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I have been a practicing Roman Catholic since I was a child. I am now 42 and I have two children--both of whom are receiving their sacraments. We are more recently infrequent church-goers.

I am a very literal, intellectual person. I am a natural skeptic--very critical and analytic. I have not specifically studied my religion in detail, but I am finding as I age that I am growing more cynical about the idea of God. Perhaps it all seems too convenient. People turn to the answers provided by religions too ease the discomfort of the unknown. How was the universe and life created. Similarly, we turn to the idea of an afterlife to ease the anguish of loved ones lost. Religion allows us to believe that they are not truly gone, but live on in heaven. It also serves as a convenient form of self policing with the idea of a punishment in hell.

Can someone knowledgeable please offer something of real substance to restore my faith?

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closed as off-topic by DJClayworth, Andrew Leach, Flimzy, Caleb Mar 25 at 18:05

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Belonging to any particular faith is not what Christianity is about. God the Son did not enter into His creation, live, die and rise from the dead just so that we could attend a place of worship occasionally and remember Him. He did all that to redeem us out of sin and into a vibrant relationship with Him. Christianity is not just a good way to live either--it is actually true, and the resurrection of Jesus is the key piece of evidence in that. –  Narnian Mar 25 at 16:04
    
This isn't a site for getting personal advice. That's partly because we don't know you well enough to give such advice, but mostly because the internet is a very bad place to get advice like this. We strongly recommend that you get advice from someone you know and trust. –  DJClayworth Mar 25 at 16:12
    
I would also recommend the following books -- "I don't have enough faith to be an atheist" (sound reasoning and evidence for why Christianity is actually true), "Eternity in their Hearts" (how God has revealed Himself in remarkable ways all over the world), "All of Grace" (the joy of salvation), "The Unexpected Journey" (how people found the joy of knowing Christ from all sorts of backgrounds, and then maybe "Letters from a Skeptic" (a son wrestles with his father's questions about Christianity). –  Narnian Mar 25 at 16:12
    
The readings look like they may help. And to @Djclayworth point, I am not looking for advice. I am looking for facts. –  user10535 Mar 25 at 16:34

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Can someone knowledgeable please offer something of real substance to restore my faith?

My heart goes out to you on several levels. Though "knowledgeable" is relative, I will share with you what is on my heart after reading your post.

I, too, consider myself an intellectual man. I am studied and well-read. I am more of a cynic than a critic. Yet, in spite of these things, I have a strong faith which I put into practice each and every day.

Anyone who would make the boast of being able to "offer something of substance to restore your faith," would be false in doing so. According to Hebrews 11:1 it is your faith that provides the substance you seek.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. —Romans 12:3 (AV)

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. —Hebrews 12:2 (AV)

From these two verses of Scripture, you can plainly see that the faith you currently possess is one of a myriad of gifts and blessings from God himself. The passage in Hebrews specifically designates Yeshua (Jesus) as the author (originator) and finisher (the one who completes) of your faith. Thus, I say to you, no man, however knowledgeable, is able to offer you something of substance to bring you through your crisis of faith. You need to seek out the author and finisher of your faith for that.

However, as it turns out, any other believer (Christian if you will) can point you to the one you seek. The fact that you have not studied your religion in detail may quite possibly be to your advantage, since your faith does no come to you by way of church doctrine or practice, but from God himself. And Yeshua, himself, addresses this issue in the gospel of Matthew when he says—

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. —Matthew 11:28-30 (AV)

Yeshua invites you to come to him and learn about him. No mention of church, rites, practices, or receiving counsel from others. You need to go to the source of your faith and you need to learn from the source of your faith. Your crisis of faith is a burden and you are now heavy laden by it. the very best anyone apart from Yeshua can do is to point you to him...that is what I am doing.

Yeshua has many sides and facets to him, and all of them are quite clearly depicted in Scripture. If you would like to know more about Yeshua the man, read the gospel of Luke. To learn about Yeshua the Son of God, read the gospel of John. To see the revelation of Yeshua the King, read Matthew's gospel. Yeshua is depicted as the faithful servant in Mark's gospel.

If your crisis of faith centers around the existence of God in general, I can recommend Romans chapter 1. But, in your investigations, you must bear in mind that the Scriptures are not to be read in the same vein as Reader's Digest or the Sear's Catalogue.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. —1 Corinthians 2:14 (AV)

Your crisis of faith requires the words of God, not the words of men (mine are inclusive of that). Your faith needs a boost, thus you must seek out the author of that faith.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. —Romans 10:17 (AV)

Finally, Yeshua said in the gospel of John—

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. —John 12:32 (AV)

I have not offered you worldly wisdom or insights. I have not spoken to you of my own crisis of faith some years past. What I have done is to lift up Yeshua to you in order that you might be drawn to him. This is the most any man can do.

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Thank you. I suppose that's a start. I should clarify that while I have not studied theologically in detail, I did attend church and listen to scriptures, and I attended catechism as a child. I am also confirmed in Christ. The word of God is not foreign to me, rather, I find myself requiring evidence that any of the stories are factual. It is the difference between faith and knowledge. –  user10535 Mar 25 at 16:32

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