Do you still struggle sometimes?
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18-01-2013, 06:11 AM
Thumbs Up Do you still struggle sometimes?
Hi everyone, I'm new, so if there's already a thread about this, I apologize. Smile

I just want to put this out there - do you still ever struggle with leaving your faith?

I converted to Christianity fairly late in life - at the age of 28, but I took to it wholeheartedly. I became one of those annoying converts who was zealous and eager to please Jesus. I was in a worship band, went to retreats, and attended various church events 4 times a week. We're talking Christianity from Concentrate. Wink

That lasted 5 years.

Fast forward to now. I was a closet atheist for about 2 or 3 years, and I never really started calling myself an atheist out loud until about a year ago. I'm now pretty solid in my unbelief - 99% of the time - but every now and then I run into one of those rare believers who are able to get under my skin.

Sometimes they're benign and kind:

"It's no coincidence we met...Jesus wants you to come back to the fold, and he's using me to do it."

"God has been talking to me about you, and you have NO idea how much he loves you. I know you'll come back."

"Your problem is that you think too much!"

Sometimes, they say appalling things to me that I wouldn't say to my worst enemy:

"Your cat died because God is trying to give you a wake-up call to go back to church." (My cat was 13...kind of an average lifespan for a cat, I think).

"That medical condition you have? Yeah, that's God's JUDGMENT. You'd better stop this rebellion or IT WILL NOT GO WELL WITH YOU. God will escalate the bad stuff in order to bring you back! Look what he did to Job, and he was faithful!"

The mean, manipulative comments tend to mess me up for several days until my rational mind kicks in again and says something like, "What kind of abusive asshole IS this God if he'd systematically ruin your life just to make you believe in him?! That's not a loving God, that's a wife beater!"

Despite the fact that I've steeped my mind in science and reason, I sometimes still struggle. I don't tell anyone about it, because I don't want people to think I'm stupid or insane...but every now and then, when I'm awake and alone with my thoughts, I sometimes feel the urge to pray - just to see if God will answer me THIS time. Just one little sign.

I feel stupid for these rare sojourns into that old religious fall-back.

Has anyone else struggled with these kinds of thoughts after walking away from the faith? It's been about 6 years since I set foot in a church...and I was only a Christian for 5 years, and yet it still has this grip of guilt and fear on me that I can't shake 100%. Does it ever really go away?

Sorry my post is so long. It's one of those nights of ruthless introspection. LOL!
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18-01-2013, 06:20 AM
RE: Do you still struggle sometimes?
Hey!
Actually, all the examples you quote are what makes me even more grateful (to myself Tongue ) to be an atheist. Not only is this the epitome of our unbelievable arrogance to think that anything we do matters to the universe one way or the other (not to mention the arrogance of thinking they're better than you or the person who's sick or whose cat died. That's truly evil). A lot of those are indeed vile, horrible things to say.

I did struggle with losing my faith but now the mere thought of being religious again terrifies the bejesus out of me.

To me, the thought that it's all random is the best thing to have come out of becoming an atheist. I find it extremely comforting and liberating. Even the injustice of the world stops paining you so much - it is random, it is what it is, do something about the things you can and learn to accept the others, or least stop looking for hidden meanings behind them. Of course, this gives us much greater responsibility for our own world - if it's not god's (vicious) will, then it's (more often than not) our own (sometimes just as vicious) doing or just our apathy.

And for god's sake, how can you think you're the stupid one, compared to a person who tells downright that you think too much? Somebody's stupid indeed, but it ain't you Smile

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18-01-2013, 07:10 AM
RE: Do you still struggle sometimes?
Sometimes, just sometimes, on dark lonely nights, I feel so tempted to believe there is some form of afterlife, allowing everyone to rest and be free. Maybe a place where there is no fighting, no conflict. Maybe a place where the weather is always nice, and we get the chance to learn new things. Maybe a place where we revisit our memories and dreams. It's purely irrational, and indeed so. However, by having a perspective that involves this life as our only life, I'm driven to make every single day count, and to appreciate the natural world even more.

It's like playing a game in hardcore mode where you have only one life to clear the entire game. Everything you do counts, and all these things in turn affect people one way or another. Some view such a perspective as pointless, knowing that our time here is nothing, insignificant. To me, it calls for a celebration for the chance to be alive, for the chance to bring joy to the people around you.

Welcome to science. You're gonna like it here - Phil Plait

Have you ever tried taking a comfort blanket away from a small child? - DLJ
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18-01-2013, 07:26 AM
RE: Do you still struggle sometimes?
Nope. Drinking Beverage

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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18-01-2013, 07:42 AM
RE: Do you still struggle sometimes?
(18-01-2013 07:26 AM)Chas Wrote:  Nope. Drinking Beverage

A typically long-winded retort, there.

Dunno why you use 4 letters where 2 will suffice.

Or even just...

No

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18-01-2013, 07:45 AM
RE: Do you still struggle sometimes?
(18-01-2013 07:42 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(18-01-2013 07:26 AM)Chas Wrote:  Nope. Drinking Beverage

A typically long-winded retort, there.

Dunno why you use 4 letters where 2 will suffice.

Or even just...

No
I was feeling loquacious. Drinking Beverage

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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18-01-2013, 08:00 AM
RE: Do you still struggle sometimes?
(18-01-2013 07:26 AM)Chas Wrote:  Nope. Drinking Beverage
I second this.
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18-01-2013, 08:06 AM
RE: Do you still struggle sometimes?
Praying is never on my mind. Having been catholic, it was all about rituals, not so much personal contact with "god". So, actual prayer wasn't even in my repertoire then.

I think the way people want to pray is a manifestation of two things:

One, praying stimulates the release of calming hormones. So does chanting, jogging, smoking dope, eating chocolate, eating spicy hot things, and what not all. It's a physical thing and can be an addiction.

Two, talking to an invisible friend allows one to find psychological relief when one doesn't have a real person to confide in. The same can be found in keeping a diary, joining some group that deals with the topic, or - posting on message boards.

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18-01-2013, 09:11 AM
RE: Do you still struggle sometimes?
After 50 years being a christian and 18 months an atheist - so far not even a little.
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18-01-2013, 09:17 AM
RE: Do you still struggle sometimes?
I struggled with the reality that I wanted to leave as a child, if that accounts to the question. But I'm not a child anymore....

Leviticus does not justify stupidity, but it is more than enough to define corruption of the human mind.

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