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Author Topic: worries about Christianity  (Read 1032 times) Average Rating: 0
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Bob L.
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« on: October 28, 2010, 12:36:17 PM »

I have been really depressed the past several weeks due to stress over Christianity (I think).  There have been some really odd supernatural things happening to me since returning to Christianity and becoming Orthodox a little over a year ago.  I always thought those kinds of supernatural experiences would strengthen a person's faith, but in my case they make me worried that God might actually be evil pretending to be good.  Basically I will sit and think about how absurd Christianity is, and then I will worry about falling away from Christianity.  Then my mind gets tired of worrying and goes into depression.

If anyone has any suggestions for books or whatever I would appreciate them.
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Shanghaiski
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2010, 12:50:12 PM »

Not books, Confession. Doubt may be the problem. And, after Confession, Holy Coummunion. And read the Holy Gospels. Pray to God to enlighten your darkness and strengthen you faith. Pray to the Mother of God. God be with you, brother! Do not despair. Fight off the doubts--they are like spiritual cancer or acid.
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2010, 02:14:15 PM »

Here ya go:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYLMTvxOaeE
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2010, 02:18:45 PM »

The Name of Jesus drives away all evil.  The Church counsels us, when we are faced with something of this sort, to make the sign of the Cross and say the Jesus Prayer:  "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner."

The demons flee at the Name of the Lord.  May God preserve you in your struggle.  Prayers for your salvation and well-being.

In Christ,

Dn. Michael
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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2010, 03:41:02 PM »

The Name of Jesus drives away all evil.  The Church counsels us, when we are faced with something of this sort, to make the sign of the Cross and say the Jesus Prayer:  "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner."

The demons flee at the Name of the Lord.  May God preserve you in your struggle.  Prayers for your salvation and well-being.

In Christ,

Dn. Michael

First, welcome to the forum. You will be in my prayers.

I agree with all responses so far. I have personally found that I need to keep the Lord in my mind and heart as much as possible. The Jesus Prayer has been wonderful, especially when beset with fear and doubt. Frequent communion has also been essential. Please avail yourself of everything; do not try one thing at a time, just immerse yourself. Have an icon wall/corner. Say morning and evening prayers, go to weekday services in addition to Divine Liturgy. You are in a war and you should be fully armed.
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Bob L.
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2010, 08:02:51 PM »

Thanks to everyone for the advice.  I will try to follow those suggestions (confession in particular).
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2010, 11:46:37 PM »

I empathize with you. I've noticed that as soon as I commit yourself to become an even better Christian, the devil makes his move, as if to test my sincerity.

My first couple of years as an Orthodox Christian have been tough. First, I am being tested and discouraged by the devil, and, second, I am being pruned and shaped by God to be a better Christian. I was in deep despair about the first until I realized the second--God was answering my prayers!

For example, I pray the 50th psalm several times a day: "Create in me a clean heart, O God and put a new and right spirit within me...The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit..." You don't get a new and right spirit or become broken enough to be an acceptable sacrifice unless you are challenged. You can't just declare your intention to be a better Christian; you have to let yourself be melted down and purified by adversity--rid yourself of your ego--before God can create a pure heart in you. If you are capable of growth, God prunes you so that you will bloom all the stronger--just like a rose bush.

I've come to believe that adversity is the answer to our prayers to be better Christians. Just about the time we're ready to cry uncle, we can take no more, God lifts his hand from us, and we realize that He has been working in our lives all along. He lifts it the moment we learn the lesson, and it illuminates us.

Christianity isn't for wimps.
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Bob L.
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« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2010, 12:47:08 PM »

I realized something last night that makes me feel better: my problem is that I've gradually drifted from striving in a spirit of thankfulness to striving in a spirit of fear and obligation.  Instead of thinking of God as loving I began to think of him as unreasonable and demanding.  So then I began to feel like there was no point in trying at all, because I would be certain to fail.  And I began to feel like the whole thing was a set-up so that God would have extra evidence to punish me in the end.

I started thinking about the parable of the ten minas this morning.  I had always worried that God would probably decide I was the bad servant and so I had to try extra hard.  But now I think the bad servant in his own way was trying just as hard as the good servants but he didn't trust that his master was fair and forgiving so he was afraid to take the risks necessary to make a return.

So if I fast or whatever I'm going to try to think of it as my way of saying thank you to God.  If I feel grumpy out what I do then I'm not going to do it.
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2010, 04:43:09 PM »

I have been really depressed the past several weeks due to stress over Christianity (I think).  There have been some really odd supernatural things happening to me since returning to Christianity and becoming Orthodox a little over a year ago.  I always thought those kinds of supernatural experiences would strengthen a person's faith, but in my case they make me worried that God might actually be evil pretending to be good.  Basically I will sit and think about how absurd Christianity is, and then I will worry about falling away from Christianity.  Then my mind gets tired of worrying and goes into depression.

If anyone has any suggestions for books or whatever I would appreciate them.

Greetings in that Divine and Most precious name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Do not be deceived, for even Satan himself has been able to transfigure himself to appear as a bright luminary.  Many of the Fathers have dealt with these struggles, but let the Sacred Heart of Jesus vibrate and resonate continually within your own, and come to grow in the patience of God.  All of the material world and ourselves are in constant and dizzying motion, where as the Eternal I AM, the Self-Existing One who is the Source and Origin of All and Through All, He alone is at rest, and not Himself in motion, but rather is the only stopping, He being the very source of motion, the Prime-Mover of all subsequent motion.  If you would like to enter into His stopping, pray to our Savior Jesus Christ, and continue to enter into the Mysteries of Sacramental Time, participating in them with urgent frequency and for the healing of your many ailments of the soul.  We ALL go through this process, from the nihilistic prodigal to the highest Bishop, this is a common experience, but let Christ be the consolation of your soul and heart.  Orthodox does not inherently make life better or stop its chaotic and draining motion and movement, rather Christ alone can do this.  Turn to Him in all of your moments, and remember HUMILITY, for in my own life, pride has masqueraded as humility often, and only Christ has saved me, and I am sure in His time, He will save you and us all together to be entering successfully into His stopping, His rest.

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2010, 10:14:55 PM »

Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2010, 09:54:10 AM »

IMy first couple of years as an Orthodox Christian have been tough. First, I am being tested and discouraged by the devil, and, second, I am being pruned and shaped by God to be a better Christian. I was in deep despair about the first until I realized the second--God was answering my prayers!

...The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit..." You don't get a new and right spirit or become broken enough to be an acceptable sacrifice unless you are challenged. You can't just declare your intention to be a better Christian; you have to let yourself be melted down and purified by adversity--rid yourself of your ego--before God can create a pure heart in you. If you are capable of growth, God prunes you so that you will bloom all the stronger--just like a rose bush.

I've come to believe that adversity is the answer to our prayers to be better Christians. Just about the time we're ready to cry uncle, we can take no more, God lifts his hand from us, and we realize that He has been working in our lives all along. He lifts it the moment we learn the lesson, and it illuminates us.

Christianity isn't for wimps.

A friend of mine once said that she prayed for God to make her a better Christian. She said she envisioned the process as something like cosmetic surgery: anesthesia then waking up to a beautiful new self.
In reality, she said, it's more like chemotherapy. Long, painful and you feel like throwing up.
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« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2010, 10:21:31 AM »

Hi, Bob.  And welcome to the forum.  Smiley

 I remember reading that not a few Desert Fathers recommended for depression that the person go and do some hard physical labor for someone else for free.  Nowadays, science is catching up with Holy Orthodoxy and, it too, recommends exercise for depression.  This won't cure your doubts about Christianity, but it certainly might clear up those depressive thoughts so that you can begin to pray and hopefully go to confession.  We all have struggles and doubts, with that you are not alone.  And remember that Satan does not want you to be a Christian; he does not want you to believe or pray.  The Holy Scriptures warn us that he is like a wandering lion looking for souls to devour. 
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Bob L.
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« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2010, 12:53:31 PM »

Hi, Bob.  And welcome to the forum.  Smiley

 I remember reading that not a few Desert Fathers recommended for depression that the person go and do some hard physical labor for someone else for free.  Nowadays, science is catching up with Holy Orthodoxy and, it too, recommends exercise for depression.  This won't cure your doubts about Christianity, but it certainly might clear up those depressive thoughts so that you can begin to pray and hopefully go to confession.  We all have struggles and doubts, with that you are not alone.  And remember that Satan does not want you to be a Christian; he does not want you to believe or pray.  The Holy Scriptures warn us that he is like a wandering lion looking for souls to devour. 

I agree about the exercise.  Also I have read that Nutrasweet might cause depression in some people.  (Maybe there is a depressed diet Coke drinker that will read this and get some benefit.)
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