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Showing content with the highest reputation on 07/19/2021 in all areas

  1. Hello allI wasn’t sure where to post this so I hope it is ok here. I have been (though see below) a Christian for about 30 years (I am 53, today actually), and I am terrified of hell (specifically, the lake of fire). I have wanted to leave Christianity because the last 10+ years have been terrible. Not every day, but enough that I had to do something. The anxiety is literally ruining my life and I can’t cope with it. I was happy being a Christian, but then, I thought I had blasphemed the Holy Spirit back in November 2010. I just thought up a bad thought/image for no apparent reason - what therapists might call an 'Intrusive Thought'. After that, as I say, it all changed for me and Christianity became a fearful thing. On the 15th July 2021, I had a therapy session and I said to the therapist, when I first got into Christianity, I didn’t know it was true, but I decided to become a Christian for various reasons. If you had put a gun to my head and said “tell me what you really believe”, and you knew whether or not I would be lying, I would have admitted I did not think Christianity was true – but hoped it was. Today I realise, I still think Christianity probably isn’t true, only, instead of thinking, “Christianity probably isn't true - but I hope it is”, I now think “Christianity probably isn't true - but I fear it is.” Then it struck me - if that's the case - I have never really believed it was true. Truth is, I really do not know, either way. I really do not know if it is true, and I really do not know if it is not true. But I think it probably is not true. Even if all my anxiety was removed for a minute, so that it would not influence my thinking, this is what I would honestly think. I never wanted any of this. I was once a happy Christian, with the hope of an afterlife. Over the years I ended up being a member of two churches (at different times of course), and I read the Bible a couple of times, studied the Bible on my own, studied as part of a midweek church group, and I prayed and tried to live a Christian life. But the anxiety has been so bad I reached the point where I felt I could not carry on like this; the suffering was simply too much. Just to clarify, I am not really saying it is definitely not true. I can’t make that claim (just like I cannot say it definitely is true). I think I’m saying deep down, I mean, really deep down, when it comes to it, I honestly don’t know – but I think it’s probably not true. Here is the salient part: If that is how I really think, if that is what I really believe (and I think it is), and God exists, then God already knew this before even I realised it. I might have been able to hide the fact from myself but I never did nor ever could hide it from God. In that respect, seeing as God already knows this, there is no longer any point pretending things are different. God already knew and knows I think Christianity probably isn't true. I am not sure what happens next, but I do feel a bit better. That said, I also feel anxious, sometimes, quite a bit anxious. But I cannot deny what I believe any longer. Having done a little research, I think I would be classed as an Agnostic-Atheist. And guess what? I now find myself worrying Islam might be true. I am serious. If there actually is a God, I hope they understand that I am sorry it came to this (as I said earlier, there was a time I was happy as a Christian). I could not take the anxiety anymore. I persevered for over 10 years. But in the end it was too much. I hope this gets easier.
    3 points
  2. If God is real, loving and wanted you to believe in him he would not stay in hiding. He would not allow you to worry and be anxious. I am pretty darned sure Jesus does not exist but if he does and he wants worship like the bible says then I demand he appear. I'm not going to kowtow to a god with poor behavior or lack of social skills. I got tired of the kowtowing nonsense in 2003 and said bye bye to Jesus. I got no response. I did have a bit of post conversion fear but it helped to tell myself I was more powerful than god and jesus and satan. I stood up to them and they faded. Even if it is all real and I end up burning in hell I will lift my burning middle finger towards heaven for all eternity and tell god to stick it, because sending good people to hell because they didnt kiss your butt... is evil. But there really isnt any indication in reality that there is a God, Satan, Jesus, or Hell. You should be able to have a frank and open conversation and criticize God to his face. I'm not going to live in fear for all eternity. (Hope that's helpful)
    2 points
  3. Long story short, no. Though I did see quite a few visions reasonably sober at strip clubs, parties and whatnot. As a xian I would have to say these were not of god. The best visions never were. mwc
    2 points
  4. Seajay, It sounds like you have a lot of Religious trauma right now. But it also sounds like your on the right track to gaining your freedom from religion. I hope this community is helping you in this process. Your right, it can take a long time. My deconversion process started years before I had the ultimate revelation that completely ended my faith in Christianity. My hope is that you as well have that moment where everything clicks into place and that fear that plagues you now disappears. I know right now your thinking what if Christians are right. And that is a big question to overcome. As always my best advice is to keep reading studies from secular scholars about the bible. The Christian apologists will only confuse you and do their best to keep you in the Christian snare. Always keep in mind that the Bible is demonstrably false. That is a fact. And if the Bible is demonstrably false, then there is no way Christianity is right. A book supposedly inspired by an omni God such as the bibles should not be able to fail under scrutiny. But it does. As far as Islam goes. It is based on the same fallable old testament that Christianity is based on. If the Bible fails to be an accurate and true text for Christians it will also fail to be an accurate and true text for Islam. I wish you the best seajay. DB
    2 points
  5. It was presented to me the way Myrkoos said as well initially. But honestly to me as a Christian that didn't really make sense. I mean either way if you deny the "Holy spirit" you go to hell. So how can willful rejection be unforgivable. Ya here testimonies all the time of how someone rejected "Gods call" in church. And how it took several days if not years for them to accept "Gods truth". Think about the apostle Paul. How many times would he have had to reject "the truth". However what made sense to me is that it was supposed to be in relation to the ten commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. And from my perspective that was to claim the lords name to do evil in his name. Which fit with this instance with Jesus. He was casting out devils. The pharisees accused him of casting out devils by the devil. They were accusing him of something that was unforgivable. He was claiming to be Gods son. So he says no. How can I cast out devils by the devil? Because how can the devil cast himself out. Then explains that to blaspheme the Holy Ghost is unforgivable. What is supposed to lead a Christian? The holy ghost right? So If I told someone that I was lead by the Hoky Ghost to kill a bunch of Asians at the local rub n tug. Then that would be Blaspheme of the Holy Ghost because God can't do or tell someone to do that which is evil right? And that made more sense to me back then. I think that was the original meaning. But it evolved into being unforgivable to reject Gods truth as a fear tactic, which has obviously worked with you. They just teach that to make hell that much more fearful. Basically convert and don't question what we say or burn in hell for eternity. 1 John 4:1, NASB: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into Seajay, all you have done is tried the spirits. Your making sure that what you are being told is the truth and are finding that it is not. Its funny that this scripture is in the Bible. Because when you follow these directions thats when one begins to see its all a lie. Bottom line. Your not going to hell. Hell doesn't exist. I hope you read "Heaven and hell" by Bart ehrmann. You really need to read that. It will go a long way to ease those fears of hell. He shows how in the earliest Christian belief there was no hell like what is taught today. Hell and heaven were evolutions in the faith over time for various reasons. He does a very good job laying it all out.
    1 point
  6. Does a sign have to be something you literally see or hear or can it be something you feel? Because I've "felt" that god meant for things to be this way or that. The concept of "meant to be" as it were. Also, coincidences as well. Having a thought and then happening upon things that play into those thoughts or may well be nearly or exactly those thoughts. Really, it's more like a target fixation. Like where people are driving through a nearly empty lot and hit the only other car. They fixate on that target and basically drive themselves into it instead of avoiding it. If I have something on my mind I tend to notice it a lot more than when it's totally out of mind. Noticing people who have the same sort of car, especially when I first buy it, is an example of this sort of fixation. The only time I saw things wasn't related to religion. It was something else altogether, and long story short, it ultimately was related to sleep issues and sleep deprivation. mwc
    1 point
  7. This is probably the worst thing Christians can do. Yes I did do this. And the choice I made thinking it was a sign handed down from God, caused me to lose a house, two vehicles, and file for bankruptcy. It took a decade for me to get over that. For a long time I was mad at God. I thought he had led me into harms way. I tried to take comfort in the poem, "footprints" but in the end I just found out there was no God there giving me signs. I made a stupid decision based on my imagination. There are no signs from God. Don't get caught in that trap like I did. It sucks.
    1 point
  8. Happy b-day. It might just be. And? The thing is what people tend to leave out of consideration, and I mean seriously leave out of consideration, is that *all* religions *might* be true. Not just the monotheistic Abrahamic religions. But any and all religions that have ever been and not just the mainstream religions but even the ones that we might call crazy or fringe cults including things like Scientology. Simply everything that has made a claim in this arena. Hundreds, if not thousands, of religions with thousands of gods. If you or I make a product and tons of forgeries come out and flood the market what should we do? Should we try to protect our product? Should we do our best to remove the fakes from the marketplace? Or should we let the frauds exist and severely punish those who simply cannot figure out which is the correct product is the legit one? Shift all the responsibility away from us, the product creator who knows exactly which product is legit, to the buyer who can only go on the word of others that they're not getting a knock-off? Should "let the buyer beware" really be the model for each and every religion? Especially those that promote ideas like eternal damnation? I can only say that it did for me. I only sort of "accidentally" deconverted over several years. In hindsight I was taking the "god" out of my discussions and looking for explanations that weren't simply some form of "goddidit." I actually just cut god out altogether once I had a kitten die (likely got killed by coyotes) and went through a bit of a thought experiment. God can't bring back a dead person for, you know "reasons" (no need to go through all them since we've heard most of them), but a kitten? Why not? No free will. No blabbing to other cats about "the beyond." And since I didn't know for certain the cat was truly dead there was nothing on my end. As I saw it the cat is gone and now it's back. If it didn't die then god brought it back. If it died then the coyote got a free meal and the cat got a story it can't tell (or a mind wipe...it's a cat...again, no free will). But, no cat. I really fixated on this kitten and why it couldn't simply, miraculously, come back since it just could. No harm. No foul. So I asked for a sign that it was dead. I searched everywhere near my house. All over the hills and in and around rocks and the scrub. No sign. I asked for any sign. Silence. I was done. I was probably done before this but the kitten was the last straw. This god offered no comfort. It offered nothing. I realized I was on my own and was simply holding out hope. Grasping at straws, anything, to keep my beliefs alive. I sure do miss that kitten though. mwc
    1 point
  9. Thank you for the reply. I continue to study secular sources and it does help. I quite enjoy it too. The history the methods applied; all very interesting.
    1 point
  10. Hi there, SeaJay! Thank you for sharing those insightful words! And how nice to hear from you again. It does tend to make one aware of one's own vulnerability as a human being, when one starts to ponder the more frightening and negative parts of Christianity and the many interpretations thereof. And as you mention Islam, we would of course be equally vulnerable when faced with any all-powerful being, whether part of any established religion or not. One silver lining is that the fact that there's an infinitude of potential gods, and a fair number of established religions as well, goes a long way to showing how arbitrary these ideas really are. Only one of these religions was passed on to us and gained an emotional hold, but it could have been almost any religion, even one which hasn't been invented. Coming to terms with deep existential anxiety from a very emotional experience that's lasted for years is quite a big change, and the amount of time and effort involved in the process seems to vary wildly from person to person. But it does tend to get better for people over time. And judging from your post, you already seem to be doing much better. I hope you'll continue to find joy and solace in the insights you have along the way, and that you'll share them with us if and when you feel like doing so.
    1 point
  11. I’d say the great majority of us here at Ex-C share this outlook. You’re in good company! That’s very typical too. A combination of feeling scared and liberated at the same time. As time goes by the fear diminishes and the feeling of liberation dominates.
    1 point
  12. Yes, you see where I'm going with this. It tends to keep coming up with some of the apologists who have been here recently. Usually in the form of claiming that we have faith in science or we have faith that god isn't real or something like that. So I took off for the weekend of the 4th pulling my new pontoon with my F250 Diesel. It has a rebuilt engine that I'd only been using for about 3 weeks. I get about 45 minutes down the road on the way to the keys and it starts shutting itself down. My wife was pissed because this is the third time the truck has had engine problems on a trip. I coasted with the momentum of the truck and boat over to a turn around median. Called the the guy that I bought it from. He sent a wrecker to pick up the truck and hitch the trailer. I didn't get mad, I just went to thinking about how I can get down to our paid vacation anyways. No rental trucks were available. So I got a U-Haul Van, hitched up my boat, and went to the keys anyways. The guy who sold me the truck is trading it out for a different one off the lot, a year newer model. So perspective is one issue here. It was better off breaking down there where the truck could be towed back to the lot within the same county, instead of breaking down way out of anywhere in the everglades which is where it could have broke down. I made the most of the situation through positive thinking instead of going into subjective rage fits over a bad situation. It has the same makings of a religious, "everything happens for a reason." Because that always boils down to perspective and shifts or changes in perspective. Things can always seem as though they happened for a reason, if there is no fixed reason behind it. It just seems that way based on perspective. In a bad situation, I was lucky enough to make the most of it and get through ok. Because of my mindset, perspective, and keeping to positive thinking oriented problem solving. My wife was ultimately happy that we got to our paid vacation despite the road blocks along the way. And was proud that I handled it very level headed and didn't just blow a fuse and go off into subjective based ranting like her ex husband would have done given the same situation. And he IS christian. Of little faith I assume..... But some else with a christian view would have probably stood up front at church the next week and given a testimony to everyone about how god saved their family trip. Stretching the truth and appealing to emotion while doing it. It could have been so much worse, but god saved the day! Except there is no god, he didn't save the day, and my truck breaking down wasn't part of any preplanned agenda or destiny, shit just happens! I believe in myself and have faith in myself to navigate (impromptu as times) the shit that does happen!!!
    1 point
  13. I’ve already been in some dark places. Hopefully this isn’t so bad. It’s good to know you’re feeling better.
    1 point
  14. Yes. My deconversion was a brutal, four year long catastrophe. Although I am better for having had the experience, I would not wish it on anyone else. In retrospect, I can honestly say that I did not have the strength, fortitude, or wherewithal to endure such a struggle. I think I only survived it out of stubbornness and defiance. You are where you are, dude. Learn to live there and don't worry so much about getting to some other "place" in life.
    1 point
  15. You're being very logical and objective with this approach. Yes, if there is an all knowing god, then the all knowing god would already know what you believe or don't believe before "the creation of the earth," as it were. Not just before you were born. Always. And then, what's more, is that this same all knowing god would have seen through you being born knowing full well that you wouldn't be truly believing this bit about christianity. And still created the world, still had whatever hand such a god has in anyone, including you, being born. I don't if this helps or not, but some of us have had very similar thoughts and have gone through the same general logical deductions you're going through now. I've heard several people express that even if there were such a god, they'd have no interest in groveling around and worshipping it. Because the god comes off as some type of cosmic ego who wants non stop praise all the time. And the scenario makes people out to be bowing, groveling, subjects and who wants to spend an eternity praising some ego anyways? Imagine being put on Cuban shores and having bow and sing and praise forever and ever to Castro for all of eternity. Because all of this praise is pleasing to his delicate ego. That's literally a parallel to the scenario presented in Revelation. And does anyone really want that anyways???? Another way of looking at it could be that a god exists but no one religion actually understands it or has it all right. All are merely struggling towards understanding something that they don't or can't possibly understand, including the biblical narratives. In this case, holy books don't carry much weight or matter very much one way or another. They aren't literally accurate, so it doesn't matter very much. And whatever any of them say about the afterlife can't be literally true either, as they don't or can't actually understand the truth of any of it. That looks to be a do your best, live and do good in life, and go off into death believing whatever you will about it and take it for whatever it may be, because no one really knows what to expect. I've thought about another scenario too. What if this is all a big test? And christianity is a deception? This isn't left field. There's a lot wrong with christianity and a great many deceptive lies found within the bible and the religion itself. What if only those who can 'detect the lies' are those found worthy in the end? And the groveling lot of lowly subjects bowed down for eternity who don't question anything or use their minds are a way of "weeding out the wankers?" I'm dealing in terms of fiction here, this idea is a very fictional way of putting a creative twist on the issue. But it can cause a pause for thought. There's something honorable about having a mind of your own. And not just falling in line with what the crowd is doing, or jumping off a cliff because everyone else in the majority is doing it. If the majority are christian, so what? That only illustrates how an entire majority can be this wrong about something. That's not left field either. We've had countless illustrations throughout history where a majority of people have dead wrong about something or another. It's no different now where christianity is concerned.
    1 point
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