I’m having a crisis of faith

I’ve been having a crisis of faith and it’s been a painful process. I grew up in a Christian household and I remember asking my mom at a very young age if God is real. She told me yes and I went on believing God is real because my mom told me that God does exist.

I’m passionate about both filmmaking and paleontology and right now I’m in college doing a double major in both. I remember I got into horror movies at around the end of my childhood and I remember my parents and I would ruthlessly argue about it. They would go out of their way to make me feel bad about it and they went out of their way to try to change my identity over that. I had a picture of a zombie as my background photo on my phone when I was a freshman in high school and I remember my mom complaining about it in despair saying, “This is an obsession!” I drifted away from Christianity because of that from late elementary school all the way until the year after I graduated high school. I know horror films can be a divisive topic within Christianity, but I never saw anything wrong with watching horror films as a Christian. The Bible has some pretty violent stuff in it and it’s not like passion of the Christ is a pretty violent movie, too. It says somewhere in Romans that if you believe what you’re doing is wrong, then you shouldn’t do it. But if you don’t believe what you’re doing is wrong then you’re not doing anything wrong. I still believed in God, but I wouldn’t call myself a Christian.

The only reason why I returned to being a Christian was in Januar 2014 when my first love (Carly) committed suicide back in October 2013. That brought a lot of extreme emotional pain and Christianity was the thing that helped me get through it. It brought me comfort thinking I would see her again in Heaven. I was suicidal myself because she committed suicide. Her suicide her not because she was my ex, but because I was the only one who she ever told about her deepest darkest secret about her suicidal thoughts.

Over-time, some dominoes fell. Being treated like a heretic over me understanding that evolution is a scientific fact by young earth creationists was one, the next one was an even bigger one and that was when I did an online debate about young earth creationism versus theistic evolutionist. Somebody asked why both me and my opponent believe in Christianity. I said it’s because the Greek word pistis (the word for faith in the Bible) means belief because of evidence. The moderator, Dapper Dino, called me out on that because he said he went to college for language and history. That was a bigger domino that fell than being treated poorly by YEC’s.

The next domino that fell was with my recent girlfriend, Natasha. She grew up in a strict Christian household where if you’re gay, transgender, etc they will shun you and never speak to you ever again. She decided that she’s trans and I was angry cause I felt like I wasted my time. A week after we broke up, she already moved on and gave her new partner my phone number just to harass me. That was a domino that fell cause it made me think that not just Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses are cults, but Christianity is a cult.

The final big domino that fell happened earlier this year. I visited Carly at her grave and I was expressing to her how upset I was that my life didn’t turn out how I wanted it to. I said in frustration that I hope I’m actually speaking to you and that I’m not just standing here talking to myself like an idiot. I was bold enough to try to find my answer and I found a website where you can ask experts on anything and I asked an expert if you can prove you are speaking to somebody at their grave. Their answer was no you can’t prove it. That made me feel like out of the nine years I’ve been going to her grave to speak to her and to pour my heart out, I was only talking to myself. That made me feel like such an idiot and that I wasted all that time. The expert was Brenda in mental health from JustAnswers.com.

I felt that there’s only one way to prove if I was speaking to Carly or not at her grave. Is Christianity actually true or not? I had some of my Christian apologist friends try to help me out with my crisis of faith so all of us video chatted. I told them everything and one of them said that you can’t prove god exists and that I need to just be honest with myself. Am I still a Christian or not? I told them that I have that fear of hell and I have that fear of never seeing Carly ever again in Heaven if Christianity is true. Or seeing any of my dead loved ones again in Heaven. I mentioned that people like Ken Ham love to make Christianity out to be that if Genesis is not literal, that Christianity is not true. But the Bible clearly states that if the resurrection didn’t happen then Christianity is false. I asked them to give me any evidence outside of the Bible if Christianity is true. They said, “Well I know it’s a circular argument to use the Bible to prove the Bible but it says the resurrection is true in the Bible.” That didn’t help me at all and made me doubt Christianity even more. It blew my mind that they knew they were using a logical fallacy to prove their point, but they were going to use it anyway. That didn’t help with my crisis of faith.

Afterwards I was video chatting a friend of mine just to talk and socialize and he pointed out to me that I never talk about God anymore and that made me realize I never willingly go to church anymore, I never pray anymore. It’s been very painful for me to lose my faith in God and to be honest with you it’s all because of Carly and all of my other dead loved ones. It’s really painful to lose somebody who you love from suicide.

Yesterday I came out to some of my Christian friends about me questioning my faith and the first response I got ironically enough her name is Faith she was trying to tell me how science can’t explain everything and science can’t explain the origin of the planet. I tried correcting her by telling her that I’ve taken three geology courses in a row and we covered the nebular theory which is evidence for how the earth was created. Immediately she just shrugged it off and said she disagrees with me. That’s straight up denialism.

The next response I got was from my friend Charlie who said that energy is evidence of god because humans are made of energy and energy is eternal. When I took GEO 101 in college, the first thing we covered was the definitions of matter, energy, and mass. I corrected him saying that no we actually are made of matter and not energy. Energy is matter doing work and energy is not eternal. Even if what he said about energy was correct, how would that prove God? No answer.

The next response I got was from my really good friend Nicolas and he was shocked that he just wanted to talk to me about it. He was not trying to change my mind, but was just wanting to know what happened. I told my YouTube subscribers that I have an atheist now and they were shot and they were trying to change my mind. Nicholas recommended that I try talking about my crisis of faith here.

I’ve scared to tell my family because I really don’t think they will disown me for being an atheist now, but I just know that they will cry about it. I try to be a good person and I hate to be the reason for somebody to cry. I know it’s not my responsibility for how other people respond or react to things, but I don’t like the thought of being responsible for making somebody else cry.

I’m sorry this post ended up being long, but I just had a lot I need to get off my chest. I feel like now I wasted all that time being a Christian when I could’ve been doing other things. I am open to being a Christian again if there is evidence for it.

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The only thing i can tell you is that no matter the paperwork provided here nothing will convince you at this stage.Its too early to the crisis . Trust me i know. Didnt have those experiences you had but i had my fair share of troubles and my crisis which led me to where i am . I also sympathize with the situation to a point and want to give my condolences. I dont have much to add so sorry if this wasnt helpfull .Maybe others here have better advice.
Take care Eric.I understand that crisis of yours

I’ve not read you yet. So the ‘Like’ better be worth it! It stands for your courage.

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I said that I am willing to change my mind if there is evidence. If you have paperwork that proves me wrong or points to that I actually was speaking to Carly at her grave, I want to see it. I’m clearly open-minded because I’ve changed my mind about things multiple times. I used to believe in the Loch Ness monster, but then after doing research, I found out that there’s just no evidence for the Loch Ness monster. I used to be a younger cre creationist, but then I converted to theistic evolution.

I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this, Eric. It can be very hard to figure out what you believe while also juggling the opinions and expectations of people you care about. I hope you give yourself grace in the process and know that you’re not alone.

One key question that comes up for me when I see a statement like this is: What kind of evidence are you willing to accept?

Are you looking for science only? That might be easier to parse in some ways but will also automatically rule out a lot of human experience.

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I’m sorry for the emptiness you are feeling and the struggle that you are in! Not everyone accepts it and not every Christian experiences it, but there is some evidence that points the way – God loves a childlike heart, and children love connecting the dots: Objective evidence for the Christian God's providential interventions into the lives of his children.

 
ETA: Also be sure to see Glenn Morton’s account, linked further down that page.

Anything that qualifies as sufficient evidence. Like if there is historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus outside of the Bible.

Historical evidence for miracles is going to be hard to come by, and that wouldn’t be enough anyway, even if it did exist.
 

”…they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
Luke 16:21

Hey Eric,
Sorry to hear what you’re going though, it sounds like a lot and I would recommend also seeing a therapist or psychologist who can help if you’re struggling with suicide or depression.

My own “personal journey” has me growing up in a Christian home, but during college and also during graduate school I started struggling with nihilism-moral nihilism, doubting the existence of God, wanting to die, etc. A lot of it was depression, but even a year after taking medication I was still struggling with the same thoughts. So I did what any person who wasn’t sure about Christianity perhaps should so-I picked up a Bible and started reading the gospels in the New Testament. It actually really helped me; I don’t want to say it “spoke” to me or anything, because I don’t know, but I started living out the teachings and my life slowly but surely improved. I’m not promising it will work, but it did help me.

In particular, some of the stuff Jesus said about judging other people was pretty raw-I felt called out. I was judging other people rather than trying to help. I wasn’t listening to others. I was struggling with anxiety which Jesus also talked about. This put me on a path to rediscovering Christianity in a way that really works in my life, and I have this sort of joy and peace that is really difficult to explain.

A lot of arguments for the existence of God (fine tuning, cosmological, etc) are compelling for showing at least the possibility or probability of a God existing (entire textbooks have been written on “natural theology”), but I don’t think most people come to Christianity because of these arguments-I think these arguments instead are ways of justifying or rationalizing the personal experience one has with God.

I also want to caution you from generalizing the experience you’ve had with Christians to Christianity as a whole. It sounds like you’ve interacted with people who are not accepting, who judge you, etc. There are certainly a lot of people like that out there, but I’d recommend trying to surround yourself with people who love and accept you for “you”. I know that sounds cheesy and cliche, but Jesus talks about this in John 13:34-35 “ A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
I’m not trying to imply the people you’ve been interacting with aren’t “real” Christians (I think that sort of accusation is unhelpful), but one of the true marks of a Christian in my book is how people treat one another. To me, there should be a level of humility and kindness.
James 1:26 says “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”

One book I’d recommend reading is Gregory Boyle’s Tattoos on the Heart. I had to read it for a seminar at a secular university and it challenged the way I thought about Christianity at the time. It’s written by a Jesuit priest.

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Well done Eric. Thank you. Carry on that man, carry on. When do you graduate? Where are you going to work? Can you take a year off travelling? Three months across Europe? Dip in to Morocco? NOT DURING RAMADAN! Nothing like travel for broadening the mind. And getting a bit of distance. Blue water. Student railcard, backpack, hostels, wash your socks, underpants and T-shirt wearing them in the shower, credit card. Go for it.

I enjoyed the post, though obviously it’s sad. Since it jumps around a bit so will I. I bad at remembering people I’ve only met once in forums and so I’m not certain if we’ve talked before. I think maybe but I’m not sure.

Anyways I’m a big horror fan too. It’s my absolute favorite genre of story telling regardless if it’s audio (podcasts ) , textual ( books ) or visual ( films and shows or even just images ). Are the filmography tied into working with horror as well? I like everything from black and white horror, silent , cosmic terror, horror comedy, action horror, dark urban fantasy, “torture p” and I enjoy horror that is very gory, to not gory at all, from films that takes themselves serious to one’s thst are only good because they are so outlandishly bad. Recently I’ve been watching a lot of found footage horror. “ be my cat “ is a really weird but good one. The director and writer is coming out with a new one. They are all very low budget, but pulls it off just like blair witch, though the style is way more like Creep. My favorite though is body horror.

It does suck to lose someone you love to suicide. Often though leading up to it they had more time with the people they love than those that are lost to accidents or out of the blue. A family member who we only found out about when she was 14, due to living in another country and being the daughter of someone already married that was conceived on vacation. So he never told anyone, until she was 14 when she reached out online and just happen to connect with me. She had dual citizenship and her mom died and so when she was 16 she moved to america and was living with me. She also was a horror fan. We watched so much horror together. Like 2-3 hours a day every day. But I liked it. But something happened to her and it really shook her up. She ended up taking her life about a year after it and I was the one to find her. Was very upsetting and angering. In my life several loved ones have taken their life. Who cares is someone can or can’t hear us. If it makes you feel better it makes you feel better. It’s still a connection. You’re still talking to them.

Whenever a bee stays still long enough for me to get a shot, or I come across a pretty flower that I just happened to catch a glimpse of because the wind blew it and the color popped out in the shade I almost always say “ thanks “ to it knowing they don’t actually understand it. All breakups suck. Regardless of the reason or sucks when someone does not like you back. But ultimately, it’s just free will. They are better off happy with someone else than not happy with us and everyone who gets broken up with feels like “ true love is a lie and shatters only later on to feel the same way about someone else. It’s just the human experience. Eventually though you’ll meet someone whose burned out on life and don’t have the energy to bounce and place it in another and so they just stay with you lol. Jk.

As for with your friends the best thing it to realize it’s not that important. Who cares what they believe really. Let them agree to disagree, and just focus on the things y’all enjoy. I do it all the time. If the entire friendship, or even most of it is disagreements and arguments, it will become toxic. Better to love them for who they are, and when they are ready, talk about it some more.

As for evidence, it really just depends on what is considered convincing to you. Nothing in science convinced me there is a god. I don’t even think we were made on purpose, or anything. I think El did something way before anything was here. I don’t know what it is. It’s not important to me. It’s not what encouraged my faith. Science plays no role in my faith. But these are the things that encouraged me.

  1. The Bible is written so wonderfully. The hyperbolic, the myths, the hyperlinks, the tropes and patterns. It’s my favorite book to study. I love listening to theologians discuss parts of it going so far beyond plain texts. The relationship of formless void of dark deep waters of chaos to the flood, to the bitter water, to the Egyptian drownings and to baptism and finally to the verses in revelation about no sea is such a fantastic study to me. It’s not a book so easy that kids can get it. It’s meditation literature that needs to be read again and again.

  2. The body of Christ. The local congregations im in, the disciples I meet online and so on. Obviously some people are not my of tea, but overall, the body of Christ is great. My best friends are all from local churches. Being in fellowship with our brothers and sisters of the faith who are our friends is very beneficial. Seeing the power of the story work in their lives.

Anyways I think it’s long enough .I’ll pop back in later probably.

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A lot to unpack here. I second the idea of counseling, as sometimes talking to someone with skin on makes a difference. I would also broaden my base of friends to include those who will accept you for who you are, and not expect you to conform to their idea of what you should be. There are Christian groups that do a better job of that than others. Losing someone to suicide is a traumatic experience, so give yourself some grace. I don’t think we can communicate with the dead, but feel we will see them someday ,and until that time, we can honor and carry a bit of that person with us in our daily lives.

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I like the way Phil put that, and I’ve always thought to myself that even if we can’t directly speak with departed ones, a bit of their spirit lives on in those they loved and who loved them. I feel my dad’s spirit living on in me, and I know that honors him and I would find it comforting as a departed one to know people remember me (the good parts) in those ways too as we look forward to all coming together again in Christ.

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I did not grow up in a Christian household nor one with any other theistic religion. Both parents being psychology majors, psychology was the closest thing to a religion in which I was raised. Psychology was the basis of the morality I constructed and science was the primary source of truth for me. When I asked my father about God, his reply was that He didn’t know. I became determined to find out what this God stuff was all about for myself. Years later he explained that the only possible God was one that had nothing to do with living our lives so He didn’t see how it mattered if God existed or not. But by then I had my own reasons to believe.

I am Christian now but my reasons for believing are not the usual ones. And I have heard stories of those losing their faith as you have, then finding new reasons to believe. This suggests that what is happening is that the reasons you had for believing don’t work anymore and perhaps you will find new reasons to believe. If not, I don’t think it is the end of the world. Christianity works for me but atheism seems like a rational option also. But if you choose atheism, don’t be too surprised if your children choose differently.

Sounds like you had it rough. Keep searching and seeking.

Why would you ask for evidence outside the Bible? It consists of individual works, mostly written in the first century by Christians that were later put together into a single canon. It shows you don’t know what you are saying or asking for. Who would be a better source of information about Jesus, those who followed him and who knew his disciples or outsiders who didn’t care about him? Would you ask a scientists to give you evidence a scientific claim is true from outside science?

Jesus: Paul gives us autobiographical testimony of his own conversion and the appearance of Jesus to him (Gal 1, Cor 15). He was a Pharisee and persecuted the faith at first until he had a change of heart (possibly on the road to Damascus if we allow Acts a bit of supplementing). Paul also provides contemporary-primary data on appearances of the risen Jesus to other followers (1 Cor 15:3-8). Paul met with Peter had first-hand experiences with those who he and others tell us Jesus is said to have appeared to. We cannot say, on historical grounds that it is proven that Jesus rose from the dead but Paul provides extremely good evidence that many original followers of Jesus believe he appeared to them. On historical grounds, Paul’s evidence for resurrection appearances to Jesus’s followers is stronger than the gospel evidence because it predates the first one by 20 years (Mark ca. 70 CE), those works are anonymous and Paul has known lines of transmission (he met with Peter and other apostles) based on his own autobiographical testimony. So while we do not have any writings from Jesus and most likely none from his original apostles, we do have firsthand information about the earliest Church’s belief in the resurrection of Jesus. The alternative is to call Paul a liar but the motivation for such is lacking.

We know many Jesus’s earliest followers thought he rose from the dead at the minimum. You can suppose they were mistaken. Nothing more can be said. It’s also the entire life, the entire incarnation of Jesus that is immensely important. Putting all your eggs in one Pauline hyperbole is not wise.

There is no proving God but cakes don’t bake themselves. It’s certainly not unreasonable to believe in God and we can adduce solid reasons for doing so. For most of us it’s personal experience and forgiveness while learning/reading the Gospel. God wants to heal but he also is not a cosmic vending machine.

Vinnie

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I was asking for evidence of the resurrection outside of the Bible because I think to use the Bible to prove the Bible is the circular argument fallacy and if it’s based off of a logical fallacy that it’s not a good argument imo

And if the resurrected Jesus was not a reanimated corpse but instead a life giving spirit in a spiritual body as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, then…

  1. Is it reasonable to expect objective evidence?
  2. How does this detract from the gospel of salvation by the grace of God?
  3. Is this a worse fit with life as we experience it or a better fit?
  4. Does Christianity have to be a magical fantasy to be worthwhile?

Do you want to be a Christian? I get the feeling that you sincerely do. Faith is a journey, and the way can be dark and the going rough in places. Others have felt the doubts you are facing. It even has a name: “The Dark Night of the Soul.” So try to carry on, if possible.

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I genuinely want to be a Christian again because I would do anything to see my loved ones again. I said that multiple times to Carly at her grave venting to her. On a sidenote, I love your username and your profile picture. I absolutely love beagles and I have a beagle myself.

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Thanks! Stay on your path to faith. And don’t assume heaven is just for Christians.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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