Let’s start at the beginning. I was born into a Southern Baptist family and raised in that denomination. I never found anything but boredom and intolerance in the churches I attended, and by the time I was 11 I had stopped attending.

For a long stretch of years, spiritual matters were very far from my mind and I paid no attention to such things. More recently, I’ve begun exploring paganism – Wicca, shamanism, and other beliefs. At the same time, I’ve also been looking into the Bible quite a bit.

I’ve attended a number of religious services for a variety of different religions, both Christian and non-, and I’ve felt absolutely nothing. I’ve tried praying, and I’ve gotten no response. I’ve tried meditation only to sit there and feel like an idiot for it. I’ve tried magic spells, and they’ve not worked.

In short, I’m looking for help to… well, to get in -contact- with something, power or being, greater than myself. To have a real experience of a spiritual nature.

Any suggestions?
A few additional notes…

I don’t need any answers of the ‘just have faith’ variety. I tried just having faith for quite a while. It -didn’t- -work-.

I’m open to serious suggestions from any religious path. I am -not- open to hearing myself or any of my friends in their various religions denounced, going to hell, etc. Divine judgment is not the dominion of mortals. (I think.)

I’m not necessarily looking for rock-hard proof. It’d be nice if I had some, but what I really need is more of a personal experience, some way of really -feeling- this, not some abstract proof that lets me know that some god is in fact out there and not answering his prayer-phone when I call.

And, er… yeah, that’s it for now. >_< In response to earlier answers: I have already read the Bible cover to cover, twice. It did nothing to help this feeling, and certainly has no instructions on how to contact God that I was able to use. As for all religion being bogus, this is perhaps true, but I don't believe all spirituality is, and I definitely can't reconcile the possibility of us being the end-all and be-all of the universe against the evidence elsewise. More answers: No, I am not an atheist, because atheism makes no sense to me. Being an agnostic to me is kind of a bad thing, because it simply means being stuck in a state of not knowing - whether objectively or subjectively - about the state of one's own spirituality. Or at least, that's what it means to me... Thank you for the encouragement. How does one stop mind chatter? No one's really told me HOW to meditate, they just keep telling me to do it. I've read how-tos, but they haven't been helpful. Just because I -want- to believe something doesn't mean I do. That's what I mean by unwilling agnostic; I very much want to believe in a higher power, want to find a connection to them, but everything I've found so far has led nowhere.

12 Comments

  • I don’t know if I’m a believer or an agnostic or atheist myself. So I guess I’m agnostic. Haha.

    I also don’t pray because I feel I’m just talking to and comforting myself. I guess I’m in a similar position. Yet I am also not content with a secular, purely scientific attitude. Somehow I get the sense that science is just one way of knowing, and there is a deeper meaning I can gather if I only had faith. I guess every human being, even an atheist, is in search of a deeper reality, a “higher” cause, a sense of “spiritual” contentment in some form. One philosopher might say that man’s search is for the infinite, which is both within himself and outside himself.

    I suppose a root cause of confusion is because we cannot really define and measure God. If we do reduce the infinite God into an defined image, we encounter problems. For example, the vindictive, punishing, rule-making, guilt-inspiring, authoritarian male God that some fundamentalist Christians subscribe to has been a cause hate crimes and discrimination against “sinners.” They neglect the overpoweringly loving and merciful God that Jesus illuminates.

    I guess an advice I can give you is to have an attitude similar to what the Jesuits have taught me. God is in all things, and even in the most mundane he/she is calling you, he/she manifests in the people you encounter, more importantly, he/she is also in you. And the statement “God is Love” is a “fact” that ties all creation and our lives together and inspires change for the better. Even then, it’s up to us to discern meaning, think, and respond to this “call.”

  • I know this is a long answer, but you asked a long question and it deserves more than a pat response.

    What you’re missing is a personal relationship with God. I’ve seen people raised in the church who never sought a personal relationship with the God they’ve worshipped for years. In time their worship becomes perfunctory and empty and then they quit altogether, discouraged and filled with questions. I know because I was one of them.

    Your ideology may be contrary to God’s mind right now. Sounds like you’ve got your mind made up about some issues, like intolerance. Christianity is not tolerant of other religions, you know that. There is only one way to achieve salvation. You may not be ready to accept the absolute nature of this and so your relationship with God is dysfunctional.

    Please don’t misread me– God loves all people and wants for us to accept the path he made to get to him. But he gave us the freewill to do as we choose. And as a creature with freewill and intellect when you DO choose to do things his way it’s special and sets you apart from those who will choose to do things their own way.

    But you must set your ideals and what you think you know aside when you come before almighty God to seek a real relationship with him. Trust that his way is the best (yes, that’s faith… but without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that comes to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.)

    I can attest that when you have a real and personal relationship with God worship ceases to be boring ritual. It becomes an emotion filled opportunity to spend time with your creator and heavenly father.

    Please give it another try.

  • as an agnostic-atheist (the ag. is because i can’t know FOR SURE, but it sure seems like a bunch of bullsh*t)…my suggestion is to go toward real information rather than labels.
    i’ve found that the more i learn and know, the less i feel a desire to label or categorize my thoughts. read as much as you can; not just religious texts, but information.
    some reading suggestions: Orwell; Joseph Campbell (‘the Power of Myth’ is fantastic); and also to read historical texts. Read ‘A People’s History of the United States of America’ by Howard Zinn.

    The more you know, the more you will know what you believe and think…good luck. truly.

  • faith is what makes it all work,I’m sorry, but you have to understand the meaning of faith and how it works in religion.Belief that does not rest on logical proof or theological evidence.
    Although it is the opposite of reason, belief that is based on proof and evidence, faith is not limited to the religious and theological arenas. It takes a certain amount of faith to trust causality and repeatability (refer to Hume’s philosophy), two fundamental principles that scientific research is based on.
    It requires just as much faith to say for certain that there is no god as it does to say there is one, perhaps even more since there is no 2000 year old book to base your arguments on.
    Any beliefs that are not 100% supported by facts and evidence. This includes religious beliefs, hope for the future, and trust in other people as well as trust in the truthfulness of scientific theories.
    Where there is doubt, faith is needed.

  • I was a total atheist and still a skeptic. What I did was realize thier is a higher power. A literal example is spit on a cop and see who has more power. I prayed not beleving any of it. I prayed over and over [still atheist]. God grant me the serenity to accept the thing I can not change. Courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. I chose to stick with it despite my total dibelief. Well I changed and have a siritual life. Note not a word of religon in this. People called me the praying atheiest. What did I have to lose look all I have gained.

  • How can you be an unwilling agnostic? You either believe or you don’t.
    Beside that, religion and spirituality are very personal things. I think you are looking at this all wrong. Instead of trying to find a religion you like you should think about what you personally believe. If you can find a religion that fits that, then that is your new religion, if not then I guess you’ll have invented a new one.

  • you are obviously searching, so keep searching until you find it

    did you really try meditation to the point of stopping the mind chatter?

  • I think you just need to keep looking. No one can tell you what you need to do on this one. Being agnostic isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can be very spiritual and not have a deffinate religion. Just keep looking. If you want a religion, you’ll eventually find one you feel comfortable with.

  • read the bible from cover to cover. It explains how man got where he is, where he is heading, and how to find God. ( by the way, God is reaching for you , while you are reaching for God)

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