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On The Verge Of Going Back


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Well.. Yes I know.. Stupid crazy..

I am on the verge of going back to xianity. I don't want to but I feel like I am being pulled back and can't escape it.

 

IT makes me mad, but I really am having a difficult time rationalizing away the spiritual realm and the spirtitual experiences that I had while in xianity.

 

It perhaps didn't help that I went to talk my sort of former spiritual mentor,a woman who I do trust who I know is genuine... who has had a inner healing ministry and amoung other things. I use to be very involved in her prayer group, and she is now a evangalist speaking around the world.

 

I geuss I wanted her to prove to me one way or another if God really is real. But the experience I was looking for, I did not find..but I did leave there with a sense that God is real but maybe just not in the way we are taught to believe.

 

I feel kind of trapped,and feel like I need to make a choice to believe or not believe at all. I do not want to go back to the old way of thinking..and I am completly frustrated thinking that perhaps God does exsist and maybe I was wrong and xianity is sorta true.

Help.

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There are more ways of viewing god(s) than the Christian version. It takes some looking, but if you know that Christianity is wrong, then why bark up that tree. There are other systems to look at. If you feel that you should go back, that is your decision.

 

Diety is not a binary proposition, it isn't just between the Christian god and atheism. There are many others out there. If you want a starting point for looking for others, I and I am sure other people here would be glad to help.

 

It's good that you are looking for what you believe, what you find is true.

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I would encourage you not to feel manipulated or pressured either way (if that's even possible?). Not all Christianity is about gay-bashing, self-righteous evangelism, or head-in-the-sand pseudoscience. I think that Christianity (loosely defined) does have the power to be a positive and--dare I say it?--beautiful expression of spirituality. I still think theism is illogical and doesn't follow from observations, but deduction and induction aren't everything, and if being an atheist makes you miserable... don't feel pressured into it. Also, BlueGiant is right; it's not about Christianity vs. atheism. There's millions of other things you could believe, and millions of other ways to express your spirituality.

 

What you're going through is completely normal. Just give it time, and look into other alternatives. If you are interested in positive Christianity, try reading Marcus Borg, or maybe John Shelby Spong.

 

Remember, your beliefs have changed in the past, and they will probably change in the future. Don't get too hung up about having to be right all the time. There's more to life than who's right and who's wrong.

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I feel kind of trapped,and feel like I need to make a choice to believe or not believe at all.

 

This statement confuses me. How do you "choose" to believe or not believe in something? Do you choose to believe in Santa?

 

In any case, if you are serious, then lay out your arguments for why you still might believe xianity to be true and let us pick them apart. If they survive our critiques they you will have a good reason to go back. Right now it sounds as if you are undergoing a round of emotional manipulation from your mentor.

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What were your reasons for leaving and what are your reason for going back?

 

Here are some concerns I have. First of all Christianity IS false! You went to visit a friend, who had some emotional pull with you. I bet if I had been with you, she would be the one rocking in her boots right now! At least I am certain, she would NOT have adequatly answered any of MY questions and would likley have embarrassed herself in front of you.

 

Here's the thing. SHe has no evidense whatsoever. Yet she is the one making aboslutely astonishing claims about relaity and the nature of the universe and the destiny of the human race. As a non-believer we are making NO such claims about anything. The burden of proof is on her, and "spirutal gut feelings" don't count. EVry single religion and cult in the worl is teaming with people as convinced as she is that they have a relationship with "God". It is really a relationship with their own brain chemistry.

 

Here's the other thing. Even though SHE is making the astonishing vlaims, and has NO proof whatever, and we are making no such claims, it is US that can virtually prove the Bible is false. If you are will to look at the information truthfully you can KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Bible is false.

 

Well.. Yes I know.. Stupid crazy..

I am on the verge of going back to xianity. I don't want to but I feel like I am being pulled back and can't escape it.

 

IT makes me mad, but I really am having a difficult time rationalizing away the spiritual realm and the spirtitual experiences that I had while in xianity.

 

It perhaps didn't help that I went to talk my sort of former spiritual mentor,a woman who I do trust who I know is genuine... who has had a inner healing ministry and amoung other things. I use to be very involved in her prayer group, and she is now a evangalist speaking around the world.

 

I geuss I wanted her to prove to me one way or another if God really is real. But the experience I was looking for, I did not find..but I did leave there with a sense that God is real but maybe just not in the way we are taught to believe.

 

I feel kind of trapped,and feel like I need to make a choice to believe or not believe at all. I do not want to go back to the old way of thinking..and I am completly frustrated thinking that perhaps God does exsist and maybe I was wrong and xianity is sorta true.

Help.

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Truth, I've told others before that if you feel there is some kind of supernatural or spiritual world "out there", that doesn't mean the Bible version of it is the correct one. If you want to find the truth (as your name hints), you have to keep on searching for it.

 

Personally I don't think there is a spiritual world, but for a moment I will be on your side. Considering there is a supernatural world, does everyone that make contact with this supernatural world have the real answers? No, of course not, because they contradict each other. So does it mean that if you claim to have knowledge about the supernatural world, that you automatically have the true knowledge about it? Again, no. So I encourage you to look for the real and true version of spirituality before you jump into what is convenient. I think that personal experience and personal belief is the only true faith. Do - not - let - anyone - push - their - own - religion - on - you. And why do I say that? Because if you believe what someone else believes, then you are not truly believing but only following someone else's belief. If they're wrong, both of you go wrong.

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I went through the exact same pull and nearly returned to the fold as it were. There were lots of things I missed about the christian life. Giving myself the freedom/permission to pick up any bits I missed sort of lessened the hold christianity had on me.

 

I still love reading books that have a spiritual element, I even delve into the Bible from time to time but the few times I have attended church services since my deconversion I generally find that I'm happy to have made the decison to leave. (It was a hard long journey though!)

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I don't think it is possible for God to belong to any religion. They are all stories about God from different groups of people in different cultures and time periods. No one knows any more than the next, but when one starts to claim exclusive knowledge, then their understanding has given way to their desires.

 

Just keep that in mind and know that no one can lay exclusive claim to God. Many paths can show you how to experience God, but not one of them is the only way.

 

I wish you the best...

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Truth,

 

I'll add to the consensus of reaction to your dilemma: Instead of embracing Christianity as the only belief system that comports with your personal sense of spirituality and metaphysical views, check-out alternate belief systems that also entail the notion that god exists (in some shape or form) and that reality consists of more than just materialism. Because you seem to still consider Christianity dubious in some respects but are compelled to "go back" anyway, I must assume that you are simply unaware of all the other spiritual paradigms that are available to you. I'm confident that if you invest some more time and energy researching, you will find a belief system that gives you the best of both worlds, which would reflect the following two points in particular: 1) a belief system that includes the tenet that reality is more than sheer materialism and that some sort of God or higher power exists, and 2) a belief system that therefore validates your religious experiences but is not racked with the same logical problems of Christianity. So, please, in the effort to eliminate your cognitive dissonance, don't sabotage yourself by only focusing on a limited set of options.

 

Or, instead of embracing a non-Christian belief system, you could always plug-into another, less extreme form of Christianity that validated your religious experiences, confirmed your strong sense of god's existence and a spiritual realm, but didn't violate your intellectual integrity. From my perspective, the logical problems associated with Christianity are on a continuum of liberal to conservative to fundamentalist denominations. The closer a denomination is to the fundamentalist end of the continuum, the more irrational and thus intellectually untenable its version of Christianity. So, if you chose a liberal expression of Christianity that was not permeated by fundamentalist "bullshit", rather than perceiving your return to it as regression or "going back", you could perceive it as a step of spiritual and intellectual evolution/progress in your life.

 

Another possibility is to eliminate your sentiment that god and some sort of spiritual realm actually exist due to your religious experiences. After all, if this sentiment was eliminated, you wouldn't feel the urge to be on the verge of becoming a Christian again. But how can this sentiment be eliminated or at least reduced? Start to research naturalistic and psychological explanations for religious experience. Without jumping into all the philosophical details, I'm persuaded, based on my own research, that these kinds of explanations are much more plausible than the assertion that God causes such experiences. I agree with one of the previous commentors, post the specifics of your religious experiences and why you think they are impervious to rationalization, and if they are able to hold-up under the critical examinations of those on this site, then perhaps the experiences do in fact substantiate Christianity. But if they don't hold-up under scrutiny, then you can finally have peace in your decision to renounce Christianity.

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Okay I have been thinking a lot about xianity and the bible and the spititual realm and such.

 

I still don't know what to think. I realized that if I do indeed go back, that I will be exactly in the same place as where I was before which was not really agreeing with most of the stuff.. mostly the cultural rules.. but then it spread to not agreeing with a lot of what xianity stands for.

 

And I don't want to go back to the whole xian mind set, of being scared of everything under the sun and constantly worrying about offending God, or letting in the devil or something.

 

As far as spirtitual experiences that I had. I useto attend a womans prayer group which was lead by former mentor. She has had an inner healing and now a some what of a delieverence ministry.She wasn' big into the dramatics, and when praying for someone they would always be sitting down on a chair. She prayed like no one, I have heard before. She would be able to tell you things about your life, that she had no idea of possibly knowing. I would look into her eyes and see Jesus. SHe would get pictures in her head and then describe them to us. She would pray,and I would feel well a release, and sometimes a general warmth. I would also sometimes see things in my head too,and well feel the most innermost warmth and light. I felt like I had entered into the holiies of holies.It felt like such a safe place that I didn't want to leave it and go back to the real world.

 

I know it sounds riduclous.Since a little kid, I was always very senstive to buildings and people and could pick up on negative energy or spirts or what ever. I know none of this is provable.It really scared the crap out me to be honest. I hated it. Sometimes, the pictures as well would come out of no where, though usually when praying either by myself or with a group.

 

I did sing in tongues,but the last time I spoke in tongues was four years ago durning a car accident.

 

When I was a xian I useto have freaky dreams about demons and stuff. I would wake up terrified.. YEs I have read of sleep parallysis and waking dreams. It does make a whole lot of sense, and I know the mind can do freaky things especially while sleeping. So no dreams when I stopped believing, when I kind of let xianity back in a bit more... I have a mildly freaky dream after watching Lady in Water... and yes I did feel kind of like I shouldn't have watched it. I am sick of feeling bad for doing something that there is nothing wrong in doing. Only trouble is I can't quite make myself buy that statement. That is where half the battle is, in my own mind.

 

And yes, my friend the mentor, did say she kept getting truth over again while praying for me.I should have got her to pray for me without saying hardly anything of what was going on in my life.

I would have loved to take one of my atheist friends with me when I saw here. I think it would be very interessting to see what would happen. SHe has ministered to athiests as well as warlocks and witches, as well as the average mixed up xian. I was really hoping to have some sort of major spirtitual epipihany or experience that would lead to not a shadow of a doubt that I knew it was real. That really didn't happen. I was able to be really honest with her,and talking with her made me want to go back to those times before.

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Guest Gooneybird

My only advice is: Let go.

 

There is no hurry. There's nowhere to go. There's no escape. There's nowhere else to be other than now. Surrender to now. Live. Your mind will eat you alive. Stop and smell the roses. Give up. Stop. Breathe. Smile. Die. Smile. Do some backflips. Have a Dr. Pepper. Be alone. Be lonely. Spend time with friends. Feel sorrow. Feel joy. Feel the sun. Let it get in your eyes. Run through a field. Look at the moon. Feel the wind. Listen to it. The spring will burst into bloom. Notice the budding trees. The spring air smells familiar and brings back memories. Love. Heartbreak. Loss. Gain. You can't hold on. Let go. There is nothing to hold on to. Joy comes when we accept this.

 

Sorry for the weird post, but I'm wasted and I can't find my way home.

 

All the best,

GB

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And I don't want to go back to the whole xian mind set, of being scared of everything under the sun and constantly worrying about offending God, or letting in the devil or something.

 

I think I'd give you a little different advice than some of the others I've read here.

 

I'd say if you're inclined to go back, then go ahead and do it. Or at least give it a shot.

 

If you've been involved in critical thinking or if you have been honest enough to look into the reasons to be skeptical, I think you'll find that you can't go completely back to being sold-out to religion anyway.

 

My guess is that you'll be setting yourself up for a yo-yo experience for awhile. But it's your gig - and everyone has to follow their own inner voice.

 

I see your "spiritual" experiences as being completely grounded in the natural world. Experiences that triggered positive influences within your brain. And, I've known people before that seemed to have some deeper connection to some other realm.

 

Now I just think that there are some people who are more intuitive than others. And they are good at reading others and coming up with convincing insights. I am completely skeptical though of the claims that they are tapping into invisible entities or otherworldly dimensions.

 

I wouldn't try and talk you out of exploring it, though. I'm not one who is threatened by what anyone else chooses to think or believe. Hell - give it a shot. If you find out Jesus is real, come on back here, and we can argue about it.

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And I don't want to go back to the whole xian mind set, of being scared of everything under the sun and constantly worrying about offending God, or letting in the devil or something.

 

I wouldn't try and talk you out of exploring it, though. I'm not one who is threatened by what anyone else chooses to think or believe. Hell - give it a shot. If you find out Jesus is real, come on back here, and we can argue about it.

 

Exactly right. Follow your own path.

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I definitly do not plan on going back to my old church. There is just no freaking way, that is happening. I don't know if I am ready to go back to the old ways.I think I am going to let go of trying to figure everything out and just go with life and come to my own conclusions.

 

There are other things right now that are much more important than jumping into a church community,especially when I have major issues with many things in the church. I mean I could maybe go to a Anglician church or Unitarian.My problem is that when I believe in God, I believe in a bigger God. So for me it is just better not to believe in any. I just can't seem to stick to that thinking however.

 

There is no way, I want to pretend to be something that I am not. I am still disovering who I really am and what I believe.

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Truth,

 

You've hit on something very significant here: "When I believe in God, I believe in a bigger God."

 

I think one of the heavier pieces of baggage we ex-christians have to deal with was the general "all or nothing," "black and white" mentality that's at the core of our xian indoctrination.

 

For me, and I think for many here, it was an exit hatch, as we start to notice our belief system is flawed. If god is infinitely big or a total lie, and I see he's not up to claims, then maybe he's a total lie.

 

Then, there's a later stage recognizing that the all or nothing, black or white mentality is an affliction of Reason. For all our conditioning to the contrary, things simply are not black and white. That's not an argument for Deism or New Age or Buddhism or a very liberal brand of xianity. Instead, it's food for thought: the Big God of the church you were in, I was in, another member was in... Why is the Big God more alluring or more representative of "The Ultimate TruthTM" than the little god of some religious liberal down the street? Who, in fact had the right god? One of us? Which one? Our Deist friend? Or do we, over the course of time, and after carefully examining things, fall solidly in rank with the atheists? Asking our questions, looking at all sides, and applying our wondrous minds in an honest fashion diminishes the vacillation over time, even if we know we're not omniscient.

 

You've done a heck of a better job questioning than I did: you're drawing on sources from all sides of the question, reading and talking to apostates, atheists, unitarians, anglicans, and the more conservative christians alike. I know nothing about the Anglican church, but from what I know about the Unitarian church, it sounds like you might have a pretty good idea. You'll certainly get exposure to additional perspective.

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I went through that. Tried a liberal church after leaving my fundy church and realized I was just fooling myself.

 

There are more religions than just the Christian one. Research other religions. See what else is out there. Just because Christianity is popular in America doesn't mean you have to be Christian.

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There are other things right now that are much more important than jumping into a church community,especially when I have major issues with many things in the church. I mean I could maybe go to a Anglician church or Unitarian. My problem is that when I believe in God, I believe in a bigger God. So for me it is just better not to believe in any. I just can't seem to stick to that thinking however.

 

There is no way, I want to pretend to be something that I am not. I am still disovering who I really am and what I believe.

 

It's obvious that you know Christianity is flawed, and because you know this, I am going to challenge you a bit more directly.

 

Do you recognize that there can be spirituality without christianity?

 

If so, then "My problem is that when I believe in God, I believe in a bigger God." means that you in no way should go back to Christianity. It means you recognize that spirituality, true spirituality is more than the negativity that Christianity creates.

 

You need to discover what it means to be a spiritual being without the hang up of religion. And if you go back, you won't find what you're looking for.

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You don't need to prove anything to us, truth. If you want to believe in god, that's not up to us to tell you otherwise. You DON'T need to apologize for what you are thinking or feeling! I certainly don't think less of you.

 

I think what you're going through is completely normal. Spirituality IS I think, an incredibly important part of being human. You can be a spiritual person without God. Buddhism is a great example of this. Humans ARE spiritual creatures, but not necessarily religious ones.

 

I'm pretty much an athiest, but I really was connected to God for a long time. I mean, REALLY connected, as in, you could NOT convince me that god wasn't real. Suddenly, one day, I just realized..."Life just doesn't make any sense for it be guided by an intelligent being. I don't SEE anything to suggest there is something out there with an agenda. For me, or otherwise." Losing my belief was really hard, because I lost that "connectedness" to the universe and being able to feel "my place" in life. My niche, my validation...that's really what the belief in God does for people...it gives our existance validation. It gives us peace. I felt that peace and love that "god" is supposed to give you, and losing my belief in god cost me dear for a while.

 

Honestly, try sitting back and remembering what you felt with your friend when she prayed. When you had that "OMG, wow...the life, universe, and everything....I feel so at peace!" Just try to remember what that felt like, and keep practicing just feeling that for a while if you can. You might shake and lose it, or feel silly or angry with yourself, but I think trying to find that peace and loving feeling again is absolutely worth it....and you don't HAVE to go back to Christianity, just like the others have been saying.

 

Some nights I just lie back and "Connect" with life, the universe, and everything, and feel that peace and love again. Except now it's not "god" anymore. It's just enjoying being alive and having everything I've always had and never left. You've got it too, and though it might take some practice, it's perfectly something you have the ability to create.

 

Christianity is a cult with insane manipulations, which you already know. We'd rather help protect you from THAT. But your spirituality is something that you need to decide for yourself and build. It's yours, and there is no right or wrong with it as long as it's beneficial to you. Whether it includes God or not. Just remember there ARE a lot of diests and theists on this board. So don't feel like you ever have to apologize for what you believe in!

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As Ben Kenobi once said "You must do what you feel is right."

 

mwc

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Of corse I believe in spirituality with out Christianity. I think it is very limiting saying only christians can be spirtitual. I think even athiests can be spirtitual. It is Christians who judge what spiritual is, that is wrong.

 

What I have difficulty in is, IF there is a spirtual realm, I have trouble not seeing that in christian definitions. I have did try, and thought maybe there is something out there,maybe there is residue energy or spirts left behind when we die. Maybe we don't really go somewhere else but hang around here.. maybe it is just time worm holes or something of time repeating itself or something weird and that is what ghosts are.

 

For me, I kind of think the universe is equal to god, just a different name same force.

Maybe the universe is God? I don't know.

 

I do believe in good and evil forces.... I don't really like to think too much about that however. I am kind of not sure what to think about. It is hard to seperate what I was taught as a child to what I really believe and what I sense.

 

Do I think that people who aren't christians are evil. HELL no. I think that some christians are very evil.If there is a God does he exsist in those evil christians... If he does I really don't want to know that God.

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... I feel kind of trapped,and feel like I need to make a choice to believe or not believe at all. I do not want to go back to the old way of thinking..and I am completly frustrated thinking that perhaps God does exsist and maybe I was wrong and xianity is sorta true.

Help.

Truth, I understand how you feel. You seem to be caught in a false premise, though: that it's either Christianity or nothing. That's just what The Man wants you to think. :)

 

After leaving Christianity, I tried on atheism for size at one point. It wasn't the right fit for me, either, and that's okay.

 

But please do not think your only option is to return to your own vomit (Ha Ha).

 

It seems to me the thing for you to be doing right now is finding out about *what else is out there*. And there's a lot, believe me. I'm having a terrific, enlightening journey.

 

Earth-based religions, for example. Lots of traditions fall under that umbrella (e.g., Wicca, Asatru, Druidry, etc.). You can practice a fulfilling spirituality and acknowledge the divine without necessarily being "thwapped" by a god/dess.

 

You also have your Eastern traditions (Buddhism, Taoism, etc.)

 

And then, some traditions mix in elements of other traditions and become new traditions themselves (sort of).

 

These aren't all there is, by any means--but I have found there's enough of interest in these traditions to keep me busy for the rest of my life, if I want. Go forth and explore, young wo/man. :)

 

Added: BTW, a male Witch is called a "Witch." The term "Warlock" means "oath breaker" and is generally considered an insult by neopagans.

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I would encourage you not to feel manipulated or pressured either way (if that's even possible?). Not all Christianity is about gay-bashing, self-righteous evangelism, or head-in-the-sand pseudoscience. I think that Christianity (loosely defined) does have the power to be a positive and--dare I say it?--beautiful expression of spirituality. I still think theism is illogical and doesn't follow from observations, but deduction and induction aren't everything, and if being an atheist makes you miserable... don't feel pressured into it. Also, BlueGiant is right; it's not about Christianity vs. atheism. There's millions of other things you could believe, and millions of other ways to express your spirituality.

 

ITA with Fonkey. You can choose a watered down(for lack of a better expression)brand of Christianity that has nothing to do with Fundamentalism. If the God concept is that important to you then maybe that is an avenue you can pursue. But, just in case, Christians will hate you just as much as an Atheist. They can't tolerate anyone that isn't a funDUHmentalist.

Personally, I feel that believing in Gods and Goddesses is utterly ridiculous now. But if it helps you then go for it.

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