The Trauma of Losing Faith

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  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    ChastMastr wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    40 years at least for Mark. In Antioch? After the levelling of Jerusalem. Which it 'prophesied'.

    That reason for the dating takes for granted that prophecy doesn't happen. If it does, then that's a different matter.

    Oh aye. If it did, we'd know. It would break the surface of reality, like supernatural healing. We'd all know. Scio. Not credo. I was first drawn in to the cult of belief by being remotely led through the Olivet discourse at the age of 15, ripe for it in '69. 'You think Auschwitz and Hiroshima are signposts? You don't know the half of it. But there is wonderful good news'.
  • peasepease Tech Admin
    edited April 19
    So the emotional blackmail/manipulation of a vulnerable teenager?
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    pease wrote: »
    So the emotional blackmail/manipulation of a vulnerable teenager?

    I did it myself. No direct human agency was involved.
  • peasepease Tech Admin
    "remotely led"?
  • KoFKoF Shipmate
    Do you think maybe it would be helpful to talk about something else, @Martin54 @pease? You can't seriously believe that there is any good coming from this car crash interaction, can you?
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    pease wrote: »
    "remotely led"?

    Yes, but only by my requesting published material.
    KoF wrote: »
    Do you think maybe it would be helpful to talk about something else, @Martin54 @pease? You can't seriously believe that there is any good coming from this car crash interaction, can you?

    The truth of how 'we know what we know about what Jesus said and did' for me. It all started for me with 'what Jesus said'. That was the car crash. Or rather non-divine intervention in the car crash of my second decade.
  • KoFKoF Shipmate
    Ok, I think we all know that now. Maybe go and have a lie-down and do some needlework or knitting or woodwork?

    You know it can't be healthy to keep revisiting your trauma, right?
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    (Or alternatively, seek the right kind of real help offline for trauma.)
  • peasepease Tech Admin
    Martin54 wrote: »
    pease wrote: »
    "remotely led"?
    Yes, but only by my requesting published material.
    Ah - thanks.
    KoF wrote: »
    Do you think maybe it would be helpful to talk about something else, @Martin54 @pease? You can't seriously believe that there is any good coming from this car crash interaction, can you?
    The truth of how 'we know what we know about what Jesus said and did' for me. It all started for me with 'what Jesus said'. That was the car crash. Or rather non-divine intervention in the car crash of my second decade.
    It doesn't seem unreasonable to wonder if the reasons for people losing faith might be related to how they found faith in the first place.

    Within Christendom, there has long been a train of thought that a wide range of practices are justified by the end result of getting people into the Kingdom. I'm inclined to think that the people who promote this notion should bear some responsibility for the consequences.

    Or, from a wider perspective, do Christians share any responsibility for those people who, having found faith, subsequently lose it?
  • KoFKoF Shipmate
    Please stop. I mean, come on now.
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    pease wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    pease wrote: »
    "remotely led"?
    Yes, but only by my requesting published material.
    Ah - thanks.
    KoF wrote: »
    Do you think maybe it would be helpful to talk about something else, @Martin54 @pease? You can't seriously believe that there is any good coming from this car crash interaction, can you?
    The truth of how 'we know what we know about what Jesus said and did' for me. It all started for me with 'what Jesus said'. That was the car crash. Or rather non-divine intervention in the car crash of my second decade.
    It doesn't seem unreasonable to wonder if the reasons for people losing faith might be related to how they found faith in the first place.

    Within Christendom, there has long been a train of thought that a wide range of practices are justified by the end result of getting people into the Kingdom. I'm inclined to think that the people who promote this notion should bear some responsibility for the consequences.

    Or, from a wider perspective, do Christians share any responsibility for those people who, having found faith, subsequently lose it?

    That cannot possibly be legislated for or against. My parents, peers, school couldn't help. There were no help lines, apart from Samaritans. If I want help now it costs £160 an hour. I don't have that any more.

    And so many people are trapped in believing mode that no mere Rogerian rational moral education can be afforded to them. As this site demonstrates. Intelligence, intellect are no defence whatsoever.

    Look at @Kof's projected reaction to this conversation. Here be tygers.

    I'm not looking for anyone here to believe for me any more, let alone include me, have unconditional positive regard for me, as I fail to give the same, to heal me, counsel me, from a position of belief.

    I'm just astounded at how right I am. That the conversation cannot be had with believers in the very main. Some nice exceptions here. There is a remote spiritual director I trust. Or was four years ago.
  • Does this rather peculiar thread actually belong in All Saints?
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited April 19
    Yes, any further ship’s business to Styx please.

    Doublethink, Admin
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    Thank you @Brojames and @Doublethink.
  • FWIW and in response to @Pease, I have often wondered whether a sudden, rather dramatic teenage or early 20s conversion can be book-ended by an equally sudden loss of faith later in life.

    In which case, if this be true, I need to watch out ... 😉

    But joking aside, I don't think loss of faith is the preserve of any particular religious tradition. It can happen to Catholics as well as evangelicals, to liberal Protestants as well as monks or nuns, to Orthodox, unitarians and all stations between.

    I have wondered whether the more brittle and unsupple the faith, the more likelihood that it may snap at some point. But, with Samuel Johnson in a different context, 'let observation with extensive view / Survey mankind from China to Peru' and we see that it's not restricted to more fundamentalist forms of faith.

    I can understand @KoF's reaction but equally can see the need for a thread like this, if for no other reason than preventing every other thread aboard the Ship turning into a dialogue about certain Shipmates' loss of faith.

    To answer @Pease's question, yes, I think there is a degree of 'collective responsibility', particularly in instances where a 'hard sell' approach has been applied. But it's not the full story.
  • NenyaNenya All Saints Host, Ecclesiantics & MW Host
    FWIW and in response to @Pease, I have often wondered whether a sudden, rather dramatic teenage or early 20s conversion can be book-ended by an equally sudden loss of faith later in life.

    In which case, if this be true, I need to watch out ... 😉
    Hmm. Me too.

    A good number of people I know have undergone a faith deconstruction or faith shift in more recent years. Some have turned from faith altogether. Others have replaced it with a faith position that looks different, with less certainty, but is more expansive and (dare I say) exciting.
  • TelfordTelford Deckhand, Styx
    It took me nearly 40 years to get my faith and I see no point in losing it now when I could conk out at any time.
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    There was nothing sudden about my conversion. Or the de-reconstruction of it that ran out of re- The final loss was instantaneous, late Covid; I'd fallen down the elevator shaft before, but never far, never for long. With every lurch of rationalization. Tried the doubt, the what if, for size, but couldn't sustain it. It was faith affirming. Because there was supernatural, divine, impossible, unhuman, anomalous, anachronistic emotional intelligence in John 8. The arrestor. But this was a fall, a day that didn't end. I lost all belief. Gone. It won't come back. It can't. Reason was sucked in to fill the vacuum down the shaft. Because I read the small print on the Pericope Adulterae. The natural anachronism, the pious fraud, was revealed.

    Pathetic isn't it. A minute's 'scholarship' any time from 1969 would have spared me. Of course it wouldn't, because that wasn't the last ditch then, it became so when everything else fell away over five decades.

    I got in to belief as a dumb kid. I got out of it as a dumbfounded old man.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    I am an Anglican who has lost my faith over the last several years. At least for me, this has not been a traumatic experience.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Because I read the small print on the Pericope Adulterae. The natural anachronism, the pious fraud, was revealed.

    What is it about that text that is so difficult for you Martin ?
  • I've wondered about this too. Martin54 has alluded to his reverse-Damascus Road experience before. If I've understood him correctly from previous posts, it was the realisation that the incident with the woman taken in adultery was a later redaction that undermined his faith.

    The presence of a 'pious fraud' was the last straw, or the removed Jenga piece which caused the whole thing to collapse.

    I've never quite understood that as it's made clear in the footnotes of many New Testaments that it may be a later addition and wasn't there in the earliest versions.

    After all, the existence of apocryphal Gospels or sayings attributed to Christ that didn't make it into the NT canon isn't a deal breaker for most Christian believers of whatever stripe.

    So why baulk at John 8? It's not as if any of the mainstream churches can't handle the issues this raises. 'Uh-oh,' says Pope Francis. 'This is a deal breaker. Let's disband.'

    I mean no disrespect to Martin but it reminds me of the scene in 'Father Ted' when Fr Dougal asks the Bishop where God came from in the first place. The Bishop is taken aback. It's not an issue he's considered before. In the next scene he's shed his cassock and dressed in hippy style, heading off in a Volswagen camper van to Katmandu with fellow drop-outs to find himself ...

    Don't get me wrong. Loss of faith can be traumatic and I'm not minimising that at all.

    But a late date for the story of the woman taken in adultery need not undermine the whole thing any more than a late date for the Book of Daniel.

    Or that the creation story in Genesis represents an ancient Hebrew attempt to make sense of our origins and to differentiate their monotheistic view of God from the ideas current among surrounding cultures.
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    edited April 21
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Because I read the small print on the Pericope Adulterae. The natural anachronism, the pious fraud, was revealed.

    What is it about that text that is so difficult for you Martin ?

    That it simply isn't true. It's the most emotionally intelligent story in the Bible, which has many. Jonah comes next to mind. But it towers above them all. It's not just me that finds it so. Even Bart Ehrman does.
    Among the most popular stories about Jesus
    The story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery is arguably the best known story about Jesus in the Bible; it certainly has always been a favorite in Hollywood versions of his life. It even makes it into Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, even though the movie focuses only on Jesus’ last hours (the story is treated as one of the rare flashbacks).
    It is a brilliant story, filled with pathos and a clever twist
    Despite the brilliance of the story, its captivating quality, and its inherent intrigue...

    My excellent spiritual director completely resonated with all but the 'Despite', which didn't come up! He related how he'd wept when he preached on it.

    It's not just that I didn't read the footnotes, of course I did; that it was a late addition. I didn't care, as the Holy Spirit preserved the truth. I always liked the catch all 'by the Spirit'. No further explanation was necessary. It was the final Jenga block removal, the final act of deconstruction that led to unreconstructable demolition, after many lesser acts. Here a little, there a little. I'd been questioning the 'omnis' for a decade and a half. Here. On this site. That led to the realisation that reality lacks nothing, that the ground of being does not have to be and cannot be omniscient. That prophecy is fraud and/or wishful thinking, apophenia read in to the text in Christian hindsight. Because Jesus did. Because the future hasn't happened, is not part of the fantasy infinite eternalist now belief, apparently mandated by the relativity of simultaneity.
    “I’m sick and tired of this block universe,” said Avshalom Elitzur, a physicist and philosopher formerly of Bar-Ilan University. “I don’t think that next Thursday has the same footing as this Thursday. The future does not exist. It does not! Ontologically, it’s not there.”

    Christians buy this as it complements God's omniscience, the alleged prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. Which, in my good will, I don't doubt that he naturally did. In good will himself. In believing it himself.

    But He didn't engage in the PA a century before it was recorded in the Gospel of the Hebrews.
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    Later.
  • PA?

    Public Address system?

    I still don't get it, Martin. Liberal Christians would probably agree with most, if not all, of what you've said about redaction and self-fulfilling prophecy and apophenia (new word on me, thanks) and so on.

    That doesn't mean they have abandoned faith altogether.

    There is, of course, a sliding scale within liberal theology as there is within more conservative forms. Not all conservative Christians are fundamentalists any more than liberal Christians are all out and out 'unbelievers' or 'heretics' or whatever other pejorative term might be used.

    I don't understand how this particular passage in John 8 is a deal breaker. Ok, my own Big T Tradition accepts it as canonical, whilst being aware of the textual issues and the fact that St John Chrysostom doesn't include it in his commentaries.

    I don't know enough about that, but then I'm not wedded to notions of scriptural InerrancyTM as commonly held by very conservative Protestant Christians.

    I can understand someone moving from a conservative position theologically to a more liberal one on the basis of considerations of this kind but not abandoning the whole kit and caboodle - unless it was in reaction to earlier brittle fundamentalism.

    But who am I to say?

    It's your choice.
  • PA in Martin54-ese = Pericope Adulterae, I think.
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    edited April 21
    PA in Martin54-ese = Pericope Adulterae, I think.

    Aye, I should have put (PA) after using the expression.
    ...
    (a) I still don't get it, Martin. Liberal Christians would probably agree with most, if not all, of what you've said about redaction and self-fulfilling prophecy and apophenia (new word on me, thanks) and so on.

    That doesn't mean they have abandoned faith altogether.

    (b) There is, of course, a sliding scale within liberal theology as there is within more conservative forms. Not all conservative Christians are fundamentalists any more than liberal Christians are all out and out 'unbelievers' or 'heretics' or whatever other pejorative term might be used.

    (c) I don't understand how this particular passage in John 8 is a deal breaker. Ok, my own Big T Tradition accepts it as canonical, whilst being aware of the textual issues and the fact that St John Chrysostom doesn't include it in his commentaries.

    (d) I don't know enough about that, but then I'm not wedded to notions of scriptural InerrancyTM as commonly held by very conservative Protestant Christians.

    (e) I can understand someone moving from a conservative position theologically to a more liberal one on the basis of considerations of this kind but not abandoning the whole kit and caboodle - unless it was in reaction to earlier brittle fundamentalism.

    But who am I to say?

    (f) It's your choice.

    (a) Good for them. Our wirings for experience vary slightly.

    (b) I was a believing liberal Christian. Orthodox, conservative as to what the Bible records and meant to its writers. Fiercely so. The liberalism was despite that.

    (c) It's the deal breaker for me as I've been saying for 3 years now, because if it had happened, around 30 AD, it would have been a, the, flat out miracle. A culturally impossible anachronism, let alone by a country carpenter. For me. To me. And I more than suspect for many others. Many others who still buy in to the Third Person of the Holy and Undivided Trinity preserving the truth. Does anyone here think that if it happened, as writ, in John 7:53-8:11, or even in The Gospel of the Hebrews, as noted by Papias (c 110 AD), according to Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History (313-324), that it isn't miraculous? That it doesn't shine, pulse with emotional, Spiritual genius for 30 AD? Like no other account. And it contains no supernatural claims. It stands alone.

    (d) I've not been inerrantist for 30 years and more.

    (e) I didn't move further from conservative to liberal. I'd already done that. I'd already lost the belief that the Holy Spirit had anything to do with preserving the record supernaturally. Giving only John an eidetic memory for Jesus' long paschal speech.

    I didn't lose belief. I didn't lose faith. I lost certainty. I lost knowledge. I read all the material again and again, looking for a shadow of doubt of my doubt, of disbelief. Followed all the links. Subscribed.

    And it was sod all due to 'brittle fundamentalism'. There was nothing brittle about my fundamentalism for decades. I was invincibly ignorant. It took strong deconstruction by the former cult leaders, against my will. For years. I couldn't stand postmodernism for a start. I wept on the bog when I lost the tenet of Anglo-Israelism. But I was still a believer. And now I'm not. I'd rather be one. It took nearly 30 years of de-reconstruction. In church today, in my suit, for the AGM, I yearned to be part of the shared... delusion. Even though the desperate, offensive distraction of sin and salvation was in full blast, in the hymns and preaching.

    (f) Choice? How does choice come in to it? I have no choice in the matter whatsoever. Who does? How do I choose what to believe without warrant?
  • Alright. Thanks for unpacking it some more, painful as it undoubtedly is for you to do so.

    I can only speak for myself. I don't see why the PA, to adopt your shorthand, would be any more impossible or miraculous in the time of Christ than it would have been in the 2nd or the 4th century. What happened in the meantime to make it more or less 'likely'?

    Whether it was included because 'it's the sort of thing Jesus would have said' or because some kind of tradition existed that he'd done so, I have no idea. There are plenty of sayings attributed to Christ in non-canonical gospels. Christ may have said some of them. He may not have said any of them. We don't know.

    I suppose I'm wondering why this particular story is more of a deal breaker than any of the others.

    I could envisage liberals wanting to keep it in but reject some of the others, or the miraculous stories etc.

    I think I can follow your line of reasoning but it still begs a few questions. Like why that and not this?
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    edited April 21
    Alright. Thanks for unpacking it some more, painful as it undoubtedly is for you to do so.

    I can only speak for myself. I don't see why the PA, to adopt your shorthand, would be any more impossible or miraculous in the time of Christ than it would have been in the 2nd or the 4th century. What happened in the meantime to make it more or less 'likely'?

    Whether it was included because 'it's the sort of thing Jesus would have said' or because some kind of tradition existed that he'd done so, I have no idea. There are plenty of sayings attributed to Christ in non-canonical gospels. Christ may have said some of them. He may not have said any of them. We don't know.

    I suppose I'm wondering why this particular story is more of a deal breaker than any of the others.

    I could envisage liberals wanting to keep it in but reject some of the others, or the miraculous stories etc.

    I think I can follow your line of reasoning but it still begs a few questions. Like why that and not this?

    There's no comparison with any other story, and the miracle is purely cultural, psychological. No other is. There is no that. A country chippy of 30 AD could not have said and done that, or rather this. It wasn't in Mark from 70 AD, it wasn't in any of the canonical - surviving - gospels for centuries. As a conservative liberal believer, I had no basis to disbelieve the physically impossible miracles.

    And no matter how wrong I am in how I came to stop believing, I've stopped. All I want, reasonably, is to know. And I do. Unfortunately it's not the knowledge I want.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited April 21
    So how do you move on from that point, you have lost your faith - but you seem to be very distressed by that. What could you do to build positively on your new worldview, to move forward in mourning your lost faith ? Have you considered getting involved in the humanist movement ?

    They have quite a lot of community groups.
  • TelfordTelford Deckhand, Styx
    The story of the woman taken in adultery is basically about a sinner being forgiven and encouraged not to repeat the sin. It's also about sinners being told not to be hypocrites and to reflect on their own sins.
  • Merry VoleMerry Vole Shipmate
    What is the Gospel of the Hebrews?
  • Merry Vole wrote: »
    What is the Gospel of the Hebrews?

    This may, or may not, help:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_the_Hebrews
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Humans are always telling stories. The one about a god born in poverty, having compassion for the poor, the sick, the outcast, the condemned is one of the best.

    OK it's not 'true' in some historical sense, but it's true in the sense of making us want to be like that.

    Yes there's no god, no heaven, but there is love and mercy we can do here, and be the better for.
  • Al
    Whether it was included because 'it's the sort of thing Jesus would have said' or because some kind of tradition existed that he'd done so, I have no idea.

    The Gospel Lectionary of the Orthodox Church certainly treats it as an insertion. The continuous sequential readings jump from John 7:52 to 8:12. 8:3-11 only appear as an optional reading on September 11th for St Theodora of Alexandria.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Whether it was included because 'it's the sort of thing Jesus would have said' or because some kind of tradition existed that he'd done so, I have no idea.
    My recollection is that Bart Ehrman, mentioned upthread, has written that the latter—that it was a well-known oral tradition that eventually found its way into the manuscripts—is the opinion of most NT scholars, including (I think) himself.

  • KendelKendel Shipmate
    @Martin54 I'm so sorry that all of this has been and continues to be so painful.
  • RooKRooK Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    OK it's not 'true' in some historical sense, but it's true in the sense of making us want to be like that.

    It might be possible that it needs to be wrapped in exactly this unlikely manner. Humans are skittery, untrusting creatures - especially of each other - and for good reason. To have some particularly insightful and empathic fellow from Bethlehem to share convincingly to those around him about how much nicer it could be if we were all actually nice to each other is frightfully mundane. Who does he think he is? And what's he selling? But if he's an incarnation of the divine, and you punch of stories about him with some more associated tales of goodness and redemption, well, now, that's something worth considering.
    Yes there's no god, no heaven, but there is love and mercy we can do here, and be the better for.

    Better than I what I said. Exactly this.
  • ChastMastrChastMastr Shipmate
    Sending hugs, Martin. ❤️
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Yes, what @Firenze said. All we have are stories. The very language we use to represent reality (the world beyond language) is storied, all symbol and metaphor. I've learned over time to consider the darker or more mysterious realities hidden within or behind stories: that behind the myths of Lord of the Rings there is the experience of a young man glimpsing the best and worst of human nature in the trenches of the Somme; that behind the little boy being fattened up in a cage in Hansel and Gretel lies a history of famine and cannibalism; that most stories about women 'taken in adultery' are really stories of coercion and rape that might have been suppressed except in oral traditions passed on by women generation after generation, century after century until finally heard and acknowledged.

    For years I read the Scottish theologian William Barclay who claimed that discovery of the Johannine Comma (another late insertion in John) contributed to his disbelief in the Trinity. I studied with someone who was shaken to discover that an early apostle was a woman named Junia, not a misprint for Junius (Romans 16: 7). Long before Bart Ehrman or Geza Vermes, Adela Yarbro Collins was arguing that Jesus primarily understood himself to be an apocalyptic prophet. Many of my most cherished ideas and beliefs have been wrong or based on misunderstandings. The story is not what I thought it was and yet the narrative renews itself and continues.

    All of us endure times of doubt and darkness, sitting in the unknown and living in dread of what might come next. It's inescapable. Sharing my own partial, flawed stories and being heard is how I've found a way to go on.
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    Thank you @Doublethink. Good questions. Interesting resources. In Leicester! A city seething with religion...

    I left that hanging last night.

    Wow!

    Thank you everyone.

    Message In A Bottle by the Police came to mind.


  • SarasaSarasa All Saints Host
    I was on a retreat this Easter and realised how little of the Bible I know after spending rather a lot of days in church over the Triduum. I agree about telling each other stories and I spent a lot of time wondering what the 'truth' behind what we were hearing was. Then I decided that it didn't matter, it was my reaction to what I was hearing and what I was going to do about it that was important.
    My faith wobbles all over the place but I just try to stay faithful to a few things.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    @MaryLouise, superb! Thank you. The view of story/stories you describe resonates very deeply with me.

  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    From Purgatory.

    Please don't comment there.
  • NenyaNenya All Saints Host, Ecclesiantics & MW Host
    Yes, thank you @MaryLouise , that's a beautiful post. I resonate particularly with this:
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    Many of my most cherished ideas and beliefs have been wrong or based on misunderstandings. The story is not what I thought it was and yet the narrative renews itself and continues.

    All of us endure times of doubt and darkness, sitting in the unknown and living in dread of what might come next. It's inescapable. Sharing my own partial, flawed stories and being heard is how I've found a way to go on.

    I would add that hearing others' partial, flawed stories also helps me to go on.

    I lost a lot of my beliefs a number of years ago (is losing our beliefs the same as losing faith?) and it was a howlingly dark and lonely place to be in as for quite a long time I couldn't trust the possibilities that could replace them. I'm thinking particularly of issues around heaven and hell, who's in and who's out, and universalism. I took myself away to a retreat centre at fairly regular intervals around that time. Is that something you think might help you @Martin54 ? Not necessarily to convince you of anything but to reach some sort of peace with where you find yourself?
  • I find this interesting, as I lost some Christian beliefs over the years, but had been doing Zen retreats also. Some of the experiences in them sort of replaced earlier beliefs. An obvious example is atonement, which I started to see literally as at one ment. Anyway, this carried on, e.g., an idea that I am always here, not ego I. So less traumatic really.
  • Telford wrote: »
    The story of the woman taken in adultery is basically about a sinner being forgiven and encouraged not to repeat the sin. It's also about sinners being told not to be hypocrites and to reflect on their own sins.

    I think we are all aware of that, @Telford.

    Martin54's difficulty with it is that it appears to have been interpolated at a later date and so is not authentic. There's more, but that's the gist of it.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    I am thinking about the Book of Job. According to the story Job lost everything and ended up with terrible sores on this body. Three friends come to sit with him. Eventually, they speak up saying what happened is all his fault. In essence, Job replies he wants to take God to court, saying "If God is good, he is not God; if God is God, he is not good."

    I have a humanist friend who recently lost his wife. I know he has been struggling with it. Each time he expresses himself, I just let him know I will sit with him. This weekend, he announced he will be observing Passover. I do not believe he is Jewish, but he gets some comfort in telling the old, old stories. My response to him was still I was sitting with him.

    @Martin54, I really do not know any answer to your grief. I will just sit with you and see what happens.
  • There are indeed times - in the lives of all of us - where there is simply nothing worthwhile or useful to be said.

    Having people around to *just sit* with us is a priceless gift.
  • NenyaNenya All Saints Host, Ecclesiantics & MW Host
    Martin54 wrote: »
    From Purgatory.

    Please don't comment there.

    Pits of despair are horrendous - I knew one for a short while, nowhere near as long nor as deep as yours - and I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. I don't believe anything is wasted nor that this life is all there is. I can't begin to imagine how our mourning can be turned to dancing nor how what we sow with tears we will reap with joy and I know it can all sound terribly glib and easy. But just because I can't imagine it, or you can't believe it, doesn't mean it can't be true - perhaps true in some sense that we can't currently comprehend.
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    The Humanists won't be this nice!
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