Author Topic: How to Increase One's Faith  (Read 913 times)

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Offline LMarieB

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How to Increase One's Faith
« on: March 12, 2011, 06:56:18 PM »
I've been attending Orthodox services for about a year and am now a catachumen.  My problem is that even though I continue to deepen my faith and draw closer to God, I also have doubts.  I assume that I'm not alone in this and wonder, in a practical way, what can one do to deepen one's faith and cease to have any doubts at all?  And is this really possible?  I truly believe in God and always have but sometimes I get a thought out of the blue that perhaps He doesn't exist. 

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: How to Increase One's Faith
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2011, 08:33:44 PM »

Welcome to the forum.

Even the most devout people, sometimes have doubts.  That's why it's called having "faith", and not called having "proof".

Just today in my class as I was teaching about the Sunday of Orthodoxy, an 11 year old girl very seriously asked me how do I know for sure that God exists.  I was thrown for a loop.  How to handle this?

How to explain this to class of children.  I simply know.  I feel Him everywhere.  I see Him in everything....but, this won't convince a child.

I explained very succinctly, that the prophets had informed us that a Savior would come.  Christ met all the prerequisites.  With His life Christ showed us God.  His generosity, His love, His caring, not to mention the miracle of His resurrection.  He was heard and seen by His disciples, who also saw Him physically ascend to the heavens.  They have told us this, and the knowledge of Him has passed on through them, through the saints, etc. to us.

She didn't buy it.  She still whined " do you know for sure?  What if they had all hallucinated everything?"  That's kids for you.

Knowing that her father's parents had passed away before she was born, I asked her if she knew her grandparents.  She said no, they died before she was born, but, she knows their names, and she's got a picture of them on the wall at home.  I then asked her if she had actually seen them ever with her own eyes.  She said no...and was irritated with me....because she already told me they died before she was born.

I replied..."well, if you haven't seen them with your own eyes, how do you know they were real?"

I didn't convince her God was real, but, I made her stop and think.

Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria

Offline Shiny

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Re: How to Increase One's Faith
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2011, 10:40:07 AM »
I think it's a natural reaction to doubt during the initial stages of the Christian faith. I struggled with it deeply because I wanted to approach Christianity from a non-emotional aspect and almost completely intellectual/historian viewpoint. So in doing so I have to be honest with the facts and evidence, weigh both sides of the argument for and against, then draw the conclusion. This was before I found Orthodoxy, however even with Orthodoxy I still needed some more outside intellectual pursuits that helped solidify my faith.

The problem I had is I have been raised in a Western rationalized intellect, if that makes any sense. Meaning the pursuit to rationalize things and the pursuit of only gaining the knowledge by intellect. The problem with this is God cannot be contained in the mind or should I say be proven just by intellectual means. It has to be lived out, by doing the faith and seeing your faith produce fruits which is a "tangable" way of some evidence for God. So you have to go into the heart, because in the mind you have all of these thoughts swirling around with really no concise direction. In the heart however is a place where you can find peace and rest in God, rather than just a mere intellectual pursuit of God.

Is there anything wrong with that? I think it has its limits for sure. I have a very good reason I just discovered why God doesn't reveal Himself, but that's another thread I want to make. Anyway I'd say find what it is you doubt about God's existence, pray about this doubt and for God to alleviate this doubt. Try to explore maybe a different perspective on this doubt that could lessen its veracity.

Just my two cents...
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan