I think I'm losing my faith - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-16-2016, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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I think I'm losing my faith


Just a bit of a preamble: As the title of this thread suggests, this is about a crisis of faith I'm currently experiencing. I don't want to exclude anyone from the conversation at all, but I'd prefer that anyone who feels led to comment be someone who has personally experienced doubts in their faith and can share their stories on that.

I've been a Christian all of my life. Missing church on Sunday or Wednesday growing up was extremely rare. I was very active in youth group, as well as the Baptist Collegiate Ministry in all four years of college. But now that I've graduated things are starting to change.

I live at home and still attend church with my parents, but over these past few months God has started to feel far away. You might ask, "Well, have you been spending time with God (i.e. reading your Bible) or praying about it?" The Bible reading, not much; prayer once and a while. I guess one might say that the lack of both of those things is the root of my problem. Well, here's what's troubling me: I feel like when we spend a lot of time studying the Bible or prayer, we end up deceiving ourselves and become convinced that we feel the presence of a higher power that isn't really there. I go into church with as open of a mind as I can muster up, but when I try to make myself sing during worship services or listen to a service, I just don't feel anything. When I try to pray I feel like I'm talking to the wall.

Any stories you have of struggles with faith would be great. I want to believe in a loving, higher power and that there's something better for us after this life, but it's gotten so hard to do that.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2016, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ingsoc3125 View Post
Just a bit of a preamble: As the title of this thread suggests, this is about a crisis of faith I'm currently experiencing. I don't want to exclude anyone from the conversation at all, but I'd prefer that anyone who feels led to comment be someone who has personally experienced doubts in their faith and can share their stories on that.

I've been a Christian all of my life. Missing church on Sunday or Wednesday growing up was extremely rare. I was very active in youth group, as well as the Baptist Collegiate Ministry in all four years of college. But now that I've graduated things are starting to change.

I live at home and still attend church with my parents, but over these past few months God has started to feel far away. You might ask, "Well, have you been spending time with God (i.e. reading your Bible) or praying about it?" The Bible reading, not much; prayer once and a while. I guess one might say that the lack of both of those things is the root of my problem. Well, here's what's troubling me: I feel like when we spend a lot of time studying the Bible or prayer, we end up deceiving ourselves and become convinced that we feel the presence of a higher power that isn't really there. I go into church with as open of a mind as I can muster up, but when I try to make myself sing during worship services or listen to a service, I just don't feel anything. When I try to pray I feel like I'm talking to the wall.

Any stories you have of struggles with faith would be great. I want to believe in a loving, higher power and that there's something better for us after this life, but it's gotten so hard to do that.
Try to understand fully what Jesus said. Im not even religious and I agree with him.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2016, 09:21 AM
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I used to wish that I'd be able to hear God audibly or see some sort of sign. I figured this would help my faith in a huge way if that were possible, because church and all it's rituals (e.g. laying of hands, speaking in tongues, baptism, praying aloud, dancing, singing etc... ) just weren't cutting it.

Something was missing, and I came to realize God does not live in churches made by hands (Act_7:48 ). Not to mention many questions I had were unable to be answered while I was in the church.

So now Im coming to realize we must live by faith and not by sight just as Jesus and the Apostles said.

Joh 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

2Co 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight)

There was a time when God would manifest Himself in some physical way, but I now understand He doesn't do things like that anymore. The Church preaches about all sorts of miracles that just aren't happening in an effort to make people feel good and deceive them into thinking God is with them. Honestly I don't think your suppose to feel much of anything except for peace, love and hope and in my case now a days, a lot of wonderment. When you actually STUDY your bible and not just read it, when you pray and know without a doubt your prayers will be answered, you cant help but to feel those good things and your faith is strengthened tremendously. Strip away all the rituals and all the open displays of "faith" that the church encourages it becomes more pure in my opinion.

If you want to believe there is something better for us then please meditate on these verses, believe and don't doubt that they are for all humanity. They have helped my faith greatly. The first couple are ones my grandmother read to me when I was a child crying for a mom who died too early.

Isa 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off ALL FACES; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Imagine that, no pain, no sorrow, no more crying and no more death to be found ANYWHERE in all of God's creation. Couple this with the fact God will resurrect every person that ever died gives me great hope.

I truly believe God has an incredible plan for all of humanity. Part of the plan of our great and good God is to create everyone into His glorious image. The life we live now at this time is in part to experience evil so that we may get a good working knowledge of it just like God does.

Before that we need to be judged and repent of our sinful ways. God will ensure this happens at the right time. Some are being judged now in this age, and most will be judged later at the Great White Throne. The good news is that judgment will teach everyone how to be righteous.

Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

Rev 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

Hows that for a faith builder?

I want to share a study paper with you from one of my favorite teachers. I hope you will read it with an open mind. It's a bit long, but a totally good read. I'll also post a short excerpt from that paper below.

http://bible-truths.com/WhyGodLovesYou.htm

WHY DOES GOD LOVE YOU?

"Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

I well remember those words from a song we sang at summer Bible School when I was about ten or twelve year old. Yes, we know God loves us because the Bible tells us so.

Probably the most oft quoted and recognizable verse in all the Bible is John 3:16 which reads:

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have ever-lasting life."

But WHY does God love us and the world? Some think God loves for no reason at all, which makes no sense at all. God has reasons for all that He does, including loving humanity.

Aside from the fact that the Bible tells us that God loves us, God may have numerous reasons why He loves us. But there are two very profound reasons for God's love that are not openly stated to be reasons for His love, yet they are. However, few have ever comprehended these two reasons for God's love. There is something about the world and about you individually that are cause for God's love. Yet neither one of these reasons has anything to do with any contribution from us. Both reasons are out of God.

WHY SHOULD GOD LOVE US?

Is there anything natural and inherent in humanity that is loving and desirable?

Everyone loves new born babies because they are so innocent and helpless. But we are all familiar with what happens 24 months later -- "the terrible twos," where innocence, helplessness, and cuteness seems to give way to loud, rebellious, outbursts of selfishness. But we continue to love them hoping to love them OUT of their terrible-two stage of development. Likewise, God puts up with humanity even in his terrible twenties, and terrible thirties, because God knows that at whatever point He desires, He can bring all those terrible ones to repentance and change. But God does not love humanity in his carnal and "terrible" stages.
The old shop worn platitude: "Just as I am" has no place in the Word of God. God will not accept you "just as you are" regardless of how many thousands of pastors and evangelists tell you differently. We have all fallen victim to the unscriptural statement that "God hates sin, but loves the sinner." Oh really? And does anyone have chapter and verse on that? I think not. Let us now take a look at man's condition of "just as he is," just as God sees him.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2016, 10:56 AM
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speaking in tongues
I have to say, speaking in tongues have been a huge sign for me. A former pastor at my old church was on a plane once and started speaking in tongues to a stranger next to him. The man said, "How do you know my language? I come from an island with only 50 people." The pastor said he didn't know the language but God had given him the ability to speak in this other tongue. He shared about God in that language. God wanted to reach that man. I've heard many stories like this. A close friend of mine started speaking in tongues to some people. She said she didn't mean to. It just came out. She apologized to the people but they said they heard her only speak in English. OP, if you want to believe in God, it helps to know demons exist. I've seen a demon possessed girl at my church get saved. I saw her manifest. That stuff is real. And I was not raised Christian but I was very much into witchcraft growing up, I've experienced things. I know others who have similar experiences. The supernatural is real and I experienced the saving power of Jesus to pull me out of the occult. All of this stuff about demons is written in the bible. The scripture is alive. I really believe if you need a sign, God can give you one. He has given me many signs time and time again. And give it time, He will speak. Also check out some books from Lee Strobel.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ingsoc3125 View Post
Just a bit of a preamble: As the title of this thread suggests, this is about a crisis of faith I'm currently experiencing. I don't want to exclude anyone from the conversation at all, but I'd prefer that anyone who feels led to comment be someone who has personally experienced doubts in their faith and can share their stories on that.

I've been a Christian all of my life. Missing church on Sunday or Wednesday growing up was extremely rare. I was very active in youth group, as well as the Baptist Collegiate Ministry in all four years of college. But now that I've graduated things are starting to change.

I live at home and still attend church with my parents, but over these past few months God has started to feel far away. You might ask, "Well, have you been spending time with God (i.e. reading your Bible) or praying about it?" The Bible reading, not much; prayer once and a while. I guess one might say that the lack of both of those things is the root of my problem. Well, here's what's troubling me: I feel like when we spend a lot of time studying the Bible or prayer, we end up deceiving ourselves and become convinced that we feel the presence of a higher power that isn't really there. I go into church with as open of a mind as I can muster up, but when I try to make myself sing during worship services or listen to a service, I just don't feel anything. When I try to pray I feel like I'm talking to the wall.

Any stories you have of struggles with faith would be great. I want to believe in a loving, higher power and that there's something better for us after this life, but it's gotten so hard to do that.
You're just going through what's normal to go through on the spiritual path. The pleasant spiritual feelings you get whilst in church or in prayer are called consolation and God gives them to help lead us to Him, but at times he also withdraws them in order to ween us from our dependence on them because the spiritual life is not about attaining pleasant emotions.

You need to gain a deeper understanding of what the spiritual life is all about. Then when something like what you are going through happens, you will remember reading about it somewhere and realize its actually a normal part of the journey and then it can actually increase your faith instead of decreasing it will serve as a sort of sign post.

The following books you may find helpful:

Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross (this would by my first recommendation)
Diary of St. Faustina
Self Abandonment to Divine Providence by Fr. J.P. Caussade
The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila.

It doesn't surprise me that you attended Baptist ministry. The Baptist denomination tends to ignore these nuances of the spiritual life and downplay the importance of the saints. I've heard their music and worship services criticized for being overly emotional and so it only makes sense that now that you are struggling to feel the emotions, your faith is weakening.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 10:57 PM
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If you grew up in a religious household, there's going to come a time when you're going to start to question your religion and whether there is truly a God or not. It happens to everyone. For some, this is in their early to mid teens or even after graduating from high school.

As a little kid, you believe everything that is being taught to you. Adam and Eve, the story of Noah, etc... But as you get older, you get a little older and a little wiser and you start to question them.

Now two things can either happen once you start to question your religious beliefs. You either still continue to believe and stay true to your faith or you begin a transition to eventually becoming non-religious.




I'm non-religious by the way but I grew up in a Christian household. For me, I started to question my beliefs in 9th grade because of the theory of ethnocentricy. By 11th grade, I wasn't really religious but I still went to youth group only because my friends went there and to play basketball.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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You're just going through what's normal to go through on the spiritual path. The pleasant spiritual feelings you get whilst in church or in prayer are called consolation and God gives them to help lead us to Him, but at times he also withdraws them in order to ween us from our dependence on them because the spiritual life is not about attaining pleasant emotions.

You need to gain a deeper understanding of what the spiritual life is all about. Then when something like what you are going through happens, you will remember reading about it somewhere and realize its actually a normal part of the journey and then it can actually increase your faith instead of decreasing it will serve as a sort of sign post.

The following books you may find helpful:

Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross (this would by my first recommendation)
Diary of St. Faustina
Self Abandonment to Divine Providence by Fr. J.P. Caussade
The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila.

It doesn't surprise me that you attended Baptist ministry. The Baptist denomination tends to ignore these nuances of the spiritual life and downplay the importance of the saints. I've heard their music and worship services criticized for being overly emotional and so it only makes sense that now that you are struggling to feel the emotions, your faith is weakening.
Thank you so much for the book recommendations. I think a more intellectual examination of what I believe could be really helpful right now. I'll certainly be giving them a look.

With regards to the music, what you've heard isn't too far from the truth. The Baptist church I currently attend has a more modern/contemporary service, but it never becomes distracting or overbearing. The really big worship services aren't really for me. The removes a lot of the intimacy I need to properly meditate and listen. But I'm rambling now, and this is a completely different conversation.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 03:03 PM
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You don't want to be a dog that return to his vomit. If you already give up right now, how worse would it be when we really were experiencing persecution and tribulation? I mean ask yourself is there any better alternative than God and eternal life with Him? This world doesn't offer anything better. But this world is more bearable with God. Don't focus too much on the misery of this world and the pain and suffering of humans. It's part of life, but always put God number 1. With God you can overcome the world. Too much negative distraction willl slowly lead you away from God since you start to doubt if a loving God can tolerate all this, or be part of such evil. I never doubted His existence though, because I know only humans are to blame for their own mistakes. God only wants to love and save us. So hold on until the end and you will be saved
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-31-2016, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ingsoc3125 View Post
Just a bit of a preamble: As the title of this thread suggests, this is about a crisis of faith I'm currently experiencing. I don't want to exclude anyone from the conversation at all, but I'd prefer that anyone who feels led to comment be someone who has personally experienced doubts in their faith and can share their stories on that.

I've been a Christian all of my life. Missing church on Sunday or Wednesday growing up was extremely rare. I was very active in youth group, as well as the Baptist Collegiate Ministry in all four years of college. But now that I've graduated things are starting to change.

I live at home and still attend church with my parents, but over these past few months God has started to feel far away. You might ask, "Well, have you been spending time with God (i.e. reading your Bible) or praying about it?" The Bible reading, not much; prayer once and a while. I guess one might say that the lack of both of those things is the root of my problem. Well, here's what's troubling me: I feel like when we spend a lot of time studying the Bible or prayer, we end up deceiving ourselves and become convinced that we feel the presence of a higher power that isn't really there. I go into church with as open of a mind as I can muster up, but when I try to make myself sing during worship services or listen to a service, I just don't feel anything. When I try to pray I feel like I'm talking to the wall.

Any stories you have of struggles with faith would be great. I want to believe in a loving, higher power and that there's something better for us after this life, but it's gotten so hard to do that.
I didn't want to write it all out, so I recorded my voice instead.
http://vocaroo.com/i/s1dP4LaF8kg1

Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
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