Is anyone out there struggling with faith. I am 55 and an atheist.. or am I. ?

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Cyndi - posted on 04/13/2013

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You are human, which is why you struggle with believing. I thing everyone has doubts. I used to doubt, but I found whenever I was at my lowest point, He pulled me through. Why bad things happen to good people is a great book to read. My son was 7 when he was diagnosed with brain cancer, that was my darkest hour. God got me through it, even though I was very angry with him. I forced myself not to turn away from God, and then He gave me so much comfort.

Liz - posted on 09/12/2010

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I have had a hard time putting into words what I mean when I say that my needs are not being met by my church. I could say that it is partly because of the feeling from the church that I have been a member of for over 20 years that I am not in "sync" with them in my families views of social issues, and spirital issues. It is partly because of the fact that my husband and children do not attend with me, and that I have been told by the Pastor and others that I need them to attend so we can be a Christian family, when we are probably more of a Christian family then many of the members who attend. It is partialy because after many years of service and worship, I find that service is being viewed as unnecessary or even unacceptable. But it is also the fact that I do not intend to spend all my time at the church in Bible study, Wed night worship, Sunday morning, afternoon, and evening worship, church youth groups, and women/men's groups. Since we always have had family night on Wed, I was told that we needed to bring out family to Wed dinners/programs so our family night would be with the bigger family of the church. My husbands only night off at one point of our family life was Wed, and we did not want to share that with anyone, except our family. With 5 sons, we felt it was more improtant for us to be a family in our own home, then to be in the church. Our children felt like outsiders in the youth groups because they were " a little bit different" in their friends at school, their music preferences, in their dress, in their choice of sports teams to participate in or even in their choice of scripture verses to talk about. I was told that one of my sons was going to hell because of a verse that he talked about in Revelations, but because he was not allowed to finish what he was going to say, by the leaders it was assumed that he was not a Christian, and asked to leave the youth group.



that is what I mean when I say that my needs were not being met. I am finding in our area that the Churches are judgemental, unaccepting of others who are not liked minded, and unsympathetic to those who do not look like them or think like them. They are not following the basic tentants of the religion of accpentance of all who are sinners and want to know Christ. Now it seems that unless you vote, voice the same beliefs and dress/act like they do, you are not welcomed.



I pray for those in my old church all the time, asking God to open their eyes to what they are doing and asking God to forgive them, since they will not forgive me for my shortcomings.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/11/2010

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Patricia, I have really felt called to speak with you here. I want first to say your life is not "petty". I do not believe that in any way. And I know God doesn't. You are precious to Him.
I know many people that have difficulty with their faith as adults... including my husband. He rarely attends Mass, but he is a good person. And, I believe he still holds the values he was raised with. And although Anne's passages may have been a little harsh, it points to the fact that evidence of God is all around us. He wants all of us to be with him in Heaven. I think it is more a sadness that He has when we don't recognize this... just as any of us would be sad if our children turned away from us.

Liz - posted on 09/11/2010

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First of all you are not alone, I am in a quandry about my faith. I have always been a Christian, Presbyterian raised and by choice. But lately I have not been very happy with my church. I have left that church because I felt my needs were not being met, There was no Joy in the sermons, no patience with others who do not believe exactly like the pastor did, Always pushing to bring those who are different into the fold and making them as they are. My whole life has been different from the churches I have attended. My husband was raised Catholic, but he did join the Presbyterian church when we married, 33 years ago. Our children all were raised in the church, until they were in high school, or confirmed. They all left because they felt that they were different from everyone else there. We are a liberal family, with conservative views and I have had no problems with things my children have enjoyed in their music, tv shows, or what ever. They are morally good men, as is my husband. If I were to put up their "christian values" with some from the area churches just by their acts, the men in my family would win hands down. That is where I have to break with my church. They have been judging me for so long, and no matter what I do, I can "measure up to their standards". so I quit trying. And that has brought me to my preasent situation. Am I a Christian in name or deed? Or am I just a "good person" who believes in God and Christ, and just does not like the church? I don't have a clue.

Yet people who claim to know say that I am just "lost" and should really just choose a church and relax. But when I do that, I find myself coming home being angry, or depressed. I have yet to find a church/religion that fills my life with the joy that I am supposed to have. I have found though, that when I am true to what I believe, I am happier. So right now, I don't know what the heck I am, Christian, or just a person trying to be a good person. good luck, I don't have any advice, just good luck, and I will keep a good thought for you, if you do the same for me.

Anne - posted on 09/10/2010

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Hi Patricia, First off I want to say, anything I say is NOT SAID to offend or hurt you! I will be honest with you I do not believe you can truly be an atheist, and I added a few Bible verses at the end of my response that you may want to look at. My heart goes out to you that you have experienced the things you went through as a child.



The fact that you are questioning your beliefs seems to me like you are truly searching for God. Yes I could say that God gave us Science, but more importantly I believe that God put in the heart of man/woman the desire to Know Him. If we feel detached from our parents, and People speak of God being our Heavenly Father I can understand why you are struggling.



I could give you reason after reason and example after example why I believe beyond a shadow of doubt that God exists and what Having God in my life has done for me. But until a person has experienced that for themselves my words can sound like Pie In The Sky nonsense.



What I would suggest is that you get a Bible I like the New International Version because it is easy to read. Start with the book of John in the New Testament and ask God to revile Himself to you. If you are truly seeking Him He will make Himself real to you in the way that is relevant to you so you can believe in HIm. I also will be Praying for you. If you would want examples of what God has done in my life and Answers to Prayer that I have experience I would welcome your messaging me. I will be Praying for You the God shows Himself to you as Your Abba Father (Daddy).



Anne Watkins



Romans 1:19-22 (New International Version)



19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.



21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.

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Lisa - posted on 04/30/2013

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Some have difficulty believing in that which they cannot see. j
Therefore, they can't see God and don't believe.
Yet, even the Devil believes in God.
I too struggled with my faith for a while but eventually realized that life was just better when put in God's hands. He teaches us that if we have the faith of a mustard seed anything is possible.

Alessia - posted on 04/30/2013

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Reality is much more interesting, rewarding, and fullfilling than any mythology. What we have within ourselves is more important than any supernatural notion. Lacking "faith" only means we gain in self-awareness, compassion, and true sense of how important it is to be human, to be alive, and be a part of this incredible existence called "life".

Pamela - posted on 04/07/2013

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Hi Patricia, I hope you find the answers you are looking for. I was raised in a non chistian home, and my dad thinks he is an atheist. I say 'thinks' because he sure gets mad about someone he doesnt believe in, we love him though. I am an adult biology student and learn from an evolutionary biologist. Far from threatened, I the glory of God in his creation through bio and chem in awesome ways. I encountered Jesus alone, and did not have Christian friends, I will ever forget that moment and I have never been the same. I love the way Blaise Pascal rationalized belief in God. Death is unavoidable, we are faced with a bet, in a sense, whether we want it or not. Wagering for God: Gain all if He exists. And nothing, status quo if He does not. But wagering against God: Lose all if He exists. And nothing, status quo if He does not. If God does not exist, we all have same fate, but if He does, the gain vs loss has different outcomes. People will say different things, i am not going to argue or debate, thats my .02 in response to your (though 3 yr old) post. Im glad I had an encounter with Jesus, I will always be grateful for that moment and Im glad I believed. His response to my tiny seed of faith is beyond what I could have imagined. God bless you in your journey.
Pamela

Elizabeth - posted on 04/05/2013

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Our loving Creator gave us two gifts without asking. He gave us life. He gave us free will. The third gift He is happy to give us is Faith, but in respecting our free will, He requires us to ask Him for it.

No classroom work.

No tests.

No rings of fire to jump through,

just ask.

I was 16 years old when I asked for it. I was alone in my room. And I asked. There was no lightening bolt, no drum roll, and, frankly, I was rather disappointed. So I went to bed.

The next day, I began to notice the change in me. I came to understand that God is not a vague energy source, or some remake of my earthly father. He is the ultimate loving parent who desires you find your way home to Him. His love is waiting for you. All you have to do is ask.

Yolanda - posted on 03/30/2013

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Hi Patricia,
It is so awesome that you are at least honest about your doubts. I know in my heart that there is without a shadow of a doubt, an awesome God who is the creator of the universe.
I believe His word the bible, and know just by looking at all of the brilliant beauty of a spring day and the marvels of creation that this is no accident.
That said, I do have an older gentleman acquaintance who adamantly denies God period. He will not speak to anyone who uses the Bible for the reason of their faith. Yet he always wants to talk to me about how good he has been and how he will die soon. He is in his 70's. I do not compel him to accept my views and God will allow him to choose. There will be a day when we can meet our Saviour face to face. He will say well done , or depart....
The wonderful thing about trusting in Jesus and his shed blood is that I don't need to be good enough. I just need to admit I trust in what He's done and to believe. I truly thought that by doing that I would lose my independence , but guess what? I actually have an amazing freedom from worry and the unknown.He holds my life in His hands whether I choose Him or not.
I will pray for you my friend, keep looking for answers. God bless you!

[deleted account]

Your honesty is beautiful.

Through the internet and across the universe I send this out to you today, on GOOD FRIDAY:) God sees you and loves you right in the middle of these questions, the apparent "loss of faith", and even through the questioning of your own classification.
"Dereligioning" is scary and feels quite unsettling because it does not give us a category to identify with. You sound like a true believer of God to me, and just not too keen on what the world has offered as religion, church or beliefs. STRUGGLE AWAY!!!!... and then rest in the knowledge that this is normal and even predicable for every true believer and human being. YOU WILL SURVIVE those feelings and questions:) I never thought I could be this free in Jesus indeed, but I can only have this kinda of free thinking with the security of knowing that He covered everything on the cross. HAPPY EASTER EVERY ONE who struggles! Faith, smaith God still covers that too:):):)

Darleen - posted on 09/30/2010

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Four books written by four authors has helped my belief in God. These four men were eyewitnesses to Jesus Christ and their accounts are corraborated. Aside from their eyewitness accounts, I asked myself one question: "If these men didn't really believe Jesus to be the Son of God, why were they willing to die for him?" Answer: They believed

Elizabeth - posted on 09/27/2010

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Patricia, I just wanted to check in with you and see how you are doing. I have another suggestion, too. I am currently in a non-denominational Bible study. I wanted to suggest that you consider finding one. The group I am in is from a larger international group that started with 2 people who wanted to study God's word and grew it to the level it is now. It is Community Bible Study. They have a web site and you could find one in your area. I suggest finding out what Book of the Bible they are studying, though, because some will be better for your questions than others. (I wouldn't suggest the one I'm in for a beginner. We're studying Revelation and it is one of the least straight forward books in the Bible!) Good luck!

Dixie - posted on 09/22/2010

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some days I think I am an atheist, some i feel pretty drawn to pagan ideas and godess stories, other days I pray a lot. My most common prayer is the old, "Lord I believe, help my nbelief." but I think a great help for you might be in reading, movie id good but book is better, "Eat Pray love"

echo, Dixie

http://echo-echosvoice.blogspot.com/

a lot of what I believe seems to have made its way into the fantasy novel I wrote

https://www.createspace.com/3450238

Ferrari - posted on 09/19/2010

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Rain falls on the just and unjust. Take heart. We all lose faith w/ these odds! Go for a walk, enjoy nature and the answers will come to you. You have more protection than you know. Mom PI-Teen PI :)

Elizabeth - posted on 09/18/2010

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I wanted to add a thought to what Sharon said about "church". She is right that "Church" meant... and should still mean... the people, the followers of Christ. For a very long time, there was only one Church. And for anyone who doesn't realize it: "catholic" means "universal". So when I say the Catholic creed."I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church", I am stating a belief in the universal church. Only later by the choice of men did the Church get divided and Catholicism become one of many "denominations."(This is from the Nicene Creed. It's similar to the Apostle's Creed, but a little longer.)



I also like Sharon's view of worship. Worship isn't sitting around all day praising God and doing nothing else. It's a thankfulness for what He gives us. It's in our actions as we go about our day dealing with His people and His world.



Most Chritians believe in the Trinity of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. With God as 3-in-1, He gives us a family... and then includes us! How wonderful that it.

Joanna - posted on 09/18/2010

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Dear Patricia, Faith comes by hearing , and hearing by the Word of God! Romans 10:17 C.S. Lewis was once an atheist, and I encourage you to read his book, "Mere Christianity" or his children's books, the one being the most famous, " the LIon, the witch, and the Wardrobe" . Watch the movie. It is good. Love sacricificed for us. His name is Jesus Christ. Choose to believe in HIm or not. Love is a choice or it would not be love. God gives us the free will to believe in Him or not. He does not want robots.

Sharon - posted on 09/17/2010

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Hi all, what an enjoyable read these posts have been. Most are very encouraging as well and it's hard to think of much to add!
One thing I have found though is that 'worship', like many other intangible things in our life has been very much put in a box: go to church, sing, whatever. I think worship is something that you can do anywhere, anytime. In a recent Facebook discussion someone put it like this: 'Praise is a specific type of worship, but worship is not limited to praise'. You can worship in everyday things: watching your children/grandchildren play and listening to them laugh. Seeing the smow fall/sunset/autumn leaves. Admiring the view. Looking after yourself is even a form of worship as it is tending to what God has made. These are just things I have found can be worship - so long as we don't worship these things in themselves (that makes them idols), but because they are from God.


Church is another issue, too, that has been put in a box (or building if you like!). The real meaning of the word church or 'ekklesia' in Greek, meant the people. It was a political, not a religious term that indicated a sort of assembly - people assembled for a purpose. That purpose in the New Testament was to follow Jesus. It is man that has made 'church' into a specific organisation today and of course, being man made it is inherently faulty - like Liz's church. I'm lucky (lblessed!) to have found a balanced church which does not judge.
I think that while one does not have to go to 'church' to be a Christian, it is important to meet with Christians regularly for a few reasons - it keeps you on track, you are able to discuss issues together, pray together, and help direct one another, ie there is a measure of accountability. (Some take this too far and that is where these judgmental attitudes come from). We also need some teaching as well. I also believe we are made for community but our culture idolises individuality so we have lost that sense of community somewhat. Community is very important when your faith is being tested, but we do need to be wary of who we commune with - ask God for direction.

This has been longer than I intended: sorry! But one more word - I do believe that God proves Himself to us, but only AFTER we put our faith in Him first. I think it was Bonhoeffer who once said: 'a God who let us prove his existence would be an idol' - He does prove His existence, but only after we step out in faith!

Theresa - posted on 09/17/2010

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I always felt like I had the greatest of faith until I lost my brother. I don't know why but it has been very difficult to believe the way I use to . I wourk with children and somehow when I am at my weakest point they say something so encouraging that I feel I must believe. Also, I get alone go for rides, notice nature watch the changes that go on all around me and then faith seems to appear when I am least expecting it. I hope this helps. Maybe we expect it instead of just letting faith find us.

Jacquey - posted on 09/16/2010

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Tricia, I am a nurse also and I have a very strong faith in God and the Bible. It has taken many years and struggles to come to the place I am today, and I continue to grow each day. It's one of those thing that you can only really understand by experiencing. You know, like childbirth, death of a loved one, etc. My heart just strains with wanting you to understand. If you read the Bible, ask for forgiveness for sin (the things you have done wrong--and we all have), and accept the death of Christ as payment for those sins (because He was perfectly sinless and God can not allow sin into heaven. Christ paid for us.), then you become a Christian and start having a relationship with God. It's like a father/daughter relationship where He will guide you, love you and you can always depend on Him to love you. You can't look for this in yourself because you (we) are flawed and make mistakes. The "spirit" in us is our soul that is wanting to have a relationship with our creator. You will feel this incredible peace inside. Life doesn't become perfect or easy, but the peace remains. Find a good fundamental church that teaches the Bible and that will help you grow and understand.

Amy - posted on 09/15/2010

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I struggle daily;sometimes minute by minute w/ my faith...I know there is indeed a Higher Power than myself,just sometimes wonder..is it God? Or...? I think those who don't struggle w/ their faith are very lucky individuals...I'm just not one of them. Sorry I couldn't help more...or maybe that should read:'sorry I can't help.'

Dee - posted on 09/15/2010

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The very fact that you are questioning tells me you aren't really an atheist. Life is full of faith questions. God never promised that our lives would be free of pain and problems. He did promise to carry us through those difficult times. My relationship with God started when I was young and has grown, like any relationship, with time. My life has had it share of difficulties - my Dad's suicide, almost losing a child, burying a much loved 22 year old niece - and I can honestly say that God put the people in my life that I needed during those times. Looking back, I can see how those friends/acquaintances helped to strengthen my faith. The only way you will be able to see if it is real is to give it a try. Take that leap of faith knowing that you aren't the only one struggling. Find a church that includes study groups that give you a chance to express your questions and doubts. God is big enough to handle all of them. And if someone tells you that having those questions and doubts is somehow wrong, trust me - they are the ones who are wrong. Even though I have been a Christian for most of my life, I have had questions and doubts. However, God has answered them all and He will never make you feel smaller for those questions. People will always let you down, even those who love you dearly - but God is bigger and better than even the best friend in the world and will love you in spite of yourself. I know because He loves me in spite of myself.

Jacquey - posted on 09/14/2010

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The Bible says that you can know that there is a God just by looking at nature. It's true--the miracle of how things work together--a humongous oak tree from a little acorn! A complex human being from two small cells that join together! It's amazing. You can read a book "Evidence that Demands a Verdict". Evidence that is science based of course. Hope that helps.

Patricia - posted on 09/14/2010

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Your comment makes the most sense to me so far, Lisa. Not that the other helpful replies have not been welcomed. i am so tired tonight that I want to repy to you at length, so hopefully I will do that tomorrow. Thank you xx Tricia

Lisa - posted on 09/14/2010

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Perhaps it's not that you're an atheist, not that there is anything wrong with that, but I think a lot of people confuse religion with spirituality. A person can believe in a higher being, or Spirit, or Consciousness without subscribing to a particular religion. I myself am 55 and I kinda believe that religions have a tendency to limit one's spirituality because they have all the dogma thing, as if Spirit would care about the man-made rules and regulations...!!! Maybe what you're feeling now is that desire to connect to the bigger something out there that some call god and some call spirit or whatever name they put to it...one of my main issues with religion is the whole worship thing...instead of looing outside themselves for something to worship, it's my opinion that we should all be looking inward to the integral part of us that is of Spirit, and worship? Uh, that seems a little superstitious and rather ridiculous to me, but whatever floats people boats, it's not my place to say...

Elizabeth - posted on 09/13/2010

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Patricia, I can understand where you are coming from on participating during church services. I attended Mass with my husband (when he actully went) for many years before I joined the church. The hymns are beautiful and I love to sing, so I would participate there. But when it came to responses and creeds, I usually didn't because it was not my belief at the time. The hardest part was sitting while everyone went up for Communion. (Mostly because it is hard to pass someone sitting - like in theaters! So I always tried to sit at the end of the pew.) I never felt embarassed, though. Even now there are always visitors in the Masses. So someone not participating fully isn't as obvious as you would think. If you don't want to say the words, then just listen.... and keep your mind wide open!

Patricia - posted on 09/13/2010

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I have been reading the Bible today and find it as gripping as ever I did when I was a child.I enjoy all pars, old and new testaments , psalms etc. I also fine churches ( especially European and eatsern European ver beautiful. I love listening to plainsone and boy sopranos singing psalms. I just feel alsmost embarrassed to chant, repeat, act inappropriately to my personality and listen to anything even mildly fanatical that is not said in my workplace by patients! Yes, of course I am non judgemental and professional. I would be sacked if not! Actually I find the cocept pf belief very interesting. I just wish I could feel as comforted as everyone else. I am trying though. Thank you all for your thoughts. xx

Elizabeth - posted on 09/12/2010

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Patricia, I can understand your fears. I used to say that church-reared people were brain-washed. But, I still grew up with the message of Jesus: love. At a pre-marital retreat, my husband said he thought my faith was stronger than his even though I had only gone to church on rare occasions.
I have met people who are very passionate about Christ. They are mostly very kind and compassionate people. When someone believes so deeply, they want everyone to experience what they have. Liz's church just seems to have pushed it toward being judgemental rather than encouraging. I can tell you that at my parish, I could be immersed in the church through all the ministries they have available. But, I can also attend Mass and not do anything else. Jesus asks us to be active in our faith. I try to live it in how I act every day. But this doesn't mean I am spouting Bible verses and pushing my faith on anyone else.
As for your difficulties with accepting everyone and looking at all sides, I can understand that. God has infinite mercy, but we struggle with it. I believe God understands this. And, evil does exist. God will pass judgement. Sometimes the loving message extolled by some Christian groups neglects the other side. Where there is good, there is also evil. (I'm sure you know about Cain and Abel.) In your role as a nurse, you have to be professional and understanding. That can be hard. That is where the support of faith can be a great asset.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/12/2010

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Liz: sorry to have lumped you in with others I've talked with who just say that the church isn't giving them anything. I doubt there is anything you can say or do to change it. They sound a lot like the Pharisees! They have lost the Truth in trying to be perfect.
I have heard many good things about non-Catholic churches that have the fellowship that is sometimes lacking in large Catholic parishes. (I'm a bit in-between age groups and due to my schedule can't really join other activities and prayer groups.) And, technically, I am supposed to be in a new parish, but haven't changed my membership due to some problems similar to yours. My neighbor has been pushed to homeschool her kids. The parish I attend has a private Catholic School association, but doesn't push. I love it. My kids love it.
I hope you can find a church to attend that fits better.... one that is less judgemental.

(Gotta run for a bit, but I would like to post to Patricia as well.)

Patricia - posted on 09/12/2010

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This is one of the things I am afraid of, that the church will overtake my life and influence me away from my present free thinking. After all , free thinking does not mean you must empty your head of everything else! I am adverse to any kind of pressure or domination. I am basically very honest and I may voice views that come across as rebellious or incitive. You see, I don't think that everyone is good. As a nurse I have seen some terrible things done by man ( and woman and child). If I say that I believe that Jesus would want us all to keep our wits about us and consider every situation at all angles, am I wrong? Did Jesus not do this? As for fire and brimstone... rubbish. That's just there to elicit control. I want pure religion if I want anything, not a leader with megalomaniacal tendencies.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/11/2010

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I want to address something that LIz said... for her mostly, but for you, too, Patricia. She talked about her needs not being met. I have heard this from many people. I have known people who "church shop" because of feeling like it did not give them what they wanted. I think we need to give of ourselves to God first. Going to "church" is going to worship God... not to get something for us. If we give of ourselves, God will give back to us.
Patricia, I know you aren't ready for the worship part. But just go to listen to the word of God and let it touch your heart. I have had many times that what I was reading in my Bible study group and the homily (or sermon) in Mass related so much to what was going on in my life that it was a little eerie. Often,it is just what I need to hear. You'll notice I did not say "every time". Sometimes, I am just there.
Praying for you both and anyone else struggling.

Patricia - posted on 09/11/2010

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Thank you for your welcomed advice.. I did feel a bit miffed by the last quote regardingg the futility without belief since I thought that God valued all of his children. Mayybe I have misunderstood that part. Everyone who has answered me has had very important points to make and they have all had a great impact on me. I have read the bible many times over and was exposed to church a lot throughout my childhood and early adult years. I enjoy the Bible, in fact. The stories and wisdom are wonderful. I also believe that many of the people depicted were real . The bible has great relevance in the modern world. If only for moral guidance. It's the interpretation that is often scary.Thank you all once again for taking the time to involve yourselves in my petty life. xx

Patricia - posted on 09/10/2010

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These comments are very helpful, they have given me a different insight. I am not settled but I feel there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. You are all obviously very good people. xxxx

Elizabeth - posted on 09/09/2010

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Sue's posts are excellent! I thought of all the physical signs in this world that point to God when I first read your post. But, I knew there were deeper questions. I think she is right about your struggle. How can you trust God as Father when your family was so cold? How about Jesus as a brother first, saviour second? Or some find Mary an easier starting point (no, not to worship, just to ask for guidance, to pray for you.) She is the ultimate Mother for all of us. And, she guides us to her son Jesus, and through Him to the Father.

And starting with worship of God is a hard thing to do. You say you do "what Jesus would do". HIs ultimate "commandment" is to love one another... and that includes yourself (and the family that let you down).

Here's a start, building on Sue's post: thank God for one small thing: a flower, a sunset, a friend. Ask Him to grant you Peace. It will come.

Sue is also right: God doesn't need the church, we do. We need the fellowship, the communion with others. I hope you can feel that here from us, too.

Sue - posted on 09/09/2010

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You know I think you're struggling with the concept of Father God because of your cold upbringing and I also feel you've shut down your emotions so you can't be hurt anymore. As to why does "God allows suffering" - He doesn't - that's in the hands of man. Perhaps he has brought you to this place of wondering because He wants to put His loving arms around you, take away the pain of your past and give you a future filled with hope and joy. Everyone worships something and its an outward expression of our love for our creator. As for church - God knows we need eachother for support and to grow.. here's a hug x

Sue - posted on 09/09/2010

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Hi Patricia - "I believe in miracles; I see them all around me in the sunshine; the beauty of flowers, the laughter of children, the compassion of friends, the intimacy of family" How can anyone not believe God exists...? Just ask Him to help you with it and see what happens...! You will probably forget all about it and then something will grab your attention and you'll know .... Don't struggle with faith, just believe...

Patricia - posted on 09/09/2010

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I have thought that our earliest beginnings were machinated by a superior minded being. If I believe that to be God...that's one thing. But whu is there the need for worship and ritual? It would not comfort me, onl make me feel hypocritical. I think for most of the time I do 'what Jesus would have done'.Like everyone I have my dark days. Why does one need the confirmation of church / temple / mosque? What real effect does it have worshipping? Thank you all very much for your help, incidentally and thank you for your non- judgementalist attitudes, it means a lot to me.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/08/2010

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Patricia, we are all weak whether we believe in" the supernatural" (or God) or not. We cannot rely only on ourselves. We need someone to stregthen us. For some it's God. For others it's family or friends. For many, it is both. I agree with Linda that it is your faith journey, but it seems to me like you are having doubts in all areas. Many people don't believe in any religion or spiritual persuasions because it is hard to figure out which is correct since they all disagree (even among Chritians). As for Darwinism, sadly Darwin didn't even think it explained everything. And, if I had been told I could NOT believe in any form of evolution to become Catholic, I would have had a problem. The Church says God created the heavens and the earth, the plants and the animals, and man. It does not give specifics about how animals devleloped (The Bible even gives 2 different accounts.) Scientific evidence in DNA research IS actually pointing to a common ancestor for all people. One of the leaders of the Human Genome project wrote a book saying that his work led him to believe more in a Creator, not less. As for me, the complexity of life, of matter, of the universe makes me believe it cannot have all happened by accident.



As for analysing what you are told (or feel), that is human nature. None of us have all the answers.But we are all searching.

Linda - posted on 09/08/2010

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Christianity has been my background through the United Church. During my faith journey I have learned to lean on our Creator and others. I had Breast cancer when my daughter was 11 mos. old and having a base of faith just brought me closer and more comfort. I think you need to be in a place that is comfortable for you. Faith means trust in Greek. Who and what do you trust in? Everyone is at a different time and space with their faith journey. There is no right or wrong. God does not give us what we can handle, but help us handle what we are given by our ever evolving world. He does love us. We need to filter out what MAN has said and feel what GOD whats us to do. Where and what do you feel the most pull towards? What ever you decide let it be right for YOU. Being kind, loving, helpful, respectful, to forgive and be at peace, these many say are not of our Creator but of just human decency. What's the difference? That's for you to decide. And if you feel that you are or most of these and maybe more of these types of qualities who are we to say that just because you believe or do not believe makes you a better or less of a person. We are all in this world together, traditional beliefs,atheists, agnostics we all bleed red when cut and our actions like ripples from a pebble dropped in a pond respond outwards effecting others. If it's that important to you ask a friend of different beliefs to go to church with you or go on your own and take in all types. You will not know if you don't try. Read up on spirituality. Take little doses, you won't be able to understand it all in one day, week or year. Remember it's YOUR faith journey and be at peace with that.

Patricia - posted on 09/08/2010

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Thank you both for your help. I will feel weak if I believe in the supernatural. I don't believe in any religion or spiritual persuasions, even superstition or ghosts or clairvoyance. I suppose my belief system is that of Darwinism. Yet it is not enough and I always analyse what I am told or feel...why am I like this? is it commonplace?

Elizabeth - posted on 09/07/2010

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You've run into the problem that academia has brought us. The academic / scientific agencies want to use logic to prove or disprove everything. There are countless shows on TV that try to show why things could or couldn't have happened the way the Bible says. I admit to being a cynic myself for many years. (My father is an ex-Catholic and I was not brought up in any religion. But I did grow up in an age where Christmas parties, concerts, and carols were done at public schools. I was exposed to that part of Christianity.) But, I will put it into a scientific vein for you. Look for the Natural Law. What is right and virtuous. This is what God has put in each of us, regardless of belief in Him.
As to your circumstances with your family, you would find that the Catholic Church does teach that going through suffering (like Jesus did as well) is a way of getting closer to God. I've seen people suggest to those in similar circumstance to pray, even if you don't believe. Something like: God, if you're there, help me to believe. Because if you believe, you can draw on His support. Look up the Beatitudes. I found a beautiful video that shows them, or you can find various Bibles in full online. (Of course, I'm partial to Catholic versions: they have all the original books of the Old Testament and sometimes slightly different translation of some passages than other denominations.)

Sandy - posted on 09/07/2010

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I was raised as a Lutheran.I even was confirmed in a Lutheran church.But it just never felt right and I have always felt uncomfortable in a church.(all churches) I had my eyes opened the other yr. and i am now what I consider a spiritualist.I even did some studying on Gnostism.I do beleive in God(and such) and I have had a lot of paranormal events happen in my life.So I know for a fact,when we die,the soul lives on,people AND pets.

Patricia - posted on 09/07/2010

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Thank you for your reply. I don't mind you saying a prayer for me. Since I was in my 20s have not believed in God. My degree in social and bahavioural studies put the tin hat on it. I am a scientist primarily so my mind works very logically. You will probably say that God also gave us science.. .I find it hard to feel connected to people although I am empathetic. Both my parents ignored me or derided me for most of my childhood and I know they wouldn't give a damn if I died today. How can I believe that God, who surelly is known to love us all, would want me to feel this way. Or is it a challenge, like Job?

Elizabeth - posted on 09/07/2010

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You've probably opened a big can of worms here. I have never considered myself an atheist, more of an agnostic until I felt the pull into the Catholic Church 6 years ago. I will say that atheism also requires faith and we all question life and is there something after when we get older. Believing in God is a challenge in our time. To know how to help, we would all need to know what your real questions are and what is going on to bring on this struggle. And yes, I have said a prayer for you.

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