I have been thinking about quite a bit lately. I am a Christian and come from a fairly Christian background. I know quite a few people who have either left the faith or are not as active as they once were. I am kind of having doubts about certain things. I am not to the point that I don't believe or even planning on leaving. Has anyone ever been in a situation where they left the faith? If you are active now are you certain you would never leave? What would make you consider leaving?
I am certain I would never leave because I know my God exists and I can't imagine leaving Him when He has never left me. I also can't imagine turning away and ending up in Hell. If you personally need someone to talk to about certain situations, I am here. You can message me if you want
I would pray about it and ask God to let you know He is there. He won't always do it immediately, it takes time.
@Lalk2bee: You can believe in god and not be a Christian. Christianity doesn't have a patent on god!
@crayfish: According to Dictionary.com it says a Christian is "Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus." I have never heard of Christian who believed in Jesus but not God...but I am sorry I offended you.
@Kacey23: I haven't considered leaving the faith or no longer believing, but I have stopped relying so much on what the church/pastor/talking folks said and worked to find answers for myself. Ever since I was little, we'd never been an every Sunday family because we had to travel on the weekends to visit grandparents. My elementary classmates all had relatives in town, so they'd go every Sunday and then attempt to make me feel bad for misisng...I soon figured out that I didn't want to be a "keep track Christian" and determined that my beliefs, devotion, understanding, and relationships with Jesus and God were for me, not for anyone else.
I prefer to listen to the message when I do go to church, but also to read the Bible and other materials on my own, have thoughtful conversations with other people to work through questions, and find a peace I'm comfortable with. I think that the decrease in devout believers in Christianity and other organized religions stems from refusal of many systems to help people consider the tough questions and focusing instead on strict rules and appearances.
Kacey23 I am a Catholic and about 5 years ago I had major doubts. I went from attending church weekly to maybe once a month and I didn't do the sacraments (confesion, eucharist, etc...) because it just didn't feel right if I didn't truly believe. I started questioning the belief system because of a betrayal.
I gave it a few years and slowly started to get more and more involved. Now I am almost back to feeling like before.
You don't mention your age, but it is common for young adults to feel this way and to question things. Do what is in your heart :) It is also difficult to lead a Christian lifestyle in this secular world :(
I grew up Christain but there have been times in my life where I have walked away. Sometimes for several years. Not where I didn't believe that Jesus was my savior or stopped praying but where I lived for myself and without any convictions..and basically picked and choosed what I wanted to believe and follow in the bible . Well those times in my life where the darkest and loneliest for me. Where I made the biggest mistakes and have the most regret. Having a lot of Christain (and non Christain friends) any Christain friend of mine who has grown up in the faith and has "walked away" has always come back realizing life is better for them when they have a close relationship with God and live for something greater than themselves and pray for God guidance and will for their life.
Maybe read some books on faith or listen to audiobooks and explore your feelings. Have you always gone to the same church or denomination? Perhaps your beliefs are evolving and you might consider a different church would fill your needs.
@Lalk2bee: I think she meant that if you believe in God it doesn't make you a Christian. For example, part of FI's family are Jewish. They believe in God but they aren't Christian. Hence her statement that "You can believe in god and not be a Christian. Christianity doesn't have a patent on god!"
You can believe in God without believing in Jesus.
I've never walked away from my faith (I could never be an atheist no matter how hard I try), but I have kind of given up on the church.
I fully believe that I can have my own relationship with Christ without being surrounded by people who I believe have strayed even further than the people they judge.
I have been in and out of the church for years but my love for Jesus Christ has never left. He is my savor, my father, my best friend, my therapist; My everything. I am fufilled because of God and I could never leave him because He has never considered leaving me.
If you ask God to show himself to you in a way that only you would recognize, then He will do it for you.
You can leave the church without losing your beliefs in God or a creator. I was raised Methodist but the dogma never sat well with me. I left the church when I was 16, and left Christianity when I was 17. I went back and forth between agnosticism and atheism for years. Now I consider myself Pagan, but I'm solitary and still fairly agnostic. I live a good life and I have never regretted my decision. For me, being the good Christian who sent to church weekly and bible study and choir practice felt disingenuous and not quite right. I asked a lot of questions but people didnt want to debate or explain, they wanted me to just take it at face value. I am not that kind of person. Questioning things shouldn't threaten them, it should strengthen it because you have reflected and come to that decision on your own terms.
If you are losing faith then ask why, and why right now. Has it always been like this and you didn't want to admit it? What has changed? You could try taking a break or reaching out and exploring other avenues. What about going to a Unitarian Universalist church untill you have a clearer idea of what is best for you right now. You can always rejoin your church if you want to go back to it later.
Depends what you mean by "leaving the faith". If you leave your church because you don't like the way they do things, and you feel that they are misinterpreting or twisting scripture, some people might say that is leaving the faith. This is not necessarily so. I would say a similar thing for people who stop going to church because they can't find one which ministers to them correctly.
Now, if you honestly feel that you no longer believe in God, and that God does not exist, then you have left the faith. I mean, that's the point of faith. You either have it or you don't. I wouldn't say that was a choice... it's something very intrinsic to who you are, and only you can answer that question.
@Kacey23: I left. I became a Christian when I was 12, was baptized at 17, and by the time I was 20, I had serious doubts, many unanswered questions and I was just generally dissatisfied. I identify now as agnostic.
I've definitely had my ups and down in my walk with the Lord. There was two years that I now refer to as my time in the wilderness. For me, there are times when I just know the Lord is with me, His Spirit just nudges. I don't know how to explain it, I don't think people will know what I'm talking about unless they've experienced it. (1 Corinthians 1:18 talks about this in relation to understanding salvation,.) I remember being so confused. I wanted to believe, but I found myself plagued with doubts. I remember crying out to the Lord for just a glimpse that He was still there, just one more nudge. I came to the point where I just decided, I'm going to try and pursue Him then! I made a simple commitment to read one psalm a day and just see where it took me. I found that as I pursued Him, I felt a hunger to know Him more. My prayers started to change. They were no longer just about me and my feelings, but instead about just wanting to know the Lord and bring Him glory. His Word had spoken to my heart to testify of the things the Lord has done for this world, His creation (let alone me)! There was no magic formular to get out of the wilderness, but one day I just realized, "It's alright. He's here."
I'd be lying if I told you I didn't struggle with doubt occasionally, or "dry spells" in my walk with the Lord. I'd just advise you to talk to Him about it, nothing fancy - even just a "Lord, I don't know what I need, but You do. Help." Don't give up, even if the feelings don't come right away. In Matthew 7:7, the Lord says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Jeremiah 29:11-14 shares similar sentiments: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to complete you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord."
May the Lord bless you in your pursuit of Him. May you find water for your thirsty soul (John 4) and peace in knowing Him as your Saviour and Redeemer.
@Kacey23: My FI left. He was raised catholic and, after a lot of experience and education, is now proudly atheist. He simply learned too much about other people and about world to maintain his beliefs. He's a very rational person and only accepts reality based on evidence.
He simply withdrew. His family still asks that he attend church when he is staying with them (for a holiday or something) and he goes so as not to make anyone upset. His mother is still somewhat heartbroken but the rest of his family got over it fast and I think his younger siblings are on the way to joining him in leaving.
If you start to feel like you're separating, feel free to PM me and I can put you guys in touch. When you withdraw from that kind of community it's easy to feel confused if you still believe in Christian morals but doubt the supernatural, many people feel alienated, or afraid to admit that your beliefs have changed because of the social aspect, but if you find yourself there, don't be afraid. You're not alone, and your social/community life doesn't have to be over. (If you feel that, looking into secular humanist organizations might help you.)
i left the church. i never left the faith. i still have faith in Christ, but i don't have faith in a lot of His believers. humans are imperfect and subject to prejudice and emotions which can make them act in hypocritical and sometimes cruel ways.
@rosworms: Indeed they are. "We all like sheep have gone astray." We'll never find a church of perfect people. Churches aren't meant to be country clubs for saints, they're hospitals for sinners. Should be a place to gather to worship the Lord, seek Him out, and live for Him!
@rosworms: Completely agree.
I left organied religion years ago, actually many years ago, I tried to go back at one point it just wasn't for me any more I am a spiritual person with spiritual beliefs. I have faith and I do believe in the gods and goddesses, not just one. I do know people that make religion a major focus in their life and it works well for them. I have no opinion on anyone's religious or political beliefs, to me that is very personal. I have been to many different religious services if my life, now I have something that works for me. My suggestion would be to pray on it and wait for the answer it will appear.
I think the big issue I have is with the people I attend church with. They tend to be judgemental and at times very arrogant. I just get so discouraged.
I left, and it was the hardest decision I have ever made.
I grew up Christian, believed from word go, and made my most "formal" commitment when I was 14. I was extremely dedicated. I would pray constantly throughout the day, I loved worship times at church, I was planning on being a missionary - not a vague thought - I mean I was studying toward a graduate theology qualification and had been on 4 short term missions trips abroad (3-6 week trips) and had strong connections with missions agencies. I would get a kick out of being one of 5 or so student sin my Christian school that came to the early mornign prayer meetings I read my bible most days, and genunily believed. I loved my church, I loved my Christian friends, I loved my life. Often people try and pin people who walk away on never truly having believed - it then gets framed as "it was religion for them, not relationship". I used to say the same, but mark my words, I genuinly believed God talked to me and I talked to Him.
When I was 23 I started to doubt. The doubts started in a small, nagging way. Firstly, creationsim. I had studied enough science that I could see the holes. I spent the next two years trying desperately to make myself believe young earth creationism, as I had as a younger teenager. I couldn't though. The science didn't add up.
I also had huge misgivings about the treatment of GLBT people around me. I hated to see the fiery passion people would use when discussing gay marriage etc. I spent a couple of years almost living a double life over this. I had gay friends. I honestly didn't believe it was wrong, but the "Christian" me had to, so I constantly wrestled with trying to convince myself it was wrong, even when I knew it wasn't. I couldn';t comprehend God creating people a certain way, then it being evil. The final straw with that was when someone I know announced that "too much grace" was given to gay people. I realised the type of people I was trying to become, and I couldn't.
A big issue I had was with the Christians I kept meeting and knowing. I have a lot of awesome, amazing Christian friends. I do not for a seocnd think all are bad, but it really started to bother me, when a huge proportion of Christians I cam into contact with were just so hateful. Whether it was directed toward gay people (often thinly veiled in a "hate the sin, love the sinner" phrase), scientists (evolutionary bioloigists specifically), women (often very subtily), welfare recipients, or just anyone who didn't share the same worldview or they percieved as lesser (restaurant employees is a GREAT example - a few of my Christian friends who worked in restaurants would talk about how frustrating the church groups in restaurants on Sundays tended to be). It was often subtile, but it started to bother me more and more.
I think that was the final straw. It REALLY, REALLY bothered me that I knew so many awesome, gracious, kind, loving non-Christians, and so many Christians who were so judgmental, and yet it was the latter going to heaven, and those who were so graceful, and who may have been put off Christianity by seeing Christians, were going to hell. Hell seemed like such an unjust punishment - seriously, somebody who tries to live as kindly, and graciously, and lovingly as possible is condemned to eternal torture. And that led to a questioning of why God would create billions of people He knoew would go to hell (and I have heard the free will statement many times).
I tried to believe for a couple of years after that, but really couldn't. Eventually I moved countries. Getting outside the 'bubble' of Christianity meant I didn't have the outside influences. I went to church once, and it felt so wrong. I couldn't do it any more. It was extremely hard to give it up. I literally disappointed dozens, if not hundreds of people, gave up on my future dreams, stopped having a certain security I had come to rely on. But it was the right decision for me. There was a whole lot more to it, but I think I've already typed a novel.
I don't know if there is a spiritual. I came out of Christianity very, very hurt. It took a couple of years to heal. I love the concept of grace though. I am considering joining Unitarians when I move to the US. I need a safe place to work out my spiritual beliefs.
@Kacey23: With what do you have a problem? Is it with your belief in God, or your church. When I was 18, I left our church (I was Presbetyrian Methodist) because I disagreed with many things in that church and the general organisation of it as a religion. I didn't leave my faith though. If you can seperate in your mind and heart religion from faith, you will be able to make a better decision for your spiritual self.
@Kacey23: questioning what you were taught through out your life is a sign of self realization and maturity. we do not, thankfully, live in a place where if we questioned authority or our community, our safety is in danger. Question away ! !
Oh i have been there. I left the Christian faith because I felt as a young women I was taught primarily to not have sex and also the Christian stance on gay marriage, on women, on abortion, on the death penalty- all of these things, I strongly disagree.
If you would like to talk about your questioning of Christianity- PM, I would love to talk to you too.
@farawayviolet: My story is similar.
Heavily involved in the church since I was a preteen. I lead Bible studies and prayer groups. I was in some sort of prayer/worship/small group meeting four times a week, and sometimes more. I loved it all. I had full intentions of becoming a missionary. I truly believed I had a relationship with God, and I had a great community of some wonderful loving people. I was very much an anti-religion and pro-relationship Christian.
I'm now a staunch atheist. I "left the faith" and am happy I did. It's an incredibly painful process to lose one's faith... but one day I just couldn't believe any more. None of it made sense. I couldn't justify obvious logical flaws within the Bible and God's character.
I tried and tried to believe. I went to a prayer ministry for a week and sat in the prayer room every day for at least five or so hours a day wrestling with it. This ministry had previously been so refreshing. This time I felt nothing. I felt like I was looking at it from the outside and it was all so bizare.
Within a few months my faith had dissolved completely. The process was painful because I was stuck on the fence - wanting with every fiber of my being to believe but not being able to.
Once I had accepted that there is no God and religious beliefs are an entirely man-made phenomenon, I had such relief. Far more relief than I had ever felt as a Christian.
Anyway, I'm not telling you to leave or not to leave. Do what is best for you. But don't feel alone in the struggle. Read and study both sides. I absolutely think Christians (really anyone for that matter, Christian or not) should read works like Dawkins and Hitchens with an open mind and challenge themselves and take an objective look at their beliefs. If at the end of that they still believe - great! If in the end they don't believe - great! Whatever works for you.
I grew up in a Christian home. I have left the faith, but by staying left I mean I was leaving an organized religion. There is so much I doubt, but I don't doubt there is something greater than us. In my heart and my beliefs I believe that there is something greater and I just can't be the one who defines what that is or have someone or anyone tell me what is right or wrong. I still hold strong morals and values and live my life ( not to be rude, but better or on a better path than most self proclaimed Christians). I have left but I live my life no different that I would have ever. The most we can do in life, is to do what we feel is right and just for us and hope were doing good. sometimes having inning faith in yourself and living a life of good is better than following any particular religion.
I was raised in church's. My mom is Christian but she never attended church. She never read the bible and only knows a couple of verses. She's one of the christians who rely solely on Jesus and her being forgiven for her sins. So she just doesn't put any time into her faith.
My Grandmother though, I went with her to church 2-3 times a week as a child. At first I was really into the church. Until the church told me (when I was 7) that I would go to hell if I died. Because my mom was a sinner there was no hope for me basically. I still went to church but got a bad taste when I did. Not to mention I have a lot of nut jobs in my family that read "hidden messages" in the bible about wearing crosses will make you go to hell etc.
So as a teenager I wanted to go back to the church. I got baptized again, got saved but eventually being a teenager and the temptation of drinking and sinning won me over. So I left the church for a long time.
I'm still not going to church as of yet. I always find something wrong with them. I blame this on the terrible church's I went to as a child. But my faith has been restored and is unshakeable this time.
During the times where I didn't want to follow the rules, I felt ashamed and turned my back on my faith, that's when I really started questioning everything. It kind of gave me a reason to not go to church.
But I almost died. Three times in one year. During one of those times I don't know where I went but I felt and still believe to this day that I did die. Only for a moment but I collapsed onto the floor and everyone said it looked like I wasn't breathing. They checked for a pulse but shortly after I started breathing again.
During that time I was on drugs. Well a drug. I took hallucinogenic mushrooms for my first time. It caused a grand mal seizure and eventually I collapsed onto the floor and it was just horrific.
I do have a memory from this time. While everyone around me was trying to figure out what was happening I went into blackness. Then something bright started spinning in front of my eyes. It looked like a caleidascope of colors spinning and spinning. Then all of a sudden it zipped out and I was in nothingness. Blackness all around. I looked for my hands, my feet, my body but there was nothing. And there was nothing around but darkness. But I was there. I could see hear and think. And the one thought I had was "This truly is my biggest fear! I'm going to hell!" and I started to hear voices. I couldn't make out the sounds but I heard them and slowly got pulled back into consciousness. It took a while to hear what was going on and even longer to see.
My biggest fear has always been that there would be nothing after death. Just a void. And my experience during that seizure when I OD'd on mushrooms, confirmed my fear that if I went to hell that would be my punishment. Some doctors have said I may have just been hallucinating or an intense dream or something but I didn't look at it that way.
Unfortunately I have had a seizure since that night yet I was without drugs. Never having a seizure in my life and now all of a sudden I've had two! And during that seizure I saw nothing, no dream, no feelings, I was just out then came back and it seemed like I just blinked. Nothing like what I experienced. And that was my wakeup call.
I started working on my faith. Put a lot of hard work into it . Not as much as I should but I am trying. I'm 1/4th of the way through reading the bible front to back, I make sure to pray and talk to God, I thank God for everyting and remind myself nothing is possible without him, whether I believe it or not. I no longer believe in luck. I no longer believe things just happen. I see the blessings in life.
And I've thought time and time again if there could be anything to break my faith again and there is nothing. One of the top 5 scariest moments of my life brought me closer to God, anything else that may happen will only strengthen my relationship that much more.
Sorry so long, didn't mean to write a book
@bowsergirl: I've read great reads like the GOD delusion. Great great novels. Richard Dawkins is brilliant. After posting I read your post and relate so much. Its hard letting go of what you grew up with, especially if you're a nerdy like me and need proof and am a lover of logic. i still feel there must be something greater.. Mostly bc I have creepy weird things happen and the fear of no after life , other times I laugh and go to my atheist thinking mind. My FI is an atheist but grew up atheist his whole life. Funny thing ,that was one of our first convos. I still doubt myself at times bc, grew up in such a strong catholic family... I think that's natural a progression to say the least. It's comforting to know there's others out there who can relate to the same struggle
I don't know if you could say I left, but I grew up around Christianity and Judaism, and could see that they both thought they were right and better than the other. I, on the other hand, could never really believe either of them. That's kind of when it hit me (I was ~11), they're probably both wrong.
I am an agnostic atheist, which literally means I know there is not a way to prove nor disprove a god, but my personal belief is that there isn't one.
I encourage you to read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
I have never been so genuinely happy and proud of who I am since I just stopped worrying about my lack of faith.
I still have morals better than half of the Christians I've ever known, and I will always hold true to them. I don't need a god to tell me what's good and what's bad. I'm a human, and I do that just fine by myself.
@blushingbride1013: Yeah, I get the doubts. It was so engrained into me that so often I found myself start to pray when I was stressed, then realize, "Huh? Oh right, I need to get myself out of this mess..." It happens less frequently now that it's been a while, but every few months I catch myself. So in those emotional times it is so easy to revert back, but then I realize it's just nonsense to me.
And I think it's so interesting that people fear "nothingness" after death, because I honestly find that a relief! It's so much more comforting than believing I could end up in hell, or that some of my dearest friends and family would.
@frommisstomrs.: I grew up around Christianity and Judaism, and could see that they both thought they were right and better than the other
This is one of the biggest things that bother me! Every faith thinks it is the best and the only way, and each one can list off so many faults with the other religions. Yet, they can't do the same with their own!
ETA: And I so agree that morals does not equal religion/belief/faith. My morals come out of being a decent human being who respects other human beings. It's not coming from a holy book, yet I still like to think I'm a good person.
@Kacey23: Your comment on the people in church being so judgemental and all is exactly why I don't attend church.
Just recently we got invited to a church. My FI's family raved about the church. I heard about all the things they do for the poor, their trips to Africa to help the hungry, and that the church was caring and supportive so I had a go at it.
I'm very picky about the church's I've gone to and to be 100% honest, the only church I have felt comfortable in going to in the last 5 years was a church in the middle of the ghetto. They were all there just for God. Here I am walking in there with my FI and little girl not knowing a person in there and was greeted with open arms (literally) by everyone. The thing that touched me the most, it was the hardest financial time for us. Our water had just gotten cut off, I couldn't find a job and we were living on Ramen noodles literally. (This only lasted a couple months, it was due to a poor decision to up and move to another state without thinking it through) and when the collection plate got passed around, the man sitting next to me could tell we were getting nervous without a dime to our names. He casually stuck a dollar in my hymnal book. When I turned to thank him he just put his hand up like "Don't worry about it" and nothing else was said.
Anyways, back to this church I went to recently. I was expecting it to be the same at the church I just mentioned. Everything started out alright. Big church playing christian rock music. Then the preacher starts to talk about following God even when things get hard. I could relate so I was getting into it until he went on a speil about damning the gays. So when we left FI and I agreed the church wasn't for us. Only later did I find out that along with the good things they do, they also hold up signs in out downtown area frequently talking about the gays going to hell and abortions blah blah blah.
My take on abortion and the death penalty aren't being discussed here but none the less it is NOT Christian to damn anybody! And I hate that about the church's. So I haven't found one that I want to go to. So I stay at home and read my bible and pray.
I'm still looking for that church that will say, instead of saying "You're going to hell" they say "I'll pray for you". But I wont let them take away my faith because of their anger and hatred. I hope you don't let others influence you in your decision
@bowsergirl: it is so true! It really is a stress reliever. But I do the same catch myself not wanting to pray but worrying and you know it has never been bc of something I think could be lovely or nice from believing but out of fear, a god fearing Christian. I guess that's what I was and some,times it creeps back in. It's been years and years now. Funny how your environment growing up has such an impact on who you are.
@bowsergirl: I used to fear nothingness because if there is nothing after life, there is no point in life.
I believe there is a point to life. And if there is nothingless after life, than what does it matter what we do when we are alive? To make it better for the future? But they will end up in nothingness as well and then it is pointless.
But I'm not afraid of nothingness any more. Because I don't believe it
I was raised Catholic, got confirmed to please my mother... then stopped going... I got in trouble/teased in catechism because I questioned EVERYTHING Now I am able to be an outspoken atheist, couldn't be happier.
@pinkgreenandyellow: See, I think the thought that there is no life-after-death (what I personally believe to be the case) makes life all the more grand. This is it. This is all there is. How marvelous is that? It's bitter sweet, but it makes all the moments all the action and all that more special.
Sounds to me like most of the problems here are with the church and not with God. You may have your other troubles with the faith but the biggest complaint is the church.
It's so sad.
They are ruining the very thing they are trying to "follow"
They are running themselves into the ground and giving christianity a bad name.
@DrTeeth: I can see that point. Makes you want to live life to the fullest.
But I knew (and I'm honestly not saying this is like anyone in here) a man who did as he pleased, lived in the moment because he thought there was no afterlife. And with that thought he didn't care what he did or to whom he did it. He's in jail for armed kidnapping and first degree murder. He was a horrific man. Tortured the man he kidnapped. A long story to go with this but...
A big part of my fear of nothingness stemmed from people like him, if there was no fear of the afterlife it could make things good for some, bad for others. Some just would stop caring what they did or who they hurt, others would live with morals and enjoy the time they had. But the ones who think "You only live once, I'm living for me and only me even if/when I hurt others" os the scary part
You must log in to post.
No tags yet.
Sorry, there are no users yet.
Shop Now »