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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 20th July 2017, 7:51 AM   #151
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l8estnews, are you a practicing Catholic? Do you attend service, confession, take communion, bible study? Are you also in therapy? I'm sorry if you have already addressed these questions and I have missed.

I was also raised in a strict religious family. My dad was raised Orthodox Catholic, his grandfather was a priest, but later converted to Methodist.
In my middle twenties I had a major depression and during that time established a very personal relationship with God that became my own and outside of all religious doctrine that I had been previously taught.
Technically, I am a Christian and I do not dismiss the Bible on whole. Yet I have developed my trust in God outside of the church and organized religion.

It was a long and uncomfortable process letting go of the Christian establishment and I am wide open to God in all the ways the world around reveals God to be. I'm beyond horrible at explaining myself, it's kind of like being in tune to a frequency that only I can hear....LOL! It sounds kooky and it's ok if it is, but I have to say that it is incredibly Serene.

I should zip it when it comes to others expressions of faith because I sincerely respect people who are respectful and kind to others no matter their religious beliefs.
Reading your post made me think of the dark night of the soul. Going through difficult times will often bring a person closer to God than ever before. I think this will happen for you as well.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Night_of_the_Soul
https://www.eckharttolle.com/newsletter/october-2011

As far as God according to Timshel, I am no one, so apologize if I was crass. Finding peace with God and inner peace with oneself is all that matters.
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Old 20th July 2017, 10:13 PM   #152
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Recommend to read up on Tacitus...

The Roman historian and senator Tacitus referred to Christ, his execution by Pontius Pilate, and the existence of early Christians in Rome in one page of his final work, Annals (written ca. AD 116), book 15, chapter 44.[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Christ
Thanks for the link. I believe Jesus existed. Even the most liberal scholars believe he existed. The NT has been very accurately transmitted over time too. There are some instances of redaction, but they don't change the really important stuff.
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Old 21st July 2017, 2:00 AM   #153
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So this thread has grown and had many wonderful responses. I wondering what the original poster - BC1980 - position is now ?

Many people have provided advice .... what are your next steps ? How do you move forward from here ?

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Old 21st July 2017, 1:04 PM   #154
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So this thread has grown and had many wonderful responses. I wondering what the original poster - BC1980 - position is now ?

Many people have provided advice .... what are your next steps ? How do you move forward from here ?
This thread definitely turned out to be a great thread. I have to thank everyone that contributed. Going forward, I think I have come to accept that faith is something you either have or you don't. And I just don't have it at this point in my life. I have had faith at other times in my life though, so I know it's real thing. I've come to accept that I won't find all the answers and definitive proof of God's existence, ect. I'm still not really excited about that fact, but I've made some peace with it.

I still pray almost daily, but I always wonder if anyone is on the other side. I've always struggled with prayer though, so that's not new. I've never quite figured out what to say. I've actually gotten into mediation in the past several months, which has been great to alleviate stress and recenter my day. I'm still read the Bible quite often, almost daily. I've recently decided to start reading entire books of the Bible from start to finish, and that has been illuminating. I still go to church when I can, but it's been more difficult in the past few years because I work a lot of weekends. That will change in about a year, and I hope to get into a more regular routine with church. I do think going to church gives me an anchor and a sense of community that I don't have anywhere else.

But yeah, I'm still on the journey, and I guess that will be life long. Maybe the big takeaway is that this thread has helped me make peace with the journey and realize I'm not alone. I hope people will still contribute to the thread if they feel compelled to because this journey is definitely ongoing for me.

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Old 21st July 2017, 3:31 PM   #155
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This thread definitely turned out to be a great thread. I have to thank everyone that contributed. Going forward, I think I have come to accept that faith is something you either have or you don't. And I just don't have it at this point in my life. I have had faith at other times in my life though, so I know it's real thing. I've come to accept that I won't find all the answers and definitive proof of God's existence, ect. I'm still not really excited about that fact, but I've made some peace with it.

I still pray almost daily, but I always wonder if anyone is on the other side. I've always struggled with prayer though, so that's not new. I've never quite figured out what to say. I've actually gotten into mediation in the past several months, which has been great to alleviate stress and recenter my day. I'm still read the Bible quite often, almost daily. I've recently decided to start reading entire books of the Bible from start to finish, and that has been illuminating. I still go to church when I can, but it's been more difficult in the past few years because I work a lot of weekends. That will change in about a year, and I hope to get into a more regular routine with church. I do think going to church gives me an anchor and a sense of community that I don't have anywhere else.

But yeah, I'm still on the journey, and I guess that will be life long. Maybe the big takeaway is that this thread has helped me make peace with the journey and realize I'm not alone. I hope people will still contribute to the thread if they feel compelled to because this journey is definitely ongoing for me.

Save
I applaud your honesty. I too struggle with my relationship with God, but at least it is a struggle and never the less, remains a relationship.

I came into the Christian faith via fundamental christian path and that both enlightened and hampered my growth. I personally have an healthy degree of suspicion for those who claim to have a clear and unquestioning foundation for their faith. I find it shockingly convenient and w/o fail, with brief conversation, find that they are often incapable of reconciling their religious convictions with the natural world in which they live and interact daily.

Keep the journey and I hope you find the answers you seek.
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Old 21st July 2017, 9:33 PM   #156
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But yeah, I'm still on the journey, and I guess that will be life long. Maybe the big takeaway is that this thread has helped me make peace with the journey and realize I'm not alone. I hope people will still contribute to the thread if they feel compelled to because this journey is definitely ongoing for me.
I admire your transparency and honesty. It's been insightful to follow your spiritual journey!

A sermon for your consideration:

Faith When You Can't See a Thing - Pastor Jack Hayford

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Old 22nd July 2017, 6:05 PM   #157
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Hum... I don't believe in God, and I never have.

I tried mightily to believe once - I was going through very difficult personal problems and really wanted to believe. I felt it would make everything more tolerable.

But in the end I failed, I could explain every "sign" away with logic. I have never been one to have blind Faith, and I simply couldn't muster it.

I am sure the eventual passing of my parents will test me (I am such a daddy's girl - it's going to ruin me when he goes).

Unlike you, I do not see the world as a dark place, I am a positive person, and see an immense amount of beauty in the world.

For me, science can explain the vast majority of the natural world - it's the suffering and darkness that makes me further question how a "supreme being" could allow so much horror.

I am often reminded of a 80's song:

https://play.google.com/music/previe...gnid=kp-lyrics

Dear God, hope you get the letter ......
But all the people that you made in your image
See them starving on their feet
'Cause they don't get enough to eat from God
I can't believe in you....

We all need a big reduction in amount of tears
And all the people that you made in your image
See them fighting in the street
'Cause they can't make opinions meet about God....

I won't believe in heaven or hell
No saints, no sinners, no devil as well
No pearly gates, no thorny crown
You're always letting us humans down
The wars you bring, the babes you drown
Those lost at sea and never found
And it's the same the whole world 'round
The hurt I see helps to compound
The Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Is just somebody's unholy hoax
And if you're up there you'll perceive
That my heart's here upon my sleeve
If there's one thing I don't believe in

It's you
Dear God
I feel like this is exactly where I'm at right now. I always went to church as a young girl, but mostly because my parents made me. As I got older, I fought with them about going. I had better things to do as a teen. Then, once I was out of the house, I didn't go at all.

But religion is something that I seem to be thinking about again. This post is EXACTLY how I feel. There are so many things I don't believe and that I know are explained perfectly well with science. But I feel like I want faith in SOMETHING. I feel there is SOMETHING out there that can fill some holes in my life. I'm on the road right now to discovering just what that is. But the once thing I never thought I would ever consider was missing from my life is religion. I'm not sure that's it just yet...however I'm starting to open myself up to the possibility.
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Old 22nd July 2017, 6:33 PM   #158
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I feel like this is exactly where I'm at right now. I always went to church as a young girl, but mostly because my parents made me. As I got older, I fought with them about going. I had better things to do as a teen. Then, once I was out of the house, I didn't go at all.

But religion is something that I seem to be thinking about again. This post is EXACTLY how I feel. There are so many things I don't believe and that I know are explained perfectly well with science. But I feel like I want faith in SOMETHING. I feel there is SOMETHING out there that can fill some holes in my life. I'm on the road right now to discovering just what that is. But the once thing I never thought I would ever consider was missing from my life is religion. I'm not sure that's it just yet...however I'm starting to open myself up to the possibility.
Are you missing 'religion' or a faith? Something to believe in beyond what we see here on this mortal world? I think the two are not interchangeable. This disconnect between our natural world and science is something that I have long considered. Science explains and helps to satiate the physical world that we live in and allows us the opportunity to manipulate our understanding of this, mostly predictable, natural world for good or evil. I said this before, but our faith, in no way, erases the authenticity of our understanding of science and science, in no way, diminishes our subjective yearning to hold to a faith.

The problems is when one or the other tries to undermine the other to the point of absolute confidence and totality.

There have been and always will be those who adhere to the intelligent design concept. Not because science supports it, rather, b/c, my personal faith, independent of institutionalized religion, provides me the luxury to do so.
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Old 22nd July 2017, 6:48 PM   #159
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Are you missing 'religion' or a faith? Something to believe in beyond what we see here on this mortal world? I think the two are not interchangeable. This disconnect between our natural world and science is something that I have long considered. Science explains and helps to satiate the physical world that we live in and allows us the opportunity to manipulate our understanding of this, mostly predictable, natural world for good or evil. I said this before, but our faith, in no way, erases the authenticity of our understanding of science and science, in no way, diminishes our subjective yearning to hold to a faith.

The problems is when one or the other tries to undermine the other to the point of absolute confidence and totality.

There have been and always will be those who adhere to the intelligent design concept. Not because science supports it, rather, b/c, my personal faith, independent of institutionalized religion, provides me the luxury to do so.
Good question. I think that's exactly what I'm pondering. What's missing? Perhaps it's religion, because I think I do have "faith". I think you're right-faith and religion can not be interchanged. One can have faith in something, but not in a "religious" sense. One can have "hope". I believe those words are more interchangeable. Perhaps right now, for me, I am exploring where I'm placing my "faith/hope", but not necessarily ready to explore religion? Or maybe I'm opening myself up to the idea that I can have faith IN religion?
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Old 22nd July 2017, 7:39 PM   #160
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Good question. I think that's exactly what I'm pondering. What's missing? Perhaps it's religion, because I think I do have "faith". I think you're right-faith and religion can not be interchanged. One can have faith in something, but not in a "religious" sense. One can have "hope". I believe those words are more interchangeable. Perhaps right now, for me, I am exploring where I'm placing my "faith/hope", but not necessarily ready to explore religion? Or maybe I'm opening myself up to the idea that I can have faith IN religion?
My own personal journey has been consistently clear on one thing, if any....having faith in religion, the collective institution, is disappointing.
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Old 22nd July 2017, 10:29 PM   #161
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My own personal journey has been consistently clear on one thing, if any....having faith in religion, the collective institution, is disappointing.
Thank you.
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Old 23rd July 2017, 10:18 AM   #162
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Recommend to read up on Tacitus...

The Roman historian and senator Tacitus referred to Christ, his execution by Pontius Pilate, and the existence of early Christians in Rome in one page of his final work, Annals (written ca. AD 116), book 15, chapter 44.[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Christ

Thank you for these links. But I have read about Tacitus before and I don't consider it as the most convincing piece of evidence. I guess my mistake since I did say in my post that there is NO mention of anything Christ-related outside the gospel and technically, this can be considered.

But anyway, just to give my final piece about the thread:

1.) I just realized I can never be an atheist. Me being raised religiously is so ingrained to my being to ever consider that GOD is not real. However, I will have to re-introduce God to me in a manner that I consider as realistic. Meaning, Roman Catholicism is no longer for me.

God for me is:

1.) That "Supreme Intelligence" that somehow "created" the universe.
2.) That force that doesn't concern itself to human affairs.

There is no anthropomorphic God, No Personal God, and No Talking God. God in the Bible is not the "God" that exists in these times. Because if we continue to believe that God will intervene in our silly lives, we will always feel disappointed and let down. Thus, not believing.

I guess my approach is just accept that God is:

1.) Silent.
2.) A Force we can try to feel and connect with but never expect to connect back to us (more like a fire in a very cold night. We shall bask in its warmth without expecting it to really take away the Cold Night)
3.) Make the most out of our lives without thinking the world owes us anything. Just glad to be alive and live each day as your last.

Quite liberating, really.
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Old 23rd July 2017, 6:52 PM   #163
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I thought I would make a thread about this ongoing issue in my life because I don't feel comfortable talking to anyone about it. I've always had doubts about the existence of God, but those doubts never seemed to matter until the past few years. To me, the world seems depressing and pointless without the hope of God or an afterlife. I think a lot of this has been spurred on by seeing my parents get older and finding it very depressing that when they die, they may cease to exist and I'll never see them again.

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.
I don't consider myself an atheist, more of an agnostic. If there is a supreme being, i don't think that I am capable of even being able to begin to comprehend their actions. "Mine is not to know the mind of God".

Sometimes I'd like to believe there is someone at the helm controlling everything an I can just let go. It wold be is much easier. Then I think back to some of the suffering of innocent people and I can't understand how a kind and loving god would ever let that happen.

There are so many wonderful things in the world that it's sometimes hard to believe random chnace made it all happen, then other times, it all makes sense to me.

In the end, I really believe there is an inherent need in humanity to try and reach beyond the brief span of our lives and find a deeper meaning. For some, that' religion, others worship at the altar of logic and science.

After my om passed away, I spent a lot of time reflecting on her life and wondering where "she" is now. I'd like to believe that some part of he lingers on somehow, and that we're more than like the mermaids conceived by Anderson that we don't just become like foam on the waves of the sea. I'd like for my life to mean something.

In the grand scheme of things, it probably doesn't, so perhaps I'll follow the Emerosn definition of having lived a successful life instead. I have three healthy children, my garden patch and an ordinary but peaceful life.
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Old 24th July 2017, 5:08 AM   #164
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I still pray almost daily, but I always wonder if anyone is on the other side. I've always struggled with prayer though, so that's not new. I've never quite figured out what to say. I've actually gotten into mediation in the past several months, which has been great to alleviate stress and recenter my day. I'm still read the Bible quite often, almost daily. I've recently decided to start reading entire books of the Bible from start to finish, and that has been illuminating. I still go to church when I can, but it's been more difficult in the past few years because I work a lot of weekends. That will change in about a year, and I hope to get into a more regular routine with church. I do think going to church gives me an anchor and a sense of community that I don't have anywhere else.

But yeah, I'm still on the journey, and I guess that will be life long. Maybe the big takeaway is that this thread has helped me make peace with the journey and realize I'm not alone. I hope people will still contribute to the thread if they feel compelled to because this journey is definitely ongoing for me.
Yes definitely a life long journey - and in my opinion a journey that lasts many lives. I hope you continue on the path and continue to grow and expand your practice. Don't be afraid to experiment and draw outside the lines. Religion has provided you with a great base to work from but its up to you to expand that base - as long as your intent is pure you will be lead in the right direction

In terms of prayer - I don't pray in maybe the traditional sense of talking to god and asking for something (well actually I lie I do when things are not going how I want) but I consider any method that uncovers or reveals more of your divine nature to be a form of prayer. Recently what I've found tremendous benefit from is chanting. Pretty old school but I do it in a singing format as some of my friends are Kirtan performers so its actually a lot of fun. The Kirtan format comes from Hindu traditions but you'll find similar concepts within the Catholic and Christian churches with Gregorian chants or just singing Hymns. Probably the difference between the historical chants and a modern hymn is that in Hindu tradition the words used in chants were very very specific. In the Sanskrit language the sounds of words were studied extensively and they studied the effect the sounds had on living things very closely - the names given to god were those that had been found to have a very specific vibration which when recited had a positive effect on the human body and helped to awaken their positive or divine attributes. Thus god had many names - but the importance and commonality of the name was the effect the sound had on the person reciting it.

Chanting or mantra recitation when meditating is not something you do once and go "wow" now I get it ..... its something where if you keep up a sustained practice you will begin to notice subtle changes in your nature - in your understanding - in the way you interact with others. The same idea can be thought of with recitation of the rosary. So for me the main benefit of prayer is not asking for something and then - "getting what you want" - but instead it is a practice of transformation where you actually get what god wants. A better version of you

Some stuff on Kirtan if your interested by chance.

Intro to Kirtan - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYuA...youtu.be&t=688

Aum vs Amen some interesting stuff on similarities between the religions - https://youtu.be/nBFyrKYI6TU?t=120

Plus one of my fav Kirtan songs - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igsoFGv-Dw0

I'm sure if you do some research you can find some nice Christian equivalents if that's what you prefer.

Last edited by Justanaverageguy; 24th July 2017 at 8:53 AM..
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Old 24th July 2017, 8:13 PM   #165
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Sometimes I'd like to believe there is someone at the helm controlling everything an I can just let go. It wold be is much easier. Then I think back to some of the suffering of innocent people and I can't understand how a kind and loving god would ever let that happen.

There are so many wonderful things in the world that it's sometimes hard to believe random chnace made it all happen, then other times, it all makes sense to me.

In the end, I really believe there is an inherent need in humanity to try and reach beyond the brief span of our lives and find a deeper meaning. For some, that' religion, others worship at the altar of logic and science.
It seems beyond comprehension that a loving God would either be the source of suffering or sit back and refuse to intervene. That is something I will never comprehend. I don't buy into the idea that our suffering is supposed to be used to glorify God. That's cruel and sick.

But I also agree with you that there are so many amazing things in this world that it's hard to believe God does not exist. Back when I used to hike a lot, I would sometimes look at the views from the tops of mountains and wonder how God could not exist. It also seems unfathomable that when we die, we simply cease to exist. Maybe that's just because I was raised as a Christian, so I always had the idea that our consciousness lives on.
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