What sort of religious struggles have you gone through?

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What sort of religious struggles have you gone through? (Even if it resulted in atheism or agnoticism?)--Al

-- Al Schroeder (al.schroeder@nashville.com), September 04, 2000


I was raised in a nonreligious home, then converted to Buddhism in adulthood. Being raised with an athiest mindset makes it hard for me to interpret anything literally...any miraculous event makes me think "that just must be symbolic of an inner teaching." In short, I can't believe anything unless I'm hit over the head with a lot of facts. But their are many things in the universe that are unexplainable, so I could be missing out on a lot. An as a child, sometimes athiesm could be a lonely feeling. Don't give up faith Al! Everything's not suppossed to be cut and dry, I suppose.

-- AJ (joijoijoi@hotmail.com), September 04, 2000.

I was raised Catholic and had 12 years of Catholic schooling. I also planned to be a nun when I graduated (had my plane ticket and trunk packed and everything). Once I changed my mind on the convent thing, over the years I began to really examine the teachings of the church. While my belief in God remains, the behavior and teachings of the Catholic Church have led me to leave that church. Starting with the ban on birth control, when I was having a baby every year and a half and, after #5, suffering burnout that was a danger to my children. Once I decided this was not what God intended for me (despite what the Pope said), it was easier to examine other teachings of the church. The consistent stand on homosexuality has been very difficult for me to stomach and when Fr. Robert Nugent and Sister Jeanne Grammick were chastised for ministering to the gay community it was the straw that broke the camel's back for me (there were other things between the birth control issue and this, but this was the topper). I left the church and now do not attend church, though I do consider myself a spiritual person.

-- Bev Sykes (basykes@dcn.davis.ca.us), September 04, 2000.


Good forum question, Al.

In the past 5-6 years I've gone through great trials in life, from losing my wonderful father suddenly, to going through not one, but TWO divorces (first divorce, I initated, the second I didn't).

After following the teachings of "God" and "Christ" sometimes I have felt numb, because I've felt if I was really following him, why would my marriages fail? Especially the second one. We were both Christians, held hands in church every Sunday, prayed together, loved each other with a love most people dream about and then he leaves me for someone half his age he met on the internet, instead of hanging it in there when I was going through terrible problems.

Since then my whole belief system has crumbled, and ever since then I've been trying to build it back up. I've questioned the teachings I grew up with: "Is Jesus the ONLY way to Heaven?" "Is there really a Heaven and Hell?" "If I'm not "born again" will I be sent to Hell?" "Is this all just a big game and we are the pawns?"

Even though I still believe in God and I still believe in Christ, I do have my doubts about some other things. I know in my heart of hearts there is a Creator and can't believe that this... the earth, the universe, nature, animals, and humans... came to be by chance. Put a million car parts in a garage and see if it can evolve into a car. Of course not. It needs a mechanic to put the parts together. So I don't doubt God's existence, but the other things....

I mean, I was taught God want to have a personal relationship to me. Now, if I think of it... that seems so egotistical on my part to think that God wants to know ME. He has so many other things to worry about, or not worry about, if He so chooses.

Anyway, these are my struggles. And I do pray that I live the Truth.

-- Katie (missmermaid@hotmail.com), September 04, 2000.

It is hard to explain myself to myself, here's a stab at it. . . . . .from my first awareness I had no word for GOD, but I knew he was there. It was so self evident that I never doubted in any way. Then came the confusion of Sunday School and Church, where people taught one thing but showed diametrically opposite behavior. It didn't help that the pastor was a stomping, shouting, pulpit pounding person. Later on there was a succession of Sunday schools -- none of them really reached me. However I lost not my basic belief and wondered at the teachings and actions of the grown ups around me. I readily accepted the words I read in the Bible, but the applications of its teachings by men turned me aside from formal organizations and words as, "Wherever three meet in my name, there am I," horribly paraphrased probably, but with that meaning in mind made me look at the vast organizations and huge edifices with a different opinion than that held by most people I guess. I came into the journaling. diarying community as an agnostic. However when seeing all that has been written by people here, I finally realized that my agnosticism only regards the formal, organized now-a-days plasticized (to me anyway) church as presented today. I am a believer who realizes in his own way that there many, many mysteries not understandable by him, which I believe will become clear to him when the Lord sees fit. Nothing can surprise me anymore and I face each day looking forward to what might transpire to teach me more.

-- Denver doug (ionoi@webtv.net), September 04, 2000.

I was brought up my entire life in a God fearing christian home. I attended a bible fellwship church untill I was 19 years old. I went to sunday school, church (morning and night), and also attended wednesday prayer meetings. At the age of about 10 I personally asked Christ as my lord. I lived my life for Jesus. I also witnessed to others. I then went to college. I searched for a good church to attend, but found nothing. I was exposed to many youth my age that didn't seem to regard sin as bad. To this point, I never, drank, smoked, or had foul languge. I began to backslide in my faith by giving into peer presure. I began to attend beer parties, and found that I had a good time. My roomate was a diehard gay athiest. At first, I wanted no parts of him, but we eventually became friends. All this time, I continued to sin. I felt guilty and would ask God to help me. One night after a keg party, I was fairly drunk. Me and my roomate got into a deep discusion about my religion. He asked me why he should go to hell because he is gay? I began to try and tell him, but somthing strange happened. I realized I wasn't that much different from him except for the fact that I allways felt guilty. I appologized to him, and realized maybe I was wrong. For the next couple of weeks I began to question everything I thought was true. God didn't make sense anymore. I came to realize that all christianity is ment to do is make people conform and follow the leader. I realized that we are our own god, and do not need a higher power. The next semester, my roomate and I would attend an athiest group on campus. During this time me and my roomate became very close. I developed a strange reaction to him. By the end of the year he asked me if I would also like to be dammed to hell by consicrating our relationship. I agreed. So now I have come full circle from being a born again straight christian, to becoming a gay athiest. I have no regrets for my actions. I lead a happy life with being whoI am. I have no guilt or remorse for my lifestyle. I am my own God and proud of it.

-- Shane Smith (Deicide__666@webtv.net), August 03, 2001.

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