Faith/Spirituality Forum: Finding Religion
Finding Religion QUESTION from Rob on October 30, 2001 Hello there.
I should probably first say that I'm a person who was raised by very devote christian parents, but am now finding myself an unwilling searcher of my own soul. I try to embrace religion but I always find myself yielding to practical thought patterns. In my now decade long quest to find a higher form of spirituality, I have extensively studied various religions around the globe. After doing so, I'm left with only more questions and doubts than ever before. I was drawn to this site by your seemingly unbiased prospective in providing answers as interpreted with in the laws of your doctrine.
My question is: Why is it that one of the biggest common denominators of practitioners in any religion is that they will vehemently oppose every other religion instead of adopting what I would consider tolerance or an understanding stance on other people's interpretations of God and what he wants from us. Sometimes, as I try to view the world from a different perspective, it seems that religion has got to be one of the biggest evil forces on the face of the planet, and according to history, has always been. Not even political motivations for fuel or land surpass the zeal to kill you neighbor in the name of God. Yet, speak to any devote member of any religion and you will hear the same things: about how they know they worship the one true God, you can only be saved following this or that doctrine, it goes on and on. And this is almost always done in complete ignorance of other people's views on religion, yet they can remain so adamant about their own.
The only thing that I personally seem certain of is the existance of God. More likely, all these religions are all praising the same God, yet don't even know it. The more I investigate religions in general, the more I see the corruption of the human influence on it. It makes me wonder what exactly is the supposedly benevelent nature of organized religion suppose to accomplish when their very goals are nothing less than world domination. It seems to me that religion being an opiate for the masses rings especially true. I love holding philsophical debates on this topic with people, and the arguement will always boil down to a sort of ignorant is bliss sort of mentality for making a leap of faith. I have tried this myself while growing up. Having extreme christian parents, I have gone through mulitple phases in my relationship with God. I guess I was never happier than when I was a young man and never questioned the rules that were layed before me. But I was also an impressionable young man and now I can't help but blame my extreme upbringing for my tormented soul that I have today. Because now I question everything. I have tried and tried again to merge with the christian lifestyle, albeit for the selfish reasons of grasping for that happier time in my life. But it always comes to the fact that I really have doubts of whether or not this is the true religion, or if one even exists at all. For example: reading all your answers for all these troubled people. You really seem like you are one with your religion, so I would never deny your faith in God. But I can't help the thoughts of the fact that you are only a human being. Then I will usually entertain slightly darker thoughts, like how can this person expect to preach or say what God wants. There are all these people in the world preaching their faiths. Some are extremely charamatic and intelligent and I read into the mental propaganda that they spout in their quest to convert heathens. And almost always, after sifting that information in my mind, I'll end up resentful of such an attempt. Case in point is reading about the exorcism of Mother Teresa. Here was a person who epitomized a true christian, yet all long along, it seemed she lived a scam. There was no doubt that she was a very pious and good person from the things she did. But who knows what goes on in a persons mind? It turns out that all along she had her own doubts too? How can that be? How many people did she personally convert into a way of life that she herself didn't fully embrace with her own soul? How many families got torn apart because of that? I'm extremely confused and would like nothing more than to have some sort of spiritual ephiphany. I'm hoping you can put me on the right path.
Thank you for listening, and I certainly meant no offense if any was taken.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on February 8, 2002 Dear Mr. Rob:
I am glad that you at least believe in God. I praise God for that.
Various religions make the claim of being True because they need to feel that. Religion deals with the Truth. But, because the claim is made does not mean that the group has the Truth, or at least the fullnes of it.
The reason that the Catholic Church says that it is the ONLY TRUE CHURCH with the FULLNESS of the Faith is that this statement reflects an historical fact (it is not opinion, it is fact).
The reason Christianity is the true religion and all others are not, is because God says so. God has revealed Himself through ancient Israel and through Christ. It is GOD who invented Christianity to be the fullest revelation of Himself.
This is not to say that other religions do not have some elements of truth -- they do. The Catholic Church teaches that all religions have grains of truth, and where we find those grains of truth, we have a common ground. But the fullness of truth is found only in the Catholic Church because God has ordained it that way. This is proven through Scripture and history.
I would suggest you read a book by Peter Kreeft called, Christianity for Modern Pagans. I AM NOT suggesting you are a pagan, that just is a title of the book. The book is an examination of Pascal's writing -- it is an analysis of Christianity for the critical minded person. I think you will find it interesting.
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