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Want to believe in God but can't


Spirituality & Religious Beliefs Contemplate your place and purpose in the universe.

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Old 26th April 2017, 9:52 AM   #31
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This is a question that I have asked since I was in high school. Why in the world did God need to sacrifice Jesus to pay for humanity's sins? Can't God just forgive sins if He likes? Was is just symbolic? I understand that Jews used animal sacrifices, and Jesus is supposed to replace that system. But why require a sacrifice in the first place? It seems very pagan and influenced by old Middle Eastern religions.

And the idea of us all being sinners. We don't have a choice but to sin, so why are we held accountable? We never got a choice in the matter. Adam or whoever, the first humans, sinned, and we have to pay for their sins? My view is that the creation myth is simply an allegorical attempt to understand human origins, but, besides that, there is a real struggle between the idea of free will and being born a sinner. A lot of contradictions that makes no sense.
Hey BC - when it comes to spiritual teachings each of us will connect with and gain understanding and benefit from different things. We each operate at a specific level of consciousness and so do specific teachings. What i would encourage on your own journey is to start using self discernment.

If you find certain things in the bible or other books and teachings that resonate with you, that make sense and benefit your spiritual progression or just general well being - make use of them. If you come across teachings that don't - then you're under no obligation to carry them like some burden you have to somehow fit into reality in order for god or the spiritual path to be real. Perhaps at a later date with new information or a new perspective they might later make sense and you will reengage with them but if they don't at the moment - simply put them down. I encourage you to think on things carefully and take what works for "you" (big emphasis on you) and leave what doesn't

Also this is just my own interpretation which you are under no obligation to agree with - but for me Jesus "blood sacrifice" was intended as a metaphor to try and explain the human connection with the divine. He was the king of the metaphor. Every story always had a deeper esoteric meaning beyond the obvious literal human interpretation. This included his own life. At the last supper Jesus body and blood is represented as physical matter - food - energy - we consume on this physical plane to sustain our own life. Bread and wine. For me this was intended to represent the fact that god provides the life giving energy that creates this physical world and the gifts that we enjoy each day. When we waste this energy or use it inappropriately - we are wasting the precious life force that has been provided. You could say in a way killing the higher power that provided it. When we use this energy wisely we do the opposite and receive more and cause it to multiply. We become a benefit rather then a burden.

I think if he had the benefit of modern biology Jesus would have used the relationship that a single human cell has to the entire human organism as a metaphor to show the human relationship to the divine. You know - begotten not made - one in being with the father and all that. The cell is a part of the entire body - and it can either be a positive cell that works for the overall health of the organism or or act like a cancer which contributes to wasting its energy, damaging others cells and killing it. In this context the reason why god cares about our behavior and sin suddenly makes sense. He did quote something pretty similar with John 15:5 - I am the vine and you are the branches.

Just my take
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Old 26th April 2017, 10:41 AM   #32
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If you come across teachings that don't [resonate] - then you're under no obligation to carry them like some burden
That is excellent advice. There are also non-religious, non-spiritual works that can help to start 'open the doors', so to speak. For example, reading up on the near-death experiences of people in the general population -- I mean where there is a genuine medical record that they were declared clinically dead, not just people saying that they had an NDE.

For me, such NDEs speak to something real happening for those people after having been 'dead', so to speak.

In her book, 'Remarkable Healings', psychiatrist Shakuntala Modi, M.D., also provides some compelling evidence for there being other dimensions to Life, which she personally observed in a clinical setting with her patients. It might be worth a look-see at the library (the book is pretty pricey).

I found another article on the idea of blood sacrifice, Receiving Holy Communion.
For me, it's as important to make the effort to STOP believing in things, spiritual, scientific or mathematical, that don't make sense as it is to make the effort that will allow us to sooner or later gain a better understanding of who we are as human Beings embodied on planet Earth.
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Old 26th April 2017, 1:04 PM   #33
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IMO, death is a horrible and catastrophic event. There isn't much more that is crueler than death. To suddenly rip away a family member is insanely cruel IMO. To live a life and form relationships and have a consciousness that is unique. . . . and then for all of that to cease to exist because of death. I think that is one of the worst things I can think of.
And this is at the heart of your struggles. For anybody, if we're fighting against what is true (ex. that we're all going to die), we will suffer.

If we accept what is true then we no longer suffer. It is what it is. There's nothing we can do about the fact that we're all going to die. So there's no need to suffer.

Once you realize that it's only your thoughts that death is horrible that cause your suffering, and not the fact that people die, your suffering will go away.

Not that it's just an easy thing to do...
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Old 27th April 2017, 1:47 PM   #34
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And this is at the heart of your struggles. For anybody, if we're fighting against what is true (ex. that we're all going to die), we will suffer.

If we accept what is true then we no longer suffer. It is what it is. There's nothing we can do about the fact that we're all going to die. So there's no need to suffer.

Once you realize that it's only your thoughts that death is horrible that cause your suffering, and not the fact that people die, your suffering will go away.

Not that it's just an easy thing to do...
Well, I think you can hold both thoughts simultaneously. The idea that we will and the idea that death is horrible. I've probably accepted that we die to a greater extent than many people because I work in healthcare. So I'm very familiar with sickness, suffering, and sometime death. I actually think that I am in such turmoil because I have accepted the fact that we die and that nothing is permanent. I think that many people, because they don't have to, go about life in a state of denial that we all eventually die.

Only when someone close to them dies unexpectedly or like me, they work in an environment where they see ordinary people suffer/die, do they really start to accept that death is something real. Or as you age, you realize it. Just my two cents though.
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Old 27th April 2017, 4:53 PM   #35
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I do agree that most people do kind of ignore the fact that they, and everybody they love will die. And most of us live our lives not really thinking about the fact we'll die.

That being said, there is nothing horrible about death. It just is a fact. Just like the saying that it's better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all, similarly it's better to have lived and died than never to have lived at all.

You can choose to suffer about death, or be grateful every morning for being alive!
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Old 27th April 2017, 5:20 PM   #36
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I do agree that most people do kind of ignore the fact that they, and everybody they love will die. And most of us live our lives not really thinking about the fact we'll die.

That being said, there is nothing horrible about death. It just is a fact. Just like the saying that it's better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all, similarly it's better to have lived and died than never to have lived at all.

You can choose to suffer about death, or be grateful every morning for being alive!
I get what you are saying. I just don't feel the same way. If I've learned anything in life it's that we don't get to chose how we feel. We can't make ourselves feel a certain way. Life would certainly be easier if that were possible though. I don't think that means we need to wallow in our negative feelings, but I do accept the fact that I can't change how I feel. I take responsibility for how I react to my feelings. I'm glad you have peace about death though. That's a good thing. We can't control it anyway.
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Old 27th April 2017, 5:51 PM   #37
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IMO, death is a horrible and catastrophic event. There isn't much more that is crueler than death. To suddenly rip away a family member is insanely cruel IMO. To live a life and form relationships and have a consciousness that is unique. . . . and then for all of that to cease to exist because of death. I think that is one of the worst things I can think of.

I think that is why we created religion and why we spend our entire lives trying to avoid death and to deny that we will die. What happens when we die has been a preoccupation for humans as far back as we can go. In the US, we certainly do our best to deny that death is something that will happen to all of us. We keep people alive at all costs. I think in my culture, we don't deal with death appropriately at all. But I think we do so by denying that death is the normal ending to life. We concentrate on keeping people alive over quality of life. But that is a different topic entirely.
I think that not being able to cope with death is a particularly modern thing. Losing loved ones used to be a very common part of life. Not that it was any less painful, but it was something which happened more regularly because of bigger families and childhood mortality. People died at home. They were washed and prepared for burial by family members. People would pay respects to the deceased in their own homes. Heck, the Victorians even took photos of the deceased. (Google Victorian post mortem photography if you're not aware of this).

Now it's all life support and hospitals and morgues. People who would have died 100 years ago are now kept alive. We are less connected to death and I think that makes it harder to process.
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Old 28th April 2017, 2:45 AM   #38
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I actually think that I am in such turmoil because I have accepted the fact that we die and that nothing is permanent. I think that many people, because they don't have to, go about life in a state of denial that we all eventually die.
...
I get what you are saying. I just don't feel the same way. If I've learned anything in life it's that we don't get to chose how we feel. We can't make ourselves feel a certain way. Life would certainly be easier if that were possible though. I don't think that means we need to wallow in our negative feelings, but I do accept the fact that I can't change how I feel. I take responsibility for how I react to my feelings. I'm glad you have peace about death though. That's a good thing. We can't control it anyway.
Hey BC - I have to say I strongly disagree with this statement. We most definitely do get to consciously (or unconsciously) decide how we feel. There are fields of psychology and philosophy dedicated to this very topic. The issue at the moment is that you have likely not spent any time working on controlling your thought patterns - as such you are stuck in a loop of simply "reacting" to your unconscious and uncontrolled thoughts which at the moment are leaning to a negative space - thus the negative emotions. Basically what we focus on grows larger. With your line of work - I can see why that might naturally become an issue because your faced with death and negative situation far more regularly then the average person. For this reason this topic becomes more important for you then many others who don't have to deal with these types of situations regularly.

Because feelings and emotions emerge as a reaction to what we think about. We often get into a loop where our thoughts lead to emotions and those emotions then trigger additional thoughts related to the way we have started feeling. So my advice would be to work on getting in between that thought -> emotion process and start working on training or directing your thoughts more consciously. Here obviously meditation - calming the mind and slowing the thought process is invaluable - but there are many other tools we can use to train our thought patterns. There are psychology, self help and philosophy books that will give you an abundance of different approaches to assist with this and again as I encouraged earlier I would advise you to find what works for you.

We cannot change the fact that we die - but we can change two things.

1. How often we think about death and focus on this topic producing the emotions we associate with it.
2. How we personally perceive death - the context we have (consciously or unconsciously) placed around it which shape the emotions we feel when we think about it.

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Old 29th April 2017, 5:15 AM   #39
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I actually think that I am in such turmoil because I have accepted the fact that we die and that nothing is permanent.
Hi BC1980.

(Yikes! This went on a little(?) longer than I’d expected. Hope there’s something useful, nevertheless.)

Is your inner turmoil more related to death and dying, or to the idea that you cannot believe in God? Or is you inability to believe in God related specifically to death and dying?

Even though you do have your reasons for thinking/believing that death is “horrible”, the actual belief is still entirely under control of your own personal worldview, which is within your own authority and dominion to maintain or change if, when and as you deem necessary and suitable. You do have autonomy in this regard.

Unlike what most people believe, our feelings are the results of our thoughts which are the results of our beliefs which are the results of our unique-to-us worldview and psychological programming; it’s what gives us our individuality. There is no external source or force that is in control of these things for us. If such did exist, there would be no differences in personalities or individual preferences, dislikes, opinions, tastes, etc. We would all be subject to and enslaved by the same thing.

Cognitive behavioural therapy works precisely because people are in control of their own thoughts, which give rise to their feelings and actions. At least, we are meant to be in control rather than let ourselves be kept in reactive mode, and basically powerless and helpless and at the kindness, mercy and whim of all other people and external circumstances.

Nothing is permanent in the world of form but, according to science, neither can we destroy Energy; so there is a dimension of ourselves that is not at risk of being destroyed or annihilated. Whatever it is that is our consciousness or that is powering our ability to think or ‘feel alive’ or be aware of our experience of life.

Death is real in the sense that the physical body no longer supports life. But many if not all traditions and cultures recognize the ongoingness of at least some aspect of the ‘former person’; end-of-life rituals are meant to help with the transition of this eternal aspect from the physical-material plane into the non-visible dimension...although they’ve become about the still-living.
I get that this is not part of your personal worldview but it is your own decision and choice to not follow along with the people who do accept the idea of life-after-this-life. (Just like I am deciding and choosing to go along with their worldview instead of yours. Not saying that either one is ‘right’ or ‘better’, only that you and I are each freely making this choice for ourselves.)

Nevertheless, there is ‘death’ out of this physical environment as surely as there is ‘birth’ into it. The example of the historical personality Jesus was for humanity to realize the truth and reality of our potential to each have ‘victory over death’. The Catholic Church has of course been very successful in first of all setting up Jesus as an exceptional exception to the rule and, second of all, keeping us stuck in sadness and/or horror looking at his crucifixion so that we do not question the meaning behind his resurrection and ascension (nor the processes behind his so-called miracles, for that matter).
Here again, this is just my personal worldview that I’ve chosen to take on. My beliefs, thoughts and feelings about death come directly from it. I could decide to stop looking at it this way, but then my beliefs, thoughts and feelings about death would necessarily change to be in alignment with and support the new worldview.

It doesn’t matter, though, what the belief is about. Our feelings about thieves depend on our beliefs about stealing...is it never okay...is it okay if one is destitute...is it okay if one’s victim is really wealthy? We’re choosing, on an individual basis, how we perceive it and what we think and how we feel about it.

If it continues to be a struggle, you might want to try on a different belief about death as a temporary experiment. “Today I’m going to look at death as if it’s not necessarily also the end of the human Being,” or something like that, where you’re just entertaining that possibility and you’re not making it part of your permanent view.

Wishing for you that you find peace around this...one way or the other.
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Old 1st May 2017, 8:57 PM   #40
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I'm looking for people who have similar struggles who would like to share how they cope. I feel like my mind is full of strife on a daily basis, and it's kind of affecting me negatively at this point.
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

What I believe you wrestle with is that you think you have to work to believe in God. That you have to reach some level of knowledge before God's grace can save you.

You cannot work for it, earn it, justify it, or rationalize it. The truth is the concept of Grace is the simplest of the doctrines, but the one that is the most difficult for people to accept (see all of Paul's writings). Heck, the Jewish Christians tried to yoke the law onto the gentiles as they could not accept the simplicity of atonement. Until you accept the doctrine of Grace (and not by forcing your mind or rationalizing Christ, just simple acceptance) the other more deeper doctrines will stay elusive.

Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech— and not as Moses, who put a veil over his face, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which was being abolished. But their minds were blinded; for until this day the same veil remaineth untaken away in the reading of the old testament, which veil is done away with in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their hearts. Nevertheless, when they shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.


Accept that God loves you and Christ died for you. Just leave it at that...even if you don't understand it. Try not to be so hard on yourself. God isn't!

You don't have to rationalize it or even understand it. Whenever conflict enters you mind, just tell yourself to stop thinking about it and just tell yourself to let God take care of your doubts. Don't worry about why other people believe or don't believe. Try not to look at other people's actions as a reason to not accept Christ. If you use others as the standard for whether to accept Christ or not, you will be sorely disappointed. Just look at Christ. If he placed his faith in man, he would have never made it to the cross! Everyone betrayed him and even the most holy and wise, handed him over to be killed. Look at Christ as the example, not other people's motives like fear of death, healing, ignorance, (which none of us really know, only God knows). At the end of the day, the choice is up to each person, individually. What others do or don't do, ultimately makes no difference.

I think the fact you even bring it up so much is because you are saved, not by your ability to rationalize it though, but because of God's Grace. If you weren't, you would not care or worry about it IMHO.

If that doesn't work, I think you should look into Methodism or some Wesleyan denomination. Methodists tend to take a more scientific/methodological (hence the name) approach to doctrine (textual criticism, etc.). It might be the more Pentecostal persuasion is just not suited to you (you mention you are annoyed by people praying for healing, etc.). A lot of times I think you are just annoyed by certain Pentecostal denominations lol There are all kinds of denominations of Christianity. Contrary to secular opinion, most denominational differences are not because of infighting, but because people have different preferences. There really are not a lot of fundamental doctrines in Christianity (see Acts 15), which provides a lot of latitude for personal preferences.

Hope this helps!
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Old 2nd May 2017, 1:47 AM   #41
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Part of me thinks religion is a complete sham that we made up because we are all scared to die. Heck, we spend our entire lives fighting against death. Another part of me feels that the idea that God doesn't exist is just as preposterous. How can the world be so complex without some kind of divine creator? I'm not really interested in debating if God exists or not. I'm looking for people who have similar struggles who would like to share how they cope. I feel like my mind is full of strife on a daily basis, and it's kind of affecting me negatively at this point.
First, ((((((( big hugs BC)))))) and I understand completely how you feel. I have all of the fears you have communicated and the thing that helps me cope is my relationship with God and understanding He is in control... I think it is so cool that you can say what you did in the OP... I went through exactly the same thing shortly before being saved. Now I have to remember to release my cares and worries giving it all to Him.

Hang in there girl and if you are led, ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a supernatural way.. He will. ((((((more hugs lol))))))
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Old 2nd May 2017, 1:50 AM   #42
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[I]
You cannot work for it, earn it, justify it, or rationalize it. The truth is the concept of Grace is the simplest of the doctrines, but the one that is the most difficult for people to accept (see all of Paul's writings). Heck, the Jewish Christians tried to yoke the law onto the gentiles as they could not accept the simplicity of atonement. Until you accept the doctrine of Grace (and not by forcing your mind or rationalizing Christ, just simple acceptance) the other more deeper doctrines will stay elusive.
This right here is the hardest thing for most to understand.. the free gift of forgiveness, meaning that we can do nothing but receive this.. that's it, receive it. It's just too simple.
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Old 2nd May 2017, 2:23 PM   #43
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I am, right now, going through the thought process that either God doesn't exist, or God does exist and hes a f*cking prick.

The last two years have been the worst in my life in many ways. My son (4 years old) was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, and its starting to affect his joints to where they are becoming disfigured. My other son, (12 years old) is autistic and has actually tried to commit suicide. My mother suffered a heart attack, her appendix bursting, and a leukemia diagnoses (2 rounds of chemo, 1 round of radiation, and 4 stem cell transplants) all before passing away last month. I had left my husband, started the divorce process......

What kind of God would allow any of these things to happen? A cruel and vile POS if you ask me. I'm torn between being so angry at him, and just denying him. Very confusing. How can I hate a God that doesn't exist?

I grew up in a Baptist home, we went to church every Sunday. I was in bible school, did bible camp.. all of that. I grew up with a very profound love for God.

Now...

F*ck him. And that makes me sad.. and angrier.
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Old 2nd May 2017, 11:18 PM   #44
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Old 2nd May 2017, 11:57 PM   #45
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You speak much about suffering in the world but fail to see the good.
And, there is a lot of it (good).

Perhaps ponder the reason...

I believe it is only natural if someone who has experienced many hardships and suffering, to doubt God's existence.
It's hard to grasp that God knows what's best for us.

I do believe in God, I am not a fanatic, but I also believe in science.

But science is not the be all, end all.
There are many things science (math) cannot explain nor solve.
And, we are not capable of observing the entire universe (or universe(s) for that matter...).

What I 'pray' for most is for God to end the suffering of humans and animals.
I believe when I go to heaven (IF, I go to heaven) that all of my answers in and about this lifetime, and of the world, will be answered.

Perhaps view a few stories on God, not to change your view, but to observe the views of others.
I thoroughly enjoyed Son of God (makes me weep but full of love)

The "Finding Jesus" series was descent, it explores Science and Religion at the same time.

It all really boils down to FAITH.
Either you have it, or you don't.

Good luck in your journey!

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