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wanderinstar

Waves Of Missing The Christian God After Deconversion

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Max, I like the way you think. It is very similar to how I try and view things so I don't get overly upset and triggered over other peoples' faiths. I am rather non-confrontational and hate it when I feel a need to point out things that I'd rather not discuss. I don't like to rain on their parade. My cousin got baptised today (for a second time, we are a Catholic family) and I have to focus on the positive to refrain from saying something mean or insensitive to her in her newfound devotion. Of course, I am not shy about my beliefs when asked, and I sometimes say things now and then about my own experiences with the church so that they know I can relate if they ever start having doubts. But as for trying to evangelise my agnosticism/atheism, I stay silent and try to rejoice with them.

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Sometimes when I am around religious people I feel euphoric religious feelings and a tiny part of me thinks "Why did I leave?" (and I've been out of Christianity for over 12 years) and then I remember those tortuous blasphemy thoughts I had that inhibited me. Then I snap back to reality and see that I am much better off as an agnostic atheist than I was as a religious person.

 

 

I can relate to this too. It is the main reason I stay out of churches. I am easily sucked in by all the lovey-dovey friendliness and emotional stuff. I have to remind myself that I was always uncomfortable with my faith deep down if I ever tried to take anything literally and that I have found love and freedom outside of Christianity.

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As John Lennon so eloquently put it in his song titled "God";

 

'God is a concept by which we measure our pain.

I don't believe in the bible, I don't believe in Jesus, I don't believe in Krishna, I don't believe in Beatles....

...I just believe in me, Yoko and me.

Thats reality.

The dream is over'

 

So yes, for us all the dream is over. It may have been a wonderful dream, a horrible nightmare or a bit of both but we are now awake and the reality we have is the world around us and ourselves. Initially this was terrifying to me, to have no christian god, but as time passes my relief at being free from the prison of religion and joy of seeing the awesomeness of the universe without the 'creator' goggles on are growing.

 

More and more I am realising just how damaging this belief system has been to me despite all the warm fuzziness of having a loving father. In fact I think the damage is worse as such evil is done in the disguise of perfect love. I have developed a new fear and resistance of all forms of authority. If anyone even comes near to my boundaries I beging pushing back hard. I am over-reacting at times but I would rather that that be oppressed again.

 

When I look a bit deeper into what I am actually missing although I can recall several experiences where I 'felt the love and comfort' of god mostly I recall spending hundreds of hours on my knees listening to awful worship music crying out to god and feeling NOTHING. It always bothered me that I could be so disciplined in seeking god out but he rarely showed. I would explain it away theologically and remind myself I must walk by faith...blah, blah. But that is ridiculous! So much of my life wasted and as many of you have pointed out it was all for a horribly depicted god characted in a book. Thank 'god' that god only exists in a book or our lives would be truly miserable.

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Thanks so much for all your comments. Your support is extremely helpful during this otherwise lonely time.

 

What is making it hard for me is that I saw god as my rescuer and protector. For someone who was abused badly as a child it is an extremely comforting idea and as some of you aptly stated it was really me all along I was talking to; so really all I have lost is the idea or concept of god. Now I am truly on my own (marriage just broke up too...) I have been experiencing severe panic which frightening in itself. Thankfully I do have a decent self-esteem and logically know I am more than capable of getting through this but at those times of panic logic goes out the window. I have had to get medical treatment for it but it is helping. Yeh for science!! God never did shit for me except those false body chemistry enduced highs which I am sure I could replicate at a rock concert or on my own in nature. All that crying out to god we have done, sincerely from our hearts and NOTHING! Not a damn thing! Any half-decent father would at least make himself known. I'm tired of playing hide and seek with a sadistic god.

 

Still I struggle in this transition period. It is especially hard when I am around christians who think I am still christian and babble on about how god told them this or gave them that. I feel overwhelmed with a mixture of contradictory emotions like rage against religion and longing for Jesus to talk to me. Religion is a mind-fuck and I am thrilled to be free it is just a massive shock to have your whole world turned upside down and your best friend disappear.

 

It confuses me that I can long for a god I despise for all the hurt christianity causes across the world every day. As many of you have said, time will heal and make things clearer.

 

Welcome wanderinstarsmile.png

 

 

When the metaphysical myths of theism ceased to provide the healthy context for my identity two things began that has resulted in my experiencing a vibrant present.

 

My first beginning happened when I started 'getting in touch' with my sensations , i.e. the felt experiences of my mind i.e. what I "think about" and "feel about." That experience involves both my mind and my body, that is, "What my mind is telling me about my life experiences" and "What is my body is "signaling" (informing) me about those experiences?"--"What's my gut telling me?" (S. Keen)

 

Most of my life up to that point had been mostly lived unconsciously, as if I were living in a fog.

 

I consider my crisis of faith as the maturational, intellectual and psychological crucible necessary for "thrusting" me to the next stage of my naturally evolving self. There were no gods doing it, no Christs, no magic involved. (N. Branden)

 

My crisis of faith involved a series of multiple good-byes and hellos--an accumulated series of small deaths and births in perspective and relationships with the persons, events, and the institutions that made up "my constricted world."

 

My question started to shift from "What must I do to be saved?" to "Who am I, really?"

 

The second "beginning" was an out growth of the first. What my crisis of faith provide was the 'energy' for going beyond my idiosyncratic perceptions of my immediate experiences, to a wider more reasonable, realistic and satisfying view. What I thought would kill me became the very medicine my human spirit needed to thrive and evolve!

 

Through crises I become willing to digest and integrate the biases and prejudices which are the residue of my concrete literal thinking. It is essential that I "envelop and include" (K. Wilber) what has nurtured me in the past before I can evolve further.

 

In a word, I found though crisis what authentic awareness requires is a double movement of attention; "silencing the familiar and welcoming the novel."(S. Keen)

 

For me, the death of my "belief in belief" (D. Dennett) has resulted in my vibrant present. My crisis, all of them, have resulted in a larger understanding that I'm competent for life and worthy of its challenges.

 

On my better days I'm satisfied to Be.

 

Welcome3.gif wanderinstar!

 

Life is messy and wondrously dangerous--you could give your "mind" to something or someone else if you're unaware!

 

This was really helpful asanerman. Thanks. I am returning to the practices of mindfullness and awareness that I used to use before I was christian and although I am not too good at staying in the present at the moment, largely due to grief from the loss of my marriage, I still find moments of clarity everyday where I am at peace with the universe, content and in awe of what is rather than longing for what is not.

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Hello Again All,

 

I have recently been experiencing what i can only describe as a powerful sensation of waves of very strong emotion triggered by missing ''God", his 'presence', 'companionship' and 'comfort'. My mind is convincd there is no personal God as there is simply no evidence but my heart still remembers the friendship i experienced. Regardless of whether it was real or not I feel a great loss, a grief almost.

 

Has anyone else been through something like this?

Well, yes. As an atheist I would consider myself somehow as a hypocrite, saying on the one hand that this imagined God of Christianity was so obviously a mythological being what with science and all so clearly showing such a being can't exist, but in moments of quite, sitting within nature and the world opening to my very being, beyond thoughts, concepts, and ideas where I would simply breathe life into the core of my being and see "God" as I once saw "Him" in my personal experiences within the mythic systems of Christianity. How can this be?, I would ask myself. It must be just some fondness of the past, a habit, a spot of bad cheese.

 

Long story short, I think there are other homes you can find for that deep sense you describe where you don't have to throw out that baby with the bathwater. It's not a choice of being a rationalist and rejecting all things that smell "spiritual", or embracing that part of yourself and abandoning reason and go backwards into a home that probably didn't satisfy spirituality either. There are many other ways to 'grow God up', so to speak, that is not incompatible with reason. I actually think those that say you can't have both take folks like you and tell them they have no choice but to return to Christianity if that's what you want, and actually put them at risk of going back, simply because if you have that in you, you have to reject it for reason. I suspect that's what you fear, going back because there is no other home for this you know of, and you're being told there isn't.

 

Trust me, I know your dilemma.

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You're actually missing the ritual, the familiarity, the social interactions. It'll fade.

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I totally relate to this. This was also a time of grieving for me. It totally makes sense to want to run back to the old beliefs. When my beliefs went, my world got turned upside down. I didn't know where to turn to, and it felt like the ground was spinning. I had to learn to walk on my own two feet, because I knew I couldn't go back to those problematic and harmful beliefs even if I wanted to. I was to far removed from the person I was.

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Thanks a lot everyone. So much has been said that is helpful to me so I can't respond to all but know I have read and reread your contributions.

 

I cannot deny that I am a spiritual person but at the same time also very logical and rational. So all personal gods are impossible for me to believe in. Although I feel I have lost that one on one interaction with the 'divine' (as has been said I was talking to myself all along and I'm stil lable to) I still am able to experience a sense on connectedness to the universe that provides me with the spiritual experience I seem to naturally long for. I think I may be a pantheist, a spiritual atheist of sorts. Relativity and Quantum Mechanics only add to my sense of wonder and while I see no actions of any god I can't help but think all matter is alive in some way, conscious even though not as we experience. Hey, I'm a philosopher at heart so I am always investigating new and old ideas with an open mind.

 

Not being Christian had allowed me to think in new ways and explore the universe and myself. For now that exploration and the awe it brings is replacing the comfort I got from 'god'

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I too can relate to your struggle. It becomes particularly pronounced in times of distress. I had always had my one-two hour 'quiet time' with god every morning. I was very legalistic about it to the point I'd get up at 3 in the morning if I had to leave early that day! this went on for nearly 30 years! For me to lose that time of reflection and letting go of all my worries was a huge adjustment. I'm still adjusting (5 years later) but it is difficult still at times. I still go for an hour walk with my dogs through wooded trails each morning -- I no longer use it as a 'prayer walk' as such but I still do think and reflect on the things going on in my life and even talk out loud, or to the dogs at times and it all does help too.... I do miss that feeling of relief though, when 'casting off my cares' as if all my troubles were now iin god's hands and trusted he would do what's best.... now I feel much more responsibility for my own life and direction however I've also realized that I can only do what I can do, the rest is out of my hands and am learning not to worry about what I can't control. It is definitely a whole new way of life and thinking ... but a much more freeing way and exciting to some degree as well. I also found myself 'backsliding' into wanting to believe again when my mom passed away this past spring. All my family are still evangelical christians and of course talking about her being with my Dad in heaven etc... I really tried to believe again but simply couldn't! I know TOO much now! It does get better and easier but I can relate to how you feel when you still have christian 'friends' and family who think you still believe as they do. It's hard to know when to speak up and when to just leave them in their delusions. I guess I feel as long as they're happy, leave it be -- unless they try to push their beliefs on you to the point you need to speak out.

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I too can relate to your struggle. It becomes particularly pronounced in times of distress. I had always had my one-two hour 'quiet time' with god every morning. I was very legalistic about it to the point I'd get up at 3 in the morning if I had to leave early that day! this went on for nearly 30 years! For me to lose that time of reflection and letting go of all my worries was a huge adjustment. I'm still adjusting (5 years later) but it is difficult still at times. I still go for an hour walk with my dogs through wooded trails each morning -- I no longer use it as a 'prayer walk' as such but I still do think and reflect on the things going on in my life and even talk out loud, or to the dogs at times and it all does help too.... I do miss that feeling of relief though, when 'casting off my cares' as if all my troubles were now iin god's hands and trusted he would do what's best.... now I feel much more responsibility for my own life and direction however I've also realized that I can only do what I can do, the rest is out of my hands and am learning not to worry about what I can't control. It is definitely a whole new way of life and thinking ... but a much more freeing way and exciting to some degree as well. I also found myself 'backsliding' into wanting to believe again when my mom passed away this past spring. All my family are still evangelical christians and of course talking about her being with my Dad in heaven etc... I really tried to believe again but simply couldn't! I know TOO much now! It does get better and easier but I can relate to how you feel when you still have christian 'friends' and family who think you still believe as they do. It's hard to know when to speak up and when to just leave them in their delusions. I guess I feel as long as they're happy, leave it be -- unless they try to push their beliefs on you to the point you need to speak out.

 

I too spent hours a day praying, sincerely believing I was doing good through my prayers and by my commitment to god. The range of emotions I went through when I realised I was praying to noone thus wasting my time was huge; relief and joy of getting my time back, humiliation from being so stupid and rage that so much of my time was wasted and that i had been decieved.

 

You make a great point in that you replaced this prayer time with a more helpful routine to take away that sense of loss and add a sense of connection and peace. I talk to my dog and now out loud to myself too. This is all fresh for me (five months in) so I often catch myself about to pray many times a day so I instead speak encouragement to the person I am thinking of or to myelf if there is something I can do about the situation. It is so confusing getting used to the absence of someone dear to you that really never existed; a double blow in a way. Every few days I am still having panic attacks when I again realise I am on my own so it is all up to me, i can't just 'cast my cares' like you said. But I can see that in time I will be much more comfortable knowing my life is up to me, at least the parts I can control. In fact it is liberating.

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With me, it is not so much that I miss xianity, because it never actually delivered what I was looking for, which was hope and forgiveness. I have a problem in forgiving myself for real or perceived past wrongs. Believing that christ had forgiven me, or trying to believe, as the case may be, did not clear my concience. But the hope that I would ultimately be able to do so through christianity, along with other things, kept me in the faith, strugling to understand, until I was in my mid-forties. When the scales finally fell from my eyes so that I could see christianity for what is actually is, my first stage of recovery was anger. I am slowly working through that, but recently the guilt has returned. It helps when I reflect on the fact that I cannot go back. I absolutely refuse to believe in a god who is more evil than any human who ever lived. That god doesn't exist and never did. So, I have to remember that am the master of my life. As such I can chose to forgive myself. It's merely a matter of breaking a bad habit in my thinking process. Maybe this bad thinking habit is in truth a subconcious remnant of my previous false beliefs?? Is that not where my guilt feelings came from?. Hmmm. bill

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