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Atheist/agnostic return to the Church?

Anthony1986

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I am still in the stay of confusion. Still does not know the existence of God. I am still not fully convinced that Jesus is God.

However, I am still searching for the answer.

I just have a question, if a person left the Orthodox Church and became atheist or agnostic, but he or she decided to return to the Church.

Does he or she need to baptized or chrimated again?

How can I solve my problem? Contact the Orthodox priest in my country?

Or phone/e-mail the priest that chrimated me?

I live in a city that does not have any Orthodox Churches. The closed Orthodox Churches are two and a half hours away from my home.
 

Asteriktos

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The priest (and possibly bishop) would determine how you'd be re-introduced into the sacramental church life, though living so far away from a parish is obviously a complicating factor. But in any event you wouldn't be rebaptized (or re-chrismated as far as I know). If you had a good relationship with your former pastor that might be a good place to start, or if not then perhaps whatever is closest (even though it's quite far). Eventually you'd have to make a trip to confess and commune for formal readmission, so it'd be good to start speaking to that priest about your situation anyway, if you are indeed at the point where you are considering returning. There are books on things like the existence of God or Jesus being God, though personally I think these are more for confirming people who already believe than convincing skeptics. Sometimes it just takes time, and the 'dust' of life has to settle to see clearly.
 

Nathanael

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However, I am still searching for the answer.
Such fog zones usually disappear by prayer - and humble patience. Pray, pray, pray. If you don't have a prayer life (anymore), establish one with your prayer book.
We get answers on spiritual questions by spiritual acitivtiy - that's the basic. Reading books is just the top of it. And if you are already praying with all your energy - keep struggling. I have been keeping you in my prayers.

Contact the Orthodox priest in my country?
A good idea, why not.
 

Richmond

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How's that going for you Anthony? If it works for you to go back to the Orthodox Church, then great.

I will probably get points/warnings for this but . . .

I have to be honest with you, I kinda miss being agnostic. I miss the honesty of being able to say I don't know, and not having to pretend to have all the answers. I also miss not having to justify (at least for myself) why a being described as omnipotent and omnibenevolent not only fails to punish but appears to actively reward those who cause needless suffering for others. And the best part was not having to spend all my time wondering what I had done to earn God's undying hatred.
 

Nathanael

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How's that going for you Anthony? If it works for you to go back to the Orthodox Church, then great.

I will probably get points/warnings for this but . . .

I have to be honest with you, I kinda miss being agnostic. I miss the honesty of being able to say I don't know, and not having to pretend to have all the answers. I also miss not having to justify (at least for myself) why a being described as omnipotent and omnibenevolent not only fails to punish but appears to actively reward those who cause needless suffering for others. And the best part was not having to spend all my time wondering what I had done to earn God's undying hatred.
The state when we've cultivated non-judging, being open and being patient, understanding, tolerant, and not reacting angrily when things don’t go our way and when people don’t do what we want them to do, is more blessed than a agnostic ability to say "I don't know". Nevertheless within the orthodox church we have still more freedom to say "I don't know" than in other denominations.
We often fail to see & analyse things from the perspective of eternity, we are still quite bound to the worldly spirit. I'm saying that out of my own experience.
 

Ainnir

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I was going to say... we call an awful lot of things a Mystery if we demand full knowledge of everything...

Also, Richmond, God is Love. The one thing it could be said that God hates is sin, and that's because it separates us, whom He loves, from Him.
 

rakovsky

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There are a Russian church and a Greek church in North Taiwan in Taipei and Wikipedia mentions house church presence in Taichung in central Taiwan.

About the presence in Taichung there are only a few articles online:
Two years after I arrived, a metropolitan was finally appointed to Hong Kong from where he began to administer the world's largest and newest Orthodox diocese, stretching from Taiwan to India. He's constantly on and off planes, large and small. Three-and-a-half years ago, we finally got our first priest who resides in Taipei. He makes periodic visits not only to Taichung, where I live, but also to other localities.
 

Richmond

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I was going to say... we call an awful lot of things a Mystery if we demand full knowledge of everything...

Also, Richmond, God is Love. The one thing it could be said that God hates is sin, and that's because it separates us, whom He loves, from Him.
It has become increasingly clear to me that the Calvinists may be right after all, and I'm part of God's "blooper reel"
 

Ainnir

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It has become increasingly clear to me that the Calvinists may be right after all, and I'm part of God's "blooper reel"
:confused: God doesn’t have a blooper reel, and I’m sure you're not a blooper. But I understand the feeling. Unfortunately, I don’t have much advice other than to keep praying and learn to love ourselves. Not selfishly, but as God does.
 

Richmond

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:confused: God doesn’t have a blooper reel, and I’m sure you're not a blooper. But I understand the feeling. Unfortunately, I don’t have much advice other than to keep praying and learn to love ourselves. Not selfishly, but as God does.
If prayer works for you, what was that like? When I've tried to pray, it was words into the air.
 

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If prayer works for you, what was that like? When I've tried to pray, it was words into the air.
I know the words in the air. I know what you are talking about. I was there.
I asked/ begged priests to pray for me. I attended divine Liturgy as much as possible and received the prayers and blessings from the Church, from the priest, and from the Holy Spirit. These prayers of the holy Church in Divine Liturgy have power to pull us through the darkness, the numbness, confusion, and to bring us into the Light.
When not in Divine Liturgy I could only repeat " Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner" there really was no other prayer except for the Most Holy Theotokos to pray for me.
 

Richmond

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I know the words in the air. I know what you are talking about. I was there.
I asked/ begged priests to pray for me. I attended divine Liturgy as much as possible and received the prayers and blessings from the Church, from the priest, and from the Holy Spirit. These prayers of the holy Church in Divine Liturgy have power to pull us through the darkness, the numbness, confusion, and to bring us into the Light.
When not in Divine Liturgy I could only repeat " Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner" there really was no other prayer except for the Most Holy Theotokos to pray for me.
Then what happened?
 

Stinky

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Then what happened?
How to describe the process of intimacy that the Holy Spirit works in a sinner to bring to repentance? He granted by his grace this frozen heart to melt and to see myself truly, then to see his love for me. A personal thing really. Right there in the middle of church. But it was as if it was a grace aquired outside of myself found while in Divine Liturgy in the midst of the worship. But not within.
But I was assured my prayers were heard though the answers were beyond me. I was no longer invisible.
 

Stinky

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I just kept going through the motions in showing up hoping for Gods grace to do the rest. It was as if my heart and voice couldn't pray so my feet dragging me into Divine Liturgy became my prayer. A candle lit. A cross kissed. I was seeking refuge in the corner of Boaz field as Ruth, throwing up my prayers with the church hoping a prayer would snag on an angel's wing and enter heaven. I had all to gain and nothing to lose. God is ever merciful.
 

Ainnir

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If prayer works for you, what was that like? When I've tried to pray, it was words into the air.
Prayer works in the sense that it connects me to God and sustains me in the deserts. It does not "work" in the sense that it magically makes things the way I want them to be, grants me heavenly visions, or swaths me in something I can unmistakably call God's presence or love. It works because I trust He is present and hears me, and because I know He is love and mercy. I have had that "prayers bouncing off the ceiling" feeling and times where it was hard to pray at all. I had to just keep praying and start trusting that He heard, even if I didn't understand the answers. Eventually, that feeling went away; I'm not even sure I could say when. And eventually, I learned how to stop expecting postcards from Him for the various struggles and questions in my life. Usually the answers come when I stop demanding them and instead say, "Your will, Lord."

My original post was in response to you saying you'd earned God's undying hatred. What leads you to believe that is true?
 

hurrrah

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If prayer works for you, what was that like? When I've tried to pray, it was words into the air.
The state of grace-filled peace.
Getting rid of passion.
Healing, complete and final, by prayer, in addition to this healing - incessant prayer.
Rescue in deadly situations.
Divine intervention, admonition, direction in life circumstances.

This is only what I have been able to notice in my life for a quarter of a century. If you want, I can offer you to have patience, humility, faith.
 

TheTrisagion

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How's that going for you Anthony? If it works for you to go back to the Orthodox Church, then great.

I will probably get points/warnings for this but . . .

I have to be honest with you, I kinda miss being agnostic. I miss the honesty of being able to say I don't know, and not having to pretend to have all the answers. I also miss not having to justify (at least for myself) why a being described as omnipotent and omnibenevolent not only fails to punish but appears to actively reward those who cause needless suffering for others. And the best part was not having to spend all my time wondering what I had done to earn God's undying hatred.
I don't think we ever have to give up on that honesty. I'm Orthodox, but I doubt all the time. I do my best to believe in God, but I also can't say with any confidence that I have a faith that doesn't question His existence or if He does exist, why He does what he does. It is very difficult as a human to come to any sort of confidence in any a priori truth. There is always something underlying it that can be doubted. I just try to do the best I can with the limited info that I have.
 

Richmond

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I just kept going through the motions in showing up hoping for Gods grace to do the rest. It was as if my heart and voice couldn't pray so my feet dragging me into Divine Liturgy became my prayer. A candle lit. A cross kissed. I was seeking refuge in the corner of Boaz field as Ruth, throwing up my prayers with the church hoping a prayer would snag on an angel's wing and enter heaven. I had all to gain and nothing to lose. God is ever merciful.
Out of curiosity, what was your goal with going through those motions?
Also, what exactly led you to think there was something on the other end of all that struggle?
 

Stinky

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Out of curiosity, what was your goal with going through those motions?
Also, what exactly led you to think there was something on the other end of all that struggle?
I have always believed in God. So that part wasn't an issue.

My prayers were hindered because of my deliberate choice to engage in multiple layers of sin over a decade. I needed to get back to where I once was but I was lost and in darkness and was groping and couldn't find the Way. My heart was calloused and stone. I knew my sin accused me. I knew my sin by name. But i couldn't feel sorry for it. I couldnt repent. It was out of my hands. So I went to Church and prayed with the Church and made their holy prayers a ladder for my prayers.

But it was a surprise when it was during the prayers to the Most Holy Theotokos to save us! That something happened and our Mother, Theotokos took care of my plight.

I cant explain in words. But She took up my cause and interceeded on my behalf. This was during the time when I did not believe in our Blessed Ever Virgin Mary, our Theotokos. So it surprised me.
The grace of God.
And He gave me repentance. A gift. I could not find it on my own.

I know this sounds really wacky. And prelesty. Delusional.

I just know that I was blind, but now I see.
 

Tzimis

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There's nothing like empirical evidence, but in the absence of it. Its better to hope for a promise instead of waiting for a sign.
 
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