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To want to make myself believe in god?

(1000 Posts)
HopHopHopSkip Thu 25-Jul-13 22:55:10

I have always been very logical and so despite going to a Christian primary school, having a very religious mum(though not in a pushy way) and reading the bible when I was younger(the story version grin I was a bit of a book worm) I have never really got my head around how god could be possible.

But I really wish I had the extra "something" that some people seem to find by believing in god. I'm probably not making much sense, but I wish I could get myself to feel like there's somebody watching out, that there's something after death, that everything happens for what'd ultimately a good reason/what's meant to be so on.

AIBU to try going to church for a bit even though I don't believe in god? Or am I just being silly, is it something you can't 'make' yourself feel?

Oblomov Fri 26-Jul-13 08:51:47

I am like the OP. I want to believe in God. I really want to. I just can't seem to. In my teens I went on an Alpha course. Ds1 has just done his holy communion, so I went to church every week for months.
And still I am no further on. No closer. I sOOOOO want to believe. I am still unsure on what to do next.

ZingWidge Fri 26-Jul-13 08:54:32

shall we pray?

Lazyjaney Fri 26-Jul-13 08:55:35

The merest glance at human religious history tells you that people have fervently believed in many things at some time or other. If onevflavour doesn't do it, try another.

Why not believe in multiple Gods, much more interesting and statistically more likely.

ANormalOne Fri 26-Jul-13 08:57:03

PramelaAndherson Well, gosh. If he said it must be true. hmm

HopHopHop There are numerous religions that claim they are the one true religion, that all others religion are false and their followers deceived. The only logical conclusion is that none of them are the one true religion and all of them are deceived.

Religion is a false comfort, based on lies.

But if you really want to explore religion, you don't have to automatically believe in god(s). There are atheistic religions like Pagan Atheism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Jainism you can explore.

Oblomov Fri 26-Jul-13 08:59:23

"btw I don't think you can make yourself believe. That's God's job"

That's what I'm worried about. That it is impossible for me to make myself believe.

ANormalOne Fri 26-Jul-13 09:05:34

If it's impossible to make yourself believe, then maybe that's because you find the god myth impossible to believe, and there's nothing wrong with that. There are plenty of non-religious organizations you can get in touch with that will discuss it with you, churches don't have to be your first port of call, the British Humanist Association would be a great place to start.

You don't have to get a sense of purpose from being part of a church or religion, try clubs, hobbies, charities etc.

There are hundreds of thousands of non-religious people who live driven, successful, purposeful lives, without suspending their disbelief in the supernatural.

ANormalOne Fri 26-Jul-13 09:10:09

Oh and far as the Alpha course goes, don't be taken in by them, as others have said it's there for one reason and one reason only, to convert you to Christianity, that's it.

springytoto Fri 26-Jul-13 09:13:11

Religion is a false comfort, based on lies.

In your opinion, Normal . Please do qualify that that is your opinion. Strongly held, yes, but your opinion.

It happens to be my opinion that religion has nothing to do with - or very little to do with - God. Never the twain, usually. ie religious practise usually has practically nothing to do with God at all imo. the opposite spirit.

Oblomov , maybe tell God you're worried about that wink ? It doesn't have to be an essay. If it's up to him, and he is who he says he is, then he'd find a way to make himself known to you, no?

ANormalOne Fri 26-Jul-13 09:17:14

springtoto I don't see you asking the religious people on this thread to qualify their statements as being purely their opinion, but yes it is my opinion, although at least I can quite easily find proof of some of the lies contained in many of the most popular religions.

claig Germany Fri 26-Jul-13 09:18:57

The fact that you want to believe means that you have begun a search. If you pursue the search then you will find what you seek and you will receive the gift of belief.

You have to be open and open your mind in order to receive. You can't force it, it will come when you are ready for it. I would continue the search by buying some books on spirituality and spiritual philosophy because this will enhance the spirit of wonder which will open you up to receive belief.

TimeofChange Fri 26-Jul-13 09:19:23

OP: you could visit some sacred sites and sit quietly.
Old churches are built on sacred sites and have lovely atmosphere and energy.

Though if you have DCs the sitting quietly may be difficult!

You could go to a Meditation group and see what that brings to you.

I am so pleasantly surprised that there are so many lovely replies on here.

burberryqueen Fri 26-Jul-13 09:21:59

it is possible to attend church and not believe in God as such, just enjoy the community gathering and hymns, reflection etc., and live by the teachings of Jesus....I know at least one person who does this...(not me btw!)

ANormalOne Fri 26-Jul-13 09:24:57

Oh and OP I've had these same feelings before, I came quite close to joining Islam in my teenage years, after studying it for several years with a close friend of mine, but I couldn't suspend my disbelief, you can't mske yourself believe anything, either you do or you don't.

pamelaandherson you are making the presumption that the "Father" is the only god out there. Even Jehovah admitted there were other gods - he just wanted to be the top dog - "Thou shalt have no other gods before me.".

I'm a panentheist - that means I think the divine is both imminent and transcendent. I express this through Wicca, and contrary to a pp, Wiccans don't think we are right, we just think we are right for those who choose to follow our path.

We all need to find our path to "God" ourselves.

springytoto Fri 26-Jul-13 09:35:23

My take on it is that the Alpha course clearly and methodically explains what christianity is about. A surprising number of people don't know what christianity is actually about. imo the evidence is so compelling that a considerable percentage do go on to believe in Jesus - eg what he did, and why. I'd personally have an issue with the (sometimes) churchiness of the follow-up to the Alpha course. There can sometimes be a bums-on-seats strain to the follow-up, but not always - a lot get the drift that it's God's job to forge a relationship, the church's job is to introduce imo. I can see how christians can get so excited about introducing Jesus, the story of it all - it isn't called the good news for nothing - that they can get a bit overzealous and forget where the boundaries lie, forget to keep back.

(Mind you, I am perhaps largely speaking in a cultural context here - in our cultural it is paramount to respect privacy, personal space etc. This is not always, or necessarily, the case in other cultures which are inherently more religious, understand religious reasoning and belief - where eg Pram's presentation of unequivocal beliefs would be appropriate and readily understood.)

niminypiminy Fri 26-Jul-13 09:37:39

OP like you I teetered on the edge of belief for many, many years, and when I first started going to church I didn't believe. Faith came very gradually -- a bit like one day waking up and realising that you 're actually in love with someone you've been friends with for ages. What changed it all for me was not trying to decide if I believe that God exists, but beginning to pray - that changed so much - and beginning to try to live out Jesus's message - love God with all your heart and mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself ( still working on that one!).

CuChullain Fri 26-Jul-13 09:39:18

@HopHop

I suggest just be yourself, you were not born Christian, Jewish or Muslim, you were born a blank slate, free from the shackles of imposed dogma. Make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values. Take responsibility for your actions and base your ethics on the goals of human welfare, happiness and fulfillment. You can make the best of the one life you have by creating meaning and purpose for yourself. You don't need sky pixies to find that 'extra something', that's the easy way out. Good luck.

Pigsmummy Fri 26-Jul-13 09:40:17

I was filled with doubts, I hoped that it would "hit" me in some way but then one day I just decided to believe. It worked for me and I think my life is richer tbh. I don't attend church every week but when I go I enjoy it and wonder why I don't go more?!

I was baptised catholic but not confirmed which left me feeling a bit left out so I embarked on a course and got confirmed, this was through choice and I enjoyed it. Talking to like minded normal people about God was actually refreshing. Maybe try a course? The catholic one is the RCIA, normally done in someone's home one evening a week for a few weeks (with tea and biscuit) or I have heard good things about the Alpha course.

ChaosWalking Fri 26-Jul-13 09:43:11

Pram, you need to open your mind a little. Every religion says the same thing about their God: that it is the one true God etc. Just because Christianity is your religion doesn't mean it is the right one. If you were born and raised in India, you would be saying the same things about a different religion.

Latara Fri 26-Jul-13 09:52:06

I have a few Muslim friends who are very definite in their belief in God (they believe Jesus was a Prophet).

I envy them their certainty of faith but I just don't have that certainty.

springytoto Fri 26-Jul-13 09:52:30

Normal - no-one has written a para saying:

Religion is a comfort. It is true.

Some have implied it but not made an unequivocal statement as you have.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Fri 26-Jul-13 10:28:47

Did anyone see Derren Brown's program on fear and faith. It was facinating, he was able to convert a staunch atheist. Her reaction was overwhelming. I'll try and find a link.

I'm sure you all know this but he is an atheist

Lazyjaney Fri 26-Jul-13 10:46:20

The interesting thing about most religions is that if you strip out which particular god/s they believe in, and all the worshipful flummery around that, there is a remarkably consistent message of human ethics. Now whether that was revealed by the divine, the great Human subconscious or just hard experience over and again, I leave to you - but it seems you can live the identical ethical life quite easily while enjoying a spiritual life worshipping whatever you please.

Btw re Religion vs Spirituality - anyone read Terry Pratchett's "Small Gods" - says it all IMO.

Notsureanymore2013 Fri 26-Jul-13 11:10:34

I am so glad to have found this message as it resonates so strongly with me at the moment. I have been an active member of a high church all my life. My Dad was a vicar until he died 10 years ago. I was very happy in my faith, met my husband through church and we baptised our children. My faith gave me great comfort when my father died suddenly and the power of the church community was a great lifter at that overwhelming time.
Now I am happy and settled with my family we have both come to the conclusion(very strangely how we both reached this at the same time), that there most likely is no God. Religion, ceremony and the lovely music is a nice way of bringing people together but meaningless really for us now. We have always and will always try do the moral thing and instil these values in our children but now feel we do not need to be Christian to do this. I consider myself Humanist now. I do get why people believe but cannot believe it myself now. I have to say I feel extremely liberated.
I am reading 'The God Delusion 'and it makes a lot of sense to me.
As yet I cannot talk to people in real life about it as our close family are strong believers and we don't want to hurt them or shatter their 'delusion' (meant in the kindest way).
Apologies for this being incoherent but a) I'm on an iPhone, b) it's my first ever post and c) I am excited/confused by my feelings and seeing other people have been having a similar journey.

Dahlen Fri 26-Jul-13 11:25:58

I think it's normal to want to believe in something. Research into the human brain shows that about 80% (IIRC) of us are hardwired into having a faith, although the expression of that faith tends to vary according to the culture you brought up in, etc.

If you find yourself struggling to deal with the logic of it, however, you could also try looking into humanism, etc. There is a great deal in humanism that shows you how to take joy from, and develop faith in, the human spirit in the same way that others have faith in a deity for example.

As long as you are not hurting anyone, you can believe whatsoever you want to believe and no one is entitled to make you feel different.

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