I've been an atheist since my pre teens, and feel more comforted by my way of life every day, but today I am having a hard time. I have been out of work for a year now, and while my wife makes good money, we have a mind boggling amount of credit card/loan debt, and it's very quickly getting the best of us. So much so that we are seriously considering bankruptcy, and find that very scary. I've been applying for jobs for a long time, and today I pounded the pavement all day without a glimmer of hope.
I have a Christian radio station on one of my car stereo settings, that I listen to for a laugh once in a while, and put it on today. My moment of weakness came when they were talking the usual 'God-is-listening-and-has-a-plan-and-ask-for-help' mumbo jumbo, and I almost asked for assistance. I didn't of course, but I got a good understanding of why people talk to God, as pointless as it is. My problem is I am finding myself a little depressed and needing someone to boost my spirit. I am always optimistic, but I think you can be TOO optimistic, and now it's just gotten to the point where I think I'm just wishfully thinking. My wife is there, but I tend to be the supportive one in our relationship, and now it feels like my world is caving in.
I don't remember if I have a point, but I just had to get it off my chest
I guess my big issue is that even if I could make myself believe in this God of theirs, how could you think well of it? If you acknowledge that there is an omnipotent being out there who is suppose to love us all how can it let the crap go on that does happen. If it can help and solve all your problems why doesn't it?
As a parent I know that I have to let my kid learn the hard way some times. You have to let him deal with the bully at school. You have to let him fall off the bike. You have to let him learn to deal with hardship and work out problems. We call it preparing for the real world. That is because there are things in this world we can't control and we have to teach our children to deal with those things so they can cope and persevere. But, if you are an omnipotent being and there is nothing out there you cannot control why would you then let your loved ones suffer? Just out of spite or pure meanness? A sadistic pleasure in basking in the suffering of others? If their God is real, and what they say is true, and he is putting us through the crap that we go through in this world, the illness, the suffering, the crime, etc what do you think he would be preparing US for, doesn't sound like a heaven!
I have thought some of the very same things. You articulated it so well.
What are we to expect from this deity in which we do not believe, even if we wanted to? I'm afraid I might start to believe in God because of the trials I have had to go through. It seems sometimes as if I am actively being punished for not believing. I have heard that God allegedly lets these things happen because he loves us.
He loves us? I can't reconcile that with my lived experience. I don't feel like there is an all-loving God watching over me. It is so sad to me when people say there is, and that I should believe this with no evidence, and in fact feeling that the contrary is true.
It is adding insult to injury, and I just don't get it.
Sorry to hear about your problems.
A couple decades ago I went through two years of clinical depression, and I learned one basic fact about depression that helped me, and I hope it helps you (though I recognize that people are different).
Part of depression, I think you'll agree—and particularly in a situation like yours—is feeling like a leaf in the stream, like you are just being carried along by forces beyond your control.
I can tell you this: even if in the end you fail and what you fear happens, at least you'll feel like you fought the good fight, and that in itself will help you weather the storm with minimal depression, because you'll know that you didn't just let it happen.
I hope that helps.
great comments people
I see nothing wrong with praying, talking to god, and so forth. It doesn't mean you are acknowledging that there is an objective god out there; it means recognizing that humans process symbolically and semantically, and taking advantage of this trait to help you cope with tough times. Prayer is like meditation: it works because of its psychological (and physiological) effects, not because magical signals are being sent to an external listener.
You don't shun laughing at a funny movie just because it's fiction. If praying makes you feel better, helps focus your thoughts, and soothes you - go for it! Pray to Santa, pray to the Easter Bunny ... think of it as verbal meditation.
I like that Tom.
Thanks guys and girls. I've been in a depression before and made my way out of it. This feels more like hitting bottom. I'm really glad I don't drink or it could get nasty.
I am very sorry to hear you are going through hard times, Marc. I do know exactly how you feel. Don't be nearly as scared of bankruptcy as of religion. Bankruptcy can actually change things in the real world by relieving you of some or all of your debt. Religion will just give you more burdens in the long run. Religion is a predator, like Amway--it preys on those who are in extremis. Don't become prey.
I feel for you sir. I have been in similar situations myself. The first one was when my ex-wife decided to run off with someone with my children, and put me in a huge financial nightmare. I was the only one working full time, and she handled the finances. She didn't pay bills, some for multiple months, kept my money and used it to move into an apt with her 'boyfriend'. I was left with a mortgage that was months behind, utilities being turned off etc. with no money. To make matters worse, she let the vehicle I financed for her get repossessed, and the bank was going after me for the balance. I had to declare bankruptcy to get out the situation I was in.
However I will tell you that while bankruptcy is definitely a big bad mark on your credit at first, it's not the end of the world. In some ways if you have a lot of negative marks on your credit, bankruptcy will actually help you. My credit has been higher in the past couple years than it was when I bought my house to begin with. Go figure. And within 2 years after the bankruptcy I was able to finance a $13,000 used car. What I did was give the bankruptcy some time to age, and got a starter credit card with a small limit (not the prepaid ones but with a real credit amount). And you just start building it back up. I have also paid everything on time 100% of the time since then. Doing something similar, it's not as bad as you think.
As for the moral aspect, if you feel you need to in order to survive, I would consider this. I really had to think hard through this myself. But given the circumstances I was in, I felt it was a justified decision.
Also I feel for you about not having a job. I have been unemployed since last June myself, and I have been working full time just to find one. I may finally be out of the woods soon, but I know what it's like. You are fortunate that your wife is with you and working to support your family. To contrast, think if you were in a situation like mine, where my ex is now kicking me while I'm down, using child support as a tool as I am unable to pay the full amount, when she has two household incomes with her boyfriend and is going on big vacations to Florida multiple times this year with my kids.
And yeah, it's easy to find a reason to appeal to something 'higher' when you feel crushed. It's probably one big reason religion found its place in humanity to begin with. With everything that reality presents from financial burdens to tsunamis, it helps ease the stress. I would find people that can help you, either mentally and/or physically. I'm sure people around you will help when they know what you're dealing with. I know I would love to help, knowing exactly what you're going through, if was able to.
Like Nelson said, keep your chin up bro. You'll make it through. It's not as bad as it feels at the moment. I hope all this helps.
Thanks Dennis. We have definitely learned some life long lessons, and will be passing them on to our daughter.
Sorry, you're having such a hard time. :( Give yourself credit for recognising that your urge to pray at a time of great stress was just you reaching for a crutch - just like alcohol and drugs. I veered back and forth not realising that for years. You know that the solution when you find it will be a practical one and things will pick up. I am sure you are right that you are a bit depressed and maybe some time spent in aerobic exercise will boost you and make you sleep better and feel more positive - although as you say, the situation is not positive. I hope things improve for you.
Well, if you think you are indulging in "wishful thinking" now, just wait until you turn to God for a job. Anyway, good luck!
Welcome to America, Waynster, but if you think we are crazy regarding religion, which we most certainly are, wait till you get a real feel for our politics; try living in Arizona, for instance. Or take a good look at our deep legacy of racism; try living in Sanford, Florida. Or send your child to the schools in the south, where ignorance is a source of pride. And hey, if you think your leaders were less than pefect, like Blair, or Cameron, or Thatcher, get a load of ours. George W. Bush, Sarah Palin; Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum...and the list goes on. These people are not only truly stupid, but ideologically dangerous.
You may feel you have good reason to criticize the country from which you emigrated; but Britain is where modern science was born and still flourishes; America is where it came to die. Britain has Richard Dawkins; we have Pat Robertson. Britain has the BBC; we have "Fox News."
This post is sure to draw responses something like, “If you don’t like this country, then get out!” And that brings me to the last thing I think you need to know about America: we think we are better than any country in the world, since we have the most powerful military ever conceived; and because we have more millionaires and billionaires than anybody else. But our shortcomings are numerous and serious. After all, only one country in the world thinks it is entitled to build, possess, and USE nuclear weapons on innocent people, and it isn’t Great Britain. As you become increasingly aware of our shortcomings, though, keep your mouth shut about it; Americans don’t like to hear that other people in the world are as worthy of God’s attentions as we.
As to my getting out? I already have, actually. I created my own little country within a country, where none of the insanity that is going on in America is likely to ever affect me. You might say I'm like the unabomber, only without any bombs other than rhetorical ones. Anyhow, being 76 years old, it is not going to be an issue for much longer.