Why I No Long Believe | INFJ Forum

Why I No Long Believe

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by Chessie, Aug 24, 2010.

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  1. Chessie

    Chessie Community Member

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    Today for the first time my mother asked me why I'd left the Christian church. I was deeply involved for a number of years and really did love the ideas and feelings it gave me. She sent me a letter and I sent back with this. It's the clearest and most level-headed way I had of telling her what happened and I figure it's safe to share with the INFJ's here.

    Hey Mom,

    Honestly? It was probably the people and the questions nobody would answer. Some people can take things like 'God works in mysterious ways' as an answer. I took it the same way you'd take a cop issuing a traffic ticket and then saying 'The law works in mysterious ways'. You'd want to know why and if enough people told you that 'This is how things are, just deal with it' then you'd start to get pretty angry.

    I wanted to know lots of things and since then, I started finding answers to many of those questions but the information just wasn't there in the language of the bible to answer those questions. Christianity is a language. Like you wouldn't use Zulu to try to explain particle physics. The language just doesn't have words for it without making up a bunch of new ones nobody understands. It would be a lot harder to use that language than to use a language that's closer. Christianity has lots of good words for interacting with each other and for ideas like 'You are part of the universe' and 'Be kind to one another to make civilization operate'.

    I like a lot of the ideas of the book but I always found preachers a little evil. I know evil is a powerful word and it implies a lot of things. Preachers are there to 'lead the flock'. Why couldn't people lead themselves? They've got the book. Nobody would ever tell me what qualified them to lead and everyone else to follow. I always wanted to put my hand up in Church and say 'Hey...that doesn't mesh with this other bit of the Bible. Is that a mis-translation or do you just not understand it?'

    They all seemed to have some kind of political inclination and a leader in the spiritual who makes the spiritual political is making God into a thing of politics. I can think of no meaner or more base impulse of man than politics. They're dictating to people with an umbrella of God rather than letting God operate on people and the people make their own decisions. I know people are supposed to lead their own lives but not many of them do. Sad thing.

    As for the book...I found too many versions. Translations which were flat out contradictory. I never knew which to take as real and I felt that if I couldn't take the whole as real that nobody could ever really tell me what was real in it and at that point I'd just be making it up as I went along. The whole idea of religion is learning from someone else about the nature of living and if you're just making it up, you're not learning from God. At least, I didn't feel like I was learning from God.

    I could feel God sometimes. I felt the same thing a few years later on magic mushrooms, and again having sex with a person with whom I'm deeply compatible. It was the exact same emotion. I know it's purely subjective, but it was precisely the same. I'd pray and I'd feel God after a little while, like a warmth in my mind and a quietness in my heart. It was like experiencing the universe except without senses getting in the way and mucking things up.

    Finding out the experience wasn't unique to one religion and that lots of people who've never even heard of Christ or Yaweh could experience that same said thing really took some of the significance out of what I believed when I was younger. My beliefs and feelings weren't special or unique anymore. Heck, anyone with the right mindset could find that place and touch those feelings and didn't have to jump through hoops like 'Go to church' or 'believe abortion is wrong' or 'don't be gay'.

    I read some other holy books and none of them seemed to be any more 'right' or 'wrong' than the Bible. Okay, some of them were a bit retarded (Magic Mormon Underwear springs to mind) but...still.

    These are the reasons I left. I never stopped looking for deeper meaning.

    Love,
    Chessie


    Again, I love feedback.
     
    #1 Chessie, Aug 24, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
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  2. OP
    Chessie

    Chessie Community Member

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    Sorry for typos and the strange title. I was half awake when I posted this.
     
  3. Blind Bandit

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    A lot of the reasons your listed are reasons I'm no longer Christian. A big part for me is the Christianity didn't stand up to scurrility of science or philosophy. That and I found the whole relgion thing didn't work for me. I think your letter was good and about as nice as you can be.
     
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  4. Altruistic Muse

    Altruistic Muse Community Member

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    Wow, this is brutally honest and pretty open. I hope she understands. I think you're brave. Do you think she will be offended by the bits about sex and magic mushrooms if she is religious? Otherwise I can understand all of it. I personally am I Christian because of the feeling I get when I read teh Bible, or go to Church, or think about Jesus or Religion. But, unlike you, nothing else in the world gives me the same feeling. All the other types of joy are slightly lacking and less pure. I can see why, if you didn't feel this difference, you would lose faith. Good luck!
     
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  5. Blind Bandit

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    Sometimes frank action is the only way to be heard. I know I've dealt with being ignoring because I wasn't a good little sheep like everyone wanted.
     
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    #5 Blind Bandit, Aug 24, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
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    Chessie

    Chessie Community Member

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    I hope she responds well. I think that what Altruistic Muse said is really important. Some people can find those feelings in other things and for some people it's just God. I think that's perfectly right and valid. My mom and I aren't really close but I wish I could have a relationship with her. I've had a lot of anger towards her and the religion but this didn't feel angry. It just felt like I was being real with her.
     
    #6 Chessie, Aug 24, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  7. Altruistic Muse

    Altruistic Muse Community Member

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    I know, I see that. I'm a rubbish sheep as well, but I just feel it, so don't have to worry about doubts. I'm reading Kierkegaard just now, it sums things up quite nicely. But I completely respect the Chessie's way of doing things and hope it goes to plan!
     
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  8. Blind Bandit

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    Thats all you can do really. The ball is in her court.
     
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  9. Altruistic Muse

    Altruistic Muse Community Member

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    I didn't sense any anger in it. I don't think she will either. In a way, perhaps the fact that you're both being honest might be the start of a better relationship for you guys, it's always good to be free of pretence.
     
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  10. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    I could never be a "sola scriptura" Bible-Christian either. ... I'm the other kind of Christian.
     
    #10 Flavus Aquila, Aug 24, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  11. Tamagochi

    Tamagochi Sushi Destroyer
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    I've read your letter and wanted to comment a bit.

    There's never a good reason to turn away from God because believing is not about reasoning in the first place. Religion has never promised any answers or power. You turned away because you had no faith. All those arguments you made is to justify your decision and defend it against other people. But it does not really need any explanation or defense.
     
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  12. Razare

    Razare Community Member

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    I'd say that you can discover God in life, seeking others for input as to who God is isn't likely going to work for a person like you. If you're to ever believe, you'll have to discover him yourself instead of relying on external sources.

    That feeling is just a tool, I think. God exists irrelevant if I feel him there or not. I know that feeling too, and honestly, I've been so out of it lately, I've lost it completely but it hasn't changed my faith any.

    I was never brought up religious, though, and never bought into any one else's teachings. I've discovered everything about God by living here on Earth, it's all there before us to piece together if you look hard enough.
     
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  13. KazeCraven

    KazeCraven Graduated from Typology : May 2011
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    I agree with most of this, but I remember back when I quit Christianity that it was much more emotional for me. People were asking me why, and yes I agree with most of what you said Chessie, but really there were no reasons I could point to. In retrospect, yes, I see plenty of reasons, but at the time it was because I felt it was wrong. It was a feeling of disconnection, of stifledness, of blind obedience. It was a feeling of self-delusion and self-degradation above all else.

    Qutting Christianity is pretty high up there in the best decisions I've made, but now that I've gotten comfortable in my own beliefs, I respect it and those who adhere to its philosophy.
     
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  14. Razare

    Razare Community Member

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    This is where that feeling comes from, most likely:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_helmet

    I think it's narrow-minded to assume that this feeling alone is somehow proof of God one way or another; because this helmet essentially disproves that this feeling is God. In which case I should no longer believe, yet I still do.
     
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  15. Blind Bandit

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    This is the biggest reason I left Christianity. Faith is different from blind faith and religion requires both and for me I can't give blind faith.
     
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  16. Nixie

    Nixie Resurrected

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    I find that faith is the belief despite. Finding any path requires you take the effort to look for it--to question. I find organized religion tends to ignore this fact and spoon feed rather than encourage someone to pick their place at the table (so to speak)
     
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  17. Billy

    Billy Contents Under Pressure
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    Your mother is worried about you and your "soul" and you replied with a dry, wicked tongued angry railing against what she deeply believes in. Part of me thinks you wanted to hurt her a little with your letter. Not very nice. I would have simply said "I need to figure things out for myself mom, I know you are worried about me, but trust that I love you and myself enough to always do the right thing" Your barbs against people believing on faith, seems like a direct assault on her.

    I am in the same position with my mother, she is a very religious person and I am not... I would never have spoken to her in this manner though because its rather cruel. Shame. I dont think she will respond well at all.
     
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  18. durentu

    durentu Regular Poster

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    One must understand that the church and monasteries were originally designed for people who didn't want to goto church and monasteries. So all these elaborate rituals and procedures were made so that it would waken up or engage the unwilling participant.

    This is the complete opposite paradigm of those who wish to seek higher understanding or enlightenment. For those who are willing to seek truth are travelers. They don't stick to one church or one religion or even one side of the issue, they always go back and forth to see things from different perspectives. Eventually, with a little luck and cleverness, one will begin to understand what all these religions, philosophies, and even sciences really talk about. If you see enough of them, you will see what combines them.

    I left a long time ago disgusted about how paradoxical the church and it people were. So very hypocritical and full of nonsense, half truths and just common babbling that it was pure stupidity. The pastor was only interested in power, the congregation only in gossip, and the church in increasing the donation size.

    When one leaves the church, it's important to leave behind belief and take on faith. Belief and Faith are different because belief is the acceptance of reality provided that it first conforms to a belief system. Faith is the acceptance of reality unconditionally. Much harder to do, but opens doors to alternate universes, enlightenment, or alternative consciousnesses.
     
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  19. Kgal

    Kgal Magic Star Dust
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    When I was 16, my Mom and I were sitting in the catholic church listening to the priest give a sermon. I remember sitting in the pew, looking up at him in the pulpit reading from the bible and thinking what is this? Why is HE telling ME how to be with God? When all my life they taught me God knows everything you do and he still loves you.????

    I turned to my Mom and said to her "Do you really believe what he's saying?" She tried to explain and floundered. I told her this was my last time to attend church and never really went back for anything other than weddings and funerals.

    Like most have said here - if your church works for you - then I'm all for it. I'm taking a different path - that's all.

    It took courage for you to be honest with your Mom.
     
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  20. frozen_water

    frozen_water Community Member

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    I also didn't sense any anger in the letter, and it looked both sincere and gentle, and I wouldn't have guessed from reading it that you weren't very close to her. Especially given the fact that she initiated the conversation, asking you why you left in the first place, I think that was well put.

    For what it's worth (not sure whether you'll care or not): it also passes the good old INTP reasonable-ness screening, which, even though I know this is probably a rather sensitive subject for you, I'm unable to turn off.
     
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