Jump to content

The Heaviest Hit?


Rogue
 Share

Recommended Posts

I want to go back in time, I want to be happy again.

 

I guess I should introduce myself first.

 

I was raised JW, very devout. I really did believe. I may not have always been the most perfect, godly person, but I did truly believe. I don't really know the first time I had doubts, I know that for a long time if anything seemed 'off' I would push it down and ignore it. Recently I've been going through a lot of really, really bad things. I don't really want to go through the details right now. Suffice to say, it was enough to make me wonder if God really was always there for me. A bit after that, I started paying attention to exactly how brutal some of the slaughters in the OT really were. This started me looking into biblical inerrancy, and... well, here I am.

 

I guess I'm in the middle of this de-converting thing. I'm seriously having trouble keeping myself upright in my chair, I feel so broken right now.

 

My shit luck has landed me at my parents' house for a bit. I'm definitely deep 'in the closet' in regards to my doubts at the moment, I know that would stir up a metric ton of shit that I can't deal with right now. So, I've been going to services, sitting in the family study, etc. Acting the good Christian part. Not sure how long I'm going to keep this up, but for now, I'm going to.

 

I guess it never REALLY hit me before, I don't believe in Paradise anymore. And for some reason that was such a crushing blow.

 

I sat in on the family study today, gave nominal indication that I was paying attention, etc. At the end of the study my family always sings worship songs that are going to be part of the services the same week. I've been just sort of singing and not really thinking about it up till now, but not today.

 

One of the songs that came up was "Jehovah God Is My Shepard". And I just... couldn't sing. I lost my voice. Just started moving my lips, but no sound. Every word just seemed to burn into me, like it was mocking me, taunting me with the fact that there is no great Shepard up there to make everything better. And the next was about... Paradise. Half a verse in and I just started crying. I started sobbing. I know I made a scene, I rushed out of the room, I went to my room and I just fell on the bed and cried and cried into my pillow, with the music still there, just barely in my ears. My dad came in later and asked me if I wanted to come back for the prayer. I didn't. I really, really didn't, but I did. He put in the prayer for God to put his spirit on me to help me to cope with the problems I'm having. That almost set me off again. I sat through it and I mumbled 'Amen' and I came back in here. I guess they all thought I just had a surge of depression. I wish the Wellbutrin -could- take this away.

 

It was just this ultimate crushing moment. There is no grand reward for the good, everyone I know, everyone I LOVE, everyone who's died and ever will die will all just die and rot and turn to shit and be gone forever. And it hurt like hell. It was like I had been stabbed in the chest.

 

I want it back. I want my fake, happy fairytale ending back. I want my magic sky fairies who are watching out for me.

 

I guess for most people it's Heaven. What did you do when you realized you weren't going to heaven? What can I do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I decided to make the best of what I have right now and not worry about the future or the past but live in the now. Other than that living with the parents during this time must be exceedingly difficult so I feel for you! There are some really great testimonies on this site that offer people great perspective and advice on these things.

 

Oh check out this thread I started it has an article by this woman who was raised JW: http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/48130-ex-jehovahs-witness-story/page__pid__691752#entry691752

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to Ex-C, Rogue!

 

I think for me, realizing that there isn't a heaven also meant simultaneously realizing there isn't a hell. That takes a lot of pressure off when you realize that you don't have to try hard to please someone for your entire life, a someone that never lets you know if what you're doing is right or wrong, if you're saying the right prayer, wearing the right clothes, singing the right songs or believing the right set of doctrines, or if you're making any progress in your spiritual life at all. I also never liked the way heaven was described by other Christians, and had to admit that I had no desire to go there, even before my deconversion was complete.

 

There are times when I worry about what happens after I die. But then, I also realize that I have no memories of my existence before I was born. That time just doesn't exist for me. By the same reasoning, I most likely won't even realize when I've passed away, either. It's a little easier to think about the lack of heaven when you realize that your consciousness will simply stop when you die, and it won't be lurking around for eternity, or trapped inside your body. Compared to what most think heaven will be like, ceasing to exist is actually a blessing, if you ask me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the positive words and the article.

 

Trapped: JWs don't believe in hell, so that's small comfort. Thanks anyways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

comming to relize you dont have the sense of security that all the other "christians" have can be very dificult. i rember how in my life i broke down to tears many times as i couldent feel god but it will heal i promise.

 

you can be happy in life with out the religion.

 

happiness is a choice not a privlage by religion.

 

welcome to EXC

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hopefully you won't have to live with your parents for too long. Being bombarded with religion and expected to participate is so much harder while deconverting. It is crushing to realize that your invisible friends are no longer there. We're not omniscient but we've all been through and are going through similar things as you and we're here for you. This site has really helped me in my healing process. There are a lot of really caring, intelligent people here.

So many have said it more eloquently than I but once you realize it's a farce you can't go back. How do you make yourself believe? It's hard to lose that entire comforting system but you are gaining your freedom. You get to choose who you want to be. You get to choose how you will live your life. You get to take responsibility for your triumphs. Look back on all the good things you've done in your life and attributed to god and take them back. They are yours! Be proud of yourself. I'm not trying to sugarcoat deconversion. It's hard but it's not all bad.

Realizing that my loved ones who have passed away aren't waiting for me in heaven was pretty difficult. It makes me value life more and mourn death more deeply, even of people that I don't know very well.

I may sound ignorant but I didn't know that JW's didn't believe in hell. I personally haven't worried too much about not going to heaven (as an ex-c). I couldn't get past the whole earning treasures and a big house. I used to say I'd be happy with a mud hut. In retrospect I realize that I was just glad not to be going to hell (although I desperately wanted to meet Jesus). For christians who believe in hell, heaven isn't just a reward, it's a haven from hell. Without the fear of hell, I imagine that heaven would be more appealing. Is that how it is for JW's?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it made it easier for me that I never found the Christian concept of Heaven very attractive. It was rather the fear of Hell that kept me in for so long. And losing faith in Hell is very good.

 

 

I feel a bit sad about the fact there won't be justice served for those who got unjustly treated on this Earth and there won't be punishment for those who were doing really evil things. But at the same time that also means there won't be punishment for those who weren't evil, just happened not to believe in Jesus. So that probably equals it out.

 

(I realize that JWs don't believe in Hell.)

 

As for Heaven, I think singing worship songs to a tyrannical deity for eternity would be like Hell to me on the long term. So I'd rather just sleep unconsciously.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Rogue. Welcome to ExC. Except for the JW part, I could have written a lot of what you did. All the mourning for the loss of what I had thought was a pure, perfect religion was dep and painful. I wept just as you described. It was terribly difficult.

 

Since then, I have done a lot of thinking about the "loss" of heaven. One thing I came to realize is that the Christian religion does not offer ultimate justice to anyone. According to the religion, no one enters heaven unless they believe in Jesus (or, depending on the denomination, there could be other requirements as well, but belief is one of the essential elements). So, take the Jews who were mercilessly slaughtered in Nazi concentration camps. Assuming they died without belief in Jesus, they got no justice by being rewarded with heaven. But, if on their deathbeds, their Nazi tormentors expressed belief in Jesus, they were, according to the religion, rewarded with this eternal paradise.

 

If all of that is true, then what kind of reward does heaven offer? And what kind of paradise could it be if the major criterion for entry is belief and not how one conducted one's life? Coming to understand all of that helped me realize what the alleged reward of heaven was really all about. It was about human control. The religion puts a premium on belief with the ultimate reward of heaven based on that in order to discourage the adherents of the religion from questioning too much. That, in turn, leaves people under the control of the church leadership who gladly tell people to hand over their money, to live in a prescribed manner, to avoid this and do that, etc. etc.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

It was just this ultimate crushing moment. There is no grand reward for the good, everyone I know, everyone I LOVE, everyone who's died and ever will die will all just die and rot and turn to shit and be gone forever. And it hurt like hell. It was like I had been stabbed in the chest.

 

 

I remember when I first looked at things from an atheist perspective, it was a feeling like I'd been kicked in the stomach. I almost preferred the idea of burning in Hell than to be annihilated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to ex-c. I see you're under medical care. Have you gotten anything besides drugs, like counseling?

 

I'm seeing a counselor, unfortunately I was supposed to go this morning but I thought it was tomorrow, so I had to reschedule. I won't be able to see her until October 4th. Aside from that, I note she often rather prominently wears a cross around her neck, so I don't know exactly how much help she'll be with what's going on with me right now. :/ I really can't afford this stuff, so I'm getting the counseling-- and the doctor appointments-- through a state agency.

 

I kind of want to reply to a lot of posts in this thread, especially the ones about the nature of heaven, as JW beliefs diverge rather far on 'ultimate reward' as well, but I'm at work and I really don't think I can afford to breakdown here. I'll post again when I get home.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just joined here and have been reading through some of the posts. Yours made my heart hurt, mostly because it resonated so much with my own struggle.

 

I've been a xian for forever it seems like and now that i'm moving into a new phase of becoming whatever i'm becoming, I feel so isolated and alone. Church and xianity have been such a huge part of my life for so long, i have a difficult time imagining I can be different and remain whole.

 

It's really painful and, though I wish sometimes that i could go back to the nonsense and be safe and happy there, i know i never can and won't ever be. So, i just keep talking about it and reading and gaining encouragement from people who have gone on a similar journey. I take comfort in knowing that in that, at least, i am not alone.

 

Thank you for your honesty. I hope it doesn't sound trite for me to say that I hope someday you will be able to see beauty in this transformational experience and that going through it will help you to realize your own strength.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can definitely relate to what you're going through. While I don't live with my parents, I've just admitted to myself I didn't believe anymore a few months ago, and am still trying to figure what my next move will be (i.e. how to tell my family and how I'll make that final break with church etc.) The loss of faith as a security blanket was frightening for me too, if only because it was something else that made me feel like an outsider (I'm gay too), but it's gotten better little by little.

 

I agree with a few other posters about heaven. I was never overjoyed by the idea of it. It just seemed like it would get relentlessly dull after awhile, and you'd pretty much be doing the same things there that you did down here on Earth, like praising Jesus nonstop. Also the idea that it was forever always made me uncomfortable for some reason. It just made this current life feel like a means to an end. I still worry about what happens after death sometimes, but I think that's just part of being human. It's the unknown, so we fear it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Rogue,

 

I felt very sad when I read your post. I think we all, from every fundy denomination that has left, feels broken and nostalgic for the fantasy we believed in. I think all religions are based on some fantasy that we WISH were true. It is like an escape from reality and reality is harsh.

 

I still believe in heaven, I think. I say, I think, because I don't KNOW heaven is real. But I figure if it gives me comfort and a buffer, I will make my own version as I try and work this out. The people here who say heaven (or paradise) doesn't exist don't KNOW that either, so, why not hold to what makes me feel good while I can sort and sift through things?

 

I don't think you have to throw everything out in order to work through your feelings. We are so used to being beat up in our religions that we beat ourselves up when there is no one there to do it for us.

 

Take the good and do what you can to make yourself feel better. Believe in your own paradise of your own making while staying grounded in reality. Remember that no one can prove there is no paradise. But, you KNOW that some of what you were taught was wrong. Reject that but don't kill yourself in the process.

 

My two cents.

 

freespirit~

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just before I rejected christianity, I also reached a point where I simply couldn't sing the songs anymore. I just couldn't be one of the sheep anymore and sing this stuff blindly. I was starting to think the lyrics were all rubbish and empty promises. If God was real, I wanted some real proof. Not emotional church services or people saying God had touched them. I wanted tangible proof.

 

As for heaven/paradise, my realization of its non-existence was more of a......side-effect, rather than some kind of depressing realization. I didn't actually give it a whole lot of thought. I guess with everything else that I had realized about there not being a bible God, it was just a logical step that heaven didn't exist. It's definitely too bad that there is no heaven, but I figured there's nothing I can do about it. On the positive side, it's made me cherish life and family on earth a whole lot more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Rogue,

 

You are going through some tuff stuff.

 

The fact that you are no longer looking forward to heaven is a good thing.

 

There is a good life in the now.

 

It takes some deep soul searching but you will find that good life. It is in you.

 

One of the biggest problems with Christainity is that they teach that we are sinners, no good, and God only accepts us on conditions. I have found this to be a lie. There is natural goodness in you. Learn to find that and enjoy it. Journaling could help.

 

Whan I journaled I just wrote whatever came to my head. I spilled it all. I asked questions. I saought answers. I got some really cool answers. Just a thought.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Greetings, Rogue, and welcome!

 

I can identify with sitting in religious gatherings (family and church) and feeling much the way you describe. As I was losing my faith, I felt like a rug had been yanked from under my feet and I was falling with nowhere to get a foothold. It was scary and depressing not knowing what to believe and where my doubts would lead me. Over time, though, that subsided and now for the most part things are fine. I still have to deal with having religious family and acquaintances, but I no longer have the confusion and depression.

 

Interestingly, as a former Protestant Christian and you coming from Jehovah's Witnesses, when we were believers we would have both considered the other to not be a true Christian. Here at Ex-Christian.net, though, those differences don't really matter. We both have seen through some of the nonsense in a sect of Christianity, and in reality the whole thing is a sham.

 

What we do have in common is no fear of hell. Though as a Protestant I did believe in hell (unlike JWs), I believed I had been saved from it, so there was no fear. As I doubted, I figured that if Christianity was true, then God would reveal it to me and bring me out of the doubt. And, of course, if it wasn't true, then there was no hell to worry about anyway. So, at least I didn't have to deal with a fear of hell, but I did have a lot of depression over how I had built my whole life around a worldview that turned out to be a big, fat lie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

Welcome Rogue! I really appreciate you writing a bit about your story. Every story helps me in my own deconversion, so I thank you for writing.

 

I can really relate to some of the things you write about. You couldn't sing in the end - I couldn't 'drink the blood, eat the body'. I felt as if I was in a bad cult of some kind.

 

I really wanted heaven. I wanted an afterlife that would be better than this life - the 'paradise' you speak about. I wanted to join my beloved mom, dad and sister and have them 'greet me at the gates'. I liked living in fantasy land. Reality is such a 'trip', but I do prefer reality better now than I did, when I joined the board 10 months ago. I know that I must really 'live' for today.

 

Death itself is not the issue for me. Eternal sleep without an alarm clock going off, sounds OK to me. For billions of years - I did not exist (and didn't know it) so I know that I will probably go back to that state of nothingness. All the worrying and fretting I do will be worth nothing, so I am trying to relax a little. Takes some practice for a personality like mine - but I am living every day, trying to be happy and OK with the small little journey I have on this earth.

 

Keep posting my friend - we are all here for you. Best wishes with your new 'reality' journey.

 

It's gonna be OK - wait and see...............

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mother called while I was typing my first post in this thread, so I didn't get around to the main question.

 

So, what do I do without the comfort of believing in an afterlife? At first I didn't like the thought of not having an afterlife, but most of the time anymore I don't even think of it. I like a good night's rest, and ceasing to exist will inevitably be like that, like Margee said with this quote:

 

Death itself is not the issue for me. Eternal sleep without an alarm clock going off, sounds OK to me. For billions of years - I did not exist (and didn't know it) so I know that I will probably go back to that state of nothingness. All the worrying and fretting I do will be worth nothing, so I am trying to relax a little.

 

What now concerns me more than not having an afterlife is what my current life is and how it was thrown off track by unswerving allegiance to a false worldview. I wish I had learned what I know now when I was much younger so I could have done things differently. However, there's nothing I can do about the past, so I just have to try to make the best of where I'm at now.

 

Despite how religion led me astray for many years, I do have to acknowledge that, compared to the *vast* majority of people who have ever lived, I have quite a good life. Most of us fortunate enough to be using a computer and posting here really are quite lucky.

 

Anyway, I wish you well as you work through everything. Deconversion can be very devastating, but for most of us it does get better with time, and I suspect the same will be the case for you. Good luck, man!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to go back in time, I want to be happy again...

 

Life doesn't work that way, sadly.

 

You might look at your "shit luck" as not so completely shitty, because at least you have family to come back to. And who will take you in and give you comfort, a roof over your head, food in your belly and remind you that you are not alone while fighting your battles.

 

Real shit luck would happen and leave you with nowhere to stay. So things are looking up. :)

 

 

As to your realizing there is no Heaven, that there is no afterlife that we know of maybe you can realize then that that means you should cherish those you care for while it counts. In this life. So that when there are no more tomorrows, at least you'll live happily remembering the blessing you all shared yesterday.

 

There's no going back, once you've arrived at the place where you are now, you can't go back and hide under the fleece that blocks it from view. It's there and gaining your attention to a degree that you're already leaving your faith in small steps. First by moving your lips to the hymns that just a year ago you were singing with a full heart.

 

You're changing and becoming a new person. It's like a baby that would regret their muscles are growing strong enough to let them walk across the floor, rather than crawl everywhere they want to go. Cherish that. Because if there is a god it has to be better than that what's made in the image and likeness of men and it has to be far more than we can conceive with our limited human intellect. So perhaps you might see your changes as the breath of god inspiring you to know more about infinite power than that what can be contained in books.

 

I agree with the other advice you've received here thus far. Journal your journey. Let out what you're feeling and going through and keep that journal for a year and a day. At the end, when it's all full and the 366 days are up, read the first pages to see how far you've come.

 

We all make our own Heaven or Hell, depending on what we think we deserve. Don't worry about an after life, because all that's said about that is based on the hope that it's true. Which is tragic when one thinks that someone invented Hell.

 

There is no going back in this life. There's only moving forward, carrying what you've learned with you so as to cope with what's next.

 

I am proud of you for coming this far and now that you've found this forum you know you're not alone. I wish you all the best on your continued journey forward, to becoming even more than you imagine possible while facing these hurdles that challenge you as to how badly you want to be more than you once were.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me it's not as all depressing as an either-or. For me an afterlife is unlikely, but not impossible. Also it really isn't clear to me why a life that is infinite would be any more worthwhile than one with a limited span. Christians believe that those who believe in Jesus will have everlasting life. Buddhists believe that those who achieve nirvana escape the cycles of reincarnation and annihilate themselves. One (very popular) religion is seeking eternal life, and the other (very popular) religion is trying to get rid of it. For me, if I start a family and help others out in their lives, I will get to live on in a small way, but for me mostly it means trying to be more humble and accepting the world as it is presented to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@ Rogue, I've felt something akin to what you are describing. There is something lost once the Christian magic is stripped away from our interpretation of the world. I still have some pangs of regret at this loss, but for the most part I have found myself adjusting by focusing on the present and the people around me. I see it now the same way as I see any sort of fantasy fiction, sure it would be nice to have super powers or some really awesome destiny to save the world, etc, but it isn't real, and I can't let it get me down that my life doesn't match up to these fictional accounts. I just want to make the best of my ordinary life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As an aside, I also feel some pressure has been lifted on me since now I don't have to question my life when it does exhibit shortcomings vis a vis what it is "supposed" to be according to Christianity's spiritually charged description. There is no God to give me supernatural power, so I don't have to beat myself for not having enough faith or struggle to figure out why I can't overcome all the "bad" things Christianity tells me I'm supposed to be able to (like the sexual repression most young Christians experience).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was with the JW's for quite a while. It was the fact that they didn't believe in hell that attracted me I think.. and their interpretation of the 'afterlife' seemed to make more sense than everyone ending up in heaven - so I know some of what must be going around in your head. I left them though because of the 'elitism' that became apparent, that and some other stuff I couldn't reconcile - the view of medicine (ie: blood transfusions and such) and education, the whole excommunication thing and pressure put on members to conform, also they are highly sexist even if they profess differently.

 

Enough about that. Just wanted you to know I've been there.

 

Yes.. it's painful to let go of the magical thinking. Our belief in 'god' (imho) is a comfort in a world where we frequently feel alone and out of control of circumstances. I have also learned that once that can is opened there is no going back. BUT it does get better ... for me anyway, I am finding out that being the 'captain of my own ship' is helping me in being more confident and less frightened of the world and my place in it. I have to work harder at finding answers and solutions to life's problems but ultimately it's much more satisfying and stable than believing in an outside force or getting my answers, no matter how badly they fit my life, from a text written by goat herders in the bronze age. There is some good stuff in the bible - as in all texts throughout the ages - but now I can hold up those ideas to reason and choose which ones fit a wider sense of morality.

 

This is a difficult time for you, be easy with yourself, take care of yourself, give yourself the time and care to reorganize and gain the strength to begin anew, and you will do fine

 

Peace

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.