I feel like I just want to give up on religion all together *updated see post 42* - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 12:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sooooooo frustrated right now. I just want to throw in the towel on religion completely.

I grew up without religion at home, but I have been on a spiritual quest for as long as I can remember. But I can never seem to make it work. I don't know if it's that I just suck and have no ability to commit to anything or if it's just that I hate limiting my options.

The second I start to feel at home and comfortable spiritually I'm drawn in a whole other direction. I am a classic Gemini constantly thinking, always wanting to talk, able to argue both sides of an argument even if I don't even believe the other side. I never manage to truly believe anything for very long. At the moment when I believe something, I truly do but I can't maintain it because there is always another side to consider and then I run with that. I can't turn it off. I'm ready to just give up.


ok updating this to say I had a major breakthrough see post 42.
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#2 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 12:25 AM
 
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I'm a moon in Gemini. My dear dad is a Gemini. I get it, I think.

Maybe it's time to stop arguing, stop intellectualizing, and listen to your heart?

I am LDS, but I believe there is beauty in any religion or spirituality that is bringing you closer to God or to your divine potential. I don't think you can be on a bad spiritual path, if you are ever drawing nearer to God. If you've hit a wall with direction you're going in now, it's okay to alter the course. You're not giving up. You are exploring the paths that are bringing you closer and closer to God in your own way. Before I was LDS I was pagan (ages 16-19), before that, athiest (ages 14-16), before that, Catholic (13-14), and before that I was Episcopalian (10-13.) All of those experiences taught me something and were valuable and beautiful to me.

I recommend spending time in meditation and prayer-- tuning out of your mind, out of the world, and into God's frequency, if you know what I'm trying to say. This is the same as following your heart, because the heart that loves God already is tuned to God's frequency, if the head will just be quiet for a bit and listen.

Oh, and don't worry about what other people think, either. It's only between you and God.

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#3 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 12:41 AM
 
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I'm sorry. BTDT. I didn't grow up with religion either. I believe that God will eventually show you. Maybe if you just tell God that you want Him, whomever He is. Maybe it's the seeking of religion itself blocking you.

One of my friends said he got mad at God one day and put a representation of Jesus, Buddah, and Mohammad on his wall. He yelled at God. He said that he didn't care what religion He (God) is, and that He better show him (my friend) who He is, NOW!

He got his answer that same day. Sometimes God just has to bring us to our breaking point, and then He will reveal Himself to you.

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#4 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for that post.

I converted to Judaism when I met my husband but since then I've seriously dug into Buddhism, Wicca, electic Paganism, Reconstructionist Germanic/Norse, Hellenic Recon, Hinduism and Christianity ( mostly Catholicism and some Orthodoxy), and read some on Islam and Zoroastrianism. I ID'd as an atheist through most of my 20s but now I think it was more agnosticism.

At this point the only thing I consistently believe is that this world with all it's wonders can not have come into being and evolved by chance. It's just too unique in the universe ( based on what we know so far) and too wondrous and amazing. Other than that, I have no idea.
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#5 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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Shami - I like that idea that your friend used.

My perspective on this is.... I did grow up with religion, a strict Baptist church. After I reached adulthood several times I have tried to settle myself in a religion. But I don't like the idea of a box, one size fits all thing. I was in that as a child and it was so restricting. Not that everyone who is devout in any religion is feeling "restricted", it was just my experience. So I have made peace with the state of seeking. I like taking things that feel right and truthful from different religions and creating my own. It doesn't matter much to me if anyone else believes as I do. I'd love the community of a church, but my childhood experiences may have ruined that for me forever. I'd love to be UU, but it still felt "churchy" to me.

Anyway, I don't think there is any thing wrong with seeking for as long as one needs. Even within religions people have individual beliefs that will work with one group but not another. So I say seek as long as you must. If you feel you need to take a break from seeking, then do so. I think it is much more important how we live our lives, that we live in ways of truth (which can be very subjective) and love more than anything else.
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#6 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 03:21 AM
 
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Oh boy do I know how you feel. I am going through the same thing right now. I am so confused and just want to find a spiritual home somewhere. Anywhere at this point.
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#7 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 04:17 AM
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you should read my last post in the agnostic/atheism thread.

it's ok to give up on religion. it's ok to simply base something on your experiences and feelings alone. and it's entirely ok to just not worry about it.
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#8 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 12:30 PM
 
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Arduinna, are you me? Except for the growing up without religion thing, and being a Gemini, that's all me. It is exhausting, isn't it? Even your particular religious interests align with mine (Judaism, various forms of Paganism, Orthodoxy). Some days I wish I could just throw it all out of the window, but I just can't.

My husband is okay with "just not worrying about it." I'm happy for him. But it's not for me. I don't feel any outside pressure to find God (whoever He/She/They are), but an inner drive to. Not something I can say no to. Believe me, I've tried!

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#9 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by APBTlover View Post
Arduinna, are you me? Except for the growing up without religion thing, and being a Gemini, that's all me. It is exhausting, isn't it? Even your particular religious interests align with mine (Judaism, various forms of Paganism, Orthodoxy). Some days I wish I could just throw it all out of the window, but I just can't.

My husband is okay with "just not worrying about it." I'm happy for him. But it's not for me. I don't feel any outside pressure to find God (whoever He/She/They are), but an inner drive to. Not something I can say no to. Believe me, I've tried!
I identify with your whole post. My husband is fine with just not worrying about it too. I don't feel outside pressure either. I have an internal need for ritual and worship in my life and to understand the secrets of the universe ( which may or may not be identified with the deity/deities). I feel like I want to give up, but I know I won't be able to at least not for very long.


Zoebird thanks I went over and read your post. It did help me understand that period in my life where I was confused about atheism and agnosticism. Which for me was that I identified as one or the other of those because I couldn't make the God of Christianity make sense and didn't recognize any other religious options.

~Boudicca~ I just want to find a spiritual home too.

Shami, I like that story of what your friend did!

Theia, thanks it's just so frustrating

LionTigerBear. my first reply was to your post. I think you are right and that I should practice opening myself up to listening with prayer and meditation
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#10 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 02:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
But I can never seem to make it work..
You are right. you cannot make it work. it is not your job to make it work. Go to church. pray. worship. love God. Just be. Don't worry about growing or doing the stuff or understanding all the theological arguings or history or teachers. Just be in the presence of God. don't even try to get anything out of it or learn anything or listen to Him. Just be. Just rest in Him. Be with Him. Stop looking so hard. you don't need to know everything that is out there or understand every facet of the faith before you. At some point you are going to have to just trust God and stop relying on your understanding of things.

Don't get me wrong. it is good to know what you are getting into but it is also good to put down the books. turn off the messege boards. and just go to church. just pray. just be there. just worship. forget about everything else and all the voices and just be.

There came a point, when I was converting that I just had to stop the researching. I had gotten to a point where I knew this was the One True Church and Gods place for me. I just had to lay all those things down. all those things that were causing me turmoil (both good and bad) and just go to church and participate in it and let it transform me. Let God use it to transform me. even if I did not pray at any other time. even if I did not keep the fasts at all. Even if I did not know what this guy or that guy said or did or what the church had to say about what that guy said......There really was something that changed in me when I set it all down and just started showing up. I stopped following along in the liturgy book even. I gaze in wonder at all the beautiful things offered to God (the icons, the incense, the candles) and revel in what they represent. and just let the love and peace of God wrap me up...it is hard to explain.

Also it was not staight path to the church for me. I made a lot of stops along the way. They were good hospitable places. I grew a lot. learned a lot. God used those places to eventually get me home. I have no shame in those things or those people. Nor do I minimize their very real faith, belief or love. it was all working together to bring me here. to bring me home.

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#11 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 04:48 PM
 
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I am also a Gemini and grew up without religion.

I frequently felt I was on a spiritual quest - always looking for something - that perfect religion that would "make sense" to me.

I would suggest you try a Unitarian Universalist church. That is where I finally found a spiritual home, so I am certainly biased! However, there are also some key parts of your post that make me think you may find what you are looking for there. For UUs the spiritual journey itself is extremely important. Our third and fourth principles are.


Quote:
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
Unitarian Universalists have seven central principles. You can read them all here.

With UU, not only are changes in a person's spiritual outlook encouraged, many people think they are pretty much inevitable! UU might could provide you with a spiritual community and support and not limit your options. Good luck on your spiritual journey!

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#12 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
I'm sooooooo frustrated right now. I just want to throw in the towel on religion completely.

I grew up without religion at home, but I have been on a spiritual quest for as long as I can remember. But I can never seem to make it work. I don't know if it's that I just suck and have no ability to commit to anything or if it's just that I hate limiting my options.

The second I start to feel at home and comfortable spiritually I'm drawn in a whole other direction. I am a classic Gemini constantly thinking, always wanting to talk, able to argue both sides of an argument even if I don't even believe the other side. I never manage to truly believe anything for very long. At the moment when I believe something, I truly do but I can't maintain it because there is always another side to consider and then I run with that. I can't turn it off. I'm ready to just give up.


My favorite movie of ALL time summed up spirituality for me in two lines

"What have you learned, Dorothy? "

"Well, I - I think that it - it wasn't enough to just want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em - and it's that - if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right? "

lady Mummy to Smoosh, 8-2005. Waldorf inspired homeschooler and crazy knitter!
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#13 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Lilyka, I hear what you are saying.

Adele_Mommy, I actually did go to UU once but it was when I was still IDing as Pagan and before I started exploring Christianity. At that time it felt too churchy. Ironically, I now love high ritual, but I get lost on what I have to believe to be a member.

TulsiLeaf, LOL I have no idea what that means. Maybe you can clarify for me. Because my immediate thought is go back to what you grew up with, but I grew up with no religion. LOL
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#14 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 05:44 PM
 
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I love ritual. But in the end, all ritual does for me is help me get into a state of meditation or a state of communion with others.I guess you could say that I am pantheistic in that I find Deity as everything. But it took me a long time to get here, and I'm sure there's much further to go on my path also. Just remember that even if you've found a spiritual home, you never stop journeying.

I really do think of Truth as that old illustration of an elephant under a sheet with some holes in it. People might look into one hole and think that the piece they see represents the entirety and be okay and at peace with that. And then there are those who are trying to see the whole elephant, but since that sheet is firmly tied, they're scrambling around trying to figure out another way.

Best of luck.

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#15 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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Ard - The quote from TulsiLeaf is from the Wizard of Oz if that helps. I don't think it means to go back to the past or what we grew up with, but I'll let her clarify how she intended the quote.
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#16 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 06:11 PM
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i think that the desire for a "spiritual home" is really valuable, but it's really something that i decided to give up on.

while i like the UU process, the church is too churchy for my tastes. that is, it behaves like a church in it's worship services. i much prefer quakerism's unprogrammed meetings.

a liberal quaker community is open to pretty much anything. honestly, there are even atheist quakers.

our only hang up with it is absolute pacifism. i believe in pacifism, but i'm not sure i believe in absolute pacifism. i do believe in many of their methods to achieving (or being) peace, but i'm not sure that i believe in absolute pacifism.

but, that also doesn't prohibit one from practicing with quakers.

for us, it's really about just creating what community that you can. in our friend community, we have relationships that are spiritually enriching even if they are not really focused around spirituality or common practice. it is simply enriching to our lives.

so, we kind of gave up on finding a spiritual home in a community that already exists, and instead decided to acknowledge that the community of friends that we had was already a spiritual community for us.
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#17 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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I've been thinking about you a lot lately since some of your last posts. It gets really hard when you see imperfection every which way you turn, but I think that will be the state of everything in this world. Having our DH's in a similar situation, I know the extra pressure and I've been struggling a little with it myself.

I don't have any perfect answer, but if you want to chat any time I certainly know where you're coming from and at least quite a bit what you're struggling with.

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#18 of 49 Old 03-24-2010, 10:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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witchygrrl,
Quote:
Just remember that even if you've found a spiritual home, you never stop journeying.
I like that, thanks for posting it.



Theia, thanks

Zoebird, regarding what you said about spiritual homes, vs communities of people. DH and were discussing that the other day. I'm not sure where this will end up but I do get what you are saying there.

xekomaya, thanks, I sometimes wonder if my expectations are too high. You have a valid point regarding imperfection. I'm losing my train of thought, so I'll come back later.
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#19 of 49 Old 03-25-2010, 01:06 AM
 
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((((((Hugs)))))) I know how you feel, Arduinna. I was also raised with nothing and have searched to find a place to call home. So far my spiritual path has taken me from born-again Christian, to Pagan, to Liberal Jew, to Agnostic/Atheist still practicing Judaism (mostly so my kids will have a religious identity). I also did a whole lot of research into other religions along the way.

I long to find a spiritual home where I can feel comfortable spiritually, socially and intellectually. Judaism initially worked for me on a spiritual and intellectual level, but I have always felt pretty socially apart from it. Now that I am leaning heavily towards being an Atheist it doesn't work for me particularly well spiritually or intellectually either. Right now I'm actually trying to increase my Jewish observance, both for my kids sake and also with the hope that my faith will be resuscitated by the observance. Faith has always been elusive for me.

I've got no great words of wisdom for you. I just wanted you to know that I hear you, and understand. Good luck to you!

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#20 of 49 Old 03-25-2010, 12:04 PM
 
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Well, I'm a Libra so I totally get from where you're coming! lol.

I have explored and continue to explore many different religions and spiritual philosophies. I tend to think most organized religions view God through a very specific lens. The box analogy works as well. I think of a kaleidoscope when I think of "God" - so many different facets, colours, aspects - a very dynamic concept and entity. Just my own feeling - no one religion gets it right.

I also think how you relate to religion is a reflection of your own personality type. Some people like like black & white, rules, structure ... others are more comfortable with less rules, more gray, fluidity.

I don't think you should give up - but realize it's okay not to fit within our human-made religious structures. Some will disagree but ultimately it's your path and what fits your personality!
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#21 of 49 Old 03-26-2010, 01:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks

I'm feeling a lot better now. I don't have it all figured out, but I feel ok with that at the moment. I had some good talks with dh where I figured some things out that I don't want to go into online. But I'm feeling better about just being ok where I am and doing what feels good right now without worrying about where it ends up.
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#22 of 49 Old 03-26-2010, 08:24 PM
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that's cool.

Dh and I were also talking about this last night (before and after seeing How To Train Your Dragon--which we both really loved). we had a good giggle too.

Our giggle was about our community. we are rather liberal. we have people whose ear lobes are stretched very far and have many piercings and tattoos, and friends who are the picture of Ralph Lauren. we have friends who are avid pagans, and others who are staunch christians. we have friends who are objectivists, and others who visit with UFOs and channel beings. we have friends in the middle of all of these things, as well as misfits, outcasts, and weirdos.

And we always invite all of them to the same parties.

we laughed because we don't think about not doing that. of course our RL friends should be with our tattoed friends. Our pagan friends should dine right next to those christians. the misfits add to the mix!

and who are we, really? oh, what a question. what are we to them?

at the end of the day, we like each other. we have fun. we care about each other. and we form that community.

and it is spiritual--for me at least. i belong, with a whole bunch of people who belong and do not belong. it's good.
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#23 of 49 Old 03-28-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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Something that struck me about your post is that you are so lucky that you grew up without religion. You have a fresh slate without anything from your formative years haunting you.

I have major baggage and issues that are limiting me in my personal quest. I hope to raise my boys in an open home so that they can find their own path rather than be herded by the masses in one direction.

Goodluck on your journey!

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#24 of 49 Old 03-28-2010, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Honestly I do not feel lucky having grown up with nothing. I have baggage from it too. As witnessed by this thread. and many others over the years. I guess there is no perfect situation for everyone.
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#25 of 49 Old 03-28-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
I'm sooooooo frustrated right now. I just want to throw in the towel on religion completely.

I grew up without religion at home, but I have been on a spiritual quest for as long as I can remember. But I can never seem to make it work. I don't know if it's that I just suck and have no ability to commit to anything or if it's just that I hate limiting my options.

The second I start to feel at home and comfortable spiritually I'm drawn in a whole other direction. I am a classic Gemini constantly thinking, always wanting to talk, able to argue both sides of an argument even if I don't even believe the other side. I never manage to truly believe anything for very long. At the moment when I believe something, I truly do but I can't maintain it because there is always another side to consider and then I run with that. I can't turn it off. I'm ready to just give up.


I'm a Christian.

For me it has come down to love.

What Jesus called the two greatest commandments, love God, love others.

Then there is that bit about faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.

And I am a huge hypocrite. This business of loving is hard, at least it is for me.

I am often confused about God.

And other people can be so annoying.

But I truly believe God loves us and I am trying to be loving.
It's hard.



Don't know if that opens up options for you, but reducing it to those terms has helped me.

I tend to waffle. I see a million shades of gray.

But I do believe that it all comes down to love.

( And then we can argue what love means or what being loving means...and how that plays out for each individual...I don't know. I just do the best I can.)

P.S. You do not suck.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#26 of 49 Old 03-29-2010, 02:47 PM
 
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But I do believe that it all comes down to love.
Beautiful post, tiny butterfly! It's so true - it's all about love, in the end. I recall reading a biography about Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini (his daughter Isabella wrote the book). And he essentially said the same thing ... I think he said something like, "in the end, all I know is love". I am likely butchering the quote. I believe the sentiment is the same.
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#27 of 49 Old 03-29-2010, 07:59 PM
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Try a UU (Unitarian Universalist) church if there is one near you!

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#28 of 49 Old 04-02-2010, 12:39 AM
 
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Is it a church you need to belong to? Or do you just not know what to believe? I guess those are the questions I'd ask first. If it's a church you're looking for try the UU church like others have mentioned, if it's what to believe then that starts with looking inside yourself. While doing that try to ditch every last thing you ever saw on paper regarding religion and spirituality. There is thousands of years of different beliefs and conflicting points of view out there in print.
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#29 of 49 Old 04-02-2010, 01:02 PM
 
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I'm sorry you are struggling Arduinna. Have you spoken with your priest about your thoughts? You have a great mind, always asking really provoking and interesting questions. I'm guessing you've spent a lot of time over at CA in the Apologetics forum already? Hang in there. Maybe if you just focus on Adoration rather than understanding that would help? I know that sounds a little counter-productive since it sounds like you have moved on from Catholicism/Orthodoxy (was it the filioque issue that pushed you over the edge?) but I have had my best "break throughs" when I've just sat in Adoration, quieted my mind and listened. Not that understanding isn't crucial and important but that it isn't the entire enchilada. Some of the greatest minds in history struggled with the same questions.

I think reading Thomas Merton might help you. He struggled a lot towards the end of his life and I believe sort of settled into a variation of Catholicism that included some eastern religious ideas as well. I know that many Catholics think he is a heretic but he was a prolific writer and pondered many of the most pressing spiritual questions that most Christians face at some point or another. I've never really bought into the idea that God wants blind obedience, we have an intricate brain and thinking abilities for a reason.


"Hey, I've got nothin' to do today but smile." - S & G
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#30 of 49 Old 04-02-2010, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies. I'm really sick right now, grumble grumble caught something at family function and was up last night till 5 am, so my brain can't tackle any hard questions right now. I'll reread and ponder when I'm feeling better.
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