Help, I'm scared and confused.
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10-02-2016, 11:54 AM
Help, I'm scared and confused.
It's a long story and I'm too upset to share it all right now.

I grew up very liberal Christian, God loves us all. Walked away for 7 years into some kind of everything goes, God is love thing.

Came back to Christianity and gave it a fair shot, again very liberal and did not believe in eternal hell or anti-lgbt agendas etc.

Over three years of trying to reconcile different parts of Christianity I realised I just wasn't even really a Christian anymore and had to allow myself to walk away. Kinda like that seventh day Adventist guy who said it just stretched so much that it included everything and was no longer Christian.

This moment was at some point last week. I went to church on Sunday and the words coming out of my pastors mouth just sealed the deal for me. I don't even want to keep trying to make Christianity expand to fit every possible thing.

I talked to a friend who is atheist but comes to church with his Christian wife and after talking to him about how I was more "agnostic" (unsure of anything!) than Christian these days I realised that his definition of atheism was someone who didn't BELIEVE in any god but didn't claim to know for 100% sure there wasn't "something" out there.

Anyway, that's when I finally decided to go through that scary door and look at atheism.

What struck me was that maybe I have being trying to live like there's no God (at least not one that interferes in this universe at all). When I debate with my Christian friends I debate from the point that we can't enforce things using reasons we can't prove- abortion, gay rights, etc.

I guess I found myself at the Deism point without knowing what that is.

Anyway, since then and looking into atheism I've totally tripped out and I'm feeling like my whole world has been ripped apart. And my mind.

I was feeling fine and ready to embrace the process but suddenly I had a panic attack about just being a brain thinking about being a brain and how I've gone from having a loving yet silent and completely uninvolved God who was putting me through this as a challenge, to grow. If I was having a tough day I never thought God was going to save me, but I believed that I could choose to learn and grow for a purpose that I didn't understand, but trusted was good. I had a God who had a plan for everyone and not one person didn't matter. My kids mattered to him. They weren't just brains that would stop being the moment they stopped thinking. I would see my grandparents again even if it was in some completely incomprehensible way. I fully expected that God was beyond our measure, imagination, just anything- much like when I try and wrap my mind around elements of time/space stuff but even more so. I just saw it/him as the source of everything, the reason I feel so much love when I look at my kids, the wonder of DNA, of little humans coming out of me, of maths even existing to be explored.

And now it's all gone and I'm so fucked up. The fact that my kids are only special to me because of some chemical response on my brain is just tearing me apart.

On the days that I am doing nothing but changing nappies, dealing with tantrums etc I could tell myself I was valuable just because I am, because I'm a part of this big plan. That it's not what I DO that makes me valuable. But now I feel like if I don't do something special then I'm just nothing. The universe doesn't give a shit- and that's not even how I feel about myself.

My life feels weird, like it's not even real now. I think about this in my head then my kids need something and I do it, smile on my face etc- but what the hell is this? What is this life? How am I even here? In totally tripping out and I've got no anchor to pull myself back in.

If I ever thought about stuff to deeply before I would tell myself that God made us practical, material beings and that's what I need to be- that's how I'm "meant" to function. But now I don't even know how to reign myself back in. I'm just electrical impulses firing which happen to make me think I'm me, that I'm something, but I'm just a brain in a body.

It's the first time I've let myself cry about this and it's been over an hour. I'm still making dinner but I can't stop crying.

I just want my old mysterious but THERE god back. Now I just have two giant question marks at the beginning of the universe (I know, time/space, Big Bang, can't even ask what came "before") and death.

I really need help to get out of this terrible scary place. I don't think I can function without these things.
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10-02-2016, 12:00 PM
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
Are you familiar with Stockholm Syndrome????

I expect it someday may be applied to religion.

....

Just my opinion -- but, I think it may explain a bit. You seem to not believe in the woo -- but due to associations with "believers" - you find yourself identifying with them, and you at some level WANT to "believe" what they do.

.....

You're asking questions, you're thinking, you're even asking for help.... That all implies a good level of functioning.

I think you may not be off as bad as you think.... Hang in there -- I'll bet things will get better for you...

..

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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10-02-2016, 12:23 PM
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
Hug

Welcome to the forum. We're freinds here. Smile

Hug
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10-02-2016, 12:27 PM
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  It's a long story and I'm too upset to share it all right now.

I grew up very liberal Christian, God loves us all. Walked away for 7 years into some kind of everything goes, God is love thing.

Came back to Christianity and gave it a fair shot, again very liberal and did not believe in eternal hell or anti-lgbt agendas etc.

Over three years of trying to reconcile different parts of Christianity I realised I just wasn't even really a Christian anymore and had to allow myself to walk away. Kinda like that seventh day Adventist guy who said it just stretched so much that it included everything and was no longer Christian.

This moment was at some point last week. I went to church on Sunday and the words coming out of my pastors mouth just sealed the deal for me. I don't even want to keep trying to make Christianity expand to fit every possible thing.

I talked to a friend who is atheist but comes to church with his Christian wife and after talking to him about how I was more "agnostic" (unsure of anything!) than Christian these days I realised that his definition of atheism was someone who didn't BELIEVE in any god but didn't claim to know for 100% sure there wasn't "something" out there.

Anyway, that's when I finally decided to go through that scary door and look at atheism.

What struck me was that maybe I have being trying to live like there's no God (at least not one that interferes in this universe at all). When I debate with my Christian friends I debate from the point that we can't enforce things using reasons we can't prove- abortion, gay rights, etc.

I guess I found myself at the Deism point without knowing what that is.

Anyway, since then and looking into atheism I've totally tripped out and I'm feeling like my whole world has been ripped apart. And my mind.

I was feeling fine and ready to embrace the process but suddenly I had a panic attack about just being a brain thinking about being a brain and how I've gone from having a loving yet silent and completely uninvolved God who was putting me through this as a challenge, to grow. If I was having a tough day I never thought God was going to save me, but I believed that I could choose to learn and grow for a purpose that I didn't understand, but trusted was good. I had a God who had a plan for everyone and not one person didn't matter. My kids mattered to him. They weren't just brains that would stop being the moment they stopped thinking. I would see my grandparents again even if it was in some completely incomprehensible way. I fully expected that God was beyond our measure, imagination, just anything- much like when I try and wrap my mind around elements of time/space stuff but even more so. I just saw it/him as the source of everything, the reason I feel so much love when I look at my kids, the wonder of DNA, of little humans coming out of me, of maths even existing to be explored.

And now it's all gone and I'm so fucked up. The fact that my kids are only special to me because of some chemical response on my brain is just tearing me apart.

On the days that I am doing nothing but changing nappies, dealing with tantrums etc I could tell myself I was valuable just because I am, because I'm a part of this big plan. That it's not what I DO that makes me valuable. But now I feel like if I don't do something special then I'm just nothing. The universe doesn't give a shit- and that's not even how I feel about myself.

My life feels weird, like it's not even real now. I think about this in my head then my kids need something and I do it, smile on my face etc- but what the hell is this? What is this life? How am I even here? In totally tripping out and I've got no anchor to pull myself back in.

If I ever thought about stuff to deeply before I would tell myself that God made us practical, material beings and that's what I need to be- that's how I'm "meant" to function. But now I don't even know how to reign myself back in. I'm just electrical impulses firing which happen to make me think I'm me, that I'm something, but I'm just a brain in a body.

It's the first time I've let myself cry about this and it's been over an hour. I'm still making dinner but I can't stop crying.

I just want my old mysterious but THERE god back. Now I just have two giant question marks at the beginning of the universe (I know, time/space, Big Bang, can't even ask what came "before") and death.

I really need help to get out of this terrible scary place. I don't think I can function without these things.

What difference does it make whether your love for your kids is chemically caused or given by a sky daddy?

What matters is that you love your kids. They appreciate it no matter why you love them.

I am sorry you have such a hard time with this, and I hope that some of the many people here who went through the same thing find your thread. I deconverted when I was 10, so I didn't have to go through all of this.

I hope you find peace in your new realizations soon.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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10-02-2016, 12:28 PM
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
If you are not living in fear of a Muslim version of hell, and you are also not ling in fear of reincarnation coming back as a cockroach in the next life, because you are afraid of something you might do in this life, then it would be just as silly to live in fear of Darth Vader.

The planet is 4 billion years old. In it's 4 billion year old history evolution has had 5 mass extinctions, and what you see today is a mere 1% left that survived to this point. The universe is 14 billion years old and it is full of 100s of billions of galaxies. Neither this planet or the universe was put here for humans. The universe will continue on long after our planet and sun die and there will be no record of our existence or the superstitions or religions we have invented.

NOW, the good news is that humans have evolved with the ability of reason, critical thinking and empathy for our fellow humans so we can use that now, while we are alive. There is no need for a god of the gap answer to be good and do good. Now is the time to do it. You don't fear your pre life, just like you don't fear the pre life of a cockroach. We are finite, but you don''t have to view that negatively.

You go to a movie knowing it will end, but you still go. You go to a music concert knowing it will end, but you still go. You go to a sporting even knowing one team will win and one team will lose, but you still go knowing it will end. You read a book knowing it has a last page. You get a pet, it dies, and you still get another pet knowing that one too will also die.

Accepting our finite existence does not have to be viewed negatively. My mom has a saying she gave me I have on a piece of paper in my vehicle, "Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened".

Now it is ok to mourn, that is healthy, but it is not ok to be so scared of life and especially being scared of things you have no control over and that will eventually happen no matter what or how long you live. Just live your life and do the best you can and don't physically hurt others unless it is self defense when your life is threatened in the direct moment.

You can still enjoy life, you can even feel pain, but you should not scare yourself over non existent utopias and fictional threats of non existent eternal torture. Life has both good and bad in it, but you can face it better and enjoy it more without superstition.

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
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10-02-2016, 12:33 PM
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
Hi! Welcome to the forums!

(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  I realised that his definition of atheism was someone who didn't BELIEVE in any god but didn't claim to know for 100% sure there wasn't "something" out there.
That's pretty much the textbook definition of agnostic atheism. You don't believe, but you're not sure. It's a pretty reasonable belief, in my opinion.

(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  Anyway, since then and looking into atheism I've totally tripped out and I'm feeling like my whole world has been ripped apart. And my mind.
Yeah, it messed with my head too. I'm sure others will be echoing that as well. It's an upset to your entire belief system.

(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  I was feeling fine and ready to embrace the process but suddenly I had a panic attack about just being a brain thinking about being a brain and how I've gone from having a loving yet silent and completely uninvolved God who was putting me through this as a challenge, to grow.
Panic attacks suck. Again, I'm sure there will be many here who can echo that too. If it helps, the challenge is still there. The reward of personal growth and accomplishment is still there. The only thing missing is the imaginary figure behind it all.

You may be a brain, or an animal or a monkey or whatever way you want to call yourself. If there is any meaning or purpose to be had, it is up to you to decide what it is. That may be scary, but it will be a meaning that is decided by you and not some shadowy figure.

(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  And now it's all gone and I'm so fucked up. The fact that my kids are only special to me because of some chemical response on my brain is just tearing me apart.
Why is that less special? Those kids are a unique combination of genetics, as are you, and the chemical bond you have with them is one that no one else will ever have. That bond comes from chemicals created between your body and your children's bodies. That's more special and intimate than feelings implanted by an outside force.

(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  On the days that I am doing nothing but changing nappies, dealing with tantrums etc I could tell myself I was valuable just because I am, because I'm a part of this big plan. That it's not what I DO that makes me valuable. But now I feel like if I don't do something special then I'm just nothing. The universe doesn't give a shit- and that's not even how I feel about myself.
I'm fairly certain that if you ask your children, they will tell you how special they think you are. Raising children, safely and happily, is equally difficult and valuable. No the universe doesn't care about you or your kids. Raising them right and helping them deal with that is a very big job.

(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  I just want my old mysterious but THERE god back. Now I just have two giant question marks at the beginning of the universe (I know, time/space, Big Bang, can't even ask what came "before") and death.

I really need help to get out of this terrible scary place. I don't think I can function without these things.
The first question mark doesn't matter. The universe started billions of years ago. Doesn't really matter what started it. Death on the other hand, is a bit more of an issue, hopefully not for many years, though.

But for now, you are here. You have a family whom you love and whom you need to look out for. Make something tasty for dinner and do something fun with your family. Take things one step at a time, enjoy the good parts, learn from the bad.

Help for the living. Hope for the dead. ~ R.G. Ingersoll

Freedom offers opportunity. Opportunity confers responsibility. Responsibility to use the freedom we enjoy wisely, honestly and humanely. ~ Noam Chomsky
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10-02-2016, 12:37 PM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2016 12:41 PM by Chas.)
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
I can understand that you feel alone and adrift in a void, a sea of nothingness.
The bad news is that is, in a sense, true.
The good news is that's not all there is to it.

Consider the unlikely event of your existence. You are unique. You have never existed before.
Doesn't that fill you with amazement? You have the good fortune to be alive; you have the good fortune to know love.

Revel in it, celebrate it, let the amazing fact of your existence be the reason to live.



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Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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10-02-2016, 12:47 PM
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  And now it's all gone and I'm so fucked up. The fact that my kids are only special to me because of some chemical response on my brain is just tearing me apart.

Why is that different than loving your kids because some magical being made it that way? If they are special to you because nature made us social creatures and not because some god did the end result is the same. They are special to you and you can relax and enjoy that.

Quote:I'm just electrical impulses firing which happen to make me think I'm me, that I'm something, but I'm just a brain in a body.

No, you aren't JUST a brain in a body. You're a BRAIN! In a BODY! Isn't that amazing? You get to enjoy life and the people and things that are important to you and you get to do it on your own terms, not because it has been so ordained.

Quote:I really need help to get out of this terrible scary place. I don't think I can function without these things.

Never having been a believer I can't say I really understand that. To me it is like a perfectly able-bodied person lost over losing a wheelchair. I can say that I've heard similar things from many ex-believers and that they pretty consistently report the feelings changing and eventually shake their heads at remembering how they used to think.

You've just gone through a major change in your point of view. It is bound to be unsettling. Give yourself time. Read about the subject. Post here. Find a local atheist meetup and talk to people who have been through it.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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10-02-2016, 12:52 PM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2016 12:55 PM by carol.)
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  It's a long story and I'm too upset to share it all right now.
I was feeling fine and ready to embrace the process but suddenly I had a panic attack about just being a brain thinking about being a brain and how I've gone from having a loving yet silent and completely uninvolved God who was putting me through this as a challenge, to grow. If I was having a tough day I never thought God was going to save me, but I believed that I could choose to learn and grow for a purpose that I didn't understand, but trusted was good. I had a God who had a plan for everyone and not one person didn't matter. My kids mattered to him. They weren't just brains that would stop being the moment they stopped thinking. I would see my grandparents again even if it was in some completely incomprehensible way. I fully expected that God was beyond our measure, imagination, just anything- much like when I try and wrap my mind around elements of time/space stuff but even more so. I just saw it/him as the source of everything, the reason I feel so much love when I look at my kids, the wonder of DNA, of little humans coming out of me, of maths even existing to be explored.
And now it's all gone and I'm so fucked up. The fact that my kids are only special to me because of some chemical response on my brain is just tearing me apart.


On the days that I am doing nothing but changing nappies, dealing with tantrums etc I could tell myself I was valuable just because I am, because I'm a part of this big plan. That it's not what I DO that makes me valuable. But now I feel like if I don't do something special then I'm just nothing. The universe doesn't give a shit- and that's not even how I feel about myself.

My life feels weird, like it's not even real now. I think about this in my head then my kids need something and I do it, smile on my face etc- but what the hell is this? What is this life? How am I even here? In totally tripping out and I've got no anchor to pull myself back in.

If I ever thought about stuff to deeply before I would tell myself that God made us practical, material beings and that's what I need to be- that's how I'm "meant" to function. But now I don't even know how to reign myself back in. I'm just electrical impulses firing which happen to make me think I'm me, that I'm something, but I'm just a brain in a body.



You do not have to believe that your children are only special to you because of some chemical response in order to be an atheist! There are so many different things different atheists believe about love. Because it is so new to you, you may not have examined all of the other possibilities that you will think about, and decide for yourself. I tend to look at the neurobio of the feels...but even if it did explain some of the things that people have done for love, to me the best thing in my life is trying to develop those global, intangible skills-honor, integrity,courage, the ability to change and reflect on ideas, humility, education, kindlness, self discipline, love of family and friends, love of humanity... you do not have to diminish what you have always valued.Heart Some people will argue that these things have no meaning, but I live life as if they do and that is enough. Ceate your own meaning. I find that is enough to give me happy feels Big Grin
If anything, I think doing the best you can in your life, and doing the best you can for other people is even more honorable when there is no god out there to punish you. The fact that you exist, right now, that your kids are here right now, that is the kind of amazingly improbable thing that can give you joy. The love is not less because of the facts of reality, if anything I would argue that it is made greater because of it. Just think, we can chose to become better people, and to love even though we are who we are...
First, please realize that you have had a shock, and when people do they react in all of the ways that you are describing. Treat yourself gently and kindly and allow yourself time to reflect on everything. Have you ever seen someone who has had a shock? What they need is just to sit and be cared for a while until they feel better. Then you can decide on what you believe. You are scared because you have to change some very strong beliefs that you had. But you can build your own meaning. People do it all of the time. You have to give yourself time and patience. You will get though this and realize there is nothing scary at all about it...you do not have to worry at all, it is just reality, but you have lived in it all along and things around you have not changed at all, your children are still your little sweeties, you still have everything you have always had, you are just a little more educated about it all. You are not just a brain in a body-you are an amazingly complicated and beautiful person with a life and family that you genunely love.
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10-02-2016, 01:19 PM
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
Hi, I'm sorry you're feeling this way. This is a good place to hang out while you're sorting out your feelings and thoughts! It can take time to process a new understanding. The death of even a set of bad ideas, when they're cherished ones, feels like a loss.

You've been living the whole time in a world without miracles, without a god who cares about baseball games, genocide, famine, or anything else, without a heavenly reward to come. That world, where you were comfortable to exist--you and your family and friends, your importance in the grand scheme of things--is still there. The meaning and connections with your loved ones and loved things are still there; the meaning is just recharacterized in your thinking as local or subjective, rather than universal/divine/objective; the meaning does not vanish. (my opinion)
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