Mother Teresa Didn't Feel God's Presence

In letters from Mother Teresa recently published we learn that for 40 years of her 87-year-long life, Mother Teresa could not feel the presence of God. Link. I wonder how many other ministers are as honest with themselves?


-mt said...

See my entry on this subject on my blog:

knerd said...

Mother Teresa did not feel God's presence because it was mediated through the Roman Catholic Church.

Christian theology and church dogma set the faithful up to lose. We're all sinners. We're never quite good enough. As human beings, we become our own worst enemy.

And the latter becomes problematic when we don't, can't or won't follow Jesus' admonishon to love that "worst enemy."

And most religious denominations leave us with the idea that, falter or fail, Father's Spanking from Hell is never far away.

It doesn't much feel like "God's Presence" to me.

SteveJ said...


I doubt that you're worthy to untie the shoes of Mother Teresa. When you give up all worldly goods and minister in a third-world slum, then you can credibly correct her Christianity.

As far as blaming denominations for teaching a hellish "spanking," how about blaming Jesus and the authors of the New Testament? Jesus said we ought to "fear him who has the power to cast both body and soul in hell." If a denomination takes such words seriously, why blame the denomination??

knerd said...

Actually, stevej, I have it on good authority that Mother Teresa wore slippers.

Seriously, though, I want to add that if there is such thing as a Christian, then Mother Teresa was certainly one. True Christianity like that needs no correction from me.

Unfortunately, "Matthew" no doubt put the concerns of his own community of believers into Jesus' mouth some 60-80 years after the crucifixion.

There is a lot of blame to go around. The gospels are a complex blend of oral tradition, theology and a dash of what the secular world would call "history."

Lee Randolph said...

Christopher Hitchens (who exposed Mother Theresa in a book) follows up on his views of her

And Sam Harris weighs in as well.

Time magazine ran a story on this. When i read it I could relate to her feelings. When I was "in" I had the 'dark night' or whatever. I had so many doubts and resolving them always relied on personal dishonesty, self deception, twisted logic of cognitive bias type and the principles of persuasion inherent in the church.

Time magazine said that the relativley well-known theologeon Rev. Joseph Neuner told her that "her very craving for god was sure sign of his hidden presense in her life".
Lets look a the logic of this with a little word replacement.
"toms very craving for anglina jolie was a sure sign of her hidden presense in his life". Seems to be a non sequitur doesn't it?

Also, Logically, a lack of evidence for a thing cannot be evidence in favor of it.
Neuner also reportedly told her "the absense was in fact part of the spiritual side of her work for Jesus". This reasoning is comparable to the charges brought by Senator Joseph McCarthy on various people in the 1950's.
Joseph McCarthy was famous for saying things like the following "I do not have much information on this except the general statement of the agency that there is nothing in the files to disprove his communist connections". The accused was guilty until proven innocent.

Jesus was there in his own special way. Being all powerful gives him the ability to be a contradiction and get away with it.

His response to her made her feel better for a few months, then it went away again. Principles of persuasion and cognitive bias can only take you so far. Evidence is self sustaining.

Michael Ejercito said...

This could be an explanation.


SteveJ said...

> Actually, stevej, I have it on good authority that Mother Teresa wore slippers.

She did wear them on occasion, but it never became a habit (chuckle).

Michael E.,

What a shocking expose! Mother Teresa actually believed the doctrines of Catholicism!

I find it a little strange to consider Mother Teresa descending into hell for holding wrong doctrinal opinions while some underperforming usher at the First Podunk Bab'tist Church goes to glory for accepting Jesus at age 14. If this is your idea of Christianity, you can keep it. There's no beauty in it.

Ben said...

how is her existential conundrum supposed to "debunk" Christianity? I'm missing something here.

knerd said...

I have a final thought to piggyback on top of what others have posted.

Couldn't the "dark night of the soul" and the "fear and trembling" simply be the result of the obvious cognitive dissonance in accepting many Christian dogmatic claims as historical truth?

I am serious about this.

You are a sinner. And remember, the Lord has eyes everywhere. God will punish you. He will burn you in Hell for an eternity.


Bahnsen Burner said...

Trying to accept the claims of Christianity as truth while trying to live life as a human being will create all kinds of irresolvable psychological conflicts due to the contradictions that Christian god-belief requires the believer to straddle. For instance, we're told over and over again how terrible Jesus' suffering on the cross was and how important it is to recognize Jesus' suffering. But elsewhere the Christian tells us that "Suffering in this life is so insignificant in light of eternity that it is not even worthy of a comparison." (Source: Steven Carr's blog.)


Cadin said...

To add to what burner said- seeing as jesus was "god" and he knew that suffering would "give him his kingdom". That would make it of even less value... just a cheap emotional trip.

Now unto the topic at hand. From what I have seen Terressa's feeling are rather rampant in christians. I've noticed that most christians seem to be constantly doing "good" thing to get some sort of....presence/attention from god. that or they are full blown hypocrites.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Michael,
while I think you are a hoax, I want to take a moment to discuss the page you linked to.

It represents a phenomena that I've seen referred to variously as 'otherising' and 'differentiation'.

here is a link to an experiment that describes it, and also, the Stanford prison experiment represents it.

Groups of people will mindlessly exhibit hostilities toward each other, succumbing to their basest instincts for survival. You don't need god to get over it, you just need to recognize that it is happening and use some sound reasoning.