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About Cat

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  • Birthday 09/16/1959

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. You have faith and hope, and from what I know of you, love too... Things you were unable to find within Catholicism, which was doing you no good whatsoever and a great deal of harm. It is so good that you have your bf to support you through this and as you continue to move forward, just remember that the past and its difficulties are behind you and you are now in control. Thanks for having the courage to tell your story, *hugs* Cat
  2. Hi Jillian! I was in your situation, or one similar a short time back, having deconverted from pretty devout Catholic last December. I had to tell my family because I live so close to them and in fact attended the same parish as most of my in laws. And I have to admit one of the things my mother has thrown at me is how selfish I am, breaking hearts by my actions. But I could not continue to go to church and stand up and say "We believe" when I clearly did not. And having had a pretty torrid time for a few months, I now feel the best that I have for years. If I still had to keep it a secret, I think the whole process for me would have been more difficult and to be honest, I think it all would have come out in the end anyway, either by someone telling them "in confidence" or me having too much to drink on a family occasion and blurting it out then. Far better that it came out the way it did, when I felt secure and in control when I told, at a time that was as least stressful as possible for them. In addition, I needed to be able to tell my son in order to try and undo any damage I may have done. But if I had lived a distance, would I have tried to pretend? Having gone through what I have gone through following my disclosure to the family, I might be tempted, but I think I could not live with the pretence. I guess one option is to talk about a "crisis of faith", having a "difficult time" and go to Mass but not communion. If they ask more, just say you don't want to talk about it. You don't have to go into details about your beliefs with them.
  3. Thanks for posting your story. I was where you are roughly 6 months ago and never thought I'd smile again. My whole life for 46 years had revolved around God and the possibility of living without him seemed impossible, added to which, no one else followed me in my family, leaving somewhat out on a limb on my own. But I have come to an understanding of life that is far more coherent and peaceful than any period I had as a Christian. Yes no eternal life, but yes, no fears that those I love will end up forever separated in the fires of hell. No sky practical joker sending trials and tribulations to see how I'd react, no impossible things to believe before breakfast and no ancient rules of conduct that seek only to terrorise and make miserable lives that cannot fit them. The path you've got to go down now can be rocky and dark, there's no denying it. But once you step out of the abyss, into the sunlight of reality, the whole process seems so worthwhile, you'll hardly look back.
  4. Hi singlecoil! You've been through such a lot and sounds as though it's still going on. I admire the way you sought things out, difficult to do with the consequences you might have forseen. I hope you find support here, but as you say, the thing to remember is that your life is yours and that is a good thought to walk with. It's hard to accept that bad things just happen, but better than believing they happen as god sits by and watches while we plead in tears... Cat
  5. I still play with my old music group occasionally in church. They know I don't believe any longer but I enjoy the music we make and I would miss it. I cannot see the harm in participating for the enjoyment it brings, just carry on treating it as a professional situation and enjoy it!
  6. Hell sat on my shoulder for a good while, but it is just incompatible with any concept of god that is beyond primitive. Think of us humans, how we cannot stand to see someone suffer, yet those who preach it tell us god can sit and watch us burn for all time! Are we more compassionate than the "all loving god"? Hell is a man made concept, a god who is like a superman but with primitive instincts, wants and desires instead of mature compassionate well developed ones. Is that possible or feasible? Hell doesn't exist and any thought that you have that says it does comes from years of indoctrination. The emotion associated with it may remain once you can grasp that, but it will fade with time. I hope you can see a small glimpse of light soon in this difficult time you are going through. Cat
  7. Hi MF! Like you, I have residual fear of hell and anxiety- it takes a long time to shake once its been drilled into you. But it gets better with time (I hear) and places like this certainly help, even just lurking. Thanks for sharing your story... Cat
  8. Thanks Seabiscuit. I appreciate your offer of support I'm currently lurking round threads on the forums here and find it very helpful as well, lots of things I'm thinking and feeling reflected in what's here.
  9. Thanks Serenity It's the loss of community I feel pretty acutely at the moment. Chuch was it for me, THE community, as it were. Previously I would have relied on friends in church for support and help in times of crisis, but can't do that anymore. Well, they'd like me to and they are offering support but largely in the forms of prayers and telling me not to think so much...
  10. Thanks both. I must get hold of The Spiral Staircase... As for C S Lewis, I think he is a fine writer of beautiful fables in the Narnia series, but that is all that they are. His other works all depend on the god I no longer believe in and his solutions for dealing with pain and suffering ones that do not work for me in a world with no god. The hell thing rears its head for me still, my mother is quite disapproving (we've been there today for sister's birthday) and doesn't lose a chance to get a dig in. It's hard, even though cognitively I know what is truth and what is fiction, to shake the emotion contained within her words. She cannot understand me not taking up Pascal's wager and in her eyes, I am doomed.
  11. Thanks all so much Charley- I take your point about Christian messages. I encouraged these initially, partly because of wanting to put the blinkers back on. It's interesting that many of you mentioned this- Artur, Wolfheart, ficino, Vigile_del_fuoco1 and I Broke Free- I can see what you all mean about wanting to go back. The emotional tie is so strong, it hurts, but the further I get into this the more I realise that returning is not an option nor do I want it to. I made the mistake of starting a blog and letting my Christian friends have the address. In the end I deleted it (and started a new one for myself, because it helps me to write.) I still hang round on CF, there are some there who I find helpful to read, even though there is a lot of negativity and hostility there too a lot of the time, as MQTA says. But some there are very wise and I am trying to be discerning in what I read. With my insomnia being bad at the moment, surfing at night stops me from the ruminations that drive it, so I may not sleep but at least I'm not winding myself up so much. SoulinCrisis- I used to go to Adoration too and sit and think and pray. But the last few times, it just seemed so unreal, so fake. But I’ve not had that sense of relief you describe yet, perhaps because life is quite stressful at the moment and I’ve lost my “crutch” before finding something to replace it with. SaviourMachine- you’re the second person who has quoted the Matrix at me in the last couple of days. Perhaps I better get round to seeing it… HansSolo- I am aware this will take time. Taking a long term perspective, 40 years as a Christian is a long time and 6 weeks short, so I expect feelings to ebb and flow as they are. But what I feel is not reality, and it is reality I have to live with. I have no choice. But I have had periods of contentment and I’m sure once this phase of breaking away from church and telling family is over, things will begin to settle more. Thanks everyone else, I’ve read all the messages and they are all much appreciated and helpful at the moment. Cat
  12. I like that... Thanks, and thanks cathuria too. Just don't have many people outside computerland who aren't Christian I can talk to about this, so the replies are gratefully received and thought upon. And Grinch- don't mind about the thread- just wish I'd spelt lose right. And blasphemy
  13. Thanks all. In terms of what I've found helpful reading, I guess there's pre and post my deconversion. Before I read stacks of stuff as I mentioned, Geza Vermes, Dead Sea scrolls and The Authentic Gospel of Jesus; Elaine Pagel, Beyond belief & Gnostic Gospels; Dead Sea Scrolls & Essene stuff by Alvar Ellegard, Jonathan Campbell & CP Thiede; Begining of the Christian Church by Hans Leitzmann and the Gospels themselves, especially a meditation and study of the Sermon on the Mount. Since I've read George Smith's Atheism, The Case against God, Dawkins, Russell, Nietzsche- a crash course in fact of stuff I'd never looked at before. I found Dawkins quite helpful, if somewhat dogmatic at times and George Smith's book summed up for me the way I had been thinking over the previous few months. Of all the books, it was Karen Armstrong's Short History of Myth, though, that was the turning point, as I suddenly had a vision of Christianity as being just one of many ways humanity has used to try and make sense of the world about them. I'd read her account of leaving the convent many years ago and was fascinated to see where she had got to, though I've not yet read her autobiography. As for my name, it's part of my real life name, but I also have a cat. I wish I was one at the moment, their lives seem so much less complicated. Eat, sleep, eat, sleep...
  14. My deconversion, loss of faith, whatever you want to call it is still relatively new, just over a month ago. I was previously a Catholic Christian for 40+ years and my faith and my god were the focal points of my life. All my family, my friends were centred in the church, my reading, outside activities also church based, my coping style in a difficulty has always been to pray first. So in loosing god I have somehow lost a base in which to stand, which (with British understatement mode on) is a little disconcerting. So how did I loose god if I was so wrapped up in belief that I was unable to see all the things I see so clearly now? I was always very deep in my beliefs, through my life when difficult things arose- initially the serious mental and physical illness of my sister when I was a teenager; I went through terrible periods of doubt and questioning about how a loving god could allow this to happen. I eventually settled on a position of trust- life without god for me was unthinkable- and that carried me through much. I married a man who had gone through a similar process and whose family were also devout and church going. Our first son was born with problems and for a time it looked as though he wouldn’t make it. I begged and pleaded that he might survive, which he did but damaged. Over the years, adjusting to that damage and his suffering was more than difficult, at times it was impossible. He developed a psychotic illness and became profoundly depressed at the age of 12, tests showed epileptic activity in one side of his brain to be the likely cause. Drugs didn’t help, neither did god. The only thing I could do for him at times was to hold him as he wept and shook, terrified by the voices that tormented him and wouldn’t leave him be. God became someone for me to rage at, what loving god would allow this? Even as part of a cosmic grand plan, why pick on my son as the one to suffer? I spent a long period in this state, but finally came out of it by again deciding to trust. Once more the option of there being no god just didn’t even occur to me. Part of the way I helped myself through was by joining a Christian forum on the internet. Evenings were often fraught and after son1 had gone to bed, I could surf and get help and strength from like minded individuals. I stayed out of debates, not being into confrontation and found it a great blessing. After about 18 months there, someone suggested I apply to be a mod. In typical Cat fashion, I decided to put it in god’s hand. I reckoned that seeing as how most of my posts were in fellowship rather than meaty debate, I wouldn’t be accepted, but to my surprise, I was. I got finally allocated to mod the apologetics forum, where I hadn’t spent much time previously. The ethos there at that time was to mod quite firmly, to flush out blasphemony and promotion of atheism and to take no nonsense, backed up by Christian posters who reported everything they felt breached those rules. That meant lots of reports to deal with, lots of posts to read and lots of information to be taken in that wasn’t exactly new, but hadn’t been prominent in my mind. I didn’t enjoy it, in fact, I hated it. Giving out my first warnings as instructed brought back furious messages that I found hard to deal with, especially if I’d had a difficult day in work or with son1. But the more I dealt with them, the more I began to realise a lot of what I was reading and what was being said to me made far more sense than the things the Christians were saying. That shook me. My whole anchor for life came under attack, so I did the only thing a decent Christian woman of faith could do at this point. I gave up moderating. But the things that had been awoken in my mind wouldn’t go away. Hell, this strange god of love who also tormented and tortured suffering, the historical nature of Jesus, and many more arguments all danced around my head to meet with no real answer. I decided to put my faith to the test, confident that if I did that, god would send me an answer and I would be safe. There started 4 months of reading and searching and thinking. Karen Armstrong’s works left a deep impression, as did Geza Vermes, various books on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Elaine Pagels, which weren’t eased by reading the bible again, especially the Sermon on the Mount, and C S Lewis. I also spent more time on other websites, reading but not participating in threads and following links to more information which shook me. All of which lead me to where I am now, in a world without a god in it It’s not easy by any means, my family are disappointed, shocked, unhappy (and not all of them know yet.) I’ve also lost my outside activities and more importantly, my ways of coping have been pulled from under my feet. And if I was to be 100% honest now, if I could go back and put my blinkers on, I think I might still do so, because I feel like I’m in hell most of the time. But I know I cannot. And I knew this might be a consequence of my search and I still went forwards, because once you know, there’s no other choice. I’m working on my coping styles and on my life and I hope that soon this feeling of horror and sorrow and despair will go and I’ll be left with something more like normality. I'm following some good advice I've received elswhere and every now and then get a day or two where things aren't so bad. Each time I tell someone and face their reaction though, it gets a bit precarious, my parents being the latest ones. My hubbie is far better than he was at first and is now supporting me as I tell people, which is more than I hoped for. So that's it so far. Hoping it gets better soon... Cat
  15. I cannot actually remember telling my husband, which being as I only finally lost all vestiges of my 40 year faith 6 weeks ago shows how much of an upheaval it was. I think he knew something was up, because I told him I couldn't go to church and communion anymore the week before, but when I told him I'd lost it all, I have no idea. It just doesn't exist in my memory banks. What I do remember is that he was deeply distressed and for a couple of weeks things were very difficult. He was very opposed to me telling our 13 year old son at first, but as he came to realise son would notice me not going to church, he agreed to let me tell him. (Our older son has learning difficulties and wouldn't care.) Son2 goes to church weekly and is very involved in church matters (as were we all.) I just dropped it into one of my deep and meaningful talks that son2 initiates, by asking him if he'd noticed I'd not been to church for a few weeks. To which he said he had, but it was none of his business. I just told him then I didn't find I could believe in god anymore, which he took on board for a couple of minutes, then said to me "You know, Mum, you've got to find your own path." I had been so worried about his reaction this was such a relief. Telling my parents, which I did last weekend, was incredibly hard. I just waited for an opportunity when visiting and stated I wasn't going to church anymore because I didn't believe. As we live in a relatively small community, they would have found out I wasn't going to church sooner or later, so they had to know, also it's hard to talk to them for more than 2 minutes without god coming up in conversation. My mother was shocked and my father diasappointed. My mother used the Pascal wager card with a twist- OK, if I'm wrong I'd go to hell, but what if son2 follows me, because I'll influence him and he'll leave the church and then go to hell. How am I'm going to feel when he's in hell? Fortunately they've decided not to talk to me about it anymore, but just pray for me. Because I don't know if I'd keep my temper if they did. Still got to deal with hubbie's family (all of whom are also christian) and many friends and church groups. It's hard work, this telling people when your whole life revolved around church before...
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