Author Topic: A problem regarding my faith  (Read 3432 times)

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Offline NWR_pap64

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A problem regarding my faith
« on: September 29, 2007, 04:25:40 PM »
OK guys, don't know who else to turn to so I figured I would give it a chance here.

All the members in my family are Christians. My dad, mom, sister, brother in law, nephew and niece all started by studying the Bible. Then they started attending church and then became full time Christians. Needless to say, they became better people because of it. At the time they started my family was on the verge of destruction due to many personal issues and problems life kept throwing at us. The only one that hasn't made the jump is me. One of the reasons my family didn't force me into Christianity was because they believed that I was on the right path in life and didn't need any force to do keep walking that path.

After returning from S_B's this past summer they offered me the chance to study the Bible. I accepted because at the time I felt extremely betrayed and heartbroken and wanted to seek guidance in other sources and meet new people I can be with. But even then I came to the study with a VERY open mind. I was respectful but my mind was open nonetheless.

We have covered everything, including death, sins, forgiveness and the meaning behind Saturday. I've agreed with some of them, however there are MANY things I don't agree with at all. Some even downright disgust me and leads my faith elsewhere. At one point I thought that once the studies were over they give me the decision of either becoming a full Christian because I know God's word or be on my merry way knowing the consequences that await me later on.

Well on today's study session the teacher said that now that I knew about God's word that I should start going to Church on Saturdays, following the Bible to a "T" and pretty much leave out any quirks that make the guy posting here today. What's worst is that everyone's happy that I am slowly converting when in my mind and heart I feel very torn apart.

See, I'm not quite ready to make the commitment. They ask me to faithfully believe in stuff I don't agree with. I also feel as if they are trying to manipulate my emotions with promises of a better life if I follow their words or eternal punishment if I don't. I want to be able to be friends with people that either don't believe or have a different way of looking at faith. Hell, I want to play Dungeons and Dragons as much as I want!

My friends may not be perfect but I like them. These are people that have a radical way of looking at religion,  to the point where they downright mock and insult it. I don't want to be separated from them simple because we have different beliefs.

But at the same time, since many eyes are on me I am afraid of letting everyone down. I don't want to lead my family into believing that their newfound faith is worthless because I believe that we MUST believe in something, whether it be a religion, a thought or even a simple belief. I don't want to make anyone upset.

But what's really at stake is what I want in life.

So the question here is...

Should I follow my own heart and make my own life according to my beliefs, offending the people I love in the process, or should I do what everyone believes is the right thing to do and give up everything I have right now (personal thoughts, dreams, friends) in hopes of a better life awaiting me?

I know religion can be a taboo subject, but please, this is about what I should do with my life, not about the value of a religion.
Pedro Hernandez
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Offline Mashiro

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RE:A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2007, 04:45:05 PM »
Quote

Should I follow my own heart and make my own life according to my beliefs, offending the people I love in the process, or should I do what everyone believes is the right thing to do and give up everything I have right now (personal thoughts, dreams, friends) in hopes of a better life awaiting me?


You should follow your own heart.

I, myself, am not very religious. Though I do believe (and hope) that there is some kind of higher being and/or plane of existence where we go once our mortal life is done. So I just go by the following:

If you lead a good life and are a good person, good things will await you in the end.

It's very simple I know but, it is what it is. You have to live your life as you want. So long as you respect your families views (which you are) they should respect yours.  

Offline Kairon

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RE: A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2007, 04:53:56 PM »
It's a bit of a one-sided choice you present us there. From just the way you word it, it seems fairly obvious that the answer would be to maintain your individualism... you may even be seeking for help in confirming your own feelings.

I guess the only council I can give is not to hold this against your family members. This is just the way things work when family and other fields mix and enter into grey areas. For instance, it's always a grey area when a family member tries to sell you cable or phone plans and whatnot. Here's someone you trust, and they're giving you a sales pitch designed to make a customer buy in at all costs. *shrug* I'd like to think that this happens subconsciously, I dopubt that your family members are actually aware of how they're subtly shifting from one relationship to take advantage of the other one. To them, it's probably just a sensible, friendly, chat. I'd like to think that they can be forgiven for this subtle but potent error...

but that still places the impetus on you to decide what you want to do with your life... and I can't think of any platitudes to make the way easier. Being independent... saying no... refusing to sacrifice yourself to make other people feel better because of some imagined obligation... All that is stuff I still have TONS of trouble dealing with. But I think it'd break my soul if I wasn't strong enough to risk fighting for some measure of independence, to keep surrendering more and more to outside forces instead of standing up for myself.

So... I don't know where that leaves you, but it's the most I can do for now...
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Offline Shift Key

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RE:A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2007, 05:01:15 PM »
Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill?

Quote

Should I follow my own heart and make my own life according to my beliefs, offending the people I love in the process, or should I do what everyone believes is the right thing to do and give up everything I have right now (personal thoughts, dreams, friends) in hopes of a better life awaiting me?


You'd rather pay lip service to their beliefs (and your own) than be honest to yourself and your loved ones?

If your loved ones have such a big problem with you not accepting their beliefs, then explain to them why. They may not agree with you, but that's their problem - not yours. If you go along with their beliefs despite your issues then you're only cheating yourself (perhaps that's not a big issue for some people).

Continue to go to the study sessions for your benefit as you can discuss questions you have about that faith. If the issues do not dissipate, go and do your own research.

i have been down this road. fortunately i had people from both sides of this debate to talk to and i came out of it in one piece. no regrets.

Offline that Baby guy

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RE: A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2007, 05:06:26 PM »
As a Christian, I don't think you should follow the Bible just because you're told to.  I don't think you should have to go to church every Sunday.  I don't think you should embrace something you don't accept.  Does that make sense?  You can't be a Christian if you don't earnestly believe some things.  Because of this, if you don't believe in those things, there's nothing wrong with saying "No.  I don't believe this." or "No, I don't accept this." That's not something other people can decide for you.  So, no, I don't think you should just because you have pressure to.  I think if you decide to confess faith in Christianity, it needs to be genuine faith, and you shouldn't feel shame for not having that faith at this point.

However, remember, though I think you do, that your family loves you, and they only really want what they think is best for you.  Have you explained your situation for them?  Perhaps that you need some time or some space sometimes?  That you don't want to lose friends?  That they make you feel uncomfortable when they pressure you about these things?  If you haven't, maybe that would help.  If you have, I honestly recommend you talk to the pastor/priest/reverend about it, and see if he can't help them express how you feel.  You can't be "guilted" into Christianity.  It doesn't and shouldn't work that way, either.

Good luck working things out.  Also, I just realize that you're probably going to a Catholic Church, since Saturday was mentioned as the day you go to church.  I don't know too much about Catholicism, honestly, but I think you might want to try talking to the priest to help clear your head.  If you tell him you don't want to be guilted or pressured into converting, I don't think he would put that pressure on you (If he does, you may want to consider a different church or something), and a priest can make a pretty decent guidance counselor sometimes.

Anyways, like I said, talking to people can help clear things up, but if you feel like it's making things worse, try talking to some sort of guidance figure a little bit, just to clear your head.  I mentioned a priest, but I really meant any sort of person in a position like that.  A guidance counselor, a psychiatrist, a priest, there's lots of options out there, and it helps when the person you talk to isn't directly involved, too.

Offline decoyman

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RE: A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2007, 05:16:17 PM »
No one can force you to believe anything if you don't believe it. You have to believe something because of your own free will.

I consider myself a pretty spiritual guy (you know, I "rap w/ Jesus" from time to time ) and I have read the bible. I attend mass most every Sunday because I want to, not because I have to. Faith can be a great thing, but it's as unique as each person who finds it. I word that deliberately: "who finds it." The only common link between those with healthy spirituality is that they have personally sought it out.

It sounds like you're searching right now. But if you're not ready for what you find, that's alright. Whenever you are ready, you'll know.

As for your friends, I have to say that respect is a very important thing to me. Respect for others' beliefs and values being chief. We're in a pretty messed up world right now, and I think a little common respect between people could go a long way towards fixing a lot of its problems. If you do decide that the religious life is for you, their reaction will tell you a lot about them. If they can respect you and accept your decision, then you'll know they're good friends. Intolerance and ignorance have no place in my book. You might say I'm in the easy position here: I'm a Christian already, it's like I'm on the other side. Well, I'm also a Catholic, and you'd be surprised how many religious people put Catholics down as lower class citizens.

Last thought: strict religion is imperfect because it's made of imperfect people. It's how you feel about it that makes it a worthy pursuit or not.

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Offline EasyCure

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RE: A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2007, 05:41:52 PM »
I'm with everyone else thats posted so far.

I feel that Kairon nailed it on the head, it really seems like you already made up your mind on what you should do and are just seeking validation from other people. So far we've all said the same thing, so hopefully your conflicts will end once you can explain to your family how you feel.

Shift Key was also right when he said you should explain to your family you don't completely agree with their  beliefs, but i dont think that "its their problem, not yours" applies. Or, rather, i dont think it SHOULD apply. Your family obviously loves you enough to want to better your life by instilling faith in you, but if they see you're not completely comfortable with it they should respect your decision.

thatguy was also made a good point; if you're going to confess faith (in any religion) it needs to be genuine and not forced. I think whichever deiti you believe in wants you to actually believe in them and not just say you do becuase others want you to. it isnt Faith that way.

now, i'll add my own advice to the already good advice given to you by what seems to be good people:

"Come as you are"

It seems you believe in the faith to an extent and there are a few things you dont agree with. well thats perfectly fine. If you believe a higher power made you, then  maybe you believe that highwer power gave you the ability to make decisions for your self, including deciding whether you want to believe or not. If you were created w/o ability to make up your own mind, you'd be following blindly now wouldnt you? But thats not the case and you have the choice.

i'm not going to say if i am religious or not, so there is no bias, but thats what i tell anyone i've known that has questioned their faith. if you choose to believe just a little, whatever higher power you believe in will be fine with that as long as you lead a good life right?

Its not like the things you disagree with are things like "thou shalt not kill" right? so everythings just gravy
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Offline ShyGuy

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RE: A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2007, 05:49:10 PM »
Wow, this is such a minefield of a thread, but everyone seems to repsonding really well, that's cool.

Anyways, a fundamental part of Christianity, a fundamental part of Faith, is believing in something larger than yourself, and having a "philsophical yardstick" by which to measure the things in your life. Basically, having a greater sense of right and wrong than just what you are feeling at the time. I know others follow a more relativist path and they can do that if they want.

As to the family thing, you have to understand being a Christian isn't like an ethnicity or culture. It's not just being a member of a family or a church. It's a personal relationship with Christ and everything else follows that.

Offline EasyCure

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RE:A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2007, 06:03:12 PM »
Quote

Originally posted by: ShyGuy
Wow, this is such a minefield of a thread, but everyone seems to repsonding really well, that's cool.



I'm waiting for the post that will get this thread locked...

February 07, 2003, 02:35:52 PM
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Offline GoldenPhoenix

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RE:A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2007, 06:09:42 PM »
Yikes this thread could blow up fast, anyway I can't really add much more except that it has to be something you find on your own, faith is pointless if you are doing it to please others. Dont' want to delve too deep in it, but I was basically raised in an agnoistic/atheistic home, and was agnostic up until High School, but I did finally become a Christian but it wasn't to try and fit in, it was because I truly believed. So yeah, one of the worse things that can happen is to believe something because you are forced to. In fact I've seen where those who were forced into a faith ended up turning against it and were bitter towards having anything to do with it. That is NOT what you want, but with that said try to respect what your family believes and the reasoning behind it, heck I say talk to them. Regardless if you want to talk to me privately I will be more than happy to do so, I definitely understand what you are going through!
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Offline EasyCure

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RE:A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2007, 06:25:41 PM »
you cant believe anything she says, she's just tryign to assimilate you, its right there in her sig!!!!!
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Offline Bill Aurion

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RE: A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2007, 12:28:42 AM »
I'm just going to say what I'm sure has been mentioned already...If your friends cut you off for doing something they don't personally believe in, they weren't your friends to begin with...There needs to be a mutual understanding of each other's tastes and beliefs for there to be true friendship...
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Offline NWR_pap64

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RE:A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2007, 02:09:28 AM »
Quote

Originally posted by: EasyCure
Quote

Originally posted by: ShyGuy
Wow, this is such a minefield of a thread, but everyone seems to repsonding really well, that's cool.



I'm waiting for the post that will get this thread locked...


Unfortunately, I was dreading that when I posted.
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Offline bustin98

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RE:A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2007, 03:25:41 AM »
Like many others, I too have been down this path.

My family is extremely christian. And its cool with me, as I am not. But what I do not like is their lack of understanding when it comes to people of alternate lifestyles. I understand people not liking the choices other people make, but to flat out judge someone because of it I figure has to be hypocritical in some manner. Though I know they are not representative of every christian. In addition, they are conservative republican while I lean moderate liberal. (I HATE labels. What those terms mean today may mean something very different tommorrow.)

Anyway, be true to yourself. But do not forget the lessons contained in the Bible. We do not need the threat of eternal damnation to behave like civilized human beings.

Offline Ceric

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RE: A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2007, 04:03:33 AM »
I just read the initial post and wanted to put in my 2 cents.

First off I'm Lutheran.  Of the ELCA variety.  My family was Lutheran and so I became Lutheran.  Which is ok because when everything is boiled down if you believe that Jesus Christ is are savior and in the Holy trinity then your good.  As far as a Christian religion goes its pretty varied and loose.  Like the stance on Pre-Marital sex is that you shouldn't but if you do thats ok.

I no longer go to Church itself anymore because I haven't found a new one I like, I moved, and frankly I really don't need it to keep believing in the core of my faith.  Now to get to your problem.

Religion is something for you to fall back on in times of hardship and to help you make decisions when you really don't know what to do.  To that effect if you want to start practicing a religion you need to find a religion with a core concept you can believe in.  From their find a denomination that is in line with your life philosophies and interpretations.  From the sounds of it your families practicing denomination is not a good fit but Christianity itself may be.  Don't be afraid to practice a different denomination from others.  Personally I like traditional church services but a more modern, tolerant, and progressive view of things.  While a lot of my friends like these new age randomly sing and do a prayer fluffy services with a stricter underlying core.  You need to find what works best for you and be tolerant with other people who chose something different.  Personally I really don't care what anyone else believes unless they are trying to force it on me.  Likewise if someone asks I'll tell them my views but if they don't its really none of there business.

As Bustin98 mentioned in his post.  Hardcore Christians are one of the most hypocritical bunch.  In the end you'll know whats right when the time come.
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Offline 18 Days

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RE: A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2007, 05:27:20 AM »
Quote

After returning from S_B's this past summer they offered me the chance to study the Bible. I accepted because at the time I felt extremely betrayed and heartbroken and wanted to seek guidance in other sources and meet new people I can be with.

Wait what?

Anyway. I really think thatguy said it best. Whatever you do, you're family will always love you and so will your god.

Being a Christian isn't an exercise in conforming to a strict code of behavior and beliefs. You are not a hypocrit if you love Jesus and yet don't believe or follow the whole bible (for example the story of the tower of Babel is totally ridiculous.) You can and should believe whatever you want.
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Offline NWR_pap64

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RE:A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2007, 05:48:59 AM »
Quote

Originally posted by: 18 Days
Quote

After returning from S_B's this past summer they offered me the chance to study the Bible. I accepted because at the time I felt extremely betrayed and heartbroken and wanted to seek guidance in other sources and meet new people I can be with.

Wait what?

Anyway. I really think thatguy said it best. Whatever you do, you're family will always love you and so will your god.

Being a Christian isn't an exercise in conforming to a strict code of behavior and beliefs. You are not a hypocrit if you love Jesus and yet don't believe or follow the whole bible (for example the story of the tower of Babel is totally ridiculous.) You can and should believe whatever you want.


At the time I felt as if I didn't belong in my group of friends and we had fights and arguments about it. I felt that if I pursue other venues I would find other people to be with.

Thanks everyone for the kind words! I'll definitely keep them in mind as I face this.
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Offline Mashiro

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RE: A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2007, 06:20:33 AM »
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Whatever you do, you're family will always love you and so will your god.


Well unless you go and do terrible things . . .

Offline KDR_11k

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RE: A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2007, 06:39:48 AM »
Depends on which church you ask. Some preach punishment, others forgiveness.

Offline ShyGuy

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RE: A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2007, 07:33:51 AM »
Well, Pap64 got his answers, so maybe a mod should lock this thread before it spirals into insanity, insults, and flamewars?

Offline NWR_pap64

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RE:A problem regarding my faith
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2007, 08:43:39 AM »
Quote

Originally posted by: ShyGuy
Well, Pap64 got his answers, so maybe a mod should lock this thread before it spirals into insanity, insults, and flamewars?


I concur. Once more, thanks for the advice!
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