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Struggling with disbelief/Atheism

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trevor72694

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A little over a year ago I made the decision to stop going to Church all together.  I couldn't work up the courage to go to the Orthodox Church every week, the Catholic Church was too watered-down, and liberal Christianity was just not very appealing.  I've discovered that what kept getting me confused and unfocused in my spirituality was the idea that I was looking for the right faith "for me", and people around me encouraged this.

In June of this year, I started listening to the voice in my head that I had been trying to suppress for the longest time, "this is all made up, and God is just a character in a story."  After a while, I decided it would be best not to put my faith in things that don't make sense.  If there is no proof of something, I am not going to believe it.  I was (and am) pretty content with this philosophy, and the more I live it out, the more I am at peace with the world around me.  I consider myself an Atheist, and I've found community with Atheists around me.  I like not having to believe things that make no logical sense to me. 

However, I am confronted by another problem, and it is not one I expected.  I really want to believe.  I really do.  I want God to be there, and I want a religion to be true so that I have some sense of how to properly live my life with some existential meaning. 

I'm no longer torn by the Church's traditional views on homosexuality.  I've accepted that I'm gay, and there is no problem.  I do not know if I can commit to a life of celibacy for the sake of religious ideology that may or may not be true, however, but that's something else to work on. 

I am working on a double major in Social Work and Spanish.  I love it.  I've learned so much about people and experiences, and I've had to give up a lot of my pretentious and arrogant worldview.  Learning about people who are different than me also helped me come to a more understanding, compassionate stance, I suppose.  One friend of mine who is a recent convert to Orthodoxy - "hyperdox" to the extreme - thinks I'm a "Commie".  Oh, the fun!  (We can't all be Orthodox white separatist monarchists, after all.) 

This is where trouble comes in, for me.  I work for a hospice center, and my agency has me help with grief support groups, make home visits with our lovely patients, and serve on a team to be a first call when a patient has actively begun the dying process - I do what I can to make them comfortable while they pass. 

The thing is, so many of our patients see things and speak to people.  We all have different ideas of what they could be experiencing.  Most people in our agency are eager to believe when a patient says they see Jesus or angels, and eager to dismiss their experience when they see a giant purple panda bear.  But this does give me pause. 

What gets most of our patients through is the idea of God.  All of the people I've dealt with are very devout Christians, and ask me to pray with them.  Their faith helps them through their experience of being terminally ill. 

I'm at a point where I wish God was real.  For myself, but mostly for the patients I work with. 

I just feel I can't shake the feeling that God isn't real and religions are just made up nonsense. 

Have you dealt with these feelings?  How do you work through them? 
 

Maria

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I will pray that you will receive the grace to go and talk with an experienced Orthodox priest.

Yes, it may be difficult, but he would be the only one who could help you.

Message boards do not suffice. You need to have a face-to-face encounter with a Priest.

Do not delay.

 

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Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
A little over a year ago I made the decision to stop going to Church all together.  I couldn't work up the courage to go to the Orthodox Church every week, the Catholic Church was too watered-down, and liberal Christianity was just not very appealing.  I've discovered that what kept getting me confused and unfocused in my spirituality was the idea that I was looking for the right faith "for me", and people around me encouraged this.

In June of this year, I started listening to the voice in my head that I had been trying to suppress for the longest time, "this is all made up, and God is just a character in a story."  After a while, I decided it would be best not to put my faith in things that don't make sense.  If there is no proof of something, I am not going to believe it.  I was (and am) pretty content with this philosophy, and the more I live it out, the more I am at peace with the world around me.  I consider myself an Atheist, and I've found community with Atheists around me.  I like not having to believe things that make no logical sense to me. 

However, I am confronted by another problem, and it is not one I expected.  I really want to believe.  I really do.  I want God to be there, and I want a religion to be true so that I have some sense of how to properly live my life with some existential meaning. 

I'm no longer torn by the Church's traditional views on homosexuality.  I've accepted that I'm gay, and there is no problem.  I do not know if I can commit to a life of celibacy for the sake of religious ideology that may or may not be true, however, but that's something else to work on. 

I am working on a double major in Social Work and Spanish.  I love it.  I've learned so much about people and experiences, and I've had to give up a lot of my pretentious and arrogant worldview.  Learning about people who are different than me also helped me come to a more understanding, compassionate stance, I suppose.  One friend of mine who is a recent convert to Orthodoxy - "hyperdox" to the extreme - thinks I'm a "Commie".  Oh, the fun!  (We can't all be Orthodox white separatist monarchists, after all.) 

This is where trouble comes in, for me.  I work for a hospice center, and my agency has me help with grief support groups, make home visits with our lovely patients, and serve on a team to be a first call when a patient has actively begun the dying process - I do what I can to make them comfortable while they pass. 

The thing is, so many of our patients see things and speak to people.  We all have different ideas of what they could be experiencing.  Most people in our agency are eager to believe when a patient says they see Jesus or angels, and eager to dismiss their experience when they see a giant purple panda bear.  But this does give me pause. 

What gets most of our patients through is the idea of God.  All of the people I've dealt with are very devout Christians, and ask me to pray with them.  Their faith helps them through their experience of being terminally ill. 

I'm at a point where I wish God was real.  For myself, but mostly for the patients I work with. 

I just feel I can't shake the feeling that God isn't real and religions are just made up nonsense. 

Have you dealt with these feelings?  How do you work through them?
I think these feelings periodically pass through most of us; doubt is not uncommon.  In my case I have benefitted I suppose from not regarding Church in and of itself as unenjoyable; the midnight liturgy at St. Anthony's in Florence, AZ is blissful, for example.
 

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God bless you.
I had a really bad crisis of faith right before I discovered the orthodox church. But for me, I had so many experiences in my life where I couldn't act like God wasn't there for me. Places in time where I seriously don't know how I got through or resort to suicide, as much as I might have wanted to. So when i would start to really have bad doubts, I would remember this points in time and therefore remember that God was real (for me.)
I have a somewhat way of thinking that needs to understand things EXACTLY. I think a lot and have a bit of an obsessive mind. Im very introspective and can easily get caught up in circular thoughts on things. So if things dont quite fit in the jigzaw puzzle that I have going on in my head, I can start to wig out and hear the thoughts come up like: how can God be real because this is all too deep or complicated. I can't quite explain but its something like that. Thats when I know I need to "be still and know", if you get what i mean. I think when we try to hard too understand something that is so beyond and above us is when we stall. I mean, how can we even properly comprehend what is outside space and time? Or even imagine what infinity is? How do you quantify that in a  way that is not overwhelming?
There are other things/events I will remember which assure me that God and Jesus the God-man is real, but i won't list them because what's obvious to me might not be obvious to someone else. But these are actually stories of what it took for other people to find Jesus. Muslims, for example, who are often not even allowed to search out what Christianity even is.
If you will allow, I will tell you something that happened to me early this year: When i finally came to the orthodox church, right after our first communion, i was spiritually attacked. It was one of those "weird" experiences that shocked me to the core and I couldnt really explain away as jitters or whatever, other than to affirm that it was totally spiritual. At one very specific point I was "hearing" certain thoughts in my head like, You will fail at this, and You don't deserve this, You're going to give up. Up until that point those thoughts had never crossed my mind - I was happy! So then I realized that if the demons wanted to drive me away, well then I must be in the right place. =)
I don't know if that anecdote helps you at all. But i wish you all the best. God bless
 

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Maybe you should try to pray the Jesus prayer as much as you can and fast, this way you will scorn the demons that are messing with your head with fire.

The demons that have chained you will try everything in order to prevent you from doing this but try to do this anyway. Don't do it out of vanity, do it for the love of Christ and for the love of what is right!

Once you start to identify some of the thoughts in your head as demonic whispers/arrows of the enemy, (these thoughts come into your head without your permission and without your allowance because they are not your own be sure to reject them immediately because from the moment you start endorsing them the devils will put chains on you and your grace will start to disappear , without the grace of God, your mind will become darkened, enslaved by demons and hostile to God.)

When you realize that demons exist, influencing people and causing their destruction, you wouldn't ask for any proofs anymore.
 

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NicholasMyra said:
Trevor continually impresses me as a human being.
+1

Trevor, I too have struggled with this throughout my entire adult life.  I can't pretend to give you any useful advice other than to say that what makes sense to me on one day, makes no sense the next.  I hope that you will be able to find peace, and if/when you do, please share it with me.  :)
 

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Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
I'm at a point where I wish God was real.  For myself, but mostly for the patients I work with. 

I just feel I can't shake the feeling that God isn't real and religions are just made up nonsense. 

Have you dealt with these feelings?  How do you work through them?
I can't say that I have dealt with the exact same feelings. But I did start from a similar point. There was a time that I vehemently tried to believe that there was no God. However, when I thought about what that meant for everyone else around me, that they would die and have no peace because they would cease to exist, etc. I was disgusted. I was disgusted by such a cruel world. So I chose an alternative to believe. I decided to believe that there was a God, but that for whatever reason he had it out for me. And for about a year or so I kept that belief. Eventually I came to terms with the fact that I was being pretty selfish and that God didn't hate me. I resumed going to church, etc. I think what was helpful about this period was that even if I didn't always receive an answer or that I had a bone to pick with God, I kept talking to him even if was to unleash my anger.

To this day I only believe because I want to believe. I want to believe because for me at least, humanity needs a god-like savior given its track-record in history. I do have my own personal experiences with God, but these are only personal. They can never constitute as proof because they cannot always be communicated. I could be delusional or misinterpreting things. These are all possibilities. However, I choose to believe only because I want to believe.

The best advice I can give you is to believe in God because you want to. Don't stop talking to God, even if it means you vent any anger or whatnot to him in your prayers. Be like Job.
 

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IMO one of the most honest and even Christian posts of OC.net history. As for advice, unfortunately I can't offer one. I haven't really had any strong religious experiences ever and at some point I was even afraid that I might lose my faith because of that. Paradoxically quite the opposite has happened and I've started to "feel" God if that makes any sense after I sort of re-oriented myself to be as honest and normal as possible instead of holding up some facade. I guess God likes honesty.
 

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Doubts are natural. But like St Paisios I've come to similar realization. That whether God exists, or doesn't, it makes no difference to me. Whether Christ is God or not it makes no difference. There is wisdom in Christ and the Church that at the very least leads you to be a better person. A healthier person. What about Christ and his teaching are bad?

So when the evil one asks, what if there is no God, my answer is, so what? What have I lost by following Christ? The answer is nothing! I am a better person since I started to follow Christ and I'll continue to follow him, as best as I can.

But everything that I've seen, read, and experienced leads me to believe that God exists and Jesus is the Son of God.
 

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Cyrillic said:
Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
I couldn't work up the courage to go to the Orthodox Church every week
Courage?
I've known these people since I was 14, and the priest stepped into my life when I was at my lowest.  The Babushki have stopped trying to set me up with their granddaughters.  I like to think I've gotten used to being "the queer one", but being in a community where everyone feels the need to tell you how they don't approve of your "lifestyle", but love you anyway is emotionally taxing, to the extreme.  Especially since I am not and have never been with anyone, man or woman.  If by "lifestyle" they mean struggling with Spanish conjugations and trying to get my crappy truck to carry me across town several times a week so I can visit my ever-falling-apart family, I don't approve of it, either!  ;)
 

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Rohzek said:
Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
I'm at a point where I wish God was real.  For myself, but mostly for the patients I work with. 

I just feel I can't shake the feeling that God isn't real and religions are just made up nonsense. 

Have you dealt with these feelings?  How do you work through them?
I can't say that I have dealt with the exact same feelings. But I did start from a similar point. There was a time that I vehemently tried to believe that there was no God. However, when I thought about what that meant for everyone else around me, that they would die and have no peace because they would cease to exist, etc. I was disgusted. I was disgusted by such a cruel world. So I chose an alternative to believe. I decided to believe that there was a God, but that for whatever reason he had it out for me. And for about a year or so I kept that belief. Eventually I came to terms with the fact that I was being pretty selfish and that God didn't hate me. I resumed going to church, etc. I think what was helpful about this period was that even if I didn't always receive an answer or that I had a bone to pick with God, I kept talking to him even if was to unleash my anger.

To this day I only believe because I want to believe. I want to believe because for me at least, humanity needs a god-like savior given its track-record in history. I do have my own personal experiences with God, but these are only personal. They can never constitute as proof because they cannot always be communicated. I could be delusional or misinterpreting things. These are all possibilities. However, I choose to believe only because I want to believe.

The best advice I can give you is to believe in God because you want to. Don't stop talking to God, even if it means you vent any anger or whatnot to him in your prayers. Be like Job.
I want to believe, and a god-like savior sounds fantastic and wonderful.  I guess where you and I differ is I see a sort of death where nothing happens, one just dies, as having a sort of very poetic beauty.  (Do I sound Metal yet?)

Really though, believing because I want to believe just sounds silly (no offense!)  I want to be existentially convinced that God is there.  Like can the One who put breath in our lungs, whose Son walked on water and rose from the dead, not give me a quick phone call or something?
 

trevor72694

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Alpo said:
IMO one of the most honest and even Christian posts of OC.net history. As for advice, unfortunately I can't offer one. I haven't really had any strong religious experiences ever and at some point I was even afraid that I might lose my faith because of that. Paradoxically quite the opposite has happened and I've started to "feel" God if that makes any sense after I sort of re-oriented myself to be as honest and normal as possible instead of holding up some facade. I guess God likes honesty.
When I talked about "feeling" God, everyone told me I was just being a pretentious and "hyperdox" convert.  I'd like to punch those people in the nose.  :angel:
 

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Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
Rohzek said:
Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
I'm at a point where I wish God was real.  For myself, but mostly for the patients I work with. 

I just feel I can't shake the feeling that God isn't real and religions are just made up nonsense. 

Have you dealt with these feelings?  How do you work through them?
I can't say that I have dealt with the exact same feelings. But I did start from a similar point. There was a time that I vehemently tried to believe that there was no God. However, when I thought about what that meant for everyone else around me, that they would die and have no peace because they would cease to exist, etc. I was disgusted. I was disgusted by such a cruel world. So I chose an alternative to believe. I decided to believe that there was a God, but that for whatever reason he had it out for me. And for about a year or so I kept that belief. Eventually I came to terms with the fact that I was being pretty selfish and that God didn't hate me. I resumed going to church, etc. I think what was helpful about this period was that even if I didn't always receive an answer or that I had a bone to pick with God, I kept talking to him even if was to unleash my anger.

To this day I only believe because I want to believe. I want to believe because for me at least, humanity needs a god-like savior given its track-record in history. I do have my own personal experiences with God, but these are only personal. They can never constitute as proof because they cannot always be communicated. I could be delusional or misinterpreting things. These are all possibilities. However, I choose to believe only because I want to believe.

The best advice I can give you is to believe in God because you want to. Don't stop talking to God, even if it means you vent any anger or whatnot to him in your prayers. Be like Job.
I want to believe, and a god-like savior sounds fantastic and wonderful.  I guess where you and I differ is I see a sort of death where nothing happens, one just dies, as having a sort of very poetic beauty.  (Do I sound Metal yet?)

Really though, believing because I want to believe just sounds silly (no offense!)  I want to be existentially convinced that God is there.  Like can the One who put breath in our lungs, whose Son walked on water and rose from the dead, not give me a quick phone call or something?
Perhaps it is silly. But as you have said in the post above, you have "felt" God in some sense. Why then not believe that it was truly God because you want to? Besides, is not believing because we want to believe something we do every day? Do we not assume that tomorrow morning that we will wake up in our beds and accomplish what we set out to do? None of this is certain. As a great philosopher once pointed out, no one is a true skeptic, because if they were, why then would they ever eat, etc. due to hunger pains? In short, how far we take our skepticism is entirely up to us and arbitrary. Whatever happens from our assumptions is difficult if not impossible to predict with absolute certainty. After all, was it not Christ who said, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." (John 20:29)

As for God giving you a phone call, well who knows if he would or not. He has certainly never granted me such a privilege. And why he doesn't do these things for everyone is beyond my understanding other than because he wants to be that way.
 

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Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
I like to think I've gotten used to being "the queer one", but being in a community where everyone feels the need to tell you how they don't approve of your "lifestyle", but love you anyway is emotionally taxing, to the extreme. 
Good gravy.
 

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I understand Atheism but not disbelief in Christ.
 

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Trevor, I've been reading your posts on here over the years since you first showed up. I just want you to know that I appreciate your honesty and integrity as a person, and know that what your going through is good, and that it's good to examine these things. The thoughts and struggles you are having are important, and you shouldn't be dismissive of them. In the end they might very well help you to know God more.
 
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Alveus Lacuna said:
Trevor, I've been reading your posts on here over the years since you first showed up. I just want you to know that I appreciate your honesty and integrity as a person, and know that what your going through is good, and that it's good to examine these things. The thoughts and struggles you are having are important, and you shouldn't be dismissive of them. In the end they might very well help you to know God more.
Agreed. Trevor, I don't think anyone who says he/she doesn't doubt the existence of God on occasion (or that God is merciful/ there is an afterlife) is lying or self-delusional.  Faith is in constant dialogue with doubt.  Simple as that.  When you use your reason/ intellect you can never know God, so the intellect will always seek for certainty there.  Faith, and more specifically, active love, is a much better way to know Christ - to let him flow through you and your actions. 

It sounds strange but another good remedy is to pray directly to God about your doubts.  (I mean really talk just like you would to a person - sentences in your head.)  Why you can't believe - I don't think God cares if you are angry or frustrated.  He wants sincerity, besides he already knows where you are at with him - you won't fool him.  Last bit of advice - just ride it out.  (remember Job; read it)  Your faith will very likely return.  Nothing stays the same.  The saints and mystics had dry spells; it's a sign of election.
 
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Trust in God, not the world to show you the way, we are all sinners, talk to a priest, seek wisdom, and realize that by what you say you are on the right path to Him .

In essence believe you have what you need because God loves you.
 

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Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
Rohzek said:
Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
I'm at a point where I wish God was real.  For myself, but mostly for the patients I work with. 

I just feel I can't shake the feeling that God isn't real and religions are just made up nonsense. 

Have you dealt with these feelings?  How do you work through them?
I can't say that I have dealt with the exact same feelings. But I did start from a similar point. There was a time that I vehemently tried to believe that there was no God. However, when I thought about what that meant for everyone else around me, that they would die and have no peace because they would cease to exist, etc. I was disgusted. I was disgusted by such a cruel world. So I chose an alternative to believe. I decided to believe that there was a God, but that for whatever reason he had it out for me. And for about a year or so I kept that belief. Eventually I came to terms with the fact that I was being pretty selfish and that God didn't hate me. I resumed going to church, etc. I think what was helpful about this period was that even if I didn't always receive an answer or that I had a bone to pick with God, I kept talking to him even if was to unleash my anger.

To this day I only believe because I want to believe. I want to believe because for me at least, humanity needs a god-like savior given its track-record in history. I do have my own personal experiences with God, but these are only personal. They can never constitute as proof because they cannot always be communicated. I could be delusional or misinterpreting things. These are all possibilities. However, I choose to believe only because I want to believe.

The best advice I can give you is to believe in God because you want to. Don't stop talking to God, even if it means you vent any anger or whatnot to him in your prayers. Be like Job.
I want to believe, and a god-like savior sounds fantastic and wonderful.  I guess where you and I differ is I see a sort of death where nothing happens, one just dies, as having a sort of very poetic beauty.  (Do I sound Metal yet?)

Really though, believing because I want to believe just sounds silly (no offense!)  I want to be existentially convinced that God is there.  Like can the One who put breath in our lungs, whose Son walked on water and rose from the dead, not give me a quick phone call or something?
What about the day after God makes the 'phone call'? Might you doubt you actually spoke to God? Might you want a second and third 'phone call'. What about when you are older and your memory fades, would you want a 'phone call' then? What about your Dad? Should God give him a 'phone call'? What about the rest of humanity?

It didn't seem to make a difference to Adam and Eve. They still sinned and were separated from God.

Instead how about we stop sinning first, with humility become the best human being that we can be, and then maybe we'll be worthy to 'see' God? Let's be good for goodness sake and then maybe we'll see and talk to God.

But there is one thing that you forget. God does make 'phone calls'. He makes icons 'cry'. He makes cancers vanish. He makes relics produce myrrh. He stops bodily corruption. Have you forgotten all of these? The US is blessed to have some of these revelations of God's grace. Have you taken the time to investigate, to visit, to see? Or are you just lazy waiting for God to 'give you a call'?
 

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The only reason I keep believing is not because I can figure it out, but because it works for me.

I'm happier believing than not.

As for 'making sense,' I still can't make sense of the size of the Sun compared with the earth, or how the plant has retained all that heat over millions of years with I can't keep a cup of coffee warm for more than a few minutes.  I've just given up and accepted that the bubbling orange stuff will keep flowing out of volcanoes as it has for millions of years, even when I can imagine how.

My gripe with society is we've made everything about thought, when it is pretty clear we are around lots of things we can never understand.

Like women.  I don't understand them at all.

I hope you understand that I am not making light of what you are saying, I'm just saying that if you have to understand everything in order to believe, your world will always be very small.  And boring.
 

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vorgos said:
But there is one thing that you forget. God does make 'phone calls'. He makes icons 'cry'. He makes cancers vanish. He makes relics produce myrrh. He stops bodily corruption. Have you forgotten all of these? The US is blessed to have some of these revelations of God's grace. Have you taken the time to investigate, to visit, to see? Or are you just lazy waiting for God to 'give you a call'?
Funnily enough, I just made plans with my godfather to visit a myrrh-streaming icon a couple of towns over this Saturday.

I e-mailed my priest and my godfather the other evening, and they were both happy to hear from me.  I am very happy.  I have learned that some of the shenanigans I've gone through as an annoying teenager were in fact very normal.  According  to Erikson (a theorist we use a lot in social work when assessing psycho-social development), I should be experiencing a crisis called "Intimacy vs. Isolation".  In other words, obsessing over whether I'll ever have a relationship, fulfill romantic and sexual desires, etc. is totally normal for my age (this stage typically lasts from 20-24 years of age.)  I just wish that the religious people I've spoken to about being so lonely and dealing with the idea of being celibate for my entire life at 18 years old would have been a little bit more understanding.  People tried to reassure me by saying "sex isn't everything", but I wish they would have recognized that I wasn't being crazy, rather I was being quite normal.  The next of Erikson's stages has to do with existential meaning, and making one's life count.  By then (mid-late 20s), I should feel better about the Church's teachings on sexuality, though I am still very skeptical.

I'm really going to try.  I hope, if God is there, He recognizes this and helps me along just a bit. 

One good thing, I guess, is that I'm no longer pining to give up everything and go off to a monastery.  I just want to feel that God is there, which I think is probably what I should be focusing on. 

Thank you all for your commentary and support, it's much appreciated.

christiane777 said:
Faith is in constant dialogue with doubt.  Simple as that. 
^ That was lovely.
 

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If you are struggling with the existence of God, read (reference to non-Orthodox sources removed.)

Admittedly, these books were written by heterodox philosophers, but truth is truth, and the arguments in these books are very powerful.

If you want to know the evidence for the resurrection of Christ, read (reference to non-Orthodox sources removed.)

LizaSymonenko
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Incognito777 said:
If you are struggling with the existence of God, read (reference to non-Orthodox sources removed.)

...

LizaSymonenko
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Trevor,

Craig is not respected within the Christian philosophical community, but is regarded as a purveyor of shoddy and manipulative thought. I think this reputation is deserved. You would probably detect this immediately if you began reading him, but figured I'd say it just in case.


Quote edited to make consistent with Liza's modifications to the original  -PtA
 

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Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
The next of Erikson's stages has to do with existential meaning, and making one's life count.  By then (mid-late 20s), I should feel better about the Church's teachings on sexuality, though I am still very skeptical.
Me too. I'm 35, and I don't think I've reached that stage yet.
 

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Crucify yourself for Christ! If you aren't willing and doing so, then find a new religion folks.

I'm sorry but I am so tired of seeing people take their faith for granted in such a lighthearted fashion. Either you become fully and wholly Orthodox or not. There's no middle ground. Ever read the Sermon on the Mt? Aren't you concerned about all you have done here being up for Judgement?

To seriously suggest WLC, what a joke. He's a perfectly manicured expert debater that doesn't take thought so seriously. Avoid at all possible. I love his wikipedia profile picture, its exactly what I'd imagine a snake oil salesman looking like.

Doubts? Sounds like some of y'all just don't have the heart or endurance to persevere! I love God with my entire being and I hope all I do pleases Him.

Some of you though need to stop messing around and get a little more serious.
 

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Wahh I dont know how to reconcile my wants, desires etc with being a Christian. Wahh all about me

Buncha self entitled American crybabies. I really don't know how exaggerated these Syrian Christian killings are, but let me tell you how much of a far cry it is when I hear another American Christian here complain and moan about some petty trivial annoyance. When does shame ever enter the picture here? You think these Syrians have doubts right before they are beheaded?

I just see us as being so weak and alienated from what the Gospel calls us to do. Be honest could you seriously give yourself up to be martryed tomorrow?

Maybe living in an actual threat of imminent death (and dread) makes that person so much stronger in their faith. There's too much of a tendency to see death as a future end point, instead of always with us. It kinda cracked me up the other day when Nikolai posted here saying do your sins then repent later. Is that not the Christian attitude these days?
 

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Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
I like to think I've gotten used to being "the queer one", but being in a community where everyone feels the need to tell you how they don't approve of your "lifestyle", but love you anyway is emotionally taxing, to the extreme.  Especially since I am not and have never been with anyone, man or woman.  If by "lifestyle" they mean struggling with Spanish conjugations and trying to get my crappy truck to carry me across town several times a week so I can visit my ever-falling-apart family, I don't approve of it, either!   ;)
Good stuff, that!

Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
When I talked about "feeling" God, everyone told me I was just being a pretentious and "hyperdox" convert.  I'd like to punch those people in the nose.  :angel:
If there's anything more irritating than "hyperdox" converts, it's people who dissuade those "hyperdox" converts from their genuine appreciation for God and the faith, all in the name of correcting their zeal. 

Trevor, you're clearly moving in the direction--if you're not already there--where you don't have to be bothered by too many ill-informed opinions from so-called experts. Atheism is filled with those experts too, as you've probably noticed (or will notice, if/when you express interest in faith again).

I don't have any great advice or spiritual wisdom to pass along, but it does seem "logical" not to completely dismiss the feelings for God you once believed you felt. Were the feelings genuine or psychological?  That's a question that you and others, myself included, have to wrestle with. Often. That said, I find the arguments explaining away longing and hope for belief in God as some sort of base, predictable coping mechanism to be rather lame.  I hope you at least keep an eye out for those feelings.
 

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nothing said:
Wahh I dont know how to reconcile my wants, desires etc with being a Christian. Wahh all about me

Buncha self entitled American crybabies. I really don't know how exaggerated these Syrian Christian killings are, but let me tell you how much of a far cry it is when I hear another American Christian here complain and moan about some petty trivial annoyance. When does shame ever enter the picture here? You think these Syrians have doubts right before they are beheaded?

I just see us as being so weak and alienated from what the Gospel calls us to do. Be honest could you seriously give yourself up to be martryed tomorrow?

Maybe living in an actual threat of imminent death (and dread) makes that person so much stronger in their faith. There's too much of a tendency to see death as a future end point, instead of always with us. It kinda cracked me up the other day when Nikolai posted here saying do your sins then repent later. Is that not the Christian attitude these days?
I in no way want to minimize the suffering of Christians in Syria, but I think it is rather difficult to compare their suffering with the temptations we face. In Syria, things are very black and white. War and mass killings have a way of doing that. In the US, it is much more insidious. There are a million distractions, propaganda bombarding us from every side on every topic we can possibly imagine. I think it has been mentioned before here, but an example of this can be seen by Copts who move the the US. They can endure the discrimination and terroristic acts against them in Egypt, but when they come here, they are unprepared for the temptations that they face here because they are more subtle, and their faith is damaged in that way. Atheistic arguments are very prevalent in the US and Europe and I think it is unfair to minimize it or mock those who struggle with it. It is a very real, intellectual struggle. It is far different from being killed for your faith, but spiritually, it is very damaging to give up your faith, whether it be through force or subterfuge.
 

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I haven't read any real atheist arguments that aren't some form of positivism/scientism. Am I suprised those living in the modern world are convinced by them, no I am not, however once you get a better feel on the assumptions that underlie these arguments, the better we can be critical against them.

I will say that Christianity is radically atheist. Just look at our instructions to pray to a hidden God, do good deeds to others for God will see it in secret, that God abandon and forsake his own Son on the cross. God is totally absent.
 

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TheTrisagion said:
nothing said:
Wahh I dont know how to reconcile my wants, desires etc with being a Christian. Wahh all about me

Buncha self entitled American crybabies. I really don't know how exaggerated these Syrian Christian killings are, but let me tell you how much of a far cry it is when I hear another American Christian here complain and moan about some petty trivial annoyance. When does shame ever enter the picture here? You think these Syrians have doubts right before they are beheaded?

I just see us as being so weak and alienated from what the Gospel calls us to do. Be honest could you seriously give yourself up to be martryed tomorrow?

Maybe living in an actual threat of imminent death (and dread) makes that person so much stronger in their faith. There's too much of a tendency to see death as a future end point, instead of always with us. It kinda cracked me up the other day when Nikolai posted here saying do your sins then repent later. Is that not the Christian attitude these days?
I in no way want to minimize the suffering of Christians in Syria, but I think it is rather difficult to compare their suffering with the temptations we face. In Syria, things are very black and white. War and mass killings have a way of doing that. In the US, it is much more insidious. There are a million distractions, propaganda bombarding us from every side on every topic we can possibly imagine. I think it has been mentioned before here, but an example of this can be seen by Copts who move the the US. They can endure the discrimination and terroristic acts against them in Egypt, but when they come here, they are unprepared for the temptations that they face here because they are more subtle, and their faith is damaged in that way. Atheistic arguments are very prevalent in the US and Europe and I think it is unfair to minimize it or mock those who struggle with it. It is a very real, intellectual struggle. It is far different from being killed for your faith, but spiritually, it is very damaging to give up your faith, whether it be through force or subterfuge.
I agree.  Talk to any Orthodox who fled a hell hole from a traditional Orthodox land and many will give you a narrative like this.  There are different challenges.  In certain ways living in the USA can be more difficult than living in a gulag, Cairo, or wherever.  I know Orthodox who live in war zones and will not flee to the West because it is undesirable to do so.    And while I can sympathize with some of your "woe is me" stuff and lack of shame about those of us who grew up in the West,  we can't make the mistake of always trying to point to some non extant "bottom line".

I guess there are a lot of "True Americans" who converted to Orthodoxy on this board.  If you go to an Orthodox Church ask the immigrants to compare the "old country" to America, you'll get some interesting answers....and usually a lot of good jokes.
 

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nothing said:
I will say that Christianity is radically atheist. Just look at our instructions to pray to a hidden God, do good deeds to others for God will see it in secret, that God abandon and forsake his own Son on the cross. God is totally absent.
I think your point misses the point: gods are easy to believe in when they are seen, yet the more we see of them, the less divine they are.
 

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nothing said:
Crucify yourself for Christ! If you aren't willing and doing so, then find a new religion folks.

I'm sorry but I am so tired of seeing people take their faith for granted in such a lighthearted fashion. Either you become fully and wholly Orthodox or not. There's no middle ground. Ever read the Sermon on the Mt? Aren't you concerned about all you have done here being up for Judgement?

To seriously suggest WLC, what a joke. He's a perfectly manicured expert debater that doesn't take thought so seriously. Avoid at all possible. I love his wikipedia profile picture, its exactly what I'd imagine a snake oil salesman looking like.

Doubts? Sounds like some of y'all just don't have the heart or endurance to persevere! I love God with my entire being and I hope all I do pleases Him.

Some of you though need to stop messing around and get a little more serious.
nothing said:
Wahh I dont know how to reconcile my wants, desires etc with being a Christian. Wahh all about me

Buncha self entitled American crybabies. I really don't know how exaggerated these Syrian Christian killings are, but let me tell you how much of a far cry it is when I hear another American Christian here complain and moan about some petty trivial annoyance. When does shame ever enter the picture here? You think these Syrians have doubts right before they are beheaded?

I just see us as being so weak and alienated from what the Gospel calls us to do. Be honest could you seriously give yourself up to be martryed tomorrow?

Maybe living in an actual threat of imminent death (and dread) makes that person so much stronger in their faith. There's too much of a tendency to see death as a future end point, instead of always with us. It kinda cracked me up the other day when Nikolai posted here saying do your sins then repent later. Is that not the Christian attitude these days?
You're joking, right?  I haven't been around here in quite some time, so I don't know who to take seriously and who is giving me a hard time (avatars have certainly changed).
 

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Cognomen said:
If there's anything more irritating than "hyperdox" converts, it's people who dissuade those "hyperdox" converts from their genuine appreciation for God and the faith, all in the name of correcting their zeal. 

Trevor, you're clearly moving in the direction--if you're not already there--where you don't have to be bothered by too many ill-informed opinions from so-called experts. Atheism is filled with those experts too, as you've probably noticed (or will notice, if/when you express interest in faith again).

I don't have any great advice or spiritual wisdom to pass along, but it does seem "logical" not to completely dismiss the feelings for God you once believed you felt. Were the feelings genuine or psychological?  That's a question that you and others, myself included, have to wrestle with. Often. That said, I find the arguments explaining away longing and hope for belief in God as some sort of base, predictable coping mechanism to be rather lame.  I hope you at least keep an eye out for those feelings.
Thank you very much, that's a very good thought.  (Speaking of excited converts...is James still around?  Hehehe)

If there's one thing I've learned about Christian spirituality, it's that most people don't know what they're talking about, and it's wise to avoid those who think they do.

Oh, those Atheists.  Yup, I know the sort.
 

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Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
I want to believe, and a god-like savior sounds fantastic and wonderful.  I guess where you and I differ is I see a sort of death where nothing happens, one just dies, as having a sort of very poetic beauty.  (Do I sound Metal yet?)

Really though, believing because I want to believe just sounds silly (no offense!)  I want to be existentially convinced that God is there.  Like can the One who put breath in our lungs, whose Son walked on water and rose from the dead, not give me a quick phone call or something?
I already told you man, you are currently in graceless state, that is the very reason you feel the way you do...

Try to obtain Grace in anyway you can, through prayer, confession, repent of any sin that is separating you from God, ask the saints for help... do something.

Without Grace no argument is possible, with Grace no argument is needed.
 

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Vanhyo said:
Tikhon.of.Colorado said:
I want to believe, and a god-like savior sounds fantastic and wonderful.  I guess where you and I differ is I see a sort of death where nothing happens, one just dies, as having a sort of very poetic beauty.  (Do I sound Metal yet?)

Really though, believing because I want to believe just sounds silly (no offense!)  I want to be existentially convinced that God is there.  Like can the One who put breath in our lungs, whose Son walked on water and rose from the dead, not give me a quick phone call or something?
I already told you man, you are currently in graceless state, that is the very reason you feel the way you do...

Try to obtain Grace in anyway you can, through prayer, confession, repent of any sin that is separating you from God, ask the saints for help... do something.

Without Grace no argument is possible, with Grace no argument is needed.
Please define grace for me.  How will I know when I have it?  I know we don't believe in a "State of Grace" as the Roman Catholics do - or do we?

I feel like struggling to make sense of things that don't is my issue, not "grace".  I have a feeling by "grace" you mean "delusion", to be honest.  If  Christianity is objective, absolute truth, it should prove itself, whether or not I have "grace".
 

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I send you a personal message with some links/meterials to help you understand thing or two about grace

Also any number of heresies can cause you to lose grace, like belief in evolution or ecumenism for example.
 

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Vanhyo said:
I send you a personal message with some links/meterials to help you understand thing or two about grace

Also any number of heresies can cause you to lose grace, like belief in evolution or ecumenism for example.
I'm fairly certain we can believe in evolution.  I get ecumenism, but evolution is objective fact, and I was catechized in the Orthodox Church to believe it's fine for us to believe it - because it's true.  This is where I get off the religion train.  (Not to imply I'm not going to Church, I'm only saying that when people say we cannot believe in what science proves because it may conflict with our religion - meaning our religion might have some shaky foundations - I cannot accept that.)
 
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