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Religion
Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By Dancing_EMTmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3466, member since Wed Dec 08, 2004
On Sat Dec 14, 2013 02:10 PM

The main question is right in the title. A little over a year and a half ago, my husband posted this thread: www.dance.net . . .

Since then, I've really been struggling with my faith. I just find it hard to believe God would allow it to happen.

How did you find your faith again? If you didn't, what are your beliefs now?

18 Replies to Have any of you ever lost your faith?

re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Sat Dec 14, 2013 02:39 PM
Grew up in a very strict Christian home and I went to private church school until the age of 18.

Once I left the house, I realized how much Christianity has hurt me personally and hurt the people I care about. ( Homosexuality is wrong etc and one of my very good friends is gay).

I never went back to church, and I find life a lot easier now without the church putting pressure on me.
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6359, member since Thu Jul 12, 2007
On Sat Dec 14, 2013 04:35 PM
I can't say I've "lost faith" but I'm not particularly enthused about organized religion. I think most televangelists are a scam...the $ign of the Cro$$. I don't like the intermixing of religion and politics. My own personal Christianity is most meaningful to me when I do it through my music. Not cheap and unskillful hymnody, but through great choral/orchestral works of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart through to many present day composers.

Jon
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By SaraTheGrouchmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 8600, member since Thu Apr 17, 2003
On Sat Dec 14, 2013 05:50 PM
Oh yeah. I grew up in a very religious home and was never quite on board with it all. I always wanted to know why we were doing things, and questioning wasn't allowed. I was being brainwashed. Once I was old enough to think for myself, I completely separated myself from religion and religious practices, and since then, I've only grown farther apart from it all. I find that I live a much happier and nearly anxiety-less life. I doubt I'll ever go back.
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By schuhplattlerPremium member Comments: 3037, member since Sat Dec 23, 2006
On Sat Dec 14, 2013 07:17 PM
Oh have I ever lost my faith!

I started out with the following background:
Parents and most of their friends: Reform Judaism.
Grandparents, their large families,, and most of their friends: Highly conservative Judaism.
Immediate neighborhood divided into two geographic sections - one Protestant and one Catholic.
Self-righteousness out the roof.

World War II, and consequently the holocaust, were still on when I started religious school, so I got the following:
1. Religious school personnel felt an obligation to instill in me total stalwartness and the fear of God - "If those in the Warsaw Ghetto could keep the faith to the end, so can you."
Years later this was replaced with a teaching of tolerance, but look at the first impression I got - and during my most formative years.

2. Public school demanded that I sing Christmas carols; draw "the things you want for Christmas"; make a disc recording for my parents - beginning and ending with "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year".

3. From my parents when I complained of this: "They (public school personnel) cater to the Christians because there are more of them. Go ahead and do those things. You don't really mean it". In short, parents treated my fears as totally trivial.

I never got through to any of the above personnel until I started accusing them of working as a team.
Spoiler: Show
If this action seems rash, compare it with what our legal system must do in order to accomplish anything. Just as our legal system must operate from the conclusive premise that defendants know certain things, so must anyone who expects to survive in this society


I did not start thinking for myself on religious matters until religion failed me completely. I won't go into the extensive details publicly, but religion did fail me completely.

For years I was an atheist. I did not embrace any religion until I found one that operated from this principle: What is true for you is what you have observed for yourself, and when you lose that, you have lost everything.

On the other hand, I do expect people to observe for themselves and not accept anyone's word on religious matters. The issue is whether it works for you.
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith? (karma: 1)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6817, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Sat Dec 14, 2013 08:32 PM
Edited by Christine (207347) on 2013-12-14 20:34:28 fixed markup
Edited by Christine (207347) on 2013-12-14 20:35:17
God did not allow this.

Many times when evil prevails, it is because people allow it.

*Godwin, Godwin.*

I would never presume to offer an explanation for the horrific thing that happened to your loved ones. It is just horrible. But just as it would be unfair to blame a single human for the complicated set of circumstances that led to this, it would be hard to think through the logic of blaming God.

To expect any god to override the free will of any human is contrary to the entire history of humanity, or in this case, inhumanity.

What I can offer you is something I just read in , Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, the story of the Village of Le Chambon. When faced with his own crisis of faith, Andre Trocme, the minister whose Christian leadership saved about 3000 Jewish refugees after the Germans occupied France, finally arrived at this when struggling with the suicide of his own son.

"Just as Andre Trocme, the father, could not spare his own son the grief that led to his death, God the Father can not spare us our grief." But to Trocme and many others, God can comfort us in our grief.

I am so sorry you are suffering such a senseless loss. In your own time you may be able to find some peace with this, but for now, be patient with yourself and try to remember the things about them that will always be a part of you. This is how you can keep the best part of their spirits with you.

Hugs.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By UberGoobermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6414, member since Sat May 15, 2004
On Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:19 PM
I believe that God gave people free will and unfortunately sometimes people abuse that gift and do bad things.
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith? (karma: 1)
By imadanseurPremium member Comments: 16604, member since Thu Dec 04, 2003
On Sun Dec 15, 2013 07:15 AM
Edited by imadanseur (79325) on 2013-12-15 13:04:48 ..
I grew up in a fairly conservative church and community. Religion never felt like it truly fit because I had many different beliefs than what was preached (homosexuality, abortion etc.)

I distanced myself once I left home, but still felt there was something missing. Getting into yoga, personal growth, finding out about other religions definitely filled the void, and now I have beliefs from many different religions and I classify myself as spiritual with my beliefs still founded on basic points in Christianity.

I don't think I have faced something where I lost my faith. Infact having faith in something really helped me get through my dad's death. I don't think God gave my dad cancer. Statistics show that just as many believers and non believers get cancer. Now rates of healing differ from believers and non believers and even people that are positive and negative...but I digress.

I don't believe in an all powerful God that can manipulate everything. I don't think that God causes our misfortunes. Some are caused by bad luck, some are caused by bad people, and some are simply an inevitable consequence of our being human and being mortal, living in a world of inflexible natural laws.

I don't think it was God's plan to take away your friends. My God is full of love, and he is a source of comfort when those things happen. I have a friend that lost a son due to suicide and instead of "why me", she's asked, "What can I do about it?" So she goes and helps other parents, she talks to schools to students about suicide, and it is partly her faith that guided her here. I don't think God took her son from her, but I do think God led her and gives her strength to do what she's doing now.

*hugs*
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 8949, member since Sat Jul 19, 2003
On Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:31 AM
I have. I mean, looking back I'm not really sure I actually believed, but I wanted to so badly that I sort of convinced myself.

I've been non-religious for 4 years now and have identified as an atheist for 2.5-3 years. It's made my life a lot better, in a lot of ways. I no longer find myself depressed and wondering why bad things happen. I don't get complacent in life, thinking that there is some greater plan or fate. I see beauty in things much more clearly, because I have since educated myself on evolution, the history of the universe, etc.

The (increasingly rare) times I feel like I'd like to be religious, I realize that it is because we are conditioned to think we need it, this sense of community. I really fear dying, but that's just another side of the same coin...before, I still feared it because the thought of existing forever terrified me. I guess I just have a problem with the concept of eternity :P Plus, in my mind, WANTING something to be true (insert any religion here) doesn't make it so.

If I could go back in time and give myself a talk, I'd tell teenage Kekoa not to waste so much time trying to develop spirituality or seeking a religion that fit. I tried Catholicism, Judaism, and gave my own Lutheranism a lot of effort. It never felt right. Finally, I went to a Methodist college group and loved it. The people were fantastic, the pastor was wonderful. I realized then that if the nicest, most home-like church couldn't fulfill me, I needed to just call it a day. I've never, ever regretted it.
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith? (karma: 1)
By Krystalmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 8458, member since Tue Sep 02, 2003
On Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:51 AM
Yes, I have. Particularly for a few months when I was 17-18. I know that's young, but I grew up in church so I had a clear understanding of it. One day I just remember thinking "What if all this is a total waste of time?" My mom got diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer (in remission now, remarkably) and I just couldn't understand why such a loving, merciful God could let that happen to my amazing, wonderful God-fearing mother. Truth is...he PUTS his children through trials not to test their faith, but to strengthen it.

I could go on and on about my mom and how she chose to keep her hope and faith in Jesus (never heard her complain about her situation one time), but I don't feel I need to on this particular thread.

Even when I was "testing the waters" and deliberately not going to church, not studying my Bible, not hanging with the best people...I knew deep down in me that God/my faith was real. i have had too many blessings in my life, and I've seen too many in others', to think otherwise.

Now I'm 22 years old and very active in my church. So is my husband...even though he's gone right now. Our marriage is ALWAYS the best when we're pursuing a relationship with God. Personally for me "losing my faith" has really gotten me nowhere, but actively pursuing it has definitely got me places.

I do know this isn't for everyone though. I know not everyone likes church, or even God, and not everyone understands the (very basic) beliefs of Christianity, and that's okay. I don't look down on anyone who chooses otherwise. I just know what works for me and my husband. And if someone is happy and complete NOT having a religion/relationship, or having a different religion, that's totally fine. I know tons of people who think I'm crazy because of what I believe, how I talk, the fact that I'm a firm believer in sowing/reaping...I could go on. I just know for ME, faith is worth it. It can be a hard road with lots of questioning and hardships, but it's so rewarding.
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:18 PM
I hope I don't offend with my observations, but here is what I realized in my own personal growth.

I feel that sometimes people use religion as a crutch for rough times in their lives. They aren't strong enough to handle the reality of a bad thing happening, so they turn to other ideas to explain the "evil". I have found that once I accepted that people are just evil at times and it has nothing to do with a higher power, it made me feel stronger. I felt like I was in control of myself, and I didn't fear about what "god" would do next to punish me or bless me.
At the same time, it bothered me when I accomplished something and people said "praise god". Praise god for my 4.0 GPA? What, God gave me the answers during each final? No, I, YYD EARNED those grades, it has nothing to do with God.

I just don't like people attributing my success to a higher power nor do I like the idea of people blaming a higher power for the evil that lurks in human beings.
I feel like the control freak in myself has a hard time thinking that there is a higher power who controls my destiny.

I feel that I DO value some relationships in church because it is a gathering of people with the same mindset. A lot of my friends share similar interests and it brings us closer. Christianity can be similar to an "interest" that it brings like minded people together. I think there IS something to be said for the gathering of friends at church.

I feel that there must be SOME sort of higher power, but I do not think it is the God that the bible wrote about. I don't think my higher power is a jealous,venegful,and wrathful God who helped certain countries win the war and ordered the winners to kill innocent children, livestock and women. If you did a psychopathic profiling on the God mentioned in the bible, I have a feeling that he would either be in jail or at least have a narcissistic personality disorder. The bible didn't do this god any justice.

There ARE times in my life that I wish I could believe in God 100%. A part of me always will have a tiny bit of "what if" because I came from SUCH a god centered home. Part of me wants to believe that there is one.

My parents always told me that if I didn't believe in God, I wouldn't be able to go to heaven. Heck, if he doesn't want me in heaven for trying to use my rational mind to decide these things, he isn't a person that I want to live in enternity with. Heck, if someone is going to throw a hissy fit and keep me out of heaven for not believing, I don't need to worship a tantrum thrower.
( But in all truth, I am a bit fearful for not being able to go to heaven.)

My parents said that people who DENYED god don't get to go to heaven, but as long as people didn't KNOW about god, they could go to heaven. Looks like missionaries messed that up for people, because according to my parents logic, they would have gone to heaven if it wasn't for them "learning" about god from these missionaries.
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 8949, member since Sat Jul 19, 2003
On Sun Dec 15, 2013 01:08 PM
To build off of what YYD said, not being religious is hard on lots of levels. I've had a great grandma and a grandma die since I stopped being religious. It is mind-bendingly hard to cope with, knowing you are never going to see them again. You can't defer any of the grief onto the thought that you'll get to see them again. I can see why people cling to even the tiniest bit of faith if they have it, because it makes it easier.

But, it's not in my control. I can't choose to make myself believe, because I've definitely tried in the past. I feel a whole lot stronger as a person now than I ever did before.
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By imadanseurPremium member Comments: 16604, member since Thu Dec 04, 2003
On Sun Dec 15, 2013 01:22 PM
I really don't see having faith as being a crutch because a person isn't strong enough to deal with life, or that not believing makes you a stronger person or more independent thinker.

My spirituality connects me to people. I am a better person when I reach out and hear messages, go to church, participate in a healing bowls concert, or whatever other woo-hoo thing I choose to do that day. I become less selfish, I am calmer, I accept more responsibility for my actions, and assert less blame on others. For me personally, that is what makes me stronger. I am a better wife, better mom, and better business woman when I am aligned spiritually.
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Sun Dec 15, 2013 02:14 PM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-12-15 14:16:06
^ I am not sure if I made myself clear.

As Kekoa said, it is a crutch for me, if I was able to use religion as a way to cope with my friends death or other horrible thing.

It is a lot easier to believe in seeing them again in heaven, then to think that I will never ever see them again. I would LOVE to actually be able to believe in god and heaven, it would drive away a lot of tears I've had about not being able to see people I love ever again. On top of that, because I don't believe there is a god, I might not be able to go to heaven. If I am wrong and there is a god, I am hoping that he isn't the type to go " haha you didn't believe in me so you can't have eternal life".

There are plent of strong indepedent thinking Christians, but for me, I think that it doesn't make sense that there is a god or heaven. I hope that if there IS a god, he doesn't hold it against me that I chose to think a certain way. That's what I meant. I chose to rationally not believe but there are some others who use logical/rational thinking and can justify a God. I can't and I don't want that held against me.

Life WAS easier in the sense that I was able to blame God for my problems. Now, I feel that I have only myself to blame and I really wished I could blame the evil of this world on demons or something. But some people are just evil and it has nothing to do with god or demons.
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16415, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Sun Dec 15, 2013 04:25 PM
Not really lost, but definitely questioned and then later, redefined. And mostly because the behavior of people in the churches I went to. People who would pride themselves on being good Christians and then act very un-Christian. It was very confusing and it takes time to work through those feelings.

kk~
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By LizDancermember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1140, member since Fri Jan 06, 2006
On Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:13 PM
I'm not sure if I could really say I ever "lost" my faith since I'm not sure I ever really believed to begin with. But I was certainly raised Christian as a child and now identify as an atheist. For me, the idea of God just never really made since. For almost as long as I can remember, I couldn't square that idea with everything else I knew about reality. And I still can't. I've made a few efforts over the years to try to believe, but it's never worked. For me, trying to believe there is a God would be like trying to convince myself that the sky is purple.

I don't find life to be difficult without belief in God or religion, but maybe it's easier for me because I never really had that in the first place. I don't believe there's any higher power directing my life or the lives of anyone else; instead, I feel that I mainly control what happens in my own life, and I take responsibility for that (although I know there are some forces out of my control, of course). I've never understood people who claim not to be religious but still believe in fate or think everything happens for a reason. I don't believe that everything happens for a reason, and I think that although it can be deeply comforting, it can also be self-serving and damaging to always justify things that way, at times.

Death is extremely sad for me, without a belief that I'll see the person again in heaven. But I think it just makes me focus more on the here and now, and making my life on earth the very best it can be. A lot of people seem to think that atheists don't have morals, but I don't understand that. I believe very deeply in kindness to others and I have a very strong sense of right and wrong. In my opinion, it's all the stronger because I believe these things are good in and of themselves, and not just because I think I'll be punished by a higher power or be denied entrance into heaven if I'm not a good person. I've also had people ask me how I can see beauty in the world as an atheist. But I don't know why you have to believe in God in order to see beauty in the world. I think evolution is beautiful, and serendipity, and simple, dumb luck. Sometimes it staggers me to look at an amazing work of nature and realize that it somehow came about without anyone specifically designing it. Or I think that things happening just by chance is all the more beautiful due to the sheer improbability.

I think it's sometimes easier to accept that terrible things happen just because someone was drunk, or the road was icy that day, or the person with the gun had a long history of violent mental illness, or that some people are just evil. I can't look at all the awful things that happen in this world and reconcile it with a higher power. If there were a higher power who really did allow all of these terrible things to happen even though he/she could have stopped it, that would be absolutely heartbreaking to me. I wouldn't want to live in that world. I don't understand arguments that bad events make us a stronger person, or that there was some end game that made the cruelty necessary. If there really were an omnipotent higher power, it seems to me that he/she could simply instill courage and resilience in all of our hearts to begin with, or just institute the "end game" without making people die or suffer in order to get there. After all, "omnipotent" literally means able to do absolutely anything.

Anyway, I'm not trying to preach to anyone and I don't try to change what other people believe. I just thought that demonstrating the way that I, personally, live a meaningful life without faith could be helpful.
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By KaeDancer Comments: 33, member since Wed Jan 22, 2014
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 03:06 AM
Oh Hun,

I was so sorry to read about your loss. I can't explain why this happened or know why good or bad thing happen to people, but I really feel the you need to know that you are never alone.

I completely understand why perhaps you would feel far from God at this time, but God draws near to the broken hearted and comforts them.

I believe that you are grieving and this is a very painful and unsure time. Please know that you do not need to make any decisions at this time. Take everything one day at a time and focus on the situations and feelings of the day. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

I hope that you find support amongst those closest to you and from the support of new friends.

If you do not feel ready to focus on faith, remember that God is available to you at any time. He promises to never leave, nor forsake us and that he will stand at the door and knock. He will be ready when you are, he is patient and kind and will never rush you.

God Bless you and your dear ones at this time. I am praying for you x
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By Gavrilushka Comments: 872, member since Wed Jul 11, 2012
On Fri Jan 24, 2014 03:50 AM
Faith and religion are two different things. To me, religion is a vessel which helps to guide us to faith and develop a spirituality. Spirituality to me is what the Buddhist's call Enlightenment - it is this feeling of things coming together, of your personal ideologies and your personal relationship with the world working in harmony. Spirituality and faith is your ability to see yourself in others and accept yourself as this part of humanity and be able to respect others as being lives which live and exist just like you do in this present time, while faith on its own is the understanding that harmony and cooperation can exist between yourself and others and trying to view the world more opportunistically - faith is your belief in humanity (I get this belief from the idea of being faithful to someone - you seek harmony within this relationship with a human being by avoiding what may disturb it). You can easily be religious and have no faith and no spirituality. Just think of the WBC - extremely religious, but absolutely faithless as they disrupt the harmonies of others with their hatred.

In saying that, I was raised Russian-Orthodox, but by a father who usually slept in service and gave the priest the one fingered salute when he offered to exorcise his gay son. My mother is Japanese and they are typically what Westerners would call non-religious as they don't hold religious faith and beliefs to the same extent of reverence that most Westerners do ie. it works as an aid, not a step-by-step tutorial and it doesn't define/identify them as much as Westerners do. Of course, speaking in general terms.
Japanese people are usually raised Shinto, then have Christian weddings and die as Buddhists in Buddhist funerals. It's more a culture thing as opposed to a religion thing.

I believe in my heart a non-religious person as myself can be spiritual and can have faith. I lost faith during very difficult times in my life and it wasn't until I was engaged that things really started to change. Some people need religion to guide them towards faith, all I needed was someone who genuinely loved, accepted and had faith in me.

I think if people were touched by the faith of others they can develop their own. I had a teacher for religion who also taught math (had him for both) and he got into an argument with me about 'Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve' and quoted the bible, condemning me in front of all 30 of my classmates in a Christian school. And what did he do? He flirted with female students, told them about how hot he was when he was younger and always talked about his sex life and then raged at our class for failing math without realising we could pass a test on every STD and every name of every woman he slept with. He dissed Buddhism and Islam and renamed a Muslim girl in class 'Infidel' instead of using her name. Does this man has faith? Does this man have spirituality? No, of course not. If he did he would not disturb the faith of others and accept conflicting ideologies. What he had was the inflated importance because he ate up religion as automatically making you a good person who loves, respects and is honorable to others.

Quoting Bible verses doesn't say that you have faith or a spirituality - often times it just means that individual has become too dependent on a religion to understand the very purpose of a religion. And sadly, I think a lot of people see having a religion = having faith and spirituality, and that simply isn't the case.
re: Have any of you ever lost your faith?
By Liritmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 4789, member since Sat May 18, 2002
On Tue Oct 06, 2015 12:05 PM
Absolutely.

I grew up in a very aesthetically Jewish environment. I rebelled straight through adolescence and into my early adulthood. I had a very hard time reconciling the idea that we were supposed to do this, that, and the other thing, but... we didn't actually do them, and for some reason it didn't matter that we didn't do them. I still don't understand that at all.

In the last 6 or 7 years, though, I have had the opportunity to explore Judaism through a more traditional lens, in an environment that encouraged questioning. And I found it to be both supportive and celebratory. The more observant I became, the more I had a sense of coming home. I have been able to make my peace with practices and beliefs that I'm not entirely on board with as being things that are thus far beyond some understanding (be it mine, or the big kahuna type rabbis), and am okay with it because we all have time to figure it out.

I'm less stringently religious as I was a couple years ago, but philosophically, I'm pretty down with my religion now. I like that I was able to come to it rationally, instead of having it shoved down my throat in a way that left me feeling brainwashed or like I was perpetually falling short of doing things right. I know not everyone has that luxury.

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