Posted by: Hope | April 25, 2009

Eroding Faith

My faith in god is eroding. It was never very thick or strong, but it was there. And it’s just slowly fading away. I feel like a sand bank that is just fading away each time it rains.

I’m giving up on religion. I love it so much, to discuss it at least. But I dont have time in my life to try and force myself to believe something. There probably is a god, it seems to be the only logical explanation of how all of this exists. But at this point, I don’t care. If god wants to send me to hell, than so be it.

I realize I sound sad, and depressed. But I’m not. I’m content with my decision. I’ll probably still go to church because I do love it. But I dont have time to read my bible, or pray 24/7 to try and make myself believe something. I’m a natural doubter and I dont think I will ever go back to the point of being a “woman of god”.

This makes me wonder what I’ll teach my children. I’m not an atheist at all, as I do believe there is a god. My definition of god and yours may or may not be the same, but to be honest at this point I do not have a clear definitive definition of what god is. I just feel that something had to have started all of this, and I call that “Thing” god. I’m not sure I would say I’m a deist, because out of all of the religious people in this world, I can’t definitively say that they have no contact with that “thing” but I do think that they may be all talking to the same thing. They’re just all really confused and all tied together to the same thing, if you ask me. (Did that make sense?)

But yeah, that still does not give me any conclusive concept of what I do believe in. If I had to pick something to teach my kids, it’d honestly have to be Christianity…but they probably wont see it reflected in my life.

We wont pray at the table, we wont pray at night together, I wont read them bible stories…but we’ll still go to church, probably be regulars just not fully engaged.

In a sense, that makes me sad. But on the other hand I dont know what else my options are.

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Responses

  1. You shouldn’t force yourself to believe something. There’s a difference between that option and trying to understand something. Searching is good, questioning and even doubting is good. There’s a strange emphasis in our culture on belief. I know that most if not all translations of the Bible use the word “belief” in its various forms. An interesting exercise is to find those passages (in their larger contexts) and replacing “believe” with “trust.” Maybe you could give that a shot and see if it makes a difference. Maybe so, maybe not.

  2. Why does it make you sad? Is it that you want more faith? I grew up going to church, and still do on a rare occasion. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that there are some good morals and lessons that can be taught, but depending on who’s preaching the lesson, I’ll get an agenda that the preacher is giving. I just had to find what I believe, and I feel better with that. I don’t spend large amount of times reading the Bible or praying, but I’m happier now than I was before.

  3. Isn’t that waht life is all about, anyway?

    Being “happy”?

  4. I’m a natural doubter and I dont think I will ever go back to the point of being a “woman of god”.

    Who in the world has convinced you that the two are mutually exclusive. Everyone who is alive is going to have doubts. Check out Matthew 28:16-17:

    16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

    This is the disciples staring at the risen Jesus and saying, “is that really you?” Doubts are not bad, and not unexpected. They are spurs to growth and understanding.
    Honestly, Hope, I have known so many in your same position who go through these same feelings and I can relate to it in my own life at times. Hang in there girl.

  5. I don’t necessarily think so. I’ve worked with a lot of people that would consider themselves happy when they get loaded and have a promiscuous lifestyle. To me, life is a little more complex than that. Yes, being happy has it’s valuable role, but I feel like there’s also a lot of other addition feelings that contribute to a fulfilled life.

  6. Jeff, I’ve tried to be a Christian for many months now. Normally, when people get saved or whatever they have that natural hype you know? That “holy spirit” bull crap feeling and then that soon settles down. I experienced it myself many years ago and now that I have come back, I have been expecting to feel that. Nothing. At all. I have not had any hype or anything. So how am I supposed to feel?

  7. Hope,
    There is no right way to feel. Happy, sad, angry, giddy, hopeful, and the whole mess of feelings doesn’t affect your standing with God one bit. He loves you all the time. He is with you all the time. Emotions shouldn’t dictate life in any sphere, least of all Christianity.

    I don’t know if you can find any answers by reading this, but I found a blog of this woman who is going through things I can’t even fathom and is sharing it all through the eyes of her faith. Check it out at http://www.mycharmingkids.net/

    She is real, authentic and just like everyone of us. God didn’t promise rosy feelings or a perfect life to anyone. Jesus promised trouble and pain and rejection would be experienced by those who would follow Him. How is that supposed to feel?

  8. I too, don’t think “happy” is what it is all about.

    Being happy is a good thing, but I don’t think anyone (not that anyone here does) should ever confuse ‘faith’, with ‘happiness’.

    Faith does not require any natural hype, or special feelings. (although they can be there)

    Faith is a bond, a trust, between two people. In this case, God and us.

    Our faith is often quite weak, and our trust is often sorely lacking. But He is faithful, even when we are faithless.

    So hang in there. And realize that you can trust that Jesus is who He says he is for you, and will forgive you and raise you from the dead when that time comes…and that you do NOT have to have any special “feelings” because of that trust.

  9. expecting life with god to be a series of hyped feelings will end up unsatisfying bc thats not what life with god is about. faith is not so much a feeling as a struggle.

  10. But you do agree that you cant force yourself to believe in something, right?

    • I think people force themselves to believe in something all the time. It’s easier to believe in something than to deny that belief. About %80 of drivers believe they are a better than average (better than %50 of others) driver. According to WikiAnswers, there are over 30,000 sects of Christianity. Every sect believes they are more correct than the other. I feel like goal is to be content with what you believe, and not be in conflict with what others believe. It’s not about who’s right or wrong. It’s not about who’s more spiritual or has stronger faith. God has given us all different things to learn in life, and it’s my belief that I need to work on those things.

      • I think I can live with that train of thought. I just feel like I shouldn’t force myself to believe in something that I dont really “feel” is true. It’s like when you’re taking a test, you’re always told to follow your gut instinct because its almost always right. Well…I just have a gut feeling about this, and I cant get rid of that feeling.

        I’m not completely giving up. I’m still going to try in my own way, but it is completely and entirely annoying frustrating.

  11. of course. my curiosity is in why you would want to be part of a church.

    • I like the music. And I enjoy the sermons. They’re typically funny, and besides..what else do I have to do with my life at 10 am on a sunday morning? Nothing. It’s fun and I enjoy the people.

      Basically, the fellowship is nice. So why not go to church?

  12. “faith is not so much a feeling as a struggle.”

    Very well said!

    Faith (in God) is not intellectual ascent, but rather a gift from God.

    You cannot force it upon yourself. God must give it to you. (Jesus’ conversation with Niccodemus)

    But you can force yourself to go and hear the Word. You can force yourself to pick up a Bible now and then and read.

    I think you can. I have to force myself to do those things and quite often.

  13. Forcing yourself to read for what? What is that going to do? Isnt that practically attempting to brainwash yourself into believing something?

    I see no difference. I’m sorry.

    I feel like I’m coming off as a jerk, but I’ve tried everything you guys are telling me. I’ve forced myself to read and still nothing. At this point I feel like if I read its as though I’m attempting to force myself to believe and/or brainwash myself.

  14. I’m glad to hear you’re not completely giving up. Something that helps me is just to think about life. Is life purely coincidental? Does everything happen by chance? Or is there something greater behind our lives? When I look back on my life, and where I am today, I truly believe there is something greater. Something greater than myself at least.

  15. Right, that’s what I keep telling myself. The only reason why I actually believe there is something is due to my mere existence. The earth and everything around me…the complexity of it all is so astounding that I cannot believe it just happened.

    Sorry tim, do you have a blog?

  16. Yup yup.

    http://www.timshel1.wordpress.com

    I haven’t really written about anything serious like you, but I still have a fun time with it most. 😀

  17. I think you’ve hit on something of enduring value in this last comment, Hope. That sense of awe that you have for creation IS a relationship with God. It’s thanksgiving for and amazement at the complexity of nature, which you sense is God-created. The question seems to be, then, who is this God?

    Reading and hearing scripture helps to sort this out. The first chapter of John’s Gospel, specifically the prologue, ties a lot of things together for me. This is a good entry point, I think.

  18. Hope, you can’t make yourself believe! Faith is a gift. It usually starts out small, like a mustard seed, if you give it half a chance it will grow.
    You are going through some serious life changes, if you try to think all this out at once you will get dain bramage.
    “hat “holy spirit” bull crap feeling and then that soon settles down. I experienced it myself ”
    That ain’t the Holy Spirit, that is Emotion!!!
    the Holy spirit is a still small voice of guidance and comfort and conviction. It is no wonder you are mixed up about it, the church makes a show of the HS or ignores Him.

    How stupid am I, I never thought about it much, but I figured you were a senior in College!

    Your church going of the future is called social Christianity. Sucks, but if you do it at least with an open mind God can do a work in you.

    • I’m not completely giving up, but I do not feel as though I will ever have the relationship with Christ that I desire or that I once had. It’s just not meant to be.

      Sorry to burst your bubble! I’m only a senior in high school.

      What’s wrong with social Christianity?

      • Ok, uber mature bubble breaker, please remember that you are not the judge of what is to be and what is not to be. Life goes in waves, ebbs and flows, crest and trough, and unfortunately so does our faith and relationship with Jesus, He doesn’t ebb we do.

        Social Christianity stinks on ice. It sucketh. Join rotary or Kiwaniss or something. Church is to worship and serve, but as they say in AA, fake it till you make it. We had a couple social people actually come to believe in Jesus! Amazing!!
        Seriously, you are really mature, success and peace to ya!!

  19. Will, okay first off I read this when I was in my 6th hour english class (10 days left!!) and busted out laughing when I did. “Uber mature bubble breaker” is probably the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time, thanks!

    Now…okay let’s say that I am a social Christian, would you rather me just not be a Christian at all than go to church just for the fellowship?

  20. Hope, this is such a great topic! It’s still chugging along!

    I think for a lot of Christian this is a conflicting concept. Conflicting because people will define themselves as Christians, but at the same time they won’t necessarily follow all of the dogmatic beliefs and rituals that “true Christians” should. I very well could be wrong, but that’s how I used to feel. It made me feel like people were hypocritical to what they said they were.

    I still struggle with this, but what I’ve learned is that people are at different places in their journey to find God. That helps ease some of my harsh feelings, but my ego sometimes like to tell me otherwise.

    Good luck on your quest!

  21. But that’s the thing tim. I’m not claiming to be Christian at all. I just like to go to church. If someone asks me what I believe (it’s happened recently) I almost always say “I do not know”. And almost always I get asked “Are you a Christian?” and I have always (recently) said “No, no I am not”.

    So…is it wrong for me to go to church, even though I don’t accept their doctrine? Weird, sure, I can see that. But is it wrong?

    • You’ll have to find your own question that you know to be true in your own heart. And I think you already know the answer to that one. 😉


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