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Obsessed With Religion....


DHatcherE
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Hi all,

 

My initial post here will indicate to anyone that I am and have been hopelessly lost and confused with religious issues for a LOOOONG time now. I am out of ideas, options and convictions. I wake up stressed out at 4-5 AM every morning, am nervous and anxious during the day and am making no headway whatsoever. I have been down many roads (Christian Fundamentalism, Progressive Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Agnosticism - you name it, I've tried it) and alas I am still lost and confused.

 

Sometimes I have to wonder what it all means - am I destined to feel like this forever, should I just give up and walk away, is there a "truth" - what is the use?? Where to I go from here? Why can't I just figure it out? IF there is just one true way - why is so very hard to discern? IF God is truly loving and merciful why does he leave his children out in the cold in confusion when all they want/need is the truth? Surely it is within God's power to simply broadcast the truth in the sky for all to see, why does he not do so? I have NO experience whatsoever to indicate to me what is true and what is hogwash and as such I now doubt EVERYTHING... :unsure:

Edited by DHatcherE
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Welcome D!

 

If you read through some old (gosh, probably a year or so now) posts from a much more active period on this board, I think you'll find many wise ideas and "answers". I think most of us would agree that doubt, uncertainty, and discomfort with pat answers is a good thing. An uncomfortable thing, undoubtedly, but a good, awake and aware thing nonetheless. ;)

 

so..... what to do? Read, talk (virtually or in real life), choose a community where you feel fed spiritually. A place/group that is accepting of questions and focused on living life to please God. Remember, most major religions boil down to some version of love God and the golden rule. No group will be perfect, but this seems to be a thing to do (at some points) in community rather than isolation.

 

Read: Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell; The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg; What's So Amazing About Grace by Phillip Yancey; A Love Worth Giving by Max Lucado; Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller; Waking the Dead by John Eldridge. Anything by the Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hanh.

 

For what it's worth, at this juncture, I believe that anything true is a paradox. God is so simple, so obvious, so clear, so close and at the exact same time so complex, so obtuse, so confusing, and so distant. To some extent, we can choose how we interpret the evidence at hand.

 

Notice. Pay attention. Food didn't have to taste good to keep us alive... just happenstance or a sign of love? The natural world didn't have to be beautiful to function.... that breeze - like the holy spirit saying, "hello" or just a breeze? Notice and see how things strike you.

 

On a bad day, Pascal's wager may get you through. :P We all have bad days, weeks, etc. On a good, connected day, wow. You've got to hold on to those.

 

Hope this isn't totally overwhelming! I look forward to talking with you!

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Hi all,

 

My initial post here will indicate to anyone that I am and have been hopelessly lost and confused with religious issues for a LOOOONG time now. I am out of ideas, options and convictions. I wake up stressed out at 4-5 AM every morning, am nervous and anxious during the day and am making no headway whatsoever. I have been down many roads (Christian Fundamentalism, Progressive Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Agnosticism - you name it, I've tried it) and alas I am still lost and confused.

 

Sometimes I have to wonder what it all means - am I destined to feel like this forever, should I just give up and walk away, is there a "truth" - what is the use?? Where to I go from here? Why can't I just figure it out? IF there is just one true way - why is so very hard to discern? IF God is truly loving and merciful why does he leave his children out in the cold in confusion when all they want/need is the truth? Surely it is within God's power to simply broadcast the truth in the sky for all to see, why does he not do so? I have NO experience whatsoever to indicate to me what is true and what is hogwash and as such I now doubt EVERYTHING... :unsure:

 

Hello DhatcherE,

 

I think Cynthia has spoken well in her post yet if I may add a few thoughts of my own....

 

I perceive your possible suspicion of the limitations of the mind 'knowing' anything, seems to me to be a positive factor in your nearness to the transcendence of the frailties of humanity which keep men in this bondage.

 

It seems to me that absolute truth is an imposibility from a human standpoint. Perhaps this sheath we all carry about indeed limits us to a subjective experience and attainment of subjective truth only. Even if there were an absolute truth like that you have searched for, it could only be humanly experienced subjectively. Still I find at times to experience existence is sufficient in itself and the 'big questions' of life you may have no longer appear to me to require answers. Nor is there a need for belief, one way or the other as Pascal would have us enetertain in his wager that Cynthia referenced.

 

Spiritually speaking, it seems to me that that which is, is and neither belief, unbelief, or doubt will change anything other than perceived reality nor does it profit anything to take a position where none is required. Perhaps life in itself is meaning enough and perhaps that which appears transitory, ephemeral, and short lived is rather continuous and complete already. Perhaps this 'spiritual journey' seemingly cloaked in mystery is only a mystery to him that is still searching and when one ceases the searching the mystery dissolves in illusion.

 

Just some thoughts to consider....

Love and Peace,

JM

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The Gnostic in me has to say: "Know Thyself!" IMO, getting in touch with that Divine Spark within, sometimes dormant for quite a long time, helps us better understand and benefit from the various traditions. It seems to me that all paths will get you partly up the mountain, but the Spark shows you the way to the top. Some paths do traverse the steeper grades, though. :)

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Hi DHE...I would agree with Cynthia' and JM's slant on your dilemma. There are "way" different paths for each of us, because we are all so different. But the general rule seems to be to embrace and absorb as much information as you can, as long as you don't feel that the process itself or the content is harmful to your being, and after sufficient time and intake a "way" will become more obvious to you. In my case it was the writings of Elaine Pagels, but each person has their distinct "triggers" and "ways" to belief.

 

flow.... ;)

Edited by flowperson
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DHatcherE, you are a thinker and will enjoy the thoughts here. I hope they stop you in your tracks and all thinking all together. Our minds are mirrors, if engrossed in materialism the mirror becomes dusty and the light emitted is distorted not seeing the truth, but if the mirror is pure it will radiate the same light as the sun. That reflection is the soul, which Jesus sanctioned by saying, "I and the Father are one." Similar to Christ we should put aside every thought except a longing for truth. Thoughts being causes, we must realize that when we control our thoughts, we control their effects, and the conditions they cause. It then follows that our health, happiness and abundance are under our control and the way to change our conditions on earth is to change our thoughts. This realization of our power to control our destiny is the truth that sets us free. With this power to think we can guide our thoughts into spiritual activities instead of just dealing with the effects. We can use visualization, concentration, imagination. realization. and meditation to direct our thoughts to our soul. This brings us close to the all-pervading consciousness in everything because the thought process stops, accepts, smiles and then exhales before starting the thinking process again. Have fun here.

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DHatcherE, you are a thinker and will enjoy the thoughts here. I hope they stop you in your tracks and all thinking all together. Our minds are mirrors, if engrossed in materialism the mirror becomes dusty and the light emitted is distorted not seeing the truth, but if the mirror is pure it will radiate the same light as the sun. That reflection is the soul, which Jesus sanctioned by saying, "I and the Father are one." Similar to Christ we should put aside every thought except a longing for truth. Thoughts being causes, we must realize that when we control our thoughts, we control their effects, and the conditions they cause. It then follows that our health, happiness and abundance are under our control and the way to change our conditions on earth is to change our thoughts. This realization of our power to control our destiny is the truth that sets us free. With this power to think we can guide our thoughts into spiritual activities instead of just dealing with the effects. We can use visualization, concentration, imagination. realization. and meditation to direct our thoughts to our soul. This brings us close to the all-pervading consciousness in everything because the thought process stops, accepts, smiles and then exhales before starting the thinking process again. Have fun here.

 

Thanks for the reply. I am reading a book right now by Wayne Dyer entitled "Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life". It an interpretation of the Tao Te Ching with commentary for applying "The Way" to our modern lives. Very interesting and very much in line with what you say here. I do okay from day to day but some days I just think I could burst with uncertainty about truth and destiny...

Edited by DHatcherE
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Hello, D....

 

I can relate to your feelings because I have been there as have most everyone on this forum at one time or another. The pressure of having the 'orthodox' mainstream denominations portray themselves as the correct way to believe creates problems for us. The mainstream Christian denominations ask us to believe as fact things that are clearly mythical, fantastic, and an afront to our sensibilities. The way out of this dilemma is to not blindly accept as fact the teachings of 'the church', but to understand that we are all on a Spiritual Journey. While on this Journey, we seek that which we suspect is out there....the 'Something More'. This longing for the Truth, this Seeking, is as old as we are as a people. We seek that which is Beyond because there is a Beyond. We long for a knowing of a Deep because we have Depth. Deep seeks Deep. We do not need to loose sleep over passages in this book or that, wrestle with quotes from this author or that prophet, but follow our own sense of Leading. What is there within us that wants so much to connect with Something Else, Something More, Something Beyond? It is simply because what there is within us is part of that which we seek. Each one of us has that small candle, that small Light of God within and we seek to connect with that of God without. We do not need creeds, religions, priests, writings, hymns, sermons, lectures, or moral codes to make us understand that which we already understand more than we think we already know. We were born as Children of God, each and every one of us, and we seek and long to return to our One True Home. Yes, God is real and within us all. That is the One Truth that all of the wisdom on earth reduces down to. If you want to know where God is, God is as close to your own breath and if you want to commune with God, you simply need to just close your eyes in a quiet place and speak softly with the Friend you have always known. Go well upon your Journey knowing that you are Blessed and carry the Light of God Within.

 

Russ

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Russ and DhatcherE, we are brothers and sisters on the path. Both of you express our thoughts well. Thank you

 

When we are born a ladder is placed in front of us, and a good honest man will question every step as he/she assends into the heaven of pure consciousness. I am happy people are not afraid to question the truth because that shows faith and an understanding that truth will stand up and raise our minds to new heights as we climb, question and understand the truth. God bless you both.

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Hello, D....

 

I can relate to your feelings because I have been there as have most everyone on this forum at one time or another. The pressure of having the 'orthodox' mainstream denominations portray themselves as the correct way to believe creates problems for us. The mainstream Christian denominations ask us to believe as fact things that are clearly mythical, fantastic, and an afront to our sensibilities. The way out of this dilemma is to not blindly accept as fact the teachings of 'the church', but to understand that we are all on a Spiritual Journey. While on this Journey, we seek that which we suspect is out there....the 'Something More'. This longing for the Truth, this Seeking, is as old as we are as a people. We seek that which is Beyond because there is a Beyond. We long for a knowing of a Deep because we have Depth. Deep seeks Deep. We do not need to loose sleep over passages in this book or that, wrestle with quotes from this author or that prophet, but follow our own sense of Leading. What is there within us that wants so much to connect with Something Else, Something More, Something Beyond? It is simply because what there is within us is part of that which we seek. Each one of us has that small candle, that small Light of God within and we seek to connect with that of God without. We do not need creeds, religions, priests, writings, hymns, sermons, lectures, or moral codes to make us understand that which we already understand more than we think we already know. We were born as Children of God, each and every one of us, and we seek and long to return to our One True Home. Yes, God is real and within us all. That is the One Truth that all of the wisdom on earth reduces down to. If you want to know where God is, God is as close to your own breath and if you want to commune with God, you simply need to just close your eyes in a quiet place and speak softly with the Friend you have always known. Go well upon your Journey knowing that you are Blessed and carry the Light of God Within.

 

Russ

 

Amen, well said my friend....

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Hi D,

 

I am glad you are here. I am back after a long absence. I have been giving a lot of time and energy defending Christianity and other great wisdom traditions at the Delphi Crosscurrents forum hosted by the progressive Presbyterian Minister Charles Henderson of GodWeb and CrossCurrents magazine. That forum has attracted a lot of atheists newly energized and inspired and informed and mis-informed by Dawkins and others.

 

I am impressed with how you articulated your current state of mind and with the responses you have gotten from some people I consider very wise.

 

Let me advocate a few books which I have found extremely helpful:

 

QUANTUM THEOLOGY by Diarmuid O'Murchu

THE SACRED ART OF SOUL MAKING by Joseph Naft (found entirely online at: http://www.innerfrontier.org/Practices/BalanceDepthTOC.htm)

THE MESSAGE THAT COMES FROM EVERYWHERE by Gary L. Beckwith (some of the main ideas are found at: http://www.theharmonyinstitute.org/index.shtml)

YOGA: THE SPIRIT AND PRACTICE OF MOVING INTO STILLNESS by Erich Schiffmann (found entitely online at: http://www.movingintostillness.com/index.html)

THE PERENNIAL PHILOSOPHY by Aldous Huxley

MYTH AND RITUAL IN CHRISTIANITY by Alan Watts

SACRED CONTRACTS by Caroline Myss

LEARNING TO PRAY by Wayne Muller

THE HEART OF CHRISTIANITY by Marcus Borg

 

anything by Wayne Dyer

 

At my website I promote a vision of ...

 

the new church for the new age which is: non-hierarchical, free, open, loving, caring, compassionate, healing, energizing, inclusive, humble, non-judgmental, fun, creative, yours, mine.

 

Christ never meant for the church to be a closed, hierarchical, authoritarian, nationalistic and denomination-alistic institution.

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  • 3 weeks later...

What helped me the most is when someone led me in a guided meditation and I was able to go deep into the spiritual world. Before that, I was agnostic. After that, I felt I had proof that there was a God, atleast something beyond what my normal senses perceived. I still have so many questions myself. I find that no matter where I attend worship, it's when I can relax, clear my mind of worldly cares, and focus on God that I start feeling and seeing God. I think there are some guided meditations at www.learningmeditation.com

I think meditation is where we get the most Truth.

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I think meditation is where we get the most Truth.

 

You are so right about meditation. The light of intuition puts an end to ignorance and brings a positive attitude to the mind because when we approach our problems in a positive way, they cease to be problems. A great inspiration is the third layer of the mind , the higher layers of the mind accessed by meditation as you so clearly stated. This is where we can truly start to help the world. In the third layer our intuitive power brings us more happiness by bringing us closer to the divine light within. There can be no real enjoyment of life until we can see that everything is rejuvenated by pure consciousness and united inside with love. The intellect sees the substance of life that is seen and heard in the second layer, the physical world, but our intuition sees the essence of life that is invisible to the first two layers. You are blessed to be conscious of your spiritual experience. Not all meditations are good , but the good ones make up for all the other ones.

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  • 3 months later...

Peace All!! It is good to be among my brothers and sisters under heaven.

 

Just remember D.....,

 

That we are ALL Children of God, EVERY living thing, and the Oneness draws us all into the Light. Our suffering is made worse by living against the way (hate, greed, jelousy, ect.) and every good deed makes us a better vessel of Light. Nonetheless, the Light covers all and will consume all. You my brother are of this same Light, you have already begun to see.

 

Blessings,

 

Socrates8 :)

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Peace All!! It is good to be among my brothers and sisters under heaven.

 

Just remember D.....,

 

That we are ALL Children of God, EVERY living thing, and the Oneness draws us all into the Light. Our suffering is made worse by living against the way (hate, greed, jelousy, ect.) and every good deed makes us a better vessel of Light. Nonetheless, the Light covers all and will consume all. You my brother are of this same Light, you have already begun to see.

 

Blessings,

 

Socrates8 :)

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Welcome D!

 

If you read through some old (gosh, probably a year or so now) posts from a much more active period on this board, I think you'll find many wise ideas and "answers". I think most of us would agree that doubt, uncertainty, and discomfort with pat answers is a good thing. An uncomfortable thing, undoubtedly, but a good, awake and aware thing nonetheless. ;)

 

so..... what to do? Read, talk (virtually or in real life), choose a community where you feel fed spiritually. A place/group that is accepting of questions and focused on living life to please God. Remember, most major religions boil down to some version of love God and the golden rule. No group will be perfect, but this seems to be a thing to do (at some points) in community rather than isolation.

 

Read: Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell; The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg; What's So Amazing About Grace by Phillip Yancey; A Love Worth Giving by Max Lucado; Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller; Waking the Dead by John Eldridge. Anything by the Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hanh.

 

For what it's worth, at this juncture, I believe that anything true is a paradox. God is so simple, so obvious, so clear, so close and at the exact same time so complex, so obtuse, so confusing, and so distant. To some extent, we can choose how we interpret the evidence at hand.

 

Notice. Pay attention. Food didn't have to taste good to keep us alive... just happenstance or a sign of love? The natural world didn't have to be beautiful to function.... that breeze - like the holy spirit saying, "hello" or just a breeze? Notice and see how things strike you.

 

On a bad day, Pascal's wager may get you through. :P We all have bad days, weeks, etc. On a good, connected day, wow. You've got to hold on to those.

 

Hope this isn't totally overwhelming! I look forward to talking with you!

 

Cynthia,

 

I've been struggling with my faith lately (though not, it seems, to the extent that D was/is-?), and this post was like a breath of fresh air. Thanks for the beautiful words :)

 

And lovely posts from everyone else as well (as usual) :)

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Peace All!! It is good to be among my brothers and sisters under heaven.

 

Just remember D.....,

 

That we are ALL Children of God, EVERY living thing, and the Oneness draws us all into the Light. Our suffering is made worse by living against the way (hate, greed, jelousy, ect.) and every good deed makes us a better vessel of Light. Nonetheless, the Light covers all and will consume all. You my brother are of this same Light, you have already begun to see.

 

Blessings,

 

Socrates8 :)

 

I love the sentiments you express here.

 

I just wish it were more obvious sometimes... :(

 

But then, perhaps it is obvious. Maybe we just need the eyes to see. :)

 

I can't remember if I've told y'all this yet, but the other day I was driving home and I saw a sunset so incredibly beautiful that it sent a shiver down my spine - and I felt immensely homesick. Perhaps that was the Oneness you speak of, calling me Home.

 

I like to think so, anyway :)

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I love the sentiments you express here.

 

I just wish it were more obvious sometimes... :(

 

But then, perhaps it is obvious. Maybe we just need the eyes to see. :)

 

I can't remember if I've told y'all this yet, but the other day I was driving home and I saw a sunset so incredibly beautiful that it sent a shiver down my spine - and I felt immensely homesick. Perhaps that was the Oneness you speak of, calling me Home.

 

I like to think so, anyway :)

 

 

 

McKenna - I think of sunsets/experiences like that that capture your attention suddenly and unexpectedly - as winks from God. Yeah, weird, I know. But still. :lol:

 

Just His/Her way of reaching out to you to help you remember that there is more than the workaday concerns....

 

Godspeed

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McKenna - I think of sunsets/experiences like that that capture your attention suddenly and unexpectedly - as winks from God. Yeah, weird, I know. But still. :lol:

 

Just His/Her way of reaching out to you to help you remember that there is more than the workaday concerns....

 

Godspeed

 

"Winks from God" - I rather like that description :)

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