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Old 06-27-2019, 08:42 AM
 
Location: In the outlet by the lightswitch
1,763 posts, read 1,034,219 times
Reputation: 3226

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I am struggling with religious belief and hoped some of you may have some advice. Maybe you've been though something similar. What did you do?

I have been for a while actually. I am Catholic. I go to Mass on Sundays and go to Mass on Holy Days of Obligation. I go, but I find everything to be repetitive and robotic. I can literally go on autopilot and recite a whole Mass and not even think about what I am saying. I really only get something out of the readings (which are different every week, but basically are the same readings I've seen all my life. So many are left out) and the homily (sermon). I should note, I've always been a "cafeteria Catholic" or a "lukewarm Catholic" and haven't always accepted the Church's teaching on some things.My Catholic family members are pretty much the same.

The past few years I've been working on learning more about my faith and I've done a lot of digging into Catholicism and am surprised by how much I never knew. I've attended classes offered by the Church, read historical books, and watched videos and documentaries presented from everyone from priests to atheists. And I've been reading the Bible.

Paradoxically, the more I learn, the less religious faith I have. For example, reading in detail how the gospels came to be, how they were edited, what was left out and why shakes my faith in what is there. Finding out how much the faith itself changed and listening to priests explain why it was changed for the "better" makes me question "if this is all divinely inspired, why does God change things? Wouldn't it have been perfect form the start? Either God isn't perfect or this isn't really divine."

I also learned about other ancient faiths that have similar themes to Christianity (death and resurrection gods with very similar stories). I read about other branches of Christianity that used to exist but were wiped out as heretics. Recently I found out that one of the names for God used in the Old Testament may be same name as a god in a pantheon of gods and some of those other gods are actually mentioned in the Old Testament (although some of that is debated by biblical scholars, but the idea blew my mind). And most frustrating, the Bible. It, like religion is supposed to be divinely inspired, but it contradicts itself in places or gives two stories for the same event (but the stories are not the same). So which one is true? And does that mean at least part of the Bible is incorrect? Of course, Catholics aren't sola scriptura anyway and aren't expected to literally believe Old Testament stories, at least now. Why did that change?

All this on top of the abuse scandals that go back years. And every time it seems like the Church is going to fix things, another one pops up. Part of the reason this is all reaching a head for me is that we recently had one of the priests in our parish removed because of "something" (but there is no indication of why... but they stressed no kids were involved... but it's all hush hush and just plain weird). I don't know if I believe the Church has lied and covered up before.

So I've looked into other Christian branches. Namely Lutheran and Episcopal. They seem okay, but there is still the issues that I mentioned earlier and when I research them I find things there that I don't believe either. I've decided I will go to an Episcopal service one Sunday and a Lutheran another. But Catholicism is seared into my brain it's almost like, if I don't believe that, how can I believe anything else? I find myself wondering if, at heart, I am just agnostic (like my father) and have just been going through the motions out of habit or if I haven't quite found the right religion. I believe in the basic concepts of Christian faith (love, charity, etc). But those really aren't exclusive to Christianity.

So anyone else go a similar crisis of faith? What did you do? Any advice?
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Old 06-27-2019, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
22,437 posts, read 10,385,168 times
Reputation: 20299
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMBGBlueCanary View Post
I am struggling with religious belief and hoped some of you may have some advice. Maybe you've been though something similar. What did you do?

I have been for a while actually. I am Catholic. I go to Mass on Sundays and go to Mass on Holy Days of Obligation. I go, but I find everything to be repetitive and robotic. I can literally go on autopilot and recite a whole Mass and not even think about what I am saying. I really only get something out of the readings (which are different every week, but basically are the same readings I've seen all my life. So many are left out) and the homily (sermon). I should note, I've always been a "cafeteria Catholic" or a "lukewarm Catholic" and haven't always accepted the Church's teaching on some things.My Catholic family members are pretty much the same.

The past few years I've been working on learning more about my faith and I've done a lot of digging into Catholicism and am surprised by how much I never knew. I've attended classes offered by the Church, read historical books, and watched videos and documentaries presented from everyone from priests to atheists. And I've been reading the Bible.

Paradoxically, the more I learn, the less religious faith I have. For example, reading in detail how the gospels came to be, how they were edited, what was left out and why shakes my faith in what is there. Finding out how much the faith itself changed and listening to priests explain why it was changed for the "better" makes me question "if this is all divinely inspired, why does God change things? Wouldn't it have been perfect form the start? Either God isn't perfect or this isn't really divine."

I also learned about other ancient faiths that have similar themes to Christianity (death and resurrection gods with very similar stories). I read about other branches of Christianity that used to exist but were wiped out as heretics. Recently I found out that one of the names for God used in the Old Testament may be same name as a god in a pantheon of gods and some of those other gods are actually mentioned in the Old Testament (although some of that is debated by biblical scholars, but the idea blew my mind). And most frustrating, the Bible. It, like religion is supposed to be divinely inspired, but it contradicts itself in places or gives two stories for the same event (but the stories are not the same). So which one is true? And does that mean at least part of the Bible is incorrect? Of course, Catholics aren't sola scriptura anyway and aren't expected to literally believe Old Testament stories, at least now. Why did that change?

All this on top of the abuse scandals that go back years. And every time it seems like the Church is going to fix things, another one pops up. Part of the reason this is all reaching a head for me is that we recently had one of the priests in our parish removed because of "something" (but there is no indication of why... but they stressed no kids were involved... but it's all hush hush and just plain weird). I don't know if I believe the Church has lied and covered up before.

So I've looked into other Christian branches. Namely Lutheran and Episcopal. They seem okay, but there is still the issues that I mentioned earlier and when I research them I find things there that I don't believe either. I've decided I will go to an Episcopal service one Sunday and a Lutheran another. But Catholicism is seared into my brain it's almost like, if I don't believe that, how can I believe anything else? I find myself wondering if, at heart, I am just agnostic (like my father) and have just been going through the motions out of habit or if I haven't quite found the right religion. I believe in the basic concepts of Christian faith (love, charity, etc). But those really aren't exclusive to Christianity.

So anyone else go a similar crisis of faith? What did you do? Any advice?
If you don't mind an atheist giving you advice:

Assuming you want to continue to believe in christianity:

1. Dump the church, or at the very least, continue to explore a variety of churches or even a variety of religions.
2. Forget about the bible as a book of facts.
3. Look for biblical principles in the New Testament, think about how they could or should fit into your life.
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Old 06-27-2019, 08:55 AM
 
13,450 posts, read 4,976,974 times
Reputation: 1363
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMBGBlueCanary View Post
I am struggling with religious belief and hoped some of you may have some advice. Maybe you've been though something similar. What did you do?

I have been for a while actually. I am Catholic. I go to Mass on Sundays and go to Mass on Holy Days of Obligation. I go, but I find everything to be repetitive and robotic. I can literally go on autopilot and recite a whole Mass and not even think about what I am saying. I really only get something out of the readings (which are different every week, but basically are the same readings I've seen all my life. So many are left out) and the homily (sermon). I should note, I've always been a "cafeteria Catholic" or a "lukewarm Catholic" and haven't always accepted the Church's teaching on some things.My Catholic family members are pretty much the same.

The past few years I've been working on learning more about my faith and I've done a lot of digging into Catholicism and am surprised by how much I never knew. I've attended classes offered by the Church, read historical books, and watched videos and documentaries presented from everyone from priests to atheists. And I've been reading the Bible.

Paradoxically, the more I learn, the less religious faith I have. For example, reading in detail how the gospels came to be, how they were edited, what was left out and why shakes my faith in what is there. Finding out how much the faith itself changed and listening to priests explain why it was changed for the "better" makes me question "if this is all divinely inspired, why does God change things? Wouldn't it have been perfect form the start? Either God isn't perfect or this isn't really divine."

I also learned about other ancient faiths that have similar themes to Christianity (death and resurrection gods with very similar stories). I read about other branches of Christianity that used to exist but were wiped out as heretics. Recently I found out that one of the names for God used in the Old Testament may be same name as a god in a pantheon of gods and some of those other gods are actually mentioned in the Old Testament (although some of that is debated by biblical scholars, but the idea blew my mind). And most frustrating, the Bible. It, like religion is supposed to be divinely inspired, but it contradicts itself in places or gives two stories for the same event (but the stories are not the same). So which one is true? And does that mean at least part of the Bible is incorrect? Of course, Catholics aren't sola scriptura anyway and aren't expected to literally believe Old Testament stories, at least now. Why did that change?

All this on top of the abuse scandals that go back years. And every time it seems like the Church is going to fix things, another one pops up. Part of the reason this is all reaching a head for me is that we recently had one of the priests in our parish removed because of "something" (but there is no indication of why... but they stressed no kids were involved... but it's all hush hush and just plain weird). I don't know if I believe the Church has lied and covered up before.

So I've looked into other Christian branches. Namely Lutheran and Episcopal. They seem okay, but there is still the issues that I mentioned earlier and when I research them I find things there that I don't believe either. I've decided I will go to an Episcopal service one Sunday and a Lutheran another. But Catholicism is seared into my brain it's almost like, if I don't believe that, how can I believe anything else? I find myself wondering if, at heart, I am just agnostic (like my father) and have just been going through the motions out of habit or if I haven't quite found the right religion. I believe in the basic concepts of Christian faith (love, charity, etc). But those really aren't exclusive to Christianity.

So anyone else go a similar crisis of faith? What did you do? Any advice?
separate religion from belief in god.

belief in god is like belief in dark matter.

that data suggest that something is there. Many religions think they know what it is despite proof that counters what they say.

try not to bite into the "you are with us or against us." that thinking is just irrational.
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Old 06-27-2019, 09:01 AM
 
39,014 posts, read 10,812,637 times
Reputation: 5080
I'm Out This is one for the believers to do their bit to reassure him. Not for a double -damned heathen to try to drag him down to Hades to help polish Lucifer's brass toenails.
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Old 06-27-2019, 09:49 AM
 
Location: In the outlet by the lightswitch
1,763 posts, read 1,034,219 times
Reputation: 3226
Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
If you don't mind an atheist giving you advice:

Assuming you want to continue to believe in christianity:

1. Dump the church, or at the very least, continue to explore a variety of churches or even a variety of religions.
2. Forget about the bible as a book of facts.
3. Look for biblical principles in the New Testament, think about how they could or should fit into your life.

I don't mind at all. I am open to all ideas right now. While I am not atheist, I don't know what I believe anymore. In fact, I almost posted to the Atheist/Agnostic forum since I really think I may be agnostic (but with so much Catholic indoctrination, it's become part of me culturally). Thank you.
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Old 06-27-2019, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Valencia, Spain
15,310 posts, read 10,332,182 times
Reputation: 2610
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMBGBlueCanary View Post
I don't mind at all. I am open to all ideas right now. While I am not atheist, I don't know what I believe anymore. In fact, I almost posted to the Atheist/Agnostic forum since I really think I may be agnostic (but with so much Catholic indoctrination, it's become part of me culturally). Thank you.
The first advice I would give to you is to dump that lunacy that you refer to as 'Faith'. Try looking at your religious belief through logic, reason and common sense. If you do that, I'll wager that it won't be long before you start realising how much of your life you have wasted on wilful ignorance and superstition.
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Old 06-27-2019, 11:03 AM
 
808 posts, read 429,981 times
Reputation: 1811
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMBGBlueCanary View Post
I don't mind at all. I am open to all ideas right now. While I am not atheist, I don't know what I believe anymore. In fact, I almost posted to the Atheist/Agnostic forum since I really think I may be agnostic (but with so much Catholic indoctrination, it's become part of me culturally). Thank you.
Yes, I went through something similar in my late teens with Christianity. Too much in Christianity did not add up and was doing me as much harm as it was doing me good. The concept of hell, separation of us vs them, saved vs unsaved was damaging to my spiritual and emotional well being. It was a fear based paradigm.

Through my twenties, I did not believe in anything. In my late twenties, I started reading Eckhart Tolle and did what he said to do and it worked. He cites some scripture in his teachings and interprets the deeper or symbolic meaning that Christian teachings and the life of Jesus can point to. The teaching is basically that God shows up in all the different life forms. Silence or diminish the small, individual 'me' mind or ego and in time you will connect and perceive something larger, broader, vaster than yourself which is the Source/Soul/Spirit/God/Consciousness/Awareness within. That soul within is a part of something much bigger, vaster, more powerful, more intelligent.

You allow the connection and now you are cooking with gas. One practical example of this is with meditation. When you start meditating or silencing your mind, your body will often start moving around on its own and you will feel distinct and pronounced strong sensations in the body. You can google this and see that this is very common. It is energy moving around and healing, clearing, and balancing you. There are forums and forums online discussing this and it is very common. It is one example of how you will start 'cooking with gas' with your spirituality. It is not sitting there reciting a rosary 100 times. It is the real, direct deal.

It is exactly like a wave on the surface of the ocean recognizing itself as more than the wave. It is also the ocean. The wave can then access the full power of the ocean while in its smaller wave form and then live from a place of trust and faith versus fear. Much of the world exists and lives from a state of fear. Eckhart's take on Jesus is that he was 'a wave' in full mastery of himself as also being 'the ocean' and he was showing humanity how to allow this connection for themselves. He was not meant to be worshiped and as a middle man to God but he came here as a teacher.

If you practice silencing your thoughts and mind which is often a function of the ego, something more powerful and intelligent than you, the human, will start coming through you. You will feel, experience, and sense it. Eckhart does a good job of explaining scriptures that are pointers to this truth.

After 12 years on this path, many areas of my life have improved. Finances, health, relationships, inner peace, and living in a state of faith and trust versus fear are the main areas of improvement. I have received many healings since I have an open connection with my soul and the larger, broader part of my soul to which I am connected to which is God/Source/Creator (pick a label).

Some of the people posting on here do a good job of showing the man-written parts of the Bible and showing how it cannot be true. Some people on here posting have perceived that there are universal spiritual truths in Christianity and deciphered that from the man-made concepts. They have not thrown the baby out with the bathwater so to speak. That is the camp that I am in.

The Eckhart Tolle teachings are something you would experience and perceive for yourself. There are other teachers who are saying mostly what he is saying but he is the one that has been most effective for me. I cannot prove what I am saying to anyone because they would need to experience the connection for themselves. I could be delusional, attention seeking, a know it all, or engaging in wishful thinking and questioners are 100% correct in doubting what someone says about their spiritual experiences. That is the right thing to do to some extent. One should only experience it directly and then have direct knowledge and understanding based on that direct experience. You can then compare your experiences to what others say on the same path and get some further insights and understanding as well over time.

I am just offering up this perspective to the OP who is asking about people who have been in the position she is in and what are their perspectives and experiences. I am offering a path of possible exploration for someone who is unsure and not trying to prove to or debate with anyone that what I am saying is true.
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Old 06-27-2019, 11:17 AM
 
8,815 posts, read 5,119,154 times
Reputation: 10085
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMBGBlueCanary View Post

So anyone else go a similar crisis of faith? What did you do? Any advice?
Similar, yes. I embraced my agnostic atheism; it was a wonderful, freeing transition.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 06-27-2019, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
8,929 posts, read 8,390,690 times
Reputation: 15495
Yes, I went through exactly what you are currently going through.

I became an atheist, and am very content with that result.

As with some other posters, I am not going to zoom in and encourage you to the same conclusion I came to. That would be shallow and unfair. I do encourage you to keep looking into the matter. Read books, talk to secular and a variety of religious people, ask questions, and become comfortable with your conclusions.
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Old 06-27-2019, 11:50 AM
 
472 posts, read 93,546 times
Reputation: 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMBGBlueCanary View Post
I am struggling with religious belief and hoped some of you may have some advice. Maybe you've been though something similar. What did you do? [TRUNCATED...]
TMBGBC, I think you will find a lot of people here with similar experiences. My own path sounds very much like yours (your entire post was familiar, and this line particularly rang true: "Paradoxically, the more I learn, the less religious faith I have.")

I was raised solidly Lutheran, and suspect you will not find things dramatically different there, or with the Episcopalians (or the Methodists or Presbyterians or Bible Church, all of which I tried in later years). Like others here, I'm not going to tell you to stop exploring. For me, at least, the issue was ultimately with underlying foundational beliefs (i.e., the whole shootin' match), and not with any subtle (or not-so-subtle) differences in theological "packaging."

Like so many others, I started to question when I reached the "Age of Reason." But I kept trying for years, mainly for the sake of family and tradition. It reached the point, however, where the group recitation and liturgical repitition became... not merely meaningless (which happened decades earlier), but detrimental and insulting. I couldn't in good conscience join in the rote repetition of things in which I did not believe, and finally quit pretending. The hardest part of the struggle (for me) was not in the loss of faith (a phrase I try to avoid, with implications that it is something good to have, and something we should be looking for if missing)... but with extracting myself from several generations of cultural indoctrination.

You can be happy without religion (some will argue happier, without the cognitive dissonance it requires to believe in something you don't actually believe). I hope you find it. As the Lutherans would say... Peace be with you!

Last edited by HeelaMonster; 06-27-2019 at 12:45 PM..
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