1. Given that there are dozens of religions etc., which differ substantially in their core beliefs, is one of them the "right" religion?

The existence of God is knowable by natural reason. We know from reason that He is one, immutable, eternal, immaterial, incorporeal, perfect, omnipotent, fully good, intelligent, and omniscient. I recommend, as a gentle introduction, "We Believe" by Alfred Gilbey; and for a more in-depth explanation for these divine characteristics Edward Feser's "Five Proofs of the Existence of God." You may also benefit from reading Edward Feser's "Aquinas" (Beginner's Guide).

Once you understand these truths by natural reason, you will realize that the God of Israel (i.e. the God of the Abrahamic faiths) has all these characteristics (unlike the gods of mythological religions). After further research, you may discover with what certainty we can know that the God of Natural Reason and the God of Israel are one and the same.

You are now left with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In my opinion, Judaism was the true religion until the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Thereafter, Catholic Christianity became the true religion.

2. If you were raised in a different religion, do you think that you would now belong to that religion and believe in it as much as you do in your current religion?

No. I decided to become a Catholic when I realised that the Catholic Faith is true, and other religions are not.

This question is often posed by atheists who suppose that most religious belief is simply inherited, rather than the fruit of study. When one considers that Christianity originated in the Levant, it is clear that Europe became Christian only because many thousands of our first-millennium ancestors were converts who lived in an equally skeptical pagan age. Pagans bitterly wanted not to be converted, like most people in the modern age. A lot of martyrs were slain in every country. The spread of Christianity by principally non-violent means is an extraordinary fact of first-millennium history. It has been said that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church. All but one of the apostles were martyred.

3. If you pray and hear the voice of God in your head, how can you tell that it is God talking to you?

Some may pray in this manner, but prayer is not necessarily a form of telecommunication. Prayer is the raising of the heart and mind to God. In that sense, every human prays, and we do not necessarily expect a verbal response. We know through natural reason that God lends the existential quality to everything that exists, and so is in and through all things, including our thoughts. Prayer is therefore in one sense practising the presence of God.

In my experience, prayer aids the proper formation of moral conscience, and when I feel morally commanded to do or not to do something it is felt in the same way as an atheist may feel his or her conscience.

4. If that voice of God commanded you to do something immoral or illegal would you do it?

It is not in God's nature to command us to do anything immoral, because (as mentioned above) He is fully good. God is incapable of deceiving or of being deceived – see the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

God may well command us do something illegal if the law in question is directly repugnant to the law of God. So the simple answer is yes. Even an atheist should do something illegal if his conscience truly tells him to do so, as we should always follow our conscience – that is Catholic teaching.

5. How do you decide which commandments to follow and which to reject?

God does not give contradictory commandments. We are called to discern His will and to align ours with His. That is what it means to love God.

6. The Bible is full of moral prescriptions and proscriptions, which often contradict one another. What should I do?

You need to learn about the Old and New Covenants. The New Covenant fulfilled and perfected the Old. The moral requirements of the Old Covenant (the Mosaic Law), including the Ten Commandments, are binding throughout time and are nowhere contradicted; only the ceremonial requirements of the Old Covenant were ended by the New Covenant. The commandments of Christ, now set out in the canon law of the Catholic Church which He founded, are in no way contradictory.

7. They are in conflict with modern morals, e.g. slavery, torture, capital punishment.

If you are a Catholic, what is or is not in conflict with modern morals in not a material concern. For what it is worth, slavery and torture have always to my knowledge been forbidden. Slavery was driven out of Catholic Europe in the Middle Ages without a law being passed against it. European slavery was largely a post-Reformation activity. Capital punishment, on the other hand, has always been permissible. I recommend reading Edward Feser, "By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment."

8. Does God embrace naturally occurring moral principles external to Him, or are they sound and holy because God says that they are?

These sorts of questions could be easily answered by a theologian; so I suggest that you focus on the earlier questions first. You could easily nurture a Christian faith prior to answering a question such as this one.

For what it is worth, nothing occurs external to God. God is without privation: He is infinite in all His ways. He is therefore infinitely holy and the source of all holiness. The same could be said of love, goodness, etc. So, yes, God says that they are, but moral goodness is both His law and His nature, and pervades all creation.

9. Of what value are moral principles if there is no God?

The existence of God is knowable through natural reason (see question 1); so this question is counterfactual. We could not ourselves exist without at all times deriving existence from God. If we hypothetically existed without God, then the only value of morality would be to make us God-like.

10. Do we need God to know that murder, rape, slavery, torture, paedophilia, lying, and stealing are wrong?

No. The wrongness of all these things is knowable by natural reason, and as such they are contained in the Ten Commandments, which are all knowable by natural reason. That is why the Ten Commandments are binding on the consciences of all humankind both before and after their promulgation at Mount Sinai.

That these moral crimes are knowable by natural reason is not an argument for the non-existence of God.

You will also note that many people commit these moral crimes. By providing His explicit commandments, God ensures that all who hear them are very much accountable (i.e. without excuse) at the end of their lives.

There are also prohibitions against many widespread practices, which evidently do require explicit prohibition. You have conveniently selected sins which are aligned with the current zeitgeist. In past times, you may well have included divorce and various sexual sins on your list.

[skip one or two questions]

12. Did God sacrifice Himself to Himself to save us from Hell?

Yes! Well done! Only the Precious Blood of the Incarnate God was of sufficient value (i.e. infinite value) to pay the debts due to God's Justice for the sins of mankind past, present, and future. No other sacrifice would have been enough. God chose to pay our debts for us. That is why, when we sin, even today, we crucify Christ. When we sin, we contribute to the need for Christ to shed His blood to satisfy the Justice of God.

When God is described as angry or having wrath, it is a reference to His Justice. But because He is infinitely loving, He satisfied His wrath for us. He will now have wrath only for those who deliberately disobey His commandments and reject Christ – i.e. unrepentant sinners.

I gave up answering your questions at this point. You could answer a lot of these questions through research. I hope that I have helped you.

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Please use a pop filter Michael. Love your work!

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I became a Christian, out of being an angry agnostic, who wanted nothing to do with the god my parents claimed to know, that had no effect on their behavior, the ways they treated each other and me during stressful times for them. I realized I was mistaken, and then God offered me new life in Christ, a new family, who saw me as a part of them, with a common faith, mission.

In many ways, I am still mistaken, but God continues to teach me on how to act, and what to believe about Him and His word, and how I am to view the world He designed and created.

Only arrogant idiots think they are omnipotent, or all knowing, pretending to be God themselves, and so they are never wrong, or mistaken a very common delusion.

I now have faith in the Son of God, who died on the cross for my sins, was buried and rose into new life, which He offered me and others, for them to become Christians too. That true faith, comes with a set of beliefs, starting with the belief that God's word is in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, is inerrant in its original writings, infallible and correct in what it teaches those who want to believe likewise, it is truly God's word, that He used His people to write down so others can read it for themselves and it can be communicated to others and understood, even children, and those with mental deficiencies.

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