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Goodbye Jesus

Does Anyone Ever Feel Guilty?


Coconutz

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Lately I've been going through a guilt phase with my deconversion. I noticed that whenever I'm in church, especially if it's an emotional moment in the service, I feel really guilty that I can't believe. To give a specific example, on the Sunday before Easter I was in a service at my brother's church where he is the music pastor. During the worship time, I totally kept feeling guilty. I wasn't singing - I don't feel right singing words I don't mean, but I stood there feeling guilt and fear. I could see everyone around me getting into it and raising their hands and all that and I just felt like an outsider. I started to think - maybe I should just try to forget about all the contradictions and problems with the Bible and just blindly believe again... But of course, it just doesn't work that way - I wouldn't really want to do that - I have to be true to..well...truth! And my reason and logic says the Bible doesn't work.

 

I also find I feel guilty when I read about all the Biblical contradictions and stuff - almost like I feel bad that I'm reading things against Christianity.

 

I have always been a sensitive person when it comes to feeling guilty. In general, if someone tells me something is wrong, even if I know it's fine, I can still easily feel guilty. So I think this is just part of my personality. But I'm sure Christians would say that it's a "check" in my spirit or something right? But I just CAN'T believe that it is - the Christian God doesn't make sense!

 

Anyway, just something I have to work through I guess. Thanks for reading - I'm so glad to have this community of support.

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Goodbye Jesus

I did at one time, in fact I wouldn't mention my thoughts or feelings to anyone. Overtime its gotten easier and I don't really have those feelings anymore.

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I also find I feel guilty when I read about all the Biblical contradictions and stuff - almost like I feel bad that I'm reading things against Christianity.

I know! Me too! I am past the guilt phase and am living freely at peace now. But when I first started reading literature from The Other Side (atheist books, Biblical contradictions) I would actually keep checking over my shoulder to make sure no one could see what I was reading. It felt like I was looking at porn! That's how guilty I felt! Because of course, Christianity is TRUETM and any "evidence" to the contrary was of course from the DEVIL.

 

My advice is choose what to believe. Don't let belief pull you to and fro. Decide, then build your new understanding and worldview on that decision.

 

Be at peace!

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I totally relate to what you're saying. I tend to feel guilty about things easily, too.

 

We don't go to church anymore, but I can imagine if I did it would still be really hard for me. I also felt that guilty feeling when I first started reading negative things about the Bible. Now I mainly notice that twinge of guilt whenever I see stuff on atheist websites (like a funny pic, etc) that's really "irreverent" and mocks Jesus or whatever. When I see that stuff I often feel guilty (or is it guilt? I don't know how else to describe it). Then I have to stop and remind myself that what's being mocked isn't real. It's like feeling bad when someone mocks Santa Claus. And I also think about what it was like to live as a believer and how miserable those beliefs made me feel. Going back isn't an option.

 

Ya know I think maybe it's also that leftover part of us that remembers the feeling of God/Jesus being a friend and someone we loved...so we almost feel hurt/offended on his behalf. Even though I don't believe in him anymore it's a habit pattern to react that way.

 

I also also think when we're compassionate/empathetic people we tend to take on the feelings/reactions of others - I am able to anticipate how people will respond to things. So I think sometimes my guilt/offended feelings are based on how I think others would react to certain things.

 

I agree, it is something to work through. And I've definitely noticed that it's gotten better with time. There are things I say and think now that seem normal that a few months ago I would have felt so guilty about. I feel stronger and more like myself.

 

It does get kinda frustrating - but I know we will get there! I'm glad to have this community, too. And thanks for posting. It's good to know I'm not the only one dealing with these things. :)

 

2H

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Yep, that used to happen to me too, but it did get better.

 

I have always been a sensitive person when it comes to feeling guilty. In general, if someone tells me something is wrong, even if I know it's fine, I can still easily feel guilty. So I think this is just part of my personality. But I'm sure Christians would say that it's a "check" in my spirit or something right? But I just CAN'T believe that it is - the Christian God doesn't make sense!

 

Yeah, I'm oversensitive to other people's emotions, too. You're not feeling guilty because 1/3 of the christian god is telepathically putting thoughts inside your head; you're picking up on the social cohesion of the rest of the group and feel guilty because you don't fit in. You may also feeling guilty because you know that the happy-looking people around you would be projecting less-happy vibes at you if they knew what you really believe, so you're upset about their potential unhappiness.

 

In other circumstances, not wanting to make people around us unhappy, and wanting to fit in with a social group, is a source of morality (the golden rule works on empathy) and can be a good thing. It helps me to think of this guilt as an unfortunate side effect of normal human urges. It's good that you've got functional empathy because it means you're not a psychopath. But you've also got enough intelligence to know that this is not a good situation to be feeling these things in, that there are other factors that make acting against your empathetic urges the better choice. So don't be too hard on yourself about having those sorts of emotions; they're merely a symptom, and you're still healing from the disease.

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Lately I've been going through a guilt phase with my deconversion. I noticed that whenever I'm in church, especially if it's an emotional moment in the service, I feel really guilty that I can't believe.

 

 

I think that's natural. We are social animals and the drive to belong to the group is very powerful. If you are in a position to stop going to church, then I think that would be helpful. The less time you spend in church, the less powerful it's hold will be over you, speaking from my own experience.

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Yeah, I've experienced similar guilt. But it never makes sense. I think the indoctrination broke my sense of guilt.

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If you did not go to church, you would find yourself to be rid of a lot of these kind of thoughts. They are reinforced by the mass crowd psychology.

 

I'm with Burned on this one - really do the "forbidden" thing (within reason with some qualifications - no stealing or criminal stuff), and see that there is no punishment of God forthcoming - that is, read the atheist literature, occult stuff, any kind of thing that Christianity condemns. Actually, I will view or read almost anything. It is quite a sense of freedom you get.

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Thanks everyone for all the replies and encouragement. It really is a relief to know that I'm not the only one who has gone through this and especially that the phase does pass.

 

Unfortunately I'm not in a position to stop going to church. But the good news is that the church I mentioned in the OP is not the one I normally go to. My church is actually a satellite of a larger church and is held in a movie theatre. This helps loads because it's far less 'churchy'. We actually watch the sermon on the screen. My husband knows of my atheism and is grateful that I go to church with him which is nice.

 

My family doesn't know though and they are pretty steeped in Christianity. Add the fact that my brother is a pastor and you get the reason why I don't want to tell them - I'd feel like an outcast. I'm sure they'd still love me, but with the guilty personality that I mentioned above, I'm not sure I could take the disappointment.

 

Anyway, I do know that I'm not going to stop reading and learning and scrutinizing everything I once blindly took as truth.

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Maybe try wearing some earplugs to the service

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