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Confused About What I Should Do?


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I do not know what to do. Things have come to a head, once again. I keep trying to avoid the question/live my life without worrying about whether or not I was going to hell, which is why I haven't really typed anything in awhile, and maintained a tenuous connection at best with the community.

 

I am at the point in my life where I believe, through a particular experience, that the Judeo-Christian god might be the real god. I used to believe that no matter what I would be able to believe there was nothing wrong with homosexuality and that I would be able to believe that there was nothing wrong with my bisexual lifestyle. I even cried at the love story of two homosexual men recently, before my experience, because of how sad what happened was (he lost his partner of so many years). Life finally seemed like it was starting up again, albeit slowly.

 

However now, do to a weed-induced anxious "prayer" (more like an anxious thought which resulted, that ended up being "answered"/happening), mixed with the amount of uncertainty in my life about Christianity and a previously similar Christian freak out previously a few days ago, I have reached the feeling and thought that the incident was the "straw the broke the camels back". I had gotten over the original issue (have learned to control my emotions a little better), but at the point the next thing happened, I was already worn down so much from trying to get around the worry that the previous thing was a sign, that when I had the anxious/compulsive thought "what if such and such happened, and that proves god". Long story, let's just say I was having such unwanted intrusive thoughts all day, but I don't want to make things even longer.

 

I usually have had enough emotional resilience and persistence to avoid succumbing to my initial emotional reaction to such things, but this one was "exact" and just was too much, at least in the moment.

 

Now I am asking for advice. If you believe in Christianity to the extent where you are scared enough to not enjoy usually "sinful" things. I know so much, and there is so much that is so confusing. I used to feel with conviction that all this stuff had to be wrong, but the experience felt emotionally compelling enough to question everything. I now know that everything I think or believe contradicts Christian doctrine, and that the life I'm living would have to be drastically changed....I just don't know what I actually believe anymore. What should one do if one believes enough in Christianity to fear, but not enough to throw away everything you've believed or worked for over the past few years? I've come to the point where I want to just know, after that experience and I started bawling I just cried out for god to let me know for sure, to prove to me right then if he was there. Nothing.....I cried out my eyes and began screaming because the fear and pain was so much that I just wanted to know the truth, whatever that might be. The question is, if I do not think I can move on/disregard this "prayer", yet I am not completely sure that it is true nor that I want to "serve" god, nor if I'm sure the bible is true, or just a lie by a tyrant (if he's there).

 

If I DO believe, I know that the thought makes me suicidally depressed. I also do not know how to reconcile all I know even if I thought it was true, I would have to throw away everything I had found that made me happy, although they are spoiled because of fear and depression anyways. I just am having trouble believing that everything I experienced was nothing more than my anxiety-fueled worries finding the inevitable "evidence" that is bound to come if you are overly-focused, so I am left half-way between believing and not believing. I do not really think most information we have necessarily corroborates Christianity, yet I have been pushed to consider it again through my experiences/emotions. I want to just have peace and love in my life, without all the constant pressures of Christian life (I'm convinced this is what made me suicidal/depressed to begin with). Everything I do is a sin. Everyone I love is a sinner/unable to remain a mainstay friend or family member. Everything I know says it doesn't make sense. Everything except for my emotions about what I experienced...What do I do?

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Jeez mate seems pretty plain to me, this shit tortures you whether you believe it or not. Your problem appears to be the fear, not the issues surrounding it. From what we have discussed over time, you don't need to worry about going to hell because you are already putting yourself through it.

 

There is no god mate, its pretty clear. If after 36 years as a christian I could find no evidence, and no one else can provide any real evidence I think it is pretty damn clear there isnt one. Which basically means you are torturing your self, over and over just like I used to. Over NOTHING. Why?

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Hi Falloutdude,

 

Your description sounds like a classic case of cognitive dissonance. All of us unbelievers go through this to some degree, some greater than others based on personality, culture, etc.

 

2Honest put a recent post up with a video series on cognitive dissonance. It's here http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/51685-dissonance-understanding-why-we-hold-on-to-beliefs/ if you haven't seen it. I think it will be helpful for you.

 

Jason

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I think you are having a flashback.

 

The things you feel and experience are fabrications of your mind--they do not represent objective reality.

 

Sounds like Christianity really did a number on you. Sort it out, by all means, but don't trust your feelings, which are simply neurotransmitters, electrical impulses and hormones......colluding to make your brain think something is real.

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I wanted to say one more thing. Weird shit happens and so do coincidences. Let me tell you a story.

 

I once was talking to a friend about going on a cruise. My friend said oh ya! So am I. No details were mentioned as to when or where. Somonths later summer is here and me and my family leave all the way across the country to go on this cruise. Guess who i see boarding the same boat as me. My friend from all the way back home. I tell you this that of all my religious coincidences none compare to how weird this was. Of the many many boats that leave on a daily basis not to mention how many other cruises she cOuld have taken, she was on mine. What are the odds.

 

For what reason did this happen you COULD ask. The answer is no reason, there is no possible higher meaning you can possibly walk away with that situation. Shit happens, sometimes it's weird shit.

 

 

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I want to just have peace and love in my life, without all the constant pressures of Christian life (I'm convinced this is what made me suicidal/depressed to begin with). Everything I do is a sin. Everyone I love is a sinner/unable to remain a mainstay friend or family member. Everything I know says it doesn't make sense. Everything except for my emotions about what I experienced...What do I do?

 

Peace and love are contradictory to what the rest of this paragraph says. I hope this doesn't sound too harsh, but you have to determine which it is you really want, and then pursue it. If Christianity is not conducive to peace in your life, you MUST drop it.

 

Only you can make this decision, and then you must motivate yourself to achieve it.

 

If I were you, I would lay off the weed, too.

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Funny shit happens all the time.

 

 

 

 

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The Judeo-Christian god might be the real god??? Seriously, its a bunch of balloney. My advice is to throw away that stupid book.

 

And lets be clear. There is no hell. Its an imaginary place. Only a sick mind would believe such a place exists.

 

On a lighter note. This is my first post here!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cheers, Adam

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The Judeo-Christian god might be the real god??? Seriously, its a bunch of balloney. My advice is to throw away that stupid book.

 

And lets be clear. There is no hell. Its an imaginary place. Only a sick mind would believe such a place exists.

 

On a lighter note. This is my first post here!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cheers, Adam

 

Welcome!

 

This site has people all over the deconversion map...some have ZERO belief in it anymore (apparently such as yourself), some are in the process of deconverting (1-99% deconverted), and some like JayL, OrdinaryClay and Thumby refuse to recognize a dick of evidence if it slapped them in the face. For those who are in the process of breaking free, it's generally a good idea not to totally piss on their loosely held beliefs, as they still hold some value for them. I get where youre coming from, and I agree, but with some we need to try and be a little more sensitive to their beliefs. I'm probably going way overboard with this, as you really didnt say anything at all offensive, maybe its just in my own mind. If so, my bad. The last thing i want to do is appear to be "calling you out". I'm glad you're here! Looking forward to more posts from you in the future!

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Hi McDaddy, yes I see where you're coming from. Thats the thing with forums you can make a post without thinking it through.

 

Thanks for the welcome. I am in the process of deconverting too. cheers, Adam

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Hi McDaddy, yes I see where you're coming from. Thats the thing with forums you can make a post without thinking it through.

 

Thanks for the welcome. I am in the process of deconverting too. cheers, Adam

 

 

Well if you're still deconverting, then that changes things a little! Venting and "lashing out" at all the crap we've been indoctrinated with is very much a huge part of deconverting. I wouldn't say I'm totally deconverted either, but its gotta be in the 90%'s. Still have a few lingering thoughts now and then, but it only takes about 5 seconds to shake it out of the brain. Im guilty of thrashing too, but I try to only do so against the thought process, not the people. But I'm sure I've done it from time to time, although I don't mean to. When you figure all this out, its very cathartic to call out the stupidity preached from the pulpit.

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Lay off the weed and the religious/anti-religious websites. If professional help is not an option, you can at least avoid triggers. Trust your intellect, not your emotions.

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I don't go to religious or anti-religious sites anymore at all really. I have plenty of atheist and/or agnostic friends, and they bash on religion a lot, and I sometimes talk to my friends about it when I'm feeling frisky enough, but generally when I'm depressed or anxious about religion I freeze up and become a walking moron....Asking/saying stupid things because of it.

 

Today, although this was probably the mocha talking, I came to not be worried and enjoy my day, however, when I am left to think about it, and when the mocha wears off, I fear the impending depression/anxiety that comes from crashing off of it. Mostly, I was confident/calm enough to say "that experience, though seemingly improbable, I know is no proof of god in any significant way". Without my liquid courage, though, I do not know how well this confidence will fair, especially in light of anxious thoughts. The more I think about the experience, the deeper I get emotionally sucked into it, and the harder it is to see things clearly. However, when I am emotionally alright, and feel fairly confident/calm, I can just not worry about it so much.

 

The thing with me is, I basically have either generalized anxiety disorder or a form of OCD. I fit a little of both, mostly the former though. So I worry about worrying, literally. Sometimes I don't even realize I'm doing it until later or I am somehow made aware of it, otherwise its an insidious process of fear and worry, slowly encroaching on my rational faculties, until I am consumed by fear. I know myself, so I start worrying that I will come back to what worries me and worry about it again. If you know anything about psychology, this is obviously a very negative statement; most importantly, though, it is a self-fulfilling statement.

 

Basically when I am feeling ok, like this, it is easy to dismiss my fears. When I start ruminating, or thinking/analyzing the situation in order to discredit it, I sometimes don't find any concrete answer, so I become overwhelmed in the vicious cycle of trying to find assurance in experiences which have no assurance. The experience may very well be random, and maybe even have a relatively good chance of happening, but if I feel like the situation is not adequately explained I keep pressing. In situations like the one I am dealing with, however, there is very little possibility for complete closure, so I am left to use another tactic that I have not really done before....I have to tell myself that, even though I cannot disprove the situation was god, that it does not necessarily mean it was god, and that the fear is giving me a sense that the event is unexplainable by other means (kind of like an "answered prayer", but not quite, like I said, long story).

 

Once I get this feeling/though stuck in my head. I just keep spiraling while I try to stop the process. Basically, it's easier to become scared and feel depressed for me/slip into that spiral than it is to get out of it, much easier. Once I'm in it, everything just gets bleaker and bleaker, more and more scary, more and more depressing, to the point of suicidal thoughts.

 

Like many of you have said, I must drop Christianity. I must, if I am to survive....There is too much for me to abandon based on a prayer being answered, especially because of the circumstances, too much that goes against the idea. There is no more reason to think it was jesus doing what he did for me than Muhummad, the only difference is that I have an emotional bias, and the same thing would have happened had I been worrying about another religion. An "answer". It's just difficult for me to put the burden of proof of myself, I've become increasingly wed to the tactic of trying to debunk my fears before I move on. Perhaps this is the wrong course of action. First of all, none of these things really lend themselves to analysis, I can not repeat my results, at least not without trying over and over again, so I am worrying about a particular incident that may, or may not, have to do with "god". Second, I know that even though it feels scary, that I have no real reason to fear. Thirdly, devoting my life to believing in something that grandiose and complex, based on a worried incident, that I cannot comprehensibly remember no less, is not my obligation, nor is it rational.

 

The thing is, that even though I can see these things clearly now. I cannot when I am in emotional upheaval....Especially when I get caught in the intellectual black hole that is my attempt at rationalizing potentially irrational/random events; at this point, I am lost to reason, and my emotions seem as if to be rational thoughts/concerns. Even when I am out of it, I can wonder sometimes....that's the issue though. Going back, trying to analyze things and get an answer/something to placate my insecurity, when there may be none.

 

@ McDaddy I know enough about probability and statistics to know your video is true, McDaddy. I've known this for awhile, the thing is that when something happens, and I do not perceive any other repeated experiences in which the thing I worried about didn't happen, I freak out/panic that is improbable because I do not experience a particular situation often, if at all (worried-anxious "prayer"/worry). Then, since I have no wide range of other similar experiences to draw from/compare, I perceive the situation as improbable that it happened the "one time" I did it, and that starts up my anxious thoughts about the details, trying to diffuse my fear with reason. When something does not lend itself to rational analysis though, like the possibility of a random event happening/something that just happened once, I get stuck, and spiral into anxiety and fear, which eventually leads to depression and hopelessness.

 

Maybe the solution has been staring me in the face this whole time? Perhaps the best thing is not to feed these thoughts/fears, but allow my emotions some temporal breathing room, aka not dive into trying to "solve" it. Letting my mind work things out as I do other things, such as school. Then again, if I try that too hard, sometimes I get anxious about that not working....Also, when I am not in school or inadvertently distracted, it is difficult to get to the state of mind where I just don't care/am not worried that something is a sign.

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Falloutdude - You say you don't know what you believe any more - that's an excellent clean slate with which to write on. You are the writer, director, producer and main character in your own movie. The title of the movie: "Your Life".

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Falloutdude - You say you don't know what you believe any more - that's an excellent clean slate with which to write on. You are the writer, director, producer and main character in your own movie. The title of the movie: "Your Life".

 

Amen.

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You have years of indoctrination where you're looking for a sign from god, where you've been told for years that your lifestyle is wrong. These things take a while to get over. I got in a minor fender bender wreck this weekend and my first thought was, is god trying to get my attention. Of course after a few seconds I realize this is absurd. A random seeming answer to prayer while you're stoned doesn't prove that god exists.

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Falloutdude - You say you don't know what you believe any more - that's an excellent clean slate with which to write on. You are the writer, director, producer and main character in your own movie. The title of the movie: "Your Life".

 

Amen.

 

Tut-ankh-amen

 

"In the living image of Amun"

 

Sorry. Just being silly.

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You say that if you do believe, the thought makes you suicidally depressed and mention depression/anxiety disorder/OCD. In your posts, you sound like there are times when you feel out of control. Are you getting any professional help at the moment? It might be a good idea to look into that, as I think it could benefit you to talk about your experiences and how to handle anxiety when it comes up.

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Falloutdude - You say you don't know what you believe any more - that's an excellent clean slate with which to write on. You are the writer, director, producer and main character in your own movie. The title of the movie: "Your Life".

 

Amen.

 

Tut-ankh-amen

 

"In the living image of Amun"

 

Sorry. Just being silly.

 

Yeah. I sometimes tell people when they say Amen "oh I didn't know you're Egyptian". They're like wtf

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Do you drink coffee extremely often? I noticed you talking about how it made you feel. Caffeine is an addictive drug like any other. You might have a dependency on it. Any time the caffeine wears off, you begin going through withdrawal.

 

Physical and psychological addiction can result from excessive caffeine intake. In an interview, Roland Griffiths, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said that the studies had demonstrated that people who take in a minimal of one hundred milligrams of caffeine per day (about the amount in half a cup of coffee) can acquire a physical dependence that would trigger withdrawal symptoms that include headaches, muscle pain and stiffness, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, depressed mood, and marked irritability.[4] Griffiths strongly believes that caffeine withdrawal should be classified as a psychological disorder.

 

From Wikipedia

 

Obviously, I realize that this might be only a small part of a much larger problem so don't think I'm blaming your mood and thoughts on solely on caffeine! I've seen the effects of caffeine dependency on my mother though, and I know for a fact that if she cut out caffeine entirely, she would lessen her problems with anxiety and depression (not to mention she has to go to the bathroom ALL the time). I know that's easier said than done to cut it out. The only reason I don't have a problem with caffeine is that my body is so frickin' weird that caffeine makes me feel like crap.

 

If you don't drink coffee and other caffeine extremely often, then disregard all of the above.

 

Also, maybe you should cut back on your weed.

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Since no one else has mentioned it yet, it sounds to me like instead of the chemicals you're ingesting being a major cause of your anxiety, you're using them to self-medical a very real chemical imbalance in your body. A doctor might be able to help you to switch to more effective drugs to treat the anxiety. If that's not an option, you might want to research legal herbal medicines, in case there's something out there that can give you more emotional stability with less side effects. Many of the questions you have are normal, but the depth and length of time these emotions are hanging around is not.

 

You may want to ask your non-christian friends to hold back on the christianity-bashing around you for a while. Not because there's anything wrong with it, but it may still be triggering you. If they complain about your request, mention that you have PTSD-like symptoms and the best way right now for you to fight christianity is to ignore it.

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That's the thing, the doctor told me that he doesn't want me to put me on anxiety medication because I am so young (I'm 19), and apparently it is addictive/hard to get off and also you can build up an immunity to it if I understand correctly, so you have to take higher and higher doses. Not to mention my medical access is tenuous at best right now. It is ridiculous the amount you have to pay to even see a doctor...

 

And I do drink a fair amount of caffeine, although not really a lot. I have a mocha almost every other day, if not more, to wake me up in the morning for my classes, since I do not sleep that well anymore. I wake up after about 7-10 hours of sleep and still feel tired, granted I don't have a fixed schedule like I probably should....

 

Also, I saw a counselor in the past when I was around 15 or 16 for about 2-3 years....I really miss her....I can't go back to her though because for one her facility only takes state patients it seems like, and also she's not taking adults anymore...

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Hey Falloutdude. My advice would be don't feel the need to rush to categorize yourself as a a believer or nonbeliever. You can only see through the water when you stop splashing around; let the water settle and allow yourself to see clearly. Maybe that means you need to stop smoking weed for a while (assuming that you smoke somewhat regularly - apologies if that's a wrong assumption). Take your time to get an objective look at issues that concern you by listening to arguments from both sides. For most ex-christians, having a satisfactory post-deconversion life requires that they build an intellectual foundation that also makes them emotionally more stable. I'm still working on this myself : P I hope that any of that is of help or encouragement.

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