Why do you believe what you believe?

In another thread, an interesting question was posed.

“Why do you believe what you believe?”

Some have had experiences that they attribute to God, miracles per se. How do we know that these miracles/experiences are not simple coincidences? And if they are an intervention of some form of Divine Providence, what are the factors which contribute towards believing in Christ, Moses, Muhammad, or Baha’u’llah?

How do people rationalise their beliefs?

What is the difference between true faith and blind faith?

Finally, what is the difference between belief and superstition?

I would be very interested to hear peoples stories and rationalizations of their experiences.

God bless you all!

.

Faith, itself, is said to be a gift. And my own faith, over a period of years, led to deeper faith, and more than one profound experience as well, the greatest of which is completely ineffable. And since the most striking aspect of that experience, of that Presence, was to know love in a manner that I could previously never imagine was even remotely possible-and to know it on a scale that has no limit. Can’t explain it. But it confirmed for me the heart of Christianity, what Jesus came to prove: that God is love.

1 Like

Beautiful fhansen thankyou :thumbsup:

May I ask, were the things that contributed to your deeper faith related to the ineffable experience you had, or were there other factors involved?

.

No, that experience came after 10 or more years of already seeking, believing in, and following God. It, among other experiences I was given, “merely”: strengthened and confirmed what I already believed. It’s funny, though, that that one experience particularly has continued to affect me-and, in fact, to have an even stronger influence on me now, some 25 years later, than it did even at the time. Anyway, God loves our faith, our seeking Him.

I believe what I believe because the Cross is the only thing that has ever given me true peace. That’s why I am and remain a Christian.

Thankyou fhansen. For the 10 years that you were seeking God, was that search only within Christianity or did you explore other Faiths too?

.

Thankyou House, can you please elaborate what you maen by this? What is it about the Cross that gives you this peace? Does the Cross symbolise something that you could elaborate on for us please? :slight_smile:

God bless you

Others, too. It began with everything-I wasn’t partial to the source of truth. But little by little the others fell away. I might still read a sutra, etc, now and then, here or there. Often some good stuff; valuable bits of wisdom can be found in all religions. But there was something about Jesus, and His authoritative practical knowledge melded with His spirituality, based on uncompromising love.

I’ve spent alot of time thinking about this and writing down my thoughts. Here is my short answer:

  • We know there were Israelites because we have the Jews today
  • They have kept the traditions alive for over 5,000 years; the passover, circumcision, the commandments, the places of the bible are real
  • We know Jesus was a real person who claimed to be Jewish and we know He died from sources others than just the bible, Josephus for example
  • We see the line of succession of popes and early church fathers to today
  • We have a bible, martyrs, holy places, artifacts that also give us evidence of Christ’s life
  • Jesus claimed to be the messiah
  • People who lived with Jesus chose to die after witnessing Him die on the Cross; evidence of their witnessing His resurrection

So, your next question is why not believe Mohammed or Buddha or Joseph Smith who were also real people?

They did not claim to be the Messiah as Jesus did.

As C. S. Lewis said “either he was a madman, a liar or He was the messiah.” I believe there were Israelites and Isaiah and the prophets spoke of a Messiah and Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. From all accounts, I cannot deny He was telling the Truth. There simply is no evidence He was a madman or a liar. The King is the King whether we like it or not.

Every knee will bend, every mouth will confess…

My faith in the Roman Catholic Church is something that you would have to experience to fully understand. While some of it can be explained, the real “meat” of it transcends mere discussion.

It’s very much like the Baha’i faith. Many have no idea what you really believe because they have not taken the time to be in your shoes and experience it as you do. Can they truly fathom why you appreciate it or hold fast to it the way you do? How best is your faith understood? From the outside or from where you stand?

Does a woman fully understand what it is like to be a man? Can a man grasp the truth of womanhood from a discussion on a forum such as this one?

It is the same with being a Catholic. There is no rationalization allowed. Superstition must be tossed aside. It is an experience you must undertake to come to an accurate understanding of. Otherwise you will never fully understand it.

While I did search through other faiths and even gave them a chance, God’s call only became clearer that my place was in the Catholic Church. The more I studied the more its teachings proved true, not only by examination but because of my heritage and the promises made by God to my people.

I am a Hebrew, of the tribe of Judah. My ancestors were among the first Christians in Jerusalem. Before Christ, my forefathers worshiped at the Temple of the God of Abraham. I am a Roman Catholic because my family believed in the testimony of my forefathers and of the apostles. We believe that the promises made to my father Abraham and to my people are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. Belief in the Messiah and his Church is first and foremost a very Jewish thing to do. Therefore I take it as my personal vocation, my calling, my part of fulfilling the covenant made between God and my people to obey and believe in the Messiah. I believe in Christ because my family believes He is who we waited for throughout the centuries. I am a Catholic because I am a Jew. I am bound by a covenant to believe and trust in the promises made by God to my father Abraham by blood.

Christ makes my fellow Catholics who are not Jews by birth my brothers and sisters and additional members of the family of Abraham by faith. They are bound by a new covenant to believe and trust in the same promises from the same God.

And thus we believe in God because He who promises is trustworthy. It is not by human reason or rationalization that we believe.

We believe because God is worth being trusted at his word. We believe because we are Catholics, and we are Catholics because we believe.

1 Like

For me, there were two tiers:

  1. Something miraculous happened to me at my Confirmation at age 16. A day before I was Confirmed, I distinctly remembered thinking, “I can’t wait for all this stupid CCD stuff to be over. And my catechism teacher won’t be pressuring me to go to Mass anymore. Mass is sooooooo boring; I don’t know how anyone can stand it. After I’m Confirmed, I’ll still be religious, but privately. Then maybe I’ll become a Baptist when I grow up.” Then I got Confirmed, and BOOM—180 degree turn. Something extraordinary happened by the grace of God. Suddenly I wanted to go to Mass and wanted to be Catholic (REAL Catholic). That was 2 and a half years ago. I’ve only missed Mass twice (for good reasons), and I LOVE Mass.

  2. Given this new interest, I started researching Catholicism. I learned a lot and am still learning a lot. I find Catholicism to be such a smart and well-thought-out faith.

All in all, first it was a miracle, then it was the intellectualism in me. :smiley:

Coincidence is a concept formulated by those who have no faith.

None needed. Faith stands up to reason, but reason cannot and will not explain all matters of faith. My faith has been affirmed in the supernatural realm, so my human senses have little to do with it and atheistic philosophies have nothing to do with it.

Whatever the dictionary says.

Belief (faith) is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Superstition is based on ignorance, weakness and fear.

Why do you insist that rationalization must be part of a belief system? Do you assume that all belief systems are thereby irrational? Do you not thereby condemn your own beliefs?

Because of the Holy spirit utlimately and being convinced that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and is not dead in the tomb.

Hi Po18, you make some valid points :slight_smile:

I guess one of the questions I am asking is related to a personal story.

We once visited a lady friend in her home and offered to share a Baha’i prayer with her. She was a Muslim, and she was interested in hearing more about the Baha’i Faith. So she read aloud the Baha’i prayer and literally 30 seconds after the prayer finished, there was a knock on the door.

The lady went to open the door, and we could hear her talking to the man outside. A few seconds later she walked into the lounge where we were and told us that she was a Baha’i!

We were stunned and asked her why?

She said that before she recited the prayer she uttered in her mind that “If Baha’u’llah is from God, she will find her milk”…she had purchased some milk that morning and could not find where on earth she had put it. The man at the door was a guy seeking neighbourhood interest in “door-to-door milk deliveries”…something which was done years and years ago, but is a slowly extinguishing business, but for some reason this guy was reviving the old trade of milk deliveries.

Naturally she was stunned and considered this as a valid reason to adopt Baha’i belief.

Personally, I feel a little skeptical, but also at the same time intrigued.

Have other people experienced similar phenomena and why would this amount to submitting oneself to any belief system.

I personally find the intoxication of ones spirit with the Word a much more valid approach to adopting specific beliefs. The Word transforms and nourishes the soul, you can never get enough of it…

I’m rambling a little bit because there is obviously great mystery, but I wanted to hear other peoples thoughts so we can collaboratively try to understand our human natures a little better :slight_smile:

Hope that helps to explain my thoughts friend :slight_smile:

In Christianity, the Word is not a thing, but a Divine Person, Jesus Christ. And, He is not dead, but as alive as ever. He was prophesied long before He appeared, and He fulfilled an otherwise impossible to fulfill number of requirements in those various prophecies. No one, before or since, has come remotely close. As well, to immerse myself in the Word, I can read the tiny number of His sayings that were recorded, I can hear Him speak through the Church at mass, or I can go and spend time in His Physical presence at adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. There, He speaks to us directly via His Holy Spirit and there it is where I received my confirmation of my faith in the supernatural realm.

Now, anyone can take s a sequence of events and extract whatever meaning from them that they desire. Yet, the call of Christ is to deny the self, rather than to indulge the self. It is to take up our burdens and bear them, rather than rid ourselves of them. And then, we can follow Christ. In fact, we must do these two very difficult things before we are to follow Christ. Yet, He is our perfect example of love, in that He did not set even His own suffering and death aside, out of love for you and I. In following Christ to the best of my ability, I have found blessing in suffering, blessing in adversity, blessing in cancer, and yes, even “death” will be a blessing, as it is merely the door which leads to eternal life.

In following Christ, I have found a rational explanation for why this world is broken, why the concept of entropy is observed and I have found the hope for an eternal world where none of this broken-ness exists. I follow those who have gone before and who have willingly and joyfully given their lives for the greater glory of God and His Kingdom. To me, this is rational. And, in contrast, other belief systems which are founded on less, contain less, and promise less, are less rational.

Beautifully said po18 :thumbsup:

I am with you every step of the way there :slight_smile:

.

I believe because the evidence for a overwhelming and because I know God is real, and I am Catholic because I agree with what The RCC teach us, and why do I believe that? Everything can be traced to The Bible, so it must be right and true.

God revealed Himself as logos, and as logos He has acted and continues to act on my behalf in love. I respond in love through prayer thus worship/conversation thus a personal relationship. This practice in devotion results basically in daily contemplation thus perpetual conversation. It propels me forward to what is indeed outside of this reality and by the Lords will and grace/love.

Eph 3:19 And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

To be honest, I don’t think I could tell you why I believe. Not in a coherent manner anyway. It’s like asking “Why do you love your spouse”. One can provide reasons, but can never really answer the question of “why”.

How do people rationalise their beliefs?

Again - I have to say that I don’t know how others rationalize their beliefs. For myself, the only rationalization that I need is that Agape is core - and the Trinity most fully embodies that Agape.

What is the difference between true faith and blind faith?

I don’t know that these two things are necessarily opposites…
Faith presupposes a certain level of “blindness” since if we can see - then faith is not necessary.
To me the difference might be in the idea of “blind faith” is something one simply “believes” on the word of another but does not truly embrace and embody - whereas “true faith” is something that one embraces and tries to embody based on a true conviction.

This is kind of muddled I suppose…but oh well…

Finally, what is the difference between belief and superstition?

I don’t know.

Peace
James

1 Like
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.