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caspianrex
10-16-2014, 07:24 AM
Hello all,

For the past year or so, despite the fact that I direct music at a small Methodist church, I have secretly been living as a closet atheist. I just haven't been able to say with any sincerity that I believe in God. However...

I don't know what exactly got me started down this path, but yesterday I had a sudden yearning for the faith I used to have. I thought to myself, I used to be able to reconcile faith in God with my daily, rational life. What happened?

I can't say that I'm convinced yet. I still can't say "I believe" with any conviction. But, for some reason, I want to believe again. And I want to figure out why I believe what I believe.

So...here I am. I'm here to learn (or to re-learn). I think I used to be a member of TWeb back in the day. Good to be back...

Cory Howell
Nashville, TN

fm93
10-16-2014, 08:00 AM
Hey there, and welcome.

I don't think I know how to help you (still trying to work out exactly what my own worldview is), but I hope you come out of this journey for the best.

As a general question, though, could you explain or at least outline how you got to this point and why you want to believe again? I know you said you weren't sure, and I understand that it can be hard to explain and put into words, but is there some basic speculation, at least? I'd be interested in knowing where you came from.

Cerebrum123
10-16-2014, 08:48 AM
:hi:

One Bad Pig
10-16-2014, 09:04 AM
Welcome back! :smile:

I was more or less away from church for about 5 years, coinciding with my military service. I don't know that I ever disbelieved, just wandered away. I think that growing up, I may have believed because it was expected. It wasn't until I was away that I eventually realized my need for God. I've found two resources particularly helpful: The Christian Thinktank (http://christianthinktank.com/)is something I stumbled across early; later I found The Theology Program (https://bible.org/article/theology-program), which is a more structured way of examining Christian beliefs.

LostSheep
10-16-2014, 09:34 AM
:hi:

Welcome back.

caspianrex
10-16-2014, 09:54 AM
square_peg wrote:
As a general question, though, could you explain or at least outline how you got to this point and why you want to believe again? I know you said you weren't sure, and I understand that it can be hard to explain and put into words, but is there some basic speculation, at least? I'd be interested in knowing where you came from.



I'll give it my best shot...

I've never found it easy to believe. I strayed away from the church for a half-dozen years in my mid-20s, and began attending again around 1997. But over the past years since then, I have had bouts (usually a few months at a time) where I was convinced atheism made more sense than theism. There was never any catastrophic event that precipitated these brief periods of atheism; rather, I would sort of casually slip into a mindset wherein I realized God was not something I was interested in. Even when I was a believer, the hardest thing for me was finding any sort of love for God: I could believe in him easily enough, no problem. But when people talked about "loving God as he loved us," I found myself quite incapable of that. I love my wife, I love my kids, I love my extended family, but God? Jesus? I couldn't find anything in my heart or thoughts that resembled love.

About a year and a half ago, I really felt that I was getting tired of all this back-and-forth between belief and unbelief. My mental and emotional default position settled at unbelief. When my brother died at age 40 a couple months later (diabetes complications), that position was cemented. I didn't feel any sort of anger that "God let my brother die," none of that. Rather, I just couldn't picture my brother being anything but...dead. Eternal life, heaven, all of that...it seemed too improbable. But I didn't share my journey away from faith with anyone, really, because a substantial portion of my income comes from church music. Without that job, my family would be in uncomfortable financial straits. So I pretended to believe for the sake of my job, and family harmony, while inside I was an atheist.

And that closet atheism has continued up until yesterday. I really don't remember reading anything or hearing anything that made me begin to think about theology. In fact, the most recent religion article I had read, about the family of a 9-year-old Brazilian girl who were excommunicated because she had an abortion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Brazilian_girl_abortion_case), pretty strongly confirmed my atheist stance in my mind. Regardless, yesterday I began to think about theology, and pick up a few books again. I began to consider that some of the most intelligent people I know (including my wife) are believers. I'm not really anywhere near having recovered my faith yet. But I am thinking about it. I'm wondering if there is some way I can reconcile my understanding of the world in which I live with a theistic worldview. I don't have an answer at this time, but I haven't simply responded with a "no." So there's that...

That's the best outline I can give of my journey thus far.

Thanks for reading,
Cory

mossrose
10-16-2014, 10:22 AM
Welcome here!

We hope you will find the answers you are seeking. There is lots of info to find here and lots of people to answer questions.

I would like to request that you (all) take your questions and answers to the appropriate fora instead of holding discussions here in Admissions.

If you want to play in here, that is fine, but there are other fora more suited to serious discussions such as this.

:smile:

caspianrex
10-16-2014, 11:58 AM
No problem!
:teeth:

Cow Poke
10-16-2014, 12:09 PM
:pray:

And welcome!

Jedidiah
10-16-2014, 12:43 PM
Welcome.

__
10-16-2014, 02:45 PM
Hello all,

For the past year or so, despite the fact that I direct music at a small Methodist church, I have secretly been living as a closet atheist. I just haven't been able to say with any sincerity that I believe in God. However...

I don't know what exactly got me started down this path, but yesterday I had a sudden yearning for the faith I used to have. I thought to myself, I used to be able to reconcile faith in God with my daily, rational life. What happened?

I can't say that I'm convinced yet. I still can't say "I believe" with any conviction. But, for some reason, I want to believe again. And I want to figure out why I believe what I believe.

So...here I am. I'm here to learn (or to re-learn). I think I used to be a member of TWeb back in the day. Good to be back...

Cory Howell
Nashville, TN
Perhaps it is the community. I disbelieve for several reasons, but I can see religion has a place in society if it accepts science and rejects hardline dogma. I personally miss "knowing" I had objective goodness. I still have emotional turbulence around the issue of religion when it is brought up, but I would not consider myself an antitheist. Your reason my involve other factors, as well.

One Bad Pig
10-16-2014, 02:56 PM
Perhaps it is the community. I disbelieve for several reasons, but I can see religion has a place in society if it accepts science and rejects hardline dogma. I personally miss "knowing" I had objective goodness. I still have emotional turbulence around the issue of religion when it is brought up, but I would not consider myself an antitheist. Your reason my involve other factors, as well.
What do you mean by 'objective goodness'?

Juvenal
10-16-2014, 03:11 PM
Y'all are gonna have to move this thread out of Admissions if you keep this up.



Hiya Caspian!

Leave while you can ... It's a trap!

Welcome to TWeb!

Cow Poke
10-16-2014, 03:25 PM
Y'all are gonna have to move this thread out of Admissions if you keep this up.

Like at the hospital? Ya start off in admissions, and end up in a room?

__
10-16-2014, 03:55 PM
What do you mean by 'objective goodness'?

Black and white morality. It made ethical decisions far less gut-wrenching when I put people in broad boxes. Now, everything comes in fifty shades of grey.

caspianrex
02-20-2019, 10:30 AM
Wow, I haven't checked in here at TheologyWeb for almost five years! I totally did not remember sharing this crisis of faith I was experiencing back in 2014. I won't pretend that everything has always been peachy keen since then, but I seem to have made it through pretty well. Oh, I still have ups and downs, times when I find it difficult to maintain my faith. As I shared originally, I've never found it particularly easy to believe, but I have found it important to grapple with what I do or do not believe? Does the distinction make sense? Anyway, I'm currently at a point where I am a committed Christian, who sometimes gets a bit disillusioned with the Church (despite the fact that I still serve on the staff of a wonderful church). It's good to be back. Hopefully, I won't wait another five years before posting again! :cool:

Chrawnus
02-20-2019, 10:54 AM
Wow, I haven't checked in here at TheologyWeb for almost five years! I totally did not remember sharing this crisis of faith I was experiencing back in 2014. I won't pretend that everything has always been peachy keen since then, but I seem to have made it through pretty well. Oh, I still have ups and downs, times when I find it difficult to maintain my faith. As I shared originally, I've never found it particularly easy to believe, but I have found it important to grapple with what I do or do not believe? Does the distinction make sense? Anyway, I'm currently at a point where I am a committed Christian, who sometimes gets a bit disillusioned with the Church (despite the fact that I still serve on the staff of a wonderful church). It's good to be back. Hopefully, I won't wait another five years before posting again! :cool:

I can't say I remember seeing you post here, either pre-, or post-crash (although seeing as you have only 4 posts post-crash I think that's hardly surprising), but it's always a joyous occasion to hear someone has managed to find, or re-find, their faith. :yes:

ETA: Oh, and welcome back to TWeb. :hi:

Littlejoe
02-20-2019, 02:23 PM
Wow, I haven't checked in here at TheologyWeb for almost five years! I totally did not remember sharing this crisis of faith I was experiencing back in 2014. I won't pretend that everything has always been peachy keen since then, but I seem to have made it through pretty well. Oh, I still have ups and downs, times when I find it difficult to maintain my faith. As I shared originally, I've never found it particularly easy to believe, but I have found it important to grapple with what I do or do not believe? Does the distinction make sense? Anyway, I'm currently at a point where I am a committed Christian, who sometimes gets a bit disillusioned with the Church (despite the fact that I still serve on the staff of a wonderful church). It's good to be back. Hopefully, I won't wait another five years before posting again! :cool:Welcome back!

You should open a thread in Christianity 201 to explore these nagging doubts and disillusionment. I guarantee one or more of us have had the same and can help. The Church is a Hospital to get well in, not a courtroom to be judged in. I hope we can help....

:littlejoe: