spiritual emptiness

Some time after turning 27, I experienced a mid-life crisis of sorts. I questioned everything -- seemingly endless introspection. I cast aside everything I'd been taught about EVERYTHING and determined to learn the truth of these matters for myself. Same tired question – how to reconcile the existence of "God" with the presence of so much "evil". I know the counter-arguments, be they theological or philosophical. Satan is to blame. Men are to blame. I talked and talked and talked with anyone who was agreeable, and many who were not. None of this made me feel any better at all. After some time, I determined that I was accountable to no "one" save myself, and that even should there be a "higher power" (something I never totally dismissed) I had no use for It whatsoever.


I changed things. Fixed everything that was broken, so to speak – almost. Dissatisfied with my apartment, left it. Dissatisfied with my job, left it. Less unquestioning acceptance, or "faith believing" if you will. Read more, exercise more, live more. Abandonment of years of pre-programmed inhibitions. I wanted to argue with everyone who would disagree with my new philosophy, which was basically that Christianity (and all organized religions for that matter) is for blind, stupid cows.


Thanks to my upbringing, it is an easy thing for me to argue the bible. I've got verses by the tons, and can twist them anyway you want them, and have, but there is no joy in it. Kway used to make me so mad! (Sorry.) Even used to get mad at the Rev – (sorry, Rev, you've been very good to me.) You know the argument: "If such-and-such is getting into heaven, you can be damned sure I will!" I eventually came to the realization that no argument I made, no matter how well-worded or supported, affected Kway, and that he seemed like a pretty happy guy, and if spirituality had anything to do with it – so be it. I envy that. Always have.


I was a maddeningly inquisitive child. I remember being sent to my room as a little tiny thing for interjecting at inopportune times such questions as "Yeah, but where did He come from? Who's His MOM and DAD?" You don't want to know the rest of the things I came up with through the years to infuriate the righteous. I have always had a real problem with the intangible. Somewhere along the way I learned the wisdom of silence -- even followed along (at least outwardly). I prayed. I sang. I was a coat-hanger-wrapped-in-tinsel haloed angel in the Christmas plays. Regretfully, I stopped going to church before I was old enough to play Mary, which may have worked out for the best as I had wicked, wicked plans for that baby-doll Jesus when my turn came around.


As an adult, I decided that a little respectability was called for. Certainly everyone I knew attended church AT LEAST on the holidays. Besides, after I became a mom, I didn't want to be held accountable for the raising of a little heathen child. Church is fun for little people, or, in the very least – a positive social environment/outlet. I listened. I read along. Sometimes I laughed – okay, I laughed a lot of the times and that was bad, but sometimes I cried, and that was worse. The only thing these teachings ever inspired in me was helplessness. Helplessness to feel anything I was "supposed" to feel. I was reminded of all this recently by Raw Dawg's posting about his little sister -- I was touched, and sooo sorry to hear it, and said so, but I did not offer to pray, and felt ashamed of myself in retrospect. If anyone asked me "back in the day" to pray for such-and-such, I would do it, and mean it. But I never felt like it made a difference, because I never felt anything at all, and this seemed the highest form of hypocrisy.


(cont.)

I once told the Rev that the only thing clear to me is that way too many people become helplessly entangled with the rituals and doctrines and GUILT associated with religion, and all of these things distract us from the purpose in believing in something bigger than ourselves. If there is such a Something, and I'm afraid the acknowledgement is beyond the likes of such as I.

I also told him that even if in the end his faith was proved worthless, the rest of us will still wish we'd had it. I still believe that. What good is knowing you are right in not believing, when emptiness is the only reward?

I offer this to the Holyground because there are no consequences for sharing with "virtual strangers". You may advise me, or you may laugh at me -- and as those who know me can attest, I welcome both.

"You may advise me, or you may laugh at me"

Nah, you sound much too smart to give advice to, but I did laugh at the part about violating the baby Jesus doll.

I enjoyed your post. I haven't seen you here before so welcome. Btw I am by far the smartest guy on this forum so don't even think about debating me. I will bring you down. I will bring you down to chinatown.

Seriously though, you seem like a very interesting person.

P.S. Your writing is very articulate. Is it a gift, or do you have some secondary education in english?

You're very kind. I was no english major.

Be assured that I would not think of debating the smartest guy on this forum...at least not on this subject, and certainly not after the threat of chinatown.

I respectfully await advice, criticism -- anything.

Very cool post Jenny. Thanks for sharing.

ttt for later...

Don't know what there is to argue with. I don't remember argueing with you before, but I hope you are doing better. Don't really understand what you are trying to do with your thread, maybe just share some of yourself with us, and if that is all, I thank you for it.

and don't be angry with me, I am soooo cute

the rev

That's it, and we did not argue. I am not aware of ever even mentioning it. I was mad at you then for the same reason I admire you now; you are unconventional. again -- all owing to a very strict upbringing.

I think I was hoping for something along the lines of "Something similar happened to me, and this is how I handled it, and now I'm really, really happy."

May the Mrs. Rev forgive me, this cuteness may or may not have something to do with the implied "badassness" of the giant Jesus tattoo which must have hurt something awful.

naw, didn't hurt much, I just thought I was gonna die for about five hours :)

Are you feeling spiritually empty now? I was lead to Christ by a group of people that genuinely loved each other. Seems to me when Jesus said love God, love your neighbor, he knew what he was talking about.

the rev

yes. and as i mentioned, it prompts the questioning of everything that has not been "proven" to me.

i don't know that i can be led to anything. maybe that's the problem.

well, proof is always subject to interpretation.

I'll pray for clarity, and faith. But you do know the way of love, and if you are only gonna know one thing...

the rev

thanks for sharing.

"I also told him that even if in the end his faith was proved worthless, the rest of us will still wish we'd had it. I still believe that. What good is knowing you are right in not believing, when emptiness is the only reward?"

I'm sorry but you could not be any further from the truth. Just like you(and most of america)I was spoon fed christianity from birth.When I finally came to my senses and realized christianity was "the greatest story ever sold" and was false I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.That was over 5 years ago,and I have never been happier in my entire life!I am so glad I don't have faith in an Imaginary god.I guarantee emptiness is not the only reward in not believing.


Your Story sounds so similar to mine it's scary,I can give you plenty of websites/forums with people who feel just like you and can give you support during these difficult times of questioning faith ect..I wish you the best of luck in your persuit of Truth.

Great post:) -B.C.

i see no harm in the bible, or the stories or "guidelines" contained therein. i just don't believe the literal interpretations, and it seems the "rules" that cannot be misconstrued are common sense -- for that matter, just plain common.

it is good that you are so happy, but it doesn't exactly account for your frequenting this forum. (?)

i am very much interested in the websites you mentioned.

"i see no harm in the bible, or the stories or "guidelines" contained therein"

I am not trying to be rude but have you read the bible?
If you have I don't understand how you can see no harm in the stories. God murdered thousands of people and ordered many more of them to be murdered.There are stories of incest,bigotry,sexism,racism..I just don't understand how you don't have a problem with that?............anyway here are a few websites you can research.

ffrf.org/

http://atheism.about.com (click on forums)

here is a links page that will take you to several other websites...

http://therantsoflogic.homestead.com/mylinks.html

best of luck- B.C.

I'd like to point out that here is another thread in which you are challenging my beliefs, yet I say nothing.

the rev

Jenny,

I feel you - lol - here's maybe a response you were looking for...

I was raised Baptist - and darn it if it doesn't hurt getting hit in the head with that Bible. *she rubs head*. Bob and weave baby. Humor is a coping strategy, no disrespect intended. Seriously though, at about the same age as you, I was starving to understand my God and had all the same questions and I still struggle with those issues. What has changed? Hmmmmm...my perspective, I guess. Organized religion is man made and therefore inherently flawed IMO, but I'm flawed too (but shhhh, don't tell anyone, thanks). I have no expectation to get "answers" from my church - comfort and guidance yes - but answers come from my personal and daily walk with God. It is my journey and responsibility. My friends (some Christian and some non-Christian) and I will get into a discussion about why God "allows" some things to happen and I say three words "fall of man" and then smack the closest man to me in the back of the head. LOL.

I began, and continue to, research the "historical Jesus". I guess I thought if I could really understand everything about His life that it would give mine more meaning and definition. *shrug* It has. At the same time this really kicked into high gear for me, I was also a youth group leader. My kids kept me honest, no one smells hipocracy like a teenager and they will call you out. LOL. They taught me people really do respond to love. I pray for wisdom, guidance, and love (the ability to give and receive it). Really digesting the worldly life of Jesus helped me and I look at any religion through the eyes of history.

bjjchic,

humor IS an excellent strategy, and you've made some very good points.

the reason the subject is not truly debatable is because it's so personal...which is most likely the reason no answer satisfies me. proof is subjective.

the historical approach is a sensible one -- even if jesus existed only in the literary sense, you'd be hard pressed to find a better role model.

i appreciate everyone's feedback.

I'm going through the same crisis, your not alone.