The astrology investigations have been interesting, and have put some things into a clearer light. Never thought I'd be even thinkng about astrology! I was always taught it was demonic, witchcraft, or simply a sham. But I found a Christian astrologist who says he sees the movement of the stars and planets as a language that speaks of God's plan for us on earth. Each person has a "chart" that speaks of his/her respective personalities and life seasons. Pretty staggering to think about, but it's strangely comforting. If everyone has a chart, then God is involved in everyone's life and has a design for each person. It puts Scriptures like "God knew us before the foundation of the earth," "The heavens declare the glory of God," and "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" in a new and inspirational perspective! There's no way the devil has enough power to control the movement of the planets and stars. And if we worship the creator, not the creation, it's not idolatrous to try to read the language of the skies, I think.
It's interesting to find out that my chart shows me in a season of breaking out of previous constraints. Wow.
The hardest thing about where I am right now is that there are so few people who are able to understand what's going on in my mind. "Normal" is far from me these days! Thanks, everyone, for your kind words.
this is absolutely how I see it. You wrote it out beautifully. Best of luck on your journey and many prayers for peace.
I'll join in.
I've been coming back to check on this thread for the last few days now.
I was raised without religion. I became a Christian at an assemblies of god youth convention when I was 18. (I'm 27 now) Looking back, it was a huge emotional thing, and I didn't totally realize that by going up for an altar call meant that I was now "saved." I didn't know it was as big of a deal as the youth pastor made it out to be, after the fact...but I went with it. Plus I liked the social aspect and new closeness with my 2 best friends (who were also Christians). Believing in God and accepting Jesus really added a lot peace, guidance, hope, and community to my life. It was a good thing.
Over the last 9 years my faith of grown with me, becoming more liberal and more drawn to social justice issues and less to the idea of evangelizing. I felt at home in a Friends church most recently.
However DH, dropped a bomb on me a few weeks ago when he told me that he has been Agnostic for the last 6 months or so. It felt very strange...like I didn't know him anymore. I even cried a lot. Just because it felt so confusing and earth shattering to me. I wondered how we were going to raise our kids now? What will we do for holidays? To give some perspective, we met at bible college. So, I've started questioning things and now I'm entirely confused. My first thought when I started to question was something like "get away from me satan," then it progressed to "I'm so terrified...what if Christianity is not true?" At this point, I'm sort of open to anything, but just completely lost. I suppose it's good because it's really causing to me question who I am, but it feels scary and confusing. I have a loss of inner peace and a constant feeling of searching. When I try to pray at night before bed, it feels like I'm talking to thick brick wall, instead of an open window. ...and being in this place is lonely. Dh asked me to not tell our friends and family about his beliefs, because they are all Christians and would likely have a strong reaction. ...which they would...and I totally understand and respect his request. There's no one I know that I would feel comfortable talking about my current state of spirituality with, without feeling judged, and facing a big reaction, either. I also worry about losing friends or at least a closeness with them, if I decided not to be a Christian. I know real friends will always stick with you, and I know that's true, but I also know they'll feel different about me, at least for a little while. Does anyone have those fears? I mean, I met pretty much all of my friends in Christian related settings. (church, christian college, christian club on secular campus, and a home church I was a part of)
I'm also afraid that if I drastically decide to change my religious beliefs that it will look like "oh, her husband stopped believing in God, so she copied him. She's so weak."
Also, I keep asking myself, "well, what is the point/purpose/meaning of life now?" (...if it's not being Jesus to the world)
I want to start reading and doing some research to help figure out what I believe, but I just have no clue where to start and I just feel like anything I read is just another persons opinion.
Man...this a lonely road. I am thankful for this thread though.
wow, that's a lot to process. I wish I had some words of wisdom, but I don't. I can just share what I fell I guess. Maybe it will resonate, and maybe it won't.
To me, even if you extricate Jesus from organized religion he was a beautiful person. His teachings are timeless. I don't even care if you give him a different name. The basic tenets resonate with me completely. That is how I know they are real. I also know there are many paths to the same destination-many denominations, many different religions, and many spiritual traditions as well. BUT I can feel truth in my body when I hear it. The reason I was able to come back to the church was that I knew the teachings were aligned with me and that opened the door to religion. I remained skeptical of the whole religion thing for awhile, but was willing to hang in there because of the things that I DID believe. I found for myself it was easiest to explore, become clear on what I did believe, and allow that to take shape without trying to pigeonhole it.
I tried on many religions and that helped me hone my vision and clarify who I was and what I believed. Your situation is quite different. I think it's hard to question something that feels so foundational...but it can be helpful as well.
So all I can say is research, read, talk, think, pray and feel. Pay attention to what moves you. That's real. It may not always take the shape you think...but something in it is real. I'd also say be gentle with yourself. There is no need for judgment and this journey is your own. Unless you want to discuss it, there's no need to. I hope you find peace, mama.
GuavaGirl, it does sound lonely, I can totally relate to how you feel.
Can you talk with HIM (your husband) about where you are? I mean, he must have some reasons for deciding to become agnostic. Maybe these are issues you can work through together, or at least commiserate together on the journey. It sounds like you are the kind of person who is open-minded enough to hear him out, and not just give him the standard Christian "answers" to things. At least if you felt like you had someone to talk with, it might help.
joynsyde: Thanks, yeah, me and dh have talked together a lot about this. He's explained to me why he changed his beliefs, but he doesn't want to tell too many specifics because he wants me to come to my own decision....do my own searching. Our last talk was good because he did tell me that he understands the lonely feeling and other feelings I've been having....so I did feel like there is someone who can relate to me somewhat...but are still very different. For example, he doesn't really believe in any supernatural or spiritual realm. I do. ...I think. :) I'm the type of person that does well thinking out loud. So, feeling like I can't call up a friend and work through my thoughts is a little hard.
Panserbjorne: Thanks for your words. I will try to pay attention to what moves me. I know I don't have to discuss with anyone....I just like to. It usually helps me process. Perhaps I should get back to journaling. Sometimes I'm scared to journal about things that are really big difficult scary things. I just don't want this whole doubting thing to be real...but it is. (a counselor once told me that this behavior is denial) :)
I've been doing some thinking, journaling, talking, and reading and I thought I'd share.
Out of just plain not knowing where to start I googled "doubting your faith"
I landed here.
Despite the fact that the word athiest has a connotation of darkness and evil in our culture (that's what I've experienced anyway) I kept reading because I felt like some things resonated with me.
Methinks if I were you I would need something way more structured. Like a clear code of rights/wrongs and then I'd work my way from there. I think if I waited for signs and omens from God and tried to rule my life according to my own whimsical way, the animal in me woulda chewed my head off a long time ago. Good luck on your search.
"Paradise lies at the feet of mothers"
Wow, that freethoughtpedia article ... hmm Having a 2000-year history, the Church is quite complicated, and most of the arguments he uses to attack Christianity only apply to certain aspects of it. That makes the author look a bit ridiculous to someone who has studied basic church history and/or theology.
Point being, most of these "reasons" to leave Christianity are not very good ones, and don't take much effort to debunk. I didn't have time to read the other links you posted, they are probably more in-depth.
The misogyny point is a valid one, though, I think, but misogyny is HARDLY unique to Christianity! (BTW, misogyny is a pretty strong term, since it means hatred of women. And hatred isn't exactly the same thing as believing that women have different roles than men. Most of Christianity today, but not all, takes a complementarian approach, which means they believe women have different roles but not different value. That's not hatred.) I've struggled with this--it was the first really big issue that shook my faith, this was when I was in college. On first glance, reading the Bible through today's lenses, it seems like it is really anti-women. I did quite a bit of reading on this issue, and I've come to believe that God sees men and women equally, he doesn't distinguish between them, spiritually. It's humankind who have created the terrible injustices against women we've seen on this earth. I've become an egalitarian, both when it refers to ministry roles and to home roles, and I think the Bible doesn't contradict this view. (I believe abortion is wrong, though.) A great book on this topic is Women In Ministry. My only question left, and I doubt I'll ever know the answer in this lifetime, is why God waited so long to effect the societal changes that made it possible for women to have the freedom they have today. But "why" is always the big mystery, isn't it?
This isn't to say that there aren't lots of things in the modern-day iterations of Christianity that are pretty absurd as well. This isn't to say that I don't have serious questions, as a Christian. This isn't to try to discredit your valid searching and questioning phase. Lord knows, I'm searching and questioning too, in a big way...
I work as a spiritual director and I don't believe that there is a G-d who created a place of eternal punishment, but I do get a lot of peace from taking time each day to pray about what I am meant to do to be the best Dancianna I was born to be, and from trying to understand each day in what direction G-d is calling me. (You could replace the word G-d with "my highest good" or "Spirit".)
I'm glad you could do the life-goals list and feel free! When it comes to something like that, your own heart is the best teacher, I think, and it can be informed by the wisdom of your religious tradition, if that tradition can share it's wisdom without crushing your own, as the form of Christianity you have been in seems to have done.
If you sense a creative force of love and compassion in the world and/or inside yourself, you can still be Christian without having to believe the parts that people have added to Christianity in order to control others. And as you've seen from this thread, there are many other options to join with others who seek to follow both the understanding of their own hearts and souls as well as the collected wisdom of an ongoing tradition.
Im not confused nor seeking with regards to spiritually but can I poke my head in and share what has worked/works for me?
What works for me is Islam. A good, old fashioned, monotheistic religion of Papa Abraham. I know with all the worldwide negativity against Islam (lots of it caused by stupid actions of some Muslims), its become practically a faux pas to admit that heh. So why Islam, what's its appeal? Well in a nutshell, I'd say it's its focus on the relationship btwn man and God. Everything about being Muslim is about my relationship with God (who we call Allah = The God that is (worthy of being) Worshiped). What with having to take out of your day ten or 15 minutes every few hours (for a total of 5 times daily) to prostrate and bow to God, praising him, asking him to forgive your mistakes, just talking to him, you cant help but continually feel that link to the above. And, for me at least, it does wonders, physically spiritually mentally.
We call this connection 'Ibadah,' or worship. The literal meaning of ibadah is a well tread, worn path because it's something that a person keeps coming to again and again, both physically with physical acts of worship (like praying, fasting, giving charity), and spiritually, with acts of worship that take place in the heart (like love of God & messengers, fear of God's punishment, reliance on God, submission to Him etc). What makes us "go back" to God, once and again? Well, for one, we don't have the concept of absolute reliance on God's unconditional love. We can't just bomb the blazes out of people, cheat them, lie, abandon religious obligations -- and then end our day with, Well, God loves me. A much more, imho, important and PRACTICAL concept that we do have is that of *returning* to God. God loves those who return to him, go back to him every day again and again, with humility, with love, with an admittance of their weakness as humans, looking for forgiveness and love. God tells us that if we were a perfect nation who did no wrong, he would do away with us and replace us with a nation that erred. This is because people who are imperfect, who commit wrongs and mistakes, are continually in need of returning to their lord, continually seeking his forgiveness. So Islam accepts my human-ness and yet expects me to constantly work on myself, to never be satisfied with the status quo, to continually check my heart, my intentions, my actions. And the closer I come to God, the closer he comes to me.
This is so interesting, and beautiful. I'm glad you shared it here.
I am very new to this. Just registered. And am not religious at all. What drove me to write to you is that I threatened my husband for a divorce two months before the birth of my second child, when I was physically very different from the "normal" state. It is a time I can only speak the doom and gloom. Now I'd like to think that our relationship grows like our children, stronger and smarter everyday. Is it possible that it is a really bad PP period you are experiencing? Do you feel better now? How do you feel about your marriage before this recent birth? When in doubt, I write down a detailed analysis of my current state, where I want to be, and foreseeable paths. I do trust reasoning more than mysterious forces and signs that can easily be misread. Regardless of your spiritual state, I wish you physically and mentally healthy and strong. You are the god to your small children.