|Subject:||slipping towards being agnostic is unsettling|
|Date:||Jun 29 21:27|
|I can't quite come to terms with it. I've always been the type of person that, when it comes to a serious topic like faith and spirituality, I realize the potential importance of it and will tear apart my mind trying to find what's right. Ever since I left the church, not only Mormonism, but all of Christianity and religion in general is seeming more and more bunk the more I think about it. Being raised in Christianity and being freshly severed from the morg, I'm sure you can understand why this is tormenting me so much. Since I've left, I've felt more free than I ever have. I've rediscovered the healthy practice known as self-expression! I've started writing again, painting again, making music again, all of which I haven't done in what seems like forever. The more I reacquaint myself with my intellect, the more I'm haunted by thoughts that are dragging me towards being agnostic. I can't honestly say that I believe in Christ, but I can say that he's been the biggest spiritual influence in my life. I'm grateful, to say the least, but after having so much faith, and then dropping it all when I finally see the cult for what it is, I can't trust anyone who says they know the truth anymore. I feel like the only one I can trust is myself, but knowing that what I feel right now contradicts everything that I have ever been taught about religion is really causing a lot of mental anguish. Can anyone suggest anything or have any similar feelings?|
|Subject:||And this would be due to the danger threatened by religion, not agnosticism. (nt)|
|Date:||Jun 30 09:33|
|I went to two religious universities: BYU and a
small Southern Baptist college, from which I graduated. I studied the
New Testament at BYU and the Old Testament at my alma mater. I don't
know how anybody could really study it, especially in the context of
ancient history and ancient literature, and not conclude that it's
I had the fear that the original poster describes for about two weeks. I was in a daze for about that length of time because it hit me hard - I *didn't* know. I still don't know. I have a couple of theories and those are even more unsettling.
I marvel at people who leave the Morgue and go on to some other denomination. My parents both did this. I've asked my mother about it and she just says, "I believe in Jesus Christ and the Bible." It's not a real answer - it's the answer of someone who is terrified to face the truth. And I know she has read the bible and studied it quite a lot. You have to want to believe pretty badly to cling to your faith. But, she also refuses to acknowledge that the earth is older than several thousand years and she disregards just about everything to do with history before "biblical times." I guess that's what you have to do to remain a believer. It's better, IMO, to just admit that you don't know and try to deal with reality.
|Subject:||Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions...|
|Date:||Jun 29 21:37|
|keep thinking, keep asking yourself, "What
Moving over to the agnostic/atheist way of thinking has actually given me more peace than I had ever known before. Some people don't believe that you can have peace and contentment without God, yet I don't imagine folks who believe that have ever stepped aside from a lifetime of conditioning and asked themselves, "What if there is no God?"
|Date:||Jun 29 22:14|
|...you should stop worrying about labels. You simply
believe what you believe. You don't even need to be able to articulate
Perhaps it would help to think about the purpose of religious belief -- at least the purpose for you. Is it to give your life meaning and direction? Is it to prepare you for a possible next life? Is it to bring you joy?
The way I see it, agnosticism isn't so scary. It's just admitting that we don't really know. It's perhaps the closest thing to spiritual truth.
Some people are unsettled by the thought of there being no definitive answers. What is there if there's nothing out there? Well, there's always yourself. I think our first duty is to believe in ourselves.
|Subject:||I went through that|
|Date:||Jun 29 22:18|
|was afraid of it and tried to fight it but now I embrace it. Life is a big question mark and that can be very scary for some. Relax, you'll be fine.|
|Subject:||Re: slipping towards being agnostic is unsettling|
|Date:||Jun 29 22:37|
|I have gone through what you are going through. And at times still go through it. I go back and forth and back again. It's all a mind f*ck sometimes. As time has gone by though I am starting to embrace the fact that I honestly don't know the answers to the questions. And in my honest opinion I don't think others know the answers to the questions either. I think there are all kinds of possibilities ... and not one of those possibilities can you prove without a doubt as being true. Because I have started to accept that fact that I don't know anymore I can start to see that others really don't know either (though they might say they know what is true and know by faith). For me there is starting to be a peace in accepting there are no answers ... and with that comes some freedom to start making choices in life from my own motivations or my own beliefs and holding true to myself. It is scary to have the foundation ripped out from underneath you. But you can start to build your own foundation of whatever you want it to be based on and no longer accept life according to other people. Hope this helped a little|
|Subject:||Re: slipping towards being agnostic is unsettling|
|Date:||Jun 29 22:45|
|Author:||j. s. felt|
|My thoughts are your thoughts. One cannot disavow
organized religion of any stripe and continue to embrace Christianity.
It's all or none, intellectually. The more you read, ponder, and think
honestly and independently, the more comfortable you'll become.
Remember--in any case, it's not what you believe, it's how you behave.
|Subject:||I could have written your post word for word 2 yrs ago.|
|Date:||Jun 29 23:03|
|The only thing that helped me.. was realizing how
much religion had bogged down my mind.. and drowned my creativity. Since
I left Mormonism after my brief stint in.. and also gave up Christianity
and religion... it's almost like my mind has gone into overdrive..
replacing those areas that fussed and worried over beliefs.. with more
important and satisfying things.. like.. survival.. creative
endeavors... a yearning to know more about everything else.. and just a
brighter sense of being.
I'm definitely learning myself all over again.. what makes me truly happy.. what my own value system is. It's like growing up all over again.. except on my own terms.
It's truly wonderful.. even if it is scary at times.
|Subject:||Perhaps you'll research and think about it more...|
|Date:||Jun 30 01:20|
|and find yourself more an atheist than an agnostic.
That's what I did. Yes, it is very unsettling at first, but after
awhile, as some have suggested, I think you can find true peace in
admitting what is most likely the truth: There is no "big
purpose" other than the ones we create for ourselves.
Metaphors are powerful--perhaps the first thing you should do is stop thinking of yourself as "slipping" toward agnosticism. You're making your own way, deliberately following truth wherever it takes you.
|Date:||Jun 30 09:41|
|I respect this P.O.V., but it also seems a little
too final for my tastes. It's the opposite of the position of the smug
Mormon who has all of the answers. How can anyone say for sure that
there is no purpose for mankind. What if there is a purpose and it's
something awful? I don't think I have enough information to say if there
is or isn't a purpose.
I do feel pretty certain, however, that there is no supreme deity or a personal god. I don't know for sure, of course, but I don't see much evidence for it.
I think I'm very nearly an atheist, but there is some doubt that keeps me from fully being one. It's still a good place to be and leaves you free to continue exploring for answers. Atheism, on the other hand, seems very definite and final in its conclusions. I'm uncomfortable with that.
|Subject:||Where's the finality?|
|Date:||Jun 30 13:08|
|I'm atheist simply because I have no reason to
believe that any sort of god or gods exist. But the moment I find any
such reason, then I'll logically start believing.
I see it as merely a way station along the path in our life's education. Think of it, perhaps, as similar to the question of whether there's intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Right now, we have no evidence of such, and hence, no reason to believe there's intelligent life out there, but that's not to say it doesn't exist. Once we encounter evidence of intelligent life elsewhere, then we can rationally start to believe it.
So it is with any other question--we don't just arbitrarily decide on what must be true according to our personal preferences or whim, but we rely on what's supported by the evidence and correct reasoning. This might lead us to beliefs that aren't warm and fuzzy, but at least they'll have a much greater correlation to actual truth.
|Subject:||symmetric, your post just floored me....|
|Date:||Jun 30 08:22|
|I could have written it myself! Everything,
down to the need to paint and write again.
The moment I let go of the notion of "God" I felt the most incredible peace inside me. No more guilt, no more cringing in fear, zip, nada, nothing that takes away my humanity. And for about two days, my mind was reeling, like I've jumped off a cliff (Huh? No god? You mean, NO ONE is actually in charge?! Nnnnnooooooo!)
Then, a balance, a symmetry, a peace, and final understanding of why things are as they are or as they happened.
There were vestigial feelings of "guilt" associated with not being in any sort of meeting in the MORG. When I feel that way, it is only fleeting, like a fading echo.
You are correct. Trust only yourself. You are the only authority and last word on what happens to you and those you love. It will unnerve you a bit, because you are used to being directed by the church, your life was already programmed. But take that first tentative step, and you will realize that there are a gazillion things to do, say, feel, experience, understand, read, analyze, organize, evaluate, listen to, etc.
I started by outlining a book I meant for printing (now moving it onto a website) about my journey away from Mormonism and Christianity.
Oh BTW, when you feel any aversion for organized religion, that is okay too. The Morg has successfully brainwashed us into thinking that there is no other church that is the Lord's out there, that there may not seem to be an alternative. Perhaps that's all of the better!
|Subject:||Re: You're not alone...|
|Date:||Jun 30 10:04|
|and what's wrong with being agnostic, or that other "A" word for that matter? You're now free to define your own spiritual legitimacy. You don't need organized religion to do that.|
|Subject:||How I see it.|
|Date:||Jun 30 10:06|
|I understand. You used to KNOW something. Now you're
not so sure you know or CAN know. That's a little unsettling, to say the
least, particularly when you were so confident before.
You know what? It takes a lot of strength to get over realizing you were wrong. It takes even more strength to admit that you probably never will be right, and your answers will always have a tinge of uncertainty. That's okay, and if you're strong enough to handle that, you will be okay. *hugs*
|Subject:||You just described me. N/T|
|Date:||Jun 30 10:51|
|Subject:||Jump on in, the water is fine........|
|Date:||Jun 30 11:00|
|I was BIC and I think there is a difference for
those who were raised with the "It's the morg or nothing"
mentality. I used to think about going to a laid back church, but that
has also passed.
My suggestion, read some books on early Christianity, that helped me.
|Subject:||This BB gives me a lot of insight into Mormonism that in . ..|
|Date:||Jun 30 12:47|
|12 years of association with the church, I find surprising. I find it interesting that so many ex-Mormons become agnostic or atheist. In my experience, I don't think faith in God has made me feel any less free, creative, self-actualized, etc. As far as guilt goes . . . hmmm, need to think on that one. My impression of even the atheists on the BB is that they have a moral code by which they live and I think anytime we don't live according to the way we believe we should, we feel some degree of guilt. Unless you're a sociopath, you have a conscience, right?|
|Date:||Jun 30 13:39|
|Just another opinion, but just because Mormonism
isn't right for you, doesn't mean that religion is altogether wrong. My
own search led me to a stronger belief in God. Being able to ask the
tough questions made it possible for me to research and belief even more
deeply. Still Christianity, but better.
The differences between Christianity and Mormonism are far and wide. One can always say that they have known Christians, Mormons, etc. that don't live up to their religion, but taking the Bible at its core and reading it with an open mind and asking the tough questions, I believe it stands up quite well.
My faith has been strengthened outside the boundaries of any church and I feel a deeper and much firmer commitment to Christ than ever before. To me, Mormonism only manages to make the waters of Christianity very murky. But the Bible, taken in its true context, is reliable. I would recommend "The Case for Christ" and follow it up with "The Case for Faith." These two books outline the search by a Court Room Journalist, who used his own methodical, analytical approach to research Christ.
Giving up on Mormonism doesn't mean that you have to give up on Christ.
|Subject:||The problem with this sort of appeal...|
|Date:||Jun 30 14:14|
> Giving up on Mormonism doesn't mean that you have to give up on Christ.
You're not giving any particular reason as to why that's desirable.
If you're already in the process of changing your belief system from Mormonism, it makes perfect sense to question the whole enchilada. And when we do so, we find that Christianity has no more basis than Mormonism, even if it is somewhat less ridiculous.
|Subject:||Re: The problem with this sort of appeal...|
|Date:||Jun 30 16:56|
|Who is we? I didn't find that Christianity had no
more basis than Mormonism. In fact, I found the opposite. I can fully
understand your reasons for questioning all of Christianity because of
your experience, but I think that far fewer people actually look into
Christianity after they have had an experience of this nature. I'm just
saying that perhaps it isn't actually necessary to give up on
Christianity as a whole because Mormonism isn't Christianity and
Christianity isn't Mormonism. They are two very different theologies.
The person whom I posted to seemed to find himself/herself uncomfortable with Agnosticism. I offered an alternative.
|Subject:||Read "Why Christianity Must Change or Die" by........|
|Date:||Jun 30 13:50|
|John Shelby Spong. Keep your Christian spirituality and lose theism.|
|Subject:||Fear + Happiness = Excitement.|
|Date:||Jun 30 14:25|
|You've said it so well. I've been slipping back and
forth between old beliefs and new beliefs for a long time. Not that I'm
trying to do that. I go back and forth without always realizing it. I
think of it as getting in touch with reality, and sometimes it is
unsettling for me--it's happy-scary-exciting.
I should mention I'm only agnostic in relation to anthropomorphic personifications. I doubt that "The Trinity" or "Heavenly Father" or any other anthropomorphic deities exist outside our imagination. However, I am fascinated by the possibilities of what they can do WITHIN our imagination.
I'm pantheist. Even so, it has been fun and inspiring for me sometimes to entertain the existence of various deities in a make-believe way. I'm not too big on Christian deities, but studying other mythologies has been rewarding.
|Date:||Jun 30 14:36|
|Symmetric, read Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan.
That really helped me to understand that I was more atheist than
agnostic. Like someone on the thread said, if more evidence comes up in
support of a god, that's fine. Science does this--believe in what you
know today but stay open to future possibilities.
But there is no need to believe in a god, or create one just to fill a need.
|Subject:||Why call it slipping? Why not call it choosing? Or walking?|
|Date:||Jun 30 15:56|
|You ARE in control of this situation. You are the
one thinking these things through and weighing your very own choices
Calling it slipping puts you out of control, as if you hit an ice patch and couldn't help but become agnostic, or consider becoming one.
You are in actuality considering agnosticism. You have walked a path that has brought you here. You don't have to stay here. You can keep walking and go somewhere else on your path where you are actively seeking truth in your life.
Own it. It's yours. Have a good journey...
|Subject:||It's your choice|
|Date:||Jun 30 14:41|
|I've been tempted to abandon my faith in Christ, but
I've never been able to do it. I believe that's because I've sincerely
asked Jesus to come into my life. At some point I made the choice to
have faith and God hasn't abandoned me during my low points.
But God doesn't reject people just because they don't have faith or can't resolve all of their questions. You just have to be honest with yourself. The best thing I've ever read about someone in your situation from a Christian perspective is right here:
|Subject:||i hear ya|
|Date:||Jun 30 20:28|
|ever since I left the church I cant help but feel
like there's nothing else out there. the whole concept of religion is
lost on me.. it all seems so dumb. I think critically now. I've attended
a few Christian services, and I don't think that I can ever have faith
in Jesus Christ. none of it makes any sense.
so, I guess I'm an atheist. it's kind of saddening sometimes. sometimes I wish I could go back to believing... but I can't. I know too much.
even though I sometimes get down about the meaninglessness of life, I would never trade my newfound knowledge for the blind faith I used to have. it's so rewarding to do everything completely on my own. to think for myself. to make my own choices. to accept the consequences of all my actions. it feels good to be free.
|Subject:||Whoa, life isn't meaningless!|
|Date:||Jun 30 20:53|
|It just doesn't have a Big Guy controlling it. If you think about it, that should make very little difference in your everyday life. Moral people do what they think is right not for fear of punishment or retribution, but because of how it will affect themselves or others.|
|Subject:||thank you, everyone|
|Date:||Jul 01 19:12|
|Thank you, all of you, for all of your help on this. Over the past few days, I've sorted things out. I'm just sort of letting the dust settle now and things are a lot easier. I'm comfortable not believing in Christ as my savior, and I've found even more comfort in simply believing that Christ was a remarkable man. Whether he was the son of God or not, he was trying to inspire all of mankind with no thought for reward. I think that's the difference between Christ and Christianity. Christianity seems more about being worthy and following example to get a reward, where as Christ just wanted to help. Accepting myself as agnostic has put in perspective what being like Christ really is, and also helps me feel no shame in the fact that I can't be like him. To put it simply, I am emotionally, spiritually, and mentally free; and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Thanks, guys.|
|Subject:||Re: slipping towards being agnostic is unsettling|
|Date:||Jul 01 19:37|
|This is from the Upanishads (8th-5th? B.C.E.) Hope
Those that realize that God cannot be known, truly know.
Those who claim that they know, know nothing. The ignorant
think that God can be grasped by the mind. The wise know it
|Subject:||Re: slipping towards being agnostic is unsettling|
|Date:||Jul 01 19:42|
|wow, that's ironic. I've never heard that before, but I feel like I've instinctually known it all my life.|