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Coping Without Jesus


Guest r3alchild

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I've been reflecting on this recently. It's strange for me to think about sometimes. When I was a xian, that's what I was immersed in. We were to follow jesus with all of our being. I would feel guilty over countless things, trying to follow all these commandments and failing. 

Looking back, It's hard for me to even get into the mindset of when I was a xian. Which is REALLY WEIRD because it took up so much of my life. gawd just faded away, like anything else when you give it time. How do I cope? Pretty well. Sure there are things I miss mostly the comfort of heaven. But I least I don't think now that a loving god who I worshiped sent most of the people who ever existed on earth to burn for eternity.

I don't miss jesus himself, or pretty much most of xianity, I don't have guilt and don't need to go crying to god when I don't pray or I masturbate. I have guilt over things that actually matter like the environment or poverty.

It's hard sometimes, since I'm relatively new to not being a xian, since most of my life I was one. I'm trying to make my own meaning, and make my own impact on the world.

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There never was a Jesus, just my imagination - and I still have that. Anything that Jesus got me through was really either my own effort, the effort of others, or just luck. Sometimes it seemed Jesus helped, other times he didn't, so it was all pretty random in retrospect. What's to miss?

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The version of Christianity that I was involved in worshipped the bible first and foremost. The primary emphasis was on keeping all the laws, rules, commands, and examples (those were viewed as commands too).  Salvation, from their perspective, was a very illusive promise and could be both obtained and lost multiple times each day. Every sin, whether by commission, omission, or simply bad thoughts immediately condemned the offender to Hell. That situation could only be rectified by immediately repenting and asking for forgiveness. The chance anyone would make it to heaven was slim at best.

 

If Paul didn’t have more authority than Jesus then they were at least on equal footing. The epistles of Paul were taught far more often than the gospels. Jesus and God had their respective roles in all the legalistic dogma but Paul and the Bible clearly possessed center stage. My de-conversion was centered on validating or nullifying the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible because that was the true source of my “faith”. Sometime during that process Jesus apparently just quietly slipped out the back door. I wasn’t aware that he’d left the building until I noticed one day that he wasn't with me anymore. 

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I agree with Florduh. Think about it whenever you prayed to jesus for guidance or help getting through the tough times that was you that you were praying to. The guidance you received came from you. Now that you have the belief there is no Jesus to help you its time to tap into that inner well of strength. Its there and part of coping w/o the big JC is to learn to trust your own instincts. They are there, they always have been there. Jesus was just your mental middle man to access them.

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Life is much better.

 

I don't have to ask somebody who doesn't exist for permission when I'm trying to make a big decision.  When some random event happens I no longer have to treat that as a message from God that I must obey.  When there is a noise in the living room I don't have to believe that it could be a demon who might be able to read my mind.  When I face a crisis I don't have to act helpless and call out to somebody who isn't there.  Instead I can act to the best of my ability and make a difference.  I don't have to waste my Sunday morning sitting in some dumb service.  I don't have to waste 20 minutes a day talking to myself.  I don't have to believe that doing nothing is useful or helpful.  I don't have to believe that everything I do is worthless or flawed.  I don't have to hate myself for having instincts or emotions.  I don't have to hate other people for being different than me.  I don't have to call hate "love".  I am free to think for myself.

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As someone says above, prayer is just talking to another part of your own brain. Sometimes, when things get really bad, I take some time out and tell myself about it in lieu of praying. It helps sort the confused feelings and settle the mind. It can even lead to insight for a solution.

 

When feelings of overwhelming joy or happiness take over, the same strategy works. Composing poetry, art, or other forms of safe and positive self-expression also help relieve the inner tension. Sharing joy or sadness with a friend is also helpful. Mostly, the idea is self-expression and the release of inner tension to enable oneself to go on in life. Prayer is really good for this. So are the other devotional/worship/prayer aspects of the various religions.

 

It took my brain about a year to adjust to the idea of there being no god in the universe; the universe seemed so empty without the thought of an all-encompassing God out there seeing, hearing, creating everything and being in charge. I saw it as a psychological thing and gave myself permission to take all the time I needed. At the time, it seemed like I could never adjust because I'd spent a lifetime thinking in terms of God. At the age of fifty the adjustment took only a year. This probably differs from person to person.

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I coped by realizing that I'm no longer being perpetually watched and judged by the supernatural thought-police and judging trio in the father, son and the holy ghost (RIP).

 

I turned that frown upside down.  You're alone?  Well fuck! That's great news!  These thoughts are mine all mine!!!!  Fuck the supernatural haters! 

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I was 9 when i came to the realization that there probably was no god. If there was, it was too busy catering to the wealthy and privileged to give a damn about me and the crap i was dealing with at the time. Unfortunately that got pushed aside as i tried so hard to believe in jesus years later. I really wanted to believe that jesus existed and that he cared about me. Then i wondered where jesus was on the day all those people died on 9/11. Nowhere in sight, because he's the figment of ancient imagination.

 

Looking back, i don't miss church at all. I don't miss xtianity, its super-exclusive snooty club and all the empty threats, scare tactics and empty promises that went with it. I don't miss feeling so horrible about myself and so worthless to the point where i thought i needed to take what i could get. I have my friends and the atheists and freethinkers group. The onus is on me to create the meaning in my life, not some conglomerate based on superstitions from antiquity. I place my stock in what's real, and i devote my time to what truly matters in life. When i tried to place my trust in jesus, i got burned every time. It never failed. I'm back to trusting myself instead, and far better decisions come of it.

 

Consider all the other gods nobody worships anymore. For me, it really put things in perspective. Jesus is an amalgamation of gods that predated him by thousands of years, so how can he be any less fictional than the others? He isn't. For instance, replace "jesus" with "Bobbi-bobbi," "Unkulunkulu," "Horus," "Dionysus," "Thor," or any of the other hundreds of dead gods.

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How do you cope now you don't have jesus, please tell your story.

 

My story: I was raised in a home where my parents taught us to be self reliant and the Christian religion was frowned upon as both my parents had negative experiences with it as children. I think they were both agnostics and so that was my religious upbringing. I got married to an Xian and for 10 years tried to put an overlay of Xianity on top of my agnostic foundation.

 

I never really relied on Jesus but did suffer the negative effects of Christianity. Most of the time life was good so there wasn't a lot of need for coping, but I think we relied on each other to talk to if there was a problem. Like others have said here if Jesus doesnt exist then you have been coping on your own all your life. You just pretended you were asking Jesus for help when really you were asking yourself for help.

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Life is much better.

 

I don't have to ask somebody who doesn't exist for permission when I'm trying to make a big decision.  When some random event happens I no longer have to treat that as a message from God that I must obey.  When there is a noise in the living room I don't have to believe that it could be a demon who might be able to read my mind.  When I face a crisis I don't have to act helpless and call out to somebody who isn't there.  Instead I can act to the best of my ability and make a difference.  I don't have to waste my Sunday morning sitting in some dumb service.  I don't have to waste 20 minutes a day talking to myself.  I don't have to believe that doing nothing is useful or helpful.  I don't have to believe that everything I do is worthless or flawed.  I don't have to hate myself for having instincts or emotions.  I don't have to hate other people for being different than me.  I don't have to call hate "love".  I am free to think for myself.

 

Exactly, another question might be "How did we cope with the guilt, fear and shame when we WERE Christians?" :-) I don't have any religious rules to follow now so it is easier.

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I substituted Jesus with something better.  Much better. 

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I miss it a lot. I was a huge fan of listening to sermons online and reading all the theological books I could get my hands on. I also loved church. I miss the idea of learning everything I could about the creator of the universe. It was a really cool feeling.

 

Now, however, when I try to read one of those books or step inside a church it feels so empty and boring. All the unanswered questions I have about Christianity echo through my mind and I wonder how I ever believed in the first place or how anyone else could believe.

 

I have been occupying my mind a lot with how to make a difference in the world with issues such as slavery and homelessness. I figure since God is doing nothing about them ( one of my main reasons for leaving the faith) I would do something about them.

 

It is really hard to understand how I thought as a Christian. I have only been out of it for two months but it is still hard for me to understand that mindset. It is weird that I can't remember such a huge part of my life.

 

I would rather live with the truth though than live in fantasy world.

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For me, coping with life was not about missing prayer or turning to Jesus daily or in times of need.  My struggle post-conversion was having a purpose in life!  My whole life up to my deconversion was wrapped up in pursuing and proclaiming the kingdom of god.  I felt i was part of a cosmic battle between good and evil and that my role would be significant in eternal value!!!  This was my self-identity.  What a delusional head-trip!

 

So, when i find out it is all a fantasy, suddenly my life was without purpose.  Just little old me here among billions of people and billions of planets, with no "special" calling, fate, etc.  

 

I was depressed for a long time, struggled with bursts of anger (and i had NEVER been an angry person as a christian), and was alone and isolated.  I missed some of the "community" aspects of my faith, but that was all.  I went through a bit of a hedonistic phase and enjoyed all the taboo things I had never experienced before (without guilt!).  Got tired of that after about a year. Moved to the other side of the world from my religious family and friends and insanely religious culture.  Found some quality people in my life who were also  non-believers.  Found a job that i love.  Travel every year.  Write.  Find pleasure and meaning in the small aspects of being alive every day without the guilt and delusion of faith.

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As far as I'm concerned Jesus was just part of my mind, a piece of me that I spoke to, and he talked back to me. So in a way, "he" has never really gone away I just recognize "him" for what he is, me. Which makes me glad I'm not a woman because then that would mean a part of me is a dude and man would that ever be weird and confusing!

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I miss him in the sense that my life would be easier if I could still believe.

But I can't unlearn things. I have found that I just love truth more than I ever loved Jesus.

 

I also feel like my own ignorance has been exposed to me. I am happy that I am able to go back to school and find more answers.

 

Sometimes I catch myself praying over food out of habit. When I catch myself doing this I immediately ask Cthulhu to please consume me in the way I am about to consume my food.

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Good question. It's been incredibly difficult to cope without Jesus. As addicted as I was to personal spiritual experience, however, the main problem I face now isn't a lack of those experiences but a withdrawal from community and a meaningful job*. If I had those I'd cope fine. The only thing keeping me going is the expectation that I'll have those one day.

 

*I used to be a missionary, probably one of the most felt-meaningful jobs a person can have.

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There is a site, The clergy Project about clergy people who became atheist and its very hard for them as they loose their jobs and everything. I was raised and and Christian for over 50 years and its very hard I know. I am coming to grips with it,  I haven't told anyone in my family or friends as I know how hard it was for me, and they need to find out themselves. I did my own research, no atheist talked to me. I rather am agnostic to the point saying that I don't know, but I do know the Bible is wrote by men and and how they viewed the world and stories about God and life in their day. Now if someone really starts pushing the Bible on me I will let them know my beliefs about how I feel about the Bible, although I do find the study of Gods fascinating in history. You may want to check out Ugaritic Texts, and they had a God named El as well, they were before Abram or Abraham.  I feel your pain, its been a few years for me and I lost a lot of sleep and felt ill a lot.

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I would like to find a secular way to achieve some of the qualities of the supernatural, without the supernatural. Some way to live more courageously.  It would be nice if I could figure out some way of convincing myself that I have more power than I think I have, and to draw on that. It would be good to live more optimistically, so that even though I'm just matter, I could perhaps act as though I were more than that, so that I would generally aim higher in life. 

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Guest r3alchild

My story is that I cope by trusting logic and reason even though its harder because it does not come with a side order of easy answers like christianity did.

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I've never been into logic and reason, neither during my time as a Christian or now that I've left. I've never been a math person either. It takes practice and training to understand logic and I'm a bit lazy. This is why I stayed in the religious camp for so long and left kicking and screaming.

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I've never been into logic and reason, neither during my time as a Christian or now that I've left. I've never been a math person either. It takes practice and training to understand logic and I'm a bit lazy. This is why I stayed in the religious camp for so long and left kicking and screaming.

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For me, coping with life was not about missing prayer or turning to Jesus daily or in times of need.  My struggle post-conversion was having a purpose in life!  My whole life up to my deconversion was wrapped up in pursuing and proclaiming the kingdom of god.  I felt i was part of a cosmic battle between good and evil and that my role would be significant in eternal value!!!  This was my self-identity.  What a delusional head-trip!

 

So, when i find out it is all a fantasy, suddenly my life was without purpose.  Just little old me here among billions of people and billions of planets, with no "special" calling, fate, etc. 

I am exactly in that state right now. There is no "plan", purpose or guidance but many options and many difficult decisions. :(

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