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Author Topic: Losing my Religion  (Read 1307 times)
Justicia et Pax
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« on: December 17, 2013, 12:47:01 AM »

Sorry, just felt like putting a song title as the thread title - don't panic just yet!  Wink

Well as the thread title hints, I feel like I'm losing my faith. As you wonderful folk know, I haven't had the easiest ride what with severe mental health problems, being abused by someone in a position of authority and trust, and a verbally/psychologically abusive father to throw into the mix too.

I've put this in the Mysticism section because I feel that the potential losing of faith process that I may be entering might be linked to what I consider to be mystical experiences I've had. In 2010 I had a very painful few months which was the height of the abuse I underwent at uni. At the same time, though, it was the most incredibly spiritual time of my life. I felt like I finally knew a bit more about God and was certain of His unconditional, unwavering love for me. He spoke to me on occasion and during this time I felt the presence of St Therese of Lisieux too. I read 'Interior Castle' by St Teresa of Avila and it struck a profound chord with me. I tried to read St John of the Cross but it was too advanced and dense for me at that point (still is, really. My ability to read has been shot by the schizoaffective disorder and severe depression).

Like I say, that was in 2010. Here I am, at the close of 2013, not having known the presence of God for an incredibly long time - coming close to 3 years (since 2011 had splatterings of spiritual experiences). I fear churches because they trigger my psychosis, so I am isolated from the church community. I have an SD who is wonderful when I see him, but I rarely see him because he is very busy and has a family (having entered the Church through the Ordinariate) and is bad at replying to messages. So basically I feel very alone. I doubt all the experiences I had and the feelings and knowledge and total immersion in God's love for me. I'm beginning to think it was all just part of the psychosis.

I know that God tries to wean those who rely on experiences off them by denying them those very experiences. I presumed that was what was happening at first and though I wasn't happy about such a thing, I tried to take comfort in the fact that God is surely always there. But now I just really don't know.

I'm not even sure why I am writing this. Does anyone have any thoughts? Pearls of wisdom? Can anyone relate? Am I just transferring a mistrust of humans onto God? What's going on?

For the record, I do still believe in God and it's hard to see that ever changing for me. At the same time, I feel like I am dying inside.

Please help if you can  Cry
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Alan
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2013, 06:58:48 AM »

I had many spiritual experiences while I was manic.  At the time they were profound, and even had a role in guiding my actions toward situations that were amazingly customized, for me, at that particular moment.  It was self-evident.

But then later when I regained my sanity it seemed like, "gosh that seemed strange I was in a really weird state of mind," for a lot of it.

But ... but ... now that I've not only quit being psycho in my symptoms (I'm thinking it's in the behavior more than the thoughts -- psycho may be a leak that springs when your mind can no longer comprehend the bullshit it is given to work with) but gotten a New Outlook on things and gotten used to it a little bit, it's coming back.  I knew it was real at the time and now I'm again "seeing" how those things could be real.

I think "losing religion" as in "not believing everything I'm supposed to" is an entirely healthy thing.  The other day I asked my pastor if he's ready to hear my latest heresy.  He said, "of course."  (I hope I haven't posted on this already but oh well) So I told him, "it is not necessary to believe ANYTHING in the Creed we recite every week, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven."  He stood there a few seconds ... and picked up his book and looked at it a minute or so and said, "well maybe the part about believing He will come again to judge?"  I don't remember the rest of the discussion, but IMO if he thinks about it he will realize that we don't have to believe that part, even.

I really do believe Jesus came to free us FROM religion -- specifically oppressive and manipulative and anxiety-producing and excuse-to-be-mean religious beliefs.

All that said, do not consider me as being "against" the Church or a great deal of what it does.  At least not at this point, like I was a year and a half ago.  I can see how everything came to pass the way it did, and how it's OK that it happened that way.

Gosh while I'm thinking of heresies, it occurred to me the other day that Christians like to go around saying, "the ends justify the means."  I understand why this saying exists, but I think it's retarded that people tout it as The Only Truth.  Gosh, does that mean my sins are not justified by the saving power of Christ?  Wouldn't that mean that St. Paul or Augustine or many others, could never be justified?  What about the "dishonest servant" in the Gospel who fudges the books to gain friends?  He was praised for his acts, by the person his acts supposedly hurt.  I think in this story the master is actually the one who learns something, but is astute enough to notice it and remark on it.

Luke 16:

16 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’

3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’

5 “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’

6 “‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied.

“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’

7 “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’

“‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied.

“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’

8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.


So how does this story reconcile with "the ends don't justify the means?"  Not well at all, does it?

I say religion, the way it's presented the vast majority of the time and very much so in Catholicism, does not accomplish its original stated purpose (the main thing I think it's useful for anyway) to remove people from the mental "Matrix" that cultures create in people's minds.... IOW an antidote for the culture.  And that's why religions are different; different culture have different ways of thinking so they have different needs.  But the problem is our religion is presented as a bunch of rules and intellectual facts, and they had all that shit before Jesus ever came.  He might as well not have bothered.

If we had jerks on here, surely one would take me to task for this, saying that I'm claiming it's OK to do just anything no matter how evil, just because we think it could help in the long run.  There's a problem there; whether the "ends justify the means" and whether I should disregard the morality of my actions completely and consider only what I see as long-term effects, are two different things.

But neither would I say, "the ends DO justify the means."

I might want to say, "it came out OK but I'm still pissed at you," but not get on a soapbox and say, "the ends don't justify the means" as if it were TRVTH from heaven.  And that I'm pissed because of that.  I think the statement is used more than anything else, to punish somebody for something that ended up well -- because for one reason or other the go can't let go.  OF COURSE it can be a teaching moment, etc.

Sorry I'm arguing with nobody as if I were on CAF again.   Grin  I guess since more of my Internet these days is not necessarily Catholic, when I get back here I automatically get defensive I guess.    Roll Eyes

See?  That place can drive me nuts.  I think I'll ask them nicely if I can get back in.  Wink

Alan
« Last Edit: December 21, 2013, 07:07:24 AM by Alan » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2013, 07:18:08 AM »


8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.[/color]


Notice that the master says, "I TELL YOU ..." so this isn't just a story about an event, but about the master's recognition of a teaching moment during the event.

I mean, how clear can this get:  THE MASTER COMMENDED THE MAN FOR HIS "DISHONEST AND ILLEGAL" DEEDS.  And the man did it knowing damn well it was wrong but that it would bring him favor using the master's wealth.

Also notice the master said, "use worldly wealth ... " but did not make the distinction of whether you have legal right to that worldly wealth.  Shocked

Surely this isn't what we hear -- after all Thou Shalt Not Steal?  And the master commended the servant for stealing against him?  Is this not an indictment of the so-called "absoluteness" of the Ten Commandments?  Whenever I say something about the applicability of a Commandment, I can already hear the protests in my mind, "they are NOT the Ten Suggestions."  How can they be so absolute, and Jesus tells a story where the master commends a servant for breaking one?  What is right with this picture?  Jesus came to "fulfill" the law.  That doesn't mean add heavy-handed enforcement of the law, but to liberate us from the law that is intended to be the World's Training Wheels.  Morality rules are like training wheels; as long as we depend on our rules to tell us what is right and wrong, we will never be led by the spirit.  And those of us with spiritual experiences during psychosis, just might know something about being led by spirit(s).

Alan
« Last Edit: December 21, 2013, 07:19:51 AM by Alan » Logged

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Justicia et Pax
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2013, 02:35:52 PM »

Morality rules are like training wheels; as long as we depend on our rules to tell us what is right and wrong, we will never be led by the spirit.  And those of us with spiritual experiences during psychosis, just might know something about being led by spirit(s).

Alan

Thanks for writing Alan. I went to see my confessor/SD and spent quite a while telling him how I am, before confessing that I feel like a fraud. He said it's the depression making me have doubts and not to worry about my faith so much, so I'm feeling a little better  Smiley

I was very interested to read your extract from the Bible. Somehow, as a life-long Catholic (baptised at 2 months old!), I've never EVER come across that passage. I wonder why, eh? Maybe someone was trying to desperately hide this side of Jesus from me  Shocked

I like your training wheels analogy. It's very astute. I take comfort from the fact that you still have faith in your experiences even though you have been cleared of psychosis. I think I also spend too much time arguing and having to defend my beliefs from others too (usually militant nutcase atheists on a British student forum, rather than psycho Catholics on CAF), so I think that is probably affecting me quite a bit. Maybe I'm not well enough mentally at the moment to be engaging with these sorts of people  Undecided

Do you know, I was almost about to post this thread on CAF. Can you IMAGINE what kinda responses I would have got?!?!?!?! I shudder to think of what could have ensued, had I done that. So I thank you sincerely, Alan, for having this site for me to turn to in my hour of need. God bless you!  Grin
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