This is something I used to struggle with. I'm an atheist (I don't believe in any gods/goddesses) with buddhist beliefs, on the path to becoming full-fledged buddhist. I believe in reincarnation, but it's really like believing in nothing, because if it's real, you don't carry any memories with you, so you (individual you) don't truly exist anymore. I also realize I'm probably wrong, and that we just go into the ground and that's it. However, I don't find that remotely sad. I've had loved ones die, and while it's very hard, trying to force myself to pretend I believe I'll see them again makes it harder. Death, whether there's an afterlife or not, means the end of pain/suffering. Plus, I've ALWAYS (even when I considered myself Christian) had huge issues with the thought of existing forever. It causes me insane amounts of anxiety, and it wasn't until I decided I didn't believe in heaven that I lost my insane fear of death. It's sad knowing I'll never see certain people again, but it's not like I'll be cognizant of that fact after I die.
This is what I struggle with, too, but it's a bit different for me. I haven't looked too deeply into Buddhism, but I feel that I might believe in that way if I were to study it a bit more. I was raised Christian (Lutheran) but have felt more agnostic than anything as an adult. I like the idea of reincarnation and have always felt great anxiety at the thought of an ETERNAL life in Heaven, even when I was a child. I still have insane amounts of anxiety/guilt about the way I believe now...I don't even think I believe in Hell, but my Christian background keeps telling me that I'm going there just for the way I currently believe. It's hard to cope with!
You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.
K (6): C (8): B (1/13/12)
Maybe what I say will help restore your faith. There is evidence of the afterlife and the existence based upon the millions of near death experiences that have been reported. Please check out this link which describes an amazing story of a man choking to death and was saved by following the loving voice of God which first told him it was not his time to die and also gave him instructions on what to tell someone where to hit him on the part of the back that would stop the choking. http://www.nderf.org/robert_d_nde.htm . After reading that experience click on the top left corner where it says homepage or current ndes. I assure you after browsing the site you will be comforted that God exists and you will live forever and also when it is your time to die you go joyfully into the beyond because there is only pure love and joy there and you will be assured that your surviving loved ones will be fine. Ultimately there is no seperation of anything because at the core of our being we are all one. The best thing you can do is don't worry about anything and simply enjoy your life as best you can. You came here just like the rest of on a mission and when completed you will return to your true home which is where we all come from.
You don't have to believe in God to believe in an afterlife. Do you just not believe in an afterlife? Or just God? Or the whole thing?
I used to feel this way. But then things happened where things changed about how I feel. Maybe if you read stories from people about angels and the afterlife, maybe that would help.
In a bit of a different direction - I had a really hard time when my son was about 10 months through 2 years with fears of death and although I am religious, I could not feel the joys and comforts of my religion. Finally I realized that for me, what was going on was more akin to PPD and anxiety than any sort of loss of faith. I began treating myself well nutritionally, getting sunlight and exercise daily, and doing some mental exercises to calm my brain down. I was able to get it back under control. It was much easier to cope with when I realized fears of death are very normal in the adjustment to motherhood, even if they manifest later than you might expect.
I do hope you find some peace. That is really tough place to be.
I have to second this. This is precisely where I'm at right now. After weeks of anxiety and depression over these big questions, I am coming to the realization that the fear surrounding the "answers" has more to so with my PPD than with anything else. I have, however, always struggled with these questions, though the struggle never felt as difficult and impossible to overcome as it does now after the birth of my second. I am being treated for PPD (therapy, supplements, etc.) and hope that once the underlying hormonal/chemical imbalances get ironed out, I will be in a much better place to address these fears. I was raised Catholic and abandoned the faith once I was confirmed in my late teens. I am now realizing that I feel lost without a spiritual connection to the world around me and have started searching for something that can connect me back to God. I just started attending a UU church and have found it to be a warm and safe haven for my journey at the moment as they are so supportive of helping your find the spiritual path that is right for you.
Hang in there, I am right there with you. If you would like to chat more about how your feeling, feel free to PM me. We can commiserate together :).