What do you do with the pain?

Sent in by David

Lasciarsi dietro il passatoImage by Funky64 via Flickr

I'm going through a sincerely difficult time right now.

I have had an 'active faith' all my life. About two years ago I bought a major part of a collection of books from a theological seminary that was closing. The books were not only on Christianity, but also philosophy and Nature and many other topics that were similar.

To make a long story short, after being exposed to philosophers like Democritus, Pathagerus, Empedocles... all the way up to John Tyndall... I have lost my faith.

Today, and this is true, I went to a funeral for a gentle friend who was murdered by his lover of 21 years (who then committed suicide himself).

I am sitting in this Episcopal church... and my heart is ripped apart over the sadness and loss I am feeling.

And the minister begins to speak about how I should not think of my gentle and kind friend as being dead and that he is in heaven with Jesus, and that he died for us so we can all be together again one day. Then he says that when tragedies like this happen we just have to believe that god has a plan and there is reason for it, even though we can't see it.
I am hurting very badly right now because I know the odds are astronomical that I will never see my friend again... that there isn't a father up there looking out for his child like I was taught to belief... and that this life is probably all you ever get.
Maybe one of you good people, who's writings I've read on here, can tell me what to do with this excruciating pain that I am feeling.

I feel (and now am certain) that I've been lied to all my life... and I must accept the responsibility for never questioning all this before... but I don't know what to do with the hurt and pain I'm feeling.

I heard once that a famous scientist, on his deathbed, said the hardest part about dying was knowing that he would never see his beautiful wife again. But then, almost in the same breath, he was supposed to have said 'but I hope to be pleasantly surprised.'

You see, I'm so confused, especially after today. If there's one thing I've learned in these past two years of study, it's that I don't know. I don't know so many things... I used to think I was pretty smart.

And if I don't know... can't I still have hope there's something more?
I'm sorry I went on and on. I'll leave it here and hope somebody understands what I'm trying to say.

Hurting here... and trying to feel my way in the dark.

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Ever dealt with Scrupulosity?

SATAN SAYSImage by rafaelm via Flickr

From Gloria

I have a question that I am hoping one or more of you can help me with. I suffer from OCD - obsessive compulsive disorder - and both of my daughters do as well. Mine are of the checking, counting, ordering type. My youngest daughter, 21, has always had sensory type obsessions with clothing and social anxiety issues. My other daughter who is 23 has gone through a large variety of OCD's, one often replacing another over the years. She has had anorexia, then compulsive eating, then panic disorder, depression, fear of germs, but the very worst thing she has faced, the obsession that is really most overwhelming is scrupulosity. She has dealt with this since she was 17. She is sure, on a regular, daily basis that she has sold or will sell her soul to the devil and she is terrified that god will reject her and turn his back on her. She deals with this fear constantly, day in and day out. It is overwhelming her.

When she was 17, I still believed as a Christian. My husband and I raised our daughters in church, taught them the bible, prayed with and for them and believed fully in god. So my daughter believes she is capable of losing her salvation for rejecting the god she loves and believes in. I no longer believe in god or the bible but this is a very recent development, and not one I have yet shared with my daughters as I am not sure how they or their dad will accept this. I did mention my early feelings about this change of belief to my husband and he didn't take it well at all. He would not want me to tell our daughters, of that I am sure.

Anyway, here is my question: Have any of you who might be reading this ever had scrupulosity or dealt with others who did? Did realizing that god isn't real and the bible is untrue, etc. have any effect on this obsession, IE. did this allow you to let go of it because you found out that there was no Satan, no hell, no punishment?

I so badly want to help my daughter rid herself of this obsession. I, of course, can see that it is ridiculous to drive yourself crazy over these religious questions when none of that is real anyway but I don't know if trying to get her to see that god, Satan, heaven, hell are lies and non-existent is the best way to help her. Therefore, I am asking if any of you good people have any experience with this or can offer me any advice. I live in a very remote area, with very little help available for OCD, let alone something as rare as scrupulosity. I could use some feedback.

Thanks for reading.

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A struggling agnostic asks for advice

The StruggleImage via Wikipedia

From Struggling Agnostic

I became a Christian when I was in high school, and contrary to all other testimonies I've heard, my life had been perfect to that point, and I didn't accept Christ only when my life came crushing down. It's been about 5 years now, and being disappointed with the faith, and going through some serious depression and religious type of OCD, I've come to the decision that I don't want to believe in Christianity anymore and let go of old beliefs.

I was successful at doing that for a week, however a few days later I experienced somewhat of a relapse similar to what alcoholics or people with depression experience. The information I read on this site against Christianity and in the books I purchased no longer speaks to me and encourages me the way they did before. I feel once again that Christ must be real and I should re-dedicate my life to him. All negative commentary on the Bible is easy to rationalize as a false conclusion/interpretation from people who don't like God and who want Christianity to look bad, etc., etc.

I have some serious emotional problems, and going back to Christianity would do me a ton of damage that I don't know how to handle. I feel so alive when I forget about God and religion.

What keeps me believing is not the Bible, but some "spiritual" experiences I had when it seemed like God was talking to me through other people. I used to go to a Pentecostal church and had people prophesy over me, and it seemed like God was talking to me through my youth leader. He said the problems I am going through are God's way of making me stronger. And the thing is, he didn't know about what was going on in my life, but what he said made perfect sense, and he himself didn't know why he said what he said. It was a spontaneous moment when he felt like saying that.

Also, one day when visiting my friend and already having some negative emotions towards Christianity, my friend's mom ended up sharing with me how amazing it is to follow God, and she said that she didn't know why she ended up sharing that with me. I felt like God was talking to me through her, telling me not to lose hope and faith in him.

Also, there is the experience of the feeling presence of God, reading the Bible and truly seeing it as the Word of God speaking to my soul, special fellowship with others, experiencing some spiritual warfare, and hearing many testimonies of people getting healed and having visions, lives changed because of Christ, etc., etc... pretty much everything you hear in a charismatic church. That info does not allow me to let go, even though I want to and my head sees that life is better by not being religious. However, my 'heart' keeps giving me that same old emotion and kind of a 'conviction' from God, and it feels like He is trying to get my attention and tell me not to leave my faith.

Anyone have a suggestion? Anyone experienced anything similar? I really need some support guys. Life feels kind of shitty now, and I really don't know how to forget about my experience as a Christian in the past 5 years and come back to the type of life I lead before that -- to simply feel like myself and go about my own business without having to worry about eternal things.

Any encouragement will be appreciated, really.

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Struggling with doubts

exorcismsImage by ahp00k via Flickr

From Siarhei V

So, I've been officially de-converted for about a week. It has been an interesting week of thinking, experimenting with stuff, telling my friends and family about it, and researching. However, after reading a ton of material on this website, it seems like there is one issue that keeps people believing, and there is no real counter-explanation offered by anyone.

Even though I see many problems with Christianity, one thing keeps me doubting is the authority of Jesus over so called "spirits, demons, etc." that had been witnessed in counseling sessions and reported by many counselors in books, articles, and personal stories I've heard.

We need some light shed on the topic, as it will help many of us to have a peace of mind and rest assured that we have made a right decision.

What does everyone think, and what have your experience has been with supernatural, unexplainable, demon possession, and using the name of Jesus to deal with these issues?

This topic has been discussed on the forum, but none has been able to offer an explanation, and therefore I wanted to put in on the main page for everyone to collaborate on it.

I need some serious help on this one!

Thank you.

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