Confessions of a Cradle Catholic: I Doubt God Exists
I am a cradle Catholic--I was born and baptized into a Catholic family, and from a very young age I have been attending Catholic classes, going to Mass, and praying Catholic prayers. After middle school I found god, and have been going strong in my faith ever since. I work at a parish and evangelize daily to youth and college students. I write a lot about my Faith. However, like most human's, I have my doubts.
My Confession: I sometimes doubt God Exists.
And this is my story.
I am assaulted on two fronts--both from the condition of the world today, and the condition of my human soul.
The world is in a constant state of flux--new knowledge is gained every single day, postmodernism dictates that there is no truth (or that all truths are equally valid), and we are constantly told that life is our own and we should do whatever we feel like as long as it makes us happy. People are berated for holding science as ultimate truth, and people are spit on for having faith. How can personal belief possibly survive in such a turmoil?
Furthermore, we are creatures living in a condition of sin. No human is perfect, and in fact, most of us Christian and atheist alike are very far from it. Nearly all of us are hypocrites, we all judge, and what's worse, despite the multitude of truths in the world, we all "know" we're right.
Or do we? Which is worse, the certitude that your belief is the truest (though perhaps not the perfection of truth), or the constant torment in wondering if you're believing something that may not be true? I don't have the answer, but I struggle with the question every day.
It's tough--how do I balance the knowledge that I am finite, ignorant, and very often wrong, with the fact that I have faith? How do I balance my desire for unity of humanity, respectful dialogue, and mutual, non-judgmental respect, with my relative certitude that my belief system is the "correct one"? It's enough to make a man go insane!
It is such conflicting influences that make doubt even my core beliefs. Occasionally, especially lately, I find myself thinking, "what if I'm wrong? What if God doesn't exist?". Or I may find myself thinking, "What if Jesus really wasn't God", or "What if the Catholic Church really isn't the truest form of revelation"?
Often I just shoo theses thoughts, not wanting to deal with them at any particular moment, or chalking them up to moments of human weakness. Ultimately however, in order to have a strong and true faith, these doubts must be dealt with.
How I Deal
I am human, and as such, will always have doubt. But I believe it is my duty, as a responsible and educated human person, and as a Christian, to critically examine my beliefs in order to stand against these inevitable times of doubt. I must constantly seek to build upon my foundation.
How do I do this? Most of all, I must have faith--faith, first of all in God. He will not lead me astray. Secondly, I must have faith in my experiences. I have experienced God. I must remember this in times of doubt. I must also have trust--in God, in myself, and in others. I must trust, again, that God will let me know if I'm on the wrong path, I must trust my ability to reason correctly the truths of the universe, and finally I must trust those who I've discerned to guide me.
Finally, I must be my own person, or more importantly who I was created to be. I can doubt all I want, I can dream, I can go crazy... but it won't change reality. I must not let others influence me without due process. I must not cave in my belief, or change who I am in the name of acceptance, respect, or political correctness. Sometimes standing for the truth means being in opposition from others or alienating yourself. This is a fact of life. Such things can still be done with love, and often are done in love. This is perhaps the hardest for me, for I am scared to be alone, and I am scared to hurt others. But I must be true to myself.
I think this problem of doubt is common, that perhaps I make too big a deal about it. But I truly believe that faith MUST stand on reason. In the end, I know that my truth is the truest... and perhaps that makes me elitist. However, I don't begrudge you your truth. One day there will be peace and we will know who was correct, but until then, keep searching!
© 2010 rdlang05