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Wrestling With Doubt


Avandris

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I've been absent from this forum for a little while, hoping that perhaps a short break would help me order my thoughts and calm the internal battle that has been raging within me for some time now. Unfortunately, such a ploy hasn't worked all that well and I find myself back here, hoping that pouring out my thoughts in this entry might help. So here goes.

 

I find myself torn, my thoughts wrenched between the attachment I have to my faith and the information that I have been absorbing within the last few months. It is a true battle between heart and head, been emotions and cold, hard logic. While I feel myself slowly coming to the point where I could relinquish my grasp upon a faith I have clung to all my life, something deep within cries out that I need it, that I can't live without it, that I am damning myself to an eternity apart from God.

 

I have no idea where to even begin to build a world view void of God. What would such a world even look like? Can such a life have meaning and value when it is devoid of God's purpose and plan? Please do not understand me, I wouldn't dare to suggest that an atheist's life has no such meaning, that would be an extremely arrogant and inaccurate statement to make. I simply do not know how one goes about finding that value and purpose when you find yourself dwarfed by the expansive universe in which you live. What possible meaning could my life have in the face of such insignificance?

 

During the long nights I lie awake and rehearse conversations with family members and friends, playing out the various reactions each might have to what now seems to be my inevitable de-conversion. I find myself both wishing that my mum was here and being grateful that she is not - if she was here perhaps she would have some words of wisdom for me or simply tell me that she loved me whatever I decided, yet I can't help but think that all of this would bring her a great deal of pain.

 

My rather limited social circle feels as if it has shrunk still further, not because anyone has reacted badly to my doubts, but because they simply are not aware. I cannot bring myself to bring this topic up in conversation for fear of their response and my currently limited ability to defend or articulate my thoughts or beliefs. Other than my younger brother (who is aware of my current position and is very supportive) and my counsellor, no one is aware of what I am currently wrestling with. It has become all consuming.

 

The first few weeks of my questioning were a flurry of reading and researching, I was desperate for information, to absorb everything I could get my hands on that questioned or challenged my faith. Now I find that I struggle to even pick up one of the many books I have waiting for me to read, barely struggle through a page before I have to put it down again.

 

My mind seems to hum with a multitude of thoughts; What if you're wrong? What if God is real and He's as cruel and cold as you feared He was? What if you are damning your soul to hell for all eternity? If God isn't real then what's the point of life, is it just a pointless struggle for nothing? What reason to you have to keep on living if your life has no intrinsic purpose, if it is not part of a grand design? (That latter question/issue is no doubt related to my ongoing battle with depression, one that I am winning for the most part, though this questioning/doubting has perhaps pushed me backward a little). What if you lose everything and everyone?

 

How could you have wasted so many years believing in a fairy tale? If this life is all there is then you had better get living before you are dead! You are responsible for finding your own purpose and creating meaning for your life, what are you going to do with it? Why should you have to hide how you feel or what you think? Screw what everyone else thinks, they can either accept you or get the hell out!

 

It is exhausting.

 

A part of me simply wishes to state - "I no longer believe!" Yet there is another part of me which continues to cling desperately to all that has been called into question.

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When you are ready to let go, you will. It took me a few years to finally declare myself "an atheist." It's not something I share much about with my friends or family, but they know. I think that it's safe to say that you may always have doubts, if a god exists or not etc. But I think there comes a point if you see all these inner battles through, where you accept the doubts as part of being human, raised in a religious culture. You know, there is no rush. You are discovering yourself a new light. This is a journey and that alone, can be worth the struggle. Never stop questioning. Don't worry, what is naturally going to happen...will. You'll see. Hugs (I really enjoy your writing) :)

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This was hard to read, very emotional for me.

 

I went through a deep struggle as I let go of my faith. Depression set in. I wanted so badly for God to be real. Yet he was not. God never can be real. In my mind, I knew that he was not real, that praying was nothing more than spiritual masturbation. Something to take the edge off, something to put my heart at ease.

 

I reached for God like I had once reached for the bottle or the pipe, something, anything to make the pain go away. Yet my heart longed for him, for that sacred relationship that you read about in apologetic books and devotional literature.

 

Sometimes it may seem as if the non-believer cannot understand the believer. The atheist ways are so distant from those of the believer. As you take the first steps away from God, your heart resists. One yearns for purpose, but what is purpose, Avandris?

 

I think that each individual must create their own purpose. It is not enough to be given a purpose by an invisible deity. Your purpose must unique to you. Only you can make it happen. I wasted a good chunk of my 20s waiting God to speak my purpose to my heart, to guide me in fulfilling his holy plan. I realize now that I have to strong enough to create my own purpose and that has to be enough for me in this moment.

 

Hope the above makes sense and I wish you well. :)

~seven77

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Hey, Avandris! Everything you write about your struggle, your questions, your depression resonates with me. Of course, the details of your life are different from mine. But I went through very much the same issues you are going through. As I was reading your blog, I was feeling your angst and your pain. But I was also feeling a sense of hope and optimism for you. When I was going through my long struggle, I couldn't see outside of it, couldn't see that I was making any progress. But I came through it. I see you in your struggle. And I see you coming through it. I won't pretend to predict how long it will take you or what specific issues and events will occur. But I see such powerful and wonderful humanity at work in you. Believe me, Avandris, you inspire me.

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