Author Topic: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.  (Read 41263 times)

J Boogie

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That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« on: May 23, 2017, 10:04:50 AM »
A little background -  I was raised Catholic in a family with 3 brothers who are all still Catholic.  I've spent my entire life living out the moral code.  I spent a few years going to a very Catholic university.  My Catholic faith was always very important to me.

For the past few years, I've been struggling with the faith.  Not because of any particular teaching that I don't want to obey, or because I'm ashamed of how the sexual abuse crisis was handled (although it is indeed shameful to say the least), but because I can't make sense of a certain wrong prediction Jesus made in the 3 synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke).  To summarize it, he describes the end times and emphatically assures his followers it will happen in their lifetimes.  Christian scholars have wiggled out of it by saying that in Jesus' words "this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened", generation actually refers to the generation of believers.  This doesn't make sense to me at all.  It doesn't fit within the context of Jesus' constant exhortations to be vigilant, and there is also no decent translation-based case to be made for it either.  Notably, CS Lewis accepts that Jesus was mistaken here.  Apparently that's not a dealbreaker for him.  But it is for me.  If someone says they are the way, the truth, and the life, then everything they say needs to be true.

So after a few years of pushing that to the back of my mind, I finally decided I should square up with it.  I decided to research more into what they call the "Historical Jesus" (as opposed to the "Theological Jesus").

I'll spare you unrelated biblical errors/contradictions that didn't sit well with me.  The outcome is that I don't think the story is true.  I think Jesus was probably just an unusually compelling prophet in the Jewish tradition.  I think his followers were ripe for self-deception.  Many of them had left everything to come follow him, and rather than accept that they had left everything for yet another messiah that did not deliver them from Roman reign, they chose to interpret his mystic teachings in a way that validated their otherwise foolish devotion to him.  So yes, many died proclaiming their faith in Jesus rising from the dead.  I think martyrdom might be an attractive option given the alternative.  And most probably didn't need to deceive themselves at all if they just heard the resurrection story secondhand.  But there had to have been some deception/creative liberties taken somewhere.  Jesus' birth, for example, in Bethlehem, makes no sense because his parents both lived in Nazareth.  Joseph apparently HAD to return to his hometown of Bethlehem for a census and needed to take his 3rd trimester pregnant wife with him on a long journey atop a camel.  Why? To fulfill scripture.  I don't think this actually happened. I believe Jesus was born in Nazareth.  I think the writers added this detail so the story would be more convincing to the Jews.

So to switch gears, let's get into the family side of things.  The biggest issue is that I've been married for about 3 years and I have a 1 year old son.  My wife is understandably very troubled by this.  I was actually more into the faith than she is.  My faith was one of the main reasons she chose to be with me.  It's heartbreaking for me to hear her say that she knows I'll come back to the faith.  I still go to church with her and pray before meals with the family.  I took marriage vows that might not hold the same religious significance to me now, but regardless any promise I made to my wife is one I should keep.  I don't plan on trying to de-evangelize her or my son.  I have no problem with him being raised Catholic but I won't lie to him when he is old enough to ask about what I believe.

I haven't told my parents yet.  They go to mass every day now that my dad has retired.  Only a few months ago my dad invited me to a men's group at their church, and many of his peers congratulated him that all of his sons are still practicing Catholics, and shared their pain that many of their children have strayed.  They felt like it was their fault that they didn't set a strong enough example.

I am planning on telling my parents soon.  I want to wait until after Father's day.  My wife wants to me to talk to my dad soon because she knows how much I respect him (we named our son after him, he is a very good man - never put himself first and was always calm and patient with us). I think she has hopes that he will be able to convince me. 

Though they have engaged in extensive bible study, especially my mom, I don't think they'll have the answers to the concerns I have with the faith.  I think there is a lot of confirmation bias at play with bible study - people participate to go deeper into their faith, not to examine scripture.  In religion, contradictions have a different name - paradoxes.  Mysteries of the faith.  God's ways are mysterious. True, these things very well might just be beyond me and my limited human mind, but I can't help but notice these are very useful ways to make sense of a story that just doesn't make sense. 

Anyone gone through a similar time in their life?








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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2017, 10:54:54 AM »
I'm with you, J Boogie. My family belongs to a small, shrinking sect of Baptists. I've always had disagreements with certain doctrines that they hold (in particular, a literal interpretation of Genesis and the rest of the Old Testament), but I was also a faithful member and adherent to their less ridiculous New Testament doctrines throughout most of my adulthood.

In the last three years or so, I slowly started to realize that I didn't have any real faith at all that the events of the Bible were factual. There was no specific turning point. More like a slow opening of my eyes. It's been incredibly difficult for me to accept, especially because my wife is very faithful. She grew up as a member of a more mainline branch of Baptists, and never accepted the Calvinist leanings of the church that I was raised in, so it actually removed a minor source of tension between the two of us when I conceded that I was drifting away from my childhood faith.

However, I still have yet to tell my wife that I have actually rejected faith altogether.  I would define myself as agnostic, but the only person I've ever told is my brother, who is an unapologetic atheist (My other two siblings are still believing members of our childhood faith). I have no idea how my wife would react if I told her I was agnostic. It scares me to think about it. She wouldn't leave me, and she probably wouldn't even try to convince me I was wrong. But I think that it would be a continuous source of tension in our relationship. I really don't know what to do. We go to church somewhat regularly, but I find them all miserable. I don't want to get to know anybody. I don't want to join a "small group" or Sunday school or the choir. It sucks.

But I can't go back. The world is so much more interesting when you cease to imagine some all-powerful bearded guy pulling strings to control every event in the world. It's so much easier to be peaceful when you give up the idea that one religion is right (and how coincidental! It's almost always the one that you were born into!) and everyone else is an ignorant heretic. Faith without evidence is nothing more than a delusion. Perhaps the greatest delusion of all is accepting the random conjectures of some 5000-year-old goat herders as "evidence".

I really have no words of advice, but good luck.
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Dave1442397

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2017, 10:55:52 AM »
I grew up Catholic in a country that was 94% Catholic at the time.

I noticed that my grandparents generation were religious to the extreme - red artificial candles under pictures of Jesus, holy water by the front door, rosary every night, etc.

My parents were not quite as bad, although I still remember my mother looking for a church saying mass in France because it was a holy day back home. That was a waste of a morning!

My generation (I'm 51) were maybe the first to openly question things. I can remember my first questions coming at around age five or six, and by the time I was eleven, I didn't believe any of it anymore. I kept that from my parents, though :)

The thing about faith is that you either believe it or not. None of it stands up to critical thinking.

One of my favorite books on the subject of belief is The Believing Brain, by Michael Shermer. From the Amazon blurb -

The Believing Brain is bestselling author Michael Shermer's comprehensive and provocative theory on how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished.

In this work synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist, historian of science, and the world's best-known skeptic Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning. Our brains connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen, and these patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop of belief confirmation. Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths.
Interlaced with his theory of belief, Shermer provides countless real-world examples of how this process operates, from politics, economics, and religion to conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and the paranormal. Ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not a belief matches reality.

Noodle

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2017, 11:56:19 AM »
I'm sorry for the worries about your family.

Although I understand your wife is encouraging you to talk to your father soon, in your place I might contemplate longer. Setting aside what your wife hopes such a conversation will accomplish, what do YOU hope to accomplish with such a discussion? I do think it's important to be honest about who we are with the people who love us and know us best, but knowing how painful this will be for your parents you might want to start by discussing with a counselor how you want the conversation to go and how to prepare for the reactions they will have. This may sound odd, but you might actually want to talk to a pastor about it...maybe not your own priest, but any pastor at a relatively liberal church has had plenty of experience with church members going through the same process and should lend a compassionate ear (I suggest this just because a secular counselor might not get the dynamics of faith.) A counselor can also help you think through what you are and aren't up for (maybe you are willing to go to church for holidays and important family occasions, but you're not willing to discuss your perspective on faith).

Personally, I decided a long time ago that it doesn't really matter to me if specific scriptures or even the whole Christian narrative are true or not. I asked myself if I would feel that being Christian was a waste of time if somehow I found out on my deathbed that none of it were true, and realized I would not. I have been a better person as a practicing Christian than I would have been otherwise, and I have taken great comfort at difficult times both from the teachings of the faith and my fellow Christians. But that's just me, and I wish you well on the best journey for you.

bender

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2017, 12:49:49 PM »
I grew up Christian.  After a scientific education and learning how to think for myself, I'm no longer Christian.  I prefer the term used by government studies - "unaffiliated", but Agnostic could fit.  Here's my thoughts on how I got here.

Historically people have used God(s) to explain what they did not yet understand.  The sun was God, lighting was caused by God, rainbows, life, death.  Science has explained countless phenomenon that was previously attributed to God.  There are still so many unknowns, but people now look to science to explain things instead of defaulting to God.  The one big unknown I'm not sure science can explain is the big one - the nature of life/universe.

Dictators/governments have partnered with organized religion to control people.  After thousands of years intertwined, separation of church and state is the greatest freedom that's spreading through the world in the last couple hundred years.  In places where religion isn't forced by law, it is naturally receding.

With globalization and increased communication capabilities, it is now far easier to get exposure to many different religions.  Many believe that their religion is the 'correct' one and others are wrong.  Some bad people do really bad stuff and somehow it is OK because of religion.  I realized the only reason I grew up Christian is because my parents were Christian.  If they were Muslim or Jewish or whatever - I would be that.  And that's how it's been for generations - people inherit their religion and don't question it.  If I grew up in another country, my religion may say it's cool to beat my wife or kill people for honor reasons.

My kids are not baptized, we don't go to church and we don't feel religion is a relevant topic until the kids are old enough to firmly distinguish belief in Jesus from Santa Claus.  It's funny - kids will believe pretty much anything you tell them.  When the subject comes up, I explain things with "Some people believe xxxx".  This is rare though, with minimal exposure to religion and exposure to modern society, my kids don't think about it much.  It's typically after a visit with Grandma.

My entire family is religious to some extent - I'm the only one to officially become unaffiliated.  I told them and it didn't go well.  It's been years now, but my mom is still deeply troubled and feels it's her failure in life that I turned out this way.  We've had many negative discussions on the topic.  I am fine with her beliefs, but she wants me to come back to Christianity.  She becomes quite irrational and angry on occasion, which is probably the opposite of how you would convince someone to join a religion, right?  (Actually no, I think that's the way you force people to convert - ridiculing, threatening, etc).

If you think your family will not take it well, give it time and break it gently.  Test the waters with some of your less religious family first, don't go right to the patriarch!  I didn't want to tell my family, but the constant nagging to have the kids go to church, get baptized made me do it.  I wish I found a better way.


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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2017, 12:54:55 PM »
I was raised Pentecostal, Assemblies of God. It's an almost cult-like (IMO) denomination that holds a LOT of sway over it's membership. I fell out from under AG as a teen, when I realized "speaking in tongues" was fake, but remained active in non-denominational Christian student organizations throughout my college years, even going on mission trips.

What did it for me was getting a degree in Anthropology, with minors in Antiquities and Religious Studies. It was impossible to give credence to the Bible as anything other than mythology after four years of studying human evolution, anatomy, biology, other cultures/religions, and (most of all) ancient near eastern archaeology and mythology.
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J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2017, 01:34:39 PM »
Thanks everyone for sharing your stories and thoughts on family & faith.

When it comes to telling my parents - I guess I wouldn't actually have to, as I still go through the motions as my wife and child are practicing Catholics.  But I do want to, because I have a close relationship with my parents.  They invite all of their adult children + families over almost every Sunday.  In general I don't like to hide things from people I'm close to.  I don't imagine my parents will be angry at all.  I'm not disrespectful or dismissive toward Christianity and they're both very loving and considerate people.  I am just quite aware of how sad this will make them and I don't look forward to breaking the news.

I've told one of my brothers recently and shared with my other brother that I was having doubts a while back.  I'm not as close to my oldest brother and while he and his family are Catholic, we've never really talked about our faith life and my impression is that it isn't that important to him and he wouldn't be too rattled by my news.  They weren't very surprised.  They know my personality.

J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2017, 01:49:32 PM »
She grew up as a member of a more mainline branch of Baptists, and never accepted the Calvinist leanings of the church that I was raised in, so it actually removed a minor source of tension between the two of us when I conceded that I was drifting away from my childhood faith.

Interestingly enough, that's pretty similar to us.  My MIL is a traditionalist (rejects Vatican II) and my wife seemed to share her views for a while.  Hasn't seemed to in the past year or so though.  The issue used to a hotly debated one, as I'm a little more liberal (though I preferred a more traditional liturgy with the incense and whatnot) but now it's hard to imagine we ever locked horns on topics that now seem so trivial.  I guess it's because now I don't really care if the Catholic Church becomes a little more conservative or a little more liberal - whereas before it used to represent me, so I wanted it to reflect my personal values more closely.

bender

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2017, 01:53:58 PM »
I'd recommend beating around the bush at first to test the waters.  Tell them about some article you read that creates doubt for you about something.  See what kind of response you get and proceed from there.

Chris22

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2017, 02:00:32 PM »
I have somewhat of an odd relationship with religion.  My maternal grandfather was the only one of my 4 grandparents who was not raised Catholic, my grandmother converted to Protestant and then so did my father, so our immediate family is a little splinter of Protestant in a big Catholic family on both sides, and that has occasionally caused some friction.  I've always viewed that friction with disdain, as Catholic and Protestant to me are just flavors of the same general thing, and there should be no meaningful difference between them and thus no reason for conflict.  My parents raised us pretty casually with regards to religion, but we went to church more often than not during the school year until I was in high school and started playing high school sports.  Sports had Saturday morning practices, so my parents decided they deserved one day a week to sleep in and thus church lost.  There was much rejoicing amongst us kids who didn't care for church.

Nowadays, I am uncomfortable with either side, the religious versus the non.  I've never felt comfortable with religion or church, I do not like to be preached at, I find religion to be somewhat cliquey or culty, and I find the money grabs to be ham-fisted and offensive.  I've simply never felt "moved" from a religious sense in a church, although I do occasionally feel spiritual when reflecting on much of my good fortune in life, including the presence and health of my children, and do, on occasion, privately pray about it.  And as much as I dislike church and find it uncomfortable, I can't stand the "militant atheists" who proclaim their lack of faith as a sign of their superior intelligence and intellect; they generally have their own "religious dogma" they adhere to with the same blind faith. 

On the subject of the bible and inconsistencies and all of that, I've never felt it was a piece to be taken literally.  I think it is a book of parables, and should be a moral guidebook, not a blueprint.  Most of the 10 commandments make pretty good sense as a "how to be a good person" outline.  I've always felt that taking the text too literally or looking for inconsistencies somewhat misses the point, which is ultimately Be A Good Person and follow the Golden Rule. 

In your particular circumstance, I think you can still be "religious" and involved with the church, while questioning the nuts and bolts of the teachings, if you so desire.  I don't get the feeling you suddenly think "the myth of the man in the sky is all bullshit!", you are just having trouble with some of the stricter interpretations, and you could probably reconcile those if you so desired.  Maybe even discuss those with a Priest if you wanted.  Good luck.
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J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2017, 02:06:16 PM »
Personally, I decided a long time ago that it doesn't really matter to me if specific scriptures or even the whole Christian narrative are true or not. I asked myself if I would feel that being Christian was a waste of time if somehow I found out on my deathbed that none of it were true, and realized I would not. I have been a better person as a practicing Christian than I would have been otherwise, and I have taken great comfort at difficult times both from the teachings of the faith and my fellow Christians. But that's just me, and I wish you well on the best journey for you.

Thanks for sharing this Noodle, sounds like a good approach.  I tried this route for a while but I began to feel deeply uncomfortable with myself.  The Catholic rites are just so full of instances in which you proclaim your belief.  I can't say the Nicene (or Apostles') Creed, I can't say "Amen" when the priest tells me he is giving me the body of Christ, etc without feeling like I've lost all my integrity.  I am thankful for the rigidity of Catholicism as there isn't any middle ground for me to occupy.  No gray area.  I either believe all of these things or none of them. 

I agree that living out Christian principles is absolutely a life worth living.  I intend to continue living out the same principles I've lived by thus far, with maybe a few minor tweaks. 

J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2017, 02:09:06 PM »
I'd recommend beating around the bush at first to test the waters.  Tell them about some article you read that creates doubt for you about something.  See what kind of response you get and proceed from there.

That's probably a good idea.  It would be less of a shock to them, and more of a gradual understanding that I've developed.

bender

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2017, 02:19:17 PM »
Good points Chris.  I think a significant difference between you and JBoogie (and myself) is that you were raised more casually with religion.  It seems those who were more casual don't have a problem practicing religion 'half-way' (no offense), since that's how they've always done it and that's how their parents did it.  I'd probably still be Christian if that's how I was raised as well.  Those who were raised with much more strict religion and literal interpretations seem to have a stronger rejection of religion as adults.  These are just my personal observations. 

Like J Boogie said - I find it really hard to go through the motions as well.  It feels weird on the rare occasions I find myself attending a church mass (last time was a memorial service I had to show support for family) - all I can think about is that I don't belong there.

Chris22

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2017, 02:23:35 PM »
Good points Chris.  I think a significant difference between you and JBoogie (and myself) is that you were raised more casually with religion.  It seems those who were more casual don't have a problem practicing religion 'half-way' (no offense), since that's how they've always done it and that's how their parents did it.  I'd probably still be Christian if that's how I was raised as well.  Those who were raised with much more strict religion and literal interpretations seem to have a stronger rejection of religion as adults.  These are just my personal observations. 

Understood, and agreed.

Quote
Like J Boogie said - I find it really hard to go through the motions as well.  It feels weird on the rare occasions I find myself attending a church mass (last time was a memorial service I had to show support for family) - all I can think about is that I don't belong there.

I'm the same way.  Compounding this is I don't really have a "home" religion.  I went to Catholic undergrad so there were times I participated (sorta) in Mass and never felt comfortable, and since then at occasional funerals and wedding and baptisms.  Additionally, my wife is Orthodox, and I've been to services with her occasionally, and same deal, never felt comfortable there either.  I don't really have a desire or happenstance to attend any Protestant services, where I'd probably feel most comfortable, but even then, it's never felt like "home" to me.  So I just try to avoid it altogether. 
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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2017, 02:25:16 PM »
THAT'S the part of the Bible that got you? There are so many parts of it that are so much more objectionable than that! Judges 19 comes to mind.

I have the same story as you only in reverse. I was raised by militant atheists, went to a public state college, read a mountain of assigned philosophy, literature, and religious texts, and came to the conclusion that Jesus' claims about himself are true. I am now a faithful mainline Protestant, much to the shock and horror of my family. All the atheist stuff they raised me with rings hollow and false to me.

But I don't talk to them about it! I just go to my church, live out my life, work in a religious institution, and answer (infrequent) questions from them about my beliefs truthfully but not in a preachy way. Admittedly this means my relationship with my family is a bit distant, since I can't be my authentic self around them, but my authentic self would offend them, so I operate on the most open level I can with them without alienating them. I love them--as Jesus commands me to do.

Bottom line: be as authentic as you can while still maintaining the closest relationship possible. Also, I think it sounds like quite a crisis for your wife. If my husband came home with severe religious doubts I'd be pretty bummed. Faith in Christ is the centerpiece of our relationship.

Good luck. I would definitely consider finding some counsel that you can trust on the questions you raise. Maybe an outsider who doesn't have a horse in the race--i.e. not your father. Somebody smart and not likely to get super personally invested in the outcome of the conversation.
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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2017, 02:33:37 PM »
I have somewhat of an odd relationship with religion.  My maternal grandfather was the only one of my 4 grandparents who was not raised Catholic, my grandmother converted to Protestant and then so did my father, so our immediate family is a little splinter of Protestant in a big Catholic family on both sides, and that has occasionally caused some friction.  I've always viewed that friction with disdain, as Catholic and Protestant to me are just flavors of the same general thing, and there should be no meaningful difference between them and thus no reason for conflict.  My parents raised us pretty casually with regards to religion, but we went to church more often than not during the school year until I was in high school and started playing high school sports.  Sports had Saturday morning practices, so my parents decided they deserved one day a week to sleep in and thus church lost.  There was much rejoicing amongst us kids who didn't care for church.

Nowadays, I am uncomfortable with either side, the religious versus the non.  I've never felt comfortable with religion or church, I do not like to be preached at, I find religion to be somewhat cliquey or culty, and I find the money grabs to be ham-fisted and offensive.  I've simply never felt "moved" from a religious sense in a church, although I do occasionally feel spiritual when reflecting on much of my good fortune in life, including the presence and health of my children, and do, on occasion, privately pray about it.  And as much as I dislike church and find it uncomfortable, I can't stand the "militant atheists" who proclaim their lack of faith as a sign of their superior intelligence and intellect; they generally have their own "religious dogma" they adhere to with the same blind faith. 

On the subject of the bible and inconsistencies and all of that, I've never felt it was a piece to be taken literally.  I think it is a book of parables, and should be a moral guidebook, not a blueprint.  Most of the 10 commandments make pretty good sense as a "how to be a good person" outline.  I've always felt that taking the text too literally or looking for inconsistencies somewhat misses the point, which is ultimately Be A Good Person and follow the Golden Rule. 

In your particular circumstance, I think you can still be "religious" and involved with the church, while questioning the nuts and bolts of the teachings, if you so desire.  I don't get the feeling you suddenly think "the myth of the man in the sky is all bullshit!", you are just having trouble with some of the stricter interpretations, and you could probably reconcile those if you so desired.  Maybe even discuss those with a Priest if you wanted.  Good luck.

Chris, I appreciate that quite a bit.  I can tell you were not raised Catholic! I understand the "all or nothing" approach might not be the best when it comes to throwing out all of the positive moral teachings or conversely accepting all the strange pieces of dogma.  But I believe it is the best approach when it comes to who God is.  Jesus is either the Son of God or he isn't.  Catholicism isn't built to handle ambiguity very well.

Strangely enough, I have almost the opposite experience regarding both atheists and my former fellow Catholics.  I actually really like them both! (with a few exceptions).  I enjoy listening to Sam Harris debate as he is a very clear thinker, and though occasionally somewhat petty, doesn't lose his cool or talk over people.
I will also very much so miss the bond I shared with all of my Catholic friends (Many priests included).

Anyways, I totally agree with your approach to gleaning the positive moral teachings out of the bible and discarding the rest.  Thanks again for sharing your experience.





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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2017, 02:39:00 PM »
Hello J

I was there once. Came back out of the corner much stronger than I went in.

I and most of my extended family am old-school Catholic, maybe I go to Mass with your MIL ;) I was raised such in a big household (oldest of 9). Dad was agnostic when married; mom got a special dispensation from the LA bishop! dispensation included a statement from Dad he would allow children to be raised Catholic. Dad converted about 15yrs later and is the strongest Catholic I know.

I personally went through a phase of doubt... I suspect everyone does, in different ways. Is any of it really true? why are there so many religions? Are they all man-made, like Scientology so obviously is? (what a practical joke, L Ron Hubbard has gotta be laughing so hard, wherever he is) After all, look at the control, power, money, wars(!) which come from organized religion. How can any of this make sense?

I went through a few years of going through the motions, essentially thinking, hey this isn't a bad way to live my life, so I'll keep on keeping on.

I had to go back to basics; started studying philosophy. The Greeks had it all figured out, honestly. They were Christians before Christ came. Sts Augustine & Thomas built on it. Catholic philosophy/theology/morality is all there, it’s beautiful, it works, it integrates, there are no contradictions, there are causes & effects, actions have consequences, it is unique. There is nothing else like it. It is One, Holy, Catholic (universal), and (supposed to be) Apostolic.

You mention a doubt about a specific prophesy in the Bible. Man, relax, our Protestant friends get themselves all in a bind around certain words, it does them no good, they miss the forest for a leaf. Here is a simple explanation of the prophesy you mention. No idea if it is correct or not; if this is what Jesus meant. But it gives an idea how easy it is to get tangled up in a few words or a phrase. https://www.gotquestions.org/this-generation-not-pass.html

Many people have doubts due to actions of churchmen. We particularly detest hypocrites; and people in high palces who abuse/violate their trust are indeed committing a terrible crime. The answer though is simple: Do not place your trust in men! This is a primary lesson in the Bible! Adam sinned. He had ONE thing to do, and he couldn’t do it! St Peter denied Christ. The Jews crucified Him. Again, again, again these examples. Do not place trust in men! Separate the Message from the messenger! This is why I am ‘traditional’ Catholic and reject all the modern crap in the more recent Church: ecumenism, etc. These are fallible men (Pope on down), wanting to get along with other men, compromising Truth and their own job, so it’ll fit their human agenda.

Many people mention feelings. Are you trying to feel good or find the truth, take the red pill, save your soul? If the goal is feelies, Catholicism may not work. Again, do not put your trust in man (your own feelings). Feelings are not intellect, feelings can betray you. You own yourself. Feelings are an emotional response your intellect can use as input. Feelings do not own you.

I don’t know if this helps. Hope it does. Prayers regardless!
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 02:41:11 PM by acroy »
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Éowyn MI

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2017, 02:40:54 PM »
Personally, I decided a long time ago that it doesn't really matter to me if specific scriptures or even the whole Christian narrative are true or not. I asked myself if I would feel that being Christian was a waste of time if somehow I found out on my deathbed that none of it were true, and realized I would not. I have been a better person as a practicing Christian than I would have been otherwise, and I have taken great comfort at difficult times both from the teachings of the faith and my fellow Christians. But that's just me, and I wish you well on the best journey for you.
^This.  I am a better person today because of my faith in God.  To be clear, I do believe that Jesus is God.  However, even if that could be proved false, the other alternative is hopelessness and despair.  If the world has no meaning then my life is not worth living (due to my individual difficulties in life and the collective suffering in the world etc...)  It's a good thing for me and the world that I'm a Christian!

My story with religion is a bit complicated.   Both my parents were raised nominally Catholic but left the church after leaving home.  After many years (they got married in their thirties) they met and married in the protestant church.  From age 0-8 my parents were both protestant (Assemblies of God) and raised us with a strong faith.  When I was 8, my mom reverted to Catholicism and brought me and my two sisters with her.  From then on, we were raised as Catholics.  This was a perennial source of contention between my parents for the rest of my childhood. 

In any case, my sisters and I were all practicing Catholics until my younger sister met her (now) fiancé who is Orthodox (or Russian Catholic as I sometimes call it).  My sister is in the process of converting to Orthodoxy and will be attending the Orthodox church with her (future) husband.  Their wedding is 3 weeks away.

This Easter, my mom started to get concerned about the younger sister and tried to convince her that her fiancé should convert to Catholicism and not the other way around.  Both the fiancé and my younger sister did not agree.  After a difficult time, my mother decided that her relationship with her daughter was more important than religion.  And that she (my mom) is leaving Catholicism and going back to the protestant church.  I still processing this one...

So there has been a lot of turmoil over religion in my family.  We all respect each other and still are on good speaking terms :)
I don't have any specific advice in your situation but I hope that everything will turn out well for you.

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2017, 02:43:11 PM »
It has always seemed to me that there are two ways to practice a religion: 1) You are a "believer", whatever that word means to you, or 2) You are there for other reasons, like family or sense of community. My observation is that there are more Type 2 people than Type 1 people in most religious groups. Why can't you be a cultural Catholic?

If you feel a need to ask questions, why not join a Bible study? It doesn't even have to be specifically Catholic. My first husband was much more religious than I am, and I took a 2-year Bible study at our church, where I learned a lot about both myself and the Bible's historical context.

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2017, 02:52:36 PM »
I am a better person today because of my faith in God.  To be clear, I do believe that Jesus is God.  However, even if that could be proved false, the other alternative is hopelessness and despair. 

With all due respect, this is complete horseshit. I am neither hopeless nor despondent.
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J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2017, 02:53:44 PM »
THAT'S the part of the Bible that got you? There are so many parts of it that are so much more objectionable than that! Judges 19 comes to mind.

I have the same story as you only in reverse. I was raised by militant atheists, went to a public state college, read a mountain of assigned philosophy, literature, and religious texts, and came to the conclusion that Jesus' claims about himself are true. I am now a faithful mainline Protestant, much to the shock and horror of my family. All the atheist stuff they raised me with rings hollow and false to me.

But I don't talk to them about it! I just go to my church, live out my life, work in a religious institution, and answer (infrequent) questions from them about my beliefs truthfully but not in a preachy way. Admittedly this means my relationship with my family is a bit distant, since I can't be my authentic self around them, but my authentic self would offend them, so I operate on the most open level I can with them without alienating them. I love them--as Jesus commands me to do.

Bottom line: be as authentic as you can while still maintaining the closest relationship possible. Also, I think it sounds like quite a crisis for your wife. If my husband came home with severe religious doubts I'd be pretty bummed. Faith in Christ is the centerpiece of our relationship.

Good luck. I would definitely consider finding some counsel that you can trust on the questions you raise. Maybe an outsider who doesn't have a horse in the race--i.e. not your father. Somebody smart and not likely to get super personally invested in the outcome of the conversation.

Well EnglishTeacherAlex, the reason that's the part that got me is because Jesus said it.  And he said it in all 3 synoptic gospels, so it's not a fluke.  Most Christians tend to say that Jesus' teaching superseded the OT, or that God came down to our level, etc.   True, it's not objectionable or offensive as (insert your favorite brutal/misogynistic OT passage here), but the words of Jesus are foundational.

Pretty crazy to hear your story from non-belief to belief.  You almost always hear it the other way around.  And yes, you are right, this is very difficult for my wife.  Sometimes she's able to joke about it (IE, I'll ask for a sip of her drink and she'll say "sorry, Catholics only" which I actually really enjoy and find hilarious - I often use humor to diffuse) but she seems to put off thinking about it and mostly regards it as a temporary struggle I'm going through.  I don't want to give her false hope and I don't want to crush the hope she has, so I mostly stay quiet about that.  But I've told her where I'm at - I just don't remind her.

I'll consider talking with a priest about this.  I'm hesitant to do this as I am insanely familiar with all of the usual talking points used in apologetics and such but I probably owe it to my wife.




englishteacheralex

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2017, 03:27:10 PM »
But He said so many other absolutely horrible things! Very controversial, aggravating, difficult things...one's interpretation of "generation" seems like such a small sticking point compared to "blessed are the poor in spirit" or "“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple" or...gosh almost everything He said was incredibly hard to understand and incredibly aggravating. All four gospels are one big bowl of hotly contested insanity and to my mind, He's such a badass weirdo who rolled with all the ugliness that humanity had to throw at him, He could only get away with it if He were God.

I realize I'm being a bit glib. To me, the fact that Jesus is hard to understand and requires me to do a lot of mental wrestling makes Him much more attractive, not less. I've read plenty of apologetics both for and against Him, plenty of atheist tomes, and plenty of criticism about the "historical Jesus," and it has all made me more and more certain of His veracity and of my own inadequacy in ever truly understanding all the complexity in the things He said. It's also made me recognize the "confirmation bias" in all the swirling controversy around Him 2000 years later. For me, I didn't WANT it to be true. It was a huge upheaval in my life and required me to give up a lot and I much preferred my family's understanding of the truth.

But I'm just one person, not remarkably smart, and there are people who are much better versed in such things than I am. A priest might be a good option, but the "confirmation bias" would probably be pretty huge in such a person. Maybe a college professor?

And finally...I generally think it's best if a person can freely believe whatever it is they decide to believe. Whatever final conclusion you come to, the major situation here is managing the responses of those close to you in a responsible and ethical way. So maybe some couples therapy for your wife and you in order to hash out appropriate boundaries and the nuts and bolts to the relationship moving forward.
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Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2017, 04:34:35 PM »
I share your story of coming to doubt, and being unwilling to go through the motions, J. Boogie.

As Mark Twain said, "The best cure for Christianity is reading the Bible." Not true for all people, of course, but true for many, and for the reasons you've mentioned in your own story.

You need to be true to yourself. I think you can do that while allowing others to be true to themselves, as well. That's very hard for people who are very strong (Catholics, e.g.) to accept sometimes. Especially when those people are close to you, such as your parents. But it is indeed possible to take a deep breath, know you are being true to yourself, and tell them that you continue to deeply respect their faith while asking them to respect your spiritual journey, as well.
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MasterStache

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2017, 05:31:44 AM »
I share your story of coming to doubt, and being unwilling to go through the motions, J. Boogie.

As Mark Twain said, "The best cure for Christianity is reading the Bible." Not true for all people, of course, but true for many, and for the reasons you've mentioned in your own story.

You need to be true to yourself. I think you can do that while allowing others to be true to themselves, as well. That's very hard for people who are very strong (Catholics, e.g.) to accept sometimes. Especially when those people are close to you, such as your parents. But it is indeed possible to take a deep breath, know you are being true to yourself, and tell them that you continue to deeply respect their faith while asking them to respect your spiritual journey, as well.

+1. Well said.

Éowyn MI

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2017, 05:51:59 AM »
I am a better person today because of my faith in God.  To be clear, I do believe that Jesus is God.  However, even if that could be proved false, the other alternative is hopelessness and despair. 

With all due respect, this is complete horseshit. I am neither hopeless nor despondent.
With all due respect, I was talking specifically about me.  Not you or anyone else.  Sorry for being unclear.

DeltaBond

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2017, 05:56:20 AM »
I have definitely gone through this.  I converted to Catholicism a few years ago, but even after the RCIA class, I kept learning about it, and learninga bout all religiouns.  One thing I found is that at the time of Jesus, there were a number of religions around, and mythologies, that included stories of resurrections.  So that helped me let go of the idea that maybe Jesus really WAS something special... nope, still just a man.  Science and history point toward no resurrection ever happening.  That was just a common theme back then in storytelling about gods.  That was kinda the final straw for me, and with the recent stories of pedaphelia I decided that I needed to do what it took to mentally break away from Christianity as a whole. Other Catholics were simply too nanchalant about pedaphelia, as if they weren't contributing to the court costs and victim payouts somehow.  That is a black and white issue for me, but I'll spare you my dissertation on that topic.

I've been involved in a UU church, and Episcopalian, because they both don't hold people accountable over beliefs.  In fact, one Episcopal bishop wrote a book about how even though the bible is almost all fiction, it is still a beautiful story of humanity.  It starts off with tribal religion full of revenge and hate, with a vengeful angry god... and ends with compassion and forgiveness.  As a Humanist Agnostic, which is what I am if I'm being totally true to myself, I appreciate that story, because it shows that over time, humanity is what improves.  And look at our world now.  I'd much rather live in the world today than 2000 years ago.  And it is people who made those positive changes.  And we continue to do so.

Breaking away from Christian mythology is not easy, and sometimes a counselor is necessary.  Now that I'm over it, I do feel a lot better, but there was a lot of sadness for a while, just finding a way to accept that life will be ok without belief in anything mythical.  I wish you luck in dealing with this, and dealing with your family.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 06:06:52 AM by DeltaBond »
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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2017, 06:25:09 AM »
I am a better person today because of my faith in God.  To be clear, I do believe that Jesus is God.  However, even if that could be proved false, the other alternative is hopelessness and despair. 

With all due respect, this is complete horseshit. I am neither hopeless nor despondent.
With all due respect, I was talking specifically about me.  Not you or anyone else.  Sorry for being unclear.

Okay, that makes sense. Sorry about the language, then. I think I am especially sensitive to this kind of talk, because my Dad (who thinks I am still a Christian) often badmouths members of our family whom he knows to be atheists by using exactly this kind of language and assuming that they must be absolutely miserable. It's one of the reasons I don't want to tell him the truth - I know he'll just start badmouthing me behind my back. In truth, there has been no change in my happiness or the way I treat others or feel about the world since I gave up faith. None. I do have the added stress of knowing that I'm being dishonest to people who are close to me about my beliefs, but at least I've shed the stress of knowing that I'm being dishonest to myself.
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Pigeon

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2017, 06:36:26 AM »
I was raised in a very RC home, in a very RC area of the US.  I attended Catholic school, back in the era when they were staffed by nuns, up through junior high.  I knew from the time I was about 7 that I would never be Catholic and that the theology made no sense.  I vividly recall sitting in first communion preparation in the church, watching all the other kids and the nuns out of the corner of my eye, thinking, "These people really believe that the communion wafer turns into the body of Christ?  That's absurd."  I attended many different Christian churches over the years, but I'm just not wired to believe in something that has no evidence to back it up.

When I actually paid attention to the origins of the gospels and realized how easy it would be for the myths of the resurrection and miracles to get started, it became much easier to stop pretending and embrace atheism. 

My parents were observant, hard core RC, and as long as we had any kind of financial dependence on them, they shoved it down our throats pretty hard, which did nothing but further alienate their kids who were not believers.  But they also were pretty good about realizing that once we didn't need their money, we got to make our own decisions about life.  I just stopped pretending, and when I have to attend a family wedding, etc., I sit quietly and don't participate.  I think they always had suspicions as I opted out of every catholic thing I could from childhood on.  Eventually, my father asked me and I told him of my disbelief in any kind of god.  My father was an engineer and a pretty logical guy.  He could see where I was coming from and I suspect he quietly had his own doubts, too, but grew up in an era where the cultural conditioning was very strong.  My mom was dead by that point and she would have been much more upset had she realized just how much of a non-believer I am.

I'm not responsible for other people's happiness.  Everyone has a right to choose their own religious path.  I'm not going to live a lie so as to keep their illusions intact. 

Éowyn MI

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2017, 06:45:14 AM »

Okay, that makes sense. Sorry about the language, then. I think I am especially sensitive to this kind of talk, because my Dad (who thinks I am still a Christian) often badmouths members of our family whom he knows to be atheists by using exactly this kind of language and assuming that they must be absolutely miserable. It's one of the reasons I don't want to tell him the truth - I know he'll just start badmouthing me behind my back. In truth, there has been no change in my happiness or the way I treat others or feel about the world since I gave up faith. None. I do have the added stress of knowing that I'm being dishonest to people who are close to me about my beliefs, but at least I've shed the stress of knowing that I'm being dishonest to myself.
I'm sorry that religion is causing contention in your family.  Its not fun to have family members who talk bad about each other.

I've talked about this to a co-worker who is also a friend.  Listening to him, I gathered that he doesn't believe in God, although he still goes to church, and feels that it is still possible for him to care about life, be happy, etc...  Then I explained to why I feel differently.  We eventually agreed to disagree.  However, I think that it was a really good conversation because we both listened to a different perspective without becoming upset.  It definitely helped me process some of my viewpoints and also realize that they aren't shared by everyone.

Noodle

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2017, 08:15:33 AM »
I have been thinking about this thread a lot, and hoping for the best for OP and his family. One other thought...it sounds like OP and his wife have already talked a lot, but if the OP hasn't asked his wife exactly what about his change in belief is upsetting her, it might be worthwhile. If it's "You're going to burn in hell for eternity," there's not much to be done except to listen lovingly, but it could also be "Will you back me up when our son doesn't want to go to church?" "Will our family routines that I like change?" "Will I end up losing the connection to our church family if I have to divide my time between church and family activities?" "Will my husband change his moral attitudes if the church isn't involved?" Your faith is your own, but a marriage is for two people and I do think the person changing the rules after the fact has a duty to be thoughtful about the parts that affect the other person. Very similar to what happens when one spouse decides to go all in for Mustachianism, actually, to bring it back around to the topic of this message board. :)

jlcnuke

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2017, 08:23:06 AM »
I was raised Catholic (confirmed and everything). In my early adult life (late teens-early 20's) I began to question things. I decided eventually that I couldn't reconcile the religion with the information I had found and I couldn't find a logical reason for me to choose that religion as one to believe in. I thus gave up my belief. My parents have known for decades now that I don't believe in God or religion. However, I think the fact that I retain the morals they (my parents and to some extent Catholicism) is enough to keep them content with how they raised us. Honesty and "not pushing" my lack of belief I think has been one of the keys to our shared acceptance of differing beliefs.

In social situations etc where religion is a point of interest/topic, I avoid the conversation if I know the people are religious and only join in "as an agnostic atheist" if I'm with friends I know have similar positions on religion or if specifically asked. Even then, I try to make a point of NOT pointing out why I no longer believe or to try and point out the "problems" I see in the religion someone else practices. While I don't agree with the basic beliefs (God, prophets, miracles, etc), I have no problem with most of what religions do for the world, communities, and people.

Lis

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2017, 08:48:03 AM »
I'm the product of two Catholics who gave up religion in their lives in very different ways. Both parents went to Catholic school (dad went on to Catholic college, too) but have left (or, I suppose, been kicked out?) in their adult lives. For them, it's about the organized religion that they dislike. My dad will tell you he's an atheist because he's a scientist, and science disproves God (his opinion, I know quite a few scientists who are also religious and/or believe in God). My mom struggled (maybe still struggles?) with her faith, because what she was taught about God and Jesus (forgiveness, love thy neighbor, overall goodness) is not what she's experienced with the Catholic Church itself. Both of my parents were previously married and divorced. When they decided to get married, it was important to their parents they get married in a Catholic church, but when they approached, they were denied, unless they paid $10k each for an annulment. With my dad's ex, it just didn't work out between them, but my mom left an abusive relationship, so she struggled with the idea that God wouldn't want her to leave and be safe, and that $10k would magically make the divorce okay. (They didn't get married in a Catholic church.) When I was born, my mom wanted me baptized (more for the tradition than the true meaning behind it), and I was denied again because "I was not a child of God" (since my parents' marriage wasn't Catholic). My mom did send me to CCD for a couple of years as a child, just to become familiar with religion, but let me stop after I made my first communion.

Mom still prays occasionally, she believes in God, and I think to a lesser extent, Jesus. To her, faith is personal. She still finds comfort with Catholic priests and inside churches (she's only been to church in the last 20 years for funerals, but she says there's something comforting about it). I honestly don't know her views on the Bible, but I don't think she's read it since she was a child.

I sort of fall in between. I'd like to believe in God and an afterlife, but I don't know if I do. To me, it doesn't factor much importance in my day to day life. I studied classical history in college, including Roman history, which gave way to studying early Christianity. It's fascinating, but I tend to view it the same way I view Greek and Roman mythology - here's what's believed (then and now), here's how these beliefs started, here's the historical context.

ooeei

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2017, 09:40:10 AM »
I was raised liberally Christian, and am now an atheist, agnostic, whatever you want to call it.  I remember back when I was questioning everything I came across a book that chronicled the stories of priests, rabbis, pastors, etc who no longer literally believed in their religion.  I only read a few excerpts, but the perspectives of a few of them were very interesting.  To them, no longer believing in the literal thing didn't stop them from believing in the for lack of a better term, spirit of the religion.  It certainly changed how they did things, but many of them remain pastors and seem to lead happy lives.

I'm not sure if it will be helpful, but it's a book with stories of people whose spouses, friends, children, jobs, homes, and even their personal identity all rely on them believing in this thing that they don't believe anymore.  Some of them are 20+ years into all of these things, and have to find a way to make it work. 

Keep in mind it was probably 5+ years ago and I only skimmed it, so my memory is probably a bit fuzzy.

https://www.amazon.com/Caught-Pulpit-Leaving-Belief-Behind/dp/1634310209

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #33 on: May 24, 2017, 10:02:09 AM »
J Boogie, this will probably be a lengthy post because there is a lot of ground to cover on this topic.  I apologize if I come across a bit direct, but a lot of what you said are issues I feel strongly about and want to give you some added information about.  I grew up Catholic.  I do not think anything in Catholic conversations qualifies as "apologetics" because I think their interpretation of Scripture is flawed in many ways and was one of the reasons I left the denomination decades ago and have been a happy Christian ever since.  From what I see in your  post about what you view an conflicts in the gospels etc. I'm going to recommend a couple books that do an excellent job on those topics.  One if Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace who used to be an atheist and police detective and used his expertise in that field as he set out to prove the gospels are contradictory to show his believing friends what a crock Christianity was and instead convinced himself they are decidedly, provably true using cold case techniques.  Short story is eyewitness accounts will appear to have inconsistencies that do not reconcile, but in fact do.  It is a fascinating read.  Second book is No God But One: Allah or Jesus? by Nabeel Qureshi.  Again someone setting out to disprove Christianity instead having a very different and fascinating experience with the facts.  Obviously the famous start of some of these genres were the books by Lee Strobel. 

So now into some more detail that may encourage you to reconsider you step away from faith.  Growing up Catholic, many, many things did not sit right with me and had me constantly questioning if this was true/made sense.  The answer from my priest, as his attempt at apologetics was, "Trust me.  I've studied this and you just need to believe me."  The discussion I begin with anyone is that if you are truly objective you need to realize that no matter what you believe in something that we currently cannot prove 100% true, meaning you ultimately are taking a leap and having "faith" in something.  For a Christian it is that the Bible is true.  For an atheist it is that science and evolution is true.  I have yet to have an atheist explain to me how life began.  Like truly walk me through exactly how it happened.  I also have not had anyone explain how to explain gaps in the fossil record other than the "we just have not found it yet" that show we descended from apes.  All of those beliefs are allowing overlooking no less gaping unknowns than an atheist claims you have with God.  So you can head to Occam's Razor, the fact that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one, and with careful research you end to find that the gaps are much smaller and you make far less assumptions when challenging the Bible than you do with the theory of evolution for example.  The complexity of life and the mathematical issues if you research it in molecular biology that you need to have happen ALL AT ONCE to make something have life are so ridiculously high that it honestly take a much bigger leap of faith to believe that life just happened one day because lightning struck the primordial ooze or whatever flavor of evolution you want to believe than to believe that an intelligent being has to be behind it. 

The problem I always had with Catholicism and that ultimately drives many people to atheism from religious systems is that we add all these human rules to the Bible that are not there, but then claim they are.  Infant baptism?  There is not a single infant baptized in the Bible, yet Catholics insist if you twist this passage and that phrase it's there.  Purgatory?   Same thing.  This then continues on to a literal reading of the Bible out of context and I believe would apply to your point of contention (I do not claim to be a Bible scholar, but I have read enough arguments for contextual exegesis that  I believe it holds here), that getting hung up on this as somehow disproving everything else is likely wrong.  It is the standard claim of any atheists that the text is man made and changed, when we have thousands of archaeological facts that show that to be entirely false.  Very prominent atheists do not argue that the Bible is not in fact consistent back to its origin, which no other religious text is.  Again, those two books and other research you can walk you through a much clearer case than I can present here in an e-mail.  Baptists add their piece.  Presbyterians add theirs.  This is what ultimately creates the confusion, not the Bible.  So what I might suggest is rather than abandon faith in God, go seeking a church that is non-denominational and therefore free of the trappings of man-made rules added to create rituals that are not biblical and beliefs that are beneficial to man but not from God (eating fish on Fridays, seven sacraments, anyone?) and you may find what I did.  A belief in God based on evidence and reasoned interpretation of the Bible that can be adequately explained.  Catholicism also recycles the same readings every four years, so your exposure to the Bible is virtually non-existent.  The fact that you even mention that you looked at the Gospels at the level you did as a Catholic is rare.  I never even opened a Bible as a Catholic.  Only after I moved to Protestant denominations and eventually to where I am now, a "first century Christian" church that focuses everything on the Bible text did it "make sense" to me, but it took years.  Every question I have now has a reasonable answer and is cited with not one but usually multiple passages of Scripture, unlike say Purgatory that relies on one single twisted interpretation of a passage.    Our church connects through a network of similar Bible-based churches around the globe, so if you are interested PM me and I can see if we have one to steer you to in your area.

My parents and brother are still devoutly Catholic.   They regularly grumble about things they find inconsistent or troubling in Catholicism and I methodologically take them through what the Bible actually says about the topic at hand.  They again, have no idea how to even find things in the Bible.  The chapter and verse concept is foreign to them.  It is crucial to realize that the problem is not with God or the Bible but the man-made religious systems.  They struggle to push back in any way with what I explain as I can point to text that clearly explains the guidance, where they just have a priest telling them something else.  So all this to tell you that your priest will most likely not help you and to find a congregation that makes the Bible and not ritual the core.  I do not have to pay for  a mass to talk to God, like my parents believe they do.  I do not have to do things to help family members through purgatory and get to heaven like my Catholic parents believe they need to do every time a relative dies.  Makes good money for the church, but completely non-Bible based hogwash.

For yourself and other like Kris who may glom on to Twain's and other's easy platitudes of "The best cure for Christianity is reading the Bible" I'd suggest the two books above, that are written for the doubter to get what most would consider a fact based analysis that you can then research yourself by looking into further sources.  Again, I meet a lot of people who no longer believe because it does not make sense, but never because they found a hard, provable fact that shows unequivocally that the Bible is wrong, but there are books all over of people who search the facts to show the Bible false and cannot do it and come to faith as a result.  Both of the books above are very, very thorough.  Pigeon's point of the communion wafer is a terrific example of how religious systems drive unbelief.  Very correct that the Bible does not say this is true.  It is a made up addition of Catholicism.  I think the statistics indicate that most atheists come from Catholicism.  It just really messes with you head.

So my whole point, is do not step away from something like faith without looking at it through an unclouded lens of just basic non-denominational material.  And find a church that does not add to Jesus and the Bible but just helps you understand, and a lot of the doubt that is imposed with all this extra ritual and hogwash starts to not be powerful at all.  I am 100% certain if I had stayed Catholic I would not believe today.  Being very logical and scientific I was where you are.  This made no sense to me.  Thank goodness I did not walk away and instead was led to solid pastors and others who simply pointed me to material and had me arrive at my own conclusion.  I have high confidence that all facts that have been uncovered and new ones that are found every year, keep pointing more and more to validating Jesus and all that is said.  It would be so easy to find actual evidence that it was made up, a story and the fact that over 2,000 years of people trying a failing shows I'd be a bigger fool to not believe than to believe.  A preponderance of the evidence makes it crystal clear.  I'd hate for you to walk away without going through that same journey of fact finding and I think you'll be surprised what you find if you really look with an objective eye.

Pigeon

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #34 on: May 24, 2017, 10:31:45 AM »
Transubstantiation is one catholic teaching I did find to be obviously nonsensical at an early age, but to attribute my atheism to specific practices of the Catholic church is utterly wrong, just as I'm sure it is wrong for most people who get there.

At the heart of the problem is that there is zero credible evidence for there being a god, whether you're talking about a Catholic god, a non-denominational god or an Islamic god. I'm positive that I would not be a Christian no matter what church my parents attended, just as I'm sure I wouldn't be a Hindu, a Mormon, a Shaker or a Scientologist.

Non-denominational churches have their own spin that creates rules that other denominations disagree with.  Non-denominational churches run the gamut in terms of what members are expected to believe, from the very fundamentalist to the much more progressive.  The bible contains a large collection of stories, and contradiction abounds.  It's perfectly logical that any two groups could look at the bible and invent any number of inconsistent rules with the same starting material. 

tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #35 on: May 24, 2017, 10:52:06 AM »
The whole idea of hell and being punished in the afterlife is simply ludicrous to me.  Everyone gets into heaven (ie, gets to be with god).  Period.  So there's no judgement and it doesn't matter if you follow any particular religion or not. 

I call this religion tyort1ism and I'm accepting new members now. 

PS, I'm joking about the religion, but I'm not joking about these beliefs.  They are kind of awesome actually, and allow you to let go of a whole mess of problems that all other religions present. 
Frugalite in training.

wenchsenior

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #36 on: May 24, 2017, 10:52:30 AM »
This is a fascinating and moving discussion.  I cannot comment on particulars of religious belief and how it affects relationships, because I have no such experience.

Just wanted to point out that while caracarn likely has many well-reasoned points to make about religious particulars that I know nothing about, his/her second paragraph appears to be almost entirely built around fallacious arguments against strawmen, which indicates a serious misunderstanding of scientific claims and the scientific method. Not to mention the conflation of use of the scientific method and atheism, which might overlap but are not, of course, the same thing.

Such misunderstandings probably end up having little bearing on the OP's broader question, though, which seems to have more to do with how much each individual needs to feel faith in (a) personal god(s), how literal and evidence-based they feel this faith must be for them to maintain it, and how much cultural conditioning and social ties influences each person's desire for such faith.

It is a very interesting topic, and possibly not that far removed from social and cultural anxieties created by acceptance/rejection of other tribal 'identifiers'...the recent activity on https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/moral-outrage-and-the-stigmatization-of-voluntarily-childfree-women-and-men/ being a good example.


As a slightly tangential question, have I been incorrect in my understanding that Catholicism accepts the findings of modern biological and cosmological science as compatible with the faith?  I have long been under the impression that it did.



caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2017, 11:34:31 AM »
Transubstantiation is one catholic teaching I did find to be obviously nonsensical at an early age, but to attribute my atheism to specific practices of the Catholic church is utterly wrong, just as I'm sure it is wrong for most people who get there.

At the heart of the problem is that there is zero credible evidence for there being a god, whether you're talking about a Catholic god, a non-denominational god or an Islamic god. I'm positive that I would not be a Christian no matter what church my parents attended, just as I'm sure I wouldn't be a Hindu, a Mormon, a Shaker or a Scientologist.

Non-denominational churches have their own spin that creates rules that other denominations disagree with.  Non-denominational churches run the gamut in terms of what members are expected to believe, from the very fundamentalist to the much more progressive.  The bible contains a large collection of stories, and contradiction abounds.  It's perfectly logical that any two groups could look at the bible and invent any number of inconsistent rules with the same starting material.

And respectfully I argue that there is zero credible evidence for life starting out of nothing and evolving.  That is my point about either end requiring suspending belief in any kind of verifiable reality.  By suggesting the materials I did for people who truly want to investigate to look at is that you have to say "we don;t know that yet" a lot more with a non-god view then you need to with a god view.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2017, 11:35:26 AM »
The whole idea of hell and being punished in the afterlife is simply ludicrous to me.  Everyone gets into heaven (ie, gets to be with god).  Period.  So there's no judgement and it doesn't matter if you follow any particular religion or not. 

I call this religion tyort1ism and I'm accepting new members now. 

PS, I'm joking about the religion, but I'm not joking about these beliefs.  They are kind of awesome actually, and allow you to let go of a whole mess of problems that all other religions present.

Yes having no accountability for ones behavior does make things very easy, I would agree.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #39 on: May 24, 2017, 11:38:50 AM »
This is a fascinating and moving discussion.  I cannot comment on particulars of religious belief and how it affects relationships, because I have no such experience.

Just wanted to point out that while caracarn likely has many well-reasoned points to make about religious particulars that I know nothing about, his/her second paragraph appears to be almost entirely built around fallacious arguments against strawmen, which indicates a serious misunderstanding of scientific claims and the scientific method. Not to mention the conflation of use of the scientific method and atheism, which might overlap but are not, of course, the same thing.

Such misunderstandings probably end up having little bearing on the OP's broader question, though, which seems to have more to do with how much each individual needs to feel faith in (a) personal god(s), how literal and evidence-based they feel this faith must be for them to maintain it, and how much cultural conditioning and social ties influences each person's desire for such faith.

It is a very interesting topic, and possibly not that far removed from social and cultural anxieties created by acceptance/rejection of other tribal 'identifiers'...the recent activity on https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/moral-outrage-and-the-stigmatization-of-voluntarily-childfree-women-and-men/ being a good example.


As a slightly tangential question, have I been incorrect in my understanding that Catholicism accepts the findings of modern biological and cosmological science as compatible with the faith?  I have long been under the impression that it did.

Wench, I agree a lot of what I posted was not specific to answering the question, rather than engaging in the debate of god/not god and just encouraging OP to do perhaps look at some resources that would address issues they raised.  The poster used a lot of language indicating they are still on the fence about this and as a fellow believer I'm just trying to help the understand.

Not sure if your "second" paragraph is what I am reading as my second paragraph.  I'm just asking because I work in the scientific community and therefore would be surprised to find I am misunderstanding science and the scientific method as it would be tough to do my job without it.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 11:44:33 AM by caracarn »

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #40 on: May 24, 2017, 11:43:44 AM »
you have to say "we don;t know that yet" a lot more with a non-god view then you need to with a god view.

So what?  I don't quite understand why 'we don't know yet' is seen as a problem.
Essentially what you're saying is that if we assume we know something (i.e. God) then we have to say 'we don't know yet' less often than if we do not assume we know that thing.  Imagine that.

The time to accept a belief is when the evidence warrants it.
Until that point, 'we don't know yet' is not only a perfectly valid position - it is the only justified one.


Pigeon

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #41 on: May 24, 2017, 11:48:11 AM »
Transubstantiation is one catholic teaching I did find to be obviously nonsensical at an early age, but to attribute my atheism to specific practices of the Catholic church is utterly wrong, just as I'm sure it is wrong for most people who get there.

At the heart of the problem is that there is zero credible evidence for there being a god, whether you're talking about a Catholic god, a non-denominational god or an Islamic god. I'm positive that I would not be a Christian no matter what church my parents attended, just as I'm sure I wouldn't be a Hindu, a Mormon, a Shaker or a Scientologist.

Non-denominational churches have their own spin that creates rules that other denominations disagree with.  Non-denominational churches run the gamut in terms of what members are expected to believe, from the very fundamentalist to the much more progressive.  The bible contains a large collection of stories, and contradiction abounds.  It's perfectly logical that any two groups could look at the bible and invent any number of inconsistent rules with the same starting material.

And respectfully I argue that there is zero credible evidence for life starting out of nothing and evolving.  That is my point about either end requiring suspending belief in any kind of verifiable reality.  By suggesting the materials I did for people who truly want to investigate to look at is that you have to say "we don;t know that yet" a lot more with a non-god view then you need to with a god view.

You are arguing for a god of the gaps.  Neither the god view or the non-god view explains how the universe began, as religion doesn't explain where god came from.  There's plenty of evidence for evolution.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #42 on: May 24, 2017, 11:48:18 AM »
you have to say "we don;t know that yet" a lot more with a non-god view then you need to with a god view.

So what?  I don't quite understand why 'we don't know yet' is seen as a problem.
Essentially what you're saying is that if we assume we know something (i.e. God) then we have to say 'we don't know yet' less often than if we do not assume we know something.  Imagine that.

The time to accept a belief is when the evidence warrants it.
Until that point, 'we don't know yet' is not only a perfectly valid position - it is the only justified one.

The "so what?" is that the poster indicates that because there is "zero credible evidence" for god.  I posit there is zero credible evidence for magic life formation and evolution.  It is a common argument for people who want to mock my belief in God that I believe in fairy tales, while at that same time the entire basis for saying it can't be true is because they can't prove it and they base the proof of the non-creationist viewpoint on "we just have not figured it out yet". 

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #43 on: May 24, 2017, 11:50:13 AM »
Transubstantiation is one catholic teaching I did find to be obviously nonsensical at an early age, but to attribute my atheism to specific practices of the Catholic church is utterly wrong, just as I'm sure it is wrong for most people who get there.

At the heart of the problem is that there is zero credible evidence for there being a god, whether you're talking about a Catholic god, a non-denominational god or an Islamic god. I'm positive that I would not be a Christian no matter what church my parents attended, just as I'm sure I wouldn't be a Hindu, a Mormon, a Shaker or a Scientologist.

Non-denominational churches have their own spin that creates rules that other denominations disagree with.  Non-denominational churches run the gamut in terms of what members are expected to believe, from the very fundamentalist to the much more progressive.  The bible contains a large collection of stories, and contradiction abounds.  It's perfectly logical that any two groups could look at the bible and invent any number of inconsistent rules with the same starting material.

And respectfully I argue that there is zero credible evidence for life starting out of nothing and evolving.  That is my point about either end requiring suspending belief in any kind of verifiable reality.  By suggesting the materials I did for people who truly want to investigate to look at is that you have to say "we don;t know that yet" a lot more with a non-god view then you need to with a god view.

You are arguing for a god of the gaps.  Neither the god view or the non-god view explains how the universe began, as religion doesn't explain where god came from.  There's plenty of evidence for evolution.

There is evidence for evolution but you still need a starting point.  I imagine you would not postulate that evolution in any way conflicts with god.   Your statement that "neither view explains" how the universe began is because of your world view which is non-god.  For someone with a god worldview, it absolutely does explain it.  It is the first chapter of Genesis.  God created it.  You just operate from the assumption the Bible is not authoritative, and therefore feel religion does not explain it.

ETA:  Sorry, I am not at all arguing god of the gaps, though that's the typical retort.  The lack of science being able to prove something does not prove God exists.  Not saying that at all.  I'm saying you have to explain a lot of gaps with "it just happened somehow" and arguing that your position is fact based while mine is not is disingenuous.  The lack of science having absolutely zero findings that contradict God helps shore things up but certainly does not prove God. 
« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 11:57:15 AM by caracarn »

J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #44 on: May 24, 2017, 12:18:03 PM »
Hello J

I was there once. Came back out of the corner much stronger than I went in.

I and most of my extended family am old-school Catholic, maybe I go to Mass with your MIL ;) I was raised such in a big household (oldest of 9). Dad was agnostic when married; mom got a special dispensation from the LA bishop! dispensation included a statement from Dad he would allow children to be raised Catholic. Dad converted about 15yrs later and is the strongest Catholic I know.

I personally went through a phase of doubt... I suspect everyone does, in different ways. Is any of it really true? why are there so many religions? Are they all man-made, like Scientology so obviously is? (what a practical joke, L Ron Hubbard has gotta be laughing so hard, wherever he is) After all, look at the control, power, money, wars(!) which come from organized religion. How can any of this make sense?

I went through a few years of going through the motions, essentially thinking, hey this isn't a bad way to live my life, so I'll keep on keeping on.

I had to go back to basics; started studying philosophy. The Greeks had it all figured out, honestly. They were Christians before Christ came. Sts Augustine & Thomas built on it. Catholic philosophy/theology/morality is all there, it’s beautiful, it works, it integrates, there are no contradictions, there are causes & effects, actions have consequences, it is unique. There is nothing else like it. It is One, Holy, Catholic (universal), and (supposed to be) Apostolic.

You mention a doubt about a specific prophesy in the Bible. Man, relax, our Protestant friends get themselves all in a bind around certain words, it does them no good, they miss the forest for a leaf. Here is a simple explanation of the prophesy you mention. No idea if it is correct or not; if this is what Jesus meant. But it gives an idea how easy it is to get tangled up in a few words or a phrase. https://www.gotquestions.org/this-generation-not-pass.html

Many people have doubts due to actions of churchmen. We particularly detest hypocrites; and people in high palces who abuse/violate their trust are indeed committing a terrible crime. The answer though is simple: Do not place your trust in men! This is a primary lesson in the Bible! Adam sinned. He had ONE thing to do, and he couldn’t do it! St Peter denied Christ. The Jews crucified Him. Again, again, again these examples. Do not place trust in men! Separate the Message from the messenger! This is why I am ‘traditional’ Catholic and reject all the modern crap in the more recent Church: ecumenism, etc. These are fallible men (Pope on down), wanting to get along with other men, compromising Truth and their own job, so it’ll fit their human agenda.

Many people mention feelings. Are you trying to feel good or find the truth, take the red pill, save your soul? If the goal is feelies, Catholicism may not work. Again, do not put your trust in man (your own feelings). Feelings are not intellect, feelings can betray you. You own yourself. Feelings are an emotional response your intellect can use as input. Feelings do not own you.

I don’t know if this helps. Hope it does. Prayers regardless!

Finally, a stay in the boat post!

Acroy, I've seen quite a few of your posts in the past and now I feel like I have a much better sense of who you are.  This is one of the things that makes it tough to leave the faith - the camaraderie and character of people like you who go out of their way to support and encourage people on their faith journey. 

Based on your education and location... any chance you studied at UD? My bro Zach graduated from there back in 2005 or so.  I went to AMU back when it was in naples.

Regarding my doubts, neither feelings nor actions of churchmen are stumbling blocks for me.  The stumbling block is that I don't find the story to be credible.

I agree with what you're saying about Greek philosophy dovetailing with Christian philosophy, and the whole thing just making sense.  It has indeed led to much human thriving.

However, beautiful,seamless philosophies and moral codes are no substitute for facts when trying to determine if Jesus was the Son of God or not.  I would characterize your above approach towards specific passages of scripture as lacking in rigor, given that scripture is one of the best documents we have to analyze when seeking the answer to this question.  Interesting that you say our Protestant friends get themselves in a bind over certain words and it does them no good - that's a very Darwinian approach to truth (a Jordan Peterson phrase, meaning truth can be defined by what is good and leads to our survival).  However I reject this idea of truth.  Something is true if and only if it corresponds to reality.

Regarding the link, it's a similar argument to the one I mentioned earlier - Though rather than disputing what the word "generation" refers to, it disputes what the word "this" refers to.  It says "this generation" refers to the generation that would be alive to experience all of the various apocalyptic events he mentions, apparently to give them an idea of the rapid succession of these events when they finally do take place.

It's not a bad take, but I don't find it convincing.  The early Christians all believed the end times would happen in their lifetimes, presumably because Jesus said this.  I imagine those who heard it in their native tongue would have an infinitely better interpretation of what was said.

What's your take on the passage Acroy?






mousebandit

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #45 on: May 24, 2017, 12:22:42 PM »
J boogie, I'm on my phone and need to keep this short, but I am very close to where you are.  Non denomination Christian, very fundamentalist, married, homeschool, the whole 9 yards.

I could write a ton here, and maybe will get a chance to later, but I am having a very difficult time dealing with the secrecy requirements basically, of keeping my change in beliefs under wraps.  Husband is like your wife, conceived I'll cine back around. In our case, we just need to get back to attending church regularly, he thinks. I've agreed to continue raising the children in the faith, and can't let them know any of my true thoughts or feelings until they're much older. I feel like a hypocrite much of the time. 

My path to this position was seeing the lack of discussion or explanation in the bible for so many self evident truths. I have airways been a big believer in positive thinking, and have moved into more of the woo woo side of things, law of attraction, you create your own reality, we all come from a source energy, etc. Most of this thinking and these things are coming from sources that are considered channeled, or et (told ya, woo woo).  I've spent a few years trying to reconcile them with the bible, wanting to be able to have it both ways, but there is no reconciliation.   

Over the last couple of years, I have come too many of the same conclusions that op and others have.  The religion that we find truth in as adults is almost invariably the one most widely accepted by our culture.  There really are other folks out there who don't believe in the bible who are still moral and gait and have kids who are normal, not druggies, who also live nice happy lives. There is a place for some liberal thinking and ideologies in my predominantly conservative, Republican mind and life. Not all non Christians, Muslims, liberals, scientists, whatever (insert favorite term here) are miserable, stupid, evil, etc. There are a lot of things going on that either aren't explained by the bible or are painted as or flat out
Stated to be evil, that I don't believe are.  There are things that the bible denies, that I absolutely know to be true.
And these thoughts convict me as a heretic, and are making my desire to live consistent with my beliefs very difficult.

There's probably tons of typos. Posting from my phone in the car. I just really felt like I needed to be part of this conversation.

DeltaBond

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #46 on: May 24, 2017, 12:41:54 PM »
Reading all of this is heartbreaking.  It is very important to be true to oneself, otherwise, well, life won't be nearly as wonderful, if it is even anything other than miserable.  I'm also sad that so many religious folks are doing whatever means necessary to stifle and silence the people they supposedly love into staying quiet about not holding the same beliefs.  How evil can one person be?  I mean, that is a shining example of immoral behavior.... if you're wanting to somehow equate being religious with being moral.
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mousebandit

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #47 on: May 24, 2017, 12:48:32 PM »
As to the spouse and family members being so, shall we say passionate, to keep the wanderer from completely leaving the faith, I get that.  They truly believe it's not just their life on the line, but their eternity, and most spouses believe the eternity of their children, grandchildren, and generation upon generation is literally at stake.  The family members usually believe they are saving the person's life and spirit, like holding them back from running into a burning building.

Doesn't make them right, but that's where they're usually coming from.  Not an evil, controlling thing, although there are some like that, I'm sure.

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #48 on: May 24, 2017, 12:51:10 PM »
This is a fascinating and moving discussion.  I cannot comment on particulars of religious belief and how it affects relationships, because I have no such experience.

Just wanted to point out that while caracarn likely has many well-reasoned points to make about religious particulars that I know nothing about, his/her second paragraph appears to be almost entirely built around fallacious arguments against strawmen, which indicates a serious misunderstanding of scientific claims and the scientific method. Not to mention the conflation of use of the scientific method and atheism, which might overlap but are not, of course, the same thing.

Such misunderstandings probably end up having little bearing on the OP's broader question, though, which seems to have more to do with how much each individual needs to feel faith in (a) personal god(s), how literal and evidence-based they feel this faith must be for them to maintain it, and how much cultural conditioning and social ties influences each person's desire for such faith.

It is a very interesting topic, and possibly not that far removed from social and cultural anxieties created by acceptance/rejection of other tribal 'identifiers'...the recent activity on https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/moral-outrage-and-the-stigmatization-of-voluntarily-childfree-women-and-men/ being a good example.


As a slightly tangential question, have I been incorrect in my understanding that Catholicism accepts the findings of modern biological and cosmological science as compatible with the faith?  I have long been under the impression that it did.

Wench, I agree a lot of what I posted was not specific to answering the question, rather than engaging in the debate of god/not god and just encouraging OP to do perhaps look at some resources that would address issues they raised.  The poster used a lot of language indicating they are still on the fence about this and as a fellow believer I'm just trying to help the understand.

Not sure if your "second" paragraph is what I am reading as my second paragraph.  I'm just asking because I work in the scientific community and therefore would be surprised to find I am misunderstanding science and the scientific method as it would be tough to do my job without it.

Yes, it was your second paragraph I was referring to. And I am aware that you work in the scientific community.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #49 on: May 24, 2017, 01:17:36 PM »
Hello J




Regarding my doubts, neither feelings nor actions of churchmen are stumbling blocks for me.  The stumbling block is that I don't find the story to be credible.



J Boogie,  Not sure if you read my post.  The two books I recommend in there examine exactly what you are stumbling on, the credibility of the story.  If that is your focus, I highly suggest you read those two books before you decide.