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#270911 - 01/12/09 12:03 AM I'm almost an agnostic
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1929
Loc: durham, north england
Going on from my realization that I no longer have any sense of God, this is again a decision I'm coming to.

Yes, when I was 7 I had a direct experience of the presence of God, ---- which prompted me to have a major interest in religion and theology (I went to several of my mum's theology lectures when she was doing a degree in it when i was about 10-11), for a while I even wanted to be audaned.

during my abuse as a teenager though, I lost that sense of God entirely, I was just far too focused upon the moment and the lack of time. Though I do remember getting a lot from the meditation I did during my work experience at 15 which was at Nottingham university chaplaincey. When I got to my A-levels, things started to come back,----- in fact I had another religious experience at the age of 19 when for the first and only time in my life I saw actual stars thanks to the clarity of the skies over the french alps.

My last experience was in the third year of my degree when I was 22, at a lecture on plotinus and some of his meditation exercises.

sinse then though, I've just not felt anything, and as i've slipped down into depression those memories of the sense of God have just faded and lost meaning.

I can stil debate theology, but that's all it is, a debate. It has no foundation anymore.

While I don't think I'd go quite as far as doubting God's existance, ----- I think this is entirely to do with the position i'm in, not anything from God, everything that made me believe in the actual and tangible existence of a loving, infinite power in the universe is just not working anymore.

I'm nearly at the stage of declaring myself officially agnostic, and classifying God in the same catagory as I think of people's experiences of ghosts or the paranormal, ---- ie, I'm uncertain and don't have enough information to comment either way.

Sinse I'm going to be traveling for the first time in 5 years, ----- first to the Italian alps for a week, then to Egypt, perhaps I'll find something to remind me, but at the moment it just doesn't seem like it'll happen.

I'm sorry to everyone who replied to my last post. The hole concept of "faith" is utterly incomprehensible to me, and I see no point at all in trying to pray when I have no sense that i'm in a position for anyone to listen.

while I know there are people here who've managed that sort of thing, ---- it's just utterly beyond me!

having had a close and special relationship with God at one point, it just seems dam near impossible to do it now.

I also am expressly talking about God here. Even when I was in my most theological, I wasn't particularly Christian, and in fact counted myself as a universalist as the more I studdied about various faiths, the more I found the God I knew involved. I even stil have a set of religious symbols (including a crucifix) on my mantlepiece, ---- just as a reminder, though I'm considdering removing them.

Btw, yes I know the footsteps poem, and it sounds utterly wrong! being carried is being protected, being warm, being close to someone, I feel none of these things.

Maybe, certainly while not of the same catagory of thing Walkingsouth mentioned in his post, ---- I personally reasoned (and probably could stil argue), the hole punishment/reward thing out when I was about 10, I do wonder if this is as Larry said, also an instance of spiritual abuse?


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#270941 - 01/12/09 08:39 AM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: dark empathy]
nathan555 Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 230
Loc: Australia
My response is that when my CSA surfaced my first response was
but for the power of the love of Jesus
in the simply Sunday School Hymn
"Jesus loves me this I know..."
I would not have survived

I don't want to sound trite
honestly - it's only faith in Jesus that keeps me going

it's only seeing His pain that takes away mine


do I struggle yes but He gives me hope

do I have fantacies and expressions of my dark side which hide my vision of Him? yes

amazingly He keeps bringing me through

I hope to show His love and that other survivors can have hope too

I am in the same mess but my faith gives me hope past my pain

Nathan 5

_________________________
5 depending on God's grace gives hope
6 my dark side , my hurt inner being my struggle
8 looking to the day of overcomming

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#271056 - 01/13/09 06:59 AM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: nathan555]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1929
Loc: durham, north england
Nathan, I'm glad you found something that works for you, but for me that answer just doesn't.

Being loved by God was for me a distinct, warm and tangible sense, something I could see and touch and know and remember.

Those memories just don't mean anything anymore, it's like remembering a close and loving friend who you haven't seen for years. You have no doubt that that person was there, that you shared something, but as time goes on that friend becomes less and less relevant to your life, to the point where their just a memory.

If you have no more contact with that friend, this is the way things stay.

"faith" for me just seems impossible, sinse how exactly can I accept that I'm being loved and supported when I feel nothing of this.

When I lost my site at age 7, my sense of God was incredibly clear, real and distinct, and my sense of being loved. That is just not here now.

As for the "for the bible tells me so" bit, again, it's just not something that helps me.

It might be me being too rational, but I cannot "feel" something is the case simply because I'm told it is, and it's that feeling of the love of God which I just see as missing.


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#271077 - 01/13/09 09:13 AM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: dark empathy]
nathan555 Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 230
Loc: Australia
I struggle to open up my dark side to allow myself to feel God's love as sadly until recently He only had His side of my wall of pain and shame

The fact is my dark side is in darkness and my efforts to explore it have not suceeded so far

I read posts of men who feel their emotions
emotions to do with my abuse remain frozen

If you are in a similar place it will take the unthawing of your emotions to feel the love of God - or anyones love


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#271090 - 01/13/09 10:46 AM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: nathan555]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1929
Loc: durham, north england
I don't think it's a darkside thing with me, ---- in fact I'm not precisely what you mean by "dark side"

the acceptance explanation might be nearer the truth sinse I find it difficult to believe that anyone would wish to care for me in a real way, ---- and that probably counts God. Accept i have tried all the old methods I used to use when i wished to feel closer to God, meditation, walking in the country, ---- but it just doesn't seem to work.

this is why I say I'm feeling almost like an agnostic. While I don't think I'd go so far as to doubt the experiences I had myself, I'm almost at the stage of believing that rather than being all accepting and all loving, God is only accessible to certain people and at certain times.

I used to think that to find God, it was only necessary to look. But I've been looking as damnably hard as I can, and getting no where, and literally no answer.


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#271097 - 01/13/09 11:51 AM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: dark empathy]
petercorbett Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 2433
Loc: TEXAS
Hi Guys. I sure do feel the same like you all. In fact I even wrote a letter to god. Titled Trusting God No Longer. Most of the time I think that it still fits my current situation. And in the end I still want some answers, BEFORE..............I get sent to hell.
Heal well, my friends/brothers.
Pete (Irishmoose)

_________________________
Working Boys' Home 10-14 yrs old, grades 5-8. 1949-1953
____________________________________________________________
A very humble alumni of the WOR Dahlonega, GA.
May 15-17 2009, Alta, Sep. 2009. Sequoia, 2010.
Hope Springs, 2010.


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#271139 - 01/13/09 05:35 PM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: petercorbett]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1929
Loc: durham, north england
Hmmmm, why do you think you'll be sent to hell Peter?

It might just be all the theology, but whether or not God is there, I'm not convinced of the punishment thing at all.

I could put my reasons down, ---- but that would be very much getting into the theological arguement side of things, and i don't really want to do that when I have no sense anymore about what I'm arguing about. it was actually discussing theology with someone that made me realize I no longer knew God.

I would say though that personally, it strikes me these matters are hard enough to deal with on their own without adding fear on top of them.


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#271144 - 01/13/09 05:53 PM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: dark empathy]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Luke,

Why worry about Hell if there is no God.
Seems sort of pointless does it not?

A saying that I heard in an AA meeting.

Religion is for those who have not been to hell.
Spirituality is for those have.

I understand your point about love. There is a difference between having someone tell you that they love you. And those who show you by their actions that they love you.
To me action means a hell of alot more then mere words.

From my experience you will find God where and when you least expect too.

Mike



_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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#271157 - 01/13/09 06:24 PM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: michael banks]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1929
Loc: durham, north england
Hi Mike.

this is what people have told me about God, but despite several years slipping into depression, culminating in a major crash last year I stil haven't found the God that I used to know, which is why i'm now almost feeling like an agnostic.

While i've never bene tempted to start blaming God for abandoning me or anything so dramatic, it does seem that I've for a long time been very distant from God indeed.

In Cs lewis novel perilandra someone actually is arguing about death life and the fear of death, and mentions that if there is a God, he would only concern himself with the living, those in the pleasant good world of life and not with those abandoned after death.

this is how I'm feeling at the moment. I remember reading at one point someone who said sin created a wall betwene God and people. While i've never particularly subscribed to the sin concept, ---- just like I've never subscribed to or been concerned about the idea of hell, I do wonder if it's not sin that creates a wall betwene God and people, but suffering, ---- in which case what is the good of the love of God if it can only be experienced by those who are not suffering?

I'm really sorry if this offends anyone, --- it's certainly not my intention to. As I said, this is very particularly the place I am at the moment and not meant to be judgmental of others.

This is why, ----- even if i somehow decided God probably does not exist, ---- which I have to say is an unlikely decision to make sinse it would involve completely reexplaining my previous experiences of the presence of God, I'd stil class myself as an agnostic rather than an atheist, ---- ie someone who is uncertain, or has no data about the existance or otherwise of God, rather than someone who (for reasons best known to themselves), actively believes and encourages the belief that there is no God.

I have a friend who calls himself an atheist but who is more an agnostic, sinse he does not think I've lied to him about my religious experiences, ---- he just says he literally can't process my meaning, like a computer reading a file it's not meant to, where as the active atheists i've run into tend to want to dismiss or explain away my experiences.

I think though I am getting close to minimizing God, or reassessing my notion of God being all loving.


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#271192 - 01/13/09 08:01 PM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: dark empathy]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Luke,

To me sin is nothing more than selfishness or self-centerness.

God never rejects or condemns us, we do that our selves by our own selfish behaviors.(sins)

Like the story of the prodical son.

Where the father gave his son his inheritance in advance. And the son when out and spent on all on his own selfish desires.Until he found himself utterly pennilless.
What did they father do? But love and long for his son's safe return. Watching daily for his to return to him. Did he go out seaching for him? No because he knew that his son had to go out into the world and find himself,realize who truely loved him.

At the return of the son what was the reaction of the father?
Did he condemn or blame him for his choices?
No he threw a celbration at his safe return and welcomed him home.

This how I view God's love for me.
Like the love I feel for my own children. That no matter what choices in life that they may make I will always love them.And I will always look for their safe return so we can celbrate their importance to me and my life.

God is always there loving us and waiting for us to return to him.
We feel God's persence when we allow ourselves to be open to him.
For me it is as easy as that.

Mike

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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#271217 - 01/13/09 09:20 PM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: michael banks]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1929
Loc: durham, north england
Leaving aside the notion of sin or selfishness for a while (which would get into a much too theological debate for the time being), my problem with the prodigal son example is that where is God?

I did not choose to be here, I am here because i'm trying to fix my life and recover from my experiences.

While It probably is the case that it is me who has in some way moved away from God and not the other way around, the more I try searching for God and failing, the less able to believe that God can possibly be as accessible as everyone says. If it only takes looking for god in order to find God, ---- then why have I not found God?

I'm beginning to think that god mmust be a distant unconcerned being. If you are with him, that's good for you and fair enough, but if your not, your not.

It's like a river flowing through a desert. When your walking beside the river you can get water, but if you walk, ----- oor are dragged off into the desert you simply can't. You are lost, and that is that. The river, though a source of life and water when your beside it, is no use to you at all when your away from it, and if you are so far out into the desert that you no longer can see the river, and cannot find your way back, your just stuck, the river cannot come to you, and if you are unable to come to it, ---- well too bad.

It doesn't matter whether you chose to walk away from the river or were forceably dragged off by something else, either way it's just tough luck on you.


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#271223 - 01/13/09 10:22 PM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: dark empathy]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Luke,

God gave all mankind the freedom to do as we please.
Some people use this freedom to fulfill the desires at the expense of others. Which is what happened to you and I.
So are we responsiable what someone chooses to do? Is God?

Even Jesus had his time in the desert. Maybe it is just part of what we all have to experience in life.
On the cross did not even Jesus cry out "Why have you forsaken me" and he knew from the beginning of time the fate that was instore for himself.
Pain is never something we want to feel. Even if you are god in the flesh. It is human nature not to want to feel pain.

Maybe the separatness you feel towards from God is just your pain. Or your unwillingness to accept it as part of your life.
In time you will understand why you had to undergo these horrible experiences.

My use of the prodigal son is only an example of his unconditional love for his children no matter what.

These are never easy questions or answers.

To choose to have faith is up up each person.
He gave us all that choice.

Hope you have peace in whatever you choose.

Take care for, God loves you. You are one of his children.

Mike



_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

Top
#271224 - 01/13/09 10:33 PM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: nathan555]
nathan555 Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 230
Loc: Australia
hey guys
I mentioned God once
and I mentioned that my hope is God's love
please if my faith offends you , look past it to see my despair
I want to hear of your strategies for survival

I might have this rope of hope

but really, right now I am in the darkness of exploring that I was abused

too numb to feel the pain

to use one posted analogy
yes - out in the hot, dry desert,
I know there is a stream

and I struggle with raging desire from within
and I hate it

it can take hours to bring it under control

my darkness hides my hope
I am embarrased that I have ssa desires from within
but I don't want to act out
but its there
fuck its there

and I am in torment

I spent all morning wanting a smoke when I don't want to be addicted to smoking

I don't deny my faith

but right now I am in darkness
like shit

Nathan

_________________________
5 depending on God's grace gives hope
6 my dark side , my hurt inner being my struggle
8 looking to the day of overcomming

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#271227 - 01/13/09 10:42 PM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: nathan555]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Nathan,

You are not alone in your faith or recovery.
pm me anytime you need to talk.

Your Brother in Christ.

Mike

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

Top
#271230 - 01/13/09 11:05 PM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: michael banks]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1929
Loc: durham, north england
Hi Michael.

I am not offended by anyone's position here. It's all individualistic anyway. If other people can find something helpful, ---- that's fine, even if it is something I cannot myself understand.

an atheist once told me I believe in God because I had this magic thing called faith, which was the ability to believe something just for the sake of believing it.

I replied that was not true. I believed in God's existence through direct experience, remembering those experiences and recieving echoes of them throughout life.

I no longer have those echoes, so I no longer havae a belief.

This is not a choice. I have searched, asked, and if I had my choice I would want my relationship with God back.

I also cannot believe that God is in any way involved with what i am feeling now, --- ie, that there is something which I am "supposed" according to God to learn.

the God I used to know would not treat people in that way as a means, but i do not want to get onto the problem of evil, sinse while I do have a clear position on the subject, if I started outlining it i'd again be talking about a God which i no longer had any sense of, which is just the sort of thing I want to avoid.


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#271242 - 01/13/09 11:43 PM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: dark empathy]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Luke,

Learning is what life is all about from the time we are born till the day we die.

As I believe God created us in his image. We are his children why would he not be involved in all aspects of our lives.

It is all about choice.
God will not force his will upon us.
You have made your choice.
You are no longer almost agnostic but a full fledged one.
So I see our discussion is over.
Glad I could have been of help.

As always nice talking to you.

Mike

ps; remember you are still one of his children.




_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

Top
#271264 - 01/14/09 03:43 AM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: michael banks]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1929
Loc: durham, north england
I'm sorry Michael, as I said I have no antagonism towards your position at all, it's just that personally I do not find some of the specifically Christian answers here which you have given as helpful at this moment as I could do, for instance the idea that God is involved in all aspects of life, including my current situation and that this is something I can "choose" of myself to change due to all the associated freewill arguements.

As I said in the spirituality thread, I never made any claime to be a Christian at all.

I'm incredibly sorry if this answer causes you trouble, I'm just trying to be as honest as I can about the position I'm in at the moment.


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#271267 - 01/14/09 04:27 AM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: dark empathy]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Luke,

Your beliefs are yours and mine are mine.
To each their own. As I have repeatly stated in my replies God give us all the freedom of choice. So who am I to disrespect your choice of belief.
It causes me no trouble what so ever whether you have faith in God or not.
I am not here to convert or even to try and convert anyone to my belief. That is not my responsability nor do I want it.
Like you I struggled with my belief in God for many years.I was just sharing with you my beliefs.
Honesty is what relationships are about. Even if we we don't agree on everything. no need to be sorry.

Mike

ps; in the prodgical son- the father is god.

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

Top
#271301 - 01/14/09 11:40 AM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: michael banks]
Juni Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor


Registered: 12/10/08
Posts: 502
Loc: Florida, WPB
Nathan,

I know how your are feeling. Like you, I (and probably many of us) struggle with the dark side on a regular basis. I am new to SA recovery and I have not arrived in any sense of the word. I am a work in progress, with ups and downs, success and failures. I am still tormented and sometimes I have to fight one hour at a time and other times I am better. God gives me the strength to continue to fight so I can say that today I am better. This is where faith and growth come in. I need prayers from my brothers in Christ regularly. I really can’t stand it when I feel weak and I feel worst when I fail. So, I ask for forgiveness and continue to build on my faith and strength.

Juni

_________________________
Today I'm O.K.
One day at a time I make the journey.

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#271311 - 01/14/09 01:39 PM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: Juni]
petercorbett Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 2433
Loc: TEXAS
Hi, all my friends/brothers, posted above. I take no offense to what anybody had to say. If I can't really understand or find ME, than how can I find God?
Heal well, my friends/brothers.
Pete (Irishmoose)

_________________________
Working Boys' Home 10-14 yrs old, grades 5-8. 1949-1953
____________________________________________________________
A very humble alumni of the WOR Dahlonega, GA.
May 15-17 2009, Alta, Sep. 2009. Sequoia, 2010.
Hope Springs, 2010.


Top
#271312 - 01/14/09 02:32 PM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: petercorbett]
joelRT Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor


Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 1357
Loc: Québec, Canada
Hey Pete,

Here's a thought - what if you let God find you? Usually works better that way.

Stop chasing after God and at the same time stop running from God. Just sit in one spot for awhile - keep your heart open to all possibilities and God will find you.

God found me, and I didn't even want to be found! I'm glad of it now I can tell you.........

_________________________
My Story 1
My Story 2
The longest journey we take is to self-discovery

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#271363 - 01/14/09 10:18 PM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: joelRT]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Pete,

From your posts you are finding the true Pete everyday.
It won't be long till you will know yourself real well.
Keep up the good work and in time you will find God too.

Mike

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

Top
#271391 - 01/15/09 06:28 AM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: joelRT]
nathan555 Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 230
Loc: Australia
yeah
me too
I was so overcome tonight I was faint
and cried out to God

He gave me strength to keep going
Nathan 5

ps apologies to those who find me a pain

_________________________
5 depending on God's grace gives hope
6 my dark side , my hurt inner being my struggle
8 looking to the day of overcomming

Top
#271404 - 01/15/09 09:12 AM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: nathan555]
joelRT Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor


Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 1357
Loc: Québec, Canada
I'm not sure anyone finds you to be a pain per se Nathan. You belong here at MS - just find your place, man, that's all.

_________________________
My Story 1
My Story 2
The longest journey we take is to self-discovery

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#271409 - 01/15/09 09:43 AM Re: I'm almost an agnostic [Re: joelRT]
nathan555 Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 230
Loc: Australia
Joel
thanks for granting me a sence of belonging

I really do want to find my place

thanks to all the guys who basically told me to quit the excuses
and striped me of pretence
and reminded me its my responsibality to process my stuff
and to respect others
I feel like I am dscovering my manhood in a new way
Nathan 5

_________________________
5 depending on God's grace gives hope
6 my dark side , my hurt inner being my struggle
8 looking to the day of overcomming

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