Crushed, looking for hope

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LostAndBroken's picture
Crushed, looking for hope

I've been a Christian for 15 years. For a long time, I've doubted -- though never too severely. But recently, for a number of reasons, I dived deep into looking for evidences in favor of and against Christianity. What I found was not what I expected; I can no longer call myself a Christian. To me, it seems much more likely that Jesus was not who he claimed to be.

But this has wrecked my life. Not because family rejects me, or anything of that sort; even the Christians I had in my life still love me. However, my world has been shattered. Even as a Christian, I leaned toward nihilism. Now I'm much more nihilistic. I also lean toward determinism, although I admit the irony that I'm even writing about it in this context. The thought of life without this god is not only exceedingly difficult to bear, but incredibly strange. It's like I've been living a delusion this whole time (and in a sense, you can say that I was); now I don't know what to believe about anything. If our emotions are just the result of physical processes and evolution, what meaningful value do they have? Just subjective value? If so, to me, this is a horrible thought. And what about everything around me -- it wasn't designed, but just happened by chance? Why then care about anything? How can I see beauty in chance? How can I love a woman whose personality is the result of chance? ... I'm extremely stressed. I fear that I've misinterpreted, and Jesus is true, and I'll suffer in hell. I fear that I've interpreted correctly, and nothing will ever matter, and my life will one day end -- really end. Throughout the day, it's hard to not sob. Sometimes when I'm trying to sleep, I suddenly gasp and flash to this new worldview, and I feel terrified.

Christianity totally shaped me. I didn't much care about this life, and I wasn't afraid to die; I wanted the eternal rewards, and especially god -- the all loving being who would love me forever, without fail, unlike my human companions who so frequently fail to do so. I say this to show that I was a true Christian; I wasn't in it just for a social network, a sense of purpose, etc.; I really wanted that god. Thus, I am crushed.

Can anyone help me? Is there any advice for me, anything that will give me comfort or help me transition to being able to accept this new reality?

I posted in the debate room because I'm not allowed to post in the other sections. I don't know for certain that gods are false; actually, I still think deism is a likely first-cause explanation (even if no design was involved). But it offers me no comfort to think that such a being exists; it's effectively no better than attributing everything to an unknown natural law.

I'm still looking for evidence; I still plan to search scientific theories, historical evidences, etc. related to Christianity and naturalism, but I have very little hope that I'll ever gain enough evidence to be able to convert back to Christianity. And contrary to common thought, Pascal's wager is incompatible with that system; I can't just 'fake' it.

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algebe's picture
LostAndBroken: my life will

LostAndBroken: my life will one day end -- really end

Look at a book or a painting. The book has covers and the painting has a frame. They're finite. The job of the artist is to create a masterpiece within those boundaries. If the book or painting were infinite, they would be meaningless, forever incomplete. Your life is your canvas or blank page. It's up to you create your masterpiece by learning, doing, and being everything you can. Make your brief candle glow bright.

Aldous Huxley, the author of "Brave New World", later wrote a book called "Island", in which he describes a society where everyone lives life to the full and reaches their potential. They are able to do this by living in the moment. All over the island are Mynah birds that have been trained to say "Here and now". You've lived your life in a religion that belittles this life as a mere vestibule to the real life that's supposed to begin when you die. Christianity is a philosophy of distraction, negation, and postponement. If you're finally free of all that, perhaps it's time to start living here and now.

Determinism and nihilism are great excuses for staying in bed all day. Are you sure that they're correct explanations of reality? If you succumb to them, they'll certainly stop you from answering that question. Like god, they're road blocks and broken bridges on your path to self-discovery and discovery of the world.

It sounds like you're in pain. The only cure I know for that is to find people who are in even greater pain and try to help them. Christianity perverts that idea with its blood-sacrifice cult. Helping others isn't sacrifice. It's a path to growth and self-realization.

I hope that helps. Keep coming here. Most of the atheists here have been through experiences similar to what you're feeling. You're not alone.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Lost and Broken

@ Lost and Broken

You are suffering grief at a lost fantasy world of comfort and fluffy dreams. A bereavement made all the more poignant by your realisation that you had deliberately fooled yourself all this time and you are mourning your loss of certitude and the blinkers that censored your life.
Like losing a close relative it stings, makes you cry out in anguish, makes you question everything you once held certain.

It will pass, like a storm, leaving a trail of broken branches and ripped off roofs. An opportunity for rebuilding in the sun awaits. This time build wisely, based on knowledge and good engineering, not on wishful thinking and fear.

This community is here for you and your questions, troubles and fears. PM me or others that you want or need to talk to. Go public with your rants at the injustice of life. We are all used to it.

Whitefire13's picture


There were many times in my 20s where I too laid in bed and cried. I was doing so much to live up to the expectations placed on me by “Jehovah” and His Organization and it was never “good” enough. I remember pioneering (90 hrs month door to door), 3 meetings a week, meeting preparation, a part time job (30 hr wk), carry for my household (I was an elders wife and had to set an example). I was “counselled” that I wasn’t “socializing” enough with “young ones” to encourage them. I was carrying this and a physical illness - I remember praying so much for Jehovah’s New System to come (although it meant the death of roughly 7billion uh, earths population)...Do you know why? I wasn’t living my life or even “being me” - “my” life wouldn’t start until after armeggedon - until then I was doing my best to help as many as I could to learn Gods Truth, so they wouldn’t die.

My “break” from JW came a few years later in the form of almost dying due to my health condition and refusing a blood transfusion. I had an amazing surgeon who thankfully saved my sick, stubborn, delusional ass - literally. Oh, and he required nothing in return.

So my journey began. Lol. Thinking and writing this you could say “I was born again” but to myself and reality.

I have since experienced life on my terms; the results have been from my decisions; for me, I have been set free and happy and “allowed” to love life and this world around me.
I don’t have to “hate” it or think it’s run by “Satan” or all humans are wicked ... I can celebrate holidays, go on vacations, garden, puzzles, help my fellow man, raise kids, drink, eat, love and swear...I allow my doctors to treat me in ways that won’t limit their ability for my well being. This is life to me now without belief in god.

I lost only those that couldn’t appreciate me for who I am. I lost a form of nihilism where“ nothing in the world had a real existence” because a new one was coming via god.

David Killens's picture
Lostandbroken, first off, you

Lostandbroken, first off, you are in a safe place here. It is even safer in the Atheist Hub where theists cannot interfere or expound their propaganda. And as Old Man explained, you can go further by private message.

You are not alone, there are others who have walked the same painful path, and now recovered from religion.

You are currently struggling with massive holes in your understanding, where did we come from, where do our morals come from, how do I make decisions without leaning on the bible, and may, many more. We can discuss anything you desire, we want to help you.

Please, please, understand that you are not alone, and help is available for you to deal with the many issues leaving religion brings.

There are support sites that deal with this very problem you are experiencing. Fellow forum members, I don't know what is available, apart from the fact they exist. Please, provide information to this confused soul so he may move forward in life and emerge a happier, and more stable person.

If you click on my name, it gives you the option to private message me. My door is open, I welcome you. I am not a therapist or know all the answers. But you are not alone.

Cognostic's picture


RE: " The thought of life without this god is not only exceedingly difficult to bear, but incredibly strange. It's like I've been living a delusion this whole time (and in a sense, you can say that I was); now I don't know what to believe about anything."

Excelllllent! AND NOW THE JOURNEY BEGINS! Of course you don't understand things. (NOTHING HAS CHANGED) Before when you did not understand something you just left it to God and never thought about it again. YOU DIDN'T UNDERSTAND IT THEN - AND YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND IT NOW.

But LOOK at where you are. NOW YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO BEGIN UNDERSTANDING. Now you can not live blindly and just assert it is all in God's hands. Now you are learning to deal with the world around you, as it is, and not as you once imagined it to be.

Religion is like a pair of green sunglasses. You put them on and after a while you forget you are wearing them. Everything in the world appears green. Everything in the world is filtered through those green lenses.
Do you ever remember not having them on? So what happens when you realize you are wearing them and you take them off? Of course the world is different! You actually have to take responsibility for yourself, your actions, and function as a moral character in the world by making real decisions instead of following Holy dictates. Welcome to being a human being.

You are not lost and nothing is broken. You are like a fresh water fish who just happened to find the ocean. You know how to survive in the ponds and rivers, you have developed useful and valuable survival tools for those environments. But suddenly you discover the world is bigger than you thought it was., The survival tools you have are no longer useful in the new environment. You do not throw the old tools away. You do not call them broken. Instead, you simply set them aside and begin learning the new tools you will need to survive in the new environment.

Being an ex-Christian myself, I can tell you that all my tools are useful. I understand exactly where most theists are coming from. Had I been an atheist my whole life, I might not be able to do that. You will also find that many of the things your religion taught you are useful. They will help you survive outside of Church and religion, they just aren't from a God.

You may feel a bit lost, but we are all human beings getting through life the best way we know how, the tools you have, have taken you this far, they will continue to be useful when used at the right times and for the right reasons. In the mean time, it's time to add a few more to the ole tool kit.

LostAndBroken's picture
... How long does it take for

... How long does it take for this shock to wear off?

Also, very well put:
'Excelllllent! AND NOW THE JOURNEY BEGINS! Of course you don't understand things. (NOTHING HAS CHANGED) Before when you did not understand something you just left it to God and never thought about it again. YOU DIDN'T UNDERSTAND IT THEN - AND YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND IT NOW.'

Cognostic's picture
@LostAndBroken: It takes as

@LostAndBroken: It takes as long as it takes. People who look to the past are living their lives backwards. A BUDDHIST STORY. The ole monk was walking along a muddy road with a young monk in tow. They game to a huge puddle of mud. Standing on the side near the monks was a prostitute attempting to cross. The old monk scooped her up in his arms, put her down on the other side, and continued on his way.

An hour later the young monk asked. "Master, how could you do such a thing." "What are you talking about." asked the old monk,. "You picked up that prostitute and carried her across the mud." "And I put her down an hour ago, why are you still carrying her around?"

When you put it down, and look at the amazing things in front of you, you will know how long it took. You will also wonder why in the hell it took you so long when all you had to do was "LET GO." Atheist are people who simply "LET GO" of religion, religious ideology, God and gods. You really do, just let go.

LogicFTW's picture


I was never religious, but like many non religious folks, I did suffer from some nihilistic thoughts, and even still do, (but I do not suffer from such thoughts!)

While I still have some nihilistic thoughts every once in a while, they do not bother me, they just remind me that I have a lot of control over my own life, I am free to choose, and I choose to enjoy my short, finite life.

I am the happiest and most "free" person I know of. I would not trade my life for anyone else's.

I take responsibility for ME. I do not need to be "told how to live" like religion tells you. Taking true responsibility for oneself and my own fate, while scary, is incredibly liberating.

I have one life, one short existence until my brain stops functioning properly and I no longer "am." So I live very much in the present. Where I can actually do what is useful and enjoyable to me, instead of thinking life is just a "way station" to what happens after. You will never hear me complain life is hard. Instead you will hear me planning how to improve my own life to make it even better.

Taking responsibility for my own fate also empowers me to use every available tool to live out life out how I want to. I do not sit around and "pray" or hope my life will get better. I go out and make it better. And the results are much much greater than simply sitting around and waiting.

I feel like I have an incredible advantage over many other people by taking responsibility for myself. I do not count on some completely unevidenced god idea to take care of stuff for me just because I follow the vague "rules" of which ever religion (that typically your parents pick for you.) My life has been a series of success because I create the possibilities for those successes, and those successes build on themselves to even greater success.

For instance: as terrible as covid is, I was able to create a safe space for myself and my closest family, where we remain mostly unaffected by the carnage covid has wrought. I was not "lucky," I created this by living in the moment and I am able to extend this success to those closest to me. And I live in the middle of the US, that has 2 million+ confirmed covid cases with no signs of slowing down.

If you have any follow up questions, be happy to answer.

Whitefire13's picture
Logic...and “morally” intact

Logic...and “morally” intact as an atheist! Pssst are the parents still alive???????!!

LogicFTW's picture

The parents are still alive and doing well :)

Although that is mostly a factor that I am only in my 30's, and it is not my parent's "time" yet.

Whitefire13's picture
Ahhhh Logic, my kids are

Ahhhh Logic, my kids are still alive too ***sigh*** they drive you crazy, but no, it’s not their “time”

Sheldon's picture

"If our emotions are just the result of physical processes and evolution, what meaningful value do they have?"

I don't wish to appear glib, or unsympathetic, as my atheism was not a sudden transition, so I have been largely spared this emotional upheaval.

However this might help add a different perspective, read the passage I've quoted, and then try telling yourself if emotions don't really matter, then you needn't hang on to those emotions that are causing you unnecessary pain. It might take a while as you clearly had a lot emotionally invested in your belief, but now you are free to invest that time and emotion in other things, like family and friends. You don't need to entirely change who you are, just take your time and find out who you are, or want to be. The pain will pass, and having the acceptance of family is a huge help. Many people lose that at the same time they lose their beliefs.

You might also consider that now there need be no fearing death, as there is no Hell or punishment after you die, this life is a gift, so be determined to enjoy it. You never suffered your non existence before you were born after all, so why worry about returning to that state.

Life has more value and meaning for me, precisely because I know it is finite.

LostAndBroken's picture
I'm going to turn this

I'm going to turn this argument against you. Yes, it's true that my emotions are pointless and I may as well not feel bad over my loss of faith, etc. That's totally rationally valid. However, I can't, and this points not just to the senselessness of emotions, but to them being actually negative. At least, in this regard. There are cases where emotion is positive.

Perhaps there's no need to fear death, but there's reason to fear non-life, and that's easy to demonstrate: All of us think that life is enjoyable, otherwise we'd have already suicided. Nothingness is a great loss, compared to that enjoyment.

Sheldon's picture


Just to be clear I don't think emotions are pointless, I was trying to show how you could use your short term transition to try and use those emotions in a more positive way.

"Perhaps there's no need to fear death, but there's reason to fear non-life, and that's easy to demonstrate: All of us think that life is enjoyable, otherwise we'd have already suicided. Nothingness is a great loss, compared to that enjoyment."

Well again this is a matter of perspective. yes of course while we are alive we can contemplate loss, and this can be emotionally painful, but none of us were fearful or experiencing pain before we were born, so the idea we should fear this state of non existence doesn't make much sense. The idea that a fear of death would drive us to suicide is also nonsensical, as suicide would end the very thing you fear losing.

The point I was trying to convey, perhaps poorly, is that dying does not involve loss, as we have to be alive to experience loss, or indeed experience anything. The pain comes from contemplating loss, which we need not do. Life involves physical and emotional pain, death does not, so fearing death makes no sense. It takes time, and it takes a change of mindset, but my point was that it will come, and more importantly we are all capable of speeding this process.

Cognostic's picture
@LostAndBroken: "I can't"

@LostAndBroken: "I can't" You are lying to yourself. You have already reached a conclusion and it is that conclusion that prevents you from succeeding. "What if you actually could?"

You have a choice, let things stay the same or change. Pretending that you can't is simply allowing things to stay the same. I submit to you that it is not so much that you "can't" as it is "you don't know how to begin."

So how do you begin. We discussed this before so I will offer a new analogy here. "There is nothing broken and there is nothing preventing you from moving on. If fact, you will move on whether or not you want to. Life is a process and not a thing.

Imagine you are climbing a ladder. The ladder of life. if you will. You have been climbing this ladder for a number of years and now you find yourself here in this spot.

This spot for you, is confusing. You have been climbing it for years while assuming it was taking you to God and Heaven. However. at this point, when you look up, all you see is ladder and choices. The God or Heaven you were hoping for just isn't there. This does not change the fact that you are on this frigging ladder.

You are trig to pretend that the ladder is broken. That it took you to the wrong place. That it was a mistake. None of this is true. The ladder has taken you here. This is exactly where you need to be. The question you need to ask yourself is "Where are you going?"

It is completely okay to take a rest. Just hang here on this rung for a while until you decide to make a move: however, opting not to move is a choice to simply allow things to stay the way they are.

To move forward, you must make the decision to move forward. You must feel safe where you are so that you are comfortable enough to reach out for the next rung. (You are not comfortable.) You believe all the rungs below you, the ones that got you here, are broken. They are not. They were useful and they brought you to this place. They have made you the person you are today.

*Let's move forward on the ladder a few years to a future self. When your future self looks back down the ladder and sees you hesitating on this rung, what will you say to yourself? The ladder is not broken and you are stronger than you think.*

So what do you do? You decide where you want to go. You decide who you want to be. You realize that all that stuff that got you here was exactly what you needed to get here. No one else in the world has ever been on this exact rung. They have been on rungs like this one but not this one. This one is yours and only you can deal with it.

So. once you are comfortable. Once you give up this idea of the ladder being broken or that you can not move forward, you look up to the next rung. You decide what you want. One simple thing that will move you forward. Perhaps you simply need to grab the next rung to prove to yourself that you really can. It does not even matter what that rung is.

You are hear now. Each post you make is an inquiry into your new way of interacting with the world. There is no "I can't" when you are doing it each time you post. You do it each time you make an inquiry. No one magically goes from the bottom to the top of the ladder (if the ladder even has a top)/ As far as I know, no one has ever seen the top, though many have made assertions about what is there.

So you move forward, when you are ready, by reaching out your hand, grabbing onto the next rung, and then pulling yourself up. No one can tell you where you are going. (Unless of course he or she is a preacher or the leader of a cult.) Each rung is an exploration into life and who you are as a person. All you need do to move forward is to make the choice to do so.

And each time you tell yourself you "Can't" you have lied to yourself. As I said before, you are doing it with each post you make. You are probably doing many other things in your life that are different from ever before. It is not that you "Can't" It's that you are not recognizing or validating the things that you are doing. You are doing it. The fact that you are here, proves it.

David Killens's picture
@ LostAndBroken

@ LostAndBroken

I do not fear death as much as the fear of not living a full life.

Whitefire13's picture
Lost and broken...” this

Lost and broken...” this argument against you. Yes, it's true that my emotions are pointless ”

I’m not arguing (trust me, you’d know if I was). I’m sharing my perspective and my preference. That’s it.
Your emotions are yours. Your thoughts and emotions are yours. The “meaning” you attach to things or read into words are yours. What you chose to “value” is yours. I don’t remember reading anyone saying they were “pointless”?

All I see being shared is the understanding that there are a variety of ways to understand and interpret the world around us.

I have no “proof or evidence” of life after death. I have no “proof or evidence” of non-life after death. I know there is a non-living body. I know my consciousness can be “turned off” while my body is alive (surgery)...however, as yet, I have not been given evidence of “consciousness” outside a body.

So I don’t “know” for sure...neither do you...neither does anyone “alive”. That’s the point.

This is your life. Live it how you want. Just remember it’s all yours. Also, don’t forget you are a biological being with an organ “the brain” and at times it may require medicine, like any other organ or part of your body. There have been times in my life where I needed an antidepressant, to help balance my brain chemistry and allow myself an opportunity to feel other emotions besides despair or hopelessness.

I had times in my life where my “reality” was letting me know that my emotional response wasn’t reflecting how I should “feel” joy. With medication, I can still feel joy and sadness and frustration and hope. Under or oversleeping, eating too much or not enough, feeling drained and listless and thoughts of death are usually clues that your brain chemistry is “off”.

Whitefire13's picture
BTW what is a non-atheist?

BTW what is a non-atheist? (Your profile identity)

LostAndBroken's picture
I think that deism is

I think that deism is slightly more likely than naturalism, due to the cosmological problem. Thus, I am not an atheist.

However, deism does nothing for me; by definition, that being can't be known.

Nyarlathotep's picture
LostAndBroken - ...due to the

LostAndBroken - ...due to the cosmological problem.

What is the cosmological problem?

Sheldon's picture
LostAndBroken "I think that

LostAndBroken "I think that deism is slightly more likely than naturalism"

So something that there is absolutely no objective evidence is even possible, is more likely than something we know is absolutely objectively possible?

Hmm, I am dubious...

Whitefire13's picture
Lol, coincidence! This

Lol, coincidence! This popped up on my YouTube home page

Letters to my past self

Atheist to former fundamentalist (Genetically Modified Skeptic)

Whitefire13's picture
I hear you. Been there.

I hear you. Been there.

Again, I didn’t spend my life once leaving Jehovah’s Witnesses as a “categorized atheist”, lol. At the time, I didn’t “know” or give a fuck about “what I was”. I only knew what I “wasn’t”.

Sometimes we get to what we “are” or “like” by defining or identifying what we “are not”.

My use of atheist does not remove a possible deity. It’s just up to this point, like consciousness outside the body, I have not been provided my standard of proof or evidence.

There could be, I couldn’t say for certain. There are some things I do say for certain though, but it usually relates to dogma, doctrines, books and claims of “knowing” (without sufficient reason).

LostAndBroken's picture
I've read that there's strong

I've read that there's strong evidence against the claim (based on history) that Jesus rose from the dead.

However, I can't been able to find a source to back this up.

Can anyone point me to it?

Cognostic's picture
@LostAndBroken: The claim is

@LostAndBroken: The claim is not, "Jesus did not rise from the dead." The claim is "Jesus rose from the dead." The claim has little to no evidence at all supporting it.

No one has to go around disproving inane claims by the religious. Can you prove Thor does not exist? Can you disprove Allah, Chrishna, Shiva, or the Great Tao? Is Nirvana a myth? How have you disproved all the claims made by these theologies?

Intelligent people do not have the time to run about disproving every cockamamie assertion made by theists. THAT IS NOT HOW THE WORLD WORKS. The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. No one has to argue against the resurrection. Theists must prove their resurrection story to be true and THEY HAVE NOT DONE THAT. (The Bible is the Claim - Not the evidence.)

Never allow a theist to "Shift the Burden of Proof" to you. You do not have to disprove the resurrection. And the argument, "Well you can't disprove it so it must be true." is completely inane. You can't disprove fairies, the real Peter Pan, or any of the other Gods in this world today. These are all based on non-falsifiable assertions.

LostAndBroken's picture
You misunderstood. I know

You misunderstood. I know that the burden or proof lies on the person making a positive claim (for the Christian, that Jesus rose from the dead).

... Somewhere, I read a piece which declared (positive claim) that the majority of ancient historical evidence shows that Christ did *not* rise from the dead.

I'm just asking if this actually exists, because it would be a very strong refutation.

Being unable to refute isn't the same as evidence for a positive. I know that, and never meant my post to be taken that way.

David Killens's picture
@ LostAndBroken

@ LostAndBroken

"... Somewhere, I read a piece which declared (positive claim) that the majority of ancient historical evidence shows that Christ did *not* rise from the dead."

I suspect no reputable biblical historian will ever make that claim. Instead, they will state that they have not received enough evidence to prove that jesus rose from the dead.

I do not intend to stomp on you because I am sympathetic to your emotions. But you just promoted this claim, please provide just one reputable historian who made that statement.

Now we have strayed into the land of "falsifiable versus non-falsifiable", where a topic can not be proven or disproven. And the default position is that we do not know, until further evidence changes our position.

If I am a biblical historian and if asked on the resurrection thing, my position would be "I have not received enough evidence to convince me that jesus rose from the dead". That is not the same as stating I am convinced he did not.

edit: I did not read further down the post and I realize you have resolved this.

On a side note, I strive for honesty, and if I make any edit, I note it.

Whitefire13's picture
I’ve used Pandora’s Box

I’ve used Pandora’s Box before with theists. That she opened it and released the suffering upon this world.
Normally it gets ignored or overlooked.

And for good reason.
The same reason I wouldn’t sift around, spending my day to disprove a claim.

If someone shows me a bible ... OK. What’s the claim attached with it?

If someone presents me with an Ancient Greek box...OK. What’s the claim attached to it?

Whitefire13's picture
...” read a piece which

...” read a piece which declared (positive claim) that the majority of ancient historical evidence shows that Christ did *not* rise from the dead.”

That’s a very odd statement...I can’t say I’ve ever read or come across anything close to it. Firstly, an “acknowledgement/evidence” of his existence by historians would need to be established (there are other threads that cover Jesus’ existence in much greater detail and accuracy). Second, why would any of them refute an impossibility?

Unless it’s an “option”.
I’ll ensure my physician, at my time of death checks back within 3 days and makes note that I didn’t “resurrect”. Just so it’s clear to everyone that I’m dead. ‘Cause people “resurrect” all the time. They’re called zombies I’m heading off into lalaland...

LostAndBroken's picture
Yeah, it seems that claim was

Yeah, it seems that claim was a lie. I haven't been able to find evidence *against* it. And again, I agree that fact is not evidence for the opposite claim.


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