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Kat34

Recurring fears

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On 10/30/2018 at 3:38 PM, ag_NO_stic said:


SAME! Contemplating eternity is a weird feeling and it was always unsettling to me. I never wanted to go to heaven, I just didn't want to go to hell.

Oh yes this was me. I used to think it was so unfair that we didn’t ask to be born and then had to live forever somewhere!

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Update.

 

I’m now 3.5 weeks into this latest crisis which has been massively intense and all consuming. Being on maternity leave and not at work perhaps hasn’t helped as I’ve not had distractions outside of the house. Last weekend was awful and one of my lowest points so far. I went to the doctor hoping to get some anti anxiety medication but I can’t take anything due to breastfeeding. I spoke with a counsellor I know on Monday night which was helpful to an extent. There’s another counsellor I’ve worked with in the past who may be helpful but I can’t afford her yet! 

 

I’m feeling better than I have been but I’m wary in saying that as things are always up and down. Evenings seem to be the worst time for me, especially dusk. I am still having real fears at times that I’m just not “chosen” or that my heart has been hardened and about hell, and fear for my kids. I have to keep reminding myself that fear can’t be a basis for a choice. 

 

My hormones post birth are perhaps settling down. The chest tightness and stomach ache I’ve often had are reducing. I feel I’ve wasted the last few weeks with my newborn which I’m very sad about. 

I’m finding I need to keep reading and validating the idea that Christianity is likely false and get very anxious seeing anything written by Christians. I’m also a bit put off by some atheists who seem as extreme and provocative as some Christians, although at times for understandable reasons. I need to separate all that from what’s real. 

 

I’ve been reflecting on the fact that maybe some Christian teachings are hard for more moderate Christians to accept too. Back in my 20s when I was exploring and trying to be able to get on board with Christianity I liked Greg Boyd. He’s very anti the idea of predestination, believes hell is annihilation, has written a book I believe in which he basically argues that the OT does not accurately represent God and espouses the Christus Victor view of the atonement rather than penal substitution. Although he’s okay with the idea of original sin. But I think it’s interesting that maybe reasonable Christians need to be able to make Christianity feel right. 

 

I still have remaining questions... about the idea of accountability without a god and about unexplained events. I also wonder how people are sustained by Christianity for so long. My mum has been a Christian for nearly 40 years and it is entirely real for her and she’s in love with God. How does the idea of hell not drive her mad, how can she possibly think of anything else?

 

Having not thought this way for years, it’s now hard to stop thinking about the idea that my every thought, word and deed is being noted by god. I’m hearing my mum’s/ others’ voices all the time. I can hear them talking about the seriousness of sin, people’s selfishness, how broken the world is and how in need of god it is etc. Maybe I’ve just never understood the sin thing. It might sound like I’ve not made progress but I think I have made some, it’s just been very hard going. I hope I’m going in the right direction 🤞 

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4 hours ago, Kat34 said:

I spoke with a counsellor I know on Monday night which was helpful to an extent. There’s another counsellor I’ve worked with in the past who may be helpful but I can’t afford her yet! 

 

Good to see that you've been able to get some help. Hopefully it will be beneficial.  

 

4 hours ago, Kat34 said:

I’m feeling better than I have been but I’m wary in saying that as things are always up and down. Evenings seem to be the worst time for me, especially dusk. I am still having real fears at times that I’m just not “chosen” or that my heart has been hardened and about hell, and fear for my kids. I have to keep reminding myself that fear can’t be a basis for a choice. 

 

If you're having trouble with your mind wandering, maybe you need some distractions? Movies, tv, a good book, or whatever else that helps you relax might quiet those constant nagging fears, at least for a little while. Maybe set aside a time each day where you're determined to not think about religion at all, if it's driving you crazy.  

 

4 hours ago, Kat34 said:

I still have remaining questions... about the idea of accountability without a god and about unexplained events.

 

There's absolutely nothing wrong with having unanswered questions. It's fine to just say, "I don't know". And there's no requirement to find 100% natural explanations for everything either, as that may be just as rigid as some religious beliefs. 

 

4 hours ago, Kat34 said:

I also wonder how people are sustained by Christianity for so long. My mum has been a Christian for nearly 40 years and it is entirely real for her and she’s in love with God. How does the idea of hell not drive her mad, how can she possibly think of anything else?

 

I've reached the point where I wonder how the hell I ever believed in hell. But I can't be too hard on myself or others because I know it's all conditioning and indoctrination. I was made to think that this was normal, justifiable, and even good. In Christianity you're told not to think or question, and doubting is portrayed as bad (remember Doubting Thomas and Jesus' rebuke of him?). We were also told that God is the ultimate goodness and authority, so whatever he does is totally okay, even though we would label humans as evil if they did the same things. In Christianity, God's ways are higher than ours, and so he is not to be questioned. So that was a really long way of saying that people's devotion to the religion and to God keep them from seeing hell for what it is. Your mother's love for God will refuse to let her think of him as anything less than perfectly righteous, and so she and every other devout believer will find numerous ways to justify it, no matter how absurd. 

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57 minutes ago, Stargazer95 said:

If you're having trouble with your mind wandering, maybe you need some distractions? Movies, tv, a good book, or whatever else that helps you relax might quiet those constant nagging fears, at least for a little while. Maybe set aside a time each day where you're determined to not think about religion at all, if it's driving you crazy.  

Yes I think you’re right that I need to make myself take time out from thinking and reading about religion and find distractions. The intensity of it all probably isn’t helping me clear my head. Thing is when I start really experiencing the fear I end up reading things by former believers to try to gain some sense of calm. 

57 minutes ago, Stargazer95 said:

 

There's absolutely nothing wrong with having unanswered questions. It's fine to just say, "I don't know". And there's no requirement to find 100% natural explanations for everything either, as that may be just as rigid as some religious beliefs. 

Very true, it’s not like we can ever have all the answers. I think what happens is that if there are things unexplained by a non Christian worldview, I start thinking maybe this is evidence for Christianity after all. I need to keep hold of all the many reasons Christianity doesn’t seem credible. 

57 minutes ago, Stargazer95 said:

We were also told that God is the ultimate goodness and authority, so whatever he does is totally okay, even though we would label humans as evil if they did the same things. In Christianity, God's ways are higher than ours, and so he is not to be questioned. So that was a really long way of saying that people's devotion to the religion and to God keep them from seeing hell for what it is. Your mother's love for God will refuse to let her think of him as anything less than perfectly righteous, and so she and every other devout believer will find numerous ways to justify it, no matter how absurd. 

Yep that’s exactly it. He is perfectly just. Her love and trust means she’s totally happy to give everything over to him. “Let go and let God”, “Will not the judge of all the earth do right?” etc. 

I was never at that point so I find it really hard to understand. I think I mainly found God pretty scary rather than someone to put all my love and trust in. 

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12 hours ago, Kat34 said:

Update.

 

I’m now 3.5 weeks into this latest crisis which has been massively intense and all consuming. Being on maternity leave and not at work perhaps hasn’t helped as I’ve not had distractions outside of the house. Last weekend was awful and one of my lowest points so far. I went to the doctor hoping to get some anti anxiety medication but I can’t take anything due to breastfeeding. I spoke with a counsellor I know on Monday night which was helpful to an extent. There’s another counsellor I’ve worked with in the past who may be helpful but I can’t afford her yet! 

 

I’m feeling better than I have been but I’m wary in saying that as things are always up and down. Evenings seem to be the worst time for me, especially dusk. I am still having real fears at times that I’m just not “chosen” or that my heart has been hardened and about hell, and fear for my kids. I have to keep reminding myself that fear can’t be a basis for a choice. 

 

My hormones post birth are perhaps settling down. The chest tightness and stomach ache I’ve often had are reducing. I feel I’ve wasted the last few weeks with my newborn which I’m very sad about. 

I’m finding I need to keep reading and validating the idea that Christianity is likely false and get very anxious seeing anything written by Christians. I’m also a bit put off by some atheists who seem as extreme and provocative as some Christians, although at times for understandable reasons. I need to separate all that from what’s real. 

 

I’ve been reflecting on the fact that maybe some Christian teachings are hard for more moderate Christians to accept too. Back in my 20s when I was exploring and trying to be able to get on board with Christianity I liked Greg Boyd. He’s very anti the idea of predestination, believes hell is annihilation, has written a book I believe in which he basically argues that the OT does not accurately represent God and espouses the Christus Victor view of the atonement rather than penal substitution. Although he’s okay with the idea of original sin. But I think it’s interesting that maybe reasonable Christians need to be able to make Christianity feel right. 

 

I still have remaining questions... about the idea of accountability without a god and about unexplained events. I also wonder how people are sustained by Christianity for so long. My mum has been a Christian for nearly 40 years and it is entirely real for her and she’s in love with God. How does the idea of hell not drive her mad, how can she possibly think of anything else?

 

Having not thought this way for years, it’s now hard to stop thinking about the idea that my every thought, word and deed is being noted by god. I’m hearing my mum’s/ others’ voices all the time. I can hear them talking about the seriousness of sin, people’s selfishness, how broken the world is and how in need of god it is etc. Maybe I’ve just never understood the sin thing. It might sound like I’ve not made progress but I think I have made some, it’s just been very hard going. I hope I’m going in the right direction 🤞 

Kat, can you look at your newborn, and accept the fact that they were born sinful and require a blood sacrifice to absolve themselves of it? Christianity does not accept innocence in newborns. 

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Is the world in need of god? Because if he exists, why in his omniscient almighty power isn't he converting all the people who need him then? Why does he allow horrible cruel suffering to occur? Why isn't he intervening where he should? 

That being said, I think you're on the right path with reading some more. However it's a fine line to walk without this consuming you too much. You should seek out a therapist who is secular. A christian therapist will do more harm than good to you at this point. I would ask explicitly to ensure they are secular. 

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On 11/2/2018 at 6:33 AM, Kat34 said:

I’m also a bit put off by some atheists who seem as extreme and provocative as some Christians, although at times for understandable reasons. I need to separate all that from what’s real. 

 

Kat, this is a problem I've been discussing in private with some friends here. There seems to be some agreement that overly zealous atheism is counter productive. Your example fits into these side discussions as a glaring example of how and why this seems to be so. The thing is, bare atheism can be understood as very reasonable. Just the basic lack of belief in gods. There's all variety of reasons not to believe gods exist, but someone doesn't even need to have any fancy well thought reasons. It's just as simple as not believing something. And maybe it's time to rethink some of the approaches and stick to a reasonable position of simply not believing gods exist. Allowing others to speak of why they do, but just respectfully letting people know why we remain unconvinced. 

 

I feel like many posters to this thread have come from a reasonable perspective of just letting you know some of the facts we're aware of. And why it is that we remain unconvinced. I realize Matt can be off putting. He may cross over from healthy skepticism to pseudo skepticism some times during his shows. I prefer to be cautious and try and not cross that line if I can. I don't want to be overboard skeptical. But skepticism in healthy doses seems like a good thing. 

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3 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

I feel like many posters to this thread have come from a reasonable perspective of just letting you know some of the facts we're aware of. And why it is that we remain unconvinced. 

Absolutely Josh, I in no way meant anyone on this thread, just some of the high profile authors etc. I’ve not found anyone here at all militant. 

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5 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Kat, this is a problem I've been discussing in private with some friends here. There seems to be some agreement that overly zealous atheism is counter productive. Your example fits into these side discussions as a glaring example of how and why this seems to be so. The thing is, bare atheism can be understood as very reasonable. Just the basic lack of belief in gods. There's all variety of reasons not to believe gods exist, but someone doesn't even need to have any fancy well thought reasons. It's just as simple as not believing something. And maybe it's time to rethink some of the approaches and stick to a reasonable position of simply not believing gods exist. Allowing others to speak of why they do, but just respectfully letting people know why we remain unconvinced. 

 

I feel like many posters to this thread have come from a reasonable perspective of just letting you know some of the facts we're aware of. And why it is that we remain unconvinced. I realize Matt can be off putting. He may cross over from healthy skepticism to pseudo skepticism some times during his shows. I prefer to be cautious and try and not cross that line if I can. I don't want to be overboard skeptical. But skepticism in healthy doses seems like a good thing. 

There is definitely a spectrum on the atheist scale, just as there is with people in any other areas. Some are more militant than others. I try to keep in mind that some of the militant ones are more likely than not concerned with the harm that delusional beliefs can do. I might even sound quite harsh myself sometimes, but it's due to my personal experience with the harmful effects of what I went through. This is why I sometimes find it hard to see any positives in religion at all, because imo, due to their core beliefs, some religions divide people and are necessarily judgemental. Even the liberal xtians can't argue that the concepts of heaven and hell don't result in judgement. 

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27 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

There is definitely a spectrum on the atheist scale, just as there is with people in any other areas. Some are more militant than others. I try to keep in mind that some of the militant ones are more likely than not concerned with the harm that delusional beliefs can do. I might even sound quite harsh myself sometimes, but it's due to my personal experience with the harmful effects of what I went through. This is why I sometimes find it hard to see any positives in religion at all, because imo, due to their core beliefs, some religions divide people and are necessarily judgemental. Even the liberal xtians can't argue that the concepts of heaven and hell don't result in judgement. 

I can definitely understand that some people feel very strongly because of their own and others’ hurtful experiences and can see why atheists who are former Christians may well come across as more hardline than those who’ve simply never believed but not been personally affected by being part of a faith. I try to bear this in mind as much as I can when reading/ watching their material 

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2 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

There is definitely a spectrum on the atheist scale, just as there is with people in any other areas. Some are more militant than others. I try to keep in mind that some of the militant ones are more likely than not concerned with the harm that delusional beliefs can do.

 

The more militant ones seem to have the floor, as far as public outreach. They get the most of the attention. And then probably lead the way for most of the influence that comes from most of the attention. I think it has a lot of appeal to people who were harmed by religion, christianity in particular. No doubt there are mentally harmful aspects which can cause depression and a variety of issues. I was depressed right into my mid 20's. Even after having left christianity. What would up breaking myself of it once and for all was when I started studying and researching. Gaining the knowledge helped me a lot. But during that research when I got into Joseph Campbell I started having pretty strong "aha!" moments. And found that I just naturally understood the enlightenment points of eastern mysticism as if I'd known it all along. It cured my depression over a short length of time. I just found that there wasn't anything to be depressed about. I got into my head and focused on consciousness and purposefully redirecting my own thought patterns. 

 

So whatever harms I had left over from christianity feel flushed out at this point. But this happened over several decades. I don't feel as militant and anti-theistic as when I first parted ways. But I still support dealing with christianity firm. I don't feel like just laying over and letting it be. I have enough fight in me to engage the arguments. But I'm not doing so from a miserable or depressed state of mind. That has long since passed. And I'm glad that it's long passed. It didn't want to nurse that sort of negativity along. So I had to grab the reigns of my own mind and do something myself in order to start a process of change from ground zero. That may not work with everyone, but it's an example of one way in which it might work. 

 

2 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

I might even sound quite harsh myself sometimes, but it's due to my personal experience with the harmful effects of what I went through. This is why I sometimes find it hard to see any positives in religion at all, because imo, due to their core beliefs, some religions divide people and are necessarily judgemental. Even the liberal xtians can't argue that the concepts of heaven and hell don't result in judgement. 

 

I prefer the spiritual not religious route. I feel like if people are drawn to the spiritual it would probably do them well to leave organized religion out of it and pursue something less judgemental. Even if there were a god, how likely is it that that god would be the figure that obviously political and authoritarian organized religions put up as their front man? It just seems so unlikely to me that that would be the case, if there were a god. Some raging ego up in the sky wanting to burn souls (whatever that means?) for eternity over something as trivial as not believing in this sky ego's existence. Some jealous, judging, but loving all good sky ego looking down at everyone. The whole thing seems rather silly. 

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57 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

The more militant ones seem to have the floor, as far as public outreach. They get the most of the attention. And then probably lead the way for most of the influence that comes from most of the attention. I think it has a lot of appeal to people who were harmed by religion, christianity in particular. No doubt there are mentally harmful aspects which can cause depression and a variety of issues. I was depressed right into my mid 20's. Even after having left christianity. What would up breaking myself of it once and for all was when I started studying and researching. Gaining the knowledge helped me a lot. But during that research when I got into Joseph Campbell I started having pretty strong "aha!" moments. And found that I just naturally understood the enlightenment points of eastern mysticism as if I'd known it all along. It cured my depression over a short length of time. I just found that there wasn't anything to be depressed about. I got into my head and focused on consciousness and purposefully redirecting my own thought patterns. 

 

So whatever harms I had left over from christianity feel flushed out at this point. But this happened over several decades. I don't feel as militant and anti-theistic as when I first parted ways. But I still support dealing with christianity firm. I don't feel like just laying over and letting it be. I have enough fight in me to engage the arguments. But I'm not doing so from a miserable or depressed state of mind. That has long since passed. And I'm glad that it's long passed. It didn't want to nurse that sort of negativity along. So I had to grab the reigns of my own mind and do something myself in order to start a process of change from ground zero. That may not work with everyone, but it's an example of one way in which it might work. 

 

 

I prefer the spiritual not religious route. I feel like if people are drawn to the spiritual it would probably do them well to leave organized religion out of it and pursue something less judgemental. Even if there were a god, how likely is it that that god would be the figure that obviously political and authoritarian organized religions put up as their front man? It just seems so unlikely to me that that would be the case, if there were a god. Some raging ego up in the sky wanting to burn souls (whatever that means?) for eternity over something as trivial as not believing in this sky ego's existence. Some jealous, judging, but loving all good sky ego looking down at everyone. The whole thing seems rather silly. 

I agree, I really don't have an issue with people adopting spiritualism over organized religion, and honestly even if it isn't completely rational to all of us, if they're doing no harm to anyone, I see this as a live and let live topic. It's not my job to try prod people out of their beliefs if it gives them something. I think you easily reach the point where you alienate them and make them too defensive and the whole exercise is just counter productive. There's more than just my way of seeing things, and I think it's arrogant to not pay attention to that, in regards to any topic. 

 

I likely sound quite militant about Christianity because I still feel like I'm fighting this war. I deal with people telling me how to live my life etc and attempting to control me because of their own views, so yeah that's quite negative. And when you have an extremely fundamentalist background, it takes a long time to develop some immunity. The strong feelings are all still there. 

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1 hour ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

And when you have an extremely fundamentalist background, it takes a long time to develop some immunity. The strong feelings are all still there. 

 

It can measure into decades....

 

 

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2 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

It can measure into decades....

 

 

Part of which is where my strong feelings come from, like how many more years of my life is this shit gonna have influence 😠

 

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On 11/3/2018 at 6:31 PM, Joshpantera said:

 

It can measure into decades....

 

 

Very true!!  But you will get to the point that you can't believe you didn't see through the religious "gaps" earlier.  And after 50 years I keep finding more gaps!  Huge gaps!

 

In a way it's like being lost in a dense forest.  You look for the way out, and at first all you see is trees.  Then you begin to see some gaps, or glimpses of a clearing.  As you keep walking you see fewer trees, and more clearing.  (perhaps I should clearly)  You will eventually get to the point that you can see A HUGE clearing.  You run out into it, and at first it may seem strange.  No trees around to protect you. But being able to see the world clearly is great.  And you will eventually decide you never want to go back.

 

I knew I was deconverted when reaching the point that I didn't mind sharing my views with my wife and children, who were by that time a teenager and adults.  And none of us lost our morality in the process.  The only thing that changed was that one daughter and myself are now agnostic.  If you read my testimonial, you know the rest of the story.

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If there is Hell, God isn't worthy of your love, worship or admiration. The Jewish God of the Bible is an atrocious creation of the most bigoted, racist perverted kind. Visit  evilbible.com for concrete evidence of the viciousness and cruelty of this megalomaniacal monstrosity we used to call Abba, father.  The utter naivity and foolishness  of doing so still makes me cringe. 

 

 The truth is we don't know what comes after death. Can you live with that truth? I think it was uncaring of any diety to give us minds that speculate and ponder and worry about an afterlife, yet not tell us.  It must know we feel like we're on a conveyor belt dropping off into who knows what. But it's always been that way even when we thought we knew what was coming.

 

Religion does serve our need to know, but does so through lies and fables. People pay big money for those lies judging by the fantastic wealth of the Catholic church and the phony huckster preachers who dwell in mansions. But I suggest you try living courageously by facing the truth no one knows what's beyond the grave. All you really know is that you exist and that kindness is better than cruelty. But at the same time repaying cruelty with kindness is incredibly foolish and would plunge the world into chaos if it was practiced on a societal level. Personally I like the advice of Jefferson Davis:  "Never be haughty to the humble, nor humble to the haughty." It has served me much better than the ridiculous teaching of Jesus to offer the other cheek when struck. Cops agree with good reason! I wish you the best.  Have courage and seek truth, even if you never find it. 

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3 hours ago, DrGuitar said:

I think it was uncaring of any diety to give us minds that speculate and ponder and worry about an afterlife, yet not tell us.  It must know we feel like we're on a conveyor belt dropping off into who knows what.

Do you know, I’d never thought of that before... thanks so much for your response and good wishes. 

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