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Switch to Forum Live View How I came to faith
6 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2008 - 2:08PM #1
rponton
Posts: 11
This somewhat of a continuation of a post that was begun in the marriage & relationships section of these forums.  The original thread was titled "marriage help"  and I won't get too much into it, since its still there.

The question was raised how did I move from an agnostic perspective to a "card carrying" Catholic, and how do I know this is not just a passing flirtation with faith?

My story, in truncated form:
     I was born Catholic, and baptised thus.  At around age 5, my parents moved to Lutheranism (WI synod.)  I was mainly raised Lutheran  By age 11-12 my folks had back-slid to rarley attending church (C&E)  I still went by myself.  I enjoyed going to church, I liked the granduer of a large church, the assembly, the community, etc.  By the time I was 13, as soon as I got out the 7th grade, my parents moved to the suburbs.  the inner city neighborhood I grew up in was just getting too crime ridden.  My parents, at this point stopped going all together.  I was not about to start going, alone, to a new church, in a new town where I knew no one.  So I stopped too.  As the school year started, I began looking for an identity, I was already assigned the role of rebel and bad boy, just 'cause I grew up in a ghetto.  But I needed an identity to fill out that rebellion.  I chose the role of the "anti-religious, not church guy"  It was easy, and in a hyper-conservitive, religious community, that was absolutly scandolus.  As the years progressed, it just kind of embedded itself into my persona.  Even then, though, I could never claim to be an athiest, just agnostic.

Fast forward many years, I 'm married to my H.S. sweetheart, we have 2 kids (at the time).  Life is pretty storybook.  I'm still "agnostic" but my attitude of tolerance toward other people and thier faith is more soft and accepting.  Except biblical literalists.  I still had a problem with them (still do.)  Then My Grandma passed away.

As a "grandmas boy," I was absolutly crushed.  We went to Buffalo for the funeral.  At her funeral I was stuck by some very powerful emotions at the church.  MOnths later, I found myself questioning a great many things, and needed some spiritual answers.  I began looking for those answers (alone, see the earler post for more about this...)  THat turned into a year long e-mail correspondence with one of the priests that officiated my grandmas funeral (a family friend), and that truned into a reacceptence of the church.

its been three years since I first contacted a church, and two since I stood in front of my congregation, publically stated the Nicene creed and fully joind the church as a member.  I love my faith.  it has truly transfomed me.  As a parent, as a husband.  All in a positive way (other than my one major gaffe [last post], but that was kind of before I came to faith.)  I see natural beauty in places where I never saw it before.  I was able to  completely square my faith with the science and "fact" that I had come to follow almost a religiously as many follow God (in whatever form)  I can see no way in which this is a "passing flirtation."

I reject the humanist stance that to move from religion, to "enlightenment," then back to faIth is somehow a backsliding.  I see it as true spiritual growth.  I attended as a child because It was "expected," and later left so I could be "cool."  As an adult, I found life lacking, and needed more.  I found it.

I would welcome comments, questions an challenges.  I spent so many years challenging the faith of others that I view this as a refreshing change.  I t would serve to  help me learn about my faith in ways I may not be thinking of.

I look forward to hearing from all of you,
R
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2008 - 8:32AM #2
rponton1
Posts: 3
I had to sign back up, my first login ID got screwed up somehow...

[QUOTE=Tolerant Sis;540830]When you considered yourself an agnostic, did you ever come to a realization that none of it (god/religion) made any sense, or that everything could be explained quite well without a god in the equations?  Or would you say that you were agnostic for the shock value/rebellion factor?[/QUOTE]

I would say that initially, I chose to be an agnostic for the shock value.  Telling a room full of naieve teenagers that you are an "agnostic," when they don't really understand what that is is very shocking.  However, I'd say that by the time I was18-20, I was fuully in the camp, belifs and all of the agnostic.   But no, clearly, I never had a "Transfomative moment," so that may explain why I was able to find faith.

[QUOTE=Tolerant Sis;540830]I'm in my late forties, I've had parents die, grandparents die, a sister die as an infant, a nephew afflicted with autism, personal hardships, and never once, I can say truthfully, has it occured to me to "look for answers" in faith. [/QUOTE]

I remember sitting there, in the church at my grandmothers funeral, seeing all of my family.  M father next to me, my Grandfather, my Grandmothers brothers behind us, thier kids (my dads cousins) thier children (my "cousins",) everyone in my family.  With the exception of my Father, my sister, and me, all very faithful people.  I saw friends of the family, and many parishoners of the parish that the funeral was in, even though they had moved from that town 15 years earlier.  People that remembered her, and still considered her part of thier parish family.  I'm sure any feelings I had were exacerbated by grief, but I felt a sense of family that was very strong.  It was a sense of "this is what I was missing in life after I left the city and stopped going to church." And I found I missed it.  There was also, to a degree a sense that I could not accept the fact that my grandma died, and that was it.  Worm food. Fin. Thats all she wrote.  I wasn't (and still arn't) ready to let her go.  But with faith, I know that she isn't gone, and never will be.  To quote Dumbledore "death is but the next great adventure."

[QUOTE=Tolerant Sis;540830]I already knew the answers.  Or there were no answers.  But reciting the doxology or singing a mass wasn't going to get me any closer to "answer" and I knew it.[/QUOTE]
No one can know the answers.  I still don't know the answers.  All I know is I've found something that makes me feel "right"  We'll both find instantly after death if we're right, but it doesn't really matter, whatever faith system (or non-faith system) you chose to follow in life is fine, as long as it leads you to lead a good life and treat others in a positive way.  As to "Reciting doxology and singing mass,"  I see the recesitation in mass as a meditiative function to clear the mind, much the wat people that engage in eastern meditiation will sometimes recite standard phrases to get themselves "centered."

[QUOTE=Tolerant Sis;540830]When my father remarried, his new wife, who had called herself an agnostic, suddenly 'found' religion one day.  A year earlier, she had thrown my sister out of the house for becoming pregnant out of wedlock.  Then suddenly, HER daughter also got pregnant out of wedlock, and she decided she needed 'faith' to 'get through it'.  [/QUOTE]

Sounds almost like your stepmother was looking for a way to justify keeping her daughter around while explaing what made her "shun" her stepdaughter... she threw your sister out because of her lack of faith.


[QUOTE=Tolerant Sis;540830]I had done what my moral code required ... I took my sister and her child in until she was financially capable of surviving on her own. [/QUOTE]

Like I said above, as long as your faith system holds you to those "moral codes" then your faith system is perfect to for you.  And yes, I see atheism as a faith system.  You cannot "know" that that there is no God any more than I can "know" that there is one.  You BELEIVE there is no God, I BELEIVE there is one.  Belief in either requires a leap of "faith."

[QUOTE=Tolerant Sis;540830]I try to imagine what it would take for me to need a god to the point where I could believe again, and I honestly must say that I cannot imagine any situation that would induce me to believe, short of a personal visit from a god ... and then I would have to question my sanity first.  For me, it would be like believing in UFOs or Santa Claus ... but Santa has more to recommend him from an evidence perspective.[/QUOTE]

That works different for everyone.  maybe you will, maybe you won't.  Incidentally, I belive in E.T> life but not UFO's.  And with three little kids, I know there is a Santa Claus, because I send him updaes on my kids' behavior all year... :)

In the late 90's I spent 5 years involved in a freindly "debate" with a co-worker.  I was agnostic, he was a born-again, biblical literalist christian.We dabated long and hard over scientifc "proofs" for or against the belief that the bible was a "textbook."  I remember telling him that I would have no problem with christianity if it allowed one to look at the Bible as an allegorical explanation of the origins of man.  This ended up being one of the first things I tackled in my e-mails with the priest I talked to  I the book "Why be Catholic?" The author, Father William O'Malley, frequently and freely calls the old testament "myth."  in the definitive sense of the word, thats true.  I see (as does the catholic "party line") the old testament, and much of the new teatament, as a simple story, told by God to many people that explained very complicated things to very educationally primitive people in a way they could understand.

In that way, I can belive God created the universe, and still believe in a 4.7 billion year old earth.

Tolerant Sis, thanks for reading this, thanks for engaging me in conversation.  I do like talking to people about faith.  In short, thanks for the soapbox. :)

Look forward to hearing back from you (and any one else reading this)

RP
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2008 - 10:58AM #3
rponton1
Posts: 3
Incidentally, to me, what your stepmother did to your sister was bad, but what she "said" to you and your sister by her actions concerning your half sister was terrible

According to Jesus, the 2nd most important is to love your neighbor like you love yourself.
In Luke 20-21, jesus relates the story of the poor widow.  The people that mae a show of thier gifts to the church were admonished, while the poor in money but rich in faith were praised.

It seems to me like your step mother was making a "show" in order to justify her favoring of her daughter over your fathers daughter.

I sensed some strong disfavor towards your stepmother, and I can undertand why
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2008 - 11:16PM #4
DivineDevotionForever
Posts: 6
Why do you think that many atheist will not ever have faith in God.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 06, 2008 - 7:34AM #5
rponton1
Posts: 3
If that is a question...

     Faith is not for everyone.  In my mind, not everyone needs to have faith, and no faith is "right" in the sense that it has all the answers.  My faith (the RCC) is right for me, it answers my questions to the "unknowable things" in a satisfactory way, it squares with my natural understanding of the world around us, and it feels like home to me.  Some have a more philisophical view of faith, some don't even follow the judeo-christian God.  Thats all good.

The important thing to remember, and I say this as a deeply faithful man, and a proud member of a very well known faith system, is this.  No man created God, for he (in whatever form you choose to follow him/her) created all of us, and the world around us.  However, no single religion can truly have all the answers for this simple fact, man DID create the church.  We created religion.  The worship of a diety is a completely man-made construct.  And the founding fathers of faith, no matter what faith that is, were human, and we as humans are flawed.  Our flaws come through in everything we do, even faith formation.

My religion works for me, but necessarily anyone else.
Maybe an athiest cannot separate God from the man made relgion.
Maybe the've truly found thier answers in nature.
Maybe they just don't feel the same questions.
Maybe they don't want to believe.

Whatever the reason, they have a right to that belief, and I respect all of them, as long as they don't specifically try to harm others' faith or try to corrupt anyone elses belifs.

Weather God is in the sky, or God is in the details, Worship how you see fit, or don't, if thats what you see as fit, just live a good life and be kind.

Pax.
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 27, 2008 - 4:34PM #6
leonardo
Posts: 23
I think the faith is a choice like the bible says,, whether it is true to each person is
a real choice as the air we breath,and it shows in the true life of everyperson who
has faith,  Bible syas faith is the substance of thing hope for(in time of need) and the
evidence of things not seen,,  I think the evidence means my faith practice has shown me the evidence of God's existance in my life or rather God has shown to me.        And  I think it comes from true sence of closeness with God , a
relationship inwhich we can trust here now and gives meaning to our life...
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6 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2008 - 11:23AM #7
moses26
Posts: 116
Unbelievers Ones That Dont Keep Or Obey Are Not Coming To Knowledge Of The Truth  Are Atheist.
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6 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2008 - 11:37AM #8
moses26
Posts: 116
There  Is One Faith One Baptism And One Way To Heaven?
In The English Terms:  It Means- Jesus Teachings, Ways -holy Ghost -baptism / Endure Tothe Be End Saved- Heaven.
There Only One Path It Is Narrow And Hard To Follow, But Few That Find It.
Jesus Said( Many) Will Come To Him In  The Last Days And Said Didnt We Cast Demons And Do This And That In Your Name Works Jesus Say I Never New You Works Of Sin , Cast In Lake Of Fire Made For The  Devil And His Demons.


The Devil And His Demons Believe And Tremble,  Jesus Son Of God , And God Is The Father And  But Do They Obey , Keep And Follow Them  No ,,,,,
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6 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2008 - 11:42AM #9
moses26
Posts: 116
Many Are Called, But A (few) Are Chosen- Called ,fathful To The End.
They Reject The Truth So The Are Turned To A Mind Of Disobedeince Satiin.
Scriptures  Says God Lets Them Beleve A Lie To Be Damned- False Teachers, Sinful Lives,ways.
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6 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2008 - 5:04PM #10
moses26
Posts: 116
to rponton1: what is your faith based on? you did not explain how to become a christian ? and how to be saved and go to heaven?just askiing
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