Does religious faith help or hurt?

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by PoetMan, Feb 26, 2007.

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  1. PoetMan

    PoetMan Well-Known Member

    I have lost a lot of my religious beliefs over the last few years while battling my illness. Some things I think are more true than they used to be, but some things I just don't believe in anymore.

    1) Heaven and Hell
    I believe in both, but I can't tell a difference. To me, the promise of spending an eternity ANYWHERE is torturous. I wish I could believe that this life is all there is, but I can't.

    2) God and Satan
    I believe in God. I don't believe in Satan. I believe that the good in us comes from God and that the bad in us comes from being human. Not that humans are inherently corrupt, but we are inherently corruptible.

    3) Right and Wrong
    I've become much more of a situationalist than I used to be. What's right for me might be a sin for someone else, or for me under a different set of circumstances. I used to trust that my conscience would tell me what to do, but then I found out that the voice I was listening to was an auditory hallucination.

    4) Faith
    Faith is based on trust. Right now I have a hard time trusting in anything but myself. I don't trust my friends or family, and I have no faith that God actually cares about me, or that any one person in the world matters to Him.

    So I'm not sure. Is faith good or bad? Does religion help or hurt? I can't even think about those things anymore because I don't have the answers. Please offer your advice.
  2. Terry

    Terry Antiquities Friend Staff Alumni

    Without my faith I would have crumbled.
  3. theleastofthese

    theleastofthese SF Friend Staff Alumni

    I think it helping or hurting depends on where you stand - at the moment. There are some days where my faith in the Creator is all that sustains me. Then there are days when I don't believe in faith, nor do I have any - in God or in myself. On the whole I'd have to say it depends on the individual - and one's upbringing has a great deal to do with it. My religious/spiritual upbringing was loving and nourishing, not the burn-in-hell-for-all-eternity kind. It focused more on the love of God and less on His wrath, so we weren't brought up to worship out of fear, if you know what I mean.

    This is one of those 'completely personal' things. Some of us are having a hard time cause we feel our faith in "???" has failed us. Others never had any to begin with. Some found faith when their illness was at its worst. It all depends....

    just my tuppence worth!

  4. I don't want to step on anyone's toes here ( especially my few religious friends that I communicate with here on the forum, ie, Mike and TG ) but after many years of following Christ, I found that I remained empty inside.

    I also found that the Bible did not stand up to scrutiny. Many of its claims can only be defended ( inerrancy ) through the most contorted reasoning. Obvious mistakes and contradictions that would immediately be detected among secular literature are dismissed as "apparent discrepencies".

    Also Christian scholars are anything but unified in their interpretation of scripture, hence all the religious schisms, doctrines, etc.

    For some, these issues are of no significance. They will continue in their commitment no matter how detailed the counter argument.

    For myself , there were many other aspects of religious thought that to me eventually signaled the death knell of my faith.

    Just my two cents, guys. Peace
  5. theleastofthese

    theleastofthese SF Friend Staff Alumni

    Pax right back:smile:
  6. TG123

    TG123 Well-Known Member

    Me too. Thanks for posting this, Poetman. I will do my best to reply in more detail later.


    Cristo Vive!
    - Tomasz
  7. Terry

    Terry Antiquities Friend Staff Alumni

    Prozac I can only tell you that when I've needed Christ the most he has always been there, like the footprints thing I guess :blink:

    One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
    he was walking along the beach with the LORD.

    Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
    For each scene he noticed two sets of
    footprints in the sand: one belonging
    to him, and the other to the LORD.

    When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
    he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

    He noticed that many times along the path of
    his life there was only one set of footprints.

    He also noticed that it happened at the very
    lowest and saddest times in his life.

    This really bothered him and he
    questioned the LORD about it:

    "LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
    you, you'd walk with me all the way.
    But I have noticed that during the most
    troublesome times in my life,
    there is only one set of footprints.
    I don't understand why when
    I needed you most you would leave me."

    The LORD replied:

    "My son, my precious child,
    I love you and I would never leave you.
    During your times of trial and suffering,
    when you see only one set of footprints,
    it was then that I carried you."
  8. ~Nobody~

    ~Nobody~ Well-Known Member

    That's such a beautiful sentiment Dev. :hug:

    Wish I could feel it.

    I have no doubt that religious faith can really help people, I just know my faith wasn't strong enough to survive all the injustice in the world.
  9. Fluffy

    Fluffy Well-Known Member

    Yes, for me personally, faith has helped a lot. There are times when things get very hard and I find it hard to cling onto that and keep it in perspective, but there have been times when, but for my faith, i probably wouldn't have kept going.
  10. That makes perfect sense in a way ( as I was once a believer just as you ), but by contrast, consider a person such as myself who possessed a strong faith in God, then lost it, and then ultimately realized that I must face my own morbid existence totally alone.

    To have my protective wall of faith stripped away by a long, unflinching examination of the claims of Christianity was not a pleasant discovery. There is no one "up there", and I accept that. Does that make me happy ? Of course it doesn't. :mellow:
  11. theleastofthese

    theleastofthese SF Friend Staff Alumni

    I once met - a long time ago - an elderly lady not in the best of circumstances tho the happiest person on earth. She was a Theosophist (sp?) and she told me, as I was helping her find a store, that Theosophists believe that God is within each one of us and that WE must be the Divine Being we want to have faith in. Does that make any sense??:blink:

    Anyway, her philosophy about life has never been forgotten and I really enjoyed and respected her perspective. Something to think about...

  12. Interesting theory. If I possessed the divine power of a god then I would instantly will myself into non-existsence. What an appealing concept. ( deep sigh )
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2007
  13. PoetMan

    PoetMan Well-Known Member

    As I believe I stated, I consider myself a Christian, though I also have a Muslim name and a Jewish name. I'm more of a spiritualist than a good follower of Jesus, so in this respect I hold with Prozac.

    My family on the other hand seems to think that all my problems can be solved with a weekly dose of vitamin church. This I no longer agree with.

    Preston - Yussef Al-Lat - Yeshua Shlomo
  14. immure

    immure Account Closed

    ya tricky stuff
    its good to move
    hearts mind
  15. TG123

    TG123 Well-Known Member

    God has always been there for me, even when I had no idea He was there.

    When I was an arrogant young kid who thought the world revolved around me and had only pride and self-righteousness, he didn't give up on me. Later when I was in jr high school and being beaten and insulted and spat on and slammed into lockers, God stood by me and refused to let me kill myself or the ppl who were tormenting me. When I was in high school and thought I had all the answers, He taught me that I didn't. When my friend committed suicide, He comforted me and was there for me and allowed me to accept Him.
    When my family fights, He is there and gives me strength. When my close friend left me and I wanted to kill myself and felt like a loser and a nothing, He held me back from the brink and allowed me to learn more about Him and myself.

    He was there for me in my hardest moments. As His hands were being nailed to the cross, He was suffering for me. And for you. And for everyone.

    He forgave me and loves me and allowed me to come to Him. He is my source of joy and strenghth. And when I die, whether in 50 years or 4 years or a month or 2 minutes, I know I will enter Heaven and spend eternity with Him.

    If it wasn't for my faith, I would be dead now. It keeps me alive and when I die, Jesus will take me to Heaven with Him. It is for nothing I did and I don't deserve His grace or His mercy or His love. I deserve to be suffering eternally in Hell, but He has given me everlasting life, and offers it to everyone who pts their faith in Him.

    My faith has only helped me. Jesus is my LifeSaver.

    Cristo Vive!
    - Tomasz
  16. Hello, TG. Your statements are made with such conviction. What kind of answers do you have for myself and indeed the multitudes of former believers who put their faith, and in fact their very lives, into the hands of Christ and yet still found themselves wanting ?

    Will the blame be placed upon ourselves ? did we lack enough faith ? did we not pray hard enough ? not read our Bibles ? ad infinitum.....

    For every testimony such as yours extolling the benefits of trusting Christ, there can be found others such as myself who ( unfortunately ) discovered only empty promises and endless excuses ( see above )

    I am happy for you that you feel content in your faith ( I am not mocking you ) but when advertising your godly solution and for the sake of honesty it is only fair if one incudes the hits ( you ) as well as the misses ( myself ).

    Please, you needn't reply on my account ( although you likely shall :smile: ) because I have already learned a difficult and painful lesson when it concerns the claims of faith in Christ. Peace.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2007
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