“Ask a Priest: Would I Offend God by Looking for Evidence of His Existence?”

Want to rate this?

Q: I come from an atheistic background, yet I came to believe in God and that the Catholic Church is the one, true Church. Yet, I still have doubts about the existence of God. And because joining the Catholic Church would seriously impact my future life, I want to be intellectually sure that God exists. I don’t want to spend my whole life worshipping something that might not exist. So, a few months ago I started looking into arguments for and against the existence of God. But recently a thought started to creep into my head, that what I am doing is sinful. That I must simply believe that God exists. That God would find it insulting that I doubt his existence and need to research to believe in him or to be sure. I think I am surely just overly scrupulous. But I want to be sure I am not doing anything sinful. So, my question is: Would God be OK with my accepting that he might not exist and subsequently delve into arguments for or against him (miracles, apparitions, problem of evil, etc.), until I would be sure that he actually exists or find it unlikely and stop believing? If God would have a problem with that, would that be a venial or even a mortal sin for me to continue my research? Thank you for your answers. – V.L.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It sounds as though the Holy Spirit is nudging you closer to God.

Rather than try to answer your specific question, let me state the situation in a different way.

God created faith and reason. He gives us intelligence and free will. With intelligence, we can seek the truth. With free will, we can make an act of faith and love.

You can certainly use your intelligence to study the arguments for and against the existence of God.

My advice is to keep going deeper into the arguments. A few resource that might help are:

─ Peter Kreeft’s 20 arguments for the existence of God

─ The Aquinas 101 course offered by the Thomistic Institute. This is a set of short videos on the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas. They give an overview of Church teaching, though there are specific videos on arguments regarding the existence of God.

A second piece of advice is this: Don’t try to find “scientific” proofs in this case.

Strictly speaking, the question of God’s existence is beyond the bounds of science to prove or disprove.

But then, many of our most cherished beliefs are beyond scientific proofs. We don’t test a mom’s love for her child in a laboratory, for instance.

At some point we sense that the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming in one direction, and we make an act of assent.

I think you will find the circumstantial evidence points in a very definite direction regarding Our Lord. In the meantime, try praying to God for guidance.

I hope some of this helps. Count on my prayers.


Keep learning more with Ask a Priest

Got a question? Need an answer?

Today’s secular world throws curve balls at us all the time. AskACatholicPriest is a Q&A feature that anyone can use. Just type in your question or send an email to AskAPriest@rcspirituality.org and you will get a personal response back from one of our priests at RCSpirituality. You can ask about anything – liturgy, prayer, moral questions, current events… Our goal is simply to provide a trustworthy forum for dependable Catholic guidance and information. So go ahead and ask your question…

Average Rating

What did you think?

Share your review! Just log in or create your free account.

  1. Father is correct, any ‘searching,’ otherwise called SEEKING could only be by the ‘nudging’ of the Holy Spirit, and God’s ACTual grace. There are two types of Grace. Sanctifying Grace and Actual Grace. The way to the grace that ‘sanctifies’ is by the ‘gift of faith’ . . . provided to a soul by God. A ‘mustard seed’ size will do which comes with the following of the instruction of God’s ‘ONLY’ Divine Son (God incarnate) Be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit… the instruction was taught to the first 12 and through the generations mankind has been following ‘THE WAY’ of Baptism (the cleansing of SOUL of that original sin wrought by ‘Adam and Eve.’ (skipping to the main point… the water is BLESSED by WORDS OF FAITH, and thus GOD’S GRACE comes within man’s soul . . . as THE FIRST STEP to sanctification) Let the learning begin . . . of the SPIRITUAL JOURNEY…

    If you were never ‘taught the faith’ as a child (Sunday School or ‘any day of the week’ now) I suggest now that you have been doing some ‘seeking’ and now that HOLY SPIRIT (counselor) is ‘nudging to some intellectual facts. . . that you go to a Catholic parish, and sign up for RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) There will be ‘facts’ given from books and the Bible that attests to how to ‘grow that mustardseed of faith’ by ACTS of FAITH (religion) The Baptism, the First Confession of ‘any sins’ blocking the knowledge and understanding of God, (sin clouds the intellect) and First and on-going Holy Communions of His Real Presence, that ‘perfect’ the soul where the indwelling of God’s ONLY Divine Son is found.

    By Faith in what God says to do . . . Sanctifying Grace shalt come that brings the gift of knowledge, understanding, counsel, and Wisdom ‘OF GOD’ along with the gift of piety, fortitude, and ‘respect’ for God to LIVE THE PRESENCE OF GOD in the soul . . . in the material world! With the Sanctified Grace, the Holy Spirit will provide ACTual Grace to ‘say YES’ to doing God’s will. It might be a situation where you need patience, and by golly THAT SANCTIFIED GRACE of Christ’s Presence will provide the ‘fruit’ of patience. You may say ‘wow… is this me?’ No, it isn’t you… IT’S THE PRESENCE OF JESUS CHRIST, who is God (incarnate)

    Don’t ignore your seeking, as Father said IT IS the first of many nudges by God’s HOLY SPIRIT.
    Go to a Catholic parish with an RCIA program of instruction.

  2. The question you ask…what if you spend you ‘whole life’ Worshipping something that doesn’t exist… THINK about it, the ‘evidence’ of God is found in THE MANY who do attend Worship services or the Catholic Mass
    (which you will learn of in RCIA) . . . if God did not exist, why are some so ‘adamant’ that religion and Christian worship should end. Why do some ‘fear’ what IS NOT REAL? Because the truth is… GOD who is SPIRIT is real. If God were not real… religion and church would have ended on its own. The ACTS OF FAITH produce results and the numbers still grow. You get nothing from nothing … therefore GOD IS REAL. Go to RCIA and learn how to draw near to Him.

Leave a Reply

Get the Answers!

Get notified of future Ask a Priest answers via email

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Skip to content