I have lost God(105 Posts)
Everything has just gone. Almost overnight. I can no longer believe. Nothing happened to make this happen it just sort of occurred to me that it's all made up
I am feeling that this has happened. I miss going to church. I feel hollow and empty. It is quite a depressing state to be in.
I am not sure of the way forward now. I want to believe but I don't see any way back.
You might find reading the book of Eclesiastes helpful.
Personally I find it a bit of a strange book, but some people, including Christians find it very helpful. Perhaps it was put in the bible for times as you are in now.
Strictly speaking, agnosticism isn't necessarily sitting on the fence - its the view that we can neither prove nor disprove the existence of a deity. You can be an agnostic and, depending on what you then believe a theist or an atheist, or a fence-sitter. So agnosticism does have an element of humility. (not sure whether this is relevant to the OP or not!).
It's been said before that all rational atheists are actually agnostic too. If you base your beliefs on evidence and have a scientific mindset, you accept that there are things you cannot know for sure and that god cannot be disproved.
I'm an atheist so some might think I'd see it as a victory, but I think it must be really hard to find that you don't believe any more.
For what it's worth I wouldn't try to force yourself to be theist or atheist. You don't have to come up with a long term plan or solution right now Just be yourself and relax and see how things go.
As others have said you don't have to cut yourself off from your social life in church. Many of the others there don't really believe either.
"Many of the others there don't really believe either"
I think that's probably true Back - though many also have a very simple, honest faith too (hope that doesn't sound patronising to anyone)
Anyway one thing about that is I think you can find truth in story, indeed this has always been so important to human society.
Jesus for example told many parables and his truths are illustrated through the story.
Seems to me one option is to look on the account of Jesus' life as a story in itself, and see what truth that might hold for you?
For example I always enjoying watching children re-enacting the Nativity story and find much meaning in listening to "Little Donkey" - struggling along that dusty road with his precious load. "Don't give up now, Little Donkey, Bethlehem's in sight!" - always brings a good tear to my eye on Christmas Eve As does the birth of the baby - a sign of hope - in the poor, dark stable.
I suppose the main thing here in my thoughts for OP and others is that you can still take meaningful things with you even if your fundamental beliefs are changing.
I would really recommend Letting go of God by Julia Sweeney, in full in this youtube audio only version. It's a very candid but funny look through her journey. It really helped me earlier this year when I went through it again.
I've been through this twice. First from Christianity where even having a grandfather and three uncles and an aunt in active ministry and an very devout mother who played TV evangelists all the time didn't stop unanswered questions and problems when I began to study the texts and history of the texts and beliefs on my own. It was slower separation, much like Julia Sweeney, and as much of my study lead to texts in Judaism, that's where I went which likely dulled the issue. I spent over 15 years as a devoted student of Judaism and was welcome into the Noachide path until someone was pushing for full conversion showed us that the rosy vision and embrace we had been given were false. That one hurt far more as there was nothing to cushion our fall, my fall particularly as I'd spent so much time in study and in traditions to find out the very texts they said didn't matter proved to be the ones that shed the light. I felt utterly deceived and could no longer go back.
Thankfully, I had my partner there to help share the burden. I looked at my life and our lives as a family and worked out what was missing now that the Western Abrahamic concept of a deity was gone. What was missing, for us, was a grounding philosophy and traditions, and for me personally a lot of how I saw myself. Many others who go through this also feel a great loss of community, belonging, and for some even hope, but these and more can be gained back - the wonders of the Universe and of the world around us are still here, we just have to figure out which lens to view them through. In my journey, I fell back into what I do naturally and did a lot of research, connecting to other branches of my family history, and through discussions with others worked out what points of view and beliefs were still important to me and what other traditions we could move onto and grow into something better.
It was hard and very upsetting, I spent a good few weeks really off balance, but looking back over the last half year since then, I'm glad it happened. I have far more clarity in who I am and how I see the world and far less burden in having "a side" as it were. It's different and we're still finding our feet in this new view, but I feel we are now really us and really connecting - I actually feel better not being part of it and working on my own course than I ever did in it (which is saying a lot, I got a lot of pleasure out of the study and traditions before, it was a major part of my identity, but I now know I don't need to hang myself on that. Really, I just believe in one less God-being than I did before, with so many out there that seems very small issue, it's the rest that's tied into being part of a religion that's the real issue I think for most people.
I hope I have been of some help and that you come through this as well as many other have before you on this journey.
What a great and interesting post Spork
I've really enjoyed the wise, warm, and empathetic writing of the Rabbi Lionel Blue. Through him I've been introduced to many of the wonderful writings and prayers of the Jewish faith.
I wonder if you might find him helpful to read, or have come across his books already?
I hope in time perhaps you will be able to come back to some of the treasures you found, perhaps in both Judaism and Christianity - but of course continuing to see them through the new lens you have found.
I guess to continue with that analogy, the one which brings the world into clearest focus for you ?
With all blessings on your onwards path
This really resonates with me. Last year my father died unexpectedly. As I sat there looking at his body I felt such a strong feeling that he hadn't gone anywhere, he was just gone. And I always thought that I would be devastated by that thought having been at various stages C of E/ Baptist/ evangelical C of E/ fuzzy slightly wavering C of E. but actually I felt fine (beyond the terrible grief of course).
I was totally thrown but this feeling of evaporation of my faith and it made me question how I'd been so strong in the past, regular church attendance and friends in faith definitely made a difference, does this mean I was brainwashed in repeating the words of the Creed without seeking them out for myself? I attended an Alpha Course and various pre marriage and parenting courses through various churches.
But it is the sense of community and fellowship and the ability to think solemnly about the mysteries of life and how not to take it for granted that I loved church for. I miss that now my children are small and slightly feral. So I don't go partly as its stressful and partly because the congregation are so overly friendly and keen to see you that you feel obliged/guilty/drawn in and less able to come and go as you wish.
Buffyp I'm so happy for you that you have your faith, that must be real solice in such an awful loss.
But that lack of a god/God in my life means you have to make every day worth living, day gratitudes for the simple pleasures in life still exist as can a profound happiness and peace. It just rests on you to make that happen now. You are not alone.
Juggling - yes I have read some of his and many other Jewish and Christian writers works. I studied both personally and academically for over 15 years. As I said repeatedly, I'm quite happy now without the Western Abrahamic deity concept and connected ideologies, and anything I could find there to "treasure" I have already found better elsewhere. While it was hard when it happened, I now don't need or want any of it as part of my worldview or life anymore.
I'm sorry (if I got a bit carried away with my enthusiasm for LB) Spork
I guess I just thought you might like him as much as I do.
I thought it was possible you might find his thoughts on life helpful, and was just looking to share some common ground with you.
Anyway, I still really liked your post and found yours helpful, even if you didn't feel the same about mine!
OP I came here to start a similar thread myself and found this so will share my experience. I lost my faith this week, just like you literally overnight. The difference is I feel OK about it. I am not saying it is gone for ever and I have no resentment or ill feeling towards the church or religion. I am very much of the belief that people should believe what they want and respect others belief, but I do sort of look at religion through different eyes now.
Honestly if you had asked me six months ago I would have said that I would have NEVER lost my faith, I could barely go to sleep without saying my prayers, thanking God for a good day, praying for other people, asking for help etc etc. I mean this was a huge part of my daily life having chats to God and feeling his support in my life. And yet here I am.
For me it has also been a culmination of a series of hardships and tragedies for me and my family. Funnily enough the first hardship I faced I very much looked at God to support me through it, my recent issues made me angry at God but I still believed he was there, I was just pissed at him and letting him know this. The recent events (just past weeks) just made me feel 'nope, not there anymore'. It's not left a hole and I'm currently not bothered. I feel more free in a way. I guess free of dogma and free of putting my utter faith in something.
Nothing is certain, we go from day to day, and bad things happen to good people. I am just focusing on the now and this moment...which is just that mindfulness is. It seems to be working.
Pelvicfloor How interesting as when my father passed away I had the exact opposite emotion. I looked at his body and in that moment felt like the soul that made him who he was had moved on and left a shell. I felt such a tangible difference in him from the moment he was alive (even when in a coma) and dead that to me it was evident that the soul exists and leaves the body at the moment of death.
Obviously this is all up in the air now. My loss of faith has come so sudden that I have not even sat down to contemplate my thoughts on the afterlife etc. This will be a long process for me.
Bluebeardsbabe: I think your experience is a normal one in the life of faith. It is normal for us to feel that 'God has gone', and to feel that there is nothing there. Most people of faith will have had similar experiences. Some people feel there is a devastating hole, and some (like you) feel ok (though how you feel now may not always be the case).
I would say that your focus on mindfulness is another way of praying -- a way that people get to when their faith moves to a deeper level. It may be that by being meditatively in the present moment your faith is transforming itself into a more mature version. I hope that God will come back for you -- or rather, that you will find that he's never gone away. Whatever happens, I pray that as the dust settles and you do get time to sit down and contemplate that you will be helped to make sense of what has happened to you. Bless you.
I like to think in pictures and this analogy came to me ...
I think where you are now can feel like you've just driven up a cul-de-sac.
You've reached a dead end.
But after a bit you get out of the car and wander over to the corner of the cul-de-sac noticing there's a little wicker gate there, with a path leading onwards into green fields ....
As the Sufi poet Rumi said ...
"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there."
Hope some of you might like that thought. I love the sense of freedom and space in the Rumi quote.
I like that image, Juggling.
I feel that about my daughter, Pelvic. She is just gone.
Expat how are you coping with your DD's death? If you feel strong enough/inclined I would very much appreciate your reply. I have been struck by your strength over the years. How have you felt? What helped you? What made your life worse?
Please ignore if you don't want to answer. I do not wish to cause you any more pain.
Hope some thoughts on the thread are some comfort to you expat ((hugs))
genuine question- just wondering-
do the atheists here go on threads about other faiths -Allah,Krishna,Mohammed, (bit naive here, just starting to study other faiths) and the rest and dismiss them as much as they dismiss Christiantity?
Asking as Ive never come across it anywhere else.
Interesting question Burley. Perhaps you should use it to start another thread.
It would be nice if we could maybe keep this a support thread.
sorry, didn't mean to derail thread , was just looking through a few posts on this one and jus wondererd.
Maybe ill start a separate thread, good idea Dione (I think, don't want to start a bunfight!)
I am an athiest and will go on religious threads and chat about my point of view. I don't like to read that people who are atheists can't have proper morals. It's insulting and rude.
I am very respectful of people's religions and I think people should be respectful of my atheism.
My other bugbear are local authority religeous schools that EXCLUDE children's whose parents don't happen to be of the correct religion. I can not believe that this archaic and discriminatory situation is allowed to continue. It's ironic how this encourages people to pretend to be more 'devout' than they actual are. I could never be that hypocritical.
All schools should be secular.
Sorry, good idea not to derail the thread. Please excuse my rant
...back to supporting the OP
Just to answer Burley (but can only speak for myself) I always try to enter into the spirit of the thread but keep my own integrity. I go on the Christian prayer thread and both offer support and post my own prayer requests. Possibly as a liberal Quaker agnostic I shouldn't, but I appreciate the support given and received there, and try to be honest about where I'm coming from. I also love some of the traditional prayers posted there to support each other.
I also joined in with a great inter-faith thankfulness thread. Really enjoyed that one.
Otherwise I tend to view most threads, including this one, as pretty open to general debate - though I agree with Dione that this one has a strong supporting OP and others aspect as well.
But at the end of the day Mumsnet as a whole is a discussion forum.
Due to my own quirks, and possible attention deficit tendencies, I do find it hard to keep as
rigidly faithfully to the thread topic as some
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