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Faith crisis


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I like to joke that I went to theology graduate school and lost God. I didn't grow up in a church, but I had a hard childhood and looked to God for rescue. God never came in my despair, but I have kept on searching and praying and sorta/kinda believing. But theology school changed all that. I know it's normal for it to totally upend everything you think you knew, but most people then rebuild their faith anew. I, instead, am sitting here unraveled and deeply devastated. I have read a lot of the Bible and am horrified and disgusted by most of it. I also am not sure I feel close to the Jesus I read about. I find him to be elusive and detached, sad and angry. I don't know where to go with this. I've tried to read Borg and tried to detach from a traditional idea of God, but I am so empty inside. I don't know what to believe anymore. I burst into tears when I think about it. I feel so stupid for believing in a God of rescue and even more devastated in no longer being able to believe in it. 

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Hi Elizabeth ... welcome

In some ways I can't help, I never was very religious even at my peak in my youth. Only with a vague concept of god that did not interact much with my day to day existence. Over the years that too faded. My childhood by and large was good and life has been kind. Loving parents (but not necessarily good at parenting), a good education that I could take advantage, a loving wife of forty five years, a job that I enjoyed that took me to places all over the world. Basically a fulfilled life.

That changed in some ways fifteen year ago this month. Our sixteen year old son died from a seizure that was not caught in time. This left a gaping hole in our, my, life. I suppose I now ask questions like how is this universe unfolding. what makes it tick, to fill that gap. I'm finding that the concept god is not necessary to fill that hole in my life. 

The fact we might look for answers in Jesus (or Genesis pun) is simply an accident of birth. It's like the proverbial drunk looking for his keys under the street light because it is where he can see and not because it is where he lost them. 

For an agnostic/atheist like me faith is not something I want to be attached to.

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10 hours ago, Elizabeth said:

I like to joke that I went to theology graduate school and lost God. I didn't grow up in a church, but I had a hard childhood and looked to God for rescue. God never came in my despair, but I have kept on searching and praying and sorta/kinda believing. But theology school changed all that. I know it's normal for it to totally upend everything you think you knew, but most people then rebuild their faith anew. I, instead, am sitting here unraveled and deeply devastated. I have read a lot of the Bible and am horrified and disgusted by most of it. I also am not sure I feel close to the Jesus I read about. I find him to be elusive and detached, sad and angry. I don't know where to go with this. I've tried to read Borg and tried to detach from a traditional idea of God, but I am so empty inside. I don't know what to believe anymore. I burst into tears when I think about it. I feel so stupid for believing in a God of rescue and even more devastated in no longer being able to believe in it. 

I think the first thing Elizabeth, is to not feel stupid about your old beliefs.  Billions of people throughout time have believed in a God or Gods of one sort or another.  I wonder if a Viking of old brought into today's world would feel stupid about their beliefs in Thor, or if we had an old Egyptian Pharaoh in today's society if he would feel dumb about worshipping the Sun.  I think it's normal to desire a protector God or a "it'll-all-be-alright-in-the-end" God figure, in an often harsh and unjust world.

About 15 years ago I was pretty much suicidal because I wanted to believe in the "Jesus-saves-us-from-Hell" model, but simply couldn't because I knew it wasn't true.  I had read too much about the bible, about history, and about Christianity to believe that tired, old narrative any more.  Yet still, I wanted it badly.

All I can say about this is "keep breathing".  Each day will help a little bit.  For me personally, I found it helped reading people like Bart Erhman and Bishop Shelby Spong.  I also found it very helpful reading about the history of the bible and Christianity.  I found it all helped over the course of the first year or so, and continues on to this day.  Don't play down the significance of talking things through with a psychologist either.  I found that probably the most immensely helpful process.  Plus talking to friends here! :)

The best I can offer is to try and make the most of what time you do have alive and enjoy it as much as you can.  I firmly believe that one of two things will happen when we die - 1. we won't know about it as we'll be dead :) or 2. Everything will be alright.  It's a win-win for me, so don't beat yourself up over your non-belief.  Any God worth half his measure would understand.

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Hello, Elizabeth. I'm new here, just today.

Now that it's 10 days since your first post about this, have things gotten any better? I don't think I should say much before I know, since people make adjustments sometimes in unexpected ways.

I will say that I have been disappointed in my attempts to believe in the unseen. Maybe I'm getting closer to a resolution. If you get there first, please let me know where "there" is.  :)

PS. The Bible has been one of my main stumbling blocks but I keep reading, hoping to see something that pulls it together.

Edited by PinkAzalea
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