How does your anxiety disorder affect your belief/nonbelief in God? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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How does your anxiety disorder affect your belief/nonbelief in God?


This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

Simply put, my social anxiety disorder has had a profound impact on my life. It has put a huge damper on the things I can and can't do. It always has, and it probably always will, no matter how much effort I put into improving it.
I've always had a hard time imagining a kind, loving, compassionate God, who has a plan for everybody, the way the Christians think of him, who would deliberately create me this way. I hear a lot of, "Your struggles and your pain make you stronger!" And I do think my SAD has made me stronger in certain ways. But the benefits derived from that strength are small, compared to the ways in which I struggle and the ways in which my life is stunted by this. I find it very hard to believe that there is a net positive outcome in the grand scheme of my life, as far as my SAD goes.

But what about you guys? Do you believe in God at all? Do you believe in some type of cosmic or spiritual destiny or divine plan? And how does your SA fit into that?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 02:16 PM
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I am an agnostic - I think its possible the universe and existence were created by a vastly intelligent force, but I do not believe in the Christian or any other man-made god. I also find it equally plausible that the universe came into being on it's known as the result of natural processes. My SA does not inform my thinking on this at all, I don't feel as though a person's subjective personal situation should inform their opinion on philosophical questions like this. It clouds objective thinking.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 02:27 PM
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I don't believe in a God(s) and I don't think my SA really fits into that, it's probably more of a general personality/aesthetic thing since I always preferred dark/naturalistic themes and some of that started at a fairly young age. I grew up Christian though, and then just kind of grew out of it. Neo-pagan stuff sort of appealed when I was a teenager but I didn't get heavily into that. People used to accuse me of being a Satan worshipper as a teenager but I had no connection to that character at all at the time, I became more interested over the last few years. I like a lot of religious/mythological stuff in a kind of symbolic fantasy story sense though and I also twist things to suit my own headcannons so.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 02:32 PM
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i don't know if it really affects my disbelief in god. though when i was young and having troubles i prayed to god and the things that i prayed for happened, which i thought was odd, but i still didn't believe. as far as the christian god goes, i am an atheist, i don't care to consider random conjecture as worthy of my time, and i am against the belief in rubbish.

i suppose i believe in the unfolding of a mostly or completely deterministic future, at least for practical purposes. i get a lot of peace from reading tao te ching, but not really in a religious way. its just wisdom. metaphysics - its all beyond my perception or understanding, so just forget about. sometimes i do indulge in fantasy, and yeah gods can be a narrative object.

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. ― Mother Teresa
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 03:28 PM
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Probably social isolation made disbelief easier for me. You can't be ostracized from a society you never belonged to.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 07:31 PM
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For me personally, I never believed in religion. Not even when I was a little kid barely old enough to talk. I can remember not believing it immediately when people started telling me things about it. I think I was born with whatever it is that causes SA to be "amplified" in some people but I don't think that had much to do with it. I just didn't believe it. I pretended to for a couple of years because I thought it would make my parents and assorted other elders happy. After that, I just kind of didn't speak out about it one way or another and sat through whatever religious gatherings they took me to bored out of my mind. Went through the motions just to not trigger their conversion instinct. I did not fully "come out" as an atheist until I was probably 30 but my mother mercifully stopped going to church sometime in my teens and thus, I didn't have to have the argument with her that I probably would have had when I decided I wasn't going to go whether she liked it or not. She was still religious but not fanatical about it as she had been when we were kids (and she has recently resumed that kind of zealot mentality, unfortunately).

Anyway, I do not go out of my way to have arguments with religious people. I probably have instigated confrontations with them from time to time but as a rule, I don't do it.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 08:26 PM
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My SA does not really influence my faith or lack thereof.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 09:35 PM
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I think a lot of religion is fundamentally social, and faith is a community experience. So not being social made it unlikely that I would understand religion or see the appeal. I was raised by agnostics so it's probable I would've been an atheist regardless of social skills, but one can never know for sure how hypothetical peers would've altered things.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-08-2021, 01:51 AM
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I strongly believe that religion was the cause of both my anxiety and depression.

I was born into a strict, fundamentalist Christian religion that was inundated with toxic levels of perfectionism. Although I never quite managed true belief in any god(s), I had to fake belief for decades for fear of what my parents might do to me if I didn't. School and church were the two areas of my life in which my parents demanded perfection -- I had to get straight A's, and I had to attend all 3 hours of church every Sunday along with church events 2-3 nights every week. I was expected to socialize only with other "church kids," and was never allowed to leave the house on Sundays except for church. I had to complete all of my homework by Saturday night because I couldn't do it on Sunday.

I always had the same problem with the "kind, loving, compassionate God" of my parents' religion; I couldn't reconcile those traits with my life experiences. As far back as I can remember I hated going to church; I always thought it was boring and pointless. No matter how desperately I tried to force myself to enjoy it and "just believe," I never could. For many years I was certain that there must be something wrong with me, like something in the brain which was crucial to establishing religious belief was broken in me. Unable to live up to the completely unrealistic expectations of the church, especially after several years of daily bullying at school and, worse, at church... Well, something did break in me. I came to believe that God, if one did exist, must hate me personally and enjoy watching me suffer. I believed that I was "pre-destined" for Outer Darkness, which is basically the Mormon version of Hell. I distinctly remember one rainy morning as I sat outside the Seminary building where we had church classes for an hour every morning before high school, I looked down at the gutter beneath me and felt more worthless than the grit and grime I saw there. I can still feel it all these years later -- that sheer level of self-loathing. All my life I was expected to be "perfect" like Jesus, and for a time following my baptism at 8 years old, I basically was. But it was never enough; it could never be enough. I could never be good enough. And I hated myself for it, so intensely.

And to this day those feelings still linger. Even though I left that toxic religion behind years ago; even though I don't believe in any god(s), or in Sin or Heaven or Hell... the effects will never fade. Religion destroyed my life.

"Sin" is an imaginary disease invented to sell you an imaginary cure.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-08-2021, 03:32 AM
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I can't say with certainty that a deity doesn't exist (though if it does, it's whoever maintains the server for the simulation we're living in), but I'm pretty damn sure that every religion is 100% man-made and the major ones are all a blight on our species. I don't make a direct connection to my SA, though.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-09-2021, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul View Post
I think a lot of religion is fundamentally social, and faith is a community experience. So not being social made it unlikely that I would understand religion or see the appeal. I was raised by agnostics so it's probable I would've been an atheist regardless of social skills, but one can never know for sure how hypothetical peers would've altered things.
That's an interesting point. I was raised Catholic (but became agnostic as I grew up), and that's far and away the biggest experience I've had with religion in my life. Catholicism and Christianity in general was definitely not for me, but I often wonder if there's some other non-Christian religion or faith out there that I would get something out of. The trouble, of course, is that SAD makes joining social groups (religious or otherwise) difficult or sometimes impossible. So maybe someday, but definitely not today.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-04-2021, 06:23 PM
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Good question.


I think part of how my 'disorders' and lack of faith affect me is because of having to see the world in such a pessimistic way (more often than not the reality) and then wondering if there were/is a God then how much of a sadist must they be to allow the things that happen in the world, well...happen. Only to die and really not have anything than what we were given with this life.

At the same token I think anxiety could affect me if I were to be convinced enough (and believe me, I've tried) and see to the fact of how conditional things are which can take part in why we are in this mess to begin with. Then only to be told that if I don't follow a certain text or list of rules then I would be damned for all of eternity? That can make anyone anxious and probably the majority of cases as the reason why there are believers in the first place.


And no, I don't need anyone to lecture me on what I should think or believe. Or that anything that I've listed is because of not having any restrictive faith. Or even assume as to what I am because of what I choose to believe or think.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2021, 11:39 AM
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I think that my SA drove me to belief in God when I was younger (as a way of seeking some sort of help) but in the past 10 years or so has driven me away from it (from anger at the realization that God doesn't help). Both attitudes assume that God could help. If I could find a coherent view of a limited, finite God who is unable to eliminate evil, that would be a relief.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2021, 01:32 AM
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Not my SA, but maybe being an introvert does.

I used to subscribe to nihilism, and according to the Wikipedia page it looks like I still more or less fit into the cosmic and epistemological nihilism categories. I'm open to the concept of God. Then again, if someone asked me "Do you believe in God?" I'd have to ask them to define God. If the definition resembled, for example, "existence" or "nature", I'd say yes. Even a relatively powerful entity that could've been the origin of our little corner of existence could seem at least possible to me, though I wouldn't say I believe in it since it's all guesswork. On the other hand if their God has a name and specific rules and specific plans for Humanity attached to it that come from a religious text, therefore from people, then that's a big no. As for destiny, it could be compared with the already mentioned determinism, which is an idea that disturbed me but seemed sound since I was a teenager. It doesn't worry me as much anymore, since it's completely outside the realm of my comprehension, and nowadays I'm fine with that. I can't know there's a plan, but also, I can't say I care whether there is or not.

My and everyone else's suffering doesn't negate the possibility of God to me. I seriously doubt we're the center of the universe.

Flowers will grow from these wounds.
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