Missing my faith - where now?(13 Posts)
I'd be really grateful for any opinions or advice please.
I was bought up casually Catholic by which I mean we went to church each week, I did my first communion etc but we never really discussed religion at home. As a teenager I felt uncomfortable with some aspects of catholicism in contrast to my growing feminism so slowly without really meaning to stopped going to church. Others' experiences of this may be very different but our priest/group/family really did not read the bible as we came from the background idea of the priest interpreting it for us. However I went to a bible camp with a friend at senior school and was introduced to bible reading and a more evangelical church and at university was near Holy Trinity Brompton (home of Alpha) so went there once or twice.
My husband's family are very CofE (mum training as a minister etc) so we married in a CofE church and for around the next 8 years I went to our local CofE church. This was a real faith high point and I joined a house group etc. However my husband is an atheist and I found it increasingly hard to reconcile my faith and the lack of it in my home. Then my son announced he did not believe in God. We moved towns and I stopped going to church and one day realised I was a non believer.
In some ways I feel at peace with that as organised religion does not strike me as great in many ways and despite all my years of prayer I never really felt I heard God and nor did any change happen in my husband's attitude which I prayed for etc.
Now thought I miss faith. I miss fellowship but I also just miss the values and hope. However I honestly don't think I believe in any of the Christian doctrines. What do I do? Can i go back to Church? Has anyone else lost faith and then regained it? Has anyone had any faith as the only one in their house?
Sorry this is so long.
I think it is incredibly hard to keep going when your loved ones around you do not believe. The hardest thing is keeping 'fellowship' with other believers as Sunday often is a family day and church gets squeezed out. I would start again at the beginning to try and find out what you really believe, Find a local Alpha course and sign yourself up. Ask all the difficult questions. At the end of the course, see how you feel. Sme people are attracted to churches for the social contact/family feel but faith itself is between you and God and that is what you need to decide. Do you believe and do you want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Once you have decided that, you can work out how.
You could try going to your local Quaker meeting and seeing if that strikes a chord? Lots of values, hope and fellowship but minimal doctrine.
As a child I only ever attended church on special occasions; Christmas, Easter, weddings, christenings, etc. But from probably the age of about 17 I used to get very emotional about my faith and wanted to be more involved. I now take my daughters every Sunday, to the shock of the rest of my family. It gives me great peace and grounds me and makes me feel part of something bigger than myself. I don't believe believe in the bible and it's teachings, but I pray to god in desperation and in thanks almost everyday. I didn't realise that I believed until I was scared and alone and found myself praying as a teenager.
You don't have to completely believe in all of a religion to be a part of it. It's also very important to find the right church. Even the right religion for you.
Would you be thinking this way if you had been brought up as a Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim or followed Krishna, Shiva or in the Adavaita Vedanta tradition (Hinduism) These philosophies teach/guide you to finding the God consciousness within you and not outside of you. We are all on a spiritual path. Some of us are further along that path than others.
Sorry to be slow I needed to think about this more. Thank you for your thoughts. I think this might well not be the case if I came from a faith that more emphasised the spiritual path which is interesting. I've been thinking about the Quakers, the nearest meeting is 25 miles away which is a problem but.....
griffinsss -thank you perhaps I am being too dogmatic rather than moving where feels right....
Hi OP, I'm in a similar situation and was thinking about attending a Unitarian church. Apparently congregations attract people with lots of different beliefs, including atheists and agnostics (me) who enjoy the fellowship and community. Good luck!
I was thinking URC too - they are much less evangelical, much less absolute about doctrine, but some offer great fellowship and community and do lots of social action. Maybe go church hopping.
Can you speak to your MIL if she is the one with the strong faith in the family? She must too have experienced the pain of unanswered prayer wrt your DH as he is her son - and is probably/ hopefully used to talking about the struggles of faith.
Redoing Alpha or Christianity Explored is another good idea, if you are up for that.
What are you looking for OP?
You can follow a spiritual path as an atheist. I don't believe in god yet I am a spritual person.
I've had times when my faith was low and places when high and I think that is normal. I think my other issue was that I was at a very formal church.
Moved a year and a half ago just before a new vicar started at another church and TBH feel like everything changed so much.
My new church has definitely helped grow my faith and is really relaxed with a smaller congregation and they really love my son and I feel I make a difference as I help with the children's groups.
For me the vicar also makes such a huge difference in a church. Ours is very relaxed and I really think that has helped too.
I have been in and out of church for almost 40 years. I started at C of E and more recently attended the COGOP. I don't go anywhere now.
Earlier this year I speed read the NT and it increased my faith. I went from "there might be a god" to certainty.
I have struggled with church because I believe that the Bible is the word of God but Church just seemed a social club. I think if reading the Bible and being a Christian doesn't change you (... Ongoing process) then there's something amiss. For me it's all about love. That's what I pray for.
If God has you he will not let you go.
I'm an atheist/humanist, a belief I'm very content with, but I do often envy the social support the church gives to other people I know who do go regularly. My employers are all very committed Christians and a lot of business contacts are also made through church.
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