Question:

I was just pondering over an article written on the differences between Catholicism and Christianity. I was raised Catholic and my whole family is Catholic.

My grandmother is very adamant about her faith and spends the major part of her day in service, prayer, community service, etc. She believes in the Ten Commandments, Virgin Mary, and all else that is the Catholic faith. Since you said that the Catholic Church has deviated from the original roots, does this mean that all my grandmothers' and other people's life-long efforts to their faith has been in vain? Do they not get the acceptance and salvation of God? I believe that the Bible is the absolute authority and try to live my life accordingly, but ever since I started college I became confused about religion in general because I met so many people from different religions, and to think that one was right and the other wrong, it all got to me.

I don't even attend church any more because I feel that if I attend church and am still confused, then it will be almost hypocritical of me.

What advice or suggestions would you give me so that I can regain that confidence in my faith?I wish religion was so much simpler. I've banged my head so many times over religious questions, and I am still stuck. Thank you for any and all advice or tips.


Answer:

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (I John 5:2-3).

I suspect that it is more a problem of accepting that most of your family could be wrong than a problem of actually following Christianity.

Let's go back in time to the first century. There were whole families given over to idolatry. Was idolatry acceptable because family members were really devoted to their religion? What if we were discussing Hinduism or Buddhism? Does the devotion of the followers of these religions make them any more right? My point in going to extreme examples is to get you to see that it cannot be man who defines what is acceptable worship. Man makes up all sorts of things. It is God who defines what is right and the value of a religion must be rated on its conforming to the laws of the one and only King. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

Yes, there are a lot of religions in the world, but that is because there are a lot of people who want to modify truth to suit themselves. "Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes" (Ecclesiastes 7:29). The question ought to be: What does God want me to do? It is God who made us. It is God who is offering to reward us. Sweet as your grandmother is, she can't get you into heaven. "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20).

So the very first step is to stop excusing inaction by saying you're confused. Take up your Bible and start learning what God wants you to do. There is plenty of material on this site to point you where to go in your Bible for information on numerous subjects. And as you are aware, I'm willing to assist you in your studies, both on-line and in person if you want.

And as you learn that you aren't following God as well as you thought, then start making changes. "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:21-22).