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Author Topic: Fear of Death  (Read 895 times) Average Rating: 0
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wainscottbl
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« on: October 17, 2013, 05:08:48 PM »

So I am getting much closer to going over to Orthodoxy now, but I still have fears that if I were to die I would go to hell to burn forever. The Orthodox view of damnation and the afterlife seems much more in line with Scripture, but I was wondering if any of you converts from Catholicism feared dying and hell in your process of conversion?
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2013, 05:12:34 PM »

You won't be killed during the process of conversion (most likely).
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2013, 05:17:30 PM »

So I am getting much closer to going over to Orthodoxy now, but I still have fears that if I were to die I would go to hell to burn forever.

Is there a particular reason you have this fear? 
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2013, 05:22:35 PM »

Well any of us can die at any time by a wreck but this is unlikely. But I have epilepsy and though seizures are rarely fatal I had two cases of this last summer:

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1164462-overview

But I also am very morbid. I like Edgar Alan Poe and spending times in grave yards. Much of my own poetry is about death and higher things.
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2013, 05:26:30 PM »

Also, not to get too personal, but I struggle with impure thoughts and acts--masturbation and strong sexual attraction to woman, stronger than most men, I think, because I am a romantic. So my sexual attraction is not just animal, it is deep and passionate. Hard to explain.
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2013, 05:38:28 PM »

Any God worth believing in, and we believe our God is just that, knows you better than you know yourself, and loves you more than you love yourself.  That God isn't waiting for you to screw up so he can send a runaway train to kill you so he can laugh as he burns you in hell.  That is no God at all.   

Pray to God for the grace to live according to his commandments generally, and especially to struggle against the particular sinful tendencies you may have.  Begin to do the hard work of living according to the gospel.  Entrust yourself to his mercy, always to his mercy.  He knows what he is doing, and eventually he'll convince you of that as you grow in your relationship with him.  Many times, these fears come from our own "ignorance" of God, but as we grow in our relationship with him, as we get to know him better, love drives away fear. 

And stay close to Mary.     
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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2013, 05:40:38 PM »

So I am getting much closer to going over to Orthodoxy now, but I still have fears that if I were to die I would go to hell to burn forever. The Orthodox view of damnation and the afterlife seems much more in line with Scripture, but I was wondering if any of you converts from Catholicism feared dying and hell in your process of conversion?

Yes, but when I explained that fear to my Orthodox Priest, he said that whenever we come to Christ God in repentance, then our sins are forgiven us. I was then directed to read, underline, and then outline the book For the Life of the World by Alexander Schmemann. The late Father Alexander explains that Catholics almost view the sacraments as magical. However, even though a person were to receive absolution seven times by an Orthodox Priest, that person would not be forgiven if he were not repentant. Thus, in your nightly prayers, confess your sins to Christ, and He will grant you healing and remission of your sins. Then when you are able at your reception, confess these sins to Christ in the presence of your priest.

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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2013, 05:48:01 PM »

Also, not to get too personal, but I struggle with impure thoughts and acts--masturbation and strong sexual attraction to woman, stronger than most men, I think, because I am a romantic. So my sexual attraction is not just animal, it is deep and passionate. Hard to explain.

How old are you, wainscottbl? Teens? Twenties? Older?
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wainscottbl
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« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2013, 05:56:53 PM »

27
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« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2013, 06:00:01 PM »

I don't really have fear for a God that loves me. I fear the Islamic god, who's anger, wrath and judgement parallels the Western god in numerous particulars. Their rigid ideologies of Creationism, 'a perfect book' and eternal fire and torment are not very kind to my conscious.

I don't understand how a God who created you, could hate you. Likewise, if it's the Jewish-Christian God, we are created in His Image. So, if God hates us, he must have an image problem.

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"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us." (1 John 4:18-19)

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"If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but... 'I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together." (Qur'an 32:13)
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« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2013, 06:05:26 PM »

27

It's not unusual for young males to harbor the sorts of dark and intense thoughts that you do. The trick is to occupy yourself in other ways so that these thoughts and feelings don't have the chance to overwhelm you. With time, they will fade out to the point where they won't be an obsession.

As far as Orthodoxy is concerned, others have given good advice on why you need not fear "burning in hell" if you convert. God is a loving God, not a God who takes delight in destruction.
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« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2013, 09:21:20 PM »

Also, not to get too personal, but I struggle with impure thoughts and acts--masturbation and strong sexual attraction to woman, stronger than most men, I think, because I am a romantic. So my sexual attraction is not just animal, it is deep and passionate. Hard to explain.

Do you have any material reason to believe that?

You don't have to post an answer, of course.
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« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2013, 09:23:49 PM »

I don't really have fear for a God that loves me. I fear the Islamic god, who's anger, wrath and judgement parallels the Western god in numerous particulars. Their rigid ideologies of Creationism, 'a perfect book' and eternal fire and torment are not very kind to my conscious.

I don't understand how a God who created you, could hate you. Likewise, if it's the Jewish-Christian God, we are created in His Image. So, if God hates us, he must have an image problem.

Quote
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us." (1 John 4:18-19)

Quote
"If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but... 'I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together." (Qur'an 32:13)

Sounds like you have never read a prayer book before. Or the Spiritual Psalms of St. Ephrem...
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« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2013, 09:40:01 PM »

Well any of us can die at any time by a wreck but this is unlikely. But I have epilepsy and though seizures are rarely fatal I had two cases of this last summer:

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1164462-overview

But I also am very morbid. I like Edgar Alan Poe and spending times in grave yards. Much of my own poetry is about death and higher things.

Is this a chronic thing? If so, then the Internet ain't the place to go seeking help.
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wainscottbl
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« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2013, 11:57:21 PM »

Likely not. Lord, have mercy upon me a sinner.
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« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2013, 06:00:03 AM »

I have great news for you. Death does not exist! Smiley This is what I mean: http://youtu.be/YTI5naQDW3w
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« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2013, 12:10:02 PM »

Hi wainscottbl,

Are you afraid about being wrong that the Orthodox Church is the Church founded by Christ? In which case you're worried about being an apostate? I confess I wrestle with this idea myself. I think it's because of the shame that Roman Catholicism imparts on many of its adherents. It's strange that I'm more aware of my sinful nature than ever since looking into Orthodoxy, but I don't feel the shame I did with Roman Catholicism. That's not to say I'm not ashamed of my sins or not sorry for them. I think this may be something only Roman Catholics can understand. It's like, "Everything you're doing is bad, and you should feel bad." I don't know. I have a hard time explaining it, but I know it's there. I even feel sort of ashamed writing this. It's hard to kill.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I understand what you're going through. You think: "I might be an apostate! A train is probably going to hit me and kill me and send me to hell for joining the wrong church!" It's just ridiculous. I still have trouble acknowledging that the Orthodox Church is THE CHURCH. But then I remember that the last few times I attended a Roman Catholic mass, I recall that I felt *nothing* there. Where I used to feel a "presence" that I knew to be Jesus, I no longer felt anything.
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wainscottbl
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« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2013, 01:02:46 PM »

Hi wainscottbl,

Are you afraid about being wrong that the Orthodox Church is the Church founded by Christ? In which case you're worried about being an apostate? I confess I wrestle with this idea myself. I think it's because of the shame that Roman Catholicism imparts on many of its adherents. It's strange that I'm more aware of my sinful nature than ever since looking into Orthodoxy, but I don't feel the shame I did with Roman Catholicism. That's not to say I'm not ashamed of my sins or not sorry for them. I think this may be something only Roman Catholics can understand. It's like, "Everything you're doing is bad, and you should feel bad." I don't know. I have a hard time explaining it, but I know it's there. I even feel sort of ashamed writing this. It's hard to kill. n

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I understand what you're going through. You think: "I might be an apostate! A train is probably going to hit me and kill me and send me to hell for joining the wrong church!" It's just ridiculous. I still have trouble acknowledging that the Orthodox Church is THE CHURCH. But then I remember that the last few times I attended a Roman Catholic mass, I recall that I felt *nothing* there. Where I used to feel a "presence" that I knew to be Jesus, I no longer felt anything.

Exactly! Yes, I struggled greatly with scrupulosity in Catholicism. Psychologically speaking it is a deep case of neurosis and I am very neurotic by nature--I tend to be very nervous. I am seeing a therapist in general about my negative thoughts and psychological problems like thoughts of suicide and depression. A lot of that rises not so much from Catholicism as my childhood and dealings with my father, who though never abusive and always loving, was and is frustrating. Also my mother is very controlling. I would have had homosexual tendencies and desires if I did not have a strong attraction to woman from four years old. Literally when all the other guys were talking about cooties I was in love with girls. Said they were being "gay" for not liking girls. Didn't understand how you could not like girls unless you were "gay" or something--well I was a kid so that's how you think, and well not a normal kid. Anyway, yeah, I have a former homosexual friend who had problems with his father and was molested by a minister and it deeply wounded him. He lived the homosexual life for a long time but is now Christian--Protestant--and engaged to be married next year.

Anyway, despite my nerves and worries, I do find myself a lot more calm and at peace in the Orthodox mindset. I hate my sins not so much because I fear God but because I hate them for what they are--evil and a violation of God's love. I feel that I can always turn to God, the Holy Theotokos, the angels, and saints at a bad time. Or if I need something on the natural level to my books, writing, or tea, or a good friend. But it is good to get clinical help because there are some things a priest or friend cannot help. It's not a shameful thing to get psychological help. There is a big taboo on it which is one reason, aside from our society in general, that people are so messed up. People really do not care for each other and the people who  are more admirable are those who have a spirit of compassion. Those who are not, alas, are truly demonic. And I think God I have a spirit of compassion for the poor and oppressed for example because those who do not are not truly happy. They seek happiness in pleasures of the flesh--sex, food, and alcohol. All good things in due order but for most who are not compassionate they become the vices of lust and gluttony.
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« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2013, 01:14:35 PM »

I have great news for you. Death does not exist! Smiley This is what I mean: http://youtu.be/YTI5naQDW3w

Indeed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY-RLryio_8
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« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2013, 01:40:12 PM »

So I am getting much closer to going over to Orthodoxy now, but I still have fears that if I were to die I would go to hell to burn forever.

Since you mentioned some of the sins you are struggling with, it is not at all surprising that you have these thoughts and fears.  Of course, many people struggle with sexual sins in our times, and after falling into sexual sins it is very common for people to experience intense shame and guilt.  This is the "godly sorrow" which "produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted (2 Cor 7:10)."  God allows us to experience this shame and guilt so that we would turn from our sins and find salvation. 

It is understandable that you struggle with fear of eternal condemnation, but through Christ there is hope for the forgiveness of sins and for deliverance from eternal condemnation.  When we are received into the Orthodox Church by baptism our since are washed away and we become  a new creation.  We receive grace through the mysteries (sacraments) and help through the prayers and spiritual reading to then wage a courageous struggle against our former passions in order to keep our baptismal garments clean before God.  Then, after baptism, we can continually renew and whiten our baptismal garments through the mystery of Confession. 

So, in your present state it is expected that you have these fears regarding eternal condemnation as a result of sin.  If you do enter the Orthodox Church, you will have no excuse for such fears since you will have every tool you could possibly need to trample down death through Christ and enter joyfully into His heavenly kingdom.  Temptations will not cease upon entering the Orthodox Church, but in doing so you will receive everything you need to repent of sin and overcome temptations.
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« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2013, 12:59:58 AM »

Well any of us can die at any time by a wreck but this is unlikely. But I have epilepsy and though seizures are rarely fatal I had two cases of this last summer:

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1164462-overview

But I also am very morbid. I like Edgar Alan Poe and spending times in grave yards. Much of my own poetry is about death and higher things.
And given that you are struggling with fear and death and morbidity it might not hurt to stop feeding such thoughts and lose the Poe and the graveyards and purposely pick something opposite these things to do. God be with you.  Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2013, 07:26:08 PM »

wainscottbl, I offer to you condolence amidst grey skies. Do not allow such gloom to cloud your mind, because it is robbing you of the ability to find joy in the present. We take on new eyes when carrying our crosses, for death is not in our sight, if you really believe Christ is risen. You should discover if life exists before death and what this is. A mistake I have seen people make is to use the Gospel in order to diagnose and treat their own diseases; if you suffer from depression, do not believe this is your cross that you must carry to your grave, seek professionals to help you.
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« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2013, 08:11:42 PM »

Yes, I am seeking professionals. I have another appointment with the therapist just before Christmas.
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« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2013, 08:16:25 PM »

Its certainly a process you work through in life
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« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2013, 10:56:13 PM »

That is wonderful to hear, we all have a drive that causes us to be self-destructive but with varying degrees. You are taking the important first step to take care of yourself. I read your other recent post in regards to geocentrism/heliocentrism, perhaps reading the somber literature that you do stirs these thoughts regarding death. One of the things therapy can help with is disarming them of their power.
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« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2013, 11:11:38 PM »

I'm not converting from Catholicism, but I did have a slight fear that I might die before the priest ever gets around to chrismating me.   Tongue
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« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2013, 11:16:45 PM »

Christina, hopefully that did not cause severe anxiety lol!
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« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2013, 11:26:10 PM »

I find that this is common not just for converts. Unfortunately, or fortunately rather, this is not in line with the spirit of Christianity. Horror and sadness are to be avoided at all costs because they come from the devil. We only focus on Christ who brings peace and joy and His coming Kingdom.
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