Jump to content

Adjusting To Not Believing


Recommended Posts

I grew up in a fairly religious family, and I always believed in God and he was a huge part of my life. It was my love for history that caused me to doubt him. After that I started doing even more research because I wanted to prove to myself that he was real, but everything I read just pointed more and more to him not being real.

 

That was 7 years ago.

 

Now I still go to church because that's where my family is, and I still like to help out with church activities, but I don't believe in God. This has always been hard for me. I believed in something that I thought would always be there for me and always love me and now that's gone. Sometimes I get really lonely when I remember that God isn't there. I thought I'd be over it by now but. How d been 7 years. A huge part of me still wishes for him to be real.

 

Has anyone ever felt like this? How did you deal with it?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think about the terrible things I've experienced. The human pain and suffering, the agonising deaths from numerous terminal diseases and the fact that most of the world lives in conditions far worse than most of us deal with in the United States. All in all, it's a rough world filled with hate, suffering and fear.

 

What actually helps me is knowing that there isn't some all powerful sky daddy who would will such suffering and pain. I figure when it comes to god, you have to take the good and the bad and you have to deal with the fact that all the absolutely terrible things in this world are also due to this so called god. Then, consider the reward if you measure up to this god, an eternity of singing praise to god while you exist in a form that apparently has little to no humanity. Unfortunately, if you are not among the chosen few that spend eternity praising The Lord, your consolation prize is an eternity of suffering where your skin apparently can grow back so it can be burned off in a never ending cycle of burning? Honestly, after really taking the time to understand what the existence of the Abrahamic god would mean, I'm much happier living in a universe where "stuff" just happens and there are no divine entities who are actively trying to make life miserable for us, but rather it's up to us to find happiness and meaning.

 

My thoughts are with you. It sounds like you have family and friends you love. Focus on them and look to all the great things in your life. It was tough for me to realise that everything good I know will go away, but at least I can enjoy and revel in this moment while it lasts. The fact that our existence is limited is what makes it so precious and wonderful. The good news is you don't have to worry about securing a place among the chosen few in a boring afterlife theme park. You are free to enjoy life now without all the divine guilt that comes attached to trying living a full and happy life as a human being.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

First off welcome to the forums! I've been out Xianity for a relatively short time compared to you, but I will say it was difficult grappling with my unbelief. I find that I don't really miss the bible-god anymore. Maybe for a while at first, it's like loosing a close friend who I talked to in my mind. But that faded after a while when I separated myself from the faith. Now, I am free from guilt and not under the pressure to behave, think or want a certain way.  What I missed was having a definitive purpose and knowing what would happen to me when I die. It's greatly helped me to look at books and quotes from secularists....one of things I've taken away is people should make their own meaning in life. It's also helped me to view our universe as interconnected in the (naturalistic) pantheistic sense.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your replies. I suppose what makes it harder for me is that I didn't grow up being taught that I'm supposed to feel guilty for things that I do or even with a fear of hell. Having feelings like that is considered a childish/underdeveloped relationship with god; similar to a child who obeys his parents out of fear of punishment and not because they understand why their parents have ser certain rules for them. So those are things I haven't struggled with since being a teen.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew up in a fairly religious family, too. I stopped taking part in the religious stuff almost 10 years ago, having decided that i'm not a believer anymore.

 

Yes, i still want god to be real. I just accept that. I don't believe the same way i was brought up, nor do i wish there were such a god, but i wish there is a god. That maybe makes me a fool who's gonna waste his life, but then that's the way it's gotta be so and i cannot really help it. I cannot be what i am not.

I'm also not a complete believer, i do realize i can be wrong, and the liberation in the possibility that there's no greater plan is also something i feel. Either way it's not really too bad. "Life sucks and then you die" is something i can accept with not too hard feelings.

 

Of course sometimes it's pretty bad. Sometimes dealing with stuff is pretty hard. But i don't really feel as bad as i think i should feel. The prospect of wasting this life and then, on my deathbed, being anguished about it doesn't seem very scary. I mean if it's not bad now, what does it matter if there's a moment of regret in the end? I mostly trust that the lack of fear means that deep down inside i know that it doesn't really matter much, even if i cannot put the reason into words. Maybe that's what my faith is and where my god is.

 

So, i live avoiding what i really hate and fear the best i can. I put up with the smaller pains and pick small joys here and there, quite satisfied that way.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Greylight, how do you adapt to pantheism? I suppose if I were to believe in something, it might be similar to that, and yet, I still have my doubts. I have wondered if when jesus said that the kingdom is at hand, he meant that it was inside of us, or when the bible says that god is love, it means that to love is to be god-like. But again, I have a hard time believing this as well because I have no proof.

 

I envy my fiance. He was raised agnostic and he just doesn't care about whether god exists or not. I, on the other hand, am always struggling to figure out "the truth."

Link to post
Share on other sites

I felt like a recovering alky working in a bar, so I made a clean break from church. Develop outside social contacts and get away from the propaganda for a while.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Greylight, how do you adapt to pantheism? I suppose if I were to believe in something, it might be similar to that, and yet, I still have my doubts. I have wondered if when jesus said that the kingdom is at hand, he meant that it was inside of us, or when the bible says that god is love, it means that to love is to be god-like. But again, I have a hard time believing this as well because I have no proof.

 

I envy my fiance. He was raised agnostic and he just doesn't care about whether god exists or not. I, on the other hand, am always struggling to figure out "the truth."

 

Hmm, well during my de-conversion process, I educated myself and got enough information to conclude  that the supernatural does not exist. The only thing that exists in that case is the Natural World/ The Universe. I believe in pantheism in a strictly, naturalistic sense, we are nature/ the universe, the universe is us. I actually started a topic about this because I had some questions of my own, and got some great responses if you want to check it out. http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/57113-naturalistic-pantheism/

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to ExC, greylee.

 

I understand what you mean about wishing God were real.  That longing is not uncommon at all.  Here are some things that helped me:

 

1.  Defining terms.  When you say you don't believe in God, I am sure you mean the God of the Bible.  What helped me come to terms with my non-belief was simply to say that I do not believe the God of the Bible exists.  Remember, it is a staple of the Christian religion that the God of the Bible is the one and only God.  By saying that one doesn't believe in God (meaning the Christian version of God) and, therefore, there could not be some other deity of some sort is the Christian teaching leading one that way.  For me, realizing this and understanding that it is at least possible that there may be a deity or deities of one sort or another, softened the blow considerably.  By the way, my further view is that if there is a deity or are deities out there somewhere and he/she/it/they want me to know about his/her/its/their existence, he/she/it/they must make his/her/its/their existence known to me.  No deity has done that so either they do not exist or, if they do exist, they simply don't care if I know about them.  If they do exist and they don't care if I know about them, then I don't care whether they exist either.

 

2.  Understanding the character of the God of the Bible.  Christians love to portray this deity as a loving, kind, and gentle being who always looks out for us and is always there for us.  However, the Bible tells a completely different story.  This is the God who, according to the Bible, ordered genocide, stonings, blood letting of animals, would not forgive absent the terrible death of his own son, created hell, Satan, and Demons and refuses to dispose of them, and on and on it goes.  Really studying the Character of this eternal monster helped me with my transition.  Frankly, I'm glad to be rid of the concept of this alleged God in my mind.

 

Best of luck to you.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Super Moderator
I, on the other hand, am always struggling to figure out "the truth."

 

I don't think there are any definitive answers. That's why the various religions were born - to provide much desired answers where there are none. They all have the "truth" and they all disagree on what that is exactly. What does that tell you?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I so understand what you mean, I'm at I don't believe in the God of the Bible, but I still believe there is life after death , not sure how, because everything just can't be a coincidence.  I mean I'm sure we have all had our I can't believe this times, things happen that just seem to impossible or unlikely.  Maybe its just wishful thinking on my part.

 

I never discuss this with my family, that is why I'm here, it hasn't been long for me, been coming for a few years and lost a lot of sleep and even felt suicidal for awhile, I think I'm over that, its just that God has just been such a part of me, its like its not me anymore. I quit smoking 1.5 years ago as I made a vow to God, so now I'm without cigs and without God. I feel lost and such an emptiness, but I do have a husband of 27 years, but he believes but doesn't like to talk about God, as I always talked about God, and so yes I am lost yet.

Link to post
Share on other sites

greylee: The reason you are here is because you are intellectually honest. Obviously a horrible sin

according to the biblical god. I agree with the responses above. The bible god does not deserve our

belief, unless you believe that might is right. What gods there are or may be are beyond my ability to

know.

Current science is the most we can know, but as scientist learn more I'm sure we'll find that they don't have the complete truth. nor do they pretend to. But it's our best bet. Religion doesn't now nor has it

ever had a clue. Welcome to the site. bill

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was a believer for almost four decades. part of the problems inside came from emotionally believing in god, but knowing practically that nothing worked the way other christianxs told me it should. I got sick and tired of watching people pray for cancer sufferers who did not get healed, when they told me to expect they would. Tired of watching christians treat each other like shit when they were supposed to be full of all this love from god.

 

For a while I felt lonely, but then i realised I always had. One part of me kept on believing whilst the other part was totally shitty that the things I was told would happen, never happened.

 

It is a hard adjustment, almost like being born again in some ways. I have had to accept that being aways ready to believe the best of every person is a stupid way to live my life, but I am hardwired to do so. That alone is an adventure in itself.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

...I got sick and tired of watching people pray for cancer sufferers who did not get healed, when they told me to expect they would. Tired of watching christians treat each other like shit when they were supposed to be full of all this love from god...

 

AMEN.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Greylight, how do you adapt to pantheism? I suppose if I were to believe in something, it might be similar to that, and yet, I still have my doubts. I have wondered if when jesus said that the kingdom is at hand, he meant that it was inside of us, or when the bible says that god is love, it means that to love is to be god-like. But again, I have a hard time believing this as well because I have no proof.

 

I envy my fiance. He was raised agnostic and he just doesn't care about whether god exists or not. I, on the other hand, am always struggling to figure out "the truth."

 

For what it's worth Luke 17:21: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. So, at least in Luke the author indicates the Kingdom is within. The problem being the bible is filled with contradictions inconsistencies. One of the original forms of Christianity was the Gnostics which is a mystical form of Christianity. It was far more popular than the orthodox versions of Christianity during the formative years of Christianity.

 

 

The evidence suggests the bible is a collection of legends, myths, folklore, and wisdom sayings written in the form of narrative parable, metaphor, and allegory. If it is understood and read in that context it has value. If it is read as a collection of laws, rules, and commands that are intended to dominate a person's life it becomes problematic on numerous levels. Spirituality and religion are very different concepts IMO.

 

 

I have come to the conclusion that spirituality is most likely found inward. And a mystic approach to spirituality seems to be the vehicle that works best for a number of people. Naturalism, pantheism, and pan deism are a few examples of mystic ways of being more spiritual that a growing number of people are exploring

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't imagine how hard it must be to still be going to church 7 years later. I recently deconverted over the span of a year or so, but haven't been to church in a long time (for me, especially since I was the type that would be there Sunday mornings/evenings/Wednesday/extra activities and would usually seek out churches right away if I moved somewhere). My family was also fairly religious. We'd sit around the table and Dad would read through the book of Romans and we'd have our own family Bible study on top of all the other church activities throughout the week. I used to do research trying to prove God was real, too. Ultimately, it didn't lead me away from God, but did make me a more liberal Christian as I began to realize that some of the fundamentalism I'd been taught at a couple churches was simply incorrect. 

 

Even though I sometimes miss believing in God, sometimes I also find a huge relief in it. I don't feel like I'm constantly being judge. Even though it was constantly said that Christians aren't SUPPOSED to judge, there sure was a lot of talk about God judging YOU on Judgement Day. I'm no longer living with the constant thought of a second life in my head and "building up treasures in heaven." Then feeling guilty because my purpose or thoughts weren't "pure enough." I'm just not constantly thinking about God/Jesus and living in Christian fog. When I do something now, it's because *I* want to do it. I don't credit God/Jesus for the things I do or don't do anymore. I don't feel extreme guilt if I missed the opportunity to witness to someone. But, yes, sometimes I do miss believing in God. That there was someone out there that will comfort and reward those that suffered. Sometimes, I really miss the GOOD stuff in God that I used to believe in. But, overall, it just makes no sense. Also, it gives humans back full responsibility to take care of things and not just rely on some God that may or may not be there. 

 

It just seems so lazy, doesn't it? God will take care of that. We could, but let's leave it for God to show our faith. Or when people don't really how much doctors work to save patients- it was God! No, it wasn't. I do really like that no longer believing in the faith has made me really admire and respect some humans quite a bit more than I used to. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

greylee: The reason you are here is because you are intellectually honest. Obviously a horrible sin

according to the biblical god. I agree with the responses above. The bible god does not deserve our

belief, unless you believe that might is right. What gods there are or may be are beyond my ability to

know.

Current science is the most we can know, but as scientist learn more I'm sure we'll find that they don't have the complete truth. nor do they pretend to. But it's our best bet. Religion doesn't now nor has it

ever had a clue. Welcome to the site. bill

This is part of my problem. I don't believe in God, and yet I can't help but cringe at you saying that god doesn't want us to be intellectually honest, because I don't really believe that. In my heart, god is perfect and loving and forgiving and nothing like what people seem to think he's like, and yet my head says he's not real.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

greylee: The reason you are here is because you are intellectually honest. Obviously a horrible sin

according to the biblical god. I agree with the responses above. The bible god does not deserve our

belief, unless you believe that might is right. What gods there are or may be are beyond my ability to

know.

Current science is the most we can know, but as scientist learn more I'm sure we'll find that they don't have the complete truth. nor do they pretend to. But it's our best bet. Religion doesn't now nor has it

ever had a clue. Welcome to the site. bill

This is part of my problem. I don't believe in God, and yet I can't help but cringe at you saying that god doesn't want us to be intellectually honest, because I don't really believe that. In my heart, god is perfect and loving and forgiving and nothing like what people seem to think he's like, and yet my head says he's not real.

You've always been told that the Christian god is perfect and loving and forgiving, but the Christianity itself has evolved to discourage intellectual honesty. The Bible says that the wisdom of the world is foolishness, so if you question the book, you're being foolish. That discourages paying attention to the real world, and encourages looking to the book for all,of your answers. But most of the answers aren't there, and the ones that are the wisdom of men.

Link to post
Share on other sites

graylee: I should have said that Xtians are not truly intellectually honest to themselves or others. The bible god is a myth. So for me to say that god does not want us to be intellectually honest is misleading. There are many reading sources for deconversion. This site recommends a number of them. You will run across the names of others as you continue here with us. Many have gone through the deconversion symptoms you described. It's a process that takes time. No one here will pressure you to make any particular decision. You won't go to hell if you disagree with us. Nor will go to hell under any circumstances. Hell does not exist. It is a horrible concept used to threaten Xtians to stay in the fold. Bottom line is what you believe is YOUR business and no deity will punish you for whatever that decision may turn out to be. 

 

I'm glad you are with us at this site.   bill

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't imagine how hard it must be to still be going to church 7 years later. 

 

It's not that hard, honestly. It's more like a social tradition nowadays. Once in awhile I do feel like a big faker. I've been looking for a job, and people have been trying to help me out if they have connections, and they always advise me to pray and I say that I am. I guess I've gotten really good at lying about this. =/ I don't think I'll ever tell my family.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.