, nor by the delight in speculative opinions, nor by seeming possibilities, nor by the idea ‘this is our teacher’. Kalamas, when you yourselves know: ‘These things are bad; these things are blameable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,’ abandon them. … Kalamas, when you yourselves know: ‘These things are good; these things are not blameable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,’ enter on and abide in them.”
– Kalama sutta, Anguttara Nikaya, 3.65
Or, to put it more succinctly: “By their fruits shall you know them.”
I’ve felt similar to how you have regarding the many religious beliefs out there, although I have never lost my faith.
My advice to you is go back to basics. First thing to work out is if you believe in God…read books…Mere Christianity by CS Lewis is good as well as Jacobs Ladder, 10 steps to truth by Peter Kreeft.
If you decide you believe in the God of the Bible…then read the Bible.
Some religions fall easily once you study their beliefs…Muslims for example believe that the Quran is the third and final testament thereby “accepting the first two…the Bible” but they reject Jesus sacrifice on the cross which is as plain as day in the Bible…so you have a major contradiction.
Goodluck on your journey!
Fun answer --but it misses the point. Still, thank you for lightening the conversation.
The difference with the Abrahamic religions is their claim that it is not we who seek God (or that our seeking has effective results) but that it is God who is reaching out to us. This is what makes them religions of revelation: God reveals himself to us, and comes to us.
Within the various forms of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, we must then ask which is the best fit for the world and the God we have come to know. Which offers the most complete and consistent view of God? Now it gets harder and more subjective, but for my money–rather for the sake of my soul–I have to choose Catholicism. The Christians have the most consistent understanding of God as love and why God would create the world, reach out to save us, choose such a difficult way to deal with evil, and so on, while among the various forms of Christian, the Catholics are the most faithful to the Bible, as well as to the tradition from the time of Jesus to now.
We also have the witness of the Church–despite all the sinful persons in it, and even leading it, it has continued faithful in keeping the Gospel, just as Jesus promised at the Last Supper would be true in His giving the Holy Spirit (John 14-17). We also have the continued witness of the saints it produces, in every land and in every century.
Catholics have many spiritual paths, and some are quite intense in their devotion to meditation and contemplation. That is one of the wonders of Catholicism: it is truly universal, including being adaptable to every person’s temperament and style of faith. There is room in it for a vast array of vocations and spiritualities.