I'm questioning my faith and it's driving me insane

Ever since I was a little girl, I was raised in a Christian household, by religious people. I even went to Christian school for about 4 years.
In my middle-school and high-school years, I never really was a "devout" Christian. I believed in God and the Bible, but I had a few flaws. I didn't pray everyday, I believed some things some Christians probably shouldn't, yada yada yada.
Turn back about last month, I had recently turned 19. I started questioning my faith. I started reading the Bible more, looking up answers, looking at science and facts and reading scriptures. Nothing makes sense anymore.
But I don't want to leave my faith. I'm scared of Hell, I'm scared of what my family may think if I convert. My god, there's been points in my life where I've been suicidal, and the only thing there to prevent me from killing myself is that fear of hell.
And now... I'm thinking it doesn't exist. I'm thinking it doesn't make sense. I don't want to think these things. It scares me, it's driving me insane. Christianity doesn't make sense but it's what I grew up with. It doesn't feel right! I just want to pick one or the other and live peacefully but I damn well can't.
If I decide to be an Atheist, I fear going to hell and losing my family.
But if I decide to stay Christian, I fear living a lie. Living a life I could have lived any other way. Wasting my years.
What do I do? I feel so lost. I've lost sleep to this shit, I've felt anxiety with this shit. I don't know what's real anymore, my entire world is falling apart.
What do I do? I know this post probably sounds like a bunch of rambling and nonsense but I need something. Can someone tell me something? I beg of you, anyone who's reading this. I cannot live my life like this anymore, it's killing me.

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Comments ( 22 ) Sort: best | oldest
  • Get yourself out of this cult which is driving you insane, stop driving yourself nuts, just live the life you want and control your own destiny.

    Not having a religion doesn't mean not having a moral barometer. If you can't distinguish between right and wrong, you lack empathy, not religion.

    No one is forcing you to live a life you don't want to. You may feel like they are but they really aren't. Besides, if somebody's opinion of you changes negatively after you leave their faith, they're a poisonous influence on you anyway.

    You are not a bad person.

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  • There's no such thing as hell, it's a silly "belief" that was pounded into your head to get you to believe in it in the first place.

    Free your mind from those religious mental chains, and enjoy your life.

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  • Do you feel anything when you pray? Have you ever seen or felt anything supernatural? Even if god exists do you really think it would send you to hell for just not believing...only thing that matters is how good you are..and you are right that it doesn't make sense just look at how many wars happened because of christianity and how thex enslaved pagan people

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  • This sounds to me like a classic case of cognitive dissonance: the very uncomfortable state we find ourselves in when we try to reconcile two conflicting belief systems.

    You've been thoroughly indoctrinated in a set of beliefs since before you can remember, but now you've come to realize that those beliefs are a steaming pile of horse-shit. People you love and want to respect have taught you one thing, but now you've come to understand that they've been lying to you. Possibly your entire social circle believes the same things, but now you see that they all believe in fairy tales, and you're on the outside looking in.

    Cognitive dissonance is always difficult to deal with. That's one of the reasons many people work so hard to twist facts to deny anything that challenges what they want to believe. (For example, all the absurd BS that fundies have come up with to support the story of Noah's flood and the "young earth", and to deny the reality of evolution.) When you're nineteen and dealing with many other changes in your life, a major shift in how you view reality is inevitably going to be painful.

    You say, "If I decide to be an Atheist, I fear going to hell and losing my family." Being an atheist means that you recognize that the whole Jehovah and Jesus and hell and heaven thing is all a fairy tale constructed to comfort children, and keep people childish and dependent throughout their lives. Atheists are sure hell is just as much a fantasy as Santa's Workshop at the North Pole. Therefore, atheists have no fear of going to hell.

    What I read in your post is the development of a belief-system that I'm sure is held by a lot of people who are nominally Christians. They're rational enough to recognize that there's a huge amount of total BS in the Bible, but they're worried enough about the possibility of there being some underlying truth that they hedge their bets and keep on going to church and saying the right stuff.

    When I was a little younger than you, I went through something similar. I decided that if god is really such an insecure, petty tyrant that he'd condemn me to hell for daring to use my brain and the critical faculties I'd been given (by evolution or by his divine powers), then he must be psychotic, and he wasn't a being I wanted to spend eternity with.

    You're nineteen. It's good that you're thinking outside the box you've been kept in, but you don't have to figure out all this stuff right now.

    Calm down. I imagine you still live with your parents, so coming out as a disbeliever would cause tensions. Think what you want to think, but go with the flow. I'm sure you know what they want to hear you say and how they want you to act, so play the role as long as you have to. Yes, that is living a lie, but lots of people tell lies to make others comfortable, and that's not a bad thing. Criticizing or challenging parents who are True Believers is pointless. If they were capable of accepting reality, they would have done so by now. There will come a time when you can be free to do and say and act as you want.

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    • I thank you for this comment, I honestly appreciate it.
      But there's one thing that gets me, is the having to lie. For me, it may not be as simple as lying until I move out...
      This may sound confusing, so let me try to word this the best I can.
      Because I was born into... Without going too into it, a weird situation. The people I live with are actually... One two, three generations behind me? And they both grew up in religious households.
      Reason that scares me even more than say, telling plain old parents... I don't want them to die, disappointed in me, worried I'm not gonna go to heaven with them. I don't want to just come out when I move out for example, because I understand that it'll just break their hearts. I don't want them to die feeling like they didn't raise me correctly, because one of the things they always hoped was that I would grow up close to God. Imagine if you will, raising a kid for 19 years when you should be enjoying retirement, only to know they could go to eternal suffering. As a non believer that seems like nothing, but as a believer that's scary.
      But I also don't want to lie to them. That will also break their hearts if they knew I was lying to them. That would hurt me a lot more than it would them, but... That also worries me.
      Again, this is probably poorly worded, I apologise.

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  • convert from one religion to another. or convert from republican to democrat. be specific please.

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  • Its not fear :)

    I dont believe because of fear. I believe because I know theres something greater out there, who wants us to believe in him, and get along with each other.

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  • so go to church and view it as a social event with some chantin and singin

    also on the subjecta hell does yall fellow parishioners follow the churches rules soley outta feara goin to hell?

    aint bein a good person just for its own sake better than bein a good person because yallre forced by feara bein eternally tortured in the afterlife?

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  • Please dont stop believing no matter how hard it gets :) It's a test of your faith.

    And I know you can make it.

    Jesus and God is real. Dont let the devil trick you.

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  • I’m 21. Was raised Christian. Had to go through my own phase of doubts/depression/sucky times. From age 17-19 I had years where I never talked to God and spent so much time in my own thoughts. I started questioning everything on my own intuition and ‘wisdom’. I got so confused. I prayed for clarity and God literally answered every question I had ever asked myself and now our relationship is going strong! He is testing your relationship with Him.

    Here’s the thing.

    There’s 2 choices: Believe that all of this is arbitrary, that the earth, trees, animals, people, planets and universe have no purpose. That when you die, existence for you ceases, and you have no consciousness. <- Bleak. Dark. Pretty sad when you think about it.

    2. Believe that there is a God who, with great purpose and great skill, specifically designed everything and everyone. Purpose: Glorify Him and find our satisfaction, purpose, and drive in Him. Love Him. Live in eternity with Him. Or, choose to reject Him and spend eternity apart from Him.

    I believe in God. If I’m wrong, then it’s 100% fine, because in the process of serving God, I’ve loved and helped people in my lifetime and that’s worth it.

    If I didn’t believe in God and I was wrong, then it’s 100% NOT fine, because it does have eternal consequences like going to hell. Really sucks when you think about it. I mean we create movies, video games, books, music. All with different purposes in mind, but yes, with a purpose. We are creators. Wouldn’t our Creator do the same thing? Make all this with a purpose?

    It’s pretty simple, really. If life has no purpose, no problem. If life has a purpose, then I better make dang sure I’m following and fulfilling that purpose. And God calls us all to do our purposes. There’s gotta be a reason that so many people oppose Christianity; because it’s true.

    If it weren’t true, wouldn’t it have been wiped out by now? The Roman Empire lit Christians on FIRE while they were still alive for refusing to deny God. That should tell you something.

    Wouldn’t you rather be right about believing in God than wrong about not believing in Him?

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  • It honestly just sounds like you need to find what actually makes sense to you.

    Don't be afraid of Hell. Be afraid you'll miss out on all the good things in your life. Then go do something positive about your fears.

    Make good friends, good times and good sense of your faith. Question everything that you possibly can and do what makes logical sense. Don't be afraid to make lots of mistakes and learn from them.

    You don't have to be a Christian or an atheist to do this. You just have to learn how to be yourself and where you draw your lines.

    Seek a balance.

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  • Im not the op :P

    And I dont have any doubts myself

    I believe

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  • Im klhaving the same problem, i stopped going to church, but my mom doesnt know yet I'm just scared of what she'll do if I tell her. I have pretty much left already though.

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  • What is it exactly that is making you doubt?
    I'd love to offer advice but I'm not entirely sure what i is you're having issues with, is it just that it doesn't match up with science in your opinion?

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    • Well first off, I apologize. I wrote that whole thing in a bit of a hurry. I was scared when I wrote this, so I was mostly just getting the fears down.
      But as for my doubts, I have a few of them.
      First off, the science does seem very off compared to the Bible. For example, I never really looked at creation real closely, but I have recently. How can light and plants be made before the sun? That doesn't seem right especially since we all need the sun to live, plants included.
      Second off, there's a lot of questions I cannot find the answer to, try as I might. An example of this... Ok, God made everything correct? God knows everything correct? God can do anything correct? And God made the devil, right?
      He made Lucifer, one of God's most beautiful angels. He knew he would wanna go against God. And so he did. Then God sent him and one third of the angels to hell... Despite the fact that God could have easily either gotten rid of him, or not made him to do that, or just... Not make him at all.
      Then he makes humans, Adam and Eve... Has them naked, which... Is apparently evil. Puts up a tree of knowledge, which God knew they would eat from. All of a sudden, they realise they're naked, the way God made them, evil... And God gets mad and punishes them for it... Knowing he would punish them for it...It doesn't make sense
      If I could just get some answers to these questions, I honestly would not mind, going back to Christianity. But unless my questions can get legitimate answers that make sense... Christianity is never gonna fully make sense to me ever again.

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      • Ok thanks

        As for the creation part I get where you are coming from, but that's always been a small issue to me. There are countless theories about what you're talking about. Scientist believe the earth is billions of years old while most Bible scholars say thousands right. Here's a few theories to that.
        Day age theory- It mentions in the Bible that to God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years a day, meaning the time scale we get of 7 days could just be a metaphor for the different phases.

        Pre- aged theory- self explanatory the earth seems older than it is because God made the earth pre aged.

        Garden theory- My favorite of these, while adam and eve were in the garden they had access to the tree of life and thus did not age, the Bible doesn't specify how long they were there for. For all we know they spent a million years in the garden.

        As for the order of creation, yes it says God made light before the plants, so that would sustain them as for the sun coming after like you said, they would have to, light itself did not exist before then, what would the stars be without it, the sun is merely a big ball of concentrated light, there was already light for the plants sustenance.

        As for God knowing everything and creating things He knew would fail, that's a question that we've all pondered and I suspect will forever, the best response I can think of is this. When you decide to have children, you know they are going to make mistakes, break your heart, ect.. but you still want them because you want something to love, to teach and watch grow and to love you back. When existence began God was alone, this is just my thought, I don't presume to know God's mind but perhaps he was lonely.
        Personally I thinks while His mind is on a level infinitely beyond ours his emotions mirror our own. We were made after His image, and the Bible makes numerous references to God being angry or jealous, just like a person would be. We're the same we get angry when our children misbehave even when we know they are going too. So if he has these emotions like us it stands to reason he can experience loneliness too.

        I'm not sure if I answered your questions properly or not, let me know, I hope it helps.

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  • and that message wasnt for the hate

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  • hell is kept for certain people

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  • we are all the image of god for we have the spirit and the light within us wither we like it or not

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  • I've been where you are at. You start having doubts and asking questions. The bible doesn't seem to make sense anymore, and even reality itself doesn't make any sense.

    It seems to me that you seek 'truth.' You want to bridge the gap between belief in God and science if God really does exist, and if it isn't true, you want to live peacefully without holding onto something that is false.

    First, realize that it's ok to question the bible, or anything else in general. It's how you figure out what's real and what's not. I'd recommend you check out this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvDS3k9NXgo

    I see that you're begging for people to tell you something. That's how I felt, because it was very hard for me to find any Christians to help me with my doubts. Nobody had any answers. That's until I came across a few people on Youtube. If you want to know whether truth exists, the reliability of the bible, etc. - Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31kLrUG-CUM

    Just know, there is truth out there, and it can be known if you sincerely and diligently seek for it.

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  • My personal opinion is that Christianity is equally as unprovable and undeniable as science. Here is the thing, science and rational thinking came about hundreds of years after Christ. Abrahamic religions were born of a very different version of truth than the one we know today. It was an oral truth that encompassed a softer form of logic filled with metaphors and expression as we see throughout the first and second testament. The first was entirely oral for centuries before it was first transcribed. The way truth functioned then and still does for religious thinkers was based in tradition. If your mother believed it, her mother believed it, etcetera what more proof do you need? And bigger questions were always given to those in positions of religious authority. The rabbis, and later the Christian scholars and higher members of the church. The concept that an individual decides for themselves what is true came much much later and brings with it many problems. Where as judeo-christian texts have been studied far over 1000 years, we have new ideas of what the world is every single day. This is the trade off from a logical perspective between religious and a more modern form of thinking.
    But science is also born out of Christianity and carries with it some unprovable assumptions such as the transitive nature of instances occuring across the universe (laws) and that modernization is good. At first glance we see great things like polio vaccine and discoveries about hygiene and antibiotics. Then upon closer look we see chemical warfare, nuclear weaponry, extreme poverty, social stratification, I'll stop here as I'll admit I am biased on this point. And on this next one that Christians have been some of the most incredible people I've met in my entire life.
    I personally was raised a Jew, and rejected religion entirely when I was 12. It is quite easy to stop believing in hell for example as you're finding.
    But I don't believe in atheism either as a way for people to live in modern society. I don't believe in its cynicism and cold rationality any more than I do the gods of religions I wasn't raised with. God can always exist, this science cannot disprove.
    But when he has attributes and actions and you apply modern thinking to ancient stories of course they do not align though many try to do this.
    Religion provides a much richer way of life than following logic.
    Logic becomes your god, and it is not a god who loves you. Because it is not god.
    I believe as people we must surrender our will to some higher force. And I believe God is far superior to science and logic.
    That being said I have rejected this god a long time ago, and there are of course more than two options.
    I don't believe in any religions but science is completely wrong and science itself will tell you this.
    I have no idea what is real or how to access truth or if this is our job.
    Maybe this is too many religions but there is a line from the Tao The Ching which says "those who know don't say, those who say don't know".

    Also being 19 sucks, there is too much anxiety already, you don't have to figure all of this out right now. You are not the first one to doubt your faith, and if you look to those who study the old testament deeply, doubt and questioning is welcomed and done every day through biblical study in Jerusalem. Most sects of Christianity did away with this, perhaps rightfully so. But questioning the word of God is as old as the word itself and welcomed by many who seek to know it.
    If you do not come out an atheist, in which case you won't fear god anyways, this will only deepen your faith so nothing to worry about.

    I will just also add this would be a very bad time to choose to begin smoking marijuana if you have not already

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