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Author Topic: So I think I might be having a crisis of faith.  (Read 386 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 29, 2012, 02:01:58 AM »

So recently for my speech class, I gave a seven-minute long speech on the topic of the Trinity. I dug into things like the difference between Social Trinitarianism and Latin Trinitiarianism and the application of Triadology to Ecclesiology. It was a lot of fun to write and deliver, but in doing so some issues that had been lying dormant in my mind for a while started coming to the surface. While I enjoy the study of theology, I've yet to really convince myself it applies to the way things actually are, and I've yet to find any convincing reason to. I believe there is one God eternally subsisting in three distinct consubstantial persons the second of whom became incarnate in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who established the Orthodox Catholic Church through His apostles in the same way I believe that Superman is the real person and Clark Kent is the disguise or that Thor should be able to beat the Hulk or that Han shot first. It's really just another outlet for my geekiness. I think. I hope that somewhere in me there's something deeper, but I've yet to find it.

I certainly don't live like there's anything deeper. I don't pray regularly (and I'm really not totally clear on what the purpose of prayer is), but I masturbate several times daily with no real qualms about it. I pretty much never read the Bible unless it's assigned for class or I'm trying to prove a point. The radical way of life presented in the Sermon on the Mount does have a lot of appeal to me, but I fail to live it out rather spectacularly and I manage not to feel too guilty about it.

I'm really not entirely sure why I'm posting this. Maybe I just feel the need to vent this. Maybe I'm just an attention whore. I suppose some apologetics recommendations for why I ought to believe the Christian God exists would be nice, as would advice from anyone who's experienced something similar. Thanks for reading.
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2012, 02:22:38 AM »

I'm a nerd, which I'm sure is pretty evident. I like to think I'm intellectual, smart and deep. But the truth is I'm probably not. I tend to prop up alot of the nerdiness to inflict a sense of intelligence. When I first started investigating into Orthodoxy, it consumed my whole life for those months and I ended up spiritualizing my depression. I was trying to read as much as I could about theology because it really fascinated me. The more I read, the more questions I had until I reached this complicated breaking point where I said "Screw It" and at that point stopped going to Church. The more I thought about why I failed into Orthodoxy was because I took the wrong approach. I was simply burned out. The faith was exactly what my heart longed for, but after the honeymoon stage I realized I had alot more deeper issues in me that I needed to resolve before I could be committed.

It's funny reading your story because I was there at that time. All I could do is pray. What else could I do? The more I prayed, I started to see changes in myself. It took awhile because all I thought I was receiving back was silence. I think it's important to really do the basic stuff first, start praying a little bit. Then gradually try and read the Gospels. And of course keep attending the liturgies even if things are spiritually dry. I do believe you have to get a good foundation on cultivating the praxis. Reading and discussing theology is great and all, but I think it's better to concern oneself by following the Gospel. I may delve into theological things here and there, but for the most part I'm on hiatus on alot of it. I'm still a long work in progress, but I'm taking things at a much slower pace and it's working.

I had to face the reality I couldn't be so invested in theology without living the faith. I hear you on the "another outlet for my geekiness", man you summed me up quite well back then. All I can tell you now is try to pray a little bit. Put aside all of the theology, ecclesiology, church history whatever, and just out simply being a Christian for awhile.

Sorry if this post was in any sense vane, but what you wrote is exactly how I was a long time ago.
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2012, 07:40:43 PM »

No need to apologize. Thanks for sharing your experience. Attending liturgy really can't work for now, but I will try to pray more and see what I can get out of it. I really don't want to feel this way about things, but I don't want to be intellectually dishonest either.
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2012, 09:16:48 PM »

We cannot reject Christianity with our mind alone, nor can we perceive it with our mind alone -according to Christianity. If you are having a crisis of faith my personal advice -which will seem absurd to some on the face of it- would be to be sure not to neglect taking an extra hard look at your life and your heart. If they are not what they should be, you should speak to your priest and seek the sacrament of confession before you take your doubts too seriously. Then by all means do.

Do not forget the subtle effect of sin on the heart; St. Paul reminds us that our intellect can become darkened and damaged through sin. If you deal with your heart, your life, your sin, then and only then is it possible to even suspect -at least from a Christian point of view- that your problem is really purely intellectual, even though existentially the intellect might seem to be the whole show. For this reason I have formed a habit of not taking my doubts too seriously until I have examined and dealt with my life in at least a minimally adequate way according to basic Christian teachings.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" -Proverbs 4:23

"If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself." -John 7:17

"Let us love one another that we may confess..." -from The Divine Liturgy

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." -Matthew 5:8

“Let them at least learn the nature of the religion they are attacking, before they attack it. If this religion boasted of having a clear vision of God, and of possessing Him plain and unveiled, then to say that nothing we see in the world reveals Him with this degree of clarity would indeed be to attack it. But it says, on the contrary, that man is in darkness and far from God, that He has hidden Himself from man’s knowledge, and that the name He has given Himself in the Scriptures is in fact The Hidden God (Is 45:15). Therefore if it seeks to establish these two facts: that God has in the church erected visible signs by which those who sincerely seek Him may recognize Him, and that he has nevertheless so concealed them that He will only be perceived by those who seek Him with all their hearts, what advantage can the attackers gain when, while admitting that they neglect to seek for the truth, they yet cry that nothing reveals it? For the very darkness in which they lie, and for which they blame the Church, establishes one of her two claims, without invalidating the other, and also, far from destroying her doctrine, confirms it” -Blaise Pascal, Pensees, 335

“To obtain anything from God, the outward must be joined to the inward; that is to say we must kneel and pray alone, etc. so that proud man, who would not submit to God, may now be subject to the body. To expect any help from this outward act is superstition; a refusal to join it to our inward acts is pride. For we must not misunderstand ourselves; we are as much machines as mind. And hence the means by which a man is persuaded are not demonstration alone. How few things are demonstrated! Proofs convince only the mind. It is habit that produces our strongest and most accepted proofs; it guides the machine, which carries the mind with it unconsciously. Who has proved that there will be a morrow and that we will die?” -Blaise Pascal

“Is there a special organ for receiving revelation from God? Yes, though usually we close it and do not let it open up: God’s revelation is given to something called a loving heart.” -Seraphim Rose
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 09:25:05 PM by xariskai » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2012, 09:29:48 PM »

Must be something in the water because I'm sorta going through the same thing.  Only difference is, mine is a crisis of the Eastern Orthodox faith.  Some of it seems so tedious and belabored.  Like knowing all the 'tones' and what Sunday each one applies to.  What's that all about?  What's the point?  And what if we forgot which tones?  No more singing?  And how about incense.  It smells wonderful, imparts a mystery and somberness to the services, but what's it for?  "Let my prayers arise as incense..." says King David (I believe), but alls that means is he hopes his prayers were pleasing to God.  It doesn't mean we must use it every time.  What if we didn't use incense?  No more praying?  The divorce question, infant baptism.  Again, I don't mean to scandalize anyone.  Just doing some thinking.
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2012, 06:12:21 PM »

So recently for my speech class, I gave a seven-minute long speech on the topic of the Trinity. I dug into things like the difference between Social Trinitarianism and Latin Trinitiarianism and the application of Triadology to Ecclesiology. It was a lot of fun to write and deliver, but in doing so some issues that had been lying dormant in my mind for a while started coming to the surface. While I enjoy the study of theology, I've yet to really convince myself it applies to the way things actually are, and I've yet to find any convincing reason to. I believe there is one God eternally subsisting in three distinct consubstantial persons the second of whom became incarnate in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who established the Orthodox Catholic Church through His apostles in the same way I believe that Superman is the real person and Clark Kent is the disguise or that Thor should be able to beat the Hulk or that Han shot first. It's really just another outlet for my geekiness. I think. I hope that somewhere in me there's something deeper, but I've yet to find it.

I certainly don't live like there's anything deeper. I don't pray regularly (and I'm really not totally clear on what the purpose of prayer is), but I masturbate several times daily with no real qualms about it. I pretty much never read the Bible unless it's assigned for class or I'm trying to prove a point. The radical way of life presented in the Sermon on the Mount does have a lot of appeal to me, but I fail to live it out rather spectacularly and I manage not to feel too guilty about it.

I'm really not entirely sure why I'm posting this. Maybe I just feel the need to vent this. Maybe I'm just an attention whore. I suppose some apologetics recommendations for why I ought to believe the Christian God exists would be nice, as would advice from anyone who's experienced something similar. Thanks for reading.

Oh dear... What shall i say? 'He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.'
'Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.'
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Masturbating several times daily with 'no real qualms about it'... Fear the Lord and understand the severity and seriousness of sin. Do His will and reject your own will.
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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2012, 06:20:14 PM »

Must be something in the water because I'm sorta going through the same thing.  Only difference is, mine is a crisis of the Eastern Orthodox faith.  Some of it seems so tedious and belabored.  Like knowing all the 'tones' and what Sunday each one applies to.  What's that all about?  What's the point?  And what if we forgot which tones?  No more singing?  And how about incense.  It smells wonderful, imparts a mystery and somberness to the services, but what's it for?  "Let my prayers arise as incense..." says King David (I believe), but alls that means is he hopes his prayers were pleasing to God.  It doesn't mean we must use it every time.  What if we didn't use incense?  No more praying?  The divorce question, infant baptism.  Again, I don't mean to scandalize anyone.  Just doing some thinking.

Gabriel, I bet every person who lives in a country where the majority are Protestants or similar minded people, including myself, have thought about this. But can you imagine worship without some order? One can refer to the Old Testament and notice how they were instructed to worship. And now the Church has authority to bind or loose. And to be honest it isn't too tedious, I prefer to use the word lovely.

What divorce question?

With regards to infant baptism, you may ask why were the jewish infants circumcised on the 8th day.
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