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If you've experienced a "crisis of faith,"


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what was the catalyst? If you had one, but moved beyond it, to what do you credit the revitalization? If you would describe yourself as having been through a "dry spell" (or say you are currently in a dry spell), what does that look like to you? Do you think a "crisis of faith" is a typical state, common to most people's spiritual journey or is that more likely the beginning of the end for faith (or that expression of faith)?

 

I'm coming from the Christian perspective, but I'm not picky if someone wants to share their thoughts regarding a non-Christian religion.

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I have always known God was there since my accepting, but there were crises where I chose not to communicate as much...most the time from hurt...at those times, it was more out of not wanting to communicate because I feared another disappointment...no communication seemed less painful than trying.

 

FF through the rough periods, looking back I wish I had the blessed assurance I do now...it is as if you are in a room filled with the most brilliant light...you are afraid you while your eyes are closed that the light will not be there if you open your eyes, or if you do, will the brightness be too much to handle...both were dependent on ME...I have learned to face the fears and trust that God meets me where I am...the greatest in me is due to the least of me and the grace and gifts He brings to the table...ya just have to trust.

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I go through dry spells when I get casual in my personal prayers and scripture study. If I do not pray and read daily, things just start falling apart in all areas in my life... spiritually im not feelin it, I get grumpy, distracted by trivial things, I lose perspective of my priorities, I get selfish, and I start doubting. I come back to my senses when I start praying and studying the scriptures again.

 

Faith is like a tree. You have to continue to water it for it to grow and stay alive. When you stop watering, it begins to whither and will eventually die. The longer you've gone w/o water, the longer it takes to get your faith back on track.

 

Hth!

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I would say the two times I have struggled with depression, I have also had a 'crisis of faith' because of the depression.

 

(I figured out my depression was being caused by low vitamin D levels. SO glad I got that figured out!)

 

Any way, I don't really know how to put this, but I don't think I would have had so much of a 'faith crisis' from my depression if I had gotten adequate support during the depression. Sometimes, people close to you *mean* well; they *think* they're helping, or don't know how to help, so they say things like "Well, why don't you pray more" or "You shouldn't feel like that; the Lord should be your joy and strength". Uh, yeah, I agree with all that. But, you know, sometimes there's a REAL PHYSICAL REASON for depression. Like, oh, say, I dunno, horribly low vitamin D levels?! Or any of a plethora of other things BESIDES you're not a 'good enough' Christian?! I totally learned from all that what NOT to say to someone who is struggling with depression.

 

Uh, sorry for the rant. :tongue_smilie: I've never had what I would consider a crisis of faith at any other time, so maybe I'm no help...

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Faith is like a tree. You have to continue to water it for it to grow and stay alive. When you stop watering, it begins to whither and will eventually die. The longer you've gone w/o water, the longer it takes to get your faith back on track.

 

 

Why would that be, though? Wouldn't love for God (or something similar) be a natural buoy? Maybe my mental picture is wrong, but when you say that I think of someone chanting something to themselves frantically to re-convince themselves of it.

 

There is an excellent treatment of this that I find very credible in "The Screwtape Letters" by C. S. Lewis. I recommend it. (It's also very entertaining and wise!)

 

I'm not sure why, but, while I love all The Chronicles of Narnia, I can never stick with any of Lewis' works on faith. I've read a fair amount of The Screwtape Letters, but I got bored with it and quit. I also got bored with The Problem of Pain and A Grief Observed. I don't know why Lewis on faith just doesn't engage me.

 

Any way, I don't really know how to put this, but I don't think I would have had so much of a 'faith crisis' from my depression if I had gotten adequate support during the depression. Sometimes, people close to you *mean* well; they *think* they're helping, or don't know how to help, so they say things like "Well, why don't you pray more" or "You shouldn't feel like that; the Lord should be your joy and strength". Uh, yeah, I agree with all that. But, you know, sometimes there's a REAL PHYSICAL REASON for depression. Like, oh, say, I dunno, horribly low vitamin D levels?! Or any of a plethora of other things BESIDES you're not a 'good enough' Christian?! I totally learned from all that what NOT to say to someone who is struggling with depression.

 

 

That's really lousy and I agree with you. Sorry you had to deal with that.

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There is an excellent treatment of this that I find very credible in "The Screwtape Letters" by C. S. Lewis. I recommend it. (It's also very entertaining and wise!)

 

:iagree: I think everyone has dry spells or rough times or crises. That's normal. I usually deal by making sure to read scriptures and theological books more, and to pray more. Also by looking back and remembering times when I felt the Spirit's influence. Reading C. S. Lewis is always a good idea.

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I don't know if it was a "crisis of faith", but I went through a really hard time when we lost our baby in 2004. I never lost my faith or gave up on God, but I questioned Him a lot. I spent a lot of time doubting and wondering and feeling lost. What kept me going was my girls. I knew I had to keep being the mom they needed and that I couldn't do that without the Lord. The other thing is that I had friends and a husband who didn't give up on me and wouldn't let me let go of my faith.

 

I think having periods of doubt and questioning are really perfectly normal. Even Jesus questioned God, right?

 

I know now that I am stronger than I ever was before.

 

:grouphug:

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I never put people on pedestals, so to speak, but I came to a point where I was so disillusioned and sick of the hypocrisy about how the churches were run that I walked out. I came to a point where it was nothing but me and God and that was it because that's all I trusted. It was that way for years, while I worked through all of my anger/mourning. 9 years, to be exact. And it wasn't a lukewarm time, it was a time of me throwing everything I had at Him. And I was angry. Very, very, angry. But I learned that if anyone can handle anger, God is it. So, you can call bull*&%$ with God. He can take it.

 

Time is how I moved beyond it. Like a kid growing through stages, I let it all play out. I was in no rush, and I knew God had all the time, so I just went limp, so to speak. And then, I slowly started coming back-and some of those ways weren't brilliant, but they were there, and I learned, so it's all good.

 

I think it can be an excellent thing. I think everyone should ahve them and grow through them. I HATE that they are spoken of as the boogey man of True Faith. Don't believe that they are the end of faith, they can be the beginning of something wonderful.

Edited by justamouse
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I never put people on pedestals, so to speak, but I came to a point where I was so disillusioned and sick of the hypocrisy about how the churches were run that I walked out. I came to a point where it was nothing but me and God and that was it because that's all I trusted. It was that way for years, while I worked through all of my anger/mourning. 9 years, to be exact. And it wasn't a lukewarm time, it was a time of me throwing everything I had at Him. And I was angry. Very, very, angry.

 

How did that look? Did you consider yourself to belong to your denomination? Or did you see yourself as free-form believer-in-God?

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My catalysts:

 

  1. The Christian community's reaction to and dogma around divorce.
  2. The Christian community's epic fail to address the needs of abused (particularly non physically) women.
  3. The perceived lack of justice in having a 14 year marriage followed by a 5 year family law battle.
  4. Having my political views challenged by changes in life circumstances.

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How did that look? Did you consider yourself to belong to your denomination? Or did you see yourself as free-form believer-in-God?

 

I homechurched, read all things emergent and that kind of stuff, so I would say I was free form. But that was/is OK.

 

Though that's not where I am, and I wouldn't go back there, it was what I had to go through to learn from it. Because where I am now, I am here. Fully. Because I've been there and I know what I am missing, so to speak. I'm not looking over the hedge thinking that the grass is greener over there.

 

It's ALL a journey.

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If God is real, he is not the loving God I always thought he was. He abandoned me and ignored my prayers for so long. If he is real, I don't think I could ever have a relationship with him again. I could never trust him again. You cant have a deep meaningful relationship where there is no trust.

 

I definitely believe god makes mistakes if he is real.

 

I hear all the time god wants what is best for us, and that makes me believe even more there is no god.

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It's ALL a journey.

 

Nicely said. I tend to agree, but I'm trying to work out some thoughts in my head.

 

If God is real, he is not the loving God I always thought he was. He abandoned me and ignored my prayers for so long. If he is real, I don't think I could ever have a relationship with him again. I could never trust him again. You cant have a deep meaningful relationship where there is no trust.

 

I definitely believe god makes mistakes if he is real.

 

I hear all the time god wants what is best for us, and that makes me believe even more there is no god.

 

:grouphug: I get it, for sure.

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I'm not sure I'm in a crisis of faith, I'm definitely in a "crisis of church". I have no problem when it's just me and God, alone, but throw people into the mix and :glare:. Our last church fell apart like a stack of Angry Birds got heaved at it, that was after we left due to a move, but it has had lasting effects on me.

 

Dh wants to go back to church so ds can be involved in a youth group. Even though I believe in validity of church as community, I'm having a hard time justifying going just so ds can be part of a group.

 

My beliefs have also morphed into something that doesn't fit the handful of denominations in our town. I know if we start church again, I'll be biting my tongue a lot.

 

I've never really felt abandoned by God, but I have been abandoned and judged by people who profess a desire to be Christlike. Sadly I don't think they will ever realize His full glory while they sit in their seat of judgment.

 

In the day to day I don't worry about it much. I converse with God and I listen. I have a peace about where I'm at, although the journey is not over yet.

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Okay, so maybe this should have been in my OP, but here's part of my thought on this: could a person be in a permanent "crisis of faith?" Or is that just stupid and maybe they should just declare atheism already. If a person does not believe elements of their faith, how much could that go on and how extensively before it's really beside the point and the person should just concede they are not of that faith system?

 

I think in one of Lee Strobel's books "The Case for..." he says something like a person with doubts is not precluded from being a Christian. But how can we really assume that to be true? If there are Ten central principles to the faith and I disbelieve or seriously doubt seven of them, isn't it sort of moot to say I am "a struggling Christian"? If I believed five of them, five disbelieved, is that any better?

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Why would that be, though? Wouldn't love for God (or something similar) be a natural buoy? Maybe my mental picture is wrong, but when you say that I think of someone chanting something to themselves frantically to re-convince themselves of it.

 

Yeah, that's not the picture I was trying to convey. I think it depends on what your faith is in. If you have faith in something that is not true, and thus the crisis, then the tree analogy would not be a good solution.

 

Sifting between truth and flasehoods, a good idea would be to go to God in sincere prayer and ask Him what is true. He speaks to your mind and to your heart. And maybe He already has if you are feeling disillusioned with your current beliefs.

 

And if you are talking about losing faith in God, Himself, ...prayer would be a good then too. :grouphug: hope you find what you are looking for.

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If there are Ten central principles to the faith and I disbelieve or seriously doubt seven of them, isn't it sort of moot to say I am "a struggling Christian"? If I believed five of them, five disbelieved, is that any better?

 

IDK, are there ten central points that ALL denominations of christianity can claim? Granted, I'm not a scholar, but it seems that if you profess a faith in a God you can find a religion to fit that belief. I'm tired, I don't mean that to sound snarky, but even here we've had discussions about what segment of "faith" applies to what denomination.*

 

 

*as a total aside, every time I see denom abbreviated I read it as demon and it gives me a little chuckle.

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what was the catalyst? If you had one, but moved beyond it, to what do you credit the revitalization? If you would describe yourself as having been through a "dry spell" (or say you are currently in a dry spell), what does that look like to you? Do you think a "crisis of faith" is a typical state, common to most people's spiritual journey or is that more likely the beginning of the end for faith (or that expression of faith)?

 

I'm coming from the Christian perspective, but I'm not picky if someone wants to share their thoughts regarding a non-Christian religion.

 

For me it was the beginning of the end of complacent belief and the birth of actual, vital, sustaining faith. But like all births there was a certain amount of pain and hard work involved, and some very dark moments. I found that what helped me move beyond it was to be willing to look into all my dark corners, ask the hard questions, really DIG for answers, follow the trail wherever it might lead even if it was unfamiliar or uncomfortable territory, and keep myself open to whatever real, solid answers I found (while also remaining cautiously skeptical so as to not just swallow the first plausible-sounding answer that happened along). I viewed each "answer" not as a destination reached, but as a new starting place for more questions. I looked for connections between answers, but it was a while before I had enough answers in place that were sufficiently solid and sufficiently connected to other solid things to really feel like a structure I'd call "faith" and could really lean on and draw from. I also carefully observed the real-life results that seemed to grow from various philosophies and practices, and from my own actions and reactions in life, and from the different people and groups with whom I found myself associated during that time of searching.

 

I do still have periodic "dry spells" now and then where that "connection" I feel to God seems less vibrant, less active, but these days I can still feel the connection there, even in the bleaker times, and I find it a comfort. At such times I try to figure out what is getting in the way, and do something about it. Sometimes it's a bitterness or anger I've stuffed down because I didn't want to deal with it, or I'm just running myself ragged and need to allow myself to rest and recover, or I've been letting other things take priority too much in my life, or any of a number of other things. Sometimes I just need to spend some more quality time "digging" (and I find that the more I learn, the more I find out there is to know--there's no such thing as "finished", and although that made me a little anxious at first, it's something I've really come to appreciate). But I think I needed that initial time of picking up my courage and asking the hard (for me) questions in order to get where I am now. There's more depth to my own faith and knowledge than there would have been had I just gone on as I was in a shallow, complacent going-through-the-motions kind of way. That wasn't a "bad" thing, really, but it lacked substance, and this is better. At least for me.

 

In my observation, a "crisis of faith" of some kind has been a characteristic experience for nearly everyone I've met who seemed to have real depth to their faith, and not just a superficial belief. My opinion is that it does seem to be a bit of a make or break kind of thing, but that those who come through the other side, and don't wander off on some other journey altogether, are stronger and more confident for having had that experience. I find I gravitate toward these kinds of people and love to hear their stories.

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For me it was the beginning of the end of complacent belief and the birth of actual, vital, sustaining faith. But like all births there was a certain amount of pain and hard work involved, and some very dark moments. I found that what helped me move beyond it was to be willing to look into all my dark corners, ask the hard questions, really DIG for answers, follow the trail wherever it might lead even if it was unfamiliar or uncomfortable territory, and keep myself open to whatever real, solid answers I found (while also remaining cautiously skeptical so as to not just swallow the first plausible-sounding answer that happened along). I viewed each "answer" not as a destination reached, but as a new starting place for more questions. I looked for connections between answers, but it was a while before I had enough answers in place that were sufficiently solid and sufficiently connected to other solid things to really feel like a structure I'd call "faith" and could really lean on and draw from.

 

Very eloquently written. I would also say that attending a "Celebrate Recovery" Program has given me more perspective on my own struggles.

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Okay, so maybe this should have been in my OP, but here's part of my thought on this: could a person be in a permanent "crisis of faith?" Or is that just stupid and maybe they should just declare atheism already. If a person does not believe elements of their faith, how much could that go on and how extensively before it's really beside the point and the person should just concede they are not of that faith system?

 

I think in one of Lee Strobel's books "The Case for..." he says something like a person with doubts is not precluded from being a Christian. But how can we really assume that to be true? If there are Ten central principles to the faith and I disbelieve or seriously doubt seven of them, isn't it sort of moot to say I am "a struggling Christian"? If I believed five of them, five disbelieved, is that any better?

 

So what does it matter? If you call it all off, will you be sad? Relieved?

 

What 10 central principals? Why 10? Why not one? Can you believe in one? Cause like I said, there were 9 years where I believed in God, and that was it. Nothing else, no bible, no people, no nothing. Just God. So that was one thing. But I trusted Him more than I trusted myself, so you could have called me what you wanted, I was ok with that.

 

And, if you throw your hands up and call it all off, so what? What do you think you'll be loosing and gaining? Do you even care? <---not a slam, but sometimes you're so flipping tired you just can't muster the energy to care what the consequence is. Which is also ok.

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I would say the two times I have struggled with depression, I have also had a 'crisis of faith' because of the depression.

 

(I figured out my depression was being caused by low vitamin D levels. SO glad I got that figured out!)

 

Any way, I don't really know how to put this, but I don't think I would have had so much of a 'faith crisis' from my depression if I had gotten adequate support during the depression. Sometimes, people close to you *mean* well; they *think* they're helping, or don't know how to help, so they say things like "Well, why don't you pray more" or "You shouldn't feel like that; the Lord should be your joy and strength". Uh, yeah, I agree with all that. But, you know, sometimes there's a REAL PHYSICAL REASON for depression. Like, oh, say, I dunno, horribly low vitamin D levels?! Or any of a plethora of other things BESIDES you're not a 'good enough' Christian?! I totally learned from all that what NOT to say to someone who is struggling with depression.

 

Uh, sorry for the rant. :tongue_smilie: I've never had what I would consider a crisis of faith at any other time, so maybe I'm no help...

 

You make some good points. My church is starting a counseling center and the first things they examine are physical causes for emotional issues: current medications, diet, outside stressors, sleep, vitamin deficiencies, etc. Its the first Christian counseling place I've ever seen that did that. In the past, in other times and other places, Christian counseling was either very secularly slanted with a few scriptures tossed in, or completely ignored the physical side of a person and focused solely on the spiritual. The two are intwined.

 

Anyway, I've not had a "crisis of faith" per se, but have examined deeper applications of living my faith, which might fall outside the parameters of my current church, but I'm comfortable applying these practices myself. Will I find myself someday in a different church? I'm open to it. But for now, I'm at peace with what I've learned and can do, and with where I go to church right now.

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You make some good points. My church is starting a counseling center and the first things they examine are physical causes for emotional issues: current medications, diet, outside stressors, sleep, vitamin deficiencies, etc. Its the first Christian counseling place I've ever seen that did that. In the past, in other times and other places, Christian counseling was either very secularly slanted with a few scriptures tossed in, or completely ignored the physical side of a person and focused solely on the spiritual. The two are intwined.

 

 

 

I deleted my post because I read yours wrong. Oy. :D

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So what does it matter? If you call it all off, will you be sad? Relieved?

 

What 10 central principals? Why 10? Why not one? Can you believe in one? Cause like I said, there were 9 years where I believed in God, and that was it. Nothing else, no bible, no people, no nothing. Just God. So that was one thing. But I trusted Him more than I trusted myself, so you could have called me what you wanted, I was ok with that.

 

And, if you throw your hands up and call it all off, so what? What do you think you'll be loosing and gaining? Do you even care? <---not a slam, but sometimes you're so flipping tired you just can't muster the energy to care what the consequence is. Which is also ok.

 

Relieved.

 

I picked "10" out of the air. Some might say it's 13. Some might say 5. I don't know, but here's what I've seen over the years, even many times discussed on this board. People may debate about young earth or old earth or when dinosaurs roamed, but there are a couple of things in Christianity that are the Big Taboos if you say you don't believe it or it's very doubtful. There are things that are the entire point of the Christian faith; if you don't believe them, what do you have? Spirituality maybe, or deism. I am actually okay with that for myself, but many outside people would not be if I said so. That is the only reason I do care.

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Okay, so maybe this should have been in my OP, but here's part of my thought on this: could a person be in a permanent "crisis of faith?" Or is that just stupid and maybe they should just declare atheism already. If a person does not believe elements of their faith, how much could that go on and how extensively before it's really beside the point and the person should just concede they are not of that faith system?

 

I think in one of Lee Strobel's books "The Case for..." he says something like a person with doubts is not precluded from being a Christian. But how can we really assume that to be true? If there are Ten central principles to the faith and I disbelieve or seriously doubt seven of them, isn't it sort of moot to say I am "a struggling Christian"? If I believed five of them, five disbelieved, is that any better?

 

I think the only way you're in any sort of crisis "permanently" is if you sit down in the middle of it and refuse to move. I've seen people do that, and it doesn't look like it brings them any sort of peace or resolution. I think that for those that keep moving the crisis is sometimes quite an extended journey, but as long as you keep moving you'll come out the other side somewhere, even if it's not what you expected going in.

 

I would say it might be a good thing for you to sit down and write what you think are the 10 central principles of the faith system you're evaluating, and for each one ask not only whether you think it's true, but why you think that--what factors contribute to your belief, what to your non-belief. In fact, it might be good to write out a pros and cons list for each, so you can see both sides. Then look for a "third" side (I always find it interesting how often people get hung up on 'either/or' when there's another possibility--or several possibilities--that they're not seeing because they're so hyper-focused on "it has to be this way or that way". You'll probably go off on lots of interesting bunny-trails, and that's ok, it's part of the exploration process. Something else to consider is whether the whole belief system crashes down if one of the 10 principles is wrong, or if it just takes part of it down with it, leaving some of the others still standing, and probably more clear because you've eliminated the excess baggage. And ask yourself whether there are other things that might be more central than you realized--are you sure you understand the core issues (I found some I hadn't considered, and some things I thought were basics turned out to be my own misconception and not actually part of that belief system at all--it was rather eye-opening). Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

 

At the same time, ask yourself what you know to be true, and how you know it. Be willing to test your own preconceptions. What makes me so sure that X?How do I really know Y? How does this connect to Z?

 

Figure out what is true for sure. Consider carefully what brings goodness and clarity into your life, and what brings darkness and confusion. Be willing to take the good bits and drop the things that aren't good, even if it's what's comfortable and familiar. But don't go running to something else ONLY because it's "different", take the time to evaluate it in the same way, and make sure it will really be better for you than what you already have. And know why it will be better before you decide.

 

It's a process, not an event. A journey, not a destination. Be patient with yourself, and be brave enough to take a step or two out into the dark (not the "darkness" that I used as the opposite of "goodness" above, but the darkness that means you can't see your way clearly). Try new things. Re-try "old" things. Ask around.

 

You'll find a way out of the crisis as long as you don't sit down in the road and feel sorry for yourself. At least...not permanently...lol. :grouphug:

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IDK, are there ten central points that ALL denominations of christianity can claim? Granted, I'm not a scholar, but it seems that if you profess a faith in a God you can find a religion to fit that belief. I'm tired, I don't mean that to sound snarky, but even here we've had discussions about what segment of "faith" applies to what denomination.*

.

 

Yeah, I get that, but if I take out things I don't believe, I don't have a denomination. I've done the BeliefNet quiz a couple of times. I always come out as Unitarian Universalist or Liberal Quaker, which to me, both translate to "churches where you can believe whatever the heck you want and you go for coffee and nice music." ;)

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Relieved.

 

I picked "10" out of the air. Some might say it's 13. Some might say 5. I don't know, but here's what I've seen over the years, even many times discussed on this board. People may debate about young earth or old earth or when dinosaurs roamed, but there are a couple of things in Christianity that are the Big Taboos if you say you don't believe it or it's very doubtful. There are things that are the entire point of the Christian faith; if you don't believe them, what do you have? Spirituality maybe, or deism. I am actually okay with that for myself, but many outside people would not be if I said so. That is the only reason I do care.

 

Are you talking about things like whether Jesus was divine or just a smart human teacher? The resurrection? Stuff like that?

 

Maybe I shouldn't ask.

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what was the catalyst? If you had one, but moved beyond it, to what do you credit the revitalization? If you would describe yourself as having been through a "dry spell" (or say you are currently in a dry spell), what does that look like to you? Do you think a "crisis of faith" is a typical state, common to most people's spiritual journey or is that more likely the beginning of the end for faith (or that expression of faith)?

 

I'm coming from the Christian perspective, but I'm not picky if someone wants to share their thoughts regarding a non-Christian religion.

 

I haven't read any of the other responses yet, but I have had more than one crisis of faith. The most recent came at a time in my life when dh & I were undergoing a period of extreme financial hardship. We were involved in ministry, and in spite of the fact that we were praying continually, seeking God and His will for us, we were struggling terribly. It was hard not to think that we were doing something wrong, or we wouldn't be in such desperate need. We actually felt abandoned by God for a time--felt that He was not hearing our prayers, or at least, He wasn't answering them. It was hard to want to pray when we felt that way, but we kept at it, and gradually, things got better. Looking back on that time now, we can see some lessons that God taught us through those difficult circumstances--things we might not have learned otherwise.

 

I do think that, as you said, a crisis of faith is "common to most people's spiritual journey". I agree with Henry Blackaby, who wrote Experiencing God. Blackaby talks about a "Crisis of Belief": "The way you and I respond to such a moment reveals what we truly believe about God. It also determines whether or not we will ‘Experience God.’"

Edited by ereks mom
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I think the only way you're in any sort of crisis "permanently" is if you sit down in the middle of it and refuse to move. I've seen people do that, and it doesn't look like it brings them any sort of peace or resolution. I think that for those that keep moving the crisis is sometimes quite an extended journey, but as long as you keep moving you'll come out the other side somewhere, even if it's not what you expected going in.

 

I would say it might be a good thing for you to sit down and write what you think are the 10 central principles of the faith system you're evaluating, and for each one ask not only whether you think it's true, but why you think that--what factors contribute to your belief, what to your non-belief. In fact, it might be good to write out a pros and cons list for each, so you can see both sides. Then look for a "third" side (I always find it interesting how often people get hung up on 'either/or' when there's another possibility--or several possibilities--that they're not seeing because they're so hyper-focused on "it has to be this way or that way". You'll probably go off on lots of interesting bunny-trails, and that's ok, it's part of the exploration process. Something else to consider is whether the whole belief system crashes down if one of the 10 principles is wrong, or if it just takes part of it down with it, leaving some of the others still standing, and probably more clear because you've eliminated the excess baggage. And ask yourself whether there are other things that might be more central than you realized--are you sure you understand the core issues (I found some I hadn't considered, and some things I thought were basics turned out to be my own misconception and not actually part of that belief system at all--it was rather eye-opening). Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

 

At the same time, ask yourself what you know to be true, and how you know it. Be willing to test your own preconceptions. What makes me so sure that X?How do I really know Y? How does this connect to Z?

 

Figure out what is true for sure. Consider carefully what brings goodness and clarity into your life, and what brings darkness and confusion. Be willing to take the good bits and drop the things that aren't good, even if it's what's comfortable and familiar. But don't go running to something else ONLY because it's "different", take the time to evaluate it in the same way, and make sure it will really be better for you than what you already have. And know why it will be better before you decide.

 

It's a process, not an event. A journey, not a destination. Be patient with yourself, and be brave enough to take a step or two out into the dark (not the "darkness" that I used as the opposite of "goodness" above, but the darkness that means you can't see your way clearly). Try new things. Re-try "old" things. Ask around.

 

You'll find a way out of the crisis as long as you don't sit down in the road and feel sorry for yourself. At least...not permanently...lol. :grouphug:

 

That would be an interesting exercise. I feel like I have sort of done that, although maybe not that methodically. It doesn't come out well for Christianity. All I know is I've spent more time (years and years) in doubts or near-total doubt than in certainty (tiny little sliver of time that might not even add up to a year) and to me, that seems to beg that I "fish or cut bait."

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Are you talking about things like whether Jesus was divine or just a smart human teacher? The resurrection? Stuff like that?

 

Maybe I shouldn't ask.

 

 

Nearly. Original Sin. The Fall of Man. The need for Atonement. The Trinity. I don't actually have any difficulty with Jesus as divine, but if you don't believe those first three things, there's not really a point in Jesus as Sacrifice.

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Yeah, I get that, but if I take out things I don't believe, I don't have a denomination. I've done the BeliefNet quiz a couple of times. I always come out as Unitarian Universalist or Liberal Quaker, which to me, both translate to "churches where you can believe whatever the heck you want and you go for coffee and nice music." ;)

 

Have you gone to a UU service or Quaker meeting? It might be a way to poke around at what parts you want/need and what you don't. Nothing wrong with a little coffee and music, of a Sunday morning. ;)

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Nearly. Original Sin. The Fall of Man. The need for Atonement. The Trinity. I don't actually have any difficulty with Jesus as divine, but if you don't believe those first three things, there's not really a point in Jesus as Sacrifice.

 

Ok, I'm not Orthodox, but I do agree with some of their views, especially on salvation and sin. Have you looked into Orthodoxy? To me, it reveals a beautiful picture of God.

 

As for the Trinity part, I'm pretty sure LDS do not believe in the Trinity? Maybe Mama Sheep can explain more?

 

:grouphug::grouphug:

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Yeah, I get that, but if I take out things I don't believe, I don't have a denomination. I've done the BeliefNet quiz a couple of times. I always come out as Unitarian Universalist or Liberal Quaker, which to me, both translate to "churches where you can believe whatever the heck you want and you go for coffee and nice music." ;)

 

 

The clearest way to muddle through this is to ask yourself, who is the authority, you or God...then you take the next step...if it is you then you are the center of your beliefs, if you put God, then He is the center and our world revolves around Him, not the other way around. With God as the authority, what has He given us as a guide? The Bible? The Holy Spirit? Let what He says or said be your answers, not what we tell you as much. Clear as mud, right?

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If God is real, he is not the loving God I always thought he was. He abandoned me and ignored my prayers for so long. If he is real, I don't think I could ever have a relationship with him again. I could never trust him again. You cant have a deep meaningful relationship where there is no trust.

 

I definitely believe god makes mistakes if he is real.

 

I hear all the time god wants what is best for us, and that makes me believe even more there is no god.

:iagree:

 

Yes this is me right at this moment.

 

 

My catalyst - multiple "hard things" or trials happenning in my life and I mean hard -akin to things like being told your child has cancer (not my real issue but similar). And then it wasn't so much the trials - I know everyone has bad things happen to them and some lucky people i.e me -get to have multiple bad things happen at the same time :glare: but at the same time I can deal with and accept that - what I can't accept is the feeling that God doesn't care -that I can't find him - that I can't get comfort and he doesn't care enough to a least make me feel like I can get through things.

 

It's feeling like God is ignoring you. It's becoming bitter when you beg God for months just to feel some hope and then your friend waltzes in and tells you that she prayed and asked God to help her find a lost $5 bill and he did when he doesn't seem to care that your heart is shattered and you can't barely get out of bed due to your own trials :confused:

 

The saying "God never gives you more then you can handle" really grates on me - I don't understand it because if it is so then why do people commit suicide :confused: So yes I do believe that sometimes God does give people more then they can handle and it is enough to kill them or at least ruin their entire lives.

 

How do you get through -I don't know. I've basically rejected my previous ideas of God. He isn't who I thought he was and honestly I don't feel like I want to be associated with a God like that. One who doesn't listen and who doesn't seem to care.

 

I don't hate the religion I grew up in - I don't disbelieve in it - but I do think that God picks "favourites" and the rest of us he just ignores.

 

I swear - the next person who tells me it's all my fault because I don't have enough faith or I didn't say enough prayers or I wasn't righteous enough to feel God's love or get his blessings is going to get a punch in the mouth :glare:

 

I don't know how it will turn out for me becaue I am still going through it -but my bets are not good that it will end with me finding a deeper faith in God. I don't deal well with abandonment - I've had it all my life and now God is giving me an extra dose - :glare:

 

Honestly the way I feel now -if I was to die tomorrow and was standing face to face with God I would turn my back on him and walk away - just so he knows how it feels.

 

I still believe in God but I don't think he believes in me.

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I'm afraid to ask what you thought I'd said! :tongue_smilie:

 

I typed out a response to what I THOUGHT you said, and no sooner did I hit send when I saw what you really DID say.:tongue_smilie:

 

I thought you were saying that spiritual struggles go hand in hand with physical ones. But I realize you were saying emotional and physical struggles go hand in hand, and THIS makes sense. I knew my doubting in god had nothing to do with physical/emotional struggles, so I was gently disagreeing with you.:001_smile:

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Nearly. Original Sin. The Fall of Man. The need for Atonement. The Trinity. I don't actually have any difficulty with Jesus as divine, but if you don't believe those first three things, there's not really a point in Jesus as Sacrifice.

 

Interesting. These are all rabbit holes I jumped down too. I found that there are a lot of sub-topics in each of them that were worth serious exploration. They're worth looking into deeply and in detail, separating the separate little threads of meaning and looking carefully at each one. And if you do, you will probably find that there's more variation among denominations on these topics than you realize. My opinion is that there are some strong, true, wonderful threads that have had some rotten, stinking, apalling threads woven in around them. The good ones are worth keeping. And the not-so-good ones are very liberating to cut free from.

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:iagree:

 

Yes this is me right at this moment.

 

 

My catalyst - multiple "hard things" or trials happenning in my life and I mean hard -akin to things like being told your child has cancer (not my real issue but similar). And then it wasn't so much the trials - I know everyone has bad things happen to them and some lucky people i.e me -get to have multiple bad things happen at the same time :glare: but at the same time I can deal with and accept that - what I can't accept is the feeling that God doesn't care -that I can't find him - that I can't get comfort and he doesn't care enough to a least make me feel like I can get through things.

 

It's feeling like God is ignoring you. It's becoming bitter when you beg God for months just to feel some hope and then your friend waltzes in and tells you that she prayed and asked God to help her find a lost $5 bill and he did when he doesn't seem to care that your heart is shattered and you can't barely get out of bed due to your own trials :confused:

 

The saying "God never gives you more then you can handle" really grates on me - I don't understand it because if it is so then why do people commit suicide :confused: So yes I do believe that sometimes God does give people more then they can handle and it is enough to kill them or at least ruin their entire lives.

 

How do you get through -I don't know. I've basically rejected my previous ideas of God. He isn't who I thought he was and honestly I don't feel like I want to be associated with a God like that. One who doesn't listen and who doesn't seem to care.

 

I don't hate the religion I grew up in - I don't disbelieve in it - but I do think that God picks "favourites" and the rest of us he just ignores.

 

I swear - the next person who tells me it's all my fault because I don't have enough faith or I didn't say enough prayers or I wasn't righteous enough to feel God's love or get his blessings is going to get a punch in the mouth :glare:

 

I don't know how it will turn out for me becaue I am still going through it -but my bets are not good that it will end with me finding a deeper faith in God. I don't deal well with abandonment - I've had it all my life and now God is giving me an extra dose - :glare:

 

Honestly the way I feel now -if I was to die tomorrow and was standing face to face with God I would turn my back on him and walk away - just so he knows how it feels.

 

I still believe in God but I don't think he believes in me.

 

this is very sad. I'm really sorry for your pain.

 

The more time that goes on, the stronger I feel that there is no god. Yet when I get scared, I do pray and ask for prayer. I don't know..... It's all confusing to me at times.

 

All I know is that if my child cried out to me for help, asking for answers, etc. and I could help and I could give answers, and it was for the better of everyone, I would not have been so cold hearted as to turn my back on them. And the God I read about in the bible for 17 years couldn't do that either. I love my children and I am there for them. So.........

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Ok, I'm not Orthodox, but I do agree with some of their views, especially on salvation and sin. Have you looked into Orthodoxy? To me, it reveals a beautiful picture of God.

 

As for the Trinity part, I'm pretty sure LDS do not believe in the Trinity? Maybe Mama Sheep can explain more?

 

:grouphug::grouphug:

 

I'd be happy to explain whatever about our beliefs if someone wants to know. But it's the sort of thing that might be better in a spin-off thread rather than here. I don't want to derail the discussion of faith crises, as I think it's an important one. :) I'll just say here that the short answer is you're right, we don't believe in the Trinity in the traditional sense (though we do believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three separate divine beings in perfect unity). Beyond that, if someone wants more details, let's start a new thread. :)

 

ETA: Also, I'm heading for bed. If you start a new thread tonight you might need to pm me so I will see it in the morning. :)

Edited by MamaSheep
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I typed out a response to what I THOUGHT you said, and no sooner did I hit send when I saw what you really DID say.:tongue_smilie:

 

I thought you were saying that spiritual struggles go hand in hand with physical ones. But I realize you were saying emotional and physical struggles go hand in hand, and THIS makes sense. I knew my doubting in god had nothing to do with physical/emotional struggles, so I was gently disagreeing with you.:001_smile:

 

Whew. I hate being misunderstood! :D

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All I know is that if my child cried out to me for help, asking for answers, etc. and I could help and I could give answers, and it was for the better of everyone, I would not have been so cold hearted as to turn my back on them. And the God I read about in the bible for 17 years couldn't do that either. I love my children and I am there for them. So.........

 

I know exactly what you are saying and I feel the same way. I would do anything and everything for one of my children if I could help in any small way - even the naughty ones ;) I don't understand the cold shoulder treatment - I couldn't do that to one of my kids so I don't know how God can if his love is supposed to be more perfect then ours :confused:

 

I am not asking for removal of the trial I'm asking for a wee bit of strength - a lessening of hopelessness -for God to say "Don't worry I am here for you" and there is just nothing.:glare:

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This is long, even though I shortened it, and probably doesn't make much sense. Please, if you read it, do not get offended. I am talking about myself Only. Think of me as confused (you'd be right), not malicious.

 

It's feeling like God is ignoring you. It's becoming bitter when you beg God for months just to feel some hope and then your friend waltzes in and tells you that she prayed and asked God to help her find a lost $5 bill and he did when he doesn't seem to care that your heart is shattered and you can't barely get out of bed due to your own trials :confused:

 

There are a lot of things that don't make sense to me, too. I do not understand God at all at this point.

 

I do not think God helps people find $5 bills, or their car keys or things of that ilk, in ordinary circumstances. Doesn't he have more important matters to attend to than that? IMO, yes! Of course, his idea of what he should be doing and mine probably vastly differ.

 

I think the idea of God as the giver (or finder) of *things* is incorrect. I have heard it from a lot of people - everything from God found my car keys to so-and-so must not be living in God's will because they are poor while the Wonder Christian is obviously doing everything right -- look at the many blessings they have received!

 

I have been told many times, when good things happen, that I must be very special to God. That is ridiculous. One good thing was that my son (born 13 weeks premature; 2 lbs.) did not die the day he was born from something no other premature baby had lived through. Twice in his first month, that son suffered through maladies that the doctors told us during death conferences, meant he would die, 100%. He is nearly 18 years old now.

 

These were true miracle to me at the time, although I felt blessed (still do), not special. Then I started thinking. Where was God when the babies were born 13 weeks early? This is definitely not a Good Thing. Could he not have let them stay in the womb for 32 weeks, or 35, or 40? Where was God when other premature babies in the NICU died? What makes me and my son so special? Nothing! Did we win the God lottery that day? Does God operate that way? I don't think so; at least I hope not.

 

Then the shoe hops to the other foot. Very Bad Events occur, one right after another, and it gets to the point that when my husband calls me, I automatically steel myself to hear about another disaster.

 

What do people say? God is testing your faith. God is disciplining you or pruning you. You should go to church (never mind that I don't think of church as a magic talisman). God never gives you more than you can handle. What do I think? If that is true, then God is sadistic. I do not, btw, think he is.

 

What about something unexpectedly making a person late for an appointment? I have heard that this is because if I had left on time, I might have gotten killed in a car wreck. God saved me from that. Well, what about the person who did get killed? God lottery, again?

 

I believe in God. I do not understand or comprehend him. I do not think people can ever fully know or comprehend God, but I do think I should at least a bit. Sometimes I would like to stop believing in God, to become an atheist. It would be a lot easier, but I cannot do it. I tried last week (secretly b/c I didn't want to say anything that might destroy the faith of others in my family).

 

When I had a heart attack a year ago, I was unconscious during a lot of the time I was in the ER and the cardiac cath lab. At one point, I thought I was moving quickly toward a place of immense peace; I could feel it and I wanted to be there. As I got closer, I remembered my children and fought furiously against it, and I was relinquished. I woke up.

 

Was it brain chemicals or God? I don't know. I do know that I was terrified when I started having the heart attack, out in my driveway, and up until I ended up in ICU, where I was certain I would survive because I was hungry and I thought I was on a regular ward. I wasn't terrified about what was happening to me. I was terrified about leaving my kids without a mother. So maybe it was a story I told myself, or brain chemicals, or something other than God. It is one of the few things I remember between calling an ambulance and landing in ICU, other than frantically begging my kids to post here for prayer.

 

To this day, I believe the prayers of the people here are what saved me. I don't care whether that is rational; God himself would have to tell me in person it wasn't true for me to disbelieve that.

 

Anyway, I am on a quest this year to get my beliefs about God in shape. I want to know what I believe about him, and have it make sense to me. I've already discarded a lot of my former beliefs, which usually made me feel better, but which I no longer believe are true. What then, is true? That is what I want to find out.

Edited by RoughCollie
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what was the catalyst? I grew up in a tiny, legalistic church full of hypocrites. So the catalyst for me was being old enough to stop going.

 

If you had one, but moved beyond it, to what do you credit the revitalization? Having a child. I walked away from the church at age 16 but I still believed in God, still prayed, etc. Although there was much about my childhood church that I am angry about, I am still glad my parents took me to church as it gave me a foundation that I later returned to. When I got married and had a child, my dh (who is a former catholic) said we need to take our child to church. I balked at first. But we ended up going and I am so glad we did. Studying the Bible from an adult perspective has changed my life.

 

 

If you would describe yourself as having been through a "dry spell" (or say you are currently in a dry spell), what does that look like to you? I don't consider myself in a dry spell spiritually but I do not have a church to go to right now and that is very difficult. Every church on this island is of the charasmatic persuasion and we are not. So although my faith is strong I sometimes feel sad about not having a church to go to. If it were not for the fact that I work at a christian school and get lots of fellowship there as well as the accessibility of sermons online, I would be bereft.

 

 

Do you think a "crisis of faith" is a typical state, common to most people's spiritual journey or is that more likely the beginning of the end for faith (or that expression of faith)? I think it is very common. It was common throughout the Bible for people to feel "far from God" but God never moves... people do.

.

 

:grouphug::grouphug:

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The clearest way to muddle through this is to ask yourself, who is the authority, you or God...then you take the next step...if it is you then you are the center of your beliefs, if you put God, then He is the center and our world revolves around Him, not the other way around. With God as the authority, what has He given us as a guide? The Bible? The Holy Spirit? Let what He says or said be your answers, not what we tell you as much. Clear as mud, right?

 

If it comes to that, then my beliefs are very simplistic. I believe in God, but think Wayne Dyer view or New Age influence. I believe that connecting with God through disciplines gives a person god-like attributes; I have experienced that and it is something I do believe in. I don't believe in much of the structure of any faith system I know of.

 

:iagree:

 

My catalyst - multiple "hard things" or trials happenning in my life and I mean hard -akin to things like being told your child has cancer (not my real issue but similar). And then it wasn't so much the trials - I know everyone has bad things happen to them and some lucky people i.e me -get to have multiple bad things happen at the same time :glare: but at the same time I can deal with and accept that - what I can't accept is the feeling that God doesn't care -that I can't find him - that I can't get comfort and he doesn't care enough to a least make me feel like I can get through things.

 

It's feeling like God is ignoring you. It's becoming bitter when you beg God for months just to feel some hope and then your friend waltzes in and tells you that she prayed and asked God to help her find a lost $5 bill and he did when he doesn't seem to care that your heart is shattered and you can't barely get out of bed due to your own trials :confused:

 

The saying "God never gives you more then you can handle" really grates on me - I don't understand it because if it is so then why do people commit suicide :confused: So yes I do believe that sometimes God does give people more then they can handle and it is enough to kill them or at least ruin their entire lives.

 

 

 

:grouphug: I have had many of those same thoughts. My mom is one of the "God helped me find my keys" types and it galls me. Or, as Rough Collie said, my mom tells stories about how she took a wrong turn, which delayed her for 20 minutes and when she got back on track, there had been a horrible accidence, so that was God diverting her so she would not be in an accident. This POV is despicable IMO! Somebody was air-lifted to shock trauma; do you really think you are specially protected and the other person was not? If that's the foundation of your beliefs, what happens when you ARE the person that was not?

 

 

I do not think God helps people find $5 bills, or their car keys or things of that ilk, in ordinary circumstances. Doesn't he have more important matters to attend to than that? IMO, yes! Of course, his idea of what he should be doing and mine probably vastly differ.

 

I think the idea of God as the giver (or finder) of *things* is incorrect. I have heard it from a lot of people - everything from God found my car keys to so-and-so must not be living in God's will because they are poor while the Wonder Christian is obviously doing everything right -- look at the many blessings they have received!

 

I have been told many times, when good things happen, that I must be very special to God. That is ridiculous. One good thing was that my son (born 13 weeks premature; 2 lbs.) did not die the day he was born from something no other premature baby had lived through. Twice in his first month, that son suffered through maladies that the doctors told us during death conferences, meant he would die, 100%. He is nearly 18 years old now.

 

These were true miracle to me at the time, although I felt blessed (still do), not special. Then I started thinking. Where was God when the babies were born 13 weeks early? This is definitely not a Good Thing. Could he not have let them stay in the womb for 32 weeks, or 35, or 40? Where was God when other premature babies in the NICU died? What makes me and my son so special? Nothing! Did we win the God lottery that day? Does God operate that way? I don't think so; at least I hope not.

 

I have heard that this is because if I had left on time, I might have gotten killed in a car wreck. God saved me from that. Well, what about the person who did get killed? God lottery, again?

 

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Nearly. Original Sin. The Fall of Man. The need for Atonement. The Trinity. I don't actually have any difficulty with Jesus as divine, but if you don't believe those first three things, there's not really a point in Jesus as Sacrifice.

 

Does it help that I am right there with you? Add "exclusivity" to the list, and we'd be spiritual twins.

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Does it help that I am right there with you? Add "exclusivity" to the list, and we'd be spiritual twins.

 

I think there are probably a lot of people walking around with this in their head, living a nominally Christian life. And what do you mean by "exclusivity"?

 

The bottom line is that I don't want to screw up my kids or lose all my friends or shatter my mother. If I thought none of those things were threatened by what I state I believe or don't believe, then there would be no issue. But they are, so there is.

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Crises of faith means so many things, but one that I would consider is that God is leading you into closer union with him by knowing him as he truly is and sometimes that involves a change. Most give great credence to man's understanding and are not of God.

This POV is despicable IMO! Somebody was air-lifted to shock trauma; do you really think you are specially protected and the other person was not?

This is a limited view because of your mental set. I would agree with the person, however not because one was especially protected and another not, but because it was simply God's will that one person be given more time or not experience a particular event because more time or other experiences would bring him to greater union with him. And sometimes, time is just up. I know what you're talking about, however, and spent a good part of my late 20s in the new age movement.

Edited by love2read
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If it comes to that, then my beliefs are very simplistic. I believe in God, but think Wayne Dyer view or New Age influence. I believe that connecting with God through disciplines gives a person god-like attributes; I have experienced that and it is something I do believe in. I don't believe in much of the structure of any faith system I know of.

 

 

 

This is kind of where I'm going right now, but I don't really feel like I'm in a crisis. It feels more like enlightenment. The only crisis is how it could and may affect all the other people in my life.

Edited by Onceuponatime
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