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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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Symphony. Offline
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Not sure whether or not I actually believe. - August 5th 2013, 10:21 PM

Hey everyone.
It's my first time posting a thread in this forum, so I feel a bit awkward, but...hey, I guess.
Anyway, since I'm here, I've obviously got a question regarding religion. So, I'm honestly not sure if I believe in God and Christ anymore... I can't tell if I actually believe, and I just have a completely different set of views than most Christians regarding things like sex, sexuality, atheists, etc, or if I just like the idea of God and Christ so much that I think I believe, if that makes sense... Like, perhaps I don't actually believe in God, I just like the idea and wish I felt it were true.
One thing, though, is that on the few occasions I've recently gone to church (not with my immediate family, with someone else), I often get choked up and teary throughout the sermon. Like, I get really, really moved by it. But again, I don't know if it's my actual belief that's supporting me feeling moved, or if I actually think it's all just like, a touching story.
Another thing about all of this... A good part of me dislikes the idea of religion as well, because I feel like it makes people feel guilty over things they shouldn't feel guilty about, that although it has it's good sides there's also many downsides. I also don't agree with the whole concept of doing good so you can be rewarded in the end... I feel like I should be a good, kind person because it's the right thing to do, not to achieve some eternal paradise in the end. Because I think if you are being good to be rewarded, what you did isn't that great- like I said, I feel I should do good not to be rewarded but because it's the right thing.
Also, I find myself to be very interested in perhaps practicing Wicca, which I know isn't looked upon highly by the Christian community, so...I don't know if that was a necessary detail, but there's that. :P
I'm sorry if any or all of this doesn't make sense, but I'm really confused as to what my religious views might be. If anything needs clarification I will gladly clarify.
So what do you guys think?


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Re: Not sure whether or not I actually believe. - August 5th 2013, 10:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Symphony. View Post
Hey everyone.
Anyway, since I'm here, I've obviously got a question regarding religion. So, I'm honestly not sure if I believe in God...
First, you say you're interested in Wicca. Most Wiccans believe in a god and goddess. So, if you're questioning your belief in a diety, Wicca isn't the go to answer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Symphony. View Post
...I just like the idea of God and Christ so much that I think I believe, if that makes sense... Like, perhaps I don't actually believe in God, I just like the idea and wish I felt it were true.
This makes sense. However, as I said, you seem to be rather contradicting. I also think that, maybe, you may like the idea of Wicca, and wish that were true, and hence, your interest in becoming Wiccan and disinterest in being Christian.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Symphony. View Post
One thing, though, is that on the few occasions I've recently gone to church (not with my immediate family, with someone else), I often get choked up and teary throughout the sermon. Like, I get really, really moved by it.
What you're describing could be called a suspension of disbelief. For example, when we watch movies, sometimes we cry. Why? Well, we have a sense of disbelief, that is, we believe the story -- even though we KNOW it isn't true. If you can compare your bible to a movie that made you cry, then I'd say you don't believe. But, if you're questioning whether you GENUINELY believe or not, I'd say it is rather likely that you do believe. Why? Because. I don't question whether or not the movie the Notebook was real or not. I know it wasn't. It made me cry because I had a suspension of disbelief that made me feel it was real, though knowing it wasn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Symphony. View Post
Another thing about all of this... A good part of me dislikes the idea of religion as well, because I feel like it makes people feel guilty over things they shouldn't feel guilty about, that although it has it's good sides there's also many downsides.
This seems to be your real reason to want to leave Christianity. Not because you don't believe, but because you disagree with what it teaches. Rather, maybe, you need to find a better interpretation or renew an understanding as to why it has that sense of guilt over certain things. If you gave an example, I'd have a better response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Symphony. View Post
I also don't agree with the whole concept of doing good so you can be rewarded in the end... I feel like I should be a good, kind person because it's the right thing to do, not to achieve some eternal paradise in the end. Because I think if you are being good to be rewarded, what you did isn't that great- like I said, I feel I should do good not to be rewarded but because it's the right thing.
The Bible doesn't teach this.

Ephesians 2:8-10
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Paul says that you are saved simply by faith, which doesn't even come from you, it comes from god, and you aren't rewarded by works, or else people can boast. He says god created people to do good works, and that he created those good works. Everything is attributed to god, so no one can boast. Your salvation, good works, everything, is attributed to god. So there is no "reward." Rather, it's all a gift.

I'm not a Christian, but this is my opinion on how I see things based on what you've said.


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Re: Not sure whether or not I actually believe. - August 5th 2013, 11:14 PM

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Originally Posted by Of Mike and Men View Post
First, you say you're interested in Wicca. Most Wiccans believe in a god and goddess. So, if you're questioning your belief in a diety, Wicca isn't the go to answer.
True, you do make a good point there.

With the last paragraph of your response, you make another good point. But when you bring that up, another point of my personal beliefs can fit into this situation... I really don't see how believing in Christianity should be needed to get into heaven. I don't get why atheists, or Jews, or whoever, shouldn't be allowed in heaven.


(Figuring how to quote more portions of your post is confusing me, so I'm just going to copy and paste the specific parts I'm responding to, I hope that doesn't make things difficult).

"What you're describing could be called a suspension of disbelief. For example, when we watch movies, sometimes we cry. Why? Well, we have a sense of disbelief, that is, we believe the story -- even though we KNOW it isn't true. If you can compare your bible to a movie that made you cry, then I'd say you don't believe. But, if you're questioning whether you GENUINELY believe or not, I'd say it is rather likely that you do believe. Why? Because. I don't question whether or not the movie the Notebook was real or not. I know it wasn't. It made me cry because I had a suspension of disbelief that made me feel it was real, though knowing it wasn't."
The part I put in bold could possibly sum up my beliefs... I believe, but in my mind, I know that it all probably isn't true. But then, that still leaves me wondering if my belief is actually my belief...Do I really think it's true if part of my mind knows it probably isn't? Sorry if that doesn't make sense.

"This seems to be your real reason to want to leave Christianity. Not because you don't believe, but because you disagree with what it teaches. Rather, maybe, you need to find a better interpretation or renew an understanding as to why it has that sense of guilt over certain things. If you gave an example, I'd have a better response."

To be honest, I wasn't at all raised in a religious household. The extent of my religious experiences was my baptism as a baby. So a lot of my confusions with my beliefs are probably rooted in the fact that I don't know near everything there is to know about Christianity. And if I were taught more about the religion, I'd probably be able to better make a decision on my beliefs. For my whole life, I've considered myself Christian in the sense that I believed in God and Christ, just non-practicing, but as of recently I've begun to really question things. So, I'm just pointing out that I certainly don't know everything and that might be part of why I seem to be contradicting myself- my apologies for that.
So perhaps my upcoming response to the quoted paragraph could be contradicted by something else in the Bible, I'm not sure, but an example of the guilt I talked about- for example, I don't understand why someone should feel guilty and be considered a sinner for having premarital sex. Why should they have to ask for forgiveness for something that actually isn't all that wrong? That's only one example, and possibly not the best one I could have come up with, but I'm getting tired so I'm probably not thinking as clearly as I could be.


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Re: Not sure whether or not I actually believe. - August 7th 2013, 04:11 AM

As contradicting as your faith and lack thereof is, it is possible to posses both belief and unbelief. It's not black and white. In the Bible (Mark 9:23-25) there is a man comes to Jesus asking him to heal his son. Jesus said anything is possible for those who believe and the man says, "I believe, but help my unbelief." It seems to me that you believe, but you just want a change and are uncertain because you've maybe blindly accepted it. You seem to just have some doubts that you need to confront. I don't think you'd be questioning if you believed if you didn't believe. You just seem to have doubts. Which doesn't mean you don't believe, it just means you're normal.

As far as premarital sex goes, whether its a sin or not is debatable from denomination to denomination. In the bible, in the Old Testament, sleeping with another woman (as a man) was considered a sin because under Jewish law the woman belonged to her father. So, if a man had intercourse with her, he'd be stealing from her father and was supposed to marry her afterwards with the consent of her father. Whether this carries over to the New Testament I'm uncertain. The only reason I can see it being a sin in the New Testament is because sex was supposed to describe the intimacy between Christ and the Church. If Christ accepted EVERYONE then it would be adulterous and those who were persecuted for their faith were persecuted for nothing because they could've gone on living anyway they pleased and escaped persecution. So if it is a resemblance of Christ, it makes sense. However, when I was a Christian, I inevitably took the stance that if you can have sex with a clear conscience, then it's not a sin. But if your conscience bothers you, it probably is. See Romans 14:23 as to why.

Also sorry about spelling and grammar. I'm on my tablet.


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Re: Not sure whether or not I actually believe. - August 7th 2013, 02:18 PM

I think it’s really important that everyone listens to their heart when it comes to religion and if your heart is telling you to look into other faiths, then so be it. At the very least, you will learn something new about another religion.

So I say, if you are interested in Wicca, or Buddhism or whatever, I think you should start looking. There is nothing wrong about learning about other faiths. And if you find a faith that you like, keep on researching it. Eventually you will figure out how you feel. I know I went on a religious quest when I was a teenager, I would say that most people do. It’s a time where you are really growing into your own self and your own beliefs outside of your parents.




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Re: Not sure whether or not I actually believe. - August 16th 2013, 07:36 AM

Not all christisns are like that
   
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August 16th 2013, 03:24 PM

It seems like you believe in God but are confused about things like "who goes to heaven?" and "what is a sin?"
Honestly, Lizzie is totally right about that. You should listen to your heart with your religion. If you grow up in a Catholic house that says "homosexuality is a sin" and you feel otherwise research the other faiths.
There really are other faiths for a reason.
God can give you three things: a relationship with Him, a miracle, and sovereign grace

There's the Torah, Koran, Bible, Book of Mormon for a reason. He wants us to be able to find Him but He also wants us to have our gifts used in their best setting.
For example, tons of Catholics are in charge of exorcisms or taking ghosts away from houses. You go to the Catholic church often times even if you're not religious because you have an evil spirit in your house and know that they can help.

However, Catholics don't believe in abortion no matter what the circumstances. There are times in which they will have conjoined twins and the doctors will tell them that if they separate them they can save one of them but if they leave them conjoined they will both die within a month. Someone from the Catholic faith will not want them separated because they would think its abortion.

So then you have an Episcopalian who interprets the Bible lightly and tells them "you are saving your child's life if you do this. God will be pleased with you for having done the absolute best under your circumstances."
There is truth in every religion. It's best to listen to your heart.
In the Bible Jesus said the two most important commandments were "Love God and love others"
Also, you will find that some people in one faith actually differ. For example, people within a Catholic church could practice sex after marriage and go to mass every morning but they themselves could believe that homosexuality is not a sin.

Sovereign grace is when too many options have been taken away from you and God comes in and blesses you with something so you can be okay.

Like for example, a married couple whose daughter gets in a car crash and is only living by the machine that keeps her functioning and has been in a coma for years. That couple may be arguing about whether or not to pull the plug on her for 10 years and while they may have been very in love when they were first married things just fall apart for the two of them. God will come in and give them a solution and it could be a dream of what they should do that involves them both seeing their daughter in heaven with God or something.
He has a purpose for all of us.
Even aetheists can be sovereign grace because they can tell a homosexual that God doesn't exist so they finally can move away from the oppression in their own home about homosexuality.
God makes NO mistakes. He has a plan for all of us.
Also, don't feel like you can't be in your faith but somehow not believe in everything your faith preaches. You can totally be a Catholic and not believe that homosexuality is a sin or like the idea of pro choice.

Also, there is a purgatory. That is where people who commit suicide go. It isn't hell but it isn't a nice place. They have to go there though to have their sins burnt out of them. And upon having done so they will then go to heaven. Everyone gets their chance to go to heaven. And as much as it makes sense that a person who commits suicide shouldn't go to hell it really would not be fair for someone who has a relationship with God their entire life and has saved lives and changed people for the better and done everything imaginable for others on Earth to go to heaven and see someone who committed suicide in heaven too. It makes much more sense that that person who committed suicide would suffer a consequence and then be able to go to heaven.

Last edited by Lizzie; August 16th 2013 at 03:52 PM. Reason: Merge consecutive posts
   
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Re: Not sure whether or not I actually believe. - August 16th 2013, 04:09 PM

I think a lot of previous Christians go through this stage. Well no matter what your decision is yours and you can believe what you want.
   
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