my prayers went unanswered

Discussion in 'Spirituality/Worship' started by bigmama2, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. bigmama2

    bigmama2 New Member

    as you know, i currently am a non believer (atheist). however in my past i had prayed to god and jesus MANY times over the years to come into my heart. i prayed this with 100% sincerity. everyone in my family and extended family believes in god, jesus, the bible, etc. and even though it didnt make logical sense to me, i still wanted to be a part of it. i mean, seriously, who would chose just rotting in the ground when you die, over eternal life in a wonderful place with all of your family members and friends who had already passed away. of course i would choose heaven!!!!!

    anyways, i prayed and prayed but nothing ever happened. by the way, i grew up going to church every sunday (united church of christ), i was babtized, i went thru confirmation class (studying the bible), and got confirmed. and i tried!!!! i prayed, and confessed my sins, but i never felt gods love or presence.

    i eventually got sick of trying. for a long long time i was agnostic. (that means "i dont know if god exists- maybe , or maybe not- but either way it cannot be proven- so who knows??!!!) over time now i have gone from agnostic to atheist.

    so this has been my spiritual journey in a nutshell. and i am happy with where i am now.

    vivian i wrote this partly for you- as i know you have prayed and prayed too. good luck in your journey- whatever you decide.

  2. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I posted this to Vivian in another thread but I think it may also belong here as I would like to share my thoughts with you, too, if you don't mind. Many of these thoughts came to me as I considered the idea of trying to believe what those around us believe - something I have never really been asked to do.
    Peace to you Bigmama!

    I can't imagine why I would condemn you! Who am I to condemn you???!!!

    I've been thinking about this board and how little I understand the difficulties we sometimes encounter. I was also thinking about your felt dilemma and how fortunate I am to have escaped a similar fate.

    I was raised with complete freedom to decide what I believed. I went to Catholic school for one year when we first arrived in Canada and loved it and loved the nuns who liked my English accent and the fact that my mother dressed me in a tunic and white blouse even though there was no school uniform. I was the only kid in the school who wore one! Then we moved to a solidly Jewish neighbourhood in my ethnically diverse city. My mother stopped the uniform thing but I was the only Irish Catholic with an English accent in my new school. By the time I was 10, mother was giving me the French Existentialists to read - I understood none of it, of course.

    As an adult I have traveled around the world and seen the great diversity of belief and culture. What a privilege that was! I know that we do not live in a monoculture and that we have many beautiful and profound ways of interacting with the divine.

    I have never really felt that I actually fit in anywhere as I was always the odd duck. But, being the odd duck from the age of 5 is very liberating. I feel more a citizen of the world than of any one place. I feel connected to everyone because of this lack of an obscuring connection to one group.

    I believe that we are more what we look at than what we look like. I feel multi-ethnic and multi-cultural because my community has always been these things.

    I would think it is different if one spends one's time in a place where there is a dominant religious belief - no matter which belief it is. I can't even imagine what that would be like. I don't know what it is to not have complete freedom of thought and belief.

    I can't imagine under what conditions I would judge you for believing what you believe - or don't. It is as alien an idea as I can summon up. That is not to say that I don't think religion has been, and is, misused to justify human behaviour and desires. It is every day. Human nature is very troublesome.

    This brings me back to my beliefs. I believe that there is much about our human nature to which we are sometimes blind. I think that we would do well to get on top of some of these qualities if we are to live in peace. I believe that loving each other and learning to care for each other and creating a peaceful world is of the utmost importance.

    In Buddhism there is the tradition of the Boddhisattva. An enlightened soul who has chosen not to enter the state of Nirvana until all are free to do so. When one first engages with Buddhism this is a very compelling idea and I think most rush to join the Boddhisattvas. But, if one really considers what this means, it is the most remarkable act of generosity imaginable. To take this vow, and to renew it daily in everything you do, is a stunning act of compassion and selflessness. (Selflessness is another interesting Buddhist concept but we'll leave that for another time.)

    One of the reasons I'm not all that interested in Pure Land Buddhism is that it is very centred on liberation for oneself which can be attained through faith and prayer. Once I found out about the concept of the Boddhisattva, the idea of personal salvation seems... I don't know... a bit limited.

    I cannot honestly take the Boddhisattva vow, I'm just not that brave nor am I that good, but if I'm going to shoot for something I want it to be the best thing I can imagine. You see, I've always had the freedom to imagine and all the possibilities have always been in front of me.

    I have been blessed with the option of what I consider true faith - to walk the groundless path, to trust completely the wisdom and benevolence of the unadorned Divine.

    Peace out,

    who thinks you are more than fine just as you are
  3. bigmama2

    bigmama2 New Member

    thanks for posting. it is a "deep" post that i will have to reread a few times to absorb it all.

    one part that i did get- is how you were never forced to believe any one certain dominant religion. you are right to be glad of that fact!!!! my family's religion was forced upon me, and that was not fun. even though i tried to force myself to believe it. well you know how the story turns out.

    i have traveled a fair amount and i have known many different people of many different beliefs. to me traveling is nirvana! :)

    very interesting about the boddhisattva!!!!!

    i agree with you that creating a peaceful and loving world is of uttmost importance.

    peace to you Rafiki
  4. bigmama2

    bigmama2 New Member

    you got it!

    we are making progress but there is a long way to go.!! I am glad to finally be "out of the closet"!!!!!

  5. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    You are the only person I have ever talked to who has felt the same way I do. I am so glad you shared this with me. You are a dear.

    Of course it would be so great to believe. And yes, I understand the not wanting to just rot in the ground feeling. Very comforting right?

    I am glad you feel happy now. I am unable to feel the same. Have a hole in me.

    I am at the agnostic part. Toeing the line so to speak.

    I am going to keep trying to believe something, anything really would be great.

    Why do you think that this faith, that comes so easily to others, has evaded us?

    It's sorta hard not to think at times I must be undeserving. I have to refute that idea. I know if you or anyone said that to me I'd say it was untrue, doesn't have anything to do with deserving.

    You truly understand. It has helped me feel better.

    I am still a work in progress. Just whose work I am I'm not sure. I want more than just me in me. You know what I mean.
  6. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    Thanks for you post.

    I don't believe that ANYONE here is hoping I choose to not believe in God.

    I believe they want me to feel PEACE, whatever path will get me there.

    It's ok Sassy2 I'm not like a piece of grass blowing in the wind and bending every way it blows me.

    I have free will. Only I will know and can judge what is best for me.

    I don't think anyone has a vested interest in my believing in God (or not).

    Don't worry their posts are respectful of me and my feelings.

    I am a deep thinker and think for myself.

    Thanks for your concern though, I'm fine and I value their input.

  7. Debra49659

    Debra49659 New Member

    Rafiki said "This brings me back to my beliefs. I believe that there is much about our human nature to which we are sometimes blind. I think that we would do well to get on top of some of these qualities if we are to live in peace. I believe that loving each other and learning to care for each other and creating a peaceful world is of the utmost importance"


    Rafiki...that is a beautiful way of thinking!! Bigmama2 I have a strong belief in God....yet I attend no church and have chosen no faith. I do feel a loss because I have no place to worship that really fits me. I don't believe that not attending a church will force me to spend my ever after in "hell".

    I believe that God hears me whether I am in a church or in my bedroom. I think many of us are unsure of where we fit in.

    You have made your choice and everyone should respect your choice:) As dear Rafiki said..."I believe that loving each other and learning to care for each other and creating a peaceful world is of the utmost importance"

    Rafiki is a very wise are you:)

  8. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    You are such a lovely soul!

    Jesus is The Prince of Peace, is he not? We have peace in common which is a wonderful thing, don't you think. I do, too.

    Peace to you who always brings peace,
  9. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I miss travel soooo much! I miss travel more than anything, don't you? I miss the world! You are right: traveling is nirvana!

    Ah well, this is a way of traveling, I suppose. Springwater takes us to Nepal whenever she posts. I would rather we could actually go and visit but it is what it is.

    Peace to you, fellow traveler,
  10. Waynesrhythm

    Waynesrhythm Member

    Hi Bigmama,

    It was so nice to hear at the end of your story that you are happy where you're at right now. And I do agree with your assessment that your road from agnostic to atheist was indeed a spiritual journey.

    I know the word atheism can be quite disconcerting to people who believe in God, but I look at it as a "Spiritual Orientation" that is every bit as valid as anybody else’s. In fact, I read once that everybody's interpretation/understanding of God is correct. And it is correct because our own experiences in life has brought us to our own personal understanding.

    This thread has actually brought to mind the very moment I rejected the Christian God as it was taught to me as a very young grade schooler; probably the 3rd grade or so. And it had to do with the story of Abraham and Isaac. I was, even at that early tender age, appalled that a God would ask Abraham to sacrifice his son on an altar. It still makes me cringe to think about it today.

    As I look back, I see that that was probably the very moment I realized I could never accept the Christian God. I went through the motions of going to Church and 8 years of parochial school, but I lost even more faith along the way. Being taught things like God being a vengeful God, or being a jealous God, or being a God to fear. Each of these drove me further away, as deep in my heart I felt if there was truly a God, it would be a God of love.

    As the years went by, I didn't think much about God until I reached my twenties. It was at this time that I became very sensitive to the pain and chaos in this world, and began making endeavors to try to develop a greater understanding of life and the world I was living in.

    My starting point was that, despite the disharmony that is so prevalent in this world, I began to get glimpses of what I felt was a greater harmony that transcended the disharmony. I then began to seek out this harmony in a number of ways. After a long search, I eventually found a spiritual path that suited me perfectly. I suspect I had chosen this path before being born into this current lifetime.

    Today, I would say that I am an atheist when it comes to believing in the Christian God as it was taught to me. But I feel my search for a greater harmony has led me to my own understanding of God, and my own place in the Worlds of God. And the greater I delve into these worlds, the greater is my own experience of finding the peace and love that is mentioned in the virtually all the great religions of the world.

    Thanks to everyone on this thread who has shared their stories here. I enjoyed them all. :)

  11. Waynesrhythm

    Waynesrhythm Member

    Hi Vivian,

    I haven't spent a lot of time reading many of these posts, so haven't gotten to know many of the posters here as well as I would like. But I'm starting to get a sense from you, and I'm beginning to like you! :) You're comment about being a deep thinker feels like we may be kindred spirits in that respect.

    Above, you quoted: """"Why do you think that this faith, that comes so easily to others, has evaded us?""""

    May I try to answer this question? My take is that for many people such as yourself, and I would include myself as well, accepting things at face value just doesn't work well for us. And I think the reason why is because, somewhere along the line (past lives perhaps), we have learned to use spiritual discrimination.

    Many things have come our way (sometimes pushed) that have been presented as truth, but just don't have the ring of truth. I think as we develop and fine tune our discrimination (again, likely over many lifetimes), we gradually learn to look for things that resonate with us on a deep level; things that "strike a chord" within us.

    I believe when we have these types of experiences, they are a result of Spirit stirring within us, teaching us in ways that outer books and words can never do. And unless we feel this profound stirring within us, we just can't accept things that others are able to. And I don't see it at all as a some sort of spiritual deficiency, I see it instead as a great spiritual strength.

    All the Best, Wayne :)
  12. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    Thanks so much for your post. I have been reading your posts on other threads and do believe you and I think along the same lines. I think I like you too. : ]

    I have found so very many beautiful people here. Isn't it great in a way that we can't see each other and HAVE to truly know each other for what we are on the inside.

    That said, some folks here are so well spoken that the love and understanding they feel just shines through.

    I have never met a "bad" person on this board.

    I have felt alone in my feelings until I came here. I don't now.

    As I have meditated and just plain cried about my spiritual void I have come to realize I am ok. I don't hurt as much.

    I am good where I am right now. Seeking is ok. I don't have to make an on the spot decision.

    You are so right about the truth striking a cord and resonating within. I do know what I don't believe. I have just never been comfortable with it. I am getting there though, day by day.

    I am ok with being agnostic. I don't want to be an atheist. I have a lot to learn and I believe I have come to just the right place to do it.

    I appreciate your insights Wayne and look forward to hearing more from you.