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I've been looking at a lot of user profiles here over the last week I've been on the forum, and without making any scientific analysis, I get the impression that a pretty large majority of you have put "agnostic" or "atheist" under religion. I myself belong to the latter group.
I've read in an article on CBS recently that the proportion of self titled atheists in the US is about 15%, and assuming most users here are American, clearly the level of belief in god in the forum is much much lower than the average.
I'd like to hear from people who feel comfortable discussing this if they think there is a link between SA and faith (or lack thereof), or between SA and spiritualism vs. rationalism. I myself have changed throughout my life from a proud Jew to indifferent to religion to a rather fervent atheist, and I do feel SA had something to do with it. I can't really explain the connection, but maybe the feeling that I as a person am alone in this world also leads to the conclusion that the human race is really left to fend for itself. "No one cares about me, and that includes god".
I apologize if anyone is offended by this topic, I hope we can have an open minded discussion here.
 

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dazed and confused
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I'm one of these people who is a skeptic. A Doubting Thomasina ;). I'm not sure I believe there is a God, one who created everything. Science kind of put an end to the theory that the earth was created 5,000 years ago or so. I do believe in Jesus, however, that he existed, and I've had people ask me how I can believe in Jesus but not in God. I didn't have a religious upbringing, and have only been to church a couple of times in my adult life. I was searching for "something", don't know what, but I felt like such a hypocrite that I was reluctant to go again. I wish I could believe strongly in something, that I could have a rock to cling to in hard times.....sure would make things a little easier and give comfort.
 

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when i started studying the bible and got saved it put human nature into perspective. i figured out a lot about myself and my relationships to other people, why i've been a failure. i'm more at ease now, the SA is a factor still, but minor. it doesn't stop me from doing things. believing in a higher power has helped me overcome my SA quite a bit.

to add also, the control factor which caused added anxiety. i always want to be in control of everything, people, surroundings, and knowing i'm not in control takes pressure off.
 

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SA is a very negative disease it makes you focus on all the bad things in life so you start to believe that at first God is cruel for making you this way until finally you have no belief anymore. That is what happened to me anyway, no disrespect to the atheist around here I have the utmost respect to those who can have faith that there is no higher power by thinking it through and putting their faith in logic and science instead. It's the ones that become athiests soley as teenage angst against christianity that bug me and I feel they are disingenuous.

I have since discovered buddhism, sufism, and unitarian universalism as well as the new age movement and various secular philosophers that made me rethink my concept of what God means. I trully believe that SA is like alcoholism or drugging, you need to let yourself go to a higher power to get through it.
 

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SA is a very negative disease it makes you focus on all the bad things in life so you start to believe that at first God is cruel for making you this way until finally you have no belief anymore.
I think this is true for me, I never blamed God for my troubles as a kid or in my twenties, but in my thirties I felt like I was unravelling more and more, and I started to put more of the blame on God, to where church attendance and thinking about spiritual things has become distasteful for me.
 

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Um, I think that I put agnostic for my religion because even though I do have religion views I'm not affiliated with any religion. There's just a lot of beliefs in organized religions that I can't subscribe too. So while I am religious in my own way I'm hesitant to affiliate myself with any certain religion.
 

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I've definitely witnessed a connection between SA and God in my own case at least. Before I had SA, I spent most of my time with others, either hanging out or doing more organized activities like sports. I was carefree, and although I worshiped and believed in God, I hadn't really thought the issue through because it didn't matter that much to me as everything was fine in my life.

Once SA began, though, I started seeking help from the God I hadn't needed so much in the past. Because my fear of people also led me to do solitary activities, seriously investigating the issue of his existence through books and websites became viable. After sufficiently considering all of the evidence, I decided that it was not enough.

That's what I see the connection between SA and God as: SA leads to feeling depressed and looking for God, and SA (unlike other conditions that may make you feel depressed and look for God) also leads to more time by yourself, which you can spend investigating matters you wouldn't otherwise be able to.
 

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I'm kinda just the opposite. I recently rededicated my life to Christ and felt like I needed to do more to serve Him on a much bigger and broader scale than just sitting in the church pew for an hour each Sunday. With SA I am handicapped in what I can do. I can't volunteer at the food pantry, I can't attend Sunday school, I can't do much if anything outside of my comfort zone. I've been praying for some serious direction from God and kinda felt led to seek help and support after so many, many years struggling with SA. No disrespect to others on how they feel about religion these are just my own personal beliefs.
 

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I'd like to hear from people who feel comfortable discussing this if they think there is a link between SA and faith (or lack thereof), or between SA and spiritualism vs. rationalism. I myself have changed throughout my life from a proud Jew to indifferent to religion to a rather fervent atheist, and I do feel SA had something to do with it. I can't really explain the connection, but maybe the feeling that I as a person am alone in this world also leads to the conclusion that the human race is really left to fend for itself. "No one cares about me, and that includes god".
My generalized social phobia didn't really influenced me into becoming first an agnostic, then an atheist, and finally a materialist and Secular Humanist. What did influenced me in that decision was from science, logic (particularly reading about appeal to ignorance and the law of contradiction), and Albert Ellis's Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. I should also include the lack of consensus to what the definition of atheism should be also lead me to ditch the label itself.

I'm one of these people who is a skeptic. A Doubting Thomasina ;). I'm not sure I believe there is a God, one who created everything. Science kind of put an end to the theory that the earth was created 5,000 years ago or so.
I love how you used a clear label instead of using "agnostic" or "weak atheist" to prevent misunderstanding. :yes I think it is far better for us "non-believers" to use more clear terms or phrases than atheist and agnostic.
 

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Another point of interest I might add is that since I have rededicated my life to Christ I've had somewhat more of a positive outlook on life compared to what I was before. My thoughts still lean to the negative side more so than positive but it is definitely better than it was. I don't know... maybe that's a start to removing the automatic negative thoughts that tend to circulate through my head most days.
 

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It might interesting to start a poll on here in conjunction with this thread, to see how many people on here follow a religion, go to church, etc. That way people wouldn't have to post anything if they feel its a private matter.
 

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For me, the two are not connected in any way. I won't go too deeply into what I believe (or, rather, don't believe), but I will say that I've never blamed any god for my SA, and likewise, it wasn't any bitterness that made me stop believing.
 

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SA hasn't really influenced my religious beliefs at all. There may be a higher power, but I'm not going to blindly follow it. Right now I just think humans are at the world is flat stage or the world is the center of the universe stage in regards to religion.
 

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I've been looking at a lot of user profiles here over the last week I've been on the forum, and without making any scientific analysis, I get the impression that a pretty large majority of you have put "agnostic" or "atheist" under religion. I myself belong to the latter group.
I've read in an article on CBS recently that the proportion of self titled atheists in the US is about 15%, and assuming most users here are American, clearly the level of belief in god in the forum is much much lower than the average.
We've run some polls in the past and it seems the atheist/agnostic faction here is about 50%, at least if the voting accurately reflects belief here. It could be that the aa's are more likely to vote.

You also have to take into account that this is an internet forum, with an average age below the general population. That'll skew the results.

SA might have an effect - we tend to be analyzers. We constantly evaluate and analyze what we're doing and how everyone is relating to us. You bend this same analytical light on religious beliefs and they might not hold up.
 

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I've been a zealous religious nut-job all my life (more specifically a Lutheran), despite the petty difficulties of life.
I see no reason to stop believing because of hardship, but then I might have a different perspective on belief in the first place.

From my point of view I don't see belief in miracles, a rapidly completed creation, or an ever intervening God as what faith is about, but rather a belief in a personal God who cares intensely and acts in history, most importantly in the salvific act in Jesus Christ.
God doesn't have to prove that he cares as he has already shown that he cares, and continues to do so every day by granting me the righteousness of Christ to cover my blighted and sinful life- liberating me form all expectations on who I'm supposed to be or what I'm supposed to do as Christ is everything I'm not, and provides a liberty not found in the world.

To expect God to remove all difficulty from life is quite besides the point as I see it. We all suffer from the human condition, believer or non-believer. In fact, someone who believes might actually be expected to suffer even more.
The absence of pain doesn't mean God cares and the presence of it doesn't mean he doesn't care, quite the contrary.

This is, of course, written from my highly intolerant perspective of truth as a singularity- a truth only present in Christ.
I am however free to express my opinion, and you are entirely free to ignore it. Amen.
 

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I'm agnonistic, with leanings to the possibility that God might exist. I'm not certain if he does or doesn't, but that's my views.

However, I've been just as anxious and nervous when I was a Christian. The only difference was that I believed in a faith. I don't think religion has any significance on whether or not you have SA.
 

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Growing up, I never went to church much. My parents forced me to only on holidays. At one time when I was older, I hardly went to church. About 10 years ago, I met an older woman through a dating site. We hit if off, but for one thing...she was a Christian. I went to church with her a few times, and there were too many damn people. The pastor was a joke. He was up there yelling and carrying on. This guy wouldn't come up to people and introduce himself. He expected persons to approach him.
Anyway, I started reading the Bible a lot, went to church much more, and this is how I began to really see how many MAJOR LEAGUE HYPOCRITES are in there. These frauds will get down on their knees, spin around in circles, whatever, praising God, but they don't even have the common courtesy to speak to other people.
Going to church after awhile just made me more depressed and angry. For a long time, I had prayed to God to help me find a job that I could like, pray for family, etc. Well, God has always let me down. As much as I tried to change my life, its always stayed the same. So, I don't pray anymore, and I tell God since he hasn't helped me, to stay the hell away from me. I didn't ask to be brought into this f***** world. I cuss him all of the time.
I don't believe there is a God, because he is SUPPOSED to be so loving. BULL****! If he was that, why has he made me suffer my whole life...NEEDLESSLY!
I wouldn't set foot in a church for anything! My SA is as bad as ever, depression, etc. I avoid people as much as I can, and I DO WISH that there was one prayer God would have ever answered for me. To kill me this very second, so I don't have to be in this world anymore.
 

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Growing up, I never went to church much. My parents forced me to only on holidays. At one time when I was older, I hardly went to church. About 10 years ago, I met an older woman through a dating site. We hit if off, but for one thing...she was a Christian. I went to church with her a few times, and there were too many damn people. The pastor was a joke. He was up there yelling and carrying on. This guy wouldn't come up to people and introduce himself. He expected persons to approach him.
Anyway, I started reading the Bible a lot, went to church much more, and this is how I began to really see how many MAJOR LEAGUE HYPOCRITES are in there. These frauds will get down on their knees, spin around in circles, whatever, praising God, but they don't even have the common courtesy to speak to other people.
Going to church after awhile just made me more depressed and angry. For a long time, I had prayed to God to help me find a job that I could like, pray for family, etc. Well, God has always let me down. As much as I tried to change my life, its always stayed the same. So, I don't pray anymore, and I tell God since he hasn't helped me, to stay the hell away from me. I didn't ask to be brought into this f***** world. I cuss him all of the time.
I don't believe there is a God, because he is SUPPOSED to be so loving. BULL****! If he was that, why has he made me suffer my whole life...NEEDLESSLY!
I wouldn't set foot in a church for anything! My SA is as bad as ever, depression, etc. I avoid people as much as I can, and I DO WISH that there was one prayer God would have ever answered for me. To kill me this very second, so I don't have to be in this world anymore.
I'm very sorry you've had this experience. I don't quite know what to say that won't make you angry with me.

I've had much the same experience while attending church that no one approached me and/or cared much at all, yet I found it important to differentiate between flawed human behavior and what I have ultimately perceived as God's care. I have many afflictions, but then I haven't really prayed that they should be removed either as I in my naivety think God knows best.
I have also a lot of difficulties in changing, but I find that the more I focus on myself and what I should be or do, the worse it goes. The more I focus on God and what he is and has done (historically, with regards to the gospel), the better it goes.
 

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I just never liked the idea that there's a being out there watching and judging everything I do.

Perhaps believing gives relief to some in the concept that there is a holy entity that will always love you and accept you no matter what.
 
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