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I wish I knew there was a God

70 posts in this topic

Posted

I was a much happier person when I believed and had faith. It gave me hope that someone was looking out for me somewhere.

But the older I get the more I begin to see things may be just what they are...

It's extremely scary and upsetting to go from believing in God to not being sure to being sure there isn't a God.

I think I would also be less depressed if I were religious, but I can't just go out, pick a religion, and hop in.

The biggest problem with religion is the evidence. Where is the evidence? And no matter who I talk to or where I turn, there isn't any proof.

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Posted

No, there's not, and there probably won't ever be. But this isn't something you have to figure out immediately.

Maybe the best plan would be to kind of table this one for now, and look for meaning in more tangible places.

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Posted

Is it really more important that you have absolute proof of such things than it is to keep you from living a depressed life? I think you should go ahead and look into various religions and see if there's one that feels right to you. That intuitive feeling that it's right for you is a form of "proof" if you ask me.

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Posted (edited)

I still had the same fight with depression when I was a convinced theist,

but yes, thinking and beleiving I had a firm foundation to count on and build from was a resource.

Until seeking to get that more precisely right, I looked too deeply and carefully.

And with the way my mind operates, I have to follow the truth, as best as I can put it together

(leaving room for provisionals and epistemological doubt, which allows both for day-to-day functioning and the possibility of revision and change)

Douglas Adams is, as so often, spot on.

"The Universe, as has been observed before, is an unsettlingly big place, a fact which for the sake of a quiet life most people tend to ignore. Many would happily move to somewhere rather smaller of their own devising, and this is what most beings in fact do."

But I can't do that, once I suspect there is a universe bigger than my pre-packaged view of it.

And the wonder line for me...

"We demand clearly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty."

Chris.

Edited by Emettman

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Posted

Is it really more important that you have absolute proof of such things than it is to keep you from living a depressed life? I think you should go ahead and look into various religions and see if there's one that feels right to you. That intuitive feeling that it's right for you is a form of "proof" if you ask me.

When you have that belief that there is a God it is quite comforting. I remember it well. But it can really shatter your world when you begin to doubt it. Being comforted felt right, but if I don't actually believe it anymore, then I won't be comforted by it.

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Posted

I first declared myself an atheist at 16 and was never raised religious. however, over the years I have battled myself over this, going back an forth between theism and atheism as I studied more philosophy and religion. I became wildly religious in 2007 during a hypo(?)manic episode and couldn't be convinced in anyway shape or form that there wasn't a god. I lived and breathed god. I felt on top of the world. then everything crashed back down to an ugly reality and it became clear, once again, that there no god. I waivered a couple of more times, the latest of which was may 2010 when I thought I wanted to be jewish. but that passed in about 2 months.

I admit that I was happiest, happier than I had or have ever been in 2007 when I believed. however, along with that belief came the idea that I was evil or demon possessed for being gay and for certain things in my past. that said, I am glad I no longer believe in god. in 2007 I almost got a religious tatoo. I am glad I didn't.

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Posted

During the part of life where I was actively religious (raised Methodist, which in the South is akin to being Catholic, even though I know that's a crock of poo because my mother is Catholic and Methodists are NOT catholic; it's just if you were anything other than some uber dogmatic Bible thumping world-is-coming-to-an-end freak then you may as well have been Catholic), I seem to remember the "mystery of faith." There was no proving it. You had to have faith that it was real.

As someone else mentioned, if you want to believe in God, then find whatever religion works for you. You just have to have faith that it's real.

If you want to explore religion to find a higher power in your life then do so. You don't have to hop right in. Just beware and take "religion" with a grain of salt. I would steer clear of the "you're all going to rot in hell" churches.

It may be that you just accept the idea of God in your life without becoming actively involved in religion. But there's nothing wrong with it if that's what you decide to do. My only advice is to steer clear of the hellfire and damnation places.

On the other hand if you feel like becoming involved in religion might make you question who you are as a person (as exl mentioned her experience with being gay), you may want to avoid it. I think you can have faith in God without becoming bogged down with people and their opinions of how they think we and others should be living.

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Posted

for anyone interested in this subject you might check out Andrew Newberg's book "How God Changes the Brain". A fascinating book full of insights on our brains and religious faith-meditation etc. Time magazine rated him one of the world's leaing neurologists-He rates faith as the number one factor in brain health! That surprised me-I'm sure not all neurologists would agree with him.

A very important point he makes is that the fire and brimstone-full of -fear of God's wrath kinds of religions are not the ones that lead to brain health, quite the contrary. He cites all kinds of research to back up his claims.:loved:

My take on it is this-we are really in the dark-life is a mystery-so if you can have faith-sincere faith and your quality of life is improved what have you got to lose-if your wrong so what!! IOW's I'm a pragmatist and move towards the optimistic outlook.

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Posted

It is frustrating when God starts to feel like a fairy story, certainly. I do think finding tangible pleasure and faith in the things aroudn you might be a good first step. There are lots of things we can do to feel good besides God, like doing nice things for other people, for example.

I mean, my sister is a committed atheist but she is a very happy person (also exceedingly nice). I'm sure there's a connection there. Anna

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Posted

I am wondering if the time you started to doubt was when you experienced depression.

I have come to see how unlikely it is that this world could have randomly come about. The infinitely complex processes in our own bodies, the beauty and balance of nature...this is not something a mere man can think up.

To me this is proof of God or a higher power at least.

I went through a time of terrible spiritual shaking after being diagnosed and medicated. It took me 3 years but I have come out the other side of it a believer. Happiness alludes me often but I have a spiritual set point helps a lot.

I hope that you will find what you are looking for...

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Posted

I am wondering if the time you started to doubt was when you experienced depression.

I have come to see how unlikely it is that this world could have randomly come about. The infinitely complex processes in our own bodies, the beauty and balance of nature...this is not something a mere man can think up.

To me this is proof of God or a higher power at least.

For me, the depression was there before, during and after my time as a Christian (18+ years as an adult). Long history.

Brian's first post included: "The biggest problem with religion is the evidence. Where is the evidence? "

And this is the tough one.

So much seems to hang on one's hermeneutic, paradigm, framework of thinking...

I look at nature and the night sky and can see at the very least the clear possibility of a cold, indifferent universe with no guiding benevolent hand.

Starting details might include my impacted wisdom teeth, the random crater patterns on the surface of the moon, and that 99% of all known species are extinct.

And I don't think retrospective probability weighs very much.

But this difference in our opinions doesn't come out of the raw data nearly so much as it does out of our handling of it.

And that's a whole different level on which to attempt communication, understanding and agreement.

It's a complicated world.

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Posted

I think that it's natural for all people to doubt, both in good and bad times, the existence of a god. I don't think that it's necessary to 'know' deep down that there is a god to follow a faith, draw comfort or feel that someone is looking out of for you. Some of the most spiritually rich people I know are those who aren't sure or who don't follow the norm of faith that everyone else is following. Depression makes having any kind of faith harder, but also deeper.

My own best plan has been to explore spirituality widely, I am lucky enough to have studied Theology and been exposed in my studies to some quite unusual belief systems. There are whole schools of Christian thought (negative theology being the most extreme) that claim that we can know virtually nothing for sure about God, yet we can still relate to him. Not every faith demands that you stake your claim. Please don't let a lack of what other people call 'faith' detract from your own spiritual search, wherever that takes you. There are plenty of times in the Christian bible where we see verses about searching, seeking, not recognizing, outsiders and people missing the point. It's part of the Christian story. This image we have of bible thumping people who are certain in every detail of what they believe is not standard to measure ourselves by, IMHO.

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Posted

I am wondering if the time you started to doubt was when you experienced depression.

I have come to see how unlikely it is that this world could have randomly come about. The infinitely complex processes in our own bodies, the beauty and balance of nature...this is not something a mere man can think up.

To me this is proof of God or a higher power at least.

I went through a time of terrible spiritual shaking after being diagnosed and medicated. It took me 3 years but I have come out the other side of it a believer. Happiness alludes me often but I have a spiritual set point helps a lot.

I hope that you will find what you are looking for...

I became depressed and suicidal and that's when I began to think there probably wasn't a God which only sent me further into despair.

I wish I knew what I was supposed to be looking for... Any conversation is a deadend on the subject.

More and more I feel like gods were created right about the same time people became conscious of life/death and themselves.

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Posted (edited)

I don't feel that the conversation is pointless and I'm very glad you started this thread (thank you) because everything that has been said here has touched me greatly. One thing that is very important to remember, I think, is that our thoughts on the subject are often mood driven. I have found god over the brink (looking at another thread I think I have had similar experiences to postearthling), and lost her in the ordinary day-to-day. And back again. My question is: does it really matter? There is love, and forgiveness, and the search for knowledge, and the never ending quest for truth and justice and all the sappy stuff that I think of right now because my mood is pretty good.

My point is that there is meaning to life, independent of god. That's where the focus can be in order to get past a god rut.

Meantime, I confess that I have a somewhat mystical faith rooted in traditional beliefs, based on profound personal experiences at the manic end. This faith helps me cope, generally.

This may sound terribly inconsistent. But with severe mood swings I have learned that I have to be a little inconsistent at times in order to survive, because I can easily lose my faith in the throes of a deep depression. I know survival, so far at least. And little else.

Edited by Will

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Posted

Yeah I know I am in major depressive trouble when I start losing faith in god so i try to not let it get to me too much. Anna

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Posted

Believing there is God and loving him even though you can't see him or have solid proof that he exists in your hands shows true love. When you can't see something but still have faith and hope in that thing shows how much you love and how much devotion you have toward it. If we could see God, then Im pretty sure we would not love him in the same way we love him when we dont see him. The Bible is the biggest proof a person can have and im sure youve heard that a lot but its true. There has been many prophecies in the Bible that have been proven true. Youve never seen Jesus but he loved you no matter what and its shown when he died for you which shows how much love he has for you. Knowing that PERMANENT love exists for you should make you happy. I don't know why you stopped believing but if its because of problems, thats not a good reason. Problems make you stronger as a person and not only you but also your faith in God. Nothing is impossible for him. I hope this helped and i also hope you feel better :)

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Posted

I find enormous comfort in the fact that the universe is huge and is infinitely larger than the human experience. Religious people would have us believe that the universe was created for man and that man is created in God's image thus making man demigods. No. If man were killed off due to a plague, nuclear war, or an asteroid hitting the Earth, the universe would still march on. We are but cockroaches in this universe. This gives me great comfort, and I can't explain why.

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Posted

I find enormous comfort in the fact that the universe is huge and is infinitely larger than the human experience. Religious people would have us believe that the universe was created for man and that man is created in God's image thus making man demigods. No. If man were killed off due to a plague, nuclear war, or an asteroid hitting the Earth, the universe would still march on. We are but cockroaches in this universe. This gives me great comfort, and I can't explain why.

Ditto.

Which reminds me: While I am of course trying to do my tiny bit to help slow climate change, it drives me nuts when people say climate change will kill the planet. Hello! The planet doesn't give a fuck about whether or not it is survivable for humans, or any species for that matter! Life is merely a veneer that coats parts of the Earth.

I find being part of the larger universe very satisfying.

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Posted

The planet doesn't give a fuck about whether or not it is survivable for humans, or any species for that matter! Life is merely a veneer that coats parts of the Earth.

I find being part of the larger universe very satisfying.

I'll go with that. From an evolutionary point of view we are *interesting* : currently a short-lived experiment with self-awareness and tool-using, we may end up a failed, extinct, flash-in-the-pan compared to species that have track records of hundreds of milions of years.

But there is the potential for something truly groundbreaking in evolutionary terms: the first species with the potential to establish Earth lifeforms on other planets.

It is true, however, that a good number of people don't like the big universe with an enormous timescale idea.

As Douglas Adams put it:

"The Universe, as has been observed before, is an unsettlingly big place, a fact which for the sake of a quiet life most people tend to ignore.

Many would happily move to somewhere rather smaller of their own devising, and this is what most beings in fact do."

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Posted (edited)

My guess is that the universe can take care of itself. I am more "interested" in the survival of mankind on our tiny orb, so that our history of triumph and tears is ultimately resolved by triumph.

Edited by Will

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Posted

My guess is that the universe can take care of itself. I am more "interested" in the survival of mankind on our tiny orb, so that our history of triumph and tears is ultimately resolved by triumph.

Which is kind of unlikely, really, considering that one day the sun will implode, and that will be that for us.

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Posted (edited)

Sasha,

If I did not believe that YOUR spirit would nevertheless survive, I believe I would just quit now. But I have never quit...except for once in

junior high football. (Edit again: And it still bothers me that I quit then. But I was just too damn small and slow

and just fodder for the big guys.)

Will

(Edit: Trying to work outside again. It's already 87 degrees with 52 per cent humidity. And it's mid April. Like living in a swamp, and it is swamp land after all.)

Edited by Will

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Posted

Sasha,

If I did not believe that YOUR spirit would nevertheless survive, I believe I would just quit now. But I have never quit...except for once in

junior high football. (Edit again: And it still bothers me that I quit then. But I was just too damn small and slow

and just fodder for the big guys.)

Will

(Edit: Trying to work outside again. It's already 87 degrees with 52 per cent humidity. And it's mid April. Like living in a swamp, and it is swamp land after all.)

Lol. Nope, we'll all be stardust.

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Posted

Believing there is God and loving him even though you can't see him or have solid proof that he exists in your hands shows true love. When you can't see something but still have faith and hope in that thing shows how much you love and how much devotion you have toward it. If we could see God, then Im pretty sure we would not love him in the same way we love him when we dont see him. The Bible is the biggest proof a person can have and im sure youve heard that a lot but its true. There has been many prophecies in the Bible that have been proven true. Youve never seen Jesus but he loved you no matter what and its shown when he died for you which shows how much love he has for you. Knowing that PERMANENT love exists for you should make you happy. I don't know why you stopped believing but if its because of problems, thats not a good reason. Problems make you stronger as a person and not only you but also your faith in God. Nothing is impossible for him. I hope this helped and i also hope you feel better :)

that is the only line out of tat whole post that makes any logical sense to me.

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Posted

I find enormous comfort in the fact that the universe is huge and is infinitely larger than the human experience. Religious people would have us believe that the universe was created for man and that man is created in God's image thus making man demigods. No. If man were killed off due to a plague, nuclear war, or an asteroid hitting the Earth, the universe would still march on. We are but cockroaches in this universe. This gives me great comfort, and I can't explain why.

this.

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