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LeKopo

Depressed

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My relationship with God seems is no more, as I gradually slipped away from him and decided to go my own way in life, and I'm currently enduring the pain of ending that relationship. It's been about a month now. Literally the feeling of a breakup. Except it was true love and with something you can't see and tough. I think about when I was a Christian, places I'd go, church, reading the Bible and thinking about how happy and spiritual I was with God and the conviction of "truth."  But now it seems I'm back to life's old issues, being dictated by what people think of me. I'm back to my 5 normal senses which are back to being very vivid, pain feels like pain again, and the physical gratification has returned.

I don't find enjoyment anymore. Coming down from being a true Christian is a tough one. I keep thinking well if I'm going to die then what's the point. Nothing seems to be fulfilling anymore after my Christian spiritual experience. I feel sad and guilty for breaking up with God and loving other things. I'm hollow and empty.

I don't know if I'm alone but I certainly know that you guys could understand how unsettling this is. Is there any advice anyone could offer for me getting over this fear of hell/judgement and the emotional pain of ending love with that unseen force who you prayed to everyday?

 

 

 

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Wow.  That's not an easy one to answer.  I guess I was a little bit different in that I don't feel I "ended love" with anyone.  For me god just wasn't ever there, so it seemed there was no "relationship" to end.  However, it wasn't by any means easy to leave.  It was "hell," as a matter of fact.  The whole basis for my life was gone.  Even if my religious beliefs didn't amount to anything real, to end them left me with just nothing.  Having nothing as the basis of your life rather sucks.  A Christian friend asked me one day a while after I had left, "Are you any happier?"  I don't remember how I responded, but if I was truthful I said, "No.  I'm less happy."  Before I had had direction and purpose in life, and now I had nothing.  Not only that, but I was all alone in the world.  When you belong to a church or Christian group of some sort you have a "ready-made" community.  You don't have to worry about being all on your own for the weekend.  You have friends, people to do things with, people to talk with, people to support you.  When you leave it all you have to start all over and try to build something from scratch.  It's not easy, and I can't say that I have done very well at it, but I know I can't go back to trying to believe in what is obviously a bunch of superstition.  I don't believe in what makes me happy; I believe in what is true.

 

The fear of hell is a strong emotion.  Once it is engrained into you it is hard to get away from it.  I wish I had  a secret "pill" that would do the job, but I think most would agree with me that it can take years to get over that fear.  No matter what our rational minds might tell us, once it is engrained into us it is difficult to get over it.  I can only say to read and talk to people who take a rational approach, and over time you will get there. I would point out one or two things in regards to the concept of hell.  If you read the Bible you find that, although the word "hell" is used in the Old Testament (at least, in the old King James version), nowhere does it say anything about a place of eternal torture in a lake of fire.  There is no lake of fire until you get to the New Testament.  If there is such a horrible place to be avoided wouldn't god have told all the people that lived back before Jesus' times?  Why would he withhold that information from his "chosen people"? And, of course, there is the old argument that how can a loving god send someone to be tortured forever?  It may be an old question, but still valid.  Or perhaps more pointedly, how can god send me to suffer forever in a lake of fire for not believing in him when he refuses to even let me know that he exists?  If I were god and had even the slightest bit of love in me I wouldn't hide up in heaven and expect some old book that was written under questionable circumstance and adopted under even more questionable circumstances to save people.  I would want to make sure that they at least knew firsthand about me.  I just cannot conceive (now that I have been away from religion for years) that a god could act that way.  I mean, he just couldn't unless he was the very essence of evil and hatred.  You wouldn't act that way, would you?  Are you better than god (i.e. the concept of god that you have held)? 

 

So there are a couple of thoughts about this concept of hell that I hope will help alleviate your fears to some degree, but I'm sure it will still take a while before you can feel that you are rid of those fears.  The idea of hell is ridiculous, but that doesn't necessarily alleviate all our fears.  I have sometimes wished I could be "Spok" and not be pestered by unfounded emotions, but that is not reality.  Hang in there though, and you will get there. 

 

Yes, you will feel hollow and empty for a while.  I know I did. But don't feel "guilty" for "breaking up with" god.  He "broke up with" you first, that is, he wasn't there.  If he is going to just leave you high and dry then don't feel guilty. (I write this as if he existed, which, of course, he doesn't.) Don't blame yourself.  Put the blame where it belongs, on those who convinced you to believe in a magical being, using the unfounded and ridiculous threat of eternal torture to get or hold you there.  You can't blame god, because he doesn't exist, but you can blame religion.  That is where the blame lies, not in you.

 

Wish I had more to offer to be helpful, but I wish you the best of luck in your new journey.

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6 hours ago, LeKopo said:

My relationship with God seems is no more, as I gradually slipped away from him and decided to go my own way in life, and I'm currently enduring the pain of ending that relationship. It's been about a month now. Literally the feeling of a breakup. Except it was true love and with something you can't see and tough. I think about when I was a Christian, places I'd go, church, reading the Bible and thinking about how happy and spiritual I was with God and the conviction of "truth."  But now it seems I'm back to life's old issues, being dictated by what people think of me. I'm back to my 5 normal senses which are back to being very vivid, pain feels like pain again, and the physical gratification has returned.

I don't find enjoyment anymore. Coming down from being a true Christian is a tough one. I keep thinking well if I'm going to die then what's the point. Nothing seems to be fulfilling anymore after my Christian spiritual experience. I feel sad and guilty for breaking up with God and loving other things. I'm hollow and empty.

I don't know if I'm alone but I certainly know that you guys could understand how unsettling this is. Is there any advice anyone could offer for me getting over this fear of hell/judgement and the emotional pain of ending love with that unseen force who you prayed to everyday?

 

 

 

 

Maybe some of you Kiwi's can band together since you are all so close. Maybe send a message to brother @LogicalFallacy and see what he thinks about it. 

 

Another exercise, replace the word "god" in the above with "Santa Claus" and take a closer look at what's really going on here. You're literally loathing the loss of an imaginary figment of your own imagination. That's exactly what this is. How hard on yourself should you be about that? Intellectualize the situation a little bit. How bad did you beat yourself up as a child when you learned there was no Santa Claus and the presents came from family and friends? 

 

 

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I have been summoned from the depths of hell... or so my family would think...

 

Welcome LeKopo

 

Good to see another Kiwi here. @Wertbag is also on this site and posts regularly. We have a few other Kiwis who don't post often. We also meet up on Discord, details are found here:

 

16 hours ago, LeKopo said:

My relationship with God seems is no more, as I gradually slipped away from him and decided to go my own way in life, and I'm currently enduring the pain of ending that relationship. It's been about a month now. Literally the feeling of a breakup. Except it was true love and with something you can't see and tough. I think about when I was a Christian, places I'd go, church, reading the Bible and thinking about how happy and spiritual I was with God and the conviction of "truth."  But now it seems I'm back to life's old issues, being dictated by what people think of me. I'm back to my 5 normal senses which are back to being very vivid, pain feels like pain again, and the physical gratification has returned.

 

Been there about two years ago. Still going through issues. My family is fundy and I've become more liberal so you can imagine the conflicts when various subjects in our political sphere that are being discussed (Abortion, euthanasia, drug use etc) However the pain of 'breaking up with god' does pass with time, especially as you realise you were essentially having a relationship with a fantasy in your own mind.

 

Quote

I don't find enjoyment anymore. Coming down from being a true Christian is a tough one. I keep thinking well if I'm going to die then what's the point. Nothing seems to be fulfilling anymore after my Christian spiritual experience. I feel sad and guilty for breaking up with God and loving other things. I'm hollow and empty.

 

It's usual to have these feelings, but I'd urge you to find a social group that has similar interests as you. You've listed a few interests so find groups that revolve around those. The point of living I think is experiencing life. Often people say well what's the point, there's no grand purpose - but there never was! Purpose in our lives is what we make it. You are free from the shackles of make believe - go live in the real world and what it has to offer.

 

Quote

I don't know if I'm alone but I certainly know that you guys could understand how unsettling this is. Is there any advice anyone could offer for me getting over this fear of hell/judgement and the emotional pain of ending love with that unseen force who you prayed to everyday?

 

You are not alone. While we all have different experiences, every ex-Christian has been through what you are going through to some degree. Some breeze through without a care, others are far more devastated than you and find it hard to cope.

 

On the hell subject- there are a number of great topics on this site on the fear of hell.

 

The simple question I ask is are you afraid of Hades, or the Underworld? If not, then why are you afraid of the Christian hell for which there is no evidence it exists?

 

As for emotional pain, what lead you away from Christianity? My journey was not emotional, though it had very emotional periods, but mine was an intellectual discovery. I got to the point where I could not honestly say I believed in God because of the lack of evidence for God, and evidence contrary to biblical claims. So for me this severely muted the emotional response.

 

I'd love to hear from you

 

All the best

LF

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16 hours ago, LeKopo said:

My relationship with God seems is no more, as I gradually slipped away from him and decided to go my own way in life, and I'm currently enduring the pain of ending that relationship. It's been about a month now. Literally the feeling of a breakup. Except it was true love and with something you can't see and tough. I think about when I was a Christian, places I'd go, church, reading the Bible and thinking about how happy and spiritual I was with God and the conviction of "truth."  But now it seems I'm back to life's old issues, being dictated by what people think of me. I'm back to my 5 normal senses which are back to being very vivid, pain feels like pain again, and the physical gratification has returned.

I don't find enjoyment anymore. Coming down from being a true Christian is a tough one. I keep thinking well if I'm going to die then what's the point. Nothing seems to be fulfilling anymore after my Christian spiritual experience. I feel sad and guilty for breaking up with God and loving other things. I'm hollow and empty.

I don't know if I'm alone but I certainly know that you guys could understand how unsettling this is. Is there any advice anyone could offer for me getting over this fear of hell/judgement and the emotional pain of ending love with that unseen force who you prayed to everyday?

 

 

 

Welcome to exc!

Your whole world view has been turned on its head and your reactions are entirely normal. You're going through a grieving process because you realized you really aren't special or chosen, don't have a special relationship with a father figure, and the whole thing has been a delusion. Yes, it's like a love affair, I think Marlene Winell uses that term in her book Leaving the Fold, which I recommend to everyone who ends up here and is going through the difficult process of leaving it all behind. That book will help you make some sense of what you're going through, the stages of deconversion, and what you can expect. However, it's different for everyone. 

Finding purpose can be done by examining yourself, asking yourself what values and interests are important to you, and acting on those. You have values regardless of if you're religious or not. Do you enjoy helping others? If so go volunteer. Do you have hobbies? Find some clubs to join. These will help if you also need to build a new social network. They will keep you from feeling too isolated, which also leads to or complicates depression.

Seek a secular therapist if required to help you with the process. It can be tough on your mental health. 

And last but not least, be kind to yourself. Christians are programmed to feel guilt and doubt over ridiculous things. You've just started to walk down one of the more difficult but also rewarding paths in life, so give yourself a pat on the back and congratulations. It gets better with time. Also, join us on discord and let it all out there if you need to. 

Don't expect your fears to go away quickly. Deprogramming your brain takes time and education. Reading and educationing yourself on the bible, and the creation of the heaven and hell concepts will help. These forums are as great place to start with reading and learning. 

All the best. 

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@LeKopo, sorry you're going through this. Stop by discord sometime to chat. There's lots of good people there. PM me if you want.

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22 hours ago, LeKopo said:

I don't find enjoyment anymore. Coming down from being a true Christian is a tough one. I keep thinking well if I'm going to die then what's the point. Nothing seems to be fulfilling anymore after my Christian spiritual experience. I feel sad and guilty for breaking up with God and loving other things. I'm hollow and empty.

I have suffered from depression and it can be very hard to find your joy, but you have to remember it does get better and your life will improve.  I struggled to find happiness, everything became a chore and you fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Well I can tell you it is certainly there.  My personal breakthrough was martial arts.  Finding an activity that challenges you, helps meet new people, gains fitness, sets achievable goals and most importantly keeps your mind busy.  I realised I was only depressed when I sat and dwelled on it, but as soon as my mind was focused on activities then I just didn't stop to feel bad.  I took classes to learn German, I wrote a book, I ran the half marathon, I wrote a business plan, I cross trained in several martial arts and once my life was full there was no room for depression.

Once I had some self confidence I tried online dating and have now been married for 6 years with two cute kids.  If I've had a bad day at work, coming home to a flying cuddle from the cuteness can't fail to put a smile on my face.

Find your joy, try new things and put yourself out there.  It will get better.

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LeKopo, I hope you are still on the forum.  And still alive!  Facing the loneliness and finding motivation for living can be difficult, but can be done.  

 

First, be sure to follow through with your mental health treatment. And like other's have said, find a sense of community somewhere.  Are therapy groups available through your mental health center?  If there is a Unitarian Universalist church available, give them a try.  They fellowship agnostics, atheist, Buddhist, etc.  You might even look into Buddahism.  It is more of a philosophy than a religion, for which I have a lot of respect.  Another source is American Humanist Association.  Or there may be a similar organization in NZ.  HANG IN THERE!

 

P.S.  Let us know how you are doing!

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Cheers again for the warm responses and to update, I'm doing better and alive.

 

I am back enjoying things and active. I still feel occasional guilt and sorrow for not having that fatherly like connection but through Christianity and coming down from it I have came to know myself even more and my place in the world, and the wisdom I have received I am able to apply that in my life and I know how people work better.

 

The fear of hell is not as bad and I dont feel as condemned, I start to think critically about things. For example why did God draw me to his son and gave me faith if he knew I was going turn my way and leave the faith 4 months later? If there's a judgement day I would ask that question because the bible says only the father can draw someone to being a Christian.. and there are other things I am starting to find confusing aswell.

 

To be honest lately hell seems better than nothing at all for eternity. I still fear death like everyone does naturally but I am more focused on my own life than death.

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On 11/13/2018 at 5:30 PM, LeKopo said:

 

 I am more focused on my own life than death.

 

That is good to hear!

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