How Christianity Broke my Mind

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

For the longest time, I’ve been reluctant to draw a line between what I was taught as a Christian and having Major Depressive Disorder. Thinking about this is still raw for me, because I don’t want to just blame things, but I also don’t want to ignore reality. In sharing this, I hope other people might realize that the turmoil in their mind can be helped outside their faith.

My depression existed first.
To begin with, I have to say that Christianity didn’t create my depressive thinking. After doing some digging, there is some evidence which suggests it might be hereditary. In addition, my really bad depressive moods started when I was about 12, which probably coincided with starting puberty. These factors probably made the way my brain form in a manner which is prone to depressive episodes.

I’ve successfully been dealing with this using a combination of therapy and medication. While it doesn’t prevent me from having bouts of severe melancholy, it has helped my mind not retreat to contemplating suicide. Considering I had been dwelling on it for a long time and on a daily basis, this is tremendous progress. Help is out there for people with depression, and taking the first step is the hardest one. I highly recommend it for anyone struggling with depression.

Here’s how Christianity made it worse.
First, the concepts of sin and salvation locked me into believing that everything bad I thought or did made me worthy of eternal torment. Fear of that afterlife drove me deeper into the tenets, and I desperately wanted to feel the happiness of salvation. However, as soon as I’d leave church I’d get into some kind of trouble, and I’d remember what it was like to feel condemned. I lived in a perpetual state of despair that wasn’t mitigated. Worse, over time the small consolation I’d get at church was diminished.

Everyone else seemed to have a good time of things, so I kept my thinking to myself. After all, people who expressed contrary opinions in church sometimes got ridiculed or talked down. Only once did I express to a Sunday School teacher my fear of going to Hell, and I was chided for dwelling on it. I was also brought into a conference with my parents, and not a single adult present could figure out why I was so worked up.

Now, these things happened before I hit the age of 12. When I started getting depressed to the point of wanting to kill myself, I’d already practiced hiding my thoughts from everyone else. For someone who is mentally ill, this is not a good skill to have practice with. Counselors, teachers, parents, and clergy could not tell that I was young and suicidal.

Building on this, any time I had issues stemming from depression (mood swings, loss of appetite, withdrawal from people, lack of interest in things), I was actively told that getting professional help was not an option. These were allegedly problems of my spirit, and so I needed spiritual support in dealing with them. Already I’d had my problems with doing this, so I was forced into claiming that these things helped while drowning in my own misery.

Mixing mental illness with faith isn’t healthy.
Eventually I got out of the faith, but only after I’d made attempts on my own life. My mental illness had pushed me to the point where even I could no longer make excuses for it. To this day, I remember how I forced myself to accept going to Hell as a justified punishment for being depressed. No matter my beliefs, no matter how long I tried, there was no happy Christian ending for me.

For anyone out there who has problems with depression that their faith isn’t fixing, you’re not alone. Too many people suffer in silence because they’re more afraid of their fellow Christians than of what’s devouring them from the inside. This doesn’t have to happen. Nobody has to suffer alone. Even if you can only find people online to reach out to, doing so is a good step forward.

The cruelest thing about all of this is that many Christians were willing to collectively help to break me down to fit into a faith-shaped mold, but so few of them were willing to have the courage to really help. Even then, excuses are offered to explain how it wasn’t really their faith’s fault. Failure – especially of this religion – is an ugly orphan. Part of me might be angry, if it wasn’t for the brokenness I see in them.

All I can do is pick up whatever pieces I can, and glue them back together. Doing that has been infinitely more rewarding than anything I did in church. I hope that other people can find that joy and comfort too.

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140 thoughts on “How Christianity Broke my Mind

  1. Wow! A moving read. I went from the heights of happiness for you at reading you received help, to the depths of anger at reading you were denied professional help by your guardians. You’re a kind soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are too kind!

      Not getting help when I was younger is a big part of why things got out of control for me, and there’s a bunch of different causes for it. Looking back on it, I see now it wasn’t my parents just trying to be good Christians. If anything, they were actually trying to do the best they could; they just were handicapped by their faith as well.

      It’s like using a hammer and nails all the time because you don’t know you can use a screwdriver and screws, if that makes any sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a powerful post! I was always very moved by the threat of Hell too. I typically felt that I would end up there, and even when I wasn’t concerned for myself, I was really bothered thinking about all the other people who would go there. Honestly, I don’t understand why more Christians aren’t bothered by it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Nate!

      I don’t know, either. What I’m seeing more often is that when it’s an issue, some Christians will claim that not everyone might go to Hell, or that there might be divine mercy for them.

      It’s interesting watching them go from that to condemning non-believers and other sinful people for not obeying their deity’s word.

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      • Yeah, it’s funny to me that, when push comes to shove, they claim to have no idea how certain central things in their religion work. You’d think that the topic of salvation would be just about the most important part of the religion, yet they don’t know who’s going to be saved and who isn’t? Or how that process works? Or what it even means, since they can’t agree on what Heaven will be like or whether Hell is real or metaphorical, etc…

        *sigh*

        Liked by 1 person

      • Unless I’m mistaken, there’s a lot less talk about what Heaven will be like than Hell. And even both afterlives are just kind of described generally as the good and bad places, respectively. Which kind of also makes me wonder why there’s even a need for a bad place. Why not just have a really awesome place to go to, and nothing for everyone else?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. At the same time, sin is something we were born with. It is something the serpent has cursed us with. But I really hope you stay strong in your faith for God has a plan for us. Jesus helped us cleanse us of our sins. If you ever need any advice, come over to my blog and ask any questions.

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      • The very same one his cultural god created, the all-knowing god who said he knows everything, and knew from the beginning what would happen. A sadistic teenage computer programmer, from a parallel universe, who gets off on fucking with his avatars.

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      • You DO realize there’s no such thing as Adam and Eve, don’t you? Check out the Human Genome Project. Just remember, there were four words forgotten at the beginning of the Bible. “Once upon a time”

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      • I didn’t have to read any further than ‘Answers in Genesis’. If you are reading Ken Ham and thinking he’s a genius, you’ve got some learning to do. 😦 You need to enlarge your research scope.

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      • Ummm…… Ken Ham doesn’t need to be a genius. You think everything that came out of Einstein’s mouth was right? Also, it was someone from Answers in Genesis. I don’t recall anyone even mentioning Ken Hal except you.😯😉😉

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      • Mathlover,
        As soon as I see a reference to Answers in Genesis (AiG) I turn off. Ken Ham is the founder of AiG. Here’s why I automatically take everything anyone from that organization says with a grain of salt: AiG advocates a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis, with a particular focus on a pseudoscientific young Earth creationism. It rejects any results of scientific investigation which do not conform to their literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative. In order for a person to do such a thing, they must ignore scientific discoveries from paleontology, genetics, zoology, molecular biology and other fields. In other words, a person must believe that an invisible entity from a parallel universe waved a magic wand and POOF! – there was the world and us in it! This I consider to be complete and utter foolishness. Now, I realize that science does not give us all the answers, but it’s clear that religion gives us NONE. (unless one accepts that fairy tales/myths are truth).

        Nate’s blog is chock full of excellent information and discussion. He’s much more diplomatic than I am, so I suggest you stick with him. 🙂

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      • Mathlover,

        Check out both articles, and you’ll see that they’re talking about the same data. “Mitochondrial Eve” is not quite the same thing as the Eve in Genesis. Also, she would have lived about 140,000 years ago — a timeline that is completely opposed to the Genesis account. Furthermore, the “Adam” in this scenario (the single male ancestor that all Y chromosomes can be traced back to) lived between 60,000 and 90,000 years ago. Obviously, these two people were not connected in any way.

        Listen, if you’re truly interested in examining your beliefs, I have a number of articles listed on the home page of my blog. Don’t want to drive traffic away from Sirius’s blog, but the articles I have there are pretty accessible. You’ll be able to see that the prophecy of the “virgin birth” wasn’t a prophecy at all — and certainly not one concerning Jesus. You’ll see that the birth narratives for Jesus in Matthew and Luke can’t be reconciled. There’s no way both accounts could be right. You’ll see that Ezekiel’s prophecy of Tyre was a complete failure, since he prophesied that Tyre would be utterly destroyed and never rebuilt, yet Tyre is still around today. And all kinds of other issues.

        It can be difficult to accept the conclusions when you’re a firm believer (as I once was), but the information is actually pretty clear once you know what to look for.

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      • Hi mathlover,

        I don’t think I’ve run into you on any other blogs before. I appreciate the encouragement you’re trying to give to Sirius, but he had many more reasons for leaving Christianity than just his depression. Most of us who have commented here were once Christians, just like you. I used to believe in the Genesis creation account, just like you. I believed in the story of Noah’s ark, the 10 plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea — all of it. But several years ago, I began to find out that the Bible had a number of actual problems within it. Since I had thought it was the complete, inerrant Word of God, seeing contradictions and failed prophecies within it was staggering. I didn’t accept what I was seeing at first, but after doing a lot of research (mostly in publications from Christian apologists), I discovered that the problems weren’t going away.

        Anyway, I get the impression that you may be a bit like I was: a knowledgeable Christian who wants to help save the lost, completely unaware that there might be real evidence against Christianity. The other thing I had going for me was that, more than anything, I wanted to make sure my beliefs were true. If they weren’t, then I was prepared to change them. If that resonates with you, then any of us here would be happy to explain what some of the problems with Christianity (and the Bible) are so you can investigate them for yourself.

        Well, that’s all I’ve got! Good luck to you, and let me know if you’d ever like to discuss this stuff in more depth. Take care. 🙂

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      • Thanks for offering, Nate, but I am strong in my faith for God. Since I am Christian, I still believe it was God who created the world and how the Lord is amazing.

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    • At the same time Nate, I did a brief overlook on what you were posting on your blog. But there are some things you need to understand. Although I haven’t looked into everything yet, I can almost guarantee you did not disprove everything. Which means the Bible still holds truth. But, I am still holding my faith for God in Christianity.

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      • Oh, the Bible definitely still holds some truth. But shouldn’t all of it be true, if it really speaks on behalf of a perfect God? We have to remember that even a Spider-Man comic contains truth: it takes place in New York, Obama is President, the Statue of Liberty is there, etc. It even encourages things like morality, responsibility, and bravery. But just because it contains those truths, it doesn’t mean that Spider-Man and his panoply of allies and villains are also real.

        But again, if critical views of the Bible are new to you, you’ll need some time to absorb the information. Don’t feel the need to respond right away. I recommend going through as much material from as many points of view as possible and then taking time to think through it all. We’re not your enemies here — if you need anything, let us know.

        Good luck. 🙂

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  4. Sirius, as someone how has struggled with depression and recently horrible anxiety, I can totally relate to the struggle. If I had been in a church or a family who shamed me for the battle I would have run. It’s the most insane idea for ANYONE who believes in the Bible to believe in hiding. All through the Bible God/Jesus calls people OUT of hiding, into the light. AND HE LOVES THEM! He loves them like they could not even love themselves. That love, not religion is what is totally changing my world. And it hasn’t taken away my physical issues. They are there. But I am no longer ashamed of them BECAUSE I know who I am as a child of God. Grace conquers shame and love conquers fear and if you believe in Jesus at all, that is what He came for. This is not to start a discussion or debate. It’s just to say that maybe Jesus & God are a lot more beautiful than you were shown.

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    • Hey there!

      You have my sympathies in dealing with depression and anxiety. They’re very problematic illnesses, and many people will search for many different coping strategies just to try to make the panic and the hurting stop.

      That said, the messages you present here were very familiar to me, and they were taught constantly when I was a Christian. My problem was not that people were telling me to hide my depression; it’s that the spiritual teachings weren’t enough to help me cope with my depressive thinking. Hiding became a defense so that I wouldn’t hear the same ineffective thing again.

      Moreover, it was done actually to preserve my beliefs. In order for me to maintain the notion that a deity loved me, I had to constantly tell myself that these beliefs helped. Only when I couldn’t ignore it any longer did I finally have to admit that I needed a new coping strategy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the reply and I love how you share your thoughts with kindness and respect.
        I guess for me, I’ve never thought of it as either/or. It was always both. Yes I need God so much (I believe) but He also made me to need food, and relationships. In other words, there are physical things we still need in this life. I think counseling is something EVERYONE should have! I think medicine can be HUGE blessing because bodies break down. Like Jesus said “Man can not live by bread ALONE.” He didn’t say we could live without bread. Just it wasn’t enough alone.
        That is where I am at. I am SO thankful for my faith! It brings SO much joy and is not a way to cope but a reality to walk in WHILE I use my brain and other people’s brains to come up with ways to deal with real physical issues.
        And I suppose that is where the division is. I don’t feel like I have therapy on the right and Jesus on the left and I have to choose. I believe in God and the Bible and I also get counseling and I also practice “psychology” all day long. It’s actually kind of an amazing mix. I can’t imagine one without the other. 🙂

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  5. I find this post interesting. I too have MDD, the onset correlates with the sexual abuse as child, so about eight, to add to it I have PTSD and a physical disability, at 25 the doctors convinced me to try medications and it almost killed me! The last time I did try to commit suicide. It was awful. Before that, I was always plagued with thoughts of death, I cut, and I engaged in self-destructive behavior. I didn’t grow up with religion. I went to church a handful of times during my teenage years. Yet, after the last suicide attempt I ditched the medication, I fought to get on my feet, and when I did I ended up going to church. I was told by a case worker that it would help me network into the community, and the first time the sermon was on fear. I went home thinking how similar it was to Cognitive Behavior Therapy. I go twice a week and am constantly amazed at the correlation between psychological practices and religion are. Find what works for you!

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  6. I think that your view of salvation / condemnation isn’t exactly Biblical. Not to diminish your emotional struggles with depression and suicide at all – this is more of a ‘btw’ kind of comment. Hell is frightening, but we’re not condemned to go there every time we mess up. That’s the entire point of grace and the New Testament. It’s a matter of justifying a loving God with a just God – our actions cannot go unpunished (they definitely have consequences in this life), but on an eternal level we are saved through genuine faith in Jesus’s purpose.

    Not trying to barge into your post and give you a religious lecture. I was an atheist for most of my life and I understand where you’re coming from. Just felt the need to chime in.

    I’m glad you’re in a better place now and I hope your life continues to improve. 🙂

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    • “I think that your view of salvation / condemnation isn’t exactly Biblical.”

      This conclusion is premature on your part. Specifically, my beliefs on sin and salvation were informed by Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 15:22, and Ephesians 2:8. What I believed was that people are created with a sinful nature. This sinful nature causes people to sin, and the punishment for sin is eternal damnation. In order to be saved from this punishment, one has to accept Jesus as one’s lord and savior. Only two sins exist which might be outside this granting of salvation (depending upon which Christian you’re talking to, and maybe even which Bible is being read): blasphemy against the holy spirit, and suicide.

      Now, what I was driving at in my post was the consequences of believing this. Although I’d been taught that I’d been saved, I was also taught that sinning is a moral failing. People who are not saved don’t care that they’re sinning, and people who are saved actually try to mitigate their sinful nature as much as possible. So, I was being a good Christian and feeling bad, wanting to reject sin, and love Jesus.

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      • I guess I personally don’t understand how understanding Biblical salvation can lead to the issues you described. I get that Hell is extremely frightening, but personally that issue surfaces more when I consider people I know who aren’t saved. I don’t constantly worry about my own salvation because I know that, at the moment, I am saved. I do think that salvation can be lost, but the very nature of genuine belief prevents us from sinning to the extent that we lose our salvation. Sin separates us from God and as believers we are acutely aware of that separation and can ask for forgiveness. In the end, the goal is to avoid sin not because we want to avoid punishment but out of reverence and respect for our Creator. Again, this is all based on my own understanding.

        Also, I don’t think of Hell as some sort of fiery pit of pain. I think of it more as people choosing things other than God during their lifetimes, ultimately seeking separation from Him. So in death they are granted that extreme separation by going to Hell, where they unfortunately realize just how present and real God was and is – and that every good thing comes from God, which they’ve now lost access to.

        I don’t mean to come into your post and lecture you, I’m just trying to help out. But I understand that from the perspective of someone who doesn’t believe in Christianity none of this is helpful – it just feels like sugar coated BS at best and completely delusional / Stockholm-syndrome-esque at worst.

        I just know I’ve battled with depression and anxiety in my own life and discovered that once I found and truly embraced my faith, it eased my own mental struggles more than any medication or atheistic approach I’ve ever tried.

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      • It probably all comes down to each person’s personal make-up. There are some who are severely damaged emotionally by Christianity and the sin/hell question. Others, like yourself, rarely address it or feel any angst about it.

        I think for those who fall in the former group, you would have a hard time convincing that God is Good.

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      • ” There are some who are severely damaged emotionally by Christianity and the sin/hell question. Others, like yourself, rarely address it or feel any angst about it.”

        That’s a good point, Nan. There’s a third group who asked the question, “why would I want to worship such a deity?” Research on child development demonstrates that this kind of behavior— the parent or primary care giver threatening permanent separation (as punishment) is manipulative, and a form of psychological abuse.

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      • I get that you’re trying to share your point of view here, and that point is well taken. However, what you’re sharing isn’t new information to me. Basically, it’s the same stuff I was told when I was a Christian.

        What I’m really getting at is how sin is thought to affect one’s personal relationship with one’s deity. So, it begins with sin and salvation, but things quickly become related to asking how sinning is interfering with one’s walk with Jesus (or a sign that one hadn’t genuinely accepted that salvation). All of that stuff had worried me, and biblically it is justifiable. Pretending it wasn’t there didn’t make it go away.

        While some Christians are perfectly capable of just focusing on the warm fuzzy teachings of the faith, there are plenty more out there who have deep concerns about all they’re taught. That ultimately is why I write posts like this. It’s to help people trapped in their faith get out before it does permanent damage.

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  7. Hey, I have a lot of respect for this post. Thanks for being open and vulnerable on a topic that’s hard to be open and vulnerable about. What you’ve gone through is real. I can never say that I’ve been through your exact situations, because i obviously haven’t. Depression and suicidal thoughts are real issues. Chemical imbalances are real. I’m going to prefice this statement with the the fact that I am a devoted Christian who loves God, but being that I’ve walked in the valley you’ve walked. I’ve suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts. I know that it may seem absolutely useless to give the situation to God. Like any other medical condition I seeked medical treatment and went on antidepressants. I have no regrets with this decision nor did I listen to any other person and gauge what their thoughts were about antidepressants. If we can treat a cold with NyQuil, we can treat depression with antidepressants. People don’t realize that w e are actually blessed with the knowledge that we have today in medicine and treatment, and A large part of faith isn’t just sitting around and waiting for miracles, it’s moving forward and trusting that things are going to get better, whether that’s a month from now or three years from now. The truth is, we live in a fallen world. We are physically dying, and our minds are not sound. This is an amazing reminder of the life that was intended for us, and given to us by a loving and gracious God, but it’s also a great reminder that things are still going to be messy. I think by turning from God you’re turning from the one being who isn’t messy and who isn’t rude or pushy and exclusive with their evangelical beliefs. Personally though, antidepressants weren’t enough. They were a start but ultimately it was God that brought me back to reality, and I honestly pray that you can find your way back to Him, but I just want you to know that not all Christians are against modern resources.

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    • There’s no indirect way for me to respond to this, so I’ll just be blunt. I know it isn’t your goal to be condescending and rude, but that’s basically what your comment accomplishes. Since I’m a former Christian, I don’t need the faith explained to me; I spent a long time in the faith with people of all different walks.

      Yes, there are Christians who believe it’s okay to take antidepressants. But when they view depression as a spiritual problem, they don’t necessarily recognize antidepressants as being helpful. It’s not that some Christians were against medicine in my case; it’s that they focused too much on trying to make my illness fit their view of things.

      I get that this might not be something you want to hear, but there are people out there whose faith is not helping them at all. Returning to the thing that damaged them isn’t healthy. Wishing that they return to it is expressing a desire that they return to at best the thing that hurt them. In my case, it’s essentially expressing a desire that I die soon.

      For the longest time, I picked Christianity over self-preservation. I cannot do that anymore.

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      • I’m sorry if I came off rude and condescending, that was not my intentions at all. I was just giving my personal experience with an issue that’s far to common to ignore. I don’t think depression is a spiritual problem. I get where you’re coming from, and it’s not hard to hear because I’ve seen it first hand. Things didn’t start looking up for me until I got counseling to be honest. I didn’t see that as a failure of God to fix things, I saw it as a success for me to use resources that God provided through a random flyer I found on a street. I guess what I’m saying is, you don’t have to pick between the two. But again I’m sorry if this comes off rude, that’s the last thing I intend it to come off as.

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  8. This is definitely an interesting title , and a very well written piece.
    mental Health is definitely a real issue that must be handled very delicately in a Christian surrounding otherwise it could make things worse like in your case. And because of your mental state at these times you were definitely more prone to feel the anxieties of hell even more, and having to cut out the idea of Christianity and God definitely would have Made life a lot easier and helped you cope with the anxiety of hell because it is a lot easier to manage now that you no longer believe in the idea of Christianity and God.

    But God and Christianity was never the real problem to begin with, just because there was an association of your depressive thoughts and Christianity doesn’t make it a cause and effect. It only shows how truly emotionally connected you were to Gods word for it to affect you that much, which was very admirable!

    Did you ever talk to God directly and tell him how hell made you feel anxious and how you get suicidal thoughts and fear that you might lose your salvation! Sometimes we underestimate our direct talk with God instead we rely so much on what we read in the bible and or what other Christians tell us and forget that we can hear from God specifically related to our own life’s.

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    • JoAnna,
      There’s no such thing as hell. That concept is one part of your religious delusions. There’s also an obvious problem if you are talking to an invisible entity.

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      • I guess its easier to think of something as delusional especially if you don’t understand it (and i don’t either) but half of the worlds population cannot all be delusional at once. and yes God is invisible but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist.
        Remember when most scientist thought microorganisms never existed because there were invisible to the naked eye, even when other scientist were could observe the effect of their existence?, this situation is kinda like that, there are people who can feel the presence of God, who can heal others in the name of God, and people like myself can see the effect of his existence in my life, i do not need to see him with my naked eye to know that he exist.
        it is actually very therapeutic actually to just talk out all your issues, you should try it ! you might be surprised that he might reply you back 😉

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      • “Half of the world’s population” (it’s actually closer to a third) CAN be delusional and are – it’s called mass delusion.

        I wonder why (your) god didn’t ever speak to Mother Teresa (about to be canonized). . .but it speaks to you? You must be special, indeed. 🙂

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      • Well if it is possible, then i guess it can be either of the halves, those delusional that there are the creator themselves or others like myself. i do not know much about mother teresa, as my christian life is very much focused on my own relationship with God, and not his relationship with others, but saying God never spoke to her is ambiguous, did she go through a period she felt God was silent? yes, did God never speak to her?, i really doubt that following what i have just read.
        but there really isn’t a need to argue of his existence, you can’t tell someone that whatever they’re feeling is wrong, and they should feel a certain way. I feel the presence of God and that is my truth. what is it that you feel?, the absence of God?, because if you feel an absence it means there is something that exist but is absent from where it should be; you can’t feel the absence of something if it doesn’t exist. so what is your truth?

        Everyone is unique in the eyes of God and he will reveal himself on an individual basis to us, if he chooses so.

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      • That is also my truth!, i feel the presence of people too

        but also something far greater than myself and my fellow homo-sapiens!

        but lets be real, you might hide or deny it, but don’t you ever sit down and think that ‘there must be something more’, ‘that you’re just not on earth to live and die’? don’t you ever feel like just maybe you have a purpose?, not just to inspire people with your blog, who will one-day take your readings to their grave; i mean a purpose far beyond death, a purpose that continues to live and live forever!

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      • Living forever refers to memories, JoAnna – not abiding forever and walking with Jesus (or however you construe that phrase). No, I don’t think past death because that is the end. You and I will die, just like every other living thing. I concentrate on living – and this life – not living beyond death. It’s a meaningless pursuit of imagination. I concentrate on what I can do NOW to contribute to life in my community and family.

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      • you sound like someone who is definitely in the dark of christian phrases and concepts, i’m very impressed, i wonder you might find these topics quite interesting!
        anyways memories don’t last forever, and yes you’re very right!, we must live and concentrate on the now not focusing on tomorrow, we must live a life to help others in our community as well, even God encourages this kind of living. that doesn’t mean you’re not curious enough to ask ‘what is the point of this all?’

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      • I’m not sure of what ‘in the dark of Christian phrases and concepts’ is but I am not intrigued at all by your question, “What is the point of it all?” You see, every religious denomination has a different idea about this and as far as I’ve been able to determine, every idea is pure speculation. Imagination is indeed a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
        Not interested in following your blog but thanks for the offer. Perhaps there are others who think they’re going to get the answer to that question of yours and I’m sure they’re curious to find out how you – out of the millions of people who’ve speculated about this over time – would know the answer to that definitively. 🙂

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      • oh sorry meant to say *not in the dark!, you seem to know alot about the christian religion and life as a whole, it would be nice to learn a few things, or at least try to see your point of view. and that’s too bad you’ll miss out on my really cool paintings. i really don’t have to tell people what the point is, neither should any denomination, as soon as you know God you’ll come into that realization yourself.

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      • “. . . as soon as you know God you’ll come into that realization yourself” is an absolutely meaningless statement. I’m sure you think it gives you an air of smug intuition but trust me, it is a pointless statement. Insert the words, “the figment of my imagination” for the word ‘God’ and you’ll see what I mean.

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      • well how do you know its all an imagination?, have you tried to find God and never did?, have you tried to speak to him and didn’t get an answer?. or maybe you expected God to do something in your life and he never did, and so you’ve decided to take it upon yourself to disprove anyone who believes in God, in attempt to convince me or possibly convince yourself that he doesn’t exist?
        you can’t tell me is my imagination because i have seen the power of God, trust me if i haven’t experienced God i wouldn’t believe either!

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      • i like you Carmen, not sure if you are a man or a woman!..you should follow my blog! or better still, what is your blog, let me follow you, you seem very knowledgeable, and i like people who have something to teach me!

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      • trust me if i haven’t experienced God i wouldn’t believe either!

        And that’s why we don’t believe. Just as my (or Carmen’s) lack of an experience with God is not enough to make you not believe in him, your experience with God is not enough to make us believe.

        Since that’s the case, why do you suppose God hasn’t revealed himself to us in the way that he revealed himself to you? Does he value some individuals more than others?

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  9. I remember arguing with my dad that mental health is a very serious illness and most of the time not spiritually linked and if it were how come medications make it all go away, surely you can’t fight a spiritual battle with a physical weapon! And he said; yes joanna you’re right to some extent, yes it is a chemical imbalance and yes medications help, but have you ever heard that someone took a pill and their depression never came back, most of the time they’re constantly on it, remember Joanna, when God does cure it all goes away!, but does God cure depressive thoughts all the time whenever you ask him? NO! Why? No one knows! He’s ways are far and far beyond our understanding! God is God and he is who he is, just because he acts in a way that doesn’t seem right to you, it will never change the fact that he is God and there’s nothing you could do about it, it’s so frustrating but he is God and he’s ways and thoughts are beyond our guan grasp

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  10. Ps my dad is a medical doctor and my mum a mental health nurse , I am also a current medical student with an interest in mental health issues, I am Christian also by choice. So if you have any questions feel free to contact me on my site Bigheartbusyhands.com I would love to hear more about your story, and hopefully give advice without bias

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  11. For some reason I can’t directly reply to you nate. Yes of course I totally understand why you don’t believe. Some people require an experience with God to believe and I am one of them. The question is do you want to believe if God existed? He said if we seek him we will find him, you got to ask him to reveal himself to you. Some peoples faith are not big enough to take others experiences as truth they want theirs and that’s totally fine !

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    • Did you miss Nate’s point deliberately, JoAnna? There you go again,telling us how special you must be b/c you’ve ‘experienced’ (a) god – I’m assuming it’s Yahweh. Since most of us haven’t ‘experienced’ god on this thread, we assume there isn’t one. A very logical assumption, I might add.

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    • Hi JoAnna,

      You should know that most of us commenting here were once Christians ourselves. Personally, yes, I most definitely asked God to help me find the truth. The passage you’re quoting (Matt 7) has always been one of my favorites — it showed me that I had nothing to fear in digging deeper into Christianity, because the truth has nothing to hide.

      My eventual rejection of Christianity is a direct result of how seriously I took it and how desperately I wanted to do what was right / true.

      If you believe that true faith comes from a personal experience with God, then I think you have to wrestle with the fact that the majority of the world is not Christian — therefore, God has apparently not revealed himself to them. Why not? Furthermore, why does he only seem to reveal himself to people who were raised in cultures where Christianity was the dominant religion? You’d think that the distribution of Christians throughout the world would be far more uniform instead of clustered into geographic areas, if faith were based on God reaching out to people.

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      • “My eventual rejection of Christianity is a direct result of how seriously I took it and how desperately I wanted to do what was right / true.”

        Well said, Nate. I think most ex-Christians who were once quite devout will resonate with your comment.

        Liked by 2 people

    • JoAnna, let me add that you seem like a very nice person, and I hope this conversation doesn’t feel too much like we’re “piling on.” When I was a believer, I had been led to believe that non-Christians were mostly living out some sort of rebellion against God and Jesus. Almost as though they still believed deep down, but just didn’t want to submit to God.

      That’s simply not true at all. I was shocked when I began to learn that non-believers actually had some really rational reasons for their doubts.

      I only say that because I don’t want you to have the wrong impression of us, and also because I don’t want you to think that we have to be at some sort of impasse. If you’re sincerely interested in discussions like these, if you are interested in learning more than just one side to these kinds of issues, and if you want to make sure that your beliefs align as closely to what’s true as possible, then any of us would be happy to explain many of the reasons why we rejected Christianity. Or even just point you to resources where you could do your own research.

      Just thought I’d throw that out there. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hey. Thank you for this blog post. I just want to share a few thoughts with you as I’ve contemplated your blog post. Foremost, I’d like to thank you for your honesty. Though that this is the case, I think that you shouldn’t give up on your faith because of the people in your faith because if all people were to that then all people will be discourage in their faith for there will always be condemning people in any religion. I hope that you’ll respond to me. Thank you. Sorry in advance if I couldn’t respond promptly.

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  13. Stupid post. If you have faith in Christ, you know you aren’t saved of yourself but by grace. No reason to worry about Hell if you’re Christian. Do you think John the apostle was worried?

    It looks like it was more of your environment and way of thinking that turned a harmless ideology into something to blow up the depression. Kind of like that guy who is afraid to even touch a knife because he’s afraid of getting cut.

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    • SC, re: your comment.

      I suppose many of us could say, “Stupid person – he believes that a mythical being ‘saved’ him from an imaginary roasting spot”. Kind of like the guy you appear to be?

      Liked by 1 person

      • He’s basically trying to say that I wasn’t a TRUE CHRISTIAN(TM). Specifically what’s wrong with his view is that he’s saying Christians don’t have to worry about being moral agents (ignoring the part of The Bible that talks about knowing people by their fruits). It also ignores the very common doctrine of having to accept grace in order to be saved from sin.

        Notice how selectively enforced religious doctrine becomes when it involves preserving the faith.

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      • LOL. I can easily point out multiple errors in your extremely small post, what an embarrassment.

        -there is no belief in a “mythical being” — for that requires said being to not actually exist, however God does in fact exist
        -there is no “imaginary roasting spot”. For one, Hell is as real as real as it gets, and the scientific evidence verifying such a place is exemplary.

        -furthermore, what goes on in Hell, or the lake of fire, is not a “roasting”, which is a word to describe a form of cooking, rather it is actual burning

        Now that we see that your ridiculous, incoherent reply fails to meet any criteria of validity, we can dismiss you as a lunatic.

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      • “Now that we see that your ridiculous, incoherent reply fails to meet any criteria of validity, we can dismiss you as a lunatic.”
        You – the person who thinks there’s proof of hell and proof there’s a god (and which one would that be, exactly?)- are calling me a lunatic? That’s entertaining. . 🙂
        You sound like a fundamentalist; completely brainwashed and seriously deluded.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carmen, did you watch that video? Oh my! The reasoning some of these people come up with!!??! It’s even more ridiculous that some of what I heard when I was a believer.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Another incoherent, messy and disorganized response from our friend here, Carmen.

        In my previous comment, I noted the existence of evidence for Hell, and then I gave a direct citation. You then jump over that citation, conclude there is no evidence, and then claim I am a lunatic for thinking there is evidence — even though I had just posted some evidence. This clearly shows your incompetence to objectively analyze the claims made by the opposition, and honestly admit whether or not they have substantiation.

        You then make a very stupid question — “which God”, as if you are blind and somehow cannot read my username, and thereby cannot figure out which God I believe in.

        Lastly, I am called a “fundamentalist”, for noting evidence for Hell and backing it up with a proper citation. I am also called “brainwashed”, however I am an ex-Agnostic, and was thankfully able to wash off the fundamentalism, dogmatism, delusions and brainwashing of that utter nonsense.

        We can see that you have been clearly debunked.

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      • It looks like our friend here Carmen decided to entirely step over another entire comment, after having his assertions heftily addressed and dismantled.

        Carmen seems to want me to define a common word, that he cannot Google on his own. Because the definition of such a word is irrelevant to the issues, I shall not do a task you can accomplish for yourself, as it may drag this conversation on to irrelevant manners.

        Let’s us go back to the main point. Evidence was claimed for Hell. Evidence was given to show Hell exists. This is very clear. What is exactly troubling you with the above mentioned facts?

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      • SC – Watching that video would be a waste of 20 minutes. As I have suggested, there’s no such thing as Hell. That means there’s no ‘scientific’ evidence for same. It’s in your imagination, where the ‘proof’ exists. Oh, and here’s the definition, since you seem to need one.
        “In many mythological, folklore and religious traditions, hell is a place of torment and punishment in an afterlife.” Scientific explanation? Not so much. It has to do with myth, folklore and religion. Again, it’s in your mind. It doesn’t happen to be in mine. I know the difference between truth and superstition.
        If you want to cling to superstitious nonsense AS IF it’s truth, that’s your prerogative.
        By the way, your behaviour is exactly like every other fundamentalist who’s commented on any blog. You make a statement which characterizes your delusional thinking and when you get any kind of negative criticism you start whining about people being rude. Perhaps it would be of help if you analyzed your own illogical and misinformed ‘knowledge’ before making arrogant and condescending statements of your own.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “a waste of 20 minutes”

        This is why you’ll never be an academic in your life. Your attention span does not exceed 20 minutes.

        There also will be no scientific explanation for Hell, because science CANNOT explain a place like Hell. It is too primitive a methodology to take on such an overwhelming task.

        “If you want to cling to superstitious nonsense AS IF it’s truth, that’s your prerogative.”

        I have already cited evidence, I have no need to defend myself any further. I have numerous other proofs, but this debate is just too easy. I then get called delusional in your post for following the evidence where it leads, LOL. Again, this is why you will simply never be an academic.

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      • Oh, and SC –

        I figure if you’ve got definitive proof for hell you really ought to be going on the road with that show – just think how many people you can scare into believing in the supernatural. 🙂 Plus, you’d probably make a load of cash.
        For other discerning readers, I checked out his blog. His mentors are WLC and Hugh Ross. . . Oh, and he doesn’t believe in evolutionary biology. The invisible entity, Yahweh, ‘waved the magic wand’ theory he DOES believe in.

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      • … however God does in fact exist Really? How do you know? Have you seen this so-called supernatural entity?
        Hell is as real as real as it gets Please offer proof (your video doesn’t qualify). Sidenote: Since you call yourself a “Scientific Christian, you should appreciate the information found on this website) related to what the individual in the video says is “under your feet.”

        I’m sorry, but your statements relating to the existence of a god or of a hell are nothing but personal belief based on a very old book that was put together to help people understand the world they lived in.

        Liked by 1 person

    • So basically what you’re saying is that if you’re a Christian, you can commit any horrible act you like because in the end you’re still going to Heaven. Murder, rape, robbery, arson – Jesus forgives all of it even if you keep on doing it.

      I’m wondering how you can think that such a brand of Christianity is harmless when it inspires such casual and cosmic indifference to moral action.

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      • Perhaps your post would make sense, if it was not an outright lie, misrepresentation, and disgusting misrepresentation at that.

        Anyone who goes on to murder, lie, steal, and commit other abominations, is in fact not a Christian. All these actions are told by Jesus to be forbidden. So, if you do this stuff, you will go to Hell. Get it? You don’t get to keep doing it.

        As we’ve seen, the post is in fact stupid.

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      • Wait, you just got done saying that it’s by grace alone that people get saved. But now if you do terrible actions, you don’t? Make up your mind on which doctrine you’re picking.

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      • Instead of acting like an objective and responsible person, and simply asking me about a confusion you had in my claims, you went on to arrogantly claim there was a contradiction without any questioning or insight on a solution.

        The word ‘repent’ means to turn away. If you are a murderer, “repent”, and continue murdering, you have not actually repented, you have only made yourself think you repented, and in reality are not saved. This is why the Holy Bible properly notes that not all who call on His Mighty Name shall be saved.

        Matthew 7:21-23; ““Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

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      • Actually, what I’m doing is highlighting the inconsistency of your position. I’ve been pretty nice, considering you’ve out and out claimed I’m lying and misrepresenting Christianity. In turn, you’ve come to my blog and verbally abused people.

        Your position is inconsistent, and it’s actually a reason why Christianity isn’t as benign as you’ve claimed it to be. Either people don’t have to worry about repentance despite sinning in different ways, or they have to worry that they might not actually have repented. You don’t get to pick one or the other.

        Finally, my blog does have standards for comments. If you don’t stop verbally abusing my other readers, I will ban you from commenting further.

        Considering that you have come here to utter baseless existentialist threats of eternal torture, this will be your only warning. Clean up your act, or it will get cleaned up for you.

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      • You accuse me of “verbally abusing” people. Considering I’ve not used any swearing, rather I’ve critiqued people’s messy methodologies, you’re going to have to define my problem. Your also going to have to explain why this same warning wasn’t given to Carmen, after he had called me delusional and brainwashes, before I made any “abuses” towards him.

        As for the repentance, I had already explained this VERY clearly, and it’s amazing to see I need to keep specifying on what I’ve pointed out. You are saved by grace through faith. This is how you are saved. Jesus died for your sins, and when you repent of them, you are saved.

        As I explained, the word ‘repent’ means to turn away. So you turn away from your sins, you cease to commit them. Do you understand this? That means that repenting is, by definition, believing in Jesus sacrifice, and ceasing to commit sins. This is why Jesus commanded His followers the following:

        Luke 18:20; “You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’[a]””

        As we can see, we must follow the commandments, because a sinner who continues to sin simply HASNT repented. People failing to repent is not Christianity’s problem, nor is it God’s problem. It’s their own problem for not being serious about repenting. This is as simple as it could possibly get.

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      • “Now that we see that your ridiculous, incoherent reply fails to meet any criteria of validity, we can dismiss you as a lunatic.”

        That’s one snippet of abuse I’m talking about. Carmen didn’t get a warning because she was only treating you in kind. You’re the one that started with labeling things as stupid, so you’re the one I’m going to hold responsible for its consequences.

        As to the point about you trying to have it both ways, please consider these two quotes from you.

        “If you have faith in Christ, you know you aren’t saved of yourself but by grace. No reason to worry about Hell if you’re Christian.”

        “Anyone who goes on to murder, lie, steal, and commit other abominations, is in fact not a Christian. All these actions are told by Jesus to be forbidden. So, if you do this stuff, you will go to Hell.”

        The first problem is that you’ve carefully misrepresented what sin is. It also includes sinful thoughts (see Matthew 5:28; Mark 7:20-23). So not only should someone fail to (for example) not commit acts of sexual depravity, they can’t keep having thoughts about it.

        Under your first statement, true Christians don’t need to worry about it because they’ve already gotten the salvation prize. But under your second statement, they’ll need to worry because they haven’t truly repented. By extension, this also means that true Christians don’t commit the same sin twice. That’s a pretty big claim which you’ve carefully tried to dance around.

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      • Perhaps you should read my full conversation with Carmen, as Carmen was first to call me a lunatic (or something similar). I simply copied what Carmen said, and needless to point out, I’m the one getting accused. Is calling this ridiculous also verbal abuse? LOL

        Anyways, it’s evident to me that I’ve figured out your major misunderstanding with what is going on, but before I debunk its, lets dismiss the idea I’ve “misrepresented what sin is”, LOL. Nowhere will you see in any of my quotations you posted above, my defining what sin is. Indeed, I only named some of the sins — I clearly did not intend to name them all there. So it’s obvious you’re the only one doing the misrepresentation, as I didn’t claim to define sin.

        As for your misunderstanding. First you say that I said “true Christians needn’t worry”. Correct. Then you say under my second statement, “they” don’t need to worry because they haven’t need to repented. No. When you say “they”, you are referring to true Christians. True Christians have repented. False Christians haven’t, and continue to sin. False Christians are the ones who haven’t repented. This is clearly where you’re mixing everything up on, as there are no discrepancies in my post.

        Lastly, I never said “true Christians don’t commit the same sin twice”, nor is such an extension of my claims.

        So there we have it. It’s amazing it took so long for you to finally be clear enough on your claims so that I could identify your strange lack of comprehension on such simple things that any Christian Scholar can understand. Also, we have seen Christianity didn’t make your depression worse, your misunderstanding did. That’s like saying “jails make my depression worse because I have to worry about not committing crimes or I get punished”. Nonsense.

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      • Actually, your first two words on this blog were “Stupid post.” Carmen responded to that, and then you got hurt in the butt. So yeah, this is on you.

        As for your silly position, you’re not doing yourself any favors by intentionally ignoring the consequences of what you’re saying. You’re actually back to what I originally characterized your position to be: a “true” Christian can sin all they want, just as long as they’re really super sorry for it. You could have had the integrity to be up front about that and move on, but instead you’ve decided to hang out and make an ass out of yourself.

        I was hoping that by giving the same level of condescension and rudeness back to you, you might have gathered that this isn’t the best way to represent your faith.

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      • The first thing to note is that the word “stupid” is not an abusive term. Any claim otherwise is obviously lacking in valid judgement. Children use this word.

        “and then you got hurt in the butt”

        I considered calling this statement gay, but then I thought to myself “this dude will simply accuse me of homophobic slurs and then ban me, no need”.

        Again, you clearly fail to understand. A true Christian, by definition of being a true Christian, does NOT SIN. You cannot sin and be “super sorry” while you’re putting the blade in that guys throat. A true Christian would not engage in this in the first place.

        A fake Christian would. Which is where your misunderstanding lies in.

        “and make an ass out of yourself”

        triggered, triggered, abuse, triggered

        LOL

        Clearly, your view of Christianity is humiliating to people such as myself. People such as yourself are the ones who write blog, who have no understanding of Christianity, and completely misrepresent it, so that people who are new to this subject will be easily misled.

        Seriously, I am not aware of a single Christian that lacks such basic knowledge.

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      • So your grand reply is simply that “true” Christians stop sinning entirely? That position disqualifies everyone from being a “true” Christian. I don’t know what fringe sect of Christianity you belong to, but suffice it to say you can’t use a Bible to justify it.

        Just because I don’t talk about your special snowflake Christianity doesn’t mean I misrepresent the entire faith. All it means is that I’m not catering to your specific set of beliefs.

        Finally, I’ve also noticed how you’ve failed to clean up your act after being asked to stop. You’re done here.

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      • He’s of Pentecostal strain – it’s on his blog. He’s obviously quite enamoured with his brand of christianity; quite puffed-up with his own righteousness I’d say. Looks like he’s just come on stream – he’s only got three posts. If he sees himself as some sort of an apologist he’s in for a rude awakening. He might have got a bubble-burst here but it’s quite plain he’s in for much worse with his ‘tactics’. Since he’s had very little activity on his blog, I’d venture that he’s getting a bit impatient and wanted to stir up some attention. Pathetic, really. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I was thinking that he might have been trying to troll the thread. He was even indirectly being rude to the other Christians that visited and commented here. Regardless of his intent, he can’t do it here anymore.

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      • You’re going to want to hit a reply to SC’s original comment if you want to discuss things with him. Sadly, I can’t nest comment threads very far here because they end up unreadable. Sorry for any problems this might cause.

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      • SC is typical of the fundamentalist who leads with an insult and then whines when it’s returned. He exists in a world where his nonsense gets parroted as the truth and – judging from his comments on this thread – absolutely cannot tolerate a view contrary to his own. (even though he speaks of ‘we’ – who’s ‘we’, SC?) He demands that others answer his questions and ignores questions put to him. Put crudely, he wants to involve himself in a shit-slinging exercise but is incensed when it lands on him.
        I see, Sirius, that you’ve put up your latest post to counter his baseless assertions (like that entertaining but far-from-scientific video on he imaginary place he calls hell!) – I hope he heeds it.
        I think, however, that he’s your garden variety fundamentalist; the comments of which I’ve read many times before. Nothing new in his ‘wisdom’.
        SC – just a friendly suggestion. Try NOT telling an intelligent, sensible man like SB that his ‘misunderstanding’ was responsible for making his depression worse. He is in a much better position to be the judge of that, not you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • He’s not the only one that’s been condescending lately, but he did remind me that I’ve been meaning to put something up about it. Really, I get where he’s coming from. The conversation he and I had about repentance has gone in a predictable circle.

        It’s really about selective enforcement. He seized upon a brief mention of worrying about hell and misconstrued it into what he wanted, replete with the whole repentance two-step. I will say that his comments are somewhat valuable in that they provide an example of the thinking that can lead to fueling depression.

        I mean, in order to be assured of salvation, one has to make sure that one is really sorry for sinning. That kind of masochism isn’t healthy even in small amounts.

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      • The other issue he seems to miss is that Hell should be a major concern, even if you don’t have to worry about going there yourself. The idea that millions of other people might go there for such banal reasons should be horrifying.

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      • Exactly, Nate. I wonder what SC would think of Stephen Law’s suggestion that if a god exists, it’s more likely to be evil than good? 😉

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  14. Great post. I am a Christian. I do know your pain though as I am also a pastors kid. It took me a long time to grapple the failures of Christians. I had to discover God on my own and have my own relationship. Being in church and being involved with people who religiously act a certain way – you try to pattern your life after them. And its a natural thing that happens, you don’t even know you’re doing it. Then you find yourself not fitting in. But worse, they make sure you know you don’t fit in. “You’re not fit for this or that ministry.” “You’re mental illness is a secular/worldly idea and you should be praying.”
    Seriously?! You have to sit and wonder if the rock these people are under is even the ROCK they speak of standing on.
    I don’t know you, but I love you. I am not looking for an argument. But I just wanted you to know that I know exactly where you are. And whether you believe in a God or Jesus or mystical powers or not, the God I know – He has you right where He wants you.
    Thanks for the read, I look forward to seeing more of your thoughts.

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  15. These are the times I feel exceptionally disappointed in Christianity as a whole… My sister has struggled for quite some time regarding her salvation. There are times where she gets sucked into extremely depressive moods, buried by self imposed guilt. I’m not going to pretend to understand. I know for certain that I cannot. But I hope I can at least offer some encouragement…

    Many of the responses you are receiving for this post are downright awful. “True” Christians, should be the most loving and encouraging individuals on the planet, and instead, we often end up “shooting our wounded” at the first sign of struggle. The individuals who have been tearing you down for a lack of faith, a period of doubt, or uncertainty in your heart have obviously not spent much time in their Bibles.

    John the Baptist sent a message to Christ towards the end of his ministry. He was struggling. He was hurting. And he was doubting. John asked the Lord “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” John the Baptist said these words! The man who proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world!” He doubted Christ…

    And what was Christ’s response? The people around Jesus expected him to condemn John for his disbelief. They expected him to rebuke John for his lack of faith. Instead. Jesus told the messengers of John to return to him, and tell John again of the wonderful miracles that had been worked by His hand. And then he told the crowd, “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist”.

    God loves you. He has not and will not turn His back on you, and anyone who scolds you for your times of unbelief or depression obviously have a different opinion of you than God does (which means their opinion is irrelevant). Christ is not affected by your doubt. Praise the Lord, He has promised that once you are saved, once you have put your trust in Him, He will hold you forever. He will protect you and provide you the strength to make it through this life. Neither you nor anyone else on this earth has the power to take that truth away from you.

    I’m sorry you have had such experience with immature Christians, who should have been a loving encouragement to you… But God still loves you. He wouldn’t have sent His Son to die for your sins if He didn’t… Do your best to press on. Don’t be afraid to tell him it hurts. Don’t be afraid to tell him you need help. The hard part is going to be loving those people who tore you down when you were hurting, but remember, if that is the attitude they had, I can promise you they need help and love as well…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Remember2pray – I’m sure you think your verbal pat on the head was in fine form, but you nor anyone else has any idea if your god loves anyone.

      People cannot talk to invisible entities, by the way. I am wondering just who needs the help here. I know my head hurts from all the eye-rolling I did when I read through your ‘helpful’ message. . . sheesh.

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      • I do not blame you for the obvious distaste you have for Christianity. The initial post is evidence enough for that. And I appreciate the fact that you are capable of an actual response instead of the worthless insults and battery that have overtaken the comments thus far… However.

        I have absolutely no interest in finding myself in an argument here. I am not capable of sharing with you the real peace and comfort God has given to me throughout my life, nor the joy and multitude of blessings. I humbly ask that you keep an open mind regarding things that neither of us can *fully* understand. There is evidence all around us of an Intelligent Designer. I’m just telling you that He loves you more than you or I can ever understand…

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      • Not sure why you would assume I have a distaste for Christianity. I made some obvious statements, which you reject. I’d suggest you take an honest look at your presuppositions. How would you know if your ‘intelligent designer’ loves me or detests me? Since I think there’s no such thing, I must disagree with your statement.
        No, of course you want no argument. You want complete acquiescence – your statements reflect that.

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      • He sent His son to die for both you and me. That is how I know He loves you. He has told me in His word. I understand you disagree with what I define as “truth”, but that doesn’t change it.

        If it turns out that I am wrong, when I die, I will return to nothingness having lived a wonderful life, full of joy and contentment. If it turns out that I am right, I am terrified for what your eternity holds. I hope you can see that you are conversing with an individual who has profoundly different beliefs than you, but genuinely holds nothing but love for you…

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    • I know you mean well, but you’re making the assumption that all of what you’re suggesting hasn’t been tried before. I was a Christian for most of my life, and so I spent a bunch of time trying to hand my problems over to an invisible deity. It didn’t work, and it caused more problems than it solved.

      Thus, when you hop onto posts like this and try to reconvert people, what you’re actually doing is suggesting that they undo any progress they’ve made for coping with mental illness.

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  16. Pingback: Christianity & Depression: A Feature, Not A Flaw | Amusing Nonsense

  17. I respect your post and understand what you are talking about, because I have been through the same thing. I used to have depression when I was younger. I actually came close to killing myself a few times. Now that I think about I think about it, the thought of sinning and being impure did cause a lot of heartache and pain when I was younger. I used to think that the better I was the better my chances are of going to heaven. I used to think that if I was behaving in all the proper ways a Christian should, and that if I was to die at that moment I would go to heaven, and that if I was sinning at the moment I died I would go to hell. I used to think that when I would knowingly sin (usual in regards to lust, and pleasure) I was the most disgusting scum of the earth, and that I was not worthy. I still do feel bad when I do sin, but it’s not the same as when I was younger.

    The thing that changed for me though was that I had experienced God myself. I knew my mother had experienced him, for herself, but I never had. For me Christianity was more about practice than it was about faith. What saddens me about the post is that as I was reading it I could not see Christianity in it at all.

    Like when you say, “believing that everything bad I thought or did made me worthy of eternal torment.”
    -to me that statement destroys the whole notion of Christianity in itself

    It also makes me sad to read, “I express to a Sunday School teacher my fear of going to Hell, and I was chided for dwelling on it.”
    -because that should not have happened to you!

    And then also reading this, “I forced myself to accept going to Hell as a justified punishment for being depressed.”
    -This is also contrary to Christianity

    I don’t disagree with your statement of, “Too many people suffer in silence because they’re more afraid of their fellow Christians than of what’s devouring them from the inside.”
    -I have never looked into multiple cases myself, but I do know this to be a reality for some. Maybe for many as well, but idk.

    I don’t want to get too into it because that is not my aim and I believe it would be futile. But I do believe that too often in the Church people get too carried away with the religious practice, and it distorts the basic concepts of what should be believed. I know many people who claim to be talking about “Christianity”, but when I hear them speak it’s not Christianity at all, it’s more so the worlds view of the stereotypical Church (which has many flaws in itself), and then associate that with Christianity, when they are entirely different.

    Like when you say, “people who expressed contrary opinions in church sometimes got ridiculed or talked down.”
    -This is a human flaw, and it should not associated with Christianity

    For me, I no longer have depression. I never really prayed for God to take it away. What happened with me is that after I had experienced God for myself, I kind off wanted to go more after him. My focus was on building a relationship with Jesus and trying to follow him. (I’m not trying to preach what you should do but just telling my story). It wasn’t always easy and sometimes I would mess up, but my focus wasn’t on doing right or wrong, but more so just going after him. As I did this depression and other problemsI had just kind-off went away on their own. It’s been a really good journey so far with ups and downs. I’ve experienced God in so many ways, and he has proven himself to me to be real, just like he did to my mom. So now I don’t believe that he is real because of the Church or what other Christians say or do, but because I’ve experienced him myself. I’m now at a place where nothing can disprove God for me, no scientific evidence, no new discoveries, nothing. They could come out with something in science the disproves God and I will still believe in him because he has proven to me that he is real. It was hard for me when I was younger because I was just following a doctrine, but now I have it for myself. There have been many things that have happened in my family, and in my own personal life that relate to this, but I don’t have really have time to get into stories.

    Anyways I’m not saying go give Christianity another chance or trying to say anything bad about the Church you went to. But I do see the the depiction of Christianity you described in this is contrary to what I know to be true. I’m going to leave a link of a a sermon from a Church I used to attend when I lived in Chicago. I would also suggest that you follow or check out my blog site. It’s not to teach people, but to simply give a view of God through my eyes, through my life experiences. I just started it up but it will be a page of my personal journeys, situations I’ve gone through, and how I’ve seen God in them.

    The Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGChkTvyZfw&feature=youtu.be

    My Blog Site: https://ayoungchristianmanswalk.wordpress.com/

    These aren’t to make you reconsider Christianity, but I’m putting them here so that you can see Christianity from a different perspective. If you have time I would encourage you to listen to the entire sermon. You can be ask critical as you want in your thoughts about it, but I would encourage you to not skip any parts, and listen to it in one sitting(if you can).

    Anyways I’m not looking for a long dialogue, but I would appreciate it if you reply because I did put a lot of effort into this message.

    Cheers,
    Eli

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    • Eli, you wrote: “The thing that changed for me though was that I had experienced God myself.”

      Could/would you explain exactly what you mean by “experiencing God”?

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      • Nan, no doubt he means, “I thought and thought really, really hard and IMAGINED that Jesus walks with me” . .or something along those lines.
        Meanwhile, SB gets to hear one more person (in a long line) tell him that the christianity he experienced was not the REAL christianity.
        Right.

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      • Yes, but I’d like to hear how he would explain it.

        True enough related to your second observation. And it’s no different for anyone else who has walked the Christian pathway and then changed directions. Obviously, we took a wrong turn and got “lost” — which would NEVER have happened if we’d been “True Christians.” (TM)

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      • Hi nan sorry for this extremely late reply, I got really caught up with life and forgot to respond. I’ve experienced him for myself in a few ways. Some are harder to explain than others. The first one is through the way I pray and he answers. I’ve had times when everything I would pray for would happen. I’ve had times when I would pray for an answer for something I didn’t know and later on that night I would get the answer in a dream. I’ve had moments where God would instantaneously answer my prayers. This one was one of the cooler experiences, because I was praying for people I did not know and I was thinking that I was praying into their futures, like 20 years down the road, but in a few minutes I would see it happening. It was crazy but because I had no physical influence on the situations, and the events were seemingly random and not to be expected, but it was cool for me because I had just prayed for it moments earlier. It wasn’t just one person either, I had it was around 7 or 8 I think. It was also weird because I could see how the person would respond physically whiles I was praying for them then I would see the result happening after. I think it is important to note, that I was praying for these people from a distance, I could see them but they had no idea I was praying for them. I’ve also prayed for healing and seen it happen it ways that it usually wouldn’t. …… The second way I’ve experienced God for myself that I would tell you about, is a lot harder to explain, and most people would assume it to be subjective. None the less it was one of the most powerful (if not the most) experiences I’ve had. I say this because I experienced it physically within myself. It happened when I was 12 years old and at camp. I’m not sure how to explain it but I’ll do my best. I had felt like I had lost 10 lbs (litterally), I had absolutely no fear, there was a calm within me that I don’t know how to explain, I had absolute peace within myself. It was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. Since that day my life has never been the same. Yes I went back to old way, but there was always that desire to go back to God because of the experience I had. I’ve been searching for it since, to get to that experience again. It happened completely on it’s own, without the knowledge that it would.

        I have many more examples, some that are more physical, but I don’t want to talk too much about certain personal things.

        Lastly I would like to note that anybody can fall and walk away from God. It’s important for to never have too much confidence because it is not our own power, or the practices of religion that keep us, it is the trust and reliance in God that he will keep us, protect us, and guide us. It is not about whether we leave him or walk away, but whether we come back to him. This is set aside from one’s religious practises and focuses more on one’s personal relationship with God. Religion is important but personal relationship with him is just as important, and it needs to constantly grow. We all have our own walks, and nothing can keep us or bring us to salvation except having our own relationship with Christ.

        -Eli

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      • Eli, thank you for your response. What you have described are intuitive experiences; that is, they are derived from personal feelings and beliefs.

        While believers would like to think certain events are occurring as a result of their requests to some unseen entity, in actuality, it is simply … Life Happening.

        I do recognize belief in a supernatural being brings comfort to many. However, I prefer to live my life as it happens. And when others need help, I hope I can provide real assistance instead of simply “praying” for them.

        Like

      • Hi Nan, I don’t know why but I didn’t get a notification that you responded to my last comment, and I am also not able to reply to it directly (because there is no green reply button under it to press) so I am doing so here.

        What you had said was –
        “Eli, thank you for your response. What you have described are intuitive experiences; that is, they are derived from personal feelings and beliefs.

        While believers would like to think certain events are occurring as a result of their requests to some unseen entity, in actuality, it is simply … Life Happening.

        I do recognize belief in a supernatural being brings comfort to many. However, I prefer to live my life as it happens. And when others need help, I hope I can provide real assistance instead of simply “praying” for them.”

        I very much disagree with your response. Yes I agree that the second could be looked at as an intuitive experience, because it was completely with myself, but the other was simply not. There is no way random events in life just happen in direct correlation to the things I pray for. If I prayed for some to pass a test, or get a job, and it happens, then you could call it life just happening. But when I pray to God, I don’t pray for ordinary things that could just happen. They are random. They are out of place. They are not expected. And they continuously happen in correlation to my prayer.

        I would think it denial on the other parties part to see what happens when I pray, and just call it life. I would see it as an attempt to protect their identity that God is not real.

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  18. Hello There,

    I’m sure you have heard this a GAZILLION times…but I understand your pain and frustration. I have suffered through depression for over 40 years, and I am God-fearing woman.

    As I read your post, I couldn’t help but feel saddened, confused and angry not only at the lack of support you sensed from fellow brethren, BUT at the enemy who will stop at nothing to destroy, confuse and distort the truth. I will admit, I stopped reading and wanted to stop, but I felt compelled to continue so that I can understand your struggle because what you have to say matters.

    Personally, I am thankful and grateful to people that God has connected me with who encouraged me to seek help. They didn’t force the gospel down my throat, nor did they want to perform an exorcism, but instead listened my heart’s cries. That’s what Jesus did, He took the time to listen, He wanted to heal the hearts of the broken and of the sick. Unfortunately today, we have so many MAN MADE DOGMAS, LEGALISTIC IDEOLOGY and RELIGIOUS ZEALOTS that sadly push people away. The bible calls us to encourage, love and pray for each other. As in Proverbs 12:8 cites, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise bring healing.”

    In the end, Christianity is not a religion, but simply a “way of life.” How you choose to live your life is between you and the Creator. One of His gifts to us is the gift of free will, He does not impose himself on us, but lovingly gives us the right to choose whether or not we want to serve Him from our hearts. I’ve had my ups and downs, highs and lows; I have lost my home, lost my job, have no resources on hand and I am slowly trying to rebuild my life, but this time…I’m choosing to trust in Him instead of looking at man to help me. It seems that every where I turn, I can’t runaway anymore from the love of the God and the life that he has mapped out and chosen for me, even if it’s battling depression and all.

    I pray that you know deep in your heart of hearts that you are loved, cherished and important to God. – Isaiah 61:1-3

    -God Bless you! 🙂

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  19. How sad it is that this became a converting party rather than appreciating the vulnerability and honesty that was displayed. What a powerful statement you have made, one which I have not fully reflected on. In struggling with my own mental illness discovery, I hope to gain insight from yours. Best of luck to you.

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  20. This post broke my heart, though I can find no fault in the logic. I, too, grew up in church and battle with depression. My family has a long history with depression, but the church at that time disregarded science in favor of “miracles”. So, from the age of 12, I was locked in a struggle to become a Christian like everyone else I saw around me, always hiding my dark thoughts.

    I stayed in the in the faith, though I quit going to church. God had never let me down, the church had. He designed some of us to biologically be the mourners, with the promise that one day, we’d be comforted. I too have flirted many times with suicide, and I apologize to no one for the way this life has made me feel. You owe no apologies for that either.

    I hope that you someday understand, this world needs its mourners, and there was never anything about you that made you less important in the kingdom than anyone else.

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  21. Hi.

    First, I want to admit I don’t know anything about major depressive disorder. However, I am well familiar with depression. This post will give you a glimpse of what I went through as a child: https://clevangelist.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/chapter-8-how-domestic-violence-affected-me-part-ii-loneliness-and-low-self-esteem

    A little more background:
    – my mom killed herself
    – her mom killed herself
    – my father’s sister killed herself
    – I have thought about killing myself: https://clevangelist.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/chapter-7-how-domestic-violence-affected-me-part-i-sound-sensitivity-eating-disorders/. And since I became a Christian in 2014, God has been running me through the wringer a la this old Looney Tunes cartoon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1bqrCN3tkI, so I have contemplated suicide a few times as a Christian.

    All of that being said, I hope you won’t give up on Christianity. God has healed me of numerous cancer scares, some of which I mentioned here: https://clevangelist.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/chapter-7-how-domestic-violence-affected-me-part-i-sound-sensitivity-eating-disorders/), so he can heal you of major depressive disorder, too.

    I’m not necessarily trying to reconvert you to Christianity, but I’m an ESFJ (a helper), so I feel compelled to at least point you in a few directions:
    – Joyce Meyer: Get out from Depression (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDpL6MdjnnQ)
    – Joyce Meyer: I feel like I’m losing my mind, can you help me (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RLHHYVNxag)
    – Joyce Meyer: Battlefield of the Mind (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WlIhAK_U9I)

    I know she’s an acquired taste, but her dad sexually abused her as a child, so she knows as much about depression as anyone else.

    As far as your statement, “Everyone else seemed to have a good time of things, so I kept my thinking to myself. After all, people who expressed contrary opinions in church sometimes got ridiculed or talked down,” I can assure you that no Christian who’s actually trying to be Christ-like is having a good time of things. Once you become a Christian, God will put you through allllllllllll sorts of tests and trials to work stuff (like pride and self-sufficiency) out of you.

    Please don’t let what happened when you were a kid influence the rest of your life.

    Take care of yourself.

    Like

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