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Possibly recovering my faith after a long period of atheism

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  • Possibly recovering my faith after a long period of atheism

    Hello all,

    For the past year or so, despite the fact that I direct music at a small Methodist church, I have secretly been living as a closet atheist. I just haven't been able to say with any sincerity that I believe in God. However...

    I don't know what exactly got me started down this path, but yesterday I had a sudden yearning for the faith I used to have. I thought to myself, I used to be able to reconcile faith in God with my daily, rational life. What happened?

    I can't say that I'm convinced yet. I still can't say "I believe" with any conviction. But, for some reason, I want to believe again. And I want to figure out why I believe what I believe.

    So...here I am. I'm here to learn (or to re-learn). I think I used to be a member of TWeb back in the day. Good to be back...

    Cory Howell
    Nashville, TN

  • #2
    Hey there, and welcome.

    I don't think I know how to help you (still trying to work out exactly what my own worldview is), but I hope you come out of this journey for the best.

    As a general question, though, could you explain or at least outline how you got to this point and why you want to believe again? I know you said you weren't sure, and I understand that it can be hard to explain and put into words, but is there some basic speculation, at least? I'd be interested in knowing where you came from.
    Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.--Isaiah 1:17

    I don't think that all forms o[f] slavery are inherently immoral.--seer

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    • #3

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      • #4
        Welcome back!

        I was more or less away from church for about 5 years, coinciding with my military service. I don't know that I ever disbelieved, just wandered away. I think that growing up, I may have believed because it was expected. It wasn't until I was away that I eventually realized my need for God. I've found two resources particularly helpful: The Christian Thinktank is something I stumbled across early; later I found The Theology Program, which is a more structured way of examining Christian beliefs.
        Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

        Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
        sigpic
        I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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        • #5


          Welcome back.
          3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures --1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (borrowed with gratitude from 37818's sig)

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          • #6
            square_peg wrote:
            As a general question, though, could you explain or at least outline how you got to this point and why you want to believe again? I know you said you weren't sure, and I understand that it can be hard to explain and put into words, but is there some basic speculation, at least? I'd be interested in knowing where you came from.

            I'll give it my best shot...

            I've never found it easy to believe. I strayed away from the church for a half-dozen years in my mid-20s, and began attending again around 1997. But over the past years since then, I have had bouts (usually a few months at a time) where I was convinced atheism made more sense than theism. There was never any catastrophic event that precipitated these brief periods of atheism; rather, I would sort of casually slip into a mindset wherein I realized God was not something I was interested in. Even when I was a believer, the hardest thing for me was finding any sort of love for God: I could believe in him easily enough, no problem. But when people talked about "loving God as he loved us," I found myself quite incapable of that. I love my wife, I love my kids, I love my extended family, but God? Jesus? I couldn't find anything in my heart or thoughts that resembled love.

            About a year and a half ago, I really felt that I was getting tired of all this back-and-forth between belief and unbelief. My mental and emotional default position settled at unbelief. When my brother died at age 40 a couple months later (diabetes complications), that position was cemented. I didn't feel any sort of anger that "God let my brother die," none of that. Rather, I just couldn't picture my brother being anything but...dead. Eternal life, heaven, all of that...it seemed too improbable. But I didn't share my journey away from faith with anyone, really, because a substantial portion of my income comes from church music. Without that job, my family would be in uncomfortable financial straits. So I pretended to believe for the sake of my job, and family harmony, while inside I was an atheist.

            And that closet atheism has continued up until yesterday. I really don't remember reading anything or hearing anything that made me begin to think about theology. In fact, the most recent religion article I had read, about the family of a 9-year-old Brazilian girl who were excommunicated because she had an abortion, pretty strongly confirmed my atheist stance in my mind. Regardless, yesterday I began to think about theology, and pick up a few books again. I began to consider that some of the most intelligent people I know (including my wife) are believers. I'm not really anywhere near having recovered my faith yet. But I am thinking about it. I'm wondering if there is some way I can reconcile my understanding of the world in which I live with a theistic worldview. I don't have an answer at this time, but I haven't simply responded with a "no." So there's that...

            That's the best outline I can give of my journey thus far.

            Thanks for reading,
            Cory
            Last edited by caspianrex; 10-16-2014, 12:59 PM. Reason: added quote

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            • #7
              Welcome here!

              We hope you will find the answers you are seeking. There is lots of info to find here and lots of people to answer questions.

              I would like to request that you (all) take your questions and answers to the appropriate fora instead of holding discussions here in Admissions.

              If you want to play in here, that is fine, but there are other fora more suited to serious discussions such as this.



              Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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              • #8
                No problem!

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                • #9


                  And welcome!
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                  • #10
                    Welcome.
                    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by caspianrex View Post
                      Hello all,

                      For the past year or so, despite the fact that I direct music at a small Methodist church, I have secretly been living as a closet atheist. I just haven't been able to say with any sincerity that I believe in God. However...

                      I don't know what exactly got me started down this path, but yesterday I had a sudden yearning for the faith I used to have. I thought to myself, I used to be able to reconcile faith in God with my daily, rational life. What happened?

                      I can't say that I'm convinced yet. I still can't say "I believe" with any conviction. But, for some reason, I want to believe again. And I want to figure out why I believe what I believe.

                      So...here I am. I'm here to learn (or to re-learn). I think I used to be a member of TWeb back in the day. Good to be back...

                      Cory Howell
                      Nashville, TN
                      Perhaps it is the community. I disbelieve for several reasons, but I can see religion has a place in society if it accepts science and rejects hardline dogma. I personally miss "knowing" I had objective goodness. I still have emotional turbulence around the issue of religion when it is brought up, but I would not consider myself an antitheist. Your reason my involve other factors, as well.
                      Last edited by __; 10-16-2014, 05:49 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by __ View Post
                        Perhaps it is the community. I disbelieve for several reasons, but I can see religion has a place in society if it accepts science and rejects hardline dogma. I personally miss "knowing" I had objective goodness. I still have emotional turbulence around the issue of religion when it is brought up, but I would not consider myself an antitheist. Your reason my involve other factors, as well.
                        What do you mean by 'objective goodness'?
                        Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                        Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                        sigpic
                        I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Y'all are gonna have to move this thread out of Admissions if you keep this up.



                          Hiya Caspian!

                          Leave while you can ... It's a trap!

                          Welcome to TWeb!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lao tzu View Post
                            Y'all are gonna have to move this thread out of Admissions if you keep this up.
                            Like at the hospital? Ya start off in admissions, and end up in a room?
                            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                              What do you mean by 'objective goodness'?
                              Black and white morality. It made ethical decisions far less gut-wrenching when I put people in broad boxes. Now, everything comes in fifty shades of grey.

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