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Hello all

I wasn’t sure where to post this so I hope it is ok here. 
 

I have been (though see below) a Christian for about 30 years (I am 53, today actually), and I am terrified of hell (specifically, the lake of fire). I have wanted to leave Christianity because the last 10+ years have been terrible. Not every day, but enough that I had to do something. The anxiety is literally ruining my life and I can’t cope with it. 

I was happy being a Christian, but then, I thought I had blasphemed the Holy Spirit back in November 2010. I just thought up a bad thought/image for no apparent reason - what therapists might call an 'Intrusive Thought'. After that, as I say, it all changed for me and Christianity became a fearful thing. 

On the 15th July 2021, I had a therapy session and I said to the therapist, when I first got into Christianity, I didn’t know it was true, but I decided to become a Christian for various reasons. If you had put a gun to my head and said “tell me what you really believe”, and you knew whether or not I would be lying, I would have admitted I did not think Christianity was true – but hoped it was. 

Today I realise, I still think Christianity probably isn’t true, only, instead of thinking, “Christianity probably isn't true - but I hope it is”, I now think “Christianity probably isn't true - but I fear it is.” Then it struck me - if that's the case - I have never really believed it was true.  

Truth is, I really do not know, either way. I really do not know if it is true, and I really do not know if it is not true. But I think it probably is not true. Even if all my anxiety was removed for a minute, so that it would not influence my thinking, this is what I would honestly think. 

I never wanted any of this. I was once a happy Christian, with the hope of an afterlife. Over the years I ended up being a member of two churches (at different times of course), and I read the Bible a couple of times, studied the Bible on my own, studied as part of a midweek church group, and I prayed and tried to live a Christian life. But the anxiety has been so bad I reached the point where I felt I could not carry on like this; the suffering was simply too much. 

Just to clarify, I am not really saying it is definitely not true. I can’t make that claim (just like I cannot say it definitely is true). I think I’m saying deep down, I mean, really deep down, when it comes to it, I honestly don’t know – but I think it’s probably not true. 

Here is the salient part: 

If that is how I really think, if that is what I really believe (and I think it is), and God exists, then God already knew this before even I realised it. I might have been able to hide the fact from myself but I never did nor ever could hide it from God. In that respect, seeing as God already knows this, there is no longer any point pretending things are different. God already knew and knows I think Christianity probably isn't true. 

I am not sure what happens next, but I do feel a bit better. That said, I also feel anxious, sometimes, quite a bit anxious. But I cannot deny what I believe any longer. 

Having done a little research, I think I would be classed as an Agnostic-Atheist. 

And guess what? I now find myself worrying Islam might be true. I am serious.  

If there actually is a God, I hope they understand that I am sorry it came to this (as I said earlier, there was a time I was happy as a Christian). I could not take the anxiety anymore. I persevered for over 10 years. But in the end it was too much. 

I hope this gets easier. 

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9 hours ago, SeaJay said:

If that is how I really think, if that is what I really believe (and I think it is), and God exists, then God already knew this before even I realised it. I might have been able to hide the fact from myself but I never did nor ever could hide it from God. In that respect, seeing as God already knows this, there is no longer any point pretending things are different. God already knew and knows I think Christianity probably isn't true. 

 

You're being very logical and objective with this approach. Yes, if there is an all knowing god, then the all knowing god would already know what you believe or don't believe before "the creation of the earth," as it were. Not just before you were born. Always. And then, what's more, is that this same all knowing god would have seen through you being born knowing full well that you wouldn't be truly believing this bit about christianity. And still created the world, still had whatever hand such a god has in anyone, including you, being born. 

 

9 hours ago, SeaJay said:

I am not sure what happens next, but I do feel a bit better. That said, I also feel anxious, sometimes, quite a bit anxious. But I cannot deny what I believe any longer. 

Having done a little research, I think I would be classed as an Agnostic-Atheist. 

And guess what? I now find myself worrying Islam might be true. I am serious.  

If there actually is a God, I hope they understand that I am sorry it came to this (as I said earlier, there was a time I was happy as a Christian). I could not take the anxiety anymore. I persevered for over 10 years. But in the end it was too much. 

I hope this gets easier. 

 

I don't if this helps or not, but some of us have had very similar thoughts and have gone through the same general logical deductions you're going through now.

 

I've heard several people express that even if there were such a god, they'd have no interest in groveling around and worshipping it. Because the god comes off as some type of cosmic ego who wants non stop praise all the time. And the scenario makes people out to be bowing, groveling, subjects and who wants to spend an eternity praising some ego anyways? Imagine being put on Cuban shores and having bow and sing and praise forever and ever to Castro for all of eternity. Because all of this praise is pleasing to his delicate ego. That's literally a parallel to the scenario presented in Revelation. And does anyone really want that anyways????

 

Another way of looking at it could be that a god exists but no one religion actually understands it or has it all right. All are merely struggling towards understanding something that they don't or can't possibly understand, including the biblical narratives. In this case, holy books don't carry much weight or matter very much one way or another. They aren't literally accurate, so it doesn't matter very much. And whatever any of them say about the afterlife can't be literally true either, as they don't or can't actually understand the truth of any of it. That looks to be a do your best, live and do good in life, and go off into death believing whatever you will about it and take it for whatever it may be, because no one really knows what to expect. 

 

I've thought about another scenario too. What if this is all a big test? And christianity is a deception? This isn't left field. There's a lot wrong with christianity and a great many deceptive lies found within the bible and the religion itself. What if only those who can 'detect the lies' are those found worthy in the end? And the groveling lot of lowly subjects bowed down for eternity who don't question anything or use their minds are a way of "weeding out the wankers?"

 

I'm dealing in terms of fiction here, this idea is a very fictional way of putting a creative twist on the issue. But it can cause a pause for thought. There's something honorable about having a mind of your own. And not just falling in line with what the crowd is doing, or jumping off a cliff because everyone else in the majority is doing it. If the majority are christian, so what? That only illustrates how an entire majority can be this wrong about something. That's not left field either. We've had countless illustrations throughout history where a majority of people have dead wrong about something or another. It's no different now where christianity is concerned. 

 

 

 

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50 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

You're being very logical and objective with this approach. Yes, if there is an all knowing god, then the all knowing god would already know what you believe or don't believe before "the creation of the earth," as it were. Not just before you were born. Always. And then, what's more, is that this same all knowing god would have seen through you being born knowing full well that you wouldn't be truly believing this bit about christianity. And still created the world, still had whatever hand such a god has in anyone, including you, being born. 

 

I don't if this helps or not, but some of us have had very similar thoughts and have gone through the same general logical deductions you're going through now.


It does help to know I’m not alone in this way of thinking. Am I correct in thinking that - in some cases - deconversion can take years? 
 

Thank you for the reply, I appreciate it. 
 

50 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

 

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9 minutes ago, SeaJay said:

Am I correct in thinking that - in some cases - deconversion can take years? 

Yes.  My deconversion was a brutal, four year long catastrophe.  Although I am better for having had the experience, I would not wish it on anyone else.  In retrospect, I can honestly say that I did not have the strength, fortitude, or wherewithal to endure such a struggle.  I think I only survived it out of stubbornness and defiance.  

 

You are where you are, dude.  Learn to live there and don't worry so much about getting to some other "place" in life.  

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16 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Yes.  My deconversion was a brutal, four year long catastrophe.  Although I am better for having had the experience, I would not wish it on anyone else.  In retrospect, I can honestly say that I did not have the strength, fortitude, or wherewithal to endure such a struggle.  I think I only survived it out of stubbornness and defiance.  


I’ve already been in some dark places. Hopefully this isn’t so bad. It’s good to know you’re feeling better. 
 


 

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"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear."

--Thomas Jefferson

 

Think about it this way:

 

The idea that there is sin beyond redemption assumes that Christians still have a law they have to live under and follow to avoid condemnation. It implies that the sacrifice of Jesus was to remove sinners from under the law but that it couldn't do the whole job, blatantly contradicting Romans 5:20. It's part of Christian theology which makes no sense.

 

And the whole idea of the "devil"...a super-angel who knew God better than any other, knew that God was the creator of everything including super-angels, knew that God was omnipotent and held everything in existence with his sheer will.....and this super-angel waged a war to overthrow that omnipotent deity? And had an army of angels side with him? We're supposed to believe that heaven was full of Q-anon angels who followed a leader who would have to be either doorknob-stupid or a blithering loony to think he could defeat the omnipotent God? If he's stupid, he could hardly be the threat he's made out to be. If he's mentally deranged, then he can't be held responsible for his actions. Either way, the "rebel angel" scenario falls apart under scrutiny.

 

Have you read "The Age of Reason" by Thomas Paine? I think you might find it intriguing.

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First of all, Happy Birthday!

 

I know that just getting to where you could make this post was a painful process.  I think you’ll be the better for having done it.  There’s no doubt Christianity and other religions make life better for many people, but for somebody with your anxious nature, it’s just toxic.  All the rules, the Thou Shalts, Shalt Nots, all the dogma that could be interpreted in various ways , leading to schisms, reformations and religious wars.   All the believers who wonder whether they have done enough to qualify for salvation, or wonder whether they were chosen for salvation.  Congratulations on stepping away from that!  
 

Yes, deconversion is a process and in your case it’s been under way for several years already.  But this is an important step you’ve taken now, one that will allow you to move forward to a better life.  You’ll receive no shortage of encouragement here!

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5 hours ago, Moonobserver said:

"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear."

--Thomas Jefferson

 

Think about it this way:

 

The idea that there is sin beyond redemption assumes that Christians still have a law they have to live under and follow to avoid condemnation. It implies that the sacrifice of Jesus was to remove sinners from under the law but that it couldn't do the whole job, blatantly contradicting Romans 5:20. It's part of Christian theology which makes no sense.

 

I’m not sure if that’s a contradiction. It does state all sins bar one can be forgiven. Maybe grace will cover all sin - except that one. I’m not arguing for or against it though, just making an observation. Still, I’ve discovered the explanation of what the unforgivable sin is specifically, is a little ambiguous. 

 

5 hours ago, Moonobserver said:

And the whole idea of the "devil"...a super-angel who knew God better than any other, knew that God was the creator of everything including super-angels, knew that God was omnipotent and held everything in existence with his sheer will.....and this super-angel waged a war to overthrow that omnipotent deity? And had an army of angels side with him? We're supposed to believe that heaven was full of Q-anon angels who followed a leader who would have to be either doorknob-stupid or a blithering loony to think he could defeat the omnipotent God? If he's stupid, he could hardly be the threat he's made out to be. If he's mentally deranged, then he can't be held responsible for his actions. Either way, the "rebel angel" scenario falls apart under scrutiny.

 

I hadn’t thought about that. It’s a good point. You’d have to be unbelievably stupid to think you can defeat the supreme creator of reality - whom you knew was all powerful (and created you). Or unbelievably arrogant. 

 

5 hours ago, Moonobserver said:

Have you read "The Age of Reason" by Thomas Paine? I think you might find it intriguing.


i haven’t, no. But doesn’t he believe there is a creator god of nature or something?

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2 hours ago, TABA said:

First of all, Happy Birthday!

Thank you TABA. 

 

2 hours ago, TABA said:

I know that just getting to where you could make this post was a painful process.  I think you’ll be the better for having done it.  There’s no doubt Christianity and other religions make life better for many people, but for somebody with your anxious nature, it’s just toxic.  All the rules, the Thou Shalts, Shalt Nots, all the dogma that could be interpreted in various ways , leading to schisms, reformations and religious wars.   All the believers who wonder whether they have done enough to qualify for salvation, or wonder whether they were chosen for salvation.  Congratulations on stepping away from that!

 

Thank you. I’m still coming to terms with it. Still can’t quite believe it. I mean, I’m not a dyed in the wool full on atheist, but I do think agnostic atheist is an accurate enough term. I.e. I don’t think Christianity is true - but I also admit that I don’t know for sure that it isn’t true. I can’t, know. 
 

2 hours ago, TABA said:

Yes, deconversion is a process and in your case it’s been under way for several years already.  But this is an important step you’ve taken now, one that will allow you to move forward to a better life.  You’ll receive no shortage of encouragement here!


I appreciate the fact this site exists. What did people do before the internet! I also appreciate the time people take to reply to my posts, especially yourself and Hierophant. 

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20 minutes ago, SeaJay said:

I’m not a dyed in the wool full on atheist, but I do think agnostic atheist is an accurate enough term. I.e. I don’t think Christianity is true - but I also admit that I don’t know for sure that it isn’t true. I can’t, know. 


I’d say the great majority of us here at Ex-C share this outlook.  You’re in good company!

 

21 minutes ago, SeaJay said:

I’m still coming to terms with it. Still can’t quite believe it.


That’s very typical too.  A combination of feeling scared and liberated at the same time.  As time goes by the fear diminishes and the feeling of liberation  dominates.  

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I, and many others know full well that Hell anxiety.

   An all knowing God would've known before your birth, since infinnity actually that you would go to Hell ( if that is true) or Heaven. An all powerful, knowing not to mention loving God is totally incompatibile with any sort of "free will". He made us, he made the world and its rules. Think about it. If you were a novelist, you would know exactly how your characters behave. It is like saying, well, the universe and everything in it is rigidly deterministic, but random things do happen. 

     We are in a rigged game and the maker faults us for losing?

   What the...

 

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14 hours ago, SeaJay said:

If that is how I really think, if that is what I really believe (and I think it is), and God exists, then God already knew this before even I realised it. I might have been able to hide the fact from myself but I never did nor ever could hide it from God. In that respect, seeing as God already knows this, there is no longer any point pretending things are different. God already knew and knows I think Christianity probably isn't true. 

So following this same line of thinking, for me, it was helpful to say a prayer, a sort of shout out to the universe, a plea stated as, "I am genuinely seeking to know the truth. To the power(s) that be, please make the truth known so that I may know and believe whatever is true." This prayer set me on a much different path than I ever anticipated, even further away from Christianity.

 

Ultimately, your beliefs, as you have discovered, are not really a choice.

I can't help that I don't believe that leprechauns or Zeus or vampires are real. There is just not enough evidence for those beliefs to resonate with me. So if you are unable to choose your beliefs it is not really up to you to make decisions about the nature of reality. It needs to be shown to you. Perhaps if you look at it that way, it may ease some of the pressure of having to choose- unnecessarily- the right way to believe. (Hope this makes sense). And happy birthday!

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Hi there, SeaJay! Thank you for sharing those insightful words! And how nice to hear from you again.


It does tend to make one aware of one's own vulnerability as a human being, when one starts to ponder the more frightening and negative parts of Christianity and the many interpretations thereof. And as you mention Islam, we would of course be equally vulnerable when faced with any all-powerful being, whether part of any established religion or not.


One silver lining is that the fact that there's an infinitude of potential gods, and a fair number of established religions as well, goes a long way to showing how arbitrary these ideas really are. Only one of these religions was passed on to us and gained an emotional hold, but it could have been almost any religion, even one which hasn't been invented.


Coming to terms with deep existential anxiety from a very emotional experience that's lasted for years is quite a big change, and the amount of time and effort involved in the process seems to vary wildly from person to person. But it does tend to get better for people over time. And judging from your post, you already seem to be doing much better.


I hope you'll continue to find joy and solace in the insights you have along the way, and that you'll share them with us if and when you feel like doing so.

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20 hours ago, SeaJay said:

Hello all

I wasn’t sure where to post this so I hope it is ok here. 
 

I have been (though see below) a Christian for about 30 years (I am 53, today actually), and I am terrified of hell (specifically, the lake of fire). I have wanted to leave Christianity because the last 10+ years have been terrible. Not every day, but enough that I had to do something. The anxiety is literally ruining my life and I can’t cope with it. 

I was happy being a Christian, but then, I thought I had blasphemed the Holy Spirit back in November 2010. I just thought up a bad thought/image for no apparent reason - what therapists might call an 'Intrusive Thought'. After that, as I say, it all changed for me and Christianity became a fearful thing. 

On the 15th July 2021, I had a therapy session and I said to the therapist, when I first got into Christianity, I didn’t know it was true, but I decided to become a Christian for various reasons. If you had put a gun to my head and said “tell me what you really believe”, and you knew whether or not I would be lying, I would have admitted I did not think Christianity was true – but hoped it was. 

Today I realise, I still think Christianity probably isn’t true, only, instead of thinking, “Christianity probably isn't true - but I hope it is”, I now think “Christianity probably isn't true - but I fear it is.” Then it struck me - if that's the case - I have never really believed it was true.  

Truth is, I really do not know, either way. I really do not know if it is true, and I really do not know if it is not true. But I think it probably is not true. Even if all my anxiety was removed for a minute, so that it would not influence my thinking, this is what I would honestly think. 

I never wanted any of this. I was once a happy Christian, with the hope of an afterlife. Over the years I ended up being a member of two churches (at different times of course), and I read the Bible a couple of times, studied the Bible on my own, studied as part of a midweek church group, and I prayed and tried to live a Christian life. But the anxiety has been so bad I reached the point where I felt I could not carry on like this; the suffering was simply too much. 

Just to clarify, I am not really saying it is definitely not true. I can’t make that claim (just like I cannot say it definitely is true). I think I’m saying deep down, I mean, really deep down, when it comes to it, I honestly don’t know – but I think it’s probably not true. 

Here is the salient part: 

If that is how I really think, if that is what I really believe (and I think it is), and God exists, then God already knew this before even I realised it. I might have been able to hide the fact from myself but I never did nor ever could hide it from God. In that respect, seeing as God already knows this, there is no longer any point pretending things are different. God already knew and knows I think Christianity probably isn't true. 

I am not sure what happens next, but I do feel a bit better. That said, I also feel anxious, sometimes, quite a bit anxious. But I cannot deny what I believe any longer. 

Having done a little research, I think I would be classed as an Agnostic-Atheist. 

And guess what? I now find myself worrying Islam might be true. I am serious.  

If there actually is a God, I hope they understand that I am sorry it came to this (as I said earlier, there was a time I was happy as a Christian). I could not take the anxiety anymore. I persevered for over 10 years. But in the end it was too much. 

I hope this gets easier. 

 

Seajay,

 

It sounds like you have a lot of Religious trauma right now. But it also sounds like your on the right track to gaining your freedom from religion. I hope this community is helping you in this process.         Your right, it can take a long time. My deconversion process started years before I had the ultimate revelation that completely ended my faith in Christianity. My hope is that you as well have that moment where everything clicks into place and that fear that plagues you now disappears. 

     I know right now your thinking what if Christians are right. And that is a big question to overcome. As always my best advice is to keep reading studies from secular scholars about the bible. The Christian apologists will only confuse you and do their best to keep you in the Christian snare. Always keep in mind that the Bible is demonstrably false. That is a fact. And if the Bible is demonstrably false, then there is no way Christianity is right. A book supposedly inspired by an omni God such as the bibles should not be able to fail under scrutiny. But it does. 

     As far as Islam goes. It is based on the same fallable old testament that Christianity is based on. If the Bible fails to be an accurate and true text for Christians it will also fail to be an accurate and true text for Islam. 

 

I wish you the best seajay. 

 

DB

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11 hours ago, Myrkhoos said:

I, and many others know full well that Hell anxiety.

   An all knowing God would've known before your birth, since infinnity actually that you would go to Hell ( if that is true) or Heaven. An all powerful, knowing not to mention loving God is totally incompatibile with any sort of "free will". He made us, he made the world and its rules. Think about it. If you were a novelist, you would know exactly how your characters behave. It is like saying, well, the universe and everything in it is rigidly deterministic, but random things do happen. 

     We are in a rigged game and the maker faults us for losing?

   What the...


I agree. It just doesn’t make sense to me. 

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7 hours ago, freshstart said:

So following this same line of thinking, for me, it was helpful to say a prayer, a sort of shout out to the universe, a plea stated as, "I am genuinely seeking to know the truth. To the power(s) that be, please make the truth known so that I may know and believe whatever is true." This prayer set me on a much different path than I ever anticipated, even further away from Christianity.

 

Ultimately, your beliefs, as you have discovered, are not really a choice.

I can't help that I don't believe that leprechauns or Zeus or vampires are real. There is just not enough evidence for those beliefs to resonate with me. So if you are unable to choose your beliefs it is not really up to you to make decisions about the nature of reality. It needs to be shown to you. Perhaps if you look at it that way, it may ease some of the pressure of having to choose- unnecessarily- the right way to believe. (Hope this makes sense). And happy birthday!

This touches on a current issue I have. Namely, am I sure I think Christianity is not true or did I jump the gun and only said, it probably isn’t true, just to try and put an end to my suffering. Sort of like, if I say it, hopefully it becomes the reality. 

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5 hours ago, Rounin said:

Hi there, SeaJay! Thank you for sharing those insightful words! And how nice to hear from you again.


It does tend to make one aware of one's own vulnerability as a human being, when one starts to ponder the more frightening and negative parts of Christianity and the many interpretations thereof. And as you mention Islam, we would of course be equally vulnerable when faced with any all-powerful being, whether part of any established religion or not.


One silver lining is that the fact that there's an infinitude of potential gods, and a fair number of established religions as well, goes a long way to showing how arbitrary these ideas really are. Only one of these religions was passed on to us and gained an emotional hold, but it could have been almost any religion, even one which hasn't been invented.


Coming to terms with deep existential anxiety from a very emotional experience that's lasted for years is quite a big change, and the amount of time and effort involved in the process seems to vary wildly from person to person. But it does tend to get better for people over time. And judging from your post, you already seem to be doing much better.


I hope you'll continue to find joy and solace in the insights you have along the way, and that you'll share them with us if and when you feel like doing so.

Thank you for the reply Rounin. I appreciate it. I understand what you are saying and I tend to agree. On times my logical brain comes to the fore, but usually gets overpowered by my anxieties. 

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1 hour ago, DarkBishop said:

 

Seajay,

 

It sounds like you have a lot of Religious trauma right now. But it also sounds like your on the right track to gaining your freedom from religion. I hope this community is helping you in this process.         Your right, it can take a long time. My deconversion process started years before I had the ultimate revelation that completely ended my faith in Christianity. My hope is that you as well have that moment where everything clicks into place and that fear that plagues you now disappears. 

     I know right now your thinking what if Christians are right. And that is a big question to overcome. As always my best advice is to keep reading studies from secular scholars about the bible. The Christian apologists will only confuse you and do their best to keep you in the Christian snare. Always keep in mind that the Bible is demonstrably false. That is a fact. And if the Bible is demonstrably false, then there is no way Christianity is right. A book supposedly inspired by an omni God such as the bibles should not be able to fail under scrutiny. But it does. 

     As far as Islam goes. It is based on the same fallable old testament that Christianity is based on. If the Bible fails to be an accurate and true text for Christians it will also fail to be an accurate and true text for Islam. 

 

I wish you the best seajay. 

 

DB

Thank you for the reply. I continue to study secular sources and it does help. I quite enjoy it too. The history the methods applied; all very interesting. 

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By the way, I may not reply to every post, but I read them all and I really appreciate them. It’s helpful. 
 

Thank you 

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22 hours ago, SeaJay said:

I have been (though see below) a Christian for about 30 years (I am 53, today actually),

     Happy b-day.

 

22 hours ago, SeaJay said:

And guess what? I now find myself worrying Islam might be true. I am serious.  

     It might just be.  And?  The thing is what people tend to leave out of consideration, and I mean seriously leave out of consideration, is that *all* religions *might* be true.  Not just the monotheistic Abrahamic religions.  But any and all religions that have ever been and not just the mainstream religions but even the ones that we might call crazy or fringe cults including things like Scientology.  Simply everything that has made a claim in this arena.  Hundreds, if not thousands, of religions with thousands of gods.

 

22 hours ago, SeaJay said:

If there actually is a God, I hope they understand that I am sorry it came to this (as I said earlier, there was a time I was happy as a Christian). I could not take the anxiety anymore. I persevered for over 10 years. But in the end it was too much. 

     If you or I make a product and tons of forgeries come out and flood the market what should we do?  Should we try to protect our product?  Should we do our best to remove the fakes from the marketplace?  Or should we let the frauds exist and severely punish those who simply cannot figure out which is the correct product is the legit one?  Shift all the responsibility away from us, the product creator who knows exactly which product is legit, to the buyer who can only go on the word of others that they're not getting a knock-off? 

 

     Should "let the buyer beware" really be the model for each and every religion?  Especially those that promote ideas like eternal damnation?

 

22 hours ago, SeaJay said:

I hope this gets easier. 

     I can only say that it did for me.  I only sort of "accidentally" deconverted over several years.  In hindsight I was taking the "god" out of my discussions and looking for explanations that weren't simply some form of "goddidit."  I actually just cut god out altogether once I had a kitten die (likely got killed by coyotes) and went through a bit of a thought experiment.  God can't bring back a dead person for, you know "reasons" (no need to go through all them since we've heard most of them), but a kitten?  Why not?  No free will.  No blabbing to other cats about "the beyond."  And since I didn't know for certain the cat was truly dead there was nothing on my end.  As I saw it the cat is gone and now it's back.  If it didn't die then god brought it back.  If it died then the coyote got a free meal and the cat got a story it can't tell (or a mind wipe...it's a cat...again, no free will).  But, no cat.  I really fixated on this kitten and why it couldn't simply, miraculously, come back since it just could.  No harm.  No foul.  So I asked for a sign that it was dead.  I searched everywhere near my house.  All over the hills and in and around rocks and the scrub.  No sign.  I asked for any sign.  Silence.  I was done.

 

     I was probably done before this but the kitten was the last straw.  This god offered no comfort.  It offered nothing.  I realized I was on my own and was simply holding out hope.  Grasping at straws, anything, to keep my beliefs alive.  I sure do miss that kitten though.

 

          mwc

 

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It doesn’t help that I think Heaven is communicating with me by way of coincidences and sometimes even seeing things. It’s been this way since November 2010 when it all started. 
 

For example, I practice mindfulness meditation (eyes open) and yesterday whilst doing so, a word flashed before my eyes, and it was ‘Methodist’. Absolutely no reason I would conjure up that church. Later during the same meditation session, I saw the name ‘Paul’ as in St Paul. Though, my current secular reading is dealing with the apostle Paul so that could explain that. As well as realising ‘Paul’ probably comes from my current reading, there were other little tell-tale signs that it all originated from my mind - but I won’t bother you with the details. Suffice to say I was only slightly appeased it came from my mind. 
 

Then, just before dropping off to sleep and just before waking up, I sometimes see images in my mind’s eye. Then I am worrying that I will see something in real life that equates to my ‘vision’ (because if I am being shown the future, then obviously it is coming from Heaven - because what are the chances, right?). I’ve had this off and on for over 10 years and the number of times I believe these communications have “come true”, so to speak, I think I can count on one hand. And even then there’s differences between what I saw in my head and what I saw in waking life - but still, it’s scary. 
 

I think if I could get over this notion I am being communicated with, deconversion would be easier. But every time I think I’m out, I get dragged back in. It’s tough on times. 
 

Has anyone here ever experienced things like, seeing images and/or seeing coincidences as something akin to a sign?

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13 minutes ago, mwc said:

     Happy b-day.

 

     It might just be.  And?  The thing is what people tend to leave out of consideration, and I mean seriously leave out of consideration, is that *all* religions *might* be true.  Not just the monotheistic Abrahamic religions.  But any and all religions that have ever been and not just the mainstream religions but even the ones that we might call crazy or fringe cults including things like Scientology.  Simply everything that has made a claim in this arena.  Hundreds, if not thousands, of religions with thousands of gods.

 

     If you or I make a product and tons of forgeries come out and flood the market what should we do?  Should we try to protect our product?  Should we do our best to remove the fakes from the marketplace?  Or should we let the frauds exist and severely punish those who simply cannot figure out which is the correct product is the legit one?  Shift all the responsibility away from us, the product creator who knows exactly which product is legit, to the buyer who can only go on the word of others that they're not getting a knock-off? 

 

     Should "let the buyer beware" really be the model for each and every religion?  Especially those that promote ideas like eternal damnation?

 

     I can only say that it did for me.  I only sort of "accidentally" deconverted over several years.  In hindsight I was taking the "god" out of my discussions and looking for explanations that weren't simply some form of "goddidit."  I actually just cut god out altogether once I had a kitten die (likely got killed by coyotes) and went through a bit of a thought experiment.  God can't bring back a dead person for, you know "reasons" (no need to go through all them since we've heard most of them), but a kitten?  Why not?  No free will.  No blabbing to other cats about "the beyond."  And since I didn't know for certain the cat was truly dead there was nothing on my end.  As I saw it the cat is gone and now it's back.  If it didn't die then god brought it back.  If it died then the coyote got a free meal and the cat got a story it can't tell (or a mind wipe...it's a cat...again, no free will).  But, no cat.  I really fixated on this kitten and why it couldn't simply, miraculously, come back since it just could.  No harm.  No foul.  So I asked for a sign that it was dead.  I searched everywhere near my house.  All over the hills and in and around rocks and the scrub.  No sign.  I asked for any sign.  Silence.  I was done.

 

     I was probably done before this but the kitten was the last straw.  This god offered no comfort.  It offered nothing.  I realized I was on my own and was simply holding out hope.  Grasping at straws, anything, to keep my beliefs alive.  I sure do miss that kitten though.

 

          mwc

I hear you. It’s something I ponder from time to time. 

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1 hour ago, SeaJay said:

Has anyone here ever experienced things like, seeing images and/or seeing coincidences as something akin to a sign?

 

This is probably the worst thing Christians can do.

 

Yes I did do this. And the choice I made thinking it was a sign handed down from God, caused me to lose a house, two vehicles, and file for bankruptcy. It took a decade for me to get over that. For a long time I was mad at God. I thought he had led me into harms way. I tried to take comfort in the poem, "footprints" but in the end I just found out there was no God there giving me signs. I made a stupid decision based on my imagination. 

 

There are no signs from God. Don't get caught in that trap like I did. It sucks.

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1 hour ago, SeaJay said:

 

Has anyone here ever experienced things like, seeing images and/or seeing coincidences as something akin to a sign?

     Does a sign have to be something you literally see or hear or can it be something you feel?  Because I've "felt" that god meant for things to be this way or that.  The concept of "meant to be" as it were.  Also, coincidences as well.  Having a thought and then happening upon things that play into those thoughts or may well be nearly or exactly those thoughts.

 

     Really, it's more like a target fixation.  Like where people are driving through a nearly empty lot and hit the only other car.  They fixate on that target and basically drive themselves into it instead of avoiding it.  If I have something on my mind I tend to notice it a lot more than when it's totally out of mind.  Noticing people who have the same sort of car, especially when I first buy it, is an example of this sort of fixation.

 

     The only time I saw things wasn't related to religion.  It was something else altogether, and long story short, it ultimately was related to sleep issues and sleep deprivation.

 

          mwc

 

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