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TotalWreck
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Hello,

 

This is my first post on this site. I am currently going through a serious crisis of faith, and honestly I'm just so confused right now. I keep trying to walk away from Christianity but I keep running back after a few days out of habit/nowhere else to turn to/not being able to grasp that god doesn't exist. But deep down, I really don't feel there is a god; I used to, but not anymore.

 

For the last three years, I've gone through so much heartache and pain in my life even though I try to be the best person I can be, keep trying to do what I think god would want me to do, and praying daily. I'm now asking myself all the time what kind of god would just keep letting bad things happen to people who believe in him? What kind of god lets his followers suffer for long periods of time for no reason? What kind of god lets all the cruel, evil people in the world run wild, hurting others? In fact, it almost seems as if god rewards evil people - look at all the mean people in this world who walk all over others just to get ahead and they never seem to suffer in any way. What kind of a god is that?

 

I'm so sick and tired of hearing Christians say stupid shit like "We have to suffer because Jesus suffered" or "God puts us through trials to test our faith" or "God has his reasons" or all sorts of other nonsense. If god is supposed to be our father and we're supposed to be his children, well, please tell me what father would let his children suffer, especially if god can supposedly do anything?

 

It's all just so sad - I really would like for there to be a god, but with no proof - not to mention all the things that don't make sense - it's hard for me to keep pretending. Praying is supposed to make you feel better, but when you pray over and over without getting an answer and feeling like you're being ignored, it actually makes me feel WORSE.

 

This was just a rant I needed to get off my chest. Does anyone have any advice on how to just let it all go completely? I'm tired of this back-and-forth stuff that I'm going through. Also, please tell me if you feel your life is better or worse since letting go of Christianity.

 

Thanks.

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Hi TotalWreck, welcome to ex-C!

 

Your story reminds me of mine. I'm still an agnostic but I'm not a Christian anymore. Currently my prayer to God is "Have I been praying to my own ego this whole time?". So far God has not answered. The way to get past the back and forth is to become atheist. That is probably a scary thought but atheist doesn't quite mean what Christians probably told you it means. We have many atheist members who can help you though that if you wish. Just ask them or look through the various posts. In the end only you can decide what beliefs are right for you.

 

Oh another great resource is the Youtube videos by Darkmatter 2525 and The Non-Stamp Collector. NSC is cool.

 

Yeah Christians make up all sorts of excuses for why it looks like prayer doesn't work. God works in mysterious ways. It's a test of our faith. You are not doing it right. Blah blah blah! Think about this - when in modern times has an amputee grown back their limb due to miraculous healing? Never. So either God hates all amputees because God's answer is always "NO!" or Christians are wrong about prayer.

 

Thank you for sharing your story. When I left Christianity I experience a lot of fear for several months but it did eventually pass. And yes my life has been demonstrably better since leaving Christianity. Some of my emotional problems that had plagued me for decades as a Christian and improved since I got rid of the dogma. Personally Christianity was stopping me from learning how to forgive. I have to de-convert to learn how to do something as basic as forgiving. I also realized the fear was caused by Christians telling me stories over the years using fear to control me. Rant some more if it will help you. We are listening and many of us have had similar experiences.

 

Be strong,

 

 

MM

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Sorry for your break-up, seriously, that's kinda what deconversion is like. You just found out your spouse or other has been lying and cheating on you. It's a betrayal of sorts.

 

Your focus I assume is the christian god but if you had been born in Greece 3000 years ago you'd be lamenting over Zeus. Extrapolate that to having been born and raised in various regions at various times in history and you start to see how relative ones religious beliefs are and none are no more true than the other.

 

I don't know how to answer your last question. After letting go of the crutch it's all up to you. Personally though, I couldn't be happier.

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Hi TotalWreck, welcome to ex-C!

 

Your story reminds me of mine. I'm still an agnostic but I'm not a Christian anymore. Currently my prayer to God is "Have I been praying to my own ego this whole time?". So far God has not answered. The way to get past the back and forth is to become atheist. That is probably a scary thought but atheist doesn't quite mean what Christians probably told you it means. We have many atheist members who can help you though that if you wish. Just ask them or look through the various posts. In the end only you can decide what beliefs are right for you.

 

Oh another great resource is the Youtube videos by Darkmatter 2525 and The Non-Stamp Collector. NSC is cool.

 

Yeah Christians make up all sorts of excuses for why it looks like prayer doesn't work. God works in mysterious ways. It's a test of our faith. You are not doing it right. Blah blah blah! Think about this - when in modern times has an amputee grown back their limb due to miraculous healing? Never. So either God hates all amputees because God's answer is always "NO!" or Christians are wrong about prayer.

 

Thank you for sharing your story. When I left Christianity I experience a lot of fear for several months but it did eventually pass. And yes my life has been demonstrably better since leaving Christianity. Some of my emotional problems that had plagued me for decades as a Christian and improved since I got rid of the dogma. Personally Christianity was stopping me from learning how to forgive. I have to de-convert to learn how to do something as basic as forgiving. I also realized the fear was caused by Christians telling me stories over the years using fear to control me. Rant some more if it will help you. We are listening and many of us have had similar experiences.

 

Be strong,

 

 

MM

 

Thank you for the welcome - I think this site is going to help me out a lot.cool.png

 

You're example about no amputee growing back a limb in modern times is a perfect example. There's so much stuff in the bible that's laughable horseshit and so many stories that contradict themselves that you can't help but to laugh at it. Even with all the stupid stories in the bible though, I did actually believe that there was a god. Now, I'm really not so sure; to the point I'm about ready to give it all up completely for the sake of my sanity. I can't keep going on wondering why god isn't helping me, when "god's time" to help me will come, why so many cruel people in the world get whatever they want, and a number of other questions I have. It's enough to drive me crazy.eek.gif

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Sorry for your break-up, seriously, that's kinda what deconversion is like. You just found out your spouse or other has been lying and cheating on you. It's a betrayal of sorts.

 

Your focus I assume is the christian god but if you had been born in Greece 3000 years ago you'd be lamenting over Zeus. Extrapolate that to having been born and raised in various regions at various times in history and you start to see how relative ones religious beliefs are and none are no more true than the other.

 

I don't know how to answer your last question. After letting go of the crutch it's all up to you. Personally though, I couldn't be happier.

 

You're right - it is like a break up. Not only a breakup, but a break up with no closure because god isn't here to explain anything to me.

 

More than anything, I'm angry at all the time I wasted, especially these last three years. These last three years have been a nightmare, but I kept holding onto false hope, thinking god would eventually save the day and rescue me. Never happend. If I wait for "god" anymore, not only will I waste more precious time, but what little sanity I have let will be gone and my problems will just keep getting worse. I could have took all that energy that I put into "faith" and put it into trying to get out of these messes that I am in.

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Hello, TotalWreck, and welcome to Ex-C. For me, life has become much simpler since leaving the God of the Bible/Christianity. There isn't the constant trying to figure out if I'm doing God's will or what God is trying to teach me with the problems of life. Now, good things happen and bad things happen - it's the way life is, and there seems to be no grand plan. It would be nice if there was an all-knowing, all-powerful, loving God to make everything better, but seems to me, that doesn't exist. Letting go was certainly a process. It didn't get better overnight, but was gradual. My last prayers were pleas for God to lead me to the truth. I'm not certain anymore that there is TruthTM, but certainly there are better ways to live than dealing with the constant cognitive dissonance that is Christianity. Best wishes.

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There's so much stuff in the bible that's laughable horseshit and so many stories that contradict themselves that you can't help but to laugh at it. Even with all the stupid stories in the bible though, I did actually believe that there was a god. Now, I'm really not so sure; to the point I'm about ready to give it all up completely for the sake of my sanity. I can't keep going on wondering why god isn't helping me, when "god's time" to help me will come, why so many cruel people in the world get whatever they want, and a number of other questions I have. It's enough to drive me crazy.eek.gif

 

Yeah I fell for all that Bible nonsense too. It's silly. I still can't shake a belief in God but I'm working on that one. Your comment about God helping also strikes home with me. As a Christian I was completely helpless because I kept "waiting for God". I couldn't do anything for myself. It was self imposed helplessness. Now even if I still believe a bit in God at least I am learning to act like there is no God. That is I face some of my own problems as if I have to fix them or else nobody will. It's empowering.

 

When you feel crazy tell us about it.

 

 

MM

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Deconversion is a good news / bad news kinda thing. The good news is you no longer have to deal with the cognitive dissonance of reconciling your worldview to an experience that is completely different from what you'd expect if the worldview were correct. The bad news is that you are left in a great big beautiful, doesn't-give-a-shit-about-you-universe, but you were there all along anyway. In the long run, it's better to deal in reality. You're a lot less disappointed and angry that way.

 

Ultimately I realized I was going to be consumed by frustration and rage if I did not let go of a god who was beating me and/or neglecting me when I had done nothing wrong. And maybe even worse, beating and neglecting my loved ones.

 

I really believed the BS about god protecting his own, blessing those who bless him, that I had nothing to fear, etc. I had to let go of that sort of infantile, self-absorbed, magical thinking. Then I just had to deal with being pissed off that my expectations had been set so high, and I had to lower them so much. And that I had been such a chump.

 

Am I better off? Yes, unquestionably. Was the transition easy? No. I haven't met anyone for whom it was trivial. I gotta say though that it's well worth it. I wouldn't say I'm happier -- I'm just not the happy type -- but I have so much more clarity, so much less confusion. I may not like all that I see but I'm not having to explain away what I see, and for me, that was the most painful part of being a Christian. And besides, what is more of a waste of your time than a dysfunctional, abusive relationship with someone who doesn't even exist??

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Hi TotalWreck. Great screen name, btw, although I'm sure that's how you're feeling--which sucks!

 

Coming out of a life of faith after devoting almost four decades to it was not easy. Neither did I choose to leave. The evidence just started mounting and I could no longer ignore it or explain it away through hollow arguments.

 

I think you are in the hardest phase now: you are probably experiencing a great deal of cognitive dissonance. You notice that your Bible says one thing (and you 'hang your hat' on it) but observation and experience are singing a completely different tune. For example, "God answers prayer"...but all you get is silence. Endlessly. When I was in the cognitive dissonance phase, I was very loud and frustrated. It was like I had to pretzel my brain to make my beliefs fit my observations and experiences. And it was unraveling faster than anything. I could not stop it. My unbelief came on like a freight train and I was tied to the tracks.

 

This is one of the first sites that made sense to me: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/ (Someone mentioned it above, I think.)

 

Anyhow, deconversion is a process. Rome wasn't built in a day, as they say, and losing your faith is a process also.

 

I hope you find lots of support here. We won't give you pat answers but we can honestly say that we know what you're talking about!

 

Peace...

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This was just a rant I needed to get off my chest. Does anyone have any advice on how to just let it all go completely? I'm tired of this back-and-forth stuff that I'm going through. Also, please tell me if you feel your life is better or worse since letting go of Christianity.

It was a gradual process for me, but one pillar after another was knocked down until the whole house of cards finally collapsed.

A big factor was realizing that the Bible wasn't one big harmonious work, as I had been taught.

Reading Jewish sites really lowered the boom on Christianity as well.

Not wanted to pretend any longer was a great step forward.

This is a parable that helped me break away and stay away.

 

COLORFUL PACKAGES

 

Student:

I am afraid to question my acquired beliefs.

 

Teacher:

Don't be afraid to see that you have been cruelly deceived.

A hungry man asked some officials for bread. With many smiles and sympathies they gave him several packages with colorful wrappings, assuring him he would never be hungry again.

On the way home he could feel that the weight of the packages was not right for bread, so opening them, he found stones.

Something in you can feel the difference between truth and falsehood, but you must courageously open the packages.

You will then see how easy it is to throw away useless stones.

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Hi, totalwreck, and welcome to ExC. One thing about it is that we have all been where you are. You're not alone, though living among Christians as I presume you do, it may feel as if there is no one else who is questioning the religion.

 

Does anyone have any advice on how to just let it all go completely?

 

I have no advice for what it sounds as if you are asking - how just to drop it right now and be done with it. For most people, it is a process and that process can take considerable time. So, my advice is for you to deal with the issues you are facing. For example, you speak of god not answering prayers and not seeming to care for people who are hurting when he has the power to do something. Take that issue and put your logical mind to work, not your faith. If god does not do what the bible promises he will do, then what are the logical conclusions? For me the logical conclusion was that the bible's characterization of god must not be true. And if the bible's characterization of god is not true, then the god of the bible, by definition, does not exist. Frankly, once you get to that point, it doesn't really matter much whether there is some form of hands-off god who perhaps created the universe but then left it alone.

 

 

Also, please tell me if you feel your life is better or worse since letting go of Christianity.

 

As a general rule, people will answer this question differently depending on where they are in the process of deconversion. For many of us, once we decided to leave the religion, our troubles began. We had to rethink our lives, had to deal with loved ones who were still Christians, had to wonder how we could have been so misguided for so many years as Christians, had to get past anger, heartbreak, tears, and disappointments.

 

But, speaking for myself, once I got through all the turmoil, deep within myself I was much happier knowing that I was one of the relatively few who actually managed to overcome my faith and escape the religious chains that bound me for so many years. That freedom is worth more money than anyone could possibly make in a lifetime.

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Hello,

 

This is my first post on this site. I am currently going through a serious crisis of faith, and honestly I'm just so confused right now. I keep trying to walk away from Christianity but I keep running back after a few days out of habit/nowhere else to turn to/not being able to grasp that god doesn't exist. But deep down, I really don't feel there is a god; I used to, but not anymore.

 

For the last three years, I've gone through so much heartache and pain in my life even though I try to be the best person I can be, keep trying to do what I think god would want me to do, and praying daily. I'm now asking myself all the time what kind of god would just keep letting bad things happen to people who believe in him? What kind of god lets his followers suffer for long periods of time for no reason? What kind of god lets all the cruel, evil people in the world run wild, hurting others? In fact, it almost seems as if god rewards evil people - look at all the mean people in this world who walk all over others just to get ahead and they never seem to suffer in any way. What kind of a god is that?

 

I'm so sick and tired of hearing Christians say stupid shit like "We have to suffer because Jesus suffered" or "God puts us through trials to test our faith" or "God has his reasons" or all sorts of other nonsense. If god is supposed to be our father and we're supposed to be his children, well, please tell me what father would let his children suffer, especially if god can supposedly do anything?

 

It's all just so sad - I really would like for there to be a god, but with no proof - not to mention all the things that don't make sense - it's hard for me to keep pretending. Praying is supposed to make you feel better, but when you pray over and over without getting an answer and feeling like you're being ignored, it actually makes me feel WORSE.

 

This was just a rant I needed to get off my chest. Does anyone have any advice on how to just let it all go completely? I'm tired of this back-and-forth stuff that I'm going through. Also, please tell me if you feel your life is better or worse since letting go of Christianity.

 

Thanks.

 

If god is our father then he must be like the usual absent baby daddy of modern times. There is a reason why god isn't taking care of things...cuz he don't exist.

 

Life is better without Christianity. No church to take up your time, your money and pretend socialization. Removal of fear and guilt is a great feeling. :)

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A totally none-existent one.

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Deconversion is a good news / bad news kinda thing. The good news is you no longer have to deal with the cognitive dissonance of reconciling your worldview to an experience that is completely different from what you'd expect if the worldview were correct. The bad news is that you are left in a great big beautiful, doesn't-give-a-shit-about-you-universe, but you were there all along anyway. In the long run, it's better to deal in reality. You're a lot less disappointed and angry that way.

 

Ultimately I realized I was going to be consumed by frustration and rage if I did not let go of a god who was beating me and/or neglecting me when I had done nothing wrong. And maybe even worse, beating and neglecting my loved ones.

 

The bolded part is what SCARES me the most - that we really don't have anyone to depend on except ourselves. This is a hard concept to grasp...the idea of some higher-power being in control of everything and who will come save the day at the right time was a nice idea. Unfortunately, when "god" doesn't come to save the day on numerous occasions, it's kind of hard to keep believing.sad.png

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Hi TotalWreck. Great screen name, btw, although I'm sure that's how you're feeling--which sucks!

 

Coming out of a life of faith after devoting almost four decades to it was not easy. Neither did I choose to leave. The evidence just started mounting and I could no longer ignore it or explain it away through hollow arguments.

 

I think you are in the hardest phase now: you are probably experiencing a great deal of cognitive dissonance. You notice that your Bible says one thing (and you 'hang your hat' on it) but observation and experience are singing a completely different tune. For example, "God answers prayer"...but all you get is silence. Endlessly. When I was in the cognitive dissonance phase, I was very loud and frustrated. It was like I had to pretzel my brain to make my beliefs fit my observations and experiences. And it was unraveling faster than anything. I could not stop it. My unbelief came on like a freight train and I was tied to the tracks.

 

This is one of the first sites that made sense to me: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/ (Someone mentioned it above, I think.)

 

Anyhow, deconversion is a process. Rome wasn't built in a day, as they say, and losing your faith is a process also.

 

I hope you find lots of support here. We won't give you pat answers but we can honestly say that we know what you're talking about!

 

Peace...

 

Hello Positivist. Yes, unfortunately my screen name reflects how I feel right now, and have been feeling for quite some time.glare.gif

 

I'm just SO tired mentally and emotionally, which in turn makes me tired physically, because they all three pretty much work together. I'm sleeping so much lately and just doing the most simple things takes everything out of me. I've already got serious depression, and this crisis of faith has only made things twice as bad. I've been through SO much these last three years that I'm just completely exhausted. I just wish I could stay in my bed for the rest of my life. I'm tired of fighting, tired of trying to make sense of this shitty, unfair world...I feel like everything I've ever known or believed in has just been ripped away from me.

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Hi, totalwreck, and welcome to ExC. One thing about it is that we have all been where you are. You're not alone, though living among Christians as I presume you do, it may feel as if there is no one else who is questioning the religion.

 

Does anyone have any advice on how to just let it all go completely?

 

I have no advice for what it sounds as if you are asking - how just to drop it right now and be done with it. For most people, it is a process and that process can take considerable time. So, my advice is for you to deal with the issues you are facing. For example, you speak of god not answering prayers and not seeming to care for people who are hurting when he has the power to do something. Take that issue and put your logical mind to work, not your faith. If god does not do what the bible promises he will do, then what are the logical conclusions? For me the logical conclusion was that the bible's characterization of god must not be true. And if the bible's characterization of god is not true, then the god of the bible, by definition, does not exist. Frankly, once you get to that point, it doesn't really matter much whether there is some form of hands-off god who perhaps created the universe but then left it alone.

 

 

Also, please tell me if you feel your life is better or worse since letting go of Christianity.

 

As a general rule, people will answer this question differently depending on where they are in the process of deconversion. For many of us, once we decided to leave the religion, our troubles began. We had to rethink our lives, had to deal with loved ones who were still Christians, had to wonder how we could have been so misguided for so many years as Christians, had to get past anger, heartbreak, tears, and disappointments.

 

But, speaking for myself, once I got through all the turmoil, deep within myself I was much happier knowing that I was one of the relatively few who actually managed to overcome my faith and escape the religious chains that bound me for so many years. That freedom is worth more money than anyone could possibly make in a lifetime.

 

Hello Overcame Faith.

 

I have SO many issues I'm facing that I can't even think clearly and I don't even know where to begin because I've always just been under that "God will take care of everything" mindset, and that help calm me down. But now I'm freaking out because there are so many bad things in my life that I can't avoid them anymore and I HAVE to face them. What makes everything hard is that my faith gave me a certain amount of energy, but now that I don't have that faith really anymore, that little bit of energy to get me through things is GONE and now I don't know what to do. Just talking about this exhausts me and I'm getting ready to go back to sleep just to give my mind a rest. All I do these days is think, think, think about how nothing makes sense.

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Deconversion is a good news / bad news kinda thing. The good news is you no longer have to deal with the cognitive dissonance of reconciling your worldview to an experience that is completely different from what you'd expect if the worldview were correct. The bad news is that you are left in a great big beautiful, doesn't-give-a-shit-about-you-universe, but you were there all along anyway. In the long run, it's better to deal in reality. You're a lot less disappointed and angry that way.

The bolded part is what SCARES me the most - that we really don't have anyone to depend on except ourselves. This is a hard concept to grasp...the idea of some higher-power being in control of everything and who will come save the day at the right time was a nice idea. Unfortunately, when "god" doesn't come to save the day on numerous occasions, it's kind of hard to keep believing.sad.png

It's not a hard concept to grasp, it's a hard concept to accept.

 

It needn't be, however. My fiancee was raised by an agnostic father and a Unitarian / Universalist mother (which is almost the same thing as an agnostic!) and religion as you and I have known it has never been a part of her life. She simply doesn't "get" religion, even while lacking hostility toward it and allowing her daughter to explore it for herself.

 

Religion means nothing to her, yet she is not a frightened rabbit hiding in the shadows because it's a godless world. She has always been strongly self-reliant and positive and just does what needs doing. She's kind of running out of gas in her 50s like I am, but lacking any need to bemoan the loss of a god she never had, there is no hand-wringing or angst over some imagined "loss" of god's "protection" either. Frankly, that mentality just puzzles the hell out of her. After all, to think that way is to be so self-absorbed as to think that life is all about you and that you're so significant that you're actually butt-buddies with God Almighty, ruler of the universe. She doesn't understand how an intelligent person like myself could ever have bought into that. Frankly, it gave her a little pause about me at first.

 

She's not the first person like this I've crossed paths with. If it's possible to face the world without an imaginary Sky Daddy in your corner, then it's possible to adjust your thinking about the matter. It gets better, I promise. I've got my share of issues but I no longer lose any sleep or even feel wistful about my Imaginary Friend, Jesus. How is it sustainable to mourn the loss of something you never had in the first place?

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The bad news is that you are left in a great big beautiful, doesn't-give-a-shit-about-you-universe, but you were there all along anyway.

 

This is the root (in my opinion) of belief in a loving god. I struggled with this immensely. At first when I started to doubt God, I couldn't explain why I couldn't let go of him. The more I thought about it, the clearer it became that I wanted to believe in someone who cared. I thought it was impossible that there wasn't some sort of loving entity out there. The whole mystery of the universe comes into play and the whole concept of afterlife. One day though, it seems as if everything made sense at once. Why would I want to live my life with a cross stuck up my ass, fearing something that may not exist? Then I did the experiment where I reject my faith, I openly announce my political positions which are "Unbiblical" and I start posting here. I have yet to be struck by lightning.

 

Unlike the Christians make us "nonbelievers" out to be, we actually AREN'T the rebellious, self-gratifying, society-destroying, evil, demon-possessed miscreants that everyone seems to think we are. Just by letting go of my religious baggage I have felt immensely better. I still have to get out of the religious environment before I can truly be free, but that's a work in progress.

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Hello Overcame Faith.

 

I have SO many issues I'm facing that I can't even think clearly and I don't even know where to begin because I've always just been under that "God will take care of everything" mindset, and that help calm me down. But now I'm freaking out because there are so many bad things in my life that I can't avoid them anymore and I HAVE to face them. What makes everything hard is that my faith gave me a certain amount of energy, but now that I don't have that faith really anymore, that little bit of energy to get me through things is GONE and now I don't know what to do. Just talking about this exhausts me and I'm getting ready to go back to sleep just to give my mind a rest. All I do these days is think, think, think about how nothing makes sense.

 

You are wrong in your thinking that the "...little bit of energy to get me through things is GONE..." That "little bit of energy" is still there, it's just that you attributed the source of that energy to your faith and god and now that you no longer have either one of those, you think the energy is gone. But the energy you felt came from within you and it is still there. Transfer your faith from the god who doesn't exist to yourself where it belongs. Dig down into yourself and you will still find that "little bit of energy" is still there. It didn't disappear with your loss of belief in god. It was you all along and once you come to accept that fact, you will be much better off.

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The more I thought about it, the clearer it became that I wanted to believe in someone who cared.

That hits the nail on the head. At bottom, it's a fear of being all alone in a vast, impersonal universe. But the crazy thing is, you've been that way since the day you were conceived. Nothing changes in actual reality when you simply acknowledge that this is already the case. The only shift is in between your ears. Isn't it better to deal in reality than to pretend something that's not so??

 

Besides, you're NOT all alone, or at least, you needn't be. Again, I will hold forth my fiancee as an example. She's a recovering alcoholic, and one reason she resisted involvement in AA for years is because of the quasi-religious nature of the program where you have to acknowledge dependence on "a higher power, as you conceive it". What she finally settled on, and I think this is totally valid, is that her "higher power" is her relationships. A higher power is something greater than yourself, and what else is that but healthy community and relationship? And in truth, her functional alcoholism was really due to her tendency to be a loner, to try to "handle it herself". The way out of the woods for her was to risk opening up to other people and discovering wonderful supportive affirming relationships -- something other than the incessant demands of your children, the Chinese water torture of an ex who is always putting you down, that sort of thing.

 

The truth is that all any of us EVER have is the people, causes and passions in our lives. There is nothing valid about bleeding away energy from what REALLY matters and investing it in mythic archetypes in between your ears.

 

Technically, we are born alone, live alone, and die alone, in terms of the vast scheme of things. But along the way we have plenty of company if we seek it out. There is a lot of rich experience available to anyone, believer or not -- god isn't necessary to that because contrary to the way Christians attempt to perceive all unbelievers as "big A" Atheists who are angry, bitter, alienated, and despairing, the actual truth is that the same reality, the same pleasures and pains, are available to everyone. It's just a question of whether you want to keep things simple and straightforward or if you want to layer some sort of magical belief system on top of it.

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The truth is that all any of us EVER have is the people, causes and passions in our lives. There is nothing valid about bleeding away energy from what REALLY matters and investing it in mythic archetypes in between your ears.

 

 

This is something that I've been realizing myself...what makes it so hard to accept is that I have very few people in my life to depend on, so "God" was always the one person I felt I could count on...even if it didn't feel like he was with me the majority of the time.

 

Another big wake up call for me which made me realize I couldn't turn my head the other way anymore, was reading about Mother Teresa (most of you have probably already known about this). When I read that for the last HALF CENTURY of Mother Teresa's life that even she of all people privately didn't feel god and doubted him and had stopped praying in her last several years alive, that was a big realization for me. Here was this woman who was supposed to be the most religious woman in the world, and privately she doubted god's existence. Now, I'm not ignoring the amazing, wonderful things that she did in her life or how devoted she was to helping people, but it makes me angry that she tried to tell everyone else in the world to "keep the faith" and "keep praying" when she wasn't even doing that in the last several years of her life. It makes you wonder just how many other "religious" people out there are preaching to "not give up on God" when privately that's exactly what they've done. eek.gif

 

I mean, if Mother Teresa of all people lost her faith, why in the world should I keep trying to hold on to mine if I don't feel it? rolleyes.gif

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This is something that I've been realizing myself...what makes it so hard to accept is that I have very few people in my life to depend on, so "God" was always the one person I felt I could count on...even if it didn't feel like he was with me the majority of the time.

Yes, it's tough on us introverts; it's not easy for some of us to make meaningful friendships. One thing that has helped me is to back off on my idealism and allow myself to have more relationships that are less deep. Sometimes we have a tendency to insist that no relationship is worth our time if it's not sufficiently profound. The truth is that there is value in relationships even with people who wouldn't lose sleep over your welfare or who might drift away if you aren't part of the same cause or organization, etc. Although my contemplation of more casual friendships made me anticipate feeling empty, I often found that if I would simply give myself to them for what they are, they can actually be encouraging and rewarding. The key is not to care so much and try so hard.

 

Also, not to over-think. For example my fiancee and I recently had a delightful dinner with another couple -- the woman is an old friend of my fiancee and the man is her new beau. I put out a friend request to the guy on FaceBook and sort of waited around for a response and or a call back, and none was forthcoming. In the past I would have assumed he was either a flake or not interested but these days I just assume he probably checks FaceBook once every 2 months and/or is just distracted or expecting me to be more assertive or something. So I will put more effort into contacting him and inviting him out for coffee, etc. than I might have a few years back.

 

I'll admit that my need for relationships is greater than it was because of my deconversion, but I don't think that's a Bad Thing. Religions pre-package your social milieu for you and they generally do a pretty effective job of it. This makes people kind of lacking in relationship-building skills because they're used to just surfing along with the built-in sense of community. Not incidentally it makes them more dependent on the church and more easily manipulated by people with agendas. You're always better off making your own way in the world, really.

Another big wake up call for me which made me realize I couldn't turn my head the other way anymore, was reading about Mother Teresa (most of you have probably already known about this). When I read that for the last HALF CENTURY of Mother Teresa's life that even she of all people privately didn't feel god and doubted him and had stopped praying in her last several years alive, that was a big realization for me. Here was this woman who was supposed to be the most religious woman in the world, and privately she doubted god's existence. Now, I'm not ignoring the amazing, wonderful things that she did in her life or how devoted she was to helping people, but it makes me angry that she tried to tell everyone else in the world to "keep the faith" and "keep praying" when she wasn't even doing that in the last several years of her life. It makes you wonder just how many other "religious" people out there are preaching to "not give up on God" when privately that's exactly what they've done. eek.gif

 

I mean, if Mother Teresa of all people lost her faith, why in the world should I keep trying to hold on to mine if I don't feel it? rolleyes.gif

I suppose that the official Catholic response would be something along the line that Mother T withstood the test of her faith, clinging to it despite her doubts and even absent any sense of feeling. This fits well with the way Catholic thought is so enamored of the idea that suffering is somehow ennobling or that self-denial is inherently virtuous. But I agree with your reasoning, to be sure.

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There's so much stuff in the bible that's laughable horseshit and so many stories that contradict themselves that you can't help but to laugh at it. Even with all the stupid stories in the bible though, I did actually believe that there was a god.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I can't keep going on wondering why god isn't helping me, when "god's time" to help me will come...

TotalWreck, I know what you're saying. I hear you. I think in many ways, Christians use faith to fill in the cracks in the evidence. This can be mentally jarring and cause cognitive dissonance. The Bible says "God will help you", and "Jesus will hear you", and "The Holy Spirit will enlighten you." So, when these things don't happen, it is very, very confusing. I challenged a friend of mine on this and she scolded me, saying that "God is no maker of deals" so, essentially, "pony up the attitude, sista!" I find this confusing (and dismissive). Doesn't the Bible say he will intervene when it's his will? Is it God's will that you should suffer? You are RIGHT. It does NOT make sense.

...what SCARES me the most - that we really don't have anyone to depend on except ourselves. This is a hard concept to grasp...the idea of some higher-power being in control of everything and who will come save the day at the right time was a nice idea. Unfortunately, when "god" doesn't come to save the day on numerous occasions, it's kind of hard to keep believing.

Indeed. There is a (false) sense of security about that. However, if it's not true, then I'd say it's best to face the music. You can wait for God to do something (and then suddenly you're 90 and you spent your whole life waiting...for nothing) or, you can think to yourself, "You know, I'm not stupid. What makes the most sense for me right now?" You'd be surprised at your ability to "pick up your mat and walk" without a command.

...unfortunately my screen name reflects how I feel right now, and have been feeling for quite some time.

I'm just SO tired mentally and emotionally, which in turn makes me tired physically...

I'm sleeping so much lately and just doing the most simple things takes everything out of me. I've already got serious depression, and this crisis of faith has only made things twice as bad.

...I'm tired of fighting, tired of trying to make sense of this shitty, unfair world...I feel like everything I've ever known or believed in has just been ripped away from me.

Well, it kind of has been ripped away from you, so you have a right to be tired. It is tiring. Thinking about this stuff is hard work. Having faith that requires you to bend your mind into bizarre contortions to make things 'fit' is exhausting.

 

Can I give you a little advice? (If not, just skip the next 3 points wink.png )

  1. I hope you are receiving medical attention regarding your depression. For many of us our faith told us not to medicate depression. However, it is as real an illness as influenza or hepatitis. Medicate.
  2. See a therapist to help you figure out what you believe. Not a Christian therapist, but maybe someone who knows about people coming out of faith. Or hell, talk to a good friend who understands.
  3. Decide what you are going to believe. I believe it is impossible to know truth (I've searched but I'm like a dog chasing its tail). So, make the best decision you can about what to believe, based on the best available evidence. Then live it out.

I have SO many issues I'm facing that I can't even think clearly and I don't even know where to begin because I've always just been under that "God will take care of everything" mindset, and that help calm me down. But now I'm freaking out because there are so many bad things in my life that I can't avoid them anymore and I HAVE to face them.

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All I do these days is think, think, think about how nothing makes sense.

Keep coming back here to pound out your ideas. Find a therapist. You're in the hard part right now but there is hope. Keep walkin'!

 

I am worried about you. Keep us posted, k?

 

Peace.

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Yes, it's tough on us introverts; it's not easy for some of us to make meaningful friendships. One thing that has helped me is to back off on my idealism and allow myself to have more relationships that are less deep. Sometimes we have a tendency to insist that no relationship is worth our time if it's not sufficiently profound. The truth is that there is value in relationships even with people who wouldn't lose sleep over your welfare or who might drift away if you aren't part of the same cause or organization, etc. Although my contemplation of more casual friendships made me anticipate feeling empty, I often found that if I would simply give myself to them for what they are, they can actually be encouraging and rewarding. The key is not to care so much and try so hard.

 

Also, not to over-think.

 

I've always done the same thing - I've always felt like if someone wasn't that "perfect friend" that I expected them to be, then they weren't worth my time. Between that and also having been seriously letdown by people who I thought were my friends, I've just sort of given up on people in general the last few years. I have this mindset now that I'd rather be alone than take a chance of being betrayed/hurt again, but if I'm being honest with myself, it's lonely and isolating. Interestingly enough though, I've also felt lonely even when I had "friends" - this is where God was helpful to me...it was like no matter what, at least I always had my "invisible friend", which is pretty much what it amounted to.

 

I need to learn to do what you're doing now - just take people for what they are and nothing more, and if I'm lucky, maybe I will eventually meet some people that I can consider close friends.

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I need to learn to do what you're doing now - just take people for what they are and nothing more, and if I'm lucky, maybe I will eventually meet some people that I can consider close friends.

Basically, yes. People are limited, you and me included. If you expect too much of them, then Kafka's saying is fulfilled: "Hell is other people". Just let yourself and others be who and what they are, no more and no less, warts and all.

 

When my second wife died after a long and difficult illness, I did my best to withdraw into my own safe little world, but as you said, it's lonely and isolating. I had visions of spending all my spare time in intellectual pursuits and philosophy but I found that limited and empty as I was curious, not so much about how people and life operate, as in finding some satisfying inherent meaning in it all, and there's no "there" there. Eventually it's all self-referential claptrap.

 

I had coffee each morning with casual friends (a fortuitous thing I stumbled on, just blocks from my house -- an eclectic group of guys who would meet for coffee most mornings). It gave structure to my day and if it hadn't been for those guys I might have gone for days at a time without having any in-person contact with another human being. Eventually I figured out I need that structure in my life. I was then open to a new woman in my life, and in spite of the complexity and drama and change it has brought to my life it has been well worth it. It keeps my head out of my rectum. I also am starting to get a sense of how to cobble together friendships and involvements of my own that work for me.

 

At the end of the day I brought to my unbelieving life the same strengths and weaknesses I brought to my believing life. I am still me. More authentically me, with fewer artificial constraints / more freedom of choice, but still essentially me. The difference is that I'm now personally responsible for all of it. God and the devil get neither credit nor blame for anything in my life. It's a bit of a double edged sword, but again, it's better to live in accord with what is rather than what I wish was.

 

There's no more "waiting on god". Either I take action, if there's action within the scope of my powers to take; or I surrender to what is. Sometimes my options suck and blow, or are non-existent, and sometimes they're great, but at least it's all out there without any layers of horse pucky between them and myself.

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