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Do Any Of You Still Pray?


mick
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I have been a Christian for 17 years and know I am struggling. I can see myself reading your posts by day, but pleading with God for forgiveness at night or something?

 

As ex-Christians do any of you ever still pray, talk to Jesus even years later, wonder if you are wrong and still ask him forgiveness or even mercy. I am sincerely asking/wondering.

 

A doctrine of the faith that I have always believed is eternal security, once purchased by Christ nothing can separate you from Him and salvation, even yourself. If you have ever been saved then you still are now years later after your "de-conversion".

 

I am just wondering about these things. This is new for me, and unfortunately is a secert buried only in my own heart. My wife is devout and will never renounce her faith, ever. My young children are in process for a life of this as well. (Once I had children that became old enough to ask questions of me, is when i really began to realize I do not believe much of it. I blame much of it for my fears and anxities, and it upsets me to think if CHristianity is false, what it will do to my children.

 

I need some encourgaement, Christian or un-Christian at this point. Anything would do I think.

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Hi Mick, welcome to Ex-C. :wave:

 

You seem to be in a very tough position right now, but ..*Take a deep breath*.. Things will be OK.

 

Many of our members spent months or even years painfully trying to keep their faith. I don't know how much of this site you've read, but feel free to look around a while. There's much to be learned here.

 

As for praying, I wasn't what you'd call diligent even as a beliver, and now I see no need. The bible says god knows what you need before you ask for it anyway.

 

Here's something Jesus said about prayer, according to the bible:

 

John 14:

12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

 

"You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."....I've seen and been a part of fervent prayer groups for people who have cancer, or even something simpler, to no avail. How do belivers reconcile this? "it wasn't god's will." I say bullshit. God's will is stated right there in the bible and it's not happening!

 

From these verses, I can only conclude that either Jesus was wrong (and so not god), or not one single person in the whole world has faith in him. Since millions do have faith in Jesus....well, I guess you can surmise what I concluded.

 

I understand things are rough for you right now (my wife is still a beliver), but trust me, life will go on. If you're in the US, we're surrounded by a culture that for the most part, thinks the christian god is THE god of the universe, even non-churchgoers.

 

We here at Ex-C are willing to talk about anything you want, no matter how far out you may think your questions/assertions are. So ask away!

 

Good luck and I wish you well on your journey.

Dan

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I don't pray anymore. I do send my best wishes to someone if they are in a bad way, but I don't talk to myself and pretend that some all-powerful Magic Sky Daddy hears me. There's too much evidence against the effectiveness of prayer that it seems to be a waste of time to even bother.

 

How many Xians have prayed and gotten no answer? How many of the faithful have prayed for sick relatives, for financial relief, for help in desparate times - and ended up getting nothing? Think about it; Jesus said that whoever prays in his name will get what they ask for, and that Gawd knows our needs before we even say them, right? Well, how many people do you know who really have experienced that? Be honest with yourself. Or how many people in this world have Xians praying for them, and they are still up to their necks in shit?

 

Think about it. Unless we have some psychic ability to subtly affect real-world events (which I do think happens whenever anyone of any religion says how prayer is effective for them; that is what's really happening), prayer is a waste of time and takes away from action that can really change things.

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All I can say is that although I don't have children, I have been there. It's tough keeping those things from your family... but eventually you will get to the point where you can discuss things somewhat openly... but that is even a painful process that definitely takes its toll.

 

Just know that being honest with yourself, and eventually your family when the time is right, is the best thing you can do. I commend you for your bravery. :)

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Oh... and to answer your question, I pray (when things get rough)... but not to the Christian God or Jesus for forgiveness. I may be overly confident, but I can honestly say I don't fear any retribution for my being honest with myself. I have done the best I can intellectually and as long as I stay honestly open to whatever may be out there, I don't know how any God worth calling God could condemn me or be offended.

 

I have even stopped praying for signs and the like. They will never come. I only pray as a way to think through my circumstances... more of a meditative and reflective prayer. Sometimes it helps to bounce my insecurities off on a target when I am not in the mood to be outirght honest with myself at the moment. :)

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Mick, do you really feel that prayer is an effective way of keeping faith? God's will can't be swayed by a prayer, that's obvious in every prayer that has ever gone unanswered. Is there even a point in asking God for help in prayer? If God exists, he knows what you are going through very well, and being your creator, why would he hold it against you for doubting his existence? He does a pretty shitty job in making himself known.

 

You may want to start looking for answers outside of the Bible, and if you choose to tell your family about your feeling on faith, do it when you know you don't believe. Who knows, this may be a phase you are going through. Maybe you can also talk to a minister about your issues with faith, but don't take bullshit for an answer (bullshit being answers that require the bible as the only source). I think it would be worse for you to go back and forth with faith than for you to go back, unless you are part of an ultra-fundie church.

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  • 2 weeks later...
As ex-Christians do any of you ever still pray, talk to Jesus even years later, wonder if you are wrong and still ask him forgiveness or even mercy. I am sincerely asking/wondering.

 

This was something I went through in the process of my deconversion - I would occasionally break down and ask for forgiveness for my disbelief... and I would feel better, temporarily, then start doubting again. That was a few years ago, and now I'm a pretty solid atheist. My only prayers are more like fervant wishes directed in a sort of external direction at the world in general, not so much to any sort of divine being.

 

I have a lot of sympathy for your incredibly difficult position - I had difficulty telling my parents that I am atheist, fearing that it would break their hearts, so I can only imagine what it must be like to have an entire family in place of that. Do you feel that you're suppressing your doubts for their sake? Not saying it's a bad thing or a good thing, just something for you to think about, maybe - I still haven't reconciled my guilt over hurting my parents with being true to my intellectual beliefs. It's something I'm still struggling with.

 

Occasionally I feel like forcing myself to be Christian again, recanting my atheism no matter what my reason and logic tells me to the contrary, just so I don't disappoint or hurt my parents any more. But I don't think they would want that for me - it'd have to be a real re-conversion, and I know that's not going to happen.

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The last time I prayed was to tell god how he could convince me that he's real.

 

I gave him a phrase that I made up and told him that if he's real I would appreciate it if he would have someone repeat that phrase back to me.

 

I don't think that's unreasonable. I can't find any evidence that he exists, and I'm simply asking that he use a foolproof method to let me know he's there.

 

It's been several years now, and that phrase has never come up in conversation or in posts on this site. Either god doesn't exist, or he doesn't want me to know he exists.

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Nope, I don't pray. Not to be flippant, but, why bother if I don't believe? Why "pray" to a "god" whom I don't believe in? That would be rather psychotic, wouldn't it?

 

And frankly, when I WAS a Christian, I came to the conclusion that "prayer" was pointless. "God" was obviously going to do as "he" pleased. Any prayer, therefore, would end with the phrase, "But not as I will, but THY will be done." So if I end up with "God's will" anyway, what was the point of prayer to begin with?

 

PRAY = Pointless Rambling And Yammering.

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The last time I prayed was to tell god how he could convince me that he's real.

 

I gave him a phrase that I made up and told him that if he's real I would appreciate it if he would have someone repeat that phrase back to me.

 

I don't think that's unreasonable. I can't find any evidence that he exists, and I'm simply asking that he use a foolproof method to let me know he's there.

 

It's been several years now, and that phrase has never come up in conversation or in posts on this site. Either god doesn't exist, or he doesn't want me to know he exists.

Of course, the Christian reply is that you're not supposed to "test" God; you're supposed to believe on sheer faith instead of requiring proof. Convenient, isn't it?

 

It makes no sense why a God who loves me would refuse to give me the evidence I need to believe in him - if he really loved me, he would go to every length possible to avoid sending me to hell. But I forgot, we're not supposed to ask questions like that :o It's another one of those "divine mysteries"... :rolleyes:

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Of course, the Christian reply is that you're not supposed to "test" God; you're supposed to believe on sheer faith instead of requiring proof. Convenient, isn't it?

Of course Gideon in the OT was allowed to test god multiple times with the fleece, but (TrueChristian™ answer) those days are past.

 

I'm with you. If biblegod really exists and he really loves me and he knows that I honestly don't see any evidence that he exists, why would he withhold the reasonable proof that I've asked for? Would a loving parent do that to a child. No, he wouldn't.

 

Christians are left scrambling to find some reason that their god won't make even the simplest effort to confirm his existence. The best they can come up with is that I have the problem. I'm too stubborn, blind, sinful, arrogant, or not one of the "elected", and so on.

 

What they don't realize or won't admit is that they are taking a position in which their claim can never be proven and that puts them on equal footing with all the other religions they think are false.

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Mick,

 

This is something I am going through and I feel your pain. Sometimes I find myself still praying out of habit and fear. Sometimes I fear coming to this website because I have so much in common with every single deconvert out there(after being taught that they were the "enemy in disguise" for years by my church)...

It is so hard because, as I've said before, this religion has been the BASIS for many of our lives. Christianity is, literally, until now, all I have ever known. And it feels like leaving this shelter of protection...It's almost like battered wife syndrome. You know it is in your best interest to leave, but you are afraid because there is a whole wide world out there and it's scary...

 

Plus the fear of going to hell when you die...like, you are on your death bed and you suddenly see Satan waiting for you saying, "Toldja I was real! Let's party!"

 

But then I think of all the socalled "christians" who have been deceitful, perverted, and dishonest...They are all going to heaven regardless of all of their "sin," yet I'm going to hell for trying to do my best.

Well, I don't want to know a god like that.

 

Once again, I feel your pain. It is a gradual process...I just really feel bad for your children. :scratch:

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I used to. Now when I get that anxious I meditate instead, or take a nice hot bath, or drink a nice hot cup of herbal tea. I have some chamomile & lavender tea that is very calming. Meditating really helps. I don't do it for any religious reasons (I'm not Buddhist or something). But it has been scientifically proven to have positive effects on the human mind.

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I have been a Christian for 17 years and know I am struggling. I can see myself reading your posts by day, but pleading with God for forgiveness at night or something?

 

As ex-Christians do any of you ever still pray, talk to Jesus even years later, wonder if you are wrong and still ask him forgiveness or even mercy. I am sincerely asking/wondering.

 

 

Not in the least. I have long since reconciled that Jesus, is nothing more than a mythical character just like the former leading God (Zeus) was before him.

 

There's no need to pray once you accept that you are responsible for your own actions. Whether there's a God or not, you have to be accountable for what you do in this world.

 

A doctrine of the faith that I have always believed is eternal security, once purchased by Christ nothing can separate you from Him and salvation, even yourself. If you have ever been saved then you still are now years later after your "de-conversion".

 

That's the candy coated dream, and its very admirable to be so idealistic. But the reality is the only reason I still think about Jesus is in order to teach others about the truth about the Bible and it's doctrines.

 

I am just wondering about these things. This is new for me, and unfortunately is a secert buried only in my own heart. My wife is devout and will never renounce her faith, ever. My young children are in process for a life of this as well. (Once I had children that became old enough to ask questions of me, is when i really began to realize I do not believe much of it. I blame much of it for my fears and anxities, and it upsets me to think if CHristianity is false, what it will do to my children.

 

Fear is a great motivator, but the more you begin to look at things objectively & rationally, the more you'll see that its the fears that are causing the trouble, not the lack of faith.

 

As for your wife, never say never. Plenty of totally devout Christians have changed there ways in due time. Many of them are here.

 

I need some encourgaement, Christian or un-Christian at this point. Anything would do I think.

 

Well the best thing to see is that you're asking questions & we are more than willing to help you get facts, reasoning & positive help as possible.

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Here is another thread about this very subject. My response is in that one. Gives you a broader idea of what prayer is I think.

 

http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?showtopic=6815

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Guest ackerman73

I challenge anyone to spend some time on the continet of Africa, specifically central Africa, and then tell me there is a god. So much death and poverty and pain and horribleness. So many families destroyed by AIDS. Children being kidnapped in the night and sold into modern slavery. Why can't god just once intervene on these children's behalf? Just once.

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I challenge anyone to spend some time on the continet of Africa, specifically central Africa, and then tell me there is a god. So much death and poverty and pain and horribleness. So many families destroyed by AIDS. Children being kidnapped in the night and sold into modern slavery. Why can't god just once intervene on these children's behalf? Just once.

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

It's always cool to see someone coming on with some major gusto in their first post!

 

:)

 

Cheers!

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I, too, used to pray at times, even after I stopped going to church. And it was always the same "Oh I've been awefull! Please, PLEASE forgive me! I'll do better next time!" groveling. Until one day I realized I wasn't Christian.

Then I stopped. No reason to pray to a deity that ain't yours.

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I challenge anyone to spend some time on the continet of Africa, specifically central Africa, and then tell me there is a god. So much death and poverty and pain and horribleness. So many families destroyed by AIDS. Children being kidnapped in the night and sold into modern slavery. Why can't god just once intervene on these children's behalf? Just once.

 

Apparently because he's too busy saving middle and upper class American Christians from day to day annoyances and killing people they don't like because it's part of his plan. :rolleyes:

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Hi Mick,

 

A few years ago, I went through some really rough times, which were not directly related to my de-conversion. But anyway, at the time, I would lay in bed at night, every night, and pray. And the weird part was, that after I prayed (and prayed and prayed) I felt miserable, and afterwards would usually just lay there wide awake (worrying) all night. After so many sleepless nights, I just couldn't continue along these lines. I started reading some books on Buddhism, and as I laid in bed at night, instead of praying I tried thinking a mantra over and over, or just paying attention to my breathing, and this seemed to help me relax, and at least get a good night's sleep. I don't really know where I'm going with this - because I didn't become Buddhist - I consider myself more of an atheist with pagan leanings - At any rate, here's the bottom line: prayer always seemed to upset me, and actually made me feel worse. (Hmm... after reading this over, maybe it was directly related to my de-conversion)

 

As ex-Christians do any of you ever still pray, talk to Jesus even years later, wonder if you are wrong and still ask him forgiveness or even mercy.

 

No. I never pray now. And I feel no need to ask Jesus for forgiveness or mercy. If by some bizarre twist of cosmic fate, it turns out that I am wrong, and that Jesus and Biblegod were the real deal, then I guess I'll have to deal with it. But honestly, if they are real - damn - they're not even trying.

 

I wish you all the best in your search, Mick. But I probably won't be praying for you. ;)

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I always prayed and meditated on "God" not Jesus ever since my younger day.

 

Like christians I thought I had a relationship with God, and yes I still pray to this unknown "God".

 

Whether it is self delusion, i don't know, but definately benefits my mind.

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I have been a Christian for 17 years and know I am struggling. I can see myself reading your posts by day, but pleading with God for forgiveness at night or something?

 

As ex-Christians do any of you ever still pray, talk to Jesus even years later, wonder if you are wrong and still ask him forgiveness or even mercy. I am sincerely asking/wondering.

 

A doctrine of the faith that I have always believed is eternal security, once purchased by Christ nothing can separate you from Him and salvation, even yourself. If you have ever been saved then you still are now years later after your "de-conversion".

 

I am just wondering about these things. This is new for me, and unfortunately is a secert buried only in my own heart. My wife is devout and will never renounce her faith, ever. My young children are in process for a life of this as well. (Once I had children that became old enough to ask questions of me, is when i really began to realize I do not believe much of it. I blame much of it for my fears and anxities, and it upsets me to think if CHristianity is false, what it will do to my children.

 

I need some encourgaement, Christian or un-Christian at this point. Anything would do I think.

 

Hi Mick I hope you are still around you do need support to think this through.

 

I don't pray now in the way I used to As skeptic said its more of a meditation - a connection with God. .. but heres a Christian story that may help your thoughts on this.

 

I was at a bible study about 7 years back and there was a girl there who had had three miscarriages. She was desparate to have kids and so was devastated by each miscarriage ..and was in tears every time she thought about it. She was a really nice young girl with a good supportive husband - if anyone should have had kids it should have been her.

 

Her answer to the miscarriages was to pray even harder .. and increasingly more desparate. As if the harder you pray the more likely you are to force a response from God

But this was absolutely exhausting her mentally and physically because nothing changed

 

So I asked why she felt the need to pray so hard about it. She was torturing herself. If she believed God would give her what was best for her then does she not also believe that God understands her without her saying a word? Why does God need words? Does he not know whats on your heart? If you have faith then leave with God and take the pressure off yourself.

 

This helped me .. rather than feeling guilty all the time about Praying or not praying I just want to BE

 

Prayer where you ASK all the time is a western idea and is actually harmful to any spirituality.

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I don't pray because, while it could be possible there is a higher power, whatever form/s that takes, I no longer believe that Jehovah (or however you want to write it) is a real god.

 

I believe I should not be hypocritical. Therefore, even if I were somehow wrong about the religion, at least I would not be satisfying the emotional conviction and reducing any feelings of guilt or sense of what I am doing is wrong. That is, after all, the feeling Christians rely upon to guide them.

 

Anyway, having duly avoided the half-hearted approach, I feel no inclination to change my conviction or behaviour. On the contrary, everything I have since observed or been exposed to has reinforced the research and analysis that got me to this current position in the first place.

 

I was not looking to get out of the church. I stumbled upon the information I learned. For 33 years I kept an extremely strong faith despite the church, despite the Bible, and despite the religion.

 

I used to believe that all the good things that happened in my life, particularly the ones against the odds or that were most important, were evidence that God was real and that I was not displeasing him. Today I am just as lucky as I ever have been, uncannily so. Fortune continues to favour me with perfect timing. I could not have dreamed of a better life. Masturbation didn't ruin my luck when I was a Christian, and neither has not praying since.

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I don't pray because, while it could be possible there is a higher power, whatever form/s that takes, I no longer believe that Jehovah (or however you want to write it) is a real god.

 

I believe I should not be hypocritical. Therefore, even if I were somehow wrong about the religion, at least I would not be satisfying the emotional conviction and reducing any feelings of guilt or sense of what I am doing is wrong. That is, after all, the feeling Christians rely upon to guide them.

 

Anyway, having duly avoided the half-hearted approach, I feel no inclination to change my conviction or behaviour. On the contrary, everything I have since observed or been exposed to has reinforced the research and analysis that got me to this current position in the first place.

 

I was not looking to get out of the church. I stumbled upon the information I learned. For 33 years I kept an extremely strong faith despite the church, despite the Bible, and despite the religion.

 

I used to believe that all the good things that happened in my life, particularly the ones against the odds or that were most important, were evidence that God was real and that I was not displeasing him. Today I am just as lucky as I ever have been, uncannily so. Fortune continues to favour me with perfect timing. I could not have dreamed of a better life. Masturbation didn't ruin my luck when I was a Christian, and neither has not praying since.

Welcome Lapdog!

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