Belief to non-belief

by Awen 15 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Awen

    Have anyone here went from being a very strict believer in God to a non-believer?

    I'm sure there are some. Actually I think many are.

    But outside of the usual answers of "God doesn't exist" (which you must have had some very valid reasons for), were there many things that caused you to come to this conclusion? If so what were they?

    I was watching a Southpark video about Joseph Smith and the Mormons and I thought it very funny that anyone could actually believe any of that stuff. Then I thought to myself, "wait, didn't I believe similar things at one time?" From my research I have discovered that Joseph Smith's family had a history of mental illness. Such a thing runs in my family as well (I'm to be tested for Huntington's Disease soon) and I can't help but wonder if all my experiences are the result of some sort of psychosis. Many of my experiences have echoed what others have said. But I realized that we all share a common experience (being JW's) and the belief in the 144,000 and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon people.

    I have to be honest with myself for self delusion is very destructive. I have been researching some of CG Jung's papers on synchronicity, the collective unconsciousness, the subcounscious and other things I can't recall at the moment. What I found was that it's possible that some who claim to have the Holy Spirit (like myself) may in fact be simply hyper intuitive. Meaning that our subconscious collects information and when the need arises filters it to our conscious mind so that we can act upon it. So what we think (consciously) is ourselves having a religious experience may in fact just be the actions of our own subconscious minds. I'm not speaking for everyone here. Some of the things I have a problem with is I was at one time heavy in paganism and yet I still had this hyper intuitiveness. It has been suggested to me that I still had the HS even though I had drawn away from Christ. My logical mind can make no sense of this. If you're a mechanic and are given a set of tools to work with while employed at a garage, one would think logicvally they would be taken from you when you left the garage's employ. That's just how I see it.

    I also mentioned the mental illness factor which runs in my family and my having a test for Huntington's Disease in a few weeks. I've had a preliminary neurological examination and I have many of the symptoms. I've had such examinations in the past (not for Huntington's) and they have been negative or inconclusive, but I also know these tests aren't an exact science and can be influenced by the examiner, the one being examined or the criteria of the test for determining a mental illness. Still I would be remiss if I didn't consider these factors and my claim of spiritual insight.

    Also I look at my life and I threw away a great future because of the JW's. I haven't really advanced anywhere (my own fault really) in the past 12 years and I chalk it up to my search for God.

    After reading many of the fine posts here MoneurMallard, sizemilk, and Nickolas I can't help but to re-think some things. I think the Bible is wrong on a great many things, failed prophecies, naming places that didn't exist at the time (Nazareth), who wrote much of the New Testament. Also we're puttinga lot of faith into these writers whom we've never met, considering also that their writings could and probably were tampered with down through the ages. So what do we really have that is reliable? If the Bible isn't a reliable source then how do we know that the spiritual experiences many claim to have (myself included) aren't products of our shared experiences with the JW and our own unconscious minds via intuition?

    Just some thought.

    If you went from belief to unbelief what caused it?

  • talesin

    synchronicity, the collective unconsciousness, the subconscious, hyper intuitiveness

    I think all of the above are realities of life.

    My loss of belief in G*d came from my own logic. Even as a kid, my nickname was Spock. :)

    After I left the religion, I started investigating other religions; buddhism, catholicism and other forms of christianity, and islam, mostly. The more I learned about religion, the more I agreed with Marx (religion is the opiate of the masses). I came to feel that G*d and religion had a dual role.

    One function is to explain the question "why are we here" and the other is to control people.

    G*d, if he/she existed, didn't make any sense to me. End of story.

    I do like the celtic religion the best... at least they revere mother earth and father moon. But that's as far as it goes,,, I just like the idea. Also, the North American aboriginal peoples have some interesting beliefs re spirit guides. I'm very comfortable some of their belief systems.

    I also like what John Lennon said in one of his songs,,,, "God is a concept, by which we can measure our pain .... I don't believe in magic, I don't believe in I Ching, I don't believe in Bible .... I just believe in me ... And that's reality. The dream is over, What can I say? The dream is over ..."


  • glenster

    In 2009 Israeli archaeologist Yardenna Alexandre excavated archaeological
    remains in Nazareth that might date to the time of Jesus in the early Roman
    period. Alexandre told reporters, "The discovery is of the utmost importance
    since it reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of

    "How to Think About God" by Mortimer Adler

    Beyond that, you can understand faith as such, like the subjective feelings
    beyond the math of music. Keep up to speed with the facts that God is a pos-
    sibility beyond. I don't know an objective need for another to to like or not
    like a song the same as me, but I love some music. Whether you do or don't, be
    a nice ethical person, and don't be 'centric and intolerant, either way.

    If you going to go Abrahamic, I'd recommend liberal Christianity or liberal
    Judaism. There's reform Islam but you could be issued a harsh fatwa (Muhammad
    was a douche about punishing gays, keeping dogs outdoors, killing apostates,
    hitting women, etc.)


    "God is a concept, by which we can measure our pain ....
    Money to org. crime for heroin thai sticks, and money saved on not paying
    alimony commensurate to his income (though she raised the kid) and time spent
    not seeing Julian, were how he measured his pain received and caused. He was
    my favorite Beatle but kind of a douche, too. When he went Christian he went
    Oral Roberts. No wonder he didn't consider faith a viable option--he stunk at

  • nancy drew
    nancy drew

    Now that I'm older and have more perspective I realize that my own desires have clouded my ability to find truth. First of all we are all affected by our culture and we can't assume our family, country etc. enven if it treated us well has the correct answers. They may have loved us but we don't have to agree with them or fear them. We sometimes mislead ourselves because we want love, peace and happiness for all and we assume there's a god that wants the same thing. We have to be prepared for whatever the truth is because it may not be good from our perspective. It's possible something terrible is going on here. Trying to override our programming is difficult.

    My latest strategy is looking at real evidence for example in archeology and trying to be objective by looking at all the opinions and using logic and reasoning. I'm on a journey till I run out of time because I want to know what is really going on here even if it's not what I expected or wanted. It's not a comforting or really happy place but it's a true place and it's where I want to be.

  • startingover


    Thank you for the very candid and honest post. You may very well come to the same conclusion as I and Talesin have, and if you have been an unquestioning believer most of your life like I was it takes a bit of humility to admit it, although in my case it was also refreshing. Some can never go that far even when exposed to the facts, they have a need to believe, and bolster it by playing the faith card. Maybe it's pride, maybe it's just that it is too painful to admit this life is all you get.

    Good luck in your journey.

  • OnTheWayOut
    So what we think (consciously) is ourselves having a religious experience may in fact just be the actions of our own subconscious minds.

    Yes. That is so true. Brutal honesty with oneself can help. At one time, I was sure God interfered with a suicide attempt and guided my life. But that's how I became a fully-believing JW. I had to slowly see for myself that it was me, not God, that "interfered."

    I was able to see the truth of that matter more clearly once I realized that I was in a dangerous mind-control cult. If I wasn't guided there by God, then I had to reexamine my beliefs. After examining the WTS better, I kept going and examined the Bible better. I examined history, literature, and archaeology to realize how the Bible and various beliefs came about, and how those beliefs conflicted with the real evidences of science and men.

    While such delusions as guidance from God or the holy spirit, conversing with God or the spirits, etc. could be coming from mental illness, it could also be chemically enhanced or an emotion-driven condition. A severe personal experience (or a great one for that matter) can cause a person to allow their entire thinking process to be changed and they can be susceptible to influence from religion or beliefs. It's just sad that many of these people are afraid of lables (like "crazy"), so they forge ahead with only the thought that God has given them a gift or a privilege or a special visit. I just wish that the people who declare without exception and unequivocally, that something is absolutely what they think it is, would recognize outside possibilities. Heck, while I don't put any serious weight to it, believers that are so sure in the existence of the spirit realm should also consider that demons (or any name for misguiding spirits) could very well be their actual source of "spiritual" guidance. Considering such a vastly different possibility can help them to consider the tamer possibilities too.

    Many of us hadn't advanced our lives in some ways because of our experiences. But it's never too late.

  • nateb

    Maybe it's pride, maybe it's just that it is too painful to admit this life is all you get.

    Honest observation. And yet it's that realization that makes life so much more rich and wondrous. The world of the non-believer is pregnant with possibility and opportunity. The high of the joy of experience rewards us for the mundane lows. In contrast, the believer often finds herself passively killing time in this life, longing for another that's never to arrive.

    "For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life."
    - Albert Camus

    "You can't create experience, you undergo it." - Albert Camus

  • leavingwt

    Please take 30 minutes and read this thoughtful essay from the year 1896.

  • Awen

    Thank you so very much leavingwt for this link.

    I read all the way through it, every word and found a kindred spirit. For many years of my life but especially the past decade every word that was on the webpage I have at one time or another thought to myself.

    I realize now my error with religion. I wanted to believe. No matter what arguments or facts were presented they were dismissed or faound fault with because of one immutable fact. I wanted to believe. I'm reminded of one of my favorite movies (The Karate Kid 2) and a singular line from the movie that I have carried with me all these days since. I thinbk it applies to religion as well as a great many other things.

    "A lie only becomes truth if you want to believe it." --Mr Miyagi

    Words cannot express the gratitude I feel right now for everyone who has commented.

    Thank you all so much.

  • Botzwana

    I like George Costanza´s version better.....It´s not a lie, if you believe it.

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