(quote) Shirley-1031992 said:
I am always searching for the truth. Not the truth man has interpreted from God but God's own truth. I feel he only judges us for the good we do in the world and the love we show in our actions toward others.
Is it wrong to lead my life with guidance from inside my heart or should I always rely on accepted Catholic Doctrine?
This could be a very long and involved post :-) But, I will try not to let it go long.
I've always told all my catechetical students that we are supposed to question -- but not just question -- we are required to then search out the answers. God gave us free will in order that we choose Him rather than having to love Him or go to Him because we have no other option -- that in itself demands that we seek and ask and question. Especially Confirmation students need to do this -- because in the process of questioning and seeking out those answers -- we can truly step up and claim our faith a our own. We can really make that statement to God that Here I am.
It's very easy for us to justify or minimize things because we either don't want to follow them or we don't want to be held accountable to them.
A lot of people will reject "man's interpretation of God's Truth" and that is fine -- you should question other people's interpretation of God -- you must also accept that interpretations do not all have an equal weight. And, the other part of this is if you reject it -- to be honest with yourself -- you have to seek out the answers.
I have also called upon the Holy Spirit more than once to enlighten and guide me in my study. For example, when I was young and newly married, the Jehovah Witnesses were always knocking on my door. I used to just sort of send them away with a smile, but something was really bothering me about the things they would say. So a few years later I invited one of them in and we met every week for a year. I had always believed, but by the end of that year I not only believed I owned my faith. I followed every cross reference in the bible, read every commentary, sought out the early church writings and discussed things with people I trusted and believed in as well. What an awesome and beautiful year that turned into being and it set my course to always question and seek more. God reveals Himself to us through others around us and that includes other people' interpretation of His Truths.
I was for a very long time conflicted regarding the teachings on capital punishment. After the OKC bombing, a man known to my husband and a Catholic fought against the death penalty for Timothy McVeigh -- he had lost his daughter in the bombing -- all of a sudden these teachings on capital punishment had far more relevance and I just wasn't sure I agreed with the Church on the stance (And yes it allows for states to apply capital punishment -- but if there are other ways to protect society they should be utilized -- and of course the hope for redemption of prisoner.) I spent a lot of time scouring through writings on the subject, other people's opinions and can honestly say that at the end of that investigation period I had changed my mind on it and was no longer conflicted.
But, you can't just reject something out of hand -- if you do -- it is intellectually dishonest not to pursue the information. If you after diligent inquiry still find yourself rejecting things then you have to ask yourself if you belong where you are. For me, I couldn't say I was a Catholic unless I could intellectually satisfy myself of the veracity of the teachings and the logic and consistency of those teachings and understand what the implications of those beliefs meant in regard to how I view and behave in the world.
So, by all means question, even reject if you want, but do the hard work and really seek to understand the why and how of those teachings -- once that is done you are still free to reject or to accept them and make them your own.