advertisement
Question
Posted by: Anon | 2012/10/25

Loss of faith

Hi Cs, maybe this is not your field of expertise but perhaps you have advice to offer?

First off, apologies if the letter offends, definitely not the intention, it''s just hard to explain how I''m feeling..
I don''t know what it is, I was in my final year of sunday school classes, the year I was supposed to do my public profession of faith ( I think that''s what''s it called in english) and I was sitting in church listening to the pastor and I couldn''t help but think how silly the biblical story was that he was using in his sermon, and everything fell apart from there, it wasn''t just the scripture anymore it was his entire sermon that sounded silly! I thought about what was said the previous sunday and the sunday before that and everything seemed...silly, not complete nonsense, but at that moment I just thought, people need to come to church to have someone preach to them from a book on how to lead their lives the right way??

I wish I could remember what piece of scripture was being read that day, maybe then you could tell me that it does really sound silly and that it''s not just me because at that point I felt horrible for thinking it! I went home that day and flicked through my bible reading different verses and everything I read just seemed ridiculous to me. I guess I was dissillusioned for whatever reason that day...

Life just seems bleak now, for the past few years I find myself frequently wondering what the point is. You live, you work hard, you have fun and then you die. The majority of most peoples lives are spent dreading work days so that they have enough to enjoy the two days a week (if even) that they have off. I know some people really enjoy their jobs, but honestly? not everyone is so fortunate. The only real things I have left of my grandfather are memories and things he taught me, when I die so will those memories, I will pass on the important things he taught me, but ultimately he, and the wonderful person he was, will be completely forgotten and the same will happen to me.

I feel like there is a gap in my life now, how can I fix it?

Not what you were looking for? Try searching again, or ask your own question
Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Ok, strictly NOT my area of expertise, i terms of the central issues of your question ; but I do understand and have at times to deal with the problem you describe. Just as some people experience and epiphany and suddenly recognize and adhere to a faith, some experience the opposite, and suddenly fall out of faith.
One issue that can be in my territory is that with some illnesses, such as Depression, there seems quite often to be a definite interference with religious faith, as though transmissions were blocked or jammed, and normal connectivity seems to be resumed after the successful treatment of the disorder.
At other times its like items of religious and political and social beliefs, where one begins by passively accepting what one's parents and family believe and teach us, and then suddenly question it all.
I think that if one's faith has been, as it were, inherited or simply accepted, rather than arrived at by a spiritual and intellectual process of inquiry and search, what was received easily may be lost as easily.
Also, because religion tends to deal with the most difficult and challenging aspects of life ( what's it all about or for ? Death. suffering, cruelty ) one's faith can come into question when one starts, for whatever reason, exploring such issues and finding the ready-made answers you hadn't really thought about before, lacking.
It's not the purpose of s shrink to deal directly with spiritual matters, but a good and experienced rather than new and naive psychologist, can help one explore such issues and find the answers that fit you best.
I don't know of any available neutral source of spiritual advice - the professional leaders of any religion are obviously motivated to steer you towards their own orthodoxy, both for rather obvious reasons, and because presumably those beliefs are sincerely the views they themselves hold.
Its important to recognize, too, that if one chooses to reject an orthodox set of religious views, this probably places on you a duty to think it all through and work out your own set of working beliefs to guide you through life.
Seek the Good in life, and how to life as a good person.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

13
Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2012/10/25

Also google " Relax, it''s just God"  - brilliant blog where the questions you are battling with are discussed.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Anon | 2012/10/25

Wow, I was expecting more brimstone and fire type responses, thank you all for your insights.

@metoo - I share many of your sentiments, if religion works for someone thats great, I respect others beliefs, but most likely it just doesn''t work for me. I just get sad sometimes when speaking to a friend or family member, when they share how happy and fullfilled their faith makes them or that they find comfort in it, I don''t have anything find comfort in that same way..It has reached a point where I have had to ''seperate'' from the majority of my friends because I can''t join in their discussions or just not agree with what they are saying.

@40''ish - I see these things too, so much suffering and so frequently it''s the innocent that end up getting hurt and no religion can truly explain it, atleast not in a way that I am willing to accept it and say " yes this is the God I want believe in and worship!"  At this point I don''t have any clue what awaits us when we die, maybe nothingness, maybe there is something after death, but I would like to believe that no God would create us the way we are ( sentient, able to think logically and ask questions) and then damn us to a lake of fire for eternity simply due to disbelief after having to have lived with so many horrible people in this world. Even then, the idea that an almighty being allows such suffering as method of punishment or as a test..make little sense and is not something I want to be a part of..

@maria - thank you for the link, I will be sure to go read it! I am actually currently expecting ( must still go back to the doc in a couple of weeks to confirm a heartbeart!) , I guess that is also one of my main concerns now, what do you teach a child in regards to religion, they will be exposed to it at school eventually and from family, I have no idea how to answer those kind of questions or how to deal with family members who goes on about baptism etc. I don''t want to instill too much of my own beliefs? Ultimately it should be a personal choice and I''m scared that either way I will force too much on the child and he/she will end up feeling the way I do now!

Reply to Anon
Posted by: Me too | 2012/10/25

Rabbi: And when he brought us out of Egypt, how did he do it? By words, vision, miracle?

Judge: Moses asked Pharaoh...

Rabbi: And when Pharaoh said no?

Inmate: The plagues.

Judge: But still Pharaoh did not agree.

Rabbi: And so a plague of locusts, and then the days of darkness, and finally what?

Judge: God slew the firstborn of Egypt and led us out of Egypt.

Rabbi: He struck down the firstborn, from the firstborn and heir of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the slave at the mill. He slew them all. Did he slay Pharaoh?

Judge: No, I don''t think so. It was later.

Rabbi: It was Pharaoh that said no, but God let him live. And slew his children instead. All the children. And then the people made their escape taking with them the gold and silver and jewelry and garments of the Egyptians. And then God drowned the soldiers who pursued them. He did not close the waters up so that the soldier could not follow. He waited until they were following and then he closed the waters.

Rabbi: And he gave us a king in Saul. Now when the people of Amalek fought Saul''s people, what did the Lord God command? I''ll ask the scholar.

Scholar: Crush Amalek and put him under the curse of destruction.

Rabbi: Was Saul to show any mercy to spare anyone?

Scholar: Do not spare...

Rabbi: Do not spare him, but kill. Kill man, woman, babe, and suckling, ox, and sheep, cattle and donkey. So Saul set out to do this and on the way he met some Kenites. Now these were not Amalek''s people, he had no quarrel with them. He urged them to flee. And the Lord our God was he pleased by the mercy of Saul, by the justice of Saul?

Scholar: No. No he wasn''t.

Rabbi: And when Saul decided not to slaughter all the livestock and to take it to feed his people, was God pleased with his prudence, his charity?

Scholar: No.

Rabbi: No, he was not. He said, you have rejected the word of Adonai, therefore he has rejected you as king. And then to please the Lord our God, Samuel brought forth the king Agar and hacked him to pieces before the Lord at Gilgar.

After Saul there came David who took Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite to himself after arranging to have Uriah killed & mdash  against the wishes of God. Did God strike David for this?

Scholar: In a manner of speaking...

Rabbi: Did he strike Bathsheba?

Scholar: In the sense that when they had...

Rabbi: Adonai said, since you have sinned against me, the child will die. (Turning to the judge) You asked earlier, who would punish a child? God does.

Rabbi: Now did the child die suddenly, mercifully, without pain?

Scholar: In a...

Rabbi: Seven days. Seven days that child spent dying in pain while David wrapped himself in sack and ashes and fasted and sought to show his sorrow to God. Did God listen?

Scholar: The child died.

Rabbi: Did that child find that God was just?

Did the Amalekites think that Adonai was just?

Did the mothers of Egypt & mdash  the mothers & mdash  did they think that Adonai was just?

Scholar: But Adonai is our God, surely...

Rabbi: Oh, what? Did God not make the Egyptians? Did he not make their rivers and make their crops grow? If not him, then who? What? Some other God? But what did he make them for? To punish them? To starve, to frighten, to slaughter them? The people of Amalek, the people of Egypt, what was it like for them when Adonai turned against them?

God is not good. At the beginning when he repented that he had made human beings and flooded the earth. Why? What had they done to deserve annihilation? What could they have done to deserve such wholesale slaughter? What could they have done that was so bad? God is not good.

Reply to Me too
Posted by: Me too | 2012/10/25

But MJ you cannot read the Bible in isolation - only the the NT because it suits you. You need to read the OT as well - the word of God does not change, does not expire afterall, isn''t it? The God of the OT is a monster that deserves NO worship.

I will try to quote some passages from the movie God on Trial about God''s behaviour in the OT then Anon can decide on her own if this is a merciful God.

Reply to Me too
Posted by: 40''ish | 2012/10/25

BMJ - turn to him so he can just AGAIN turn his back on you?

No thanks.

Reply to 40''ish
Posted by: BMJ | 2012/10/25

I am at the very opposite side of the scale. I do believe in the God of the bible, in heaven and hell and all the things the other commentators reject.

I believe that your sense of emptiness and pointelessness is a result of your rejection and turning away from truth and life. I do not know what you were taught and by whom - but I will encourage you to pick up your bible and read it for yourself. Choose any book - but especially the NT and find out for YOURSELF.

Acts 17:24 - 28 - The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord if heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth  and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in hime we live and move and have our being.

I encourage you to turn to the living God for in him life and truth is found.

Reply to BMJ
Posted by: Maria | 2012/10/25

I agree 100% with " Me too" .

Anon, you make your own meaning in life. Look at your body, at nature, at science and technology with wonder... there are amazing things out there and as an atheist you can still appreciate them. Get involved in some charitable organisation or NGO to help people or animals in need, nothing makes you feel as good about yourself as lending a hand. Study something that you''re interested in, broaden your mind. Join a hiking club, or book club, whatever activities you like and enjoy.

Your grandfather helped to shape the life you live, just as you help shape other people''s lives. While the specific memories may eventually no longer exist, the contribution he made and you make will always live on. It''s the cycle of life... isn''t it wonderful how we are conceived, and born, made up of materials from the earth and in the end we return to the earth and become part of the cycle again?

If you''re a parent, or even if you''re not, you might find this interesting reading: -|- // parentingbeyondbelief.com / blog / (obviously remove the spaces)

Reply to Maria
Posted by: 40''ish | 2012/10/25

Me too - NO i have not - i will look for it right now. Thanks

I do love the movie " the man who sued god"  -

Reply to 40''ish
Posted by: Me too | 2012/10/25

40''ish - have you seen the movie " God on trial"  where the Auschwitz Jews put God on trial and found him guilty? It puts what you are saying about suffering of the innocent in perfect perspective.

Reply to Me too
Posted by: Me too | 2012/10/25

After a lot of reading of Philosophy books and questioning the rationale of the Bible, I have come to the conclusion that religion is not for me. If you believe it and it works for you, great - but it doesn''t make sense for me. It is to me also " silly" . But this realisation has not created a hole in my life as it has done for you. For me it has liberated me. I have no pressure anymore of worrying about sinning, offending God, having to deprive myself of food (fasting), begging for blessings in prayer everynight from some being up in the sky somewhere. It has made me feel much better about living life. I am still moral - I don''t need a book threatening me with eternal fires of hell to be moral, my humanity is enough to know the difference between right and wrong. I don''t steal because I know it''s wrong and I wouldn''t want people to steal from me - not because I''m scared of hell after I die. I now live my life happily here and now, guilt free - I am not terrified and stressing about what will happen when I die.

Reply to Me too
Posted by: 40''ish | 2012/10/25

I lost my faith 15 years ago. Where is God when a little child is molested? What is the REASON? Who is he punishing? When a child is disabled due to a mother who tried to have an abortion and failed ? Why does that child suffer? While she goes out and 15 years later she is still jolling and every picture of her she is half drunk or in a bar? Where is God when people are given children who don''t want them? Where is he when this woman sits drinking vodka and smoking while holding the babe with the one hand breastfeeding? He would rather give his woman a child than me?

There is always a reason or he is testing someone. I have no interest in a god that does this. Yes Satan is powerful God should be more.

give me hell but that is my opinion and it will not change. I have seen too much pain and suffering. That little girl in pretoria - she grew up so poor that he could lure her away with a KFC streetwise 2?

Reply to 40''ish
Posted by: Cat | 2012/10/25

Hi Anon,

I feel your pain.... you feel empty, like there is a hole that needs to be filled with something, but you don''t know what.

Do you also wonder sometimes: what is the point and what is the purpose of all of this?

Good luck with your journey :)

Reply to Cat
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/10/25

Ok, strictly NOT my area of expertise, i terms of the central issues of your question ; but I do understand and have at times to deal with the problem you describe. Just as some people experience and epiphany and suddenly recognize and adhere to a faith, some experience the opposite, and suddenly fall out of faith.
One issue that can be in my territory is that with some illnesses, such as Depression, there seems quite often to be a definite interference with religious faith, as though transmissions were blocked or jammed, and normal connectivity seems to be resumed after the successful treatment of the disorder.
At other times its like items of religious and political and social beliefs, where one begins by passively accepting what one's parents and family believe and teach us, and then suddenly question it all.
I think that if one's faith has been, as it were, inherited or simply accepted, rather than arrived at by a spiritual and intellectual process of inquiry and search, what was received easily may be lost as easily.
Also, because religion tends to deal with the most difficult and challenging aspects of life ( what's it all about or for ? Death. suffering, cruelty ) one's faith can come into question when one starts, for whatever reason, exploring such issues and finding the ready-made answers you hadn't really thought about before, lacking.
It's not the purpose of s shrink to deal directly with spiritual matters, but a good and experienced rather than new and naive psychologist, can help one explore such issues and find the answers that fit you best.
I don't know of any available neutral source of spiritual advice - the professional leaders of any religion are obviously motivated to steer you towards their own orthodoxy, both for rather obvious reasons, and because presumably those beliefs are sincerely the views they themselves hold.
Its important to recognize, too, that if one chooses to reject an orthodox set of religious views, this probably places on you a duty to think it all through and work out your own set of working beliefs to guide you through life.
Seek the Good in life, and how to life as a good person.

Reply to cybershrink

Have your say

Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
advertisement