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cmjuk68's picture

Hi all

I hope this is in the correct forum. I couldn’t find an ‘Introduction’ titled thread so I decided to post this here.

My name is Chris, I’m a 47 year old male from the United Kingdom and I’m happily married with 3 children. I’d like to share with you my story if I may. I guess I’m reaching out for like minded individuals, healthy debate, and everything that goes with a supportive community.

I’m a Christian, but that doesn’t mean I’m a happy Christian and it doesn’t even begin to explain where I’m at right now. Though I would say I’m Christian (barely if I’m being honest), there are things in the bible I just do not nor cannot uphold in any way shape or form; slavery, genocide, misogynistic treatment – the usual suspects.

I’m currently seeing a psychologist and I have been diagnosed as having Social Phobia, ADHD, intrusive thoughts and slight O.C.D (i.e. I was borderline and just missed out on having a full O.C.D diagnoses). There are numerous other side issues I have that stem from my mental health issues but those are the main ones.

My parents divorced when I was very young (both are now dead), and long story short, my childhood was one of mental and some physical abuse (nothing sexual) from my Mother. She wasn’t entirely to blame (I say entirely because none of us are perfect) and she wasn’t deliberately nasty or anything like that; she suffered from bi-polar and her nerves were just all in all shot to pieces. We (my sister and I) were always fed, clean, and had a roof over our heads (more often than not in any case). What we lacked was a supportive environment where we could feel safe in growing up and expressing ourselves.

I remember keeping a crucifix next to my bedside and kissing it every night and crossing my self as Catholics do (?) – just before I jumped into bed. I must have been around 8 to 10 years of age. Nobody spoke to me about religion; it was not forced on me, and my parents or grandparents never went to church. My psychologist reckons I was looking for a father figure and a source of comfort because my childhood was one big insecurity issue.

Regardless, I somehow got involved in Christianity all on my own. Now I think about it, I also remember going to some night time Christian meetings during Sunday nights (or it may have been midweek) at some local church, where we’d play games. I was with other children the same age (8 to 12 years). As I grew up, religion faded and I got on with being a teenager. Then at around 25 years old, give or take a few years, I became a member of the Latter Day Saints (‘Mormon’) Church.

Long story short, I developed a fear of hell fire though ironically enough, not from the Latter Day Saints teachings, but through self bible-study when I stopped going to all man made religious institutes. Initially it wasn’t a great fear of hellfire, just a slight nagging feeling which was easily drowned out. I guess in that respect I was like all other Christians. The fear of hell fire was safely placed out of conscious reach

After I left the Latter Day Saints due to having difficulty with some of their beliefs, a few years later I joined the Christadelphians. A small Christian denomination that proved to me through scripture that a devil/satan was not in fact an
actual entity, but the figurative representation and personification of our own sinful nature. They also proved to me (again - quite ironically) that hell wasn’t a literal place of eternal burnings. It is in fact, just the grave. As time went by, I also left them - somewhere around 2005, again due to difficulty believing some of their doctrinal beliefs (none of which revolved around the belief in a devil or a hell). This is where I stopped going to Christian denominations and started studying the bible on my own.

For the next 10 or so years I frequented religious forums and atheist forums on the internet, and participated in some great theological debates. That said, over the last 6 or so years (up to today) my faith in Christianity has been dwindling dramatically. My faith right now is extremely weak and I’m not even sure if I should ‘label’ myself Agnostic.

Either way, hell and eternal agony has frightened me ever since I first learned about it. If I do class myself as Christian I admit it’s primarily because of my fear (which I’ll explain in detail below). I don’t read the bible, I don’t pray and I don’t go to church any more. I’ve gone beyond Pascal’s Wager too – because I’m not believing in case I go to hell, I’m believing even though I think I might ‘already’ be consigned to hell.

Lake of Fire
Around early November 2010 I started to focus on the Book of Revelation and something therein called the Lake of Fire (quite how I missed this lake of fire in the past is a mystery to me). Here it mentions that during the last days the sinful will be cast into this lake of fire. As far as things go, there seems to be (at least to my reckoning) good scriptural evidence that this lake of fire is in fact not a place of endless torment for the sinful - and that the wicked are just annihilated once thrown into it. Burned up and destroyed. Oblivion. Gone.

But I am not sure.

And due to my anxious state, ADHD, O.C.D and everything else, I started obsessing; I simply had to find out more about the lake of fire and what exactly it is. In short, about 5 years ago, I had what I term a nervous breakdown. I was at my wits end because, at one point during my bible study concerning hell fire and the lake of fire in particular, I suddenly remembered something called the unforgivable sin. Now my mind started obsessing about what this meant exactly.

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
As is always the case with me, my biggest problem always seems to be ‘What if I’m wrong?’ I seem to have spent all my
life thinking ’What if?’ What if the psychologist is wrong? I may feel better now, but when I die, what if I’m wrong about hellfire and I end up there? It’s just one ‘what if’ thought after another and it seems to loom huge in front of me.

Anyway, after finding out about this Lake of Fire, as I mentioned, I then remembered something about there being one sin that will not be forgiven. Jesus mentions it in Matthew 12 as being blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.

So (and there’s a very dangerous stepped progression here – one I was aware of but felt powerless to stop) when I found out there was one sin that would not be forgiven, that was my cue to start looking into it more and more. I couldn’t help myself. I obsessed over it; I studied what I could find out about it, all the time thinking, ‘what an absolute terrible thing it would be if I blasphemed the Holy Spirit, it would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me, to anyone.’

This anxiety was so strong; I had to make sure I knew everything about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (so I could avoid it I guess). I’m not sure why I did it, I’m not even sure if I have done it (again, the ‘what if’ scenario) but at one point I believe I blasphemed the Holy Spirit in my mind’ (I even have to type Holy Spirit in capital letters out of fear of disrespecting God).

Prayers Answered?
But this is the part that really worried me. I thought the only way to find out if I had blasphemed the Spirit would be to ask God. Nice and simple. If anyone would know, He would know. He would clarify. So I got down on my knees and I prayed and I believe He told me ‘yes’ I had blasphemed the Holy Ghost.

It’s important to note here that I did not receive an audible reply of ‘Yes’. I also asked if I was going to burn in hell, and
I again received the reply ‘Yes’. Please ignore terminology like reply and answers; I’m just using them because they serve a purpose, I’m not trying to lead the story in any way here.

So I experienced no audible voice, no statement, and no commands, nobody is telling me to do ‘this’ or ‘that’. I
experience them similar to how someone might recall a conversation from the passed, or similar to when you read words off a page – they just arise in my mind seemingly out of the blue. There is no voice, but I worry they may come from God – because I do not consciously think these thoughts. I never deliberately placed the ‘Yes’ in my mind. Best way to describe how it manifested is to say, it felt like it does when you remember a passed conversation in your head and you replay in your mind the words of that conversation.

Intrusive Thoughts
the psychologist told me they are natural and mean nothing; intrusive thoughts. But as always I am asking ‘What if the psychologist is wrong?’ I’ve also read intrusive thoughts are known as word salad and mind pops and that’s pretty accurate. I have had them in the past too and most of the time they are nonsensical and totally random with no meaning.

Anyway, I started thinking, what if they are not simply intrusive thoughts? What if they are coming from God or one of His Angels, and that I was being told I was damned because I blasphemed the Holy Spirit, how could I know? How could I know if they were manifestations of my own mind or they were coming from a sentient being? How could I tell the difference?

It dawned on me, if I started having intrusive thoughts that somehow predicted the future or showed me events that would then take place in the future; that would be a proof they were not coming from me but from some sentient intelligent being. Surely if what I experienced in my mind somehow came true a few days, weeks, months or even years later, then that would be very strong evidence that what I was experiencing was not just intrusive thoughts, but were originating form a supreme supernatural intelligence. And as a result the thought ‘Yes’, you’re going to hell’ was a message. After all, ‘I’ can’t correctly predict the future, but God can.

Intrusive Images in my dreams
These intrusive thoughts came first, and then eased off for a while, but then the dream images (as I’ve labelled them) started.

Basically, I started having dream images just before going to sleep and just after waking up – either way; I’d get them when I was on the periphery of sleep – when very tired. They only lasted a few seconds at the most, but I soon started worrying that I might be seeing these dream images in waking reality sometime later on in the day. Seeing a dream image in reality would be evidence I was hell bound for the same reasons I gave above for the intrusive thoughts. They predict a future by ‘showing’ me future events; something my mind could not do.

The dream images can be absolutely anything and the trouble is that my bias makes me see connections, no matter how tenuous those connections are. It doesn’t take a strong connection between intrusive thoughts, images and what I see in reality to set me panicking either.

For example, if I saw a red car at a certain location in a dream image (whilst falling asleep or walking up) and I saw a red car at the same location the next day, week, month, or even year, then it’s either a coincidence – or a sign from God. A sign that proves the intrusive thought ‘Yes’ you’re going to hell’ is real and not in my mind. Why? Because the images/thoughts are showing my glimpses of the future and I cannot see the future – but God can. Signs if you like.

I should add that the reason I started believing these dream images were connected with prophetic signs, was because during the first few weeks of me basically having a break down out over hell (my fear and anxiety were that strong), I would fall asleep having dream images of me falling into fire. That sort of thing. Add to this, the fact that I would get intrusive thoughts such as ‘Destined for hell’ whilst falling asleep, and it all makes for a pretty convincing case – at least to me. At least at the time.

Why did I do this? Why couldn’t I just leave it alone?
This is the key point. I had no real reason to study what blaspheming the Spirit was. Ok so it was out there, and it was possible to do so, but why did I have to study it? Why couldn’t I just leave it alone? For some reason I could not let it go, I had to find out. One inevitable step after another

At one point (5 years ago) I was so wrecked, that I was literally crying in my soup. I remember I could not nor did not want to eat because of my anxious state. At one point my wife made me soup and I was literally crying into the dish. At one point I couldn’t even support myself standing up and fell against my wife because I was such a mess. I was a total wreck it has to be said and it embarrasses me to say so.

I’m much better now though. I still get the odd intrusive thought and/or dream image when I’m falling asleep or waking up. I still get short stabbing pangs of panic here and there. But I’m much better over all.

The litmus test for me is this; would I believe if there was no threat of hell or punishment? I honestly do not know – but probably not. Probably.

If you got to the end of this I thank you for reading it all.

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Nyarlathotep's picture
I think your mistake is

I think your mistake is taking the ravings of an Iron Age religion (the bible/Christianity) too seriously. It is a hell of a lot easier to swallow that bullshit if you don't actually read it and just listen to the minister. You have made the mistake of Dorthy, by looking behind the curtain, and you are still struggling with the realization---deep down inside you---that you have been duped (imo). Good luck man.

cmjuk68's picture
Thanks Nyarlathotep

Thanks Nyarlathotep

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