I have spent the last 2 years searching for God, and I kept switching from a hardcore believer to an atheist.
After these 2 years of constantly reading and watching apologetics, praying about it , going to mass daily sometimes, I really can’t bring myself to believe this is all true.
I want to believe its true, but I really can’t bring myself to believe that the Bible is a reliable source. ( I don’t want to go into the reasons for this belief currently as I have a bunch of questions and this thread would go off-topic very easily, but I have asked theese types of questions and have seen them asked by other people and they never got an answer)
At most I have learnt from Aquinas that something “godlike” exists and so I am mostly agnostic,(Even though new atheists would call me an agnostic atheist, whatever)
but even some things about Aquinas bug me.
I just don’t want to be a bother anyone on this forum anymore (As I am a really annoying person sometimes) , and I am slowly starting to get depressed over this whole thing, and I just want to give up. I want my life to move on and not just stay in a “searching for God and doing nothing else” state.
So will I go to hell for it (in case its true) ?
I have spent the last 2 years searching for God, and I kept switching from a hardcore believer to an atheist.
Hell is something that is caused when you separate yourself in someway from God which contains all good and joy and happiness. The only way that can happen is if you do not follow your conscience in all things, when you are properly informed. We have to remember that the “something godlike” that St. Thomas has proven is the true God. There are no other characteristics that God has apart from his being, which is the thing that is proven. When you believe in this, you believe in everything that that “being” encompasses already. There is nothing further to believe about God. It is much better to think of God not as one supreme being among the other beings there are, but as supreme being itself. Focus on love. “For the joy of our Lord is our strength.” “And we have known and have believed the charity, which God hath in us. God is charity (Love): and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him. In this is charity perfited (completed) with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgement (correction/making right): because as he is, we also are in the world. (we have love) Fear is not in charity: but perfect charity casteth out fear, because fear hath painfulness, and he that feareth, is not perfect in charity. Let us for that reason love God, because God first hath loved us.” If you believe in love, you do believe in the true God.
Well that is why I said I believe that God exists but I don’t see its possible to prove that some things in the Bible are true, therefore, I believe that God exists (But I even have doubts for that sometime) but not the Christian one. I want to love God, but I just can’t when my mind keeps saying "It doesn’t make sense! " I try my best to be a good person, and I prey to God to have mercy on me if he exists, but I feel like it won’t be enough.
Believing is hard and most of us do not believe as we should. So it is not unusual to find oneself to unbelieving.
We are still called to believe and that is called faith.
There are many people who started with unbelieve to believe and go back and forth. Many of these, not much different from what you are experiencing now, find faith and believe.
If you are an atheist, perhaps it is helpful to hear testimonies from atheists who converted to Christianity to see whether yours can be identified with them.
As for going to hell, this is a prerogative of God. Even believers also do not have that one hundred percent certainty that they do not go to hell if somewhere in their lives they should backslide and do not believe.
So to answer your question, yes, it is likely one will go to hell if one does not believe because it is more difficult to go to heaven by unbelieving. Yet, ultimately, everybody is left to the mercy and justice of God, which is his and his alone.
A disclaimer, Niko: I am a non-believer and in any case quite unqualified to advise. But I will!
First, as others have said, you are not unique: many people have found themselves in your position. You have persisted in trying to find God, and that is commendable. Some people find that if they seek a little less frantically, but remain open to persuasion, faith comes upon them at some time. That may happen to you.
Second, as others have said, if there is such a place as Hell, no-one on Earth knows who is going there. I don’t suggest you forget about Hell, but perhaps you could put it aside for now. Certainly it would not be healthy to force yourself to believe something out of fear.
Third: you say you want to move on, and that is exactly what you should do. Don’t be too hard on yourself, try to be peaceful, keep your mind and spirit open, live life, be the best person you can be. You may not end up believing that Jesus is divine, but if you can get close to following his advice to love your neighbour as yourself, your life will by no means be wasted.
It’s ok to relax a bit, to allow God to do some responding, to allow Him to talk. It takes time, and openness to the truth, to come to know Him in any case. And you seem to have sought, and to have a degree of knowledge, and God will respond to that at some point.
I don’t really understand your question. If you don’t believe in God then how can there be a hell? God created Hell, no God, no Hell. The fact that you worry about Hell shows that on some level, you do believe in a God. Perhaps you doubt the specifics of the Christian God and why not, that’s just probability at the end of the day.
One thought exercise i do, at the invitation of atheists is answer the question: “what evidence, if it existed, would make you change your belief?” If you proved to me that Mary wasn’t a virgin, i wouldn’t care because that didn’t mean Jesus didn’t heal the sick. If you proved to me that Jesus didn’t heal the sick then i ultimately wouldn’t change because that doesn’t mean he didn’t rise from the dead. Ultimately you’d have to prove the resurrection was false to get me to really question my faith. I already know the bible is full of minor errors so that’s not news to me. Even if the resurrection was false, I’d still think Jesus was an awesome philosopher.
What I’d really be interested in is what you’d do differently in your life as an athiest than a believer? I hope i can assume that you won’t start running around murdering people. Yeah you might not go to mass but what exactly did Jesus ask you to do that you won’t? Personally i think it’s more important to feed the hungry, help the needy and raise good children than worry all that much about masturbation. Theoretically you could still live a good life as an atheist, but it’s very unlikely. Once you abandon the attachment to an absolute truth (which must be supernatural) then human pathology is such that you will begin to justify what you previously could not.
That helped somewhat. Thanks
As I said, my mind keeps telling me " The Christian God is fake/superstition" but I have been Catholic and a believer all my life. As I have said, I believe in the existence of a God, but for some reason a lot of things don’t seem to make sense to me when it comes to the Bible specifically, even after 2 years of apologetics.
The problem I have regarding the ressurection is, how do we know the tomb was guarded in the first place ? Other sources talk about Jeus’s death, but no other source besides the bible talks about the burial. The more likely explanation to me seems that he was a great prophet who renewed the world with his new teaching on morality, but later was turned into a God by the evangelists and his followers.
Not really, I am a guy who tries his best to hold to his morality.
I believe Jesus taught the best type of morality, and will I have eventual slip ups here and there, those slip ups are frequent when I am a practicing Catholic and when I am an agnostic.
What exactly do you seek from God?
What is He not revealing to you?
Do you believe that billions of people are being deceived?
Do you believe that Scripture passages that point to the Messiah just don’t apply? That it’s all made up?
That those who saw Christ risen from the dead were hallucinating?
That the tomb really wasn’t empty?
You want to visit His grave? Why?
That He healed no one?
That the Holy Spirit does not guide mllions to peace, love, charity, and compassion?
Or is it that you are looking for something tangible in your life?
Belief is a gift. But it also must be received.
Look at the crucifix and see the One you doubt holding His arms out in compassion and mercy to you.
It’s a pretty powerful message of love. Christ loves you more than I can even attempt to explain to you.
You must believe THAT. Then, everything will fall into place. You are the son of a King.
Take up HIs cross.
God bless you.
Something besides blind faith to convince me.
I don’t want revalation just for things to make more sense.
It happened in the past, don’t see why it couldn’t happen now.
That point to the messiah idk, but some historicall events that Christians must believe are in high doubt due to lack of evidence.
How do we know, other than the bible, that they saw him ? (And weren’t lying)
Well a frequent objection I have heard is why faithful amputees never get healed. (Lots of people with cancer for example get healed, but that sickness has a possible cure just a very low chance, so people tend to attibute miracles to it. Somebody regrowing a limb would be a real miracle )
Well there is no way other than faith to know that it really is the holy spirit and not just the belief system itself. There are lots of other Asian religions that promote peace,love,charity.
I agree, but I believe (unintended pun) belief should be stationed in reality, and not be blind as I say it.
I would love to, if I didn’t have all these doubts inside of me.
C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, has a good way of saying why this isn’t tenable:
Then comes the real shock. Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world Who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.
One part of the claim tends to slip past us unnoticed because we have heard it so often that we no longer see what it amounts to. I mean the claim to forgive sins: any sins. Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic. We can all understand how a man forgives offences against himself. You tread on my toe and I forgive you, you steal my money and I forgive you. But what should we make of a man, himself unrobbed and untrodden on, who announced that he forgave you for treading on other men’s toes and stealing other men’s money? Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give of his conduct. Yet this is what Jesus did.
He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offences. This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin. In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply what I can only regard as a silliness and conceit unrivalled by any other character in history.
Yet (and this is the strange, significant thing) even His enemies, when they read the Gospels, do not usually get the impression of silliness and conceit. Still less do unprejudiced readers. Christ says that He is “humble and meek” and we believe Him; not noticing that, if He were merely a man, humility and meekness are the very last characteristics we could attribute to some of His sayings.
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say.
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
4. The Perfect Penitent
We are faced, then, with a frightening alternative. This man we are talking about either was (and is) just what He said or else a lunatic, or something worse. Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God. God has landed on this enemy-occupied world in human form.
And now, what was the purpose of it all? What did He come to do? Well, to teach, of course; but as soon as you look into the New Testament or any other Christian writing you will find they are constantly talking about something different—about His death and His coming to life again. It is obvious that Christians think the chief point of the story lies here. They think the main thing He came to earth to do was to suffer and be killed.
The older you get, the more likely you will be to believe that reasonable adults with everything to lose would not follow a lunatic who claims to be God unless there is much more going on than “teaching”.
@DetectiveNiko, I’m in the same boat as you. Following this post. I’ll chime in later today.
Blind faith is just an expression. None of us who have faith are blind. In fact, I can CLEARLY see and read the truth of the Catholic faith and reality of God.
Look at St. Augustine.
Look at St. John of the Cross
Look at the life of St. Theresa of Calcutta
Look at Scott Hahn’s ministry
All are well grounded in reality.
God is real. It is HE that makes reality.
God does not do parlor tricks. He heals according to His Divine plan, which frankly, since we are not God, we likely won’t understand until we are face to cafe with Him. Demanding proofs won’t work. Sure lots of disciplines promote nice things.
I want to go to heaven and live forever with God.
End of story for me.
I pray you come to faith. It’s not something to regret or worry over. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You can be a nice person without faith. But you’re missing the greatest relationship in the world. The one that gives you the strength and courage to be the very best person you can, the most loving person, the most empathetic person.
There is no downside. Anything negative is of our own doing. You are battling the prince of lies.
His main purpose is to lead you away from Christ.
Maybe you should talk TO God about this issue instead of talking (and thinking) about Him.
Before abandoning the faith, I’d suggest the following: Spend one (entire) hour in silent adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament, just asking God “Please tell me, are you real?” If you do that, I’m confident you will get your answer.
Lewis’s Trilemma — Lord, lunatic or liar — is a trick which is unworthy of him. Of course there are plenty of ways one can attempt to describe Jesus which do not fall into one of those categories. For one thing, as Bishop Tom Wright pointed out, simply questioning the absolute accuracy of the Gospels renders the Trilemma void.
I can only suggest how I resolved the conflict. I stopped using ‘God’ and now use ‘The Creator’ in the female to avoid confusion. We can never understand the Creator wholly, so there is no point in even trying. It takes more than a lifetime to see and understand all of Creation including humanity. I would suggest starting there. It satisfies Jesus’ ‘Love the Creator with all your might’ commandment. Love the Creator for Her works as She does ours. It then becomes a reciprocal arrangement, simple and unconfused - a covenant, if you like.
It works for me.
Searching for god is as much a spiritual pursuit as an intellectual one. Perhaps it is time to stop asking questions on an apologetics site for a while and start instead focusing on the interior life of prayer, talking to God, and growing in relationship.
Ultimately, religion is not a head thing, it’s a heart thing.
It’s a relationship with the Creator. Find all the ways that the Creator is awesome and amazing and give him thanks. When you are depressed, turn to the Creator for comfort.
When you are ready to reflect on whether the Creator is a trinity of persons, read Frank Shee’s Theology for Beginners.
You believe there is a hell.
That’s a start isn’t it?
If there is nothing, and all of this is false, then why worry?
Do as 1ke suggests.