Image by Steve Rhodes via FlickrI need help. After a very long time of searching for people who feel as I do I finally found this website. I have written this because I do not know who else to talk to and I feel that this is the only site where people will understand what I am going through.
This is a long post. I hope someone reads it as I really need to know that I am not the only one going through this.
I am really struggling with Christianity. A couple of years ago, when I was in my late 20's, I started questioning my faith. I was deeply involved in a church but things started to unravel.
The crux of the matter is that I fell in love with a wonderful, beautiful, caring woman. She was not a Christian. I had never had a close girlfriend, and I had always wanted to be with a Christian woman. How ironic - I had waited so long, just to fall in love with THIS girl!
For many weeks, I tried to put off the feelings, but I could not ignore them any longer. Eventually, I got together with her. One thing led to another and we had a physical relationship - my first.
The terrible thing is that I felt so guilty. What made it worse was that I believed that God had told me to pray for her salvation and I felt like I had destroyed everything and was going to hell. I had nightmares, I could not sleep and I had horrible panic attacks - like post traumatic stress disorder. The feelings were made worse when I told my best friend about everything. He could not handle that I was with an "unsaved" girl and he definitely did not encourage the relationship.
I could not stand seeing my friends any more or anyone from my church. My mind was really messed though, and I mean REALLY messed. I could not eat or concentrate, I could not sleep well. I could talk to my parents but they could not really understand because my entire family are Christians.
To cut to the chase, I endured a horrible ordeal and ended up with a nervous breakdown. I broke up with my girlfriend which made me severely depressed. I loved her so much in spite of everything, and I wanted to be with her so badly, but I couldn't due to my state of mind. The worst thing that has haunted me for so long, is that I know that I hurt her so badly. I know she has forgiven me but I regret hurting her and sometimes I find it hard to forgive myself.
Anyway, I had to leave my town and my job. I ended up in another city and started going to church again (I was very fragile at the time), in spite of knowing that I had too many doubts. In a way, it was a very good thing for me because I kind of got my life and my self confidence back. However, I find it difficult to come to terms with what happened to me. I know that my story is nothing in comparison to some people's suffering, but it is still difficult for me.
The essence of the matter is that I started seeing life from a completely different perspective and I nearly lost my mind because of it!! I started seeing that people are just people - there should not be any Christians, or Jews, or Muslims... just people. I realised that sex is a wonderful thing to be shared by two lovers, not some sick sin. I realised that just because something is written in some "sacred" book, does not mean that it is actually true! I see so many things in movies and read so many books that show me that we should strive to be free of intolerance, superstition and worthless tradition.
One good thing is that I no longer feel guilty for doing most things, and the best thing is that I am starting to believe in MYSELF! I know that the accomplishments that I have made in my life are due to ME, and why should I not be proud of myself?!
The thing is though, I am still battling. I have not gone to church for a while now, but I still struggle. I loved my church and a lot of the people there before everything happened. I love my friends, but I don't think our friendships will ever be the same if they know that I do not want to believe any more. I am worried that I am going to cause strife in my family as we are very close. Worst of all is that I gave up the love of my life (so far - I hope she's not the only one) for something, and now I do not believe in it like I used to!! (What an idiot!). I do not want to live in regret, but it is difficult not to.
I really loved God too and I fear going to hell sometimes, but it is getting better as I meet new people who are not Christians and realise that they can be so wonderful and loving - why would they be sent to hell, it just makes no sense! I am worried that I am going to be alone. It is so lonely outside the church some times. I am also really worried that I am going to react the same way if I have sex again. I want to be with someone but I am so scared of having anxiety problems again - if you have not had a breakdown you have NO idea of the hell that it is!
Well, I am a work in progress, but it is REALLY difficult. It is getting easier, but some days are BAD. It is difficult when you are alone.
I agree with a lot of people on this site. It is extremely BRAVE to turn away from religion, if that is your decision. De-converting can be extremely stressful and one can go through a lot of fear. Your friends and family may desert you and one can go through years and years of agonizing reflection. When you are stripped of your identity and see the world in a totally different way, it is an extremely scary place to be. That is why I am writing this. I need some help. I don't know what I am going to do about my beliefs but I am just taking it one day at a time. Writing about everything makes it easier. I hope someone can respond with something helpful. I really do not want any hurtful or sarcastic comments please.
Thank you for reading.