Thank you Watkins, Hortenzie, Mr. Cellophane, and others for what has helped you.
Cofty: Our conclusions about the big questions are important. They should be based on a long and rational process that includes facing up to the very best arguments from all sides.
My best advice to exiting JWs is to put the question on hold for a long time. Focus on far more practical priorities like family, friends, fun, education and careers.
Cofty, I definitely like your advice. These things take time, and I need to give it that time without neglecting the other important aspects of my life.
I'm in a kind of awkard place right now, which definitely means I need time to figure it out. I'm not necessarily concerned about being wrong. I'm happy with whatever place I find myself in the afterlife. If it's a state of nothingness, I won't feel anything. If it's heaven, I expect perfection. If its hell, I'll be in good company. I doubt that I'll be punished for my lack of knowledge if I continue searching for this, and if for some reason God doesn't exist, I don't feel that a search for him will be in vain because doing so keeps my mind active. What I find odd about my situation is a general lack of feeling for myself. When I read about the lies we have been taught, I feel for all my brothers and sisters who have been misled, but am not really upset for me. I'm only upset for me when I think of how friends and family will shun me for being misled. It's almost as if I'm looking at most things from the third-person, reading a novel and feeling for the characters, but not really visualizing myself under their circumstances, as if I'm removed (at least emotionally) from the situation. Maybe that's my coping mechanism. I've always felt a little dead inside, so it's nothing new.
In taking time, I really need to take the time to read the Bible. I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it.
It's funny because I've actually been searching for God for a long time, and have just had blind faith. I remember sitting in my room as a little kid with similar doubts in God. I reasoned that if I could prove the existence of the Devil, I could prove the existence of God. So I started screaming to the Devil that I would sell my soul to him for one simple act of levitation. Something to prove that he was real. That of course never happened. If the Devil is eager to steal our souls, he missed an easy opportunity. Needless to say, I was a pretty messed up JW kid. I still have thoughts like this, except now it's going to the cemetery asking the Devil to reveal himself.
But on the opposite end of things. I've started praying to Jehovah, to the Creator, to Jesus. Out of the four, none have answered my prayers. They all seem so lifeless, like figments of my imagination. I can't explain the big questions in life. Who are we? How did we get here? But at the same time I really don't care if I can or not. Those questions aren't that important to me. But I haven't quite found what is important to me except family and friends.
One day I may find some real answers, but I do know one thing for sure. Twenty-eight years as one of Jehovah's Witnesses hasn't provided any answers to me except that they don't have any answers. It may be true that everything I know about the Bible is due to them, but they are also the reason I have been mislead so much about the Bible. Now I'm having to pick up the pieces.
So thanks again everyone for the food for though. The journey continues...