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Old 08-25-2007, 11:48 PM   #16
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Originally posted by Irvine511
there is no faith without doubt.

if anyone tells you they never doubt, they have no faith. just arrogance.
Thank you, thats an excellent retort against the atheism is a religious nonsense; nothing wrong being arrogant if your right.
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Old 08-26-2007, 11:44 AM   #17
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Thank you, thats an excellent retort against the atheism is a religious nonsense; nothing wrong being arrogant if your right.




erm, you might want to think that through again one more time.
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Old 08-26-2007, 11:56 AM   #18
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I'm not surprised that she doubted her faith; I'm just surprised she doubted for as long as she did.
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Old 08-26-2007, 03:31 PM   #19
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I read a MUCH better article on this elsewhere but cannot find it.

It said that when she stepped away from her work with the poor she felt reconnected with God. When she worked in the slums, she lost the connection.
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Old 08-26-2007, 03:34 PM   #20
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Maybe she was forgetting to see God in the poor?

Nah, she would've known to look for Him in them.
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Old 08-26-2007, 05:52 PM   #21
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Mother Teresa's Spiritual Crisis at Center of New Book

Mother Teresa in April 1995.

AFP/Getty Images
She was easily one of the most recognizable women in the world. She was seen as a living saint by many. And she was a particular inspiration to Catholics.

But a new book about Mother Teresa, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, based on the many letters she wrote to her spiritual counselors and confessors over an almost 50-year period, show a spiritual life that was, as she described it, dry, dark and lonely.

Three months before she accepted her Nobel Peace Prize, she wrote to a spiritual confidant: "Jesus has a very special love for you ... [but] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, — Listen and do not hear — the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak ... I want you to pray for me — that I let Him have [a] free hand."

It's not uncommon to hear of religious people going through periods of doubt. For instance, Father James Martin, in a commentary on All Things Considered, says Mother Teresa's spiritual struggles remind him of his own during a recent retreat.

But Mother Teresa's extensive spiritual crisis is surprising for a woman of her influence ... and ammunition for her critics. Time quotes well-known atheist Christopher Hitchens (who also wrote The Missionary Position, a scathing attack on Mother Teresa), who says, "She was no more exempt from the realization that religion is a human fabrication than any other person, and that her attempted cure was more and more professions of faith could only have deepened the pit that she had dug for herself."

But in the same piece, the Rev. Matthew Lamb, chairman of the theology department at the conservative Ave Maria University in Florida, said Come Be My Light — compiled and edited by the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk — will one day rank with "St. Augustine's Confessions and Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain as an autobiography of spiritual ascent."

4:50 PM ET | 08-23-2007 | permalink


http://www.npr.org/blogs/news/2007/0...l_crisi_1.html
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Old 08-26-2007, 07:03 PM   #22
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i think you'd be less than human if you didn't doubt the existence of god and despair when faced with so much of the abject horror that goes on in the world.

some are able to find their faith again, and that's lovely, but i think that doubt is the only reaction to horror. one thing religion really doesn't address is the problem of evil in the world, and how and why bad things happen to good people.

it strikes me as quite robotic when someone takes and event like, say, the 2004 tsunami and says that it should be read as yet another reason to praise god, and that all things happen as part of His will, and that we are not to understand but simply to praise him more. that reaction strikes me as pre-programmed, unthinking, call-and-response bullshit.

and i think Mother T would agree with me.

to despair is human. to doubt is human.

there's no question, God has a lot to answer for. and perhaps there will be an answer. but there isn't, at least for now, an explanation.
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Old 08-26-2007, 08:02 PM   #23
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Elie Wiesel, I think it was, said once that he can completely understand Holocaust survivors who tell him they lost their faith altogether, and he can also completely understand survivors who tell him their faith was radically altered but ultimately strengthened, but what he can't understand at all is those who tell him they continue to believe just as they did before.

I actually am interested to check this book out.
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Old 08-28-2007, 04:02 AM   #24
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Originally posted by Irvine511
i think you'd be less than human if you didn't doubt the existence of god and despair when faced with so much of the abject horror that goes on in the world.
There's a reason the psalms are as dark as they are light. "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis is a fascinating insight into the faith journey of a man who found everything he'd believed called into question, and somehow came out the other side.

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some are able to find their faith again, and that's lovely, but i think that doubt is the only reaction to horror.
It's one reaction. Not the only.

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one thing religion really doesn't address is the problem of evil in the world, and how and why bad things happen to good people.
It's interesting how often this question is bandied about, even though the question itself probably bears some intense examination itself, as it hinges on some preconceived notions -- notably, "Bad things," and "good people." How do we define such things? Who sets the standards for what is good and what is bad? Is it possible that half the things that go wrong in the world are the fault of man? Is it possible that we aren't as good as we like to think we are?

The question itself -- with its ramifications and preconceptions -- is so complicated that pat theology hardly does the trick, and even though believers and seekers alike say they want to get away from easy answers, I think that's what we still want a lot of times -- a simple formula -- which, unfortunately, is a DNA common both to nihilism and empty-headed faith.

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to despair is human. to doubt is human.


But it is not all of being human. How else do you explain MT's prayers to the end of her life?

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and i think Mother T would agree with me.
That's a bit of a dangerous road, don't you think, putting yourself in her shoes?

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there's no question, God has a lot to answer for. and perhaps there will be an answer.
According to whose standards? God's, or yours? If the former, there isn't much of an answer to be found apart from a relationship with God, since it's in the context of relationship with God that we find the understanding we seek. If the latter, then that's very interesting, given your comment earlier about arrogance. Holding God to your own standards of goodness is a bit arrogant in itself, isn't it?
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:18 AM   #25
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Originally posted by Dreadsox
I do not find it shocking. The Bible is full of people who have blemished past that somehow give me hope because they traveled on the smae road as me.
That is true. Plus many Saints were labeled as crazy or blasphemus. For example, Joan of Arch heard voices and was burned alive for being a heretic.
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:31 AM   #26
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Originally posted by nathan1977

According to whose standards? God's, or yours? If the former, there isn't much of an answer to be found apart from a relationship with God, since it's in the context of relationship with God that we find the understanding we seek. If the latter, then that's very interesting, given your comment earlier about arrogance. Holding God to your own standards of goodness is a bit arrogant in itself, isn't it?


what standards to we have other than human standards? if you meet God and you don't have questions for him, if you don't demand explanations for certain things that go on, and *especialy* if you're the sort of believer who things that God controls everything via his plan, then, yes, i'd consider you (the collective you) a brainwashed religious automaton who's surrendered any sort of autonomy for the comfort of "it's all meant to be."

now, if you did think the world simply was as it is, that God doesn't control the tides and the shifting of the earth's plates, and that people act according to their own free will, and that notions of a "Plan" are bogus, then God has a lot less to answer for.

as for "bad" and "good" -- well, we're given these standards all the time by religious people, and if you want something really quick, then i'd say "good" people are those who follow the 10 Commandments, and yet they still get shot in the head at 17th and Irving in Mount Pleasant at 10pm on a saturday night while walking the dog. and that's just one example. i appreciate the resistance to pat answers and simple thinking, and i take the point that the Livia Soprano "it's all a big nothing" is as simple as the empty-headed "it's all in God's hands," but i do think it poses a bit more of a problem for believers who do talk about "God's Plan" and then have to deal with the realities of, say, Darfur.

i also think we get into trouble talking about what "God's standards" are. it assumes, at it's start, something that we cannot know, and is an article of faith. all we have is what we can observe, what exists beyond that is faith, and notions of "God's terms" are, still, extentions of human faculties and profoundly human and, like everything else, how we as humands try to make sense of the world.

we're also coming at this from a different starting point. you assume the existence of God, and a specific kind of God. my assumption is one of agnosticism -- maybe, maybe not -- and as such, i am going to make the statement that my starting point, agnosticism, is a bit of a more honest place by which to evaluate faith and doubt and how they function in our lives.

and i can see how one could disagree with that. and i'd respect the disagreement. but you'll notice it's not atheism, just strong skepticism.

and thank you for the very thoughtful post.
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Old 08-28-2007, 09:35 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
there is no faith without doubt.

if anyone tells you they never doubt, they have no faith. just arrogance.
Absolutely-no doubt about that. The essence of real religion is doubt. If you have no doubt well you are certainly arrogant and not thinking all that much in a meaningful way about your faith. And freely expressing those doubts is an important part of it.

I haven't been able to read the article yet and there are stories about many people after they die-it's easy to dump on and gossip about people after they are dead.

She was a human being, not a deity.
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:45 PM   #28
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and thank you for the very thoughtful post.
I always like the dialogue, Irvine. Sorry I'm not around as much. (I personally miss the posts of people like nbcrusader and maycocksean.)

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Originally posted by Irvine511


what standards to we have other than human standards? if you meet God and you don't have questions for him, if you don't demand explanations for certain things that go on, and *especialy* if you're the sort of believer who things that God controls everything via his plan, then, yes, i'd consider you (the collective you) a brainwashed religious automaton who's surrendered any sort of autonomy for the comfort of "it's all meant to be."
I agree with you that we start with our humanity. I don't think we can do anything else. But if it's true that God created us for relationship (which can be a double-edged sword), then we have to enter into dialogue with Him, and be willing to at least entertain the idea that my human standards may not be the absolutes, that my definitions aren't the supreme. We do this (or should) with anyone else we meet -- avoiding the assumption that we are automatically more right, that we are automatically better. So it seems presumptive that, if we are indeed in relationship with the Creator of the universe, the Author of all things, that our standards automatically trump His. I do think there is a place for submission (even Jesus said "Not my will, but yours"), but at the same time, I don't think that means that we simply roll over and play dead. Dialogue -- communication -- is essential to any relationship. That's why I think the Scriptures are God's way of entering into dialogue with us. We see dialogue all the time in the Scriptures -- David railing against God in the Psalms, Jesus praying, Mary asking questions. Relationship is at the heart of these pages. And yes, I do think that answers are to be found there -- but they aren't the pat answers for real tragedies. God is not a god of simple answers.

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now, if you did think the world simply was as it is, that God doesn't control the tides and the shifting of the earth's plates, and that people act according to their own free will, and that notions of a "Plan" are bogus, then God has a lot less to answer for.
This is why I keep going back to the God of the Bible, Who is much more dynamic than I think we want Him to be -- both those who believe and those who don't. I do think people act according to their own free will. I don't think that God is the author of every evil thing that happens, but I don't think however that this is incongruous with a plan and a Planner. That's not who the God of the Bible is.

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as for "bad" and "good" -- well, we're given these standards all the time by religious people


But the question of "why do bad things happen to good people" is asked just as often by people who aren't religious, so it stands to reason that everyone has their own definition of what a good or bad person is, so one wonders if the question really goes deep enough.

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i also think we get into trouble talking about what "God's standards" are. it assumes, at it's start, something that we cannot know, and is an article of faith.
I'm actually not one of those "all faith is blind faith" guys. I do think that God's standards are knowable, but I don't think they're knowable outside of relationship with Him. This is a cheesy example, but it's like the old man on the corner who yells a lot and you're scared of him because you're a kid, until you get to know him one day and realize why he is the way he is. Someone here has the quote by Chesterton that "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found wanting and left untried." Jesus himself says in John 7 something to the effect of, "If you want to know whether what I say is true, try it out." The Scriptures ultimately make sense only in context of relationship with God. I think ultimately that's why there are a number of "believers" whose hearts are blackened by hate and anger -- they have the Scriptures, but they don't live in relationship to the God Who wrote them.

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all we have is what we can observe, what exists beyond that is faith, and notions of "God's terms" are, still, extentions of human faculties and profoundly human and, like everything else, how we as humands try to make sense of the world.
But even perception is not all of reality.

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i am going to make the statement that my starting point, agnosticism, is a bit of a more honest place by which to evaluate faith and doubt and how they function in our lives.
But we all think that our starting point is the best....which is fundamentally arrogant, isn't it? Your starting point may be your starting point, which is fine for you, but that isn't the best starting point for someone else. Judging someone else's starting point seems to be a bit judgmental, and surprising for someone who is passionately against judgmentalism.

And even if your starting point were the best, a starting point is one thing -- a sticking point is quite another.
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:51 PM   #29
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Originally posted by Irvine511
there is no faith without doubt.

if anyone tells you they never doubt, they have no faith. just arrogance.
Well said.
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Old 08-28-2007, 09:07 PM   #30
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Originally posted by Irvine511
i think you'd be less than human if you didn't doubt the existence of god and despair when faced with so much of the abject horror that goes on in the world.

some are able to find their faith again, and that's lovely, but i think that doubt is the only reaction to horror. one thing religion really doesn't address is the problem of evil in the world, and how and why bad things happen to good people.

it strikes me as quite robotic when someone takes and event like, say, the 2004 tsunami and says that it should be read as yet another reason to praise god, and that all things happen as part of His will, and that we are not to understand but simply to praise him more. that reaction strikes me as pre-programmed, unthinking, call-and-response bullshit.

and i think Mother T would agree with me.

to despair is human. to doubt is human.

there's no question, God has a lot to answer for. and perhaps there will be an answer. but there isn't, at least for now, an explanation.

The response you described to the tsunami is robotic, but I don't see it as reflective of how many Christians would respond to it.
It's not another reason to praise God, but one to call out to him. I don't believe it happened out of his will, but he can use the aftermath to achieve his will. And it's perfectly fine to doubt God in such situations. I don't think he minds. I think he would understand such doubt and invite our questions. Also, I think he was more saddened by the tsunami than most of us were.

As far as why there's so much evil in the world, the Bible is pretty clear about it, actually. It's because we let sin into our lives, therefore tainting God's perfect creation.
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