Why I choose not to believe


#1

Hi,

I’m not trying to thumb my nose at anyone, nor am I trying to convert others to my point of view. I’m much, much too unhappy a person to try and recruit a team of followers.

I’m starting this thread because:

  1. I haven’t come across a lot of people that feel/think the same way I do, and I’m interested if there are others that agree with my reasons

  2. I could be missing something. :bigyikes:

  3. In a way, it’s like a kind of prayer. A last ditch plea that God will show up and explain Himself. (Hmm, I know I’m going to catch flak for that comment)

I’ve had many great discussions about this with people on the site, and I’ve gained some great insights. But so far I’ve managed to cling tenuously to my doubt. Here’s why:

The question of whether or not God exists is totally irrelevant to me. I’m more than willing to concede that there is a first mover, that my moral compass in fact did come from somewhere, that I in fact do have a notion of perfection, that things exist. Fine, God exists, big deal. It’s as relevent to me as someone proving that “2” or “red” exist.

My problem is when people tell me that God is loving, or that God is involved in my life. I’ve never experienced God in my life at all. I’ve experienced countless **people **telling me that God is involved, but not God. If God is infinite, if God is all-powerful. Could he not once, just once, come down and tell me he’s here. That he knows what I’m going through? I mean he can right? Wouldn’t take any time at all, but he doesn’t. The idea that he exists, that he could do something like that, and that he won’t is so annoying, so hurtful, so blatently cruel, that I choose not to believe.


#2

[quote=Everstruggling]Hi,

If God is infinite, if God is all-powerful. Could he not once, just once, come down and tell me he’s here. That he knows what I’m going through? I mean he can right? Wouldn’t take any time at all, but he doesn’t. The idea that he exists, that he could do something like that, and that he won’t is so annoying, so hurtful, so blatently cruel, that I choose not to believe.
[/quote]

He did.


#3

Let’s say God were to appear to you and say, “I am.” He did that for Moses, so it’s within his depth. What then? How would your life really change?


#4

[quote=Everstruggling] . . . The question of whether or not God exists is totally irrelevant to me. I’m more than willing to concede that there is a first mover, that my moral compass in fact did come from somewhere, that I in fact do have a notion of perfection, that things exist. Fine, God exists, big deal. It’s as relevent to me as someone proving that “2” or “red” exist.
. . .
[/quote]

I disagree:

If there is a God, and He created all this, did He do it for a reason?

If He did create us for a reason, is that irrelevant?

Might it be important that we do that for which He created us?


#5

You know, I’ve often felt the same way…plauged by doubts about the lovingness of God. I look at the BIble, I see God interceeding directly for all these OT people, I look at the NT, particularly Saul/St. Paul, who was persecuting the Church, and whom God personally (and litterally) knocked him to the ground and converted him. Then I see all the Christian persecutions, particularly among Christians themselves, and I wonder…Why not again? Why can’t you just come down and tell us who’s right and stop all this madness?

And I wonder, and I pray that same prayer, and ask God for a little bit of assurance that what I’ve chosen to believe is true. It rarely comes the way I want to.

And although I even have my moments of “Wait…what if I died, and NOTHING was there?”

So I can truly sympathize, but I still believe. But I can’t give you a real clear reason why.

God is beyond me, I can’t even comprehend much of what He is, let alone how He touches our lives.

But I’m still convinced He has, and continues to, through some of the smaller aspects of life, the fact I’m still alive, that certain things happen to keep me alive, I can look back and see where it seems uncanny about certain things lining up, and I give thanks and praise to God for it.

Uh…where am I going with this?

Well, I know that one way or the other, your doubting even now God can use to help you or help someone else or any number of things.

But, faith is a struggle. If it were something easy and acceptable, we wouldn’t have all these different arguments and religions in the world. Why do they all exist…Only God knows.

Keep yourself open. Believe me, I know its hard, but remember what Jesus said, “If you seek, you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened.”

For me, I feel just like one has to accept the premise of a first mover simply because one must, one also has to accept faith in God before faith can grow. Contradictory, maybe…but so is an Incarnate All-powerful God.

I hope I’m helping. Even if I’m not, know you are in my prayers during your spiritual journey. And no matter where it takes you, remember that God never forgets you, even if it seems impossible to believe.

May God bless you, friend


#6

[quote=Everstruggling]My problem is when people tell me that God is loving,
[/quote]

Do you accept the historical reality of Christ’s existence, and further, or His crucifixion? That seems to be the ‘crux’ (no pun intended) of his love.

or that God is involved in my life.

Grace is invisible and unquantifiable. I’m not sure how to prove that God’s grace is really there.

I’ve never experienced God in my life at all. I’ve experienced countless **people **telling me that God is involved, but not God.

If by this you mean, God hasn’t send his hand down through the clouds and spoken to you in a booming voice, then perhaps, yes, God hasn’t told you. And I don’t mean this in a snide, sarcastic sense. At one point I would have been satisfied with nothing less than God’s overt proclamation of his existence to me. After a point I realized, I’m so grasping for concrete proof of His existence, that even if He did send his voice from the clouds and His hand from the heavens, that I wouldn’t believe, that I’d write it off as a hallucination. Ask yourself: if God is telling me that He is involved, am I listening? And if I am listening, am I predisposed properly to listen?

I don’t know if you read Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, but he uses a lovely analogy. We examine the physical world with telescopes and other such instruments, and we examine and see God with our whole being. And, he says, just as a dirty mirror does not reflect the light shining on it, so too when our being is not properly predisposed, we are unable to see God distinctly and clearly. To translate this to the question of seeing God’s love, are you predisposed to see Him?

If God is infinite, if God is all-powerful. Could he not once, just once, come down and tell me he’s here.

Certainly He could. Would he?

Or perhaps take this from another angle. He already did, and look what happened, the people up and crucified him. :smiley:

That he knows what I’m going through? I mean he can right? Wouldn’t take any time at all, but he doesn’t. The idea that he exists, that he could do something like that, and that he won’t is so annoying, so hurtful, so blatently cruel, that I choose not to believe.

My problems with God derive more from the angle of ‘does God exist,’ rather than the ‘is God loving,’ but let me see if I can help at all.

We try to fit our circular God into our square human boxes. We want Him to act like we do. Anthropomophizing God can be helpful in some instances, but fatal in others. The question is, should we expect Him to act the way we expect human beings to act? I don’t think so.

It’s so easy to chase into the ‘why doesn’t God,’ game. Because we believe God is omnipotent, we can really say ‘why doesn’t God,’ do almost anything? Well, He doesn’t, and I can’t explain it any better than most of us try to. Couldn’t God save us all, no strings attached, no having to not sin, etc… and couldn’t he do it just as quick as a flash without having to have us live proper Christian lives? I suppose, but he doesn’t.

The idea that God is loving, we draw from what we know of God through Christ. A God that would choose to lower Himself, and suffer (and my answer to ‘that he knows what I’m going through,’ if you do believe in Christ, is answered here) for the sake of man, well, I think that’s love. And I think we channel the suffering we experience and consecrate it to Christ’s suffering. And that’s the mystery that Christians have, where suffering becomes redemptive.


#7

Read Matthew 9:20-22

 ***A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak.  She said to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured."  Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, "Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you." And from that hour the woman was cured.***  The woman was cured because she reached out to God.  She didn't wait for him.  This is how it is with us.

Notworthy


#8

[quote=StCsDavid]Let’s say God were to appear to you and say, “I am.” He did that for Moses, so it’s within his depth. What then? How would your life really change?
[/quote]

Uhm, are you joking?

Well, apart from completely and totally changing my perception of the universe and my place in it; and other than the utter relief that could put aside the question that nagged at me ever since I first was able to ponder the idea; I am unable to add any specifics. After all, that would depend somewhat on what God was like, what image I had of him, it, her, or them. But I’m pretty sure it would have a somewhat life altering impact.


#9

[quote=Joe Kelley]If there is a God, and He created all this, did He do it for a reason?
[/quote]

Good question. I’ve yet to get an answer to that one. Maybe if God explained that, I’d care more about God’s existence too.

If He did create us for a reason, is that irrelevant?

Depends on the reason.

Might it be important that we do that for which He created us?

It might. But I don’t know the reason. If God tells me exactly what he’d like me to do, it would make a load of difference.

The proofs of God that I’ve come across don’t prove God’s purpose in creating us. Nor do they prove which God I should believe in. See what I mean? The existence of God isn’t important unless you know what God is all about.

EDIT:

I hope that doesn’t sound snide, or glib. I’m just feeling really down lately. I understand why a person who believes they know God’s will for them would care if God existed. I have yet to come up with that. I appreciate you making the effort to respond, thank-you


#10

[quote=Pillar of Cloud]You know, I’ve often felt the same way…plauged by doubts about the lovingness of God. I look at the BIble, I see God interceeding directly for all these OT people, I look at the NT, particularly Saul/St. Paul, who was persecuting the Church, and whom God personally (and litterally) knocked him to the ground and converted him. Then I see all the Christian persecutions, particularly among Christians themselves, and I wonder…Why not again? Why can’t you just come down and tell us who’s right and stop all this madness?
[/quote]

Thank-you, I appreciate your post. It’s always nice to hear that people understand.

Well, I know that one way or the other, your doubting even now God can use to help you or help someone else or any number of things.

That would be cool.

I hope I’m helping. Even if I’m not, know you are in my prayers during your spiritual journey. And no matter where it takes you, remember that God never forgets you, even if it seems impossible to believe.

May God bless you, friend

Again thank-you. You’ve cheered me up a little. That helps.:slight_smile:


#11

[quote=NotWorthy]Read Matthew 9:20-22

 ***A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured." Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, "Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you." And from that hour the woman was cured.*** 

Notworthy
[/quote]

I was in a hurry and didn’t explain this very well, earlier. I often sat next to a woman at Church, and while I was trying not to fall asleep, this woman was trying to contain her ecstasy. I wondered, why is she getting so much out of something that is putting me to sleep. I soon realized, it’s not the message of the Mass, it’s not God’s problem, it was mine. All I could think of when I looked at her joy was, “How do I get some of that?”

That was the hardest part. The rest of my journey was easy. For I soon came across this passage in Scripture of the woman touching Jesus’ garment and being healed. It was explained to me that so many people crossed Jesus’ path, and yet that woman was saved. Why? Because she reached out in faith and touched Jesus.

Similarly, I, like most of the other people in our parish, went to Mass and then went on about our business, while that woman sitting next to me was reaching out in faith and touching Jesus.

Do I need to know why God created me, or the world, or anything else? NO! I just need to know that He loves me. He wants to be with me. All I have to do is reach out and touch Him.

God Bless!

Notworthy


#12

Consider the saints: with faith and love, they invited God down to them. But with disbelief, you are challenging Him to come down. Decide that God is doing something right by allowing you to suffer whatever you suffer. Then with faith decide God deserves your obedience to whatever it might please Him to do with you, seeing that He created you and deserves to be pleased with His work. Then invite Him down, and it will be sweet.

God is a great King, and made our nature by His power. Our nature is capable of choosing and receiving Him. Adam and Eve enjoyed His company, but they still turned away from Him, and now we mourn in exile. It is better that we suffer in love of Him than for Him to suffer under our whim.

God takes into account everything we do with every moment of our lives. Those who wait for Him will be rewarded.

It is so important to have faith in God, in the many ways that faith is understood. It is as if the amount of blind faith one has in God when he does not see God will equal the amount of love one will have when God reveals Himself. This is because God suddenly fills the space we have already reserved for Him. God comes so quickly and quietly, and gives us such free will, that He will not force us to accept Him, even when He is present. In other words, meeting God will not force you to open up to Him. So if you didn’t believe in Him before, then even when you see Him you will not be able to believe (with any credit). That you don’t see Him beforehand does not stop you from opening up in advance of meeting Him. And we need to prepare, because God is so soft and gentle, we may not notice His arrival. So it is better to prepare a place for Him in our hearts in advance, and to be observing His laws all the time. Who understands this?

How do you prepare for something you can’t see coming? Power outage, for example. Keep batteries, flashlights, generator, etc. on hand. Hold insurance for car, home, business, and life. But faith in God is more than preparation for a calamity; it is preparation for salvation, and to not be prepared is to be certain of loss.

hurst


#13

[quote=RobNY]Do you accept the historical reality of Christ’s existence, and further, or His crucifixion? That seems to be the ‘crux’ (no pun intended) of his love.
[/quote]

The *historical *reality, hmm, sure I guess. I don’t accept that Jesus was God. To me the story of Jesus was of a man who loved the world.

Grace is invisible and unquantifiable. I’m not sure how to prove that God’s grace is really there.

Hmm, that’s a part of the problem. If it is, or isn’t, it’s all the same to me.

If by this you mean, God hasn’t send his hand down through the clouds and spoken to you in a booming voice, then perhaps, yes, God hasn’t told you.

You’ve pretty much nailed it. That’s what I’m looking for. Of course, it doesn’t have to be like that. I’d go for an experience like Thomas’ , or Paul’s or Isiah’s or Job’s (I’m fairly partial to Job’s and Thomas’ actually, they leave little to the imagination).

even if He did send his voice from the clouds and His hand from the heavens, that I wouldn’t believe, that I’d write it off as a hallucination.

I think I’d be pretty open to that kind of thing myself. I’m really willing to work with God on this one, if he exists.

The idea that God is loving, we draw from what we know of God through Christ. A God that would choose to lower Himself, and suffer (and my answer to ‘that he knows what I’m going through,’ if you do believe in Christ, is answered here) for the sake of man, well, I think that’s love.

I see. That’s the first problem again then. I don’t believe Jesus was God.

Thanks for taking the time to write, I appreciate the effort.


#14

Everstruggling:

Bishop Fulton Sheen said that God has all sorts of clues in creation…like a fingerprint left on glass, we see the print but we do not see the finger that placed it there. Some people casually call this the divine comedy—that he’s playing hide and seek with us. But seeing the pattern on the wings of a butterfly, the countless colors of a sunset, the laughter of children, a full moon; all of this begs the questions and yearnings: who are you, where are you, show yourself to me!!!

When the heart starts to seek him in earnest, he will give the gift of faith…then all the pieces start to come into place. But the crucial step must be taken-the scary leap into the unknown and trusting a being that may not be there.

There’s a gratuitous almost reckless distribution of beauty and goodness in this this world (amid chaos and evil) that to me are natural proofs that there is a benevolent being behind all of it.

God bless you friend.

in XT.


#15

:amen:

Notworthy


#16

[quote=hurst]Consider the saints: with faith and love, they invited God down to them. But with disbelief, you are challenging Him to come down. Decide that God is doing something right by allowing you to suffer whatever you suffer. Then with faith decide God deserves your obedience to whatever it might please Him to do with you, seeing that He created you and deserves to be pleased with His work. Then invite Him down, and it will be sweet.
[/quote]

I can totally see where you are coming from. I wasn’t always an unbeliever. In fact, I actually entered the seminary. I prayed for decades for people I knew to be healed, for unhappiness to be ended, for souls to be saved. I prayed with the unquestioning, blind faith of an infant, then a child, then a young man, and then finally I realized that all I had for it was either decades of “No’s” or decades no answers. I finally I decided to stop beating myself up, and just believe that God couldn’t answer. I asked for faith, for a very long time, but no dice.

Now I’m p***ed. If you look at the old testament, there are cases of God coming down and meeting with people who weren’t so happy with him. I’m banking on that or no meeting at all. It’s fundementally opposed to my being at this point to decide to go to him. I’ve been asked or invited, several times by people on this board. I told this one very kind fellow I would even go to confession, but I just jammed on the breaks at the last minute. I couldn’t do it.

So if that’s what it takes, then I guess I’m stuck.

Strange thing isn’t it, really. I’ve decided that God doesn’t exist, but I’m still infuriated that he doesn’t. It’s a little like being furious at Santa Claus for not bringing the present I wanted.


#17

As those sages of the lates 60’s, otherwise known as Blood, Sweat, and Tears so wisely put it, “I swear there ain’t no heaven, and I pray there ain’t no hell

God Bless,

Notworthy


#18

[quote=NotWorthy]I was in a hurry and didn’t explain this very well, earlier. I often sat next to a woman at Church, and while I was trying not to fall asleep, this woman was trying to contain her ecstasy. I wondered, why is she getting so much out of something that is putting me to sleep. I soon realized, it’s not the message of the Mass, it’s not God’s problem, it was mine. All I could think of when I looked at her joy was, “How do I get some of that?”

That was the hardest part. The rest of my journey was easy. For I soon came across this passage in Scripture of the woman touching Jesus’ garment and being healed. It was explained to me that so many people crossed Jesus’ path, and yet that woman was saved. Why? Because she reached out in faith and touched Jesus.

[/quote]

Thank-you for explaining it further. I have to admit, I was a little befuddled the first time I read it.

I just can’t help feeling like I tried reaching for his robe for a good couple of decades. I’m starting to feel a little guilty for posting this thread. So many people have shared their experiences with me, and I don’t doubt the sincerety, or their experience at all. Still for me, trying to love God and have a relationship with him is like trying to fall in love with a character on the Simpsons. I catch these images, hear the sounds, but there is no touch or life or reality. They don’t look real, and no matter what happens one week, it all goes back to the same thing at the end.


#19

“My problem is when people tell me that God is loving, or that God is involved in my life. I’ve never experienced God in my life at all. I’ve experienced countless people telling me that God is involved, but not God. If God is infinite, if God is all-powerful. Could he not once, just once, come down and tell me he’s here. That he knows what I’m going through? I mean he can right? Wouldn’t take any time at all, but he doesn’t. The idea that he exists, that he could do something like that, and that he won’t is so annoying, so hurtful, so blatently cruel, that I choose not to believe.”

  1. God has never worked alone, he has always involved others.

Take a closer look at all the people in your life, family, friends…

A friend of mine used to have adrug problem, he got hooked on drugs and so forth, it never fazed him. Until he got caught. He was losing control of his life. One of his friends saw this down hill turn, and stepped in and did not leave his side, his friend gave him work, a place to live, food on the table, and a few bloody noses when my friend fell back into his drugs. Today my friend is drug free, has a wife and several kids. Although he is not Catholic, he is now a Christian man, attends church, and gives back.

We are all apart of Christ and each of us has a role to play, take a closer look at the friends and family in your life, and also take a look at yourself, we all find God at different times and places as well as circumstances.


#20

Think of it this way. A lot of people came to this thread, and have read it, maybe looking for an affirmation on why they believe. It’s good to examine our conscience from time to time, eh? So, in a way, you’ve helped others who either, a) got a load off their mind, or b) learned something new.

Does this help you? I don’t know. But personally, I’ve never been discouraged after finding out that I helped someone else with a problem.

Take care and keep struggling. You’ll find the surface only if you keep trying.

God Bless!

Notworthy


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