questioning my faith.
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15-08-2013, 02:01 PM (This post was last modified: 15-08-2013 02:26 PM by Skippy538.)
RE: questioning my faith.
I am new here, so I hope to help without overstepping.

First, I would say you need to spend some time stepping back and trying to find a method to approach your question of faith. Religion has taught you to follow your emotions in finding truth. I think fundamentally you need to decide if you agree with this approach. Personally I felt my emotions were as manipulated as the "truth" I was hearing in church, and emotions were NOT really a good signifier of truth to me. So I chose to start to examine the evidence, and had decided to be completely honest with myself wherever that evidence led me to.

Next, I began to read opinions other than Christian about the Christian faith. My aha moment came reading Nietsche's descriptions of the death of God in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. I related to those characters so much. Back then, the internet was BBS boards and email only. Now, yours might come reading the EvilBible.com, or some other website.

I went back and read the bible from start to finish three times. Doing this forced me to read and understand those biblical passages that never came up in church - about God having two "she bears" kill 42 children and all that good stuff. I realized that the God of the old testament was a jealous, angry, spiteful, prick who happened to favor the people who were writing down their accounts of his antics. What a surprise! To do contrary now would be like a politician or leader in the US saying "God Bless Denmark" at the end of a speech. Doesn't happen.

After taking these steps I got enough confidence in my beliefs to come out to my family and start dealing with the hardest part, the emotional reality of rejecting a god my family believed was their savior. Plan on a few difficult phone calls, and some time feeling like you are all alone. Luckily these days there are podcasts, TV shows, and other atheist community events that can help you recover from religion and forge new relationships to replace some of the ones that get lost. In the end, very happy I did!

ONE ASIDE - this step you are likely about to make is a big one, and will be tested over and over by the people around you, so I would err on doing extra homework before I came out to my family. Being in a religious community, they can easily provoke a strong fear response from you that might cause you to question how comfortable you are with your atheism. Don't push it - take your time and come to the answer you feel is based on the truth. Then come out and deal with the consequences. Be sure of your opinion, because your environment is likely to make you question your conclusions more than once using emotions and manipulation to cause you to second guess yourself.
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15-08-2013, 11:15 PM
RE: questioning my faith.
Kudos to you for coming onto this website to ask. I know that when I began to question my faith, I went to my pastor...you can guess how that went. He told me he would "pray for me" and cautioned me against reading things that might "deceive" me.

It was a gradual process for me, and I know my story was similar to many people's stories. I sat in church one day and realized it felt "weird" to see children singing about the "fount" of blood, or being in "the Lord's army." I was 18 at the time, and it was terrifying to even have the thoughts. Next, I lived in Korea and met several Buddhists, and realized that I liked them a lot more than I liked the christians I knew and simply could not believe that they would go to "hell" for being born in Asia. Next, I became aware of my internalized hatred of my own gender (female if you wondered.) I argued with others why christianity actually "honored" women. (I honestly can't even remember what that argument was.)

I started to find lots of excuses to miss church. Finally, one day I made an active decision to stop attending church. I was pretty sure I didn't believe, but I hadn't thought through it completely. I didn't believe in hell anymore, didn't believe in the concept of sin, didn't believe that god was particularly involved in my life, and wasn't sure about jesus. Then, a good friend (now my husband) encouraged me to listen to God is not Great in an audio book. I did so, cringed a bit...but soon began to chuckle and enjoy it. I followed this with the God Delusion. Then I was absolutely certain I was an atheist.

It wasn't until I started to read the forums and spend some time listening to podcasts and reading blogs that I further began to realize how much my childhood indoctrination had damaged me, and still does at times in secret ways.

That's my story. I'm happier than I ever was as a believer.

Side note...get some good help with the emotional/neurological stuff...and try to find a therapist that will safely allow you to question. It would not be the right time to have a therapist pressure you either way.
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17-08-2013, 12:05 AM
RE: questioning my faith.
I first questioned my religion in the 3rd. I didn't really start questioning it though until the 7th or 8th grade. In 8th grade I decided I was an atheist, but shortly thereafter, my mom convinced me to return to Christianity. That didn't stick. I officially came to the conclusion that I am atheist a few months ago.

Like everyone else, I can't tell you what to believe. You have to come to your own conclusion. The internet is a magical thing and can help you find opinions about religion that are very helpful. You might find that maybe you aren't actually an atheist but rather a different type of theist. If you're Southern Baptist and not just Baptist, I know from experience that they tend to be a very judgmental denomination. I'd suggest maybe looking into other religions before abandoning your faith. I feel like this is a very important part of any questioning of one's faith. You can't know what you truly believe knowing what you don't believe, if that makes any sense.

Fully abandoning your faith is a very scary thing. Especially when you live in a very religious place. The best advice I can give you is that when you figure out what you believe or don't believe. Whether you decide you're atheist, Hindu, Buddhist, whatever, don't be ashamed of it. Believing something different than what people around you do doesn't make you a bad person.
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17-08-2013, 12:54 AM
RE: questioning my faith.
(15-08-2013 01:03 AM)HibikiTachibana Wrote:  ...
to me, a belief is a decision,
...

For definition's sake...

From around 5 mins in...





What I like about so many of the above responses is that no one has said "this is the right/only way to believe".

Responses are all about critical thinking.

Bravo atheists!

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17-08-2013, 01:16 AM
RE: questioning my faith.
(17-08-2013 12:54 AM)DLJ Wrote:  no one has said "this is the right/only way to believe".

I'm not sayin' it was aliens, but......

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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17-08-2013, 06:49 AM
RE: questioning my faith.
(14-08-2013 11:59 PM)HibikiTachibana Wrote:  the problem is, i dont know what to accept as truth. what helped some of you choose to denounce god?

I don't think I ever "denounced god".

I left the faith at the tender age of 10. All I did was to actually read the entire bible. At the time, I was also reading books of fairy tales. It all seemed the same to me, except the bible was even more gruesome than Grimm's fairytales.

God telling his people to kill first borns, kill all the men, take the women for themselves, yikes! God killing people himself, like the story of Noah's arc, where he committed genocide of all living things except his pick of couples.

Pretty nasty, that. So, as far as an example to live by, the bible obviously fails. Do the stories make sense? No more than any fairy tale.

Back in the day, and still continuing to this day, people make up stories to explain what they don't understand. People have a hard time comprehending the concept "random". Our very intelligence is based on making patterns from events. That way we know what to expect from future events.

But a lot of things in life are random, and so we stuck a god in there as explanation for all we don't understand.

Today, we understand a lot more than we did in those days. We understand many diseases, we understand the origin of many things, we don't need a "god" to fill in the blanks.

Some things have been discarded even by religion - like the idea that thunder is god talking to us. No one thinks that anymore. I don't know how long it will take for Christians to catch up with reality, as long as their noses are buried in an ancient book that can be interpreted in a zillion ways and is totally ambiguous on most things, they won't look up to see what is actually going on.

If I were you I would watch atheist clips on Youtube, and I would buy a basic book on evolution and make up my own mind. You have been spoon fed bits and pieces of the bible, now look at bits and pieces of what we have learned over the centuries and you make your own, educated decisions.

In one word: Explore. Then make up your own mind.

[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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17-08-2013, 07:54 AM
RE: questioning my faith.
(14-08-2013 11:11 PM)HibikiTachibana Wrote:  greetings and salutations TTA posters, i'm a christian of a good 15 years now, a practicing baptist. i'm really beginning to question how this lifestyle choice makes me feel, and how it affects me and the people around me. is this something i really want to be teaching my children? is it something i should be believing?

the more and more i hear my mother dote on every little thing as if it's an act of god makes me question it more and more. i've been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and tourette's syndrome, which both her and her mother are convinced is some sort of demonic influence, rather than explainable by science. every sleepless night, every manic state, every tear, all the power of a demon to them.

the more i see how people of my faith treat those around them, condemning subsets of people makes me cry inside. how can people who claim to be followers of a man who promoted peace and love of others regardless of creed, status, or belief? this is furthering my doubt in an ever loving god, as if being a christian means getting rid of common decency, why would i want to be one? be it a divorcee, a gay man, a protstitute, or even someone who isn't white, they're all people too.

lastly, adhering to the dogma these people tell me to follow, how do i put up with it? such uneducated, out of context cherry picking can include: i cant eat pork because it's an unclean animal, im not allowed to shave or cut my hair in exotic ways, piercings are bad, anything with magic is bad, alcohol is evil, sex is taboo.. and so forth... every moment with my family feels like i have to conform to their boxed view on society...

sorry for the long winded post, im just having a serious question of faith, when the more and more i think about a "loving god" taking care of me or the family, yet all the nasty ways my church family judges people. the things that are totally ok by society, yet this book lists all the things im supposedly not allowed to do. it just feels like chains, pressuring me.

could i please have some advice? should i give up my faith? or should i walk it my own way?

Lets start here:
When you pray, does god ever answer? If so, how? If not, you know the answer already.

-Former Baptist and Fundamentalist Christian

"Now I don't want to be sane either, but I'm just saying there may be other delusions and hallucinations worthy of consideration before jumping to an irrational conclusion, that's all."
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18-08-2013, 03:19 AM (This post was last modified: 18-08-2013 03:23 AM by TheStraightener.)
RE: questioning my faith.
A quote I remember sums it all up for me, but I fail to remember who said it.

"its obvious god is man made when he seems to hate the all same types of people that you do".

I never had a faith to question. I had a purely atheist upbringing. I was taught to feel good about my own achievements and to blame myself for my wrongdoings. To look inside for
Strength and not to a ghost in the sky.

I'm responsible for my own outcomes and have influence over others outcomes.

Religious people fail to realise that atheists live exactly the same lives as them. We all get up in the morning, pack our kids off to school, go to work, come home, tidy up, feed the kids, send them to bed, play the Xbox for an hour then go to sleep. Rinse an repeat lol.

My life runs just the same as theirs and it runs perfectly well without the assumption that there is a god, in fact it works better because when I do well I thank myself and not god, an when I do bad I can learn from my mistakes and better myself rather than just dismissing it as the will of god.

I've never rejected god, dismissed god, abandoned god nor do I hate god. To do any of those would acknowledge his existence. And I certainly don't.
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18-08-2013, 03:51 AM
RE: questioning my faith.
(14-08-2013 11:11 PM)HibikiTachibana Wrote:  greetings and salutations TTA posters, i'm a christian of a good 15 years now, a practicing baptist. i'm really beginning to question how this lifestyle choice makes me feel, and how it affects me and the people around me. is this something i really want to be teaching my children? is it something i should be believing?

the more and more i hear my mother dote on every little thing as if it's an act of god makes me question it more and more. i've been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and tourette's syndrome, which both her and her mother are convinced is some sort of demonic influence, rather than explainable by science. every sleepless night, every manic state, every tear, all the power of a demon to them.

the more i see how people of my faith treat those around them, condemning subsets of people makes me cry inside. how can people who claim to be followers of a man who promoted peace and love of others regardless of creed, status, or belief? this is furthering my doubt in an ever loving god, as if being a christian means getting rid of common decency, why would i want to be one? be it a divorcee, a gay man, a protstitute, or even someone who isn't white, they're all people too.

lastly, adhering to the dogma these people tell me to follow, how do i put up with it? such uneducated, out of context cherry picking can include: i cant eat pork because it's an unclean animal, im not allowed to shave or cut my hair in exotic ways, piercings are bad, anything with magic is bad, alcohol is evil, sex is taboo.. and so forth... every moment with my family feels like i have to conform to their boxed view on society...

sorry for the long winded post, im just having a serious question of faith, when the more and more i think about a "loving god" taking care of me or the family, yet all the nasty ways my church family judges people. the things that are totally ok by society, yet this book lists all the things im supposedly not allowed to do. it just feels like chains, pressuring me.

could i please have some advice? should i give up my faith? or should i walk it my own way?

I was a Baptist just a few weeks ago. I feel really bad for you because of the psychological torment you must be going trough. I'm hesitant to give advice because of my youth but here is what "deconverted" me from baptism: I asked the question HOW DO I KNOW THAT THE BIBLE IS TRUE, AND ALL OTHER HOLY BOOKS ARE WRONG? After asking multiple baptists people and receiving silly circular arguments such as "It's God's word", or my personal favorite: "The bible says it's true". Then the realization dawned on me: I WAS WRONG MY ENTIRE LIFE! After this I sleep much better at night with the soothing though " there is no hell".
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18-08-2013, 03:58 AM
RE: questioning my faith.
(15-08-2013 12:08 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  
(15-08-2013 01:03 AM)HibikiTachibana Wrote:  to me, a belief is a decision, i gather the evidence to inform myself whether or not i should believe something, whether it be an anecdote, a theory, or religion.

for example, let's just say conservative A thinks TV should have sexual imagery censored on TV. his belief is formulated based off what study x says about how sexually explicit images affect a mind that isnt taught what they're looking at, teen pregnancy rates, and maybe his own personal experiences. one cannot make a decision to believe in something without tangibly forming a coherent reason why based off of what they've absorbed.

saying one believes in something without a foundation of reason to back it up is lying to you and themselves.

I think MoronDog is just trying to say that if you have already taken the red pill my friend.

You can think yourself out of belief but never into belief. You can lie to yourself or deny your intuition and suppress logic....but thats not belief that is faking belief.

When I hit this point 13 years ago it came down to one simple question....

"Since I no longer truly believe, and I can never close that door again, what is more nobel... living a lie, going the motions and pretending to believe or open disbelief?...Should I defy Gods laws or defy God Omniscience? Who has more honor an honest atheist or a dishonest theist?"

I have a question: Since atheism is not a religion, what is it?
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