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Feelings Of Shame/ Failure?


Autumn2909
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I don't post in these forums a lot yet, but do derive much encourgement and advice from reading them.

 

I guess ever since realising my loss of faith, I've been experiencing increased feelings of failure and shame. As far as everyone knows I'm still a Christian, as I simply cannot deal with the fallout of 'coming out' as a non-believer.

I think part of the problem may be that my deconversion was gradual and unwilling- my loss of faith was an incredibly distressing time for me, an occured/ probably contributed to a pretty severe mental illness relapse. But my final deconversion thought was basically " either God has abandoned me or he doesn't exist or he doesn't care or he can't fix this....whatever, I'm done."

I guess I feel like a failure as a Christian and as a non-Christian...like I can't be open about either.

 

Anyone else ever felt this/ got any advice?

 

Thanks x

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Guest r3alchild

Yes I am going through this right now and I am tinkering with the idea of knowing god in a way that makes sense to me. But I have to wait a while untill all the christian shit is washed away before I know for sure there is a god worth knowing. About feeling shameful and a failure, most of that is from hold over christian beliefs and some from other sources. You just need to wait things out and let your mind deprogram.

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For both of you I think a more transitory move away from the cult would be to think about Deism. To put it very simply, it merely views a creator or intelligence behind the universe which, when its work was done, simply bowed out. In other words, it doesn't interact with humanity at all.

 

I went into this belief system for a very short time, perhaps just a few months before I decided to just go for broke, shed everything, and embrace atheism. Once I did this, I realized that it was one of the most natural/rational things for me. Not necessarily for you but for me it's a perfect fit.

 

But Deism might be a place to visit even if only for a brief period. I hope this makes some sense and helps both of you.

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I am thinking of god as a force that binds things together and goes along with us in our lives.

You've just described in a general sense, quantum mechanics and in a specific sense, the higgs particle. This pertains to the part regarding a 'force that binds things together'. Regarding the later part 'god goes along with us' - I beg to differ.

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Guest r3alchild

 

 

I am thinking of god as a force that binds things together and goes along with us in our lives.

You've just described in a general sense, quantum mechanics and in a specific sense, the higgs particle. This pertains to the part regarding a 'force that binds things together'. Regarding the later part 'god goes along with us' - I beg to differ.
I would only say this because the thing that created everything I believe would be going along with us on all our journeys. But thats what I believe now and I am sure up for plenty of revision in the future.
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I think I still believe in 'god' but in a more abstract force sense than a personal loving creator/father/saviour/friend sense....so I would at this point still consider myself to be some sort of deist...

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A failure how? I know this is going to sound corny, but there's no right or wrong way to go through a transition like this. Nobody's going to bring you in for not being Un-Christian enough or something. There's no bad way to be yourself. No bad way to make decisions, or think things through, or feel your way forward. Every step you take, is, in some way, a success. So, just by thinking for yourself, you are a success.

That's what I think is so remarkable about this site, and the people on it: it takes a lot of moral courage to think for yourself, and come to a painfully won conclusion. A lot more than simply doing what you're told and never questioning it.

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People take different paths into the cult, and they take different ways out of it. Brainwashing takes a toll. The last vestige of it is reflected in the lingering feeling that, "I'm sure the Bible god doesn't exist, but there must be something out there." Magical thinking, once deeply entrenched, seems impossible to shake for some regardless of the evidence or logic to the contrary.

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rachelclare: I think you should be proud of yourself for thinking yourself out of the Xtian cult. You are in a very small minority who have been able to do that. Now that you have, try using that good brain of

yours to get involved in something "greater than yourself". What that is depends on you. But there's no

better way of getting a feeling of accomplishment than to get your mind fixed on something helpful to

others. bill

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Thanks for sharing - you should be proud of the fact that out of millions and millions of subservient sheep, you had the courage to stand up and use your evolved intelligence and innate courage to get real.

 

Stay real! It's the only way to be truly free.

 

As for ideas of "god" without resorting to more mysticism and cult;

 

Richard Dawkins refers to the "Einsteinian Religion" and quotes Einstein in his book, The God Delusion as follows:

 

"I am a deeply religious nonbeliever. This is a somewhat new kind of religion. I have never imputed to Nature a purpose of a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic  What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly  and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.

 

The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive."

 

I think this is the closest idea of god for me in this life...

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My heart goes out to you.  I went through something similar a good ten to fifteen years ago.  In my experience it take time but it gets better.  One of the things that helped me the most was finding people in whom I could confide who didn't share my family's beliefs.

 

Unfortunately guilt and shame are often a part of the process.  It's manipulating guilt and shame, after all, that religion has fine tuned over the centuries in order to perpetuate itself.

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It took me about 8 years to "come out of the closet" and tell my family that I no longer believed in jesus or the bible.  I went through years of depression...trying to sort out what purpose my life had and feeling guilty about being two-faced with my believing family and friends.  I think there is no right answer as each situation is different.  I think for some people NEVER telling certain family members might be the kind and compassionate thing to do.  I am pretty sure my mother will never really question her faith or abandon it, and telling her the truth certainly hurt her and I'm sure causes her distress as she worries about my mortal soul on a daily basis.  Yet, in the end, being true to myself and telling everyone was very freeing for me emotionally, and in the end I'm glad I did it.  I can't explain why...but i suspect that a lot of this is rooted in my christian roots...

 

But these ideas of being a "success"  or "failure" is just a morality branded on you by HUMAN society.  The reality of it is only as powerful as your belief in it.  I think the most important thing is finding YOURSELF.  For me this was a discovery process that took years (and is still ongoing!) as i peeled away the religious identity i had been swallowed up in.

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I don't post in these forums a lot yet, but do derive much encourgement and advice from reading them.

 

I guess ever since realising my loss of faith, I've been experiencing increased feelings of failure and shame. As far as everyone knows I'm still a Christian, as I simply cannot deal with the fallout of 'coming out' as a non-believer.

I think part of the problem may be that my deconversion was gradual and unwilling- my loss of faith was an incredibly distressing time for me, an occured/ probably contributed to a pretty severe mental illness relapse. But my final deconversion thought was basically " either God has abandoned me or he doesn't exist or he doesn't care or he can't fix this....whatever, I'm done."

I guess I feel like a failure as a Christian and as a non-Christian...like I can't be open about either.

 

Anyone else ever felt this/ got any advice?

 

Thanks x

 

It's a matter of perspective.  In fact, you are experiencing a triumph of reason and success over indoctrination.  Not many make it over that hurdle as it seems to be human nature to follow the herd and not question authority.

 

The christian religion is a rigged game designed to keep everyone in failure so that they are constantly dependent on absolution.  It's not you that fails when you step off the rat-cage wheel of fighting an unwinnable battle 'against the flesh'.  It's a contrived dilemma of which you are now free. Now you just need to give yourself time to adjust to this realization.  Let what you know intellectually become true for you emotionally too.  It takes time when one is indoctrinated from their early years in life, but it will happen.  

 

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Hey rachelclare, 

 

I know that it can be incredibly stressful to show everyone a public face that doesn't match what you really think or feel. Usually the wider the gap, the more stress it can put on a person. What do you fear would happen if you came out? 

If you're still feeling failure as a Christian, then maybe deconversion hasn't fully set in. I think it's a long and slow process that goes beyond the moment you admit to yourself that you no longer believe. Even though you may know something in your head, your heart may not have caught up yet. I know that I'm still changing my mind about things a year after I deconverted (I'm still a young ex!). That's because our emotions and relationships are all tied up in deconversion, it's not as simple as a binary lightswitch.

 

One day, when you start likening god to santa, you'll be on able to leave feelings of failure behind. Do you feel like you betrayed Santa and young kids everywhere for no longer believing he delivers presents around the world on one night of the year? You shouldn't. No more than you should feel that you've betrayed god and christians everywhere for no longer believing that he is responsible for sending people to heaven. They're fairy tales. 

I'm glad that you've been able to find support for yourself here. Many are still 'in the closet' about deconverting, I hope you don't feel like a failure as a non-Christian. We know that pretending is sometimes a painful reality some of us must live with. You don't have to be, or live up to any standard as a non-Christian. Whatever you are today is just fine.

 

Just take care of yourself, and never stop asking questions :) 

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Shame is a tool of force built into christianity and other fear-based religions, I felt it too coming out.  Shit, I felt it more as a christian.  Ughgh...  It was probably in the first most difficult 10 years of recovery that I got past faith-based shame and guilt.  There's still shame and guilt now but it's over other things not faith based.  Family is a great source for shame, I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

 

 

I think part of the problem may be that my deconversion was gradual and unwilling- my loss of faith was an incredibly distressing time for me, an occured/ probably contributed to a pretty severe mental illness relapse. But my final deconversion thought was basically " either God has abandoned me or he doesn't exist or he doesn't care or he can't fix this....whatever, I'm done."

 

 

 

raoul mentioned deism.  

The nature of God took shape for me around a model shaped like deism, but scientific.  Couple of things, it premises that all life is sentient, large and small.  Throw in there study of the nature of consciousness, a quantum thing as it is.  Compare our cells and bacteria to any one of us, then look past us to the next biggest things.  Turns out life goes both ways, big and small, we're in the middle, on a continuum.  Looking at it this way, if I needed to say there's a God, I can say it and the model holds true.  If I needed to say God doesn't exist, I could, the model works universally.  I anticipate some eye opening discoveries in macrobiology.  

But anyway, this was how I built a spiritual foundation after the cult, and it's working out.  At first it was just trying to identify who/what is God and why can't he fix this?

Look at deism, and at other religions too for perspective.  Diversifying helps you out of the failure bit, at least it did a lot for me, not staying stuck on any one of the hundreds of faiths. 

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