Post Reply
Page 1 of 3  •  1 2 3 Next
6 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2008 - 10:26PM #1
Marcham
Posts: 1
Im going through a really rough time right now. I was raised Roman Catholic, but have always been against many of there teachings and also don't believe the bible is a "True" word of god. Im very lost and not sure what to think. Do I believe in god? I don't know. Half of me does the other half does not. Im very confused. I do believe there is life after death, but I believe we stay here on Earth as spirits or something. I don't know what to think. Any advice? Help Anything? What do I think. How did you settle and become happy? Would I be atheist if I didn't believe in god, but maybe an after life like I described???
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2008 - 11:00PM #2
Sailorlal79
Posts: 1,365
All that being an atheist means is that you don't believe in a god. I suppose you can believe in an afterlife if you wish, although I am guessing most of us don't. You don't have to conform to any kind of category for the convenience of other people, however.

A lot of us have been where you are- lost, confused, looking for answers. We can't offer you that. The only answer you will accept is when you find an answer that completely makes sense to you. Atheism completely makes sense to me. What really clinched it for me was reading "The God Delusion", which I would recommend to anyone. Try to be patient with yourself and remember that you don't have to have all the answers right now- we all spend much of our lives in the same boat.

Good luck and peace.
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2008 - 12:41AM #3
Tamayo
Posts: 236
I was (and still am in a way) in the same boat you are - raised Catholic, but didn't believe much of it even growing up. I was also lost and unsure, and have an eclectic set of beliefs. The most important thing to remember is that regardless of what label society would like to give you (Atheist, agnostic, undecided, spiritual, naturalist, secular, etc) it doesn't really matter as long as you're at peace with yourself.

Personally, I was exactly where you are.. half believing, half not. Depended on the day, my mood, current events, family matters, and social situations! Then I realized that being confused and unsure is just another state of being and not one that MUST be resolved. So what if you don't know "the truth." No one really knows the truth - even the bible thumpers and strict atheists, so if you're confused, that's okay. I realized I will probably have conflicting feelings on the supernatural for the rest of my life and the only way I could "settle and become happy" was accepting that fact for what it was and moving on. You don't have to be one way or the other - that's the beauty of personal belief - no one can label it or take it away from you, so cherish it for all its conflicts and problems, because it's yours, and you won't be getting another.

Bottom line: accept that your beliefs won't line up with someone else's - and they don't have to! Make them your own and express your own personality through them!

Hope this helped <3 I know it's a difficult place to be and most people will not be understanding. But there are plenty of people here for example that will walk with you through all the crazy issues and debates - because we're all doing it anyway!
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2008 - 10:18AM #4
gypsyspiral
Posts: 4
I agree with both of the above. I don't really know what I would label myself. Is it possible to be an atheist pagan? (I do not believe in god/s, yet I do find inspiration, insight and peace in nature) I don't know, but I do know that you are not alone in the confusion. It takes a lot of time to feel firm in what you believe, and often people go their entire lives with uncertainty. Some are okay with it, others find it to be restless. Just take this time to reflect on things and try not to let yourself worry about whether or not other people approve. That was my big problem. I wasted so much energy worrying about whether or not other people approved of my beliefs. I tried so hard to believe things I knew were not in my heart or mind. Some of the worry comes from not feeling certain.. it's a difficult place because you can't really defend what you can't fully define. Give yourself some patience and time, and some people may surprise you with their willingness to listen and help you through.

Best wishes and grow with bliss
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2008 - 10:49AM #5
Agnosticspirit
Posts: 9,244

Marcham wrote:

Im going through a really rough time right now. I was raised Roman Catholic, but have always been against many of there teachings and also don't believe the bible is a "True" word of god. Im very lost and not sure what to think. Do I believe in god? I don't know. Half of me does the other half does not. Im very confused. I do believe there is life after death, but I believe we stay here on Earth as spirits or something. I don't know what to think. Any advice? Help Anything? What do I think. How did you settle and become happy? Would I be atheist if I didn't believe in god, but maybe an after life like I described???



Good morning Marcham and welcome to Belief Net! Like Sailor said, an atheist is defined as a lack of belief in god only. It does NOT indicate a lack of belief in anything else.

I've been an atheist since I was 14 years old, but didn't REALIZE I was until I was 18. I was pretty young, so didn't undergo any kind of torment at the time because I never was a deep believer in the first place. What I did feel when I stopped attending any kind of services was a sense of relief, as if a burden I didn't know I even had was lifted from my shoulders.  Like any decision or crisis that occurs, it's easier to take when you're younger. I'm sure others will pop in who have come to lack of god belief later in life that are sure to understand your anguish when the world you've trusted for so long falls around your feet.

Marcham, and I think you already know this but you are the only one who can decide what to believe or not. You can lie to others, but you can't lie to yourself and trying to hold onto the shreds of lost faith to keep others happy isn't right. You are wise enough to know this.  After reading many holy books, I'm convinced none of them were written by a divine hand yet they're not completely without merit once you can read them with open eyes and heart. There is value to be found in the Bible, just as you can find the archetypes that drive us all in Greek and Nordic myths and other folktales. The works of our imaginations are very powerful as long as they're not confused with science, history or objective truth. 

I'm an atheist leaning toward agnosticism because I really can't prove that god does NOT exist any more than I've been convinced S/HE does. I do tend to think, however, that IF god exists, S/HE  would be above the petty nonsense and rituals defined by religious organizations, that really only exist to protect themselves. 

I don't believe in any external forces of good and evil. The choice to do good or ill resides within each of us. That voice inside your head that some call the voice of god is a metaphor for the internal struggle all of us endure when right and wrong aren't as obvious as we would hope. Sometimes the best thing we can do is take the path that seems more right than another, or causing less harm than another. Kind of like voting for a president, yes? :)

I'm not sure what happens when we die - my body will eventually turn back to stardust. I know different religions make doctrinal distinctions between soul and spirit, but I really don't. I equate my consciousness, my essence, my "divine spark"  as both soul and spirit. I think in some way, my spirit will combine with a kind of cosmic universal consciousness. I have no proof of this, only my own very slight awareness on a few occasions that the universe itself may contain all of our essences but have no idea whether or not the universe is self-aware. In that sense, I'm truly an agnostic and probably not typical of most atheists I know. I come to this conclusion because I've seen the absence of any kind of spark in death and think that absence is somehow more than the lack of brain waves and chemical reactions that carry our thoughts to the rest of us.

As I continue to try and bust the atheist stereotype that we're all Spock like beings with a tendency to dismiss the wonder in any way shape and form, I appreciate the magic of simply being alive. Science doesn't answer all questions at this time, but the more you learn about our world, universe and our existence, the universe is simply weird enough to experience the awe and wonders without having to believe in god.

I hope you'll have people around you to support you in your spiritual crisis. If not, that's what Bnet is for, we'll help you.  Well I've rambled on long enough, big hugs for you!

agnosticspirit

Tribalism, ethnocentricism, racism, nationalism, and FEAR is the Mind Killer... >:(

For user to user support and to look up the latest glitch reports, check the Beliefnet Knowledgebase by clicking on the link below!

 Beliefnet Knowledgebase
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2008 - 7:42PM #6
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,201
[QUOTE=Marcham;567483]Im going through a really rough time right now. I was raised Roman Catholic, but have always been against many of there teachings and also don't believe the bible is a "True" word of god. Im very lost and not sure what to think. Do I believe in god? I don't know. Half of me does the other half does not. Im very confused. I do believe there is life after death, but I believe we stay here on Earth as spirits or something. I don't know what to think. Any advice? Help Anything? What do I think. How did you settle and become happy? Would I be atheist if I didn't believe in god, but maybe an after life like I described???[/QUOTE]

Relax.  Don't get overwhelmed by all the labels and distinctions.  The moment you realize you're plugged into something that doesn't reflect your convictions, you may find yourself unmoored, free-floating as it were, and the difference can be just as disorienting and almost as frustrating as that claustrophobic feeling of being chained to dead ideology.

Atheism isn't a religion.  There's no ideology, no creed, and definitely no loyalty test.  It's just a lack of belief in God.  That "lack" may be apathy (what some call apatheism).  It may be a hatred for religion (what some call anti-theism, or even maltheism).  It may be an inability to summon any kind of belief in God.  Some atheists simply never felt the need to get all worked up over the issue.

Just as there are varieties of theism, there are great varieties of atheism.  There are religious atheists who engage in religious traditions without actually sustaining any supernatural beliefs.  Some find the practice of religion to be fun.  Some have significant others - like family and friends - they worry about unsettling.  Some simply enjoy the repetition and use it as a form of meditation.  There are also humanist atheists who seek to create similar groupings of individuals, with activities and services that allow the formation of communities, but on natural (as opposed to supernatural) bases.

There's also agnosticism, which is a perfectly valid stance.  Agnostics get a bad rap.  People think they can't make up their mind.  But classically, agnosticism isn't about indecision so much as epistemology.  Agnosticism is the position that the god question cannot ultimately be answered.  If you can't test it, after all, why affirm or deny?  I fancy myself an agnostic atheist, which means that I think the question is ultimately beyond proof either way, but absent a compelling reason to choose otherwise, I consider atheism the more likely, and more preferable, position.  But there are also agnostic theists, people who don't think there's any way to prove the case either way, but who choose to believe (or endorse a theistic position) for reasons of their own.

There are even igtheists, like Alfred Thayer, who say the god question is not just unprovable but so incoherent as to make it impossible to rationally discuss.  Since theists cannot agree on what God actually is, the god question is ultimately beyond discussion.  I don't know if I'd go so far this far, but it's a tribute to how far the unfettered mind can go in looking at the question from any angle. 

The question of "What am I to believe?" can be very unsettling, mostly because it's unsettling to pull away from a system of belief that has been forced upon yourself.  Catholics, Jews, Mormons, and impassioned Protestants of every sort, find it quite difficult to step away from the family tradition.  It can be very cold and lonely - at least initially.  I went through something like - twice.  The first time was pulling away from my father's Baptist tradition  The second was in pulling away from The Mormons, a group my father hated but the faith of my wife, children and many friends.  It was scary.  It was hard.  But it was worth it.  I owed it to myself to be my own person.  You owe yourself no less.

It really doesn't matter how you describe your new convictions, or even if you've decide what they are.  There will be plenty of time to figure out what it is you see when you look at the world around you.  The important thing is to grant yourself the personal space to see the world through your own eyes, and to stop internalizing what others want you to see.  Labels are only helpful in allowing others to file you away as they so desire.  What matters is figuring things out for yourself.
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Jun 23, 2008 - 5:23PM #7
netherdew
Posts: 32

agnosticspirit wrote:

Like Sailor said, an atheist is defined as a lack of belief in god only. It does NOT indicate a lack of belief in anything else.

I've been an atheist since I was 14 years old, but didn't REALIZE I was until I was 18. I was pretty young, so didn't undergo any kind of torment at the time because I never was a deep believer in the first place. What I did feel when I stopped attending any kind of services was a sense of relief, as if a burden I didn't know I even had was lifted from my shoulders. Like any decision or crisis that occurs, it's easier to take when you're younger. I'm sure others will pop in who have come to lack of god belief later in life that are sure to understand your anguish when the world you've trusted for so long falls around your feet.

After reading many holy books, I'm convinced none of them were written by a divine hand yet they're not completely without merit once you can read them with open eyes and heart. There is value to be found in the Bible, just as you can find the archetypes that drive us all in Greek and Nordic myths and other folktales. The works of our imaginations are very powerful as long as they're not confused with science, history or objective truth.

I'm an atheist leaning toward agnosticism because I really can't prove that god does NOT exist any more than I've been convinced S/HE does. I do tend to think, however, that IF god exists, S/HE would be above the petty nonsense and rituals defined by religious organizations, that really only exist to protect themselves.

I don't believe in any external forces of good and evil. The choice to do good or ill resides within each of us. That voice inside your head that some call the voice of god is a metaphor for the internal struggle all of us endure when right and wrong aren't as obvious as we would hope. Sometimes the best thing we can do is take the path that seems more right than another, or causing less harm than another. Kind of like voting for a president, yes? :)

I'm not sure what happens when we die - my body will eventually turn back to stardust. I know different religions make doctrinal distinctions between soul and spirit, but I really don't. I equate my consciousness, my essence, my "divine spark" as both soul and spirit. I think in some way, my spirit will combine with a kind of cosmic universal consciousness. I have no proof of this, only my own very slight awareness on a few occasions that the universe itself may contain all of our essences but have no idea whether or not the universe is self-aware. In that sense, I'm truly an agnostic and probably not typical of most atheists I know. I come to this conclusion because I've seen the absence of any kind of spark in death and think that absence is somehow more than the lack of brain waves and chemical reactions that carry our thoughts to the rest of us.

As I continue to try and bust the atheist stereotype that we're all Spock like beings with a tendency to dismiss the wonder in any way shape and form, I appreciate the magic of simply being alive. Science doesn't answer all questions at this time, but the more you learn about our world, universe and our existence, the universe is simply weird enough to experience the awe and wonders without having to believe in god.

agnosticspirit



Wow, AS, although I am sure you think I'm a fruitloop now (hope not, tho, :o) I swear I could have described my beliefs almost exactly like this bit you wrote if I were focused enough to do so, anyway.  That is so very similar to how I see things, I wonder how we both came to see existence in such similar ways! The biggest difference based on that is that I don't consider myself agnostic in general because I feel sure there is no god as in no entity in the sky. I DO, however, think there is a consciousness which we are all connected with, but I don't call that "god" usually because I have an aversion to a personified idea of "god". I usually just say "the universe".

I know I am an atypical atheist also because I am unsure about an afterlife and things like that. I am okay being unsure but I sure would like to know for sure! I have always thought science will one day be able to measure energies and different unfathomable things in the future. Its not like we're done or know it all by any means, in my opinion! We are still only beginning to discover the mysteries of our own brains!

Also, it would be so nice to believe that the people who we love who die really do still exist in some form of consciousness. Lately I am leaning towards believing in that for my own comfort even though I chastise myself for it, lol!

I cannot recall hearing someone ever see things in this way, besides myself, and maybe my dad but he was never very descriptive about it- he just loved nature and wasn't into organized religion. Curious and neato! Oh, and wait, maybe you could "GET" me, hehehe!!!

Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Jun 23, 2008 - 5:35PM #8
netherdew
Posts: 32

Marcham wrote:

Im going through a really rough time right now. I was raised Roman Catholic, but have always been against many of there teachings and also don't believe the bible is a "True" word of god. Im very lost and not sure what to think. Do I believe in god? I don't know. Half of me does the other half does not. Im very confused. I do believe there is life after death, but I believe we stay here on Earth as spirits or something. I don't know what to think. Any advice? Help Anything? What do I think. How did you settle and become happy? Would I be atheist if I didn't believe in god, but maybe an after life like I described???



I feel where you are coming from. I always think it would be so much easier to just fully believe in some religion or denomination. Its probably not that simple for anyone who gives much thought to it, though.

I am an atheist who kind of maybe sometimes believes in an afterlife, hehe.

The whole subject is confusing, so of course you would be confused! I am as well, I suppose, but I don't really see it as confusion anymore, I see it as "I am not sure about it and that is finally okay with me". My life will not be much different whether I have solid beliefs or not, really. I think its okay to just relax and not know, as I don't think any human on earth knows any more than anyone else. I have solid moral standards which come from my own sense of things, and I think that matters more anyways.

Hope that helped!

Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Jun 24, 2008 - 5:29PM #9
whitephoenix
Posts: 133
Hey

I was a preacher, I'm theology graduate, all the circles around me expected me me to be one of God's finest soldiers.......but I wanted God so much I found out there was no rational reason to believe.....I wanted to know God and be closer to God than anyone (bar Jesus (in my mind)) and in seeking God i found no reason for God.......then came a whole 2 years of getting used to waht I had discovered....in a sense getting used to the death of my friend God......mourn the death of the concept of God as you would mourn any individual, it is necessary, then move on in happiness and positivity with the life empowering truth that you and I have discovered.....your life is your own
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Jun 24, 2008 - 8:29PM #10
AScannerDarkly
Posts: 24
Don't decide your allegiance without deciding for sure.
And don't ever let anybody, catholic or athiest, tell you who's right. The decision is yours and yours alone
Quick Reply
Cancel
Page 1 of 3  •  1 2 3 Next
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook