Existential crisis? I don't even know.

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kioku
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Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#1

Post by kioku » Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:40 am

I'm not even sure where to start. Lately, I've been seeking evidence there is a God there and an afterlife. It is something that has scared me and shaken me to the very roots of my being. It's truly worrying. There is nothing scarier than knowing that we are alone and that there would be nothing else when we die.

I have asked my mother about the issue, but she keeps repeating about faith and to be completely honest, that does not help me at all. I have prayed for a sign from God that he's there and have been since yesterday, possibly as soon as he could get one to me. I also prayed for him to make it out of the ordinary, so I'd know it's a sign and it would remove all shadow of a doubt from my heart. I want to believe, there's just not a lot for me to go on. I haven't noticed anything out of the usual.

Again, it's worrying me. I've done searches and that's how I came across this website. While it does shine some light on the issue ( the universe had to have a beginning, life had to have a beginning and everything couldn't exactly have had been an accident ), I still worry. There's always the possibility there that this is all there is and when I die, there will be nothing and the loved ones who have died are gone forever. That's unsettling and it scares me. I don't want there to be no God or no afterlife, but just jumping head first into believing feels like I'd just be self-medicating. Indeed, the universe had to have something jump start it into being. Also, life would have been too complicated to come about by its own means.

I've also thought about it and there are unsettling things science has not explained, at least not yet. Consciousness is hard to explain. Why am I able to observe the universe, be aware, and think these thoughts? Where is my consciousness located, and if it is a manifestation of the mind, why can't my thoughts have a physical location? As well, why would billions of cells in my body unite together in a single conscious mind? Why are humans the most advanced species, capable of advanced thought and science, while other animals are not? It seems nothing even came close to our advancements.

Also, there are universal constants that would make no sense to suddenly exist from nothing. As well, the fact that there are universal ideals of good and evil kidn of hint something's there.

It's like this darkness has carved a void into my heart. I'm sorry if my post sounds like whining, but I don't have a lot of faith.

The arguments atheists make about occam's razor where the simplest explanation is true are kind of fishy, but it scares me of the possibility that there is no God and everything came about with no intention, just existing. Then again, Occam's razor leads to faulty logic. For example:
A) Meat turns into flies.

B) Flies, landing on the meat to feed, lay small eggs in the meat which then turn into maggots, which soon turn into flies.
So I wouldn't really suggest Occam's razor is the very basis of reason..

The suggestion of quantum physics goes both ways, though. Observation from a conscious mind causing prolapse and kind of technically matter to exist sounds like there's something there. However, the many universes explanation kind of discredits that, since things aren't constantly existing and not existing.

Is there anything I'm missing? Any other proofs of God and an afterlife? I need some help here. Please. I want actual reasons to believe. I'm a person of reason. In fact, I think too much. I don't believe I'm a bad person for wanting evidence. Again, I apologize, but I want something to go on..

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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#2

Post by jlay » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:48 am

First, thank you for honest and transparent concerns.
There is nothing scarier than knowing that we are alone and that there would be nothing else when we die.
Really? If there is nothing, then there is nothing to miss, nothing to lose, nothing to worry about. Just nothing.

I can think of something scarier. Seperation from all that is worthy of being missed. Goodness, love, passion, joy. The bible teaches that all those things are unattainable apart from the grace of God.

If there is no God and if death is anihilation then life is meaningless. Your love for your friends and family is meaningless. It is nothing more than the work of chemicals and electrical impulses in your brain. If there is nothing ,then In fact the concerns you are having now are meaningless. A cruel trick of millions of years or random, meaningless cosmic accidents. Not to sound cruel, but it is no more biologically significant than an elephant passing gas.

Or perhaps not.

You say you are seeking? The very fact that you can question "is there more," is a great gift that God has placed in you. It is His voice calling to you to seek His face, and to know him. God has put that light in everyman. Will chasing science answer the questions that knot your stomach? No. What if in all this you come to the conclusion, "sure, perhaps, maybe there is a god." What then? Edison said that we know less than 1 millionth of anything. We want to contain the uncontainable. We like equations, and theories, that we can take hold of, so that we can claim understanding. It makes us feel in control. But ultimately there is something within us, the same as what you are experiencing. Stirring us. Some repsond to that voice, some try to mute it through the worship of their own intellect.

We can't begin to answer all the questions that science has, or science has yet to ask. I found it is much more peaceful to seek these answers on the right side of God. It sounds like God has already communicated to you through your conscience that He is real. Take the test and see why you need God. http://www.livingwaters.com/good/

Eternity is a long time to be wrong.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#3

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:06 am

Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that there are very good reasons to believe. Some of them stem from experience, which will be enough to convince YOU but no one else (and rightfully so), and others stem from the intellect. Now, since you can't create experiences with God--you can't will them to come about--the best you can do is go after the latter. In short, study.

That brings in the bad news. It's not an overnight process, as I'm sure you are finding.

In short, what arguments are you aware of for God's existence, and specifically, for the Christian God's existence? You've pointed to the teleological and cosmological arguments as well as the argument from consciousness. What about the arguments from morality, the existence of reason itself, the nature of being, the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, or the fulfillment of biblical prophecy?

There are dozens of others, but those are the most commonly used. What books have you read? You can start with the standards . . . C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity and Miracles are outstanding. Wilkin's Jesus Under Fire and Lee Strobel's Case for Christ are excellent in dealing with the issues of the Resurrection of Jesus. William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith is very good and a philosophical powerhouse. If you can handle much headier reading, Joseph Owens' An Interpretation of Existence is a powerful investigation into the nature of being itself (which necessarily leads to God). More interested in science? Hugh Ross' books (i.e., The Genesis Question and Creator and the Cosmos) are phenomenal.

My personal advice, keep praying to and seeking for God, but don't be dismayed if you don't see some great sign. God wants you to have a lot more than a fallible and questionable experience to build your faith on. So pray for wisdom. Then start reading and studying. Pick one of the above books, watch YouTube debates (look up William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland for starters). Study the Bible, too. I'd recommend starting with the Gospel of John. It is shallow enough that someone will little biblical knowledge can understand it, but deep enough that a biblical scholar can get lost in it. Read it historically. Pick up a basic commentary (Leon Morris and F. F. Bruce have good ones that you can find for cheap on Amazon) and read it along with the book.

As you expose yourself--with an open mind--to these kinds of arguments and resources, you will find yourself settling on the conviction that God exists and that there is an afterlife and, best of all, that Christianity is true. And during your journey, talk to well informed Christians about your progress, be it here, at a church, at a small group meeting, whatever. You'll find that very rewarding as well.

All the best to you, and you are in my prayers!

God bless
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And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#4

Post by cslewislover » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:09 am


Those who seek will find, and Jesus is just waiting at the door, knocking. The door of your heart. We have to let him in and let him be Lord of our lives. Have you read Mere Christianity by CS Lewis? That may help. Ultimately, it isn't about scientific proofs, it's about submitting our will to his, giving ourselves over to him. With some people, they get to the point where they realize that there is nothing else to live for in this world, and then they finally let Jesus in. Your concern about nothingness is interesting, since before I became a Christian, at that time I mean, going into nothingness would've been a relief.

Jac submitted his right before mine. Yes, it'll be good to pray for you.
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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#5

Post by kioku » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:06 am

Thank you, to each and every one of you.

Another thing I have realized is the fact that human beings are far more advanced than any other living thing on the planet and have values they do not. Morals, reason. In fact, such a good adaptation would arise more often than not if it's this successful and carry on, I'd think.

Even with all of this evidence, there are still shadows of doubt in my heart. It makes me feel really terrible. I do want to believe, I really do want to. I'm just not convinced yet. In fact, I've still been praying for a sign to happen to God. A sign he exists and there is an afterlife. Something I'd know is out of the ordinary enough to be a sign and remove all doubt, no question. So far, I'm not sure I've seen anything.

I will try reading the suggested materials, as soon as I can.

Meanwhile, I can feel myself slipping into a pretty bad depression from the prospect of there being no afterlife and everything being potentially meaningless. I have believed in God in the past, but I have periods of time where I begin to doubt everything. In the past, though, I have prayed and it has been answered.

This seems small, but my pet betta fish was dying and I prayed in tears for him to be okay, since my sister's mistreatment for his death would be unfair. The fish, after me being with it recovered and live for about a year after that.

As well, a lot of bad has happened to me. My grandfather died, we needed a mortgage, and my father took one out so we could live on the money until he got a job ( after his back injury ). The money ran out and the panic began, and race was on. We got a notice that it was going to enter foreclosure and I was at a loss and prayed. In fact, nothing went well for a while there. I remembered an organization a lady found onv my television and contacted her. It was a one in a million shot. I prayed and prayed. She answered in the same day and actually helped us, although she was a total and complete stranger. Later on after an interview, the interviewer informed me that the lady who helped us received millions, if not hundreds of thousands of emails all the time. The chances of mine being read and let alone her deciding to help were very, very slim.

I must apologize again, but there's just shadows of doubt in my heart.

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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#6

Post by jlay » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:07 pm

Trusting is not trying.

When you try to trust, you are in essence rebelling. Surrender is a posture that says, "I give up."

This is usually a tipping point that people either find God, or spiral into a godless life, or pursuing all kinds of trivial religions.

Some of the greatest men of God had doubts, and struggled. We all do. But it is a lot different on this side of surrender.
I have doubts. When I sin, I think, "how could I lose my tempter, knowing what Christ did for me. How can I be saved and do such things." The reality is those things are evidence of a heart that is sensative towards God. Those who don't know God and are not sensative to Him, do not think such things.

I don't mean to sound harsh. And I say this in love, but a lot of your motives sound selfish. Is your motive for the afterlife to seek, worship and serve God, or asuage your fears? You see, heaven is all about God. If your life is not all about God, then heaven would be like hell. Because heaven is for those who love Him. The feelings of depression sometimes result from deep worry or anxiety, which is a manifestation of selfishness. One of the best treatments for depression is to do something for someone else. Think about how awful depression is and how you get so wrapped up in yourself. Imagine that for eternity. Sounds like hell, doesn't it.

You said, " It was a one in a million shot," but earlier said, "So far, I'm not sure I've seen anything." Friend, that is called being stubborn. Don't miss the markers God has put in your life. The uneasiness you are experiencing is God knocking. He loves you too much to let you stay like you are. My guess is people are praying for you, and for you to be shaken. Sounds crazy, but the bible says that friendship with this world is enmity with God. As long as you are comfortable with this world, your eyes will not see, your ears will not hear, and your mind will not conceive what God has planned for those who love him.

Did you click the link in my last post and take the test?
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#7

Post by kioku » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:22 pm

I did click the link. I know I'd be a sinner. I'm well aware.

It may be selfish, but everything, everyone's lives, my loved one's lives, and my own life not having a point and having an end is very sad. If God's there, he would realize that. I don't want to be alone in this. I don't want to have my consciousness become annihilated. Above that, if God exists, I would pledge my everything to him. For me would have created me and everything I love. He would also be responsible for the afterlife. That may be selfish, but I'm being honest here.

It's just something I struggle with. Are those actually signs of coincidences? I'm not even sure. While it's improbable, it's not impossible. That's unsettling and I just don't know.

I have tried to be a better person and help others more than I have, as well lately. As much as I can.

Please, God, just give me a sign or something to go on.

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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#8

Post by jlay » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:33 pm

Please, God, just give me a sign or something to go on.
Amen, you're here aren't you? God speaks through His people.

If you are unsure, let me tell you friend, I am sure. It is no coincidence that you and I are conversing at this moment. The bible says, call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved. Be honest with God about your doubts. Confess your unbelief to him just as you have to us.

If you took the test then you well know that your biggest problem is not your mortgage or your fish. It is your own sin, that you admit.
I know I'd be a sinner
Repent, turn from your sin, and place your trust in Jesus. Then you can begin to walk through these struggles with Him as opposed to alone. Read His word and obey what you read. Salvation is at your fingertips. Grab hold man.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#9

Post by kioku » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:47 pm

Be honest with God about your doubts. Confess your unbelief to him just as you have to us.
I have. I have and I've been asking for a sign for the last two days. In tears and on my knees, in my mind, under my breath, and out loud, I have explained things and asked for a sign to go on.

I've been a Christian, I've accepted Jesus, it's just that my faith I'm not sure about.

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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#10

Post by jlay » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:02 pm

Are you following Christ?

I guess I am misunderstanding your concerns and getting some mixed signals. You say you are a Christian, yet you don't trust the promises of Jesus for eternal life? You say you are seeking a sign. Are you saturating yourself in the scriptures at this time? I mean, that is HIS voice. Get in that word. Read slowly, methodically, prayerfully, and intently. Read one verse 20 times if you must, but read it for all it is worth. Are you fasting? John 14:21 says He will manifest himself to those who obey him. Are you?

if God exists, I would pledge my everything to him.
Can you see how I am getting some mixed signals here?
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

God is talking, because these scriptures have been popping into my mind and onto the keyboard as quick as I can type.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#11

Post by kioku » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:24 pm

Just now, I have read them. Thank you. While it is comforting, the situation and possibility is unsettling.

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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#12

Post by cslewislover » Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:50 pm

Kioku, I'm confused about your belief and faith. It's like you believe, since you're praying, but you don't believe. You've said that in the past you've had prayers answered (and that's neat about the financial help you received). So if you believe the Lord answered those prayers, then why isn't that good enough for having faith now? I know that I've had to wait a long time concerning some prayer requests, and sometimes the answer is "no." And I've had times where the Lord feels very close indeed, and other times not. Instead of asking for a sign and looking outward, maybe you just need to be still and listen. I'm not saying God won't give you a sign, but maybe He wants you to use the faith you have, and listen. There's that verse that Jesus said about this perverse generation needing signs (Mat 12:38). Maybe he's testing your faith. Just some thoughts.
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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#13

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:51 pm

This is why I am not a fan of the "feeling-saved Christianity" most people preach today. This is why I'm not a fan of the "work really hard and follow Jesus and just keep telling yourself you are saved over and over again" mentality that is often preached. Further, this is precisely why I can't stand that theology that says that being worried about your doubt is a real sign that you are actually saved.

Kioku has been open with his problem. He wants to believe. He has followed Jesus. He prays. He repents. He confesses. He reads the Bible, and yet he is nagged with fears and doubts and downright unbelief.

Further, this is why I said in the other thread that belief is not a choice. The willingness to believe, yes, that is a choice. But belief in itself--being persuaded--that is not a choice. That is something that happens to you. So the question is what objections does he have. It may be a simple objection, multiple objections, or it may just be a good old fashioned lack of evidence. In any case, praying and repenting will only help him open his heart to answers, but in order to get answers, there has to be discussion.

"15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?"

If we, in our faith, just say "Go, and believe!", then what good have we done? And what good has Kioku done if he comes and says confesses his desire to believe but problem with disbelief, but then takes no steps towards clearing the intellectual barriers. Please note this:

The will to believe is there (volition);
The desire to believe is there (emotion);
The persuasion to believe is not (intellect).

This is why I recommended the books and debates. What you need, Kioku, is hard evidence. Something that you can't refute, that you can't doubt anymore than you doubt yourself. For all of our talk about being so sure, we are all so sure precisely because we have reason upon reason upon reason to believe. If I tried to talk jlay out of believing, I could never do it, because he has REASONS to believe. You need those reasons, too. One book may not do it. But keep reading. Keep studying. Eventually, when you have saturated yourself with the evidence, you will find that your mind has NOWHERE else to turn. You will be forced to accept the obvious, intellectual, brute fact that Christianity is true. Stop seeking some fallible sign and start looking for ANSWERS.

So let's be specific and let's pick up on the central issue for Christianity: are you aware of the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#14

Post by cslewislover » Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:21 pm

I like what you say, Jac, and it may be what kioku needs based on what he's written (if he knows himself well enough and is being honest). But it's not how I came to faith, and many others. Apparently it's different for different people, either the heart or the head is emphasized in coming to faith, it seems.
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Re: Existential crisis? I don't even know.

#15

Post by kioku » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:33 am

You really put it into good words, Jac. I'll try to read even more, but it feels like I've exhausted a lot of the material before me. I've been trying to have the logical reasons justify the belief, but it still leaves me scared with the simple possibility.

The entire world, humanity, consciousness, and society being nothing more than a biproduct of chemical reactions ( albeit with a slim chance ), we could have won the lottery. Or in which case, it could be nothing special. We might only perceive it as special. All of our morals, ideas, and thoughts ultimately would mean nothing and have no point. Good, evil, no difference. That carves a really deep despair into me. Let alone the plausibility of the situation. That's not even beginning to step into the grounds of no afterlife. It would mean after I die, I stop existing. After everyone I love dies, they stop existing. Everyone would be gone forever. Absolute nothing. No sensation. No feeling. Emptiness. To me, that is the scariest possible thing to imagine. To me, suffering an eternity of pain in hell is something I'd look forward to more than that. ( Of course, heaven would definitely be better than hell. )

I seriously don't know, but I can feel it tugging me into a deep depression here. I'm trying to cope the best I can. I'm still praying for a sign or the wisdom to know. Lately, I have not felt God there. It's scaring me. I haven't received a response or a sign yet. The arguments I've read up on and the material I've read make convincing arguments, but the point that it could just be lucky coincidences is scary.

I want there to be a God. I want to believe again. I don't want to feel like this. It's scary to be away from him or even the idea of him not to exist. I'm being as honest as I possibly can here.

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