Tag Archives: Faith

2016: Questions, Faith & Reevaluating

I’ve written a lot on here, regrettably, about my anger towards the church over the past year. As some of you know who have been following this blog for a while, I actually ended up leaving the church about a year or so ago, because in those days I felt as if I was being judged not only for who I was, but how I was choosing to live my own life.

I guess with all of the anticipatory grief I was experiencing at that time, the feeling of being an animal cornered by its predator was starting to feel smothering. There was no way I was going to be told how to live my life or be molded into a person I wasn’t. So, I left. But something over the past month or so has been making me reevaluate my life and the choices I made over the past 2 years.

What I’ve come to realize is this: the people I spent so much time and energy rebelling away from, feeling hurt by and being angry at weren’t actually who I was mad at. These people, who I still love dearly by the way, were just the messengers.

Since I was 17 I considered and called myself a Christian. I served in ministry, devoted my life to the church and God, but I realized over the past month that those 6 or 7 years were never really faced with the amount of pain, grief and loss I experienced when I was 24. I can see now that during those 6 or 7 years the little bumps in the road that almost veered me into a ditch were nothing compared to the gigantic road block I hit once my Grandma had her stroke and heart attack. I don’t think I ever really knew the weight of the term pain and suffering up until then. So I did what I felt at that time I had to do once the doubts seemed like absolute truths and I was living (unbeknownst to me at the time) every day in fear, anger and pain: I left all of my beliefs in God at the door.

The people I loved became the enemy, and I would argue back and forth that this God I served for years was nothing but words on a page. I let that little flame of anger spiral out of control, and at this time in my life it served its purpose of having people leave me alone.

Yet like I said at the beginning of this post, I realize now why my friends at the church that I considered part of my family became the enemy in my eyes so quick: they were the face of the God I was angry with. It gets pretty old pretty quick yelling and screaming and arguing with a wall or a being you cannot see or reach out and touch.So the people in my life, subconsciously, became the faces of God and something I could lash out at. Looking back now I feel terrible about my behaviors, even though they were all a result of my grief. It’s still no excuse, and I take full responsibility for my actions and words.

Christmas eve I ended up going back to the very church I left. Something inside of me wanted to go, and I gathered up the courage to get myself there and sit there during the service. It wasn’t awkward or shame inducing walking through those doors. All of the people I had left seemed genuinely happy to see me, and it made me feel happy knowing that my actions and words did not cause an irreversible damage. This past Sunday, I went back. It was the same thing with those people. I’m not sure what it is about that place or those individuals that drew me back in, but I feel as if it was almost a fresh start.

I feel like in 2015 I lost my self in the pain, yet in a weird way I also found myself. Yes, I am secure in who I am now and am continuously learning to love and accept myself for the woman I have become and am continuing to become. Maybe I am learning how to cope with the things that life throws at me in a more healthy way than I had my whole life. I still don’t know what changed in me over the past month or so, but being able to reevaluate some things in my life has been refreshing. To be able to look back and see some of the things I did or said and realize that I no longer want to hold onto that is something I never really saw myself capable of doing. Yet here I am.

There’s still a lot of beef I have with God, although I’m not so sure those are the right words to use. I guess I have more questions than anything else. Walking through the pain of my Grandma being sick and then dying made me lose a lot of my faith in God and it also raised a lot of questions in my life. Now, I sit back and try to clearly find answers to things I want to know, yet I have yet to have these things answered.

I’m glad I have reached this point in my life of being able to feel ok with having questions and wanting to actually work through these things in my life.

Agnosticism

Over the past few months I’ve had many people ask me if I am now an atheist due to my lack of faith in God and I’d like to take the time in this post today to answer this. The answer to keep it short and simple is no, I am not an atheist; but I’m also not a Christian any longer (at least in my mind). Since we as a culture like to place labels on things I guess you could now place me in the category of agnostic.

What exactly does this mean? The definition of agnostic is as follows:

a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God,and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.

I know I posted about this before but bare with me here. I believe in God, I believe in science/psychology. I don’t believe that living from the Bible is an accurate way of life and I don’t believe living aimlessly bound to a book for support and guidance is healthy. I don’t believe that we as humans can know everything is true that the Bible says is true and I sure don’t believe in that healing or resurrection power the Bible talks about.

Am I denying Gods existence? Fuck no. But I am saying that you can’t believe everything you’ve read or been taught in Sunday school as a child or in church on Sunday mornings. I’ve always been a critical thinking type of person and I believe that religion has a lot of flaws and loopholes. If you read the Bible you know there are a shit ton of “If….. Then…..” statements throughout the New Testament and lately I’ve been finding that a lot of the religious jargon preached on a Sunday morning creates in the believers mind a sort of placebo effect. The mind is a powerful thing, I mean just look at somatoform disorders for example. Yes this is a diagnosed clinical mental health disorder defined as:

 any of a group of psychological disorders (as body dysmorphic disorder or hypochondriasis) marked by physical complaints for which no organic or physiological explanation is found and for which there is a strong likelihood that psychological factors are involved. 

so when I think back on my days as a faithful Christian, eating up the religious jargon and lifestyle like candy I see a lot of this placebo effect, especially when it came to my own mental health issues. There were symptoms I found to be getting better and hyped it up to an act of God but they always came back to me and I’d be paralyzed by my depression and anxiety which always led to me to being suicidal. I understand a lot of people can argue this with a religious view point but I’m just voicing my own opinion here. Even with topics such as death, I believe religions are placebos. All religions are based around the idea of some form of an afterlife, and if we’re being honest here that idea removes from our minds some of the death anxiety we feel as mortal humans. None of us have eternal life in our physical bodies, yet religion offers us up the hope of eternal life in a spiritual sense, followed by a shit ton of rules we must follow as to qualify us to such things. Am I saying this is inaccurate? No, because really none of us know if the religious belief of an afterlife is 100% true. We can’t measure it and nobody has ever witnessed it, except for the few people who have “come back from Heaven” and written articles and books about their so called experience in Heaven. Who knows, maybe there is an afterlife; I would like to think that we’re not all just empty beings who live for a few decades or so and then die off into the ground without anything after occurring, but will we really know until our time has come? No.

That truth scares a lot of people, not being certain what happens after you die and that’s probably where the placebo comes in. If you’re a Christian or Catholic or any religion that believes in a deity that provides an afterlife for us, then you know that since the day we are born and old enough to learn, we are taught of such beliefs that are meant to instill peace when thinking about death and dying. You hear it all the time at funerals that the deceased is in Heaven and we will see them again. I truly and honestly believe that those words/beliefs are a placebo to get us away from the fear of what is unknown and incomprehensible to our mortal minds.

I know this post probably pissed a lot of you off, if you would like to voice your opinion please feel free to do so; I only ask you do it respectfully and without insult.

atheist-or-agnostic

Higher Power. New Beliefs

I’ve really been struggling with the religion thing for a few years now, and I think I’ve reached that self-actualization in my life that it’s alright for me to deny my old beliefs about God. Do I believe in a higher power? Yes. Do I believe God is the God the Bible says him to be? No.

I’ve experienced a lot of shit throughout the past few years and in those times where I needed God and my friends most, neither one of them showed up; and the more I learn about science, more specifically the field of psychology, I’m beginning to believe more in the strong evidence of the human mind than I am about a book based on something nobody has ever seen or can even measure for that matter. The way I’ve experienced faith in God is that it has to be pushed on you if you’re a “non-believer”. Since I was a little girl the idea of going to church, getting right with God and surrendering all to him and ultimately becoming a shallow minded being who sees all of life’s struggles and issues as a simple fix if you only pray. Now, I am in no ways saying that you are wrong if you believe in God or whatever religious figure you do, I just know for me I no longer believe in Jesus or God the way I used to.

So this year, I have made an oath with myself to live my life for nobody but me. Not the opinion of my friends, family or the church that I used to belong to. I’m learning it’s ok to believe in what I believe in and if in this moment of time if I don’t believe in anything that resembles christianity but is more psychology/science based than that is more than alright.

“Why Would God Punish So?”

“I probably sound like a hypocrite, but why would God punish so?”

Those words have been resonating inside my head for the past 2 or 3 days and unfortunately it’s a question I don’t think I’ll ever get the answer to. I mean you talk to people and they tell you God doesn’t cause us harm and that He is this Almighty and powerful being that can heal us and that He isn’t a punishing type of God. But I’m having a really fucking hard time believing in all of that shit as of late.

Ya know, I’ve been going around the past year or so convinced I wasn’t pissed off at God for what happened to my Grandma. Yes I pissed off and hurt that this God would heal other people and they had stories to tell of it, but then there’s my Grandma who also believes in God and she is in this place where she is a shell of a person, with no cure or “divine” healing. What the fuck did she do to deserve this?

So on Thanksgiving when I was spending time with my Grandma and her roommate called me over to talk to me about my Grandma and what happened, I was a little shocked that she said the statement I began this post off with. I understand though. I believe in God, but aren’t I also allowed to be fucking pissed off at him too?

The truth is I don’t know why God would punish someone as loving, caring and genuine as my Grandma. I don’t know why He chose to give her a stroke and heart attack, which in turn took away any shred of her independent life she had lived for the last 87 years. It’s not fucking fair, and it hurts. So why would God punish? Who the fuck knows.