I Have Lost Faith in God

by Anonymous
(India)



Question

Almost an year ago there was a tense situation going on in my family. Amidst all of this, I lost faith in God.

There's a struggle going on between my heart and mind. Logically I am not able to believe in God but my heart says I should still trust, despite what happened. So, can you please devote a bit of your time helping restore my faith? Like, if you had any personal experiences related to God, that would be helpful.

Please help!

Answer

Hi. :)

As I understand, this is what you stated. Because of what happened with respect to your family an year ago, you lost your trust in God. Earlier you had trusted in God and thought, 'he will make sure everything good will happen to me'. After those family problems in your life however, you lost faith in God because definitely bad things happened to you DESPITE your belief in God. When you had faith in God, you felt secure, more peaceful and easy because you knew that God would always take care of you. Now, you miss that feeling of peace/ trusting in God, and you want to feel that way again. But reality clearly tells you that your trust was betrayed once. How can you now trust in God again? How can you really feel that connection with God once again?

This is what I have understood about your question.

It would be easy for me to tell you "this experience happened to me and that proved to me that God is compassionate. Therefore, you simply MUST believe in him and have faith in him." However, after thinking about your question for a long time, I realized that we have to go much, much deeper than that to understand your situation. Let me tell you honestly what I feel.

First here's an important thing I feel: I believe that whatever thoughts we hold, are in the end our OWN beliefs about reality. They may or may not reflect the truth. X believes that there is no God. Y believes that God will always take care of him. Z believes that only a particular type of God with specific attributes exists. W believes that no matter what happens, God exists and he has a hidden plan and he is doing it for everyone's good.

So, the first thing I really want you to notice here is that whatever we believe about God is in the end our belief. I also want you to notice that we have a CHOICE with respect to what we believe. This is very important to understand. Each one of us can CHOOSE to believe absolutely anything with respect to God including you. You may or may not have consciously chosen your beliefs about God, for example, you might or might not have sat down and thought - "What do I believe about God?" and written those beliefs on paper. But consciously or unconsciously you have CHOSEN your beliefs about God.

OK, so everyone chooses his own beliefs about God or other parts of life. But there must be some belief which is correct? How do you figure out which belief is correct? If everyone is thinking something or the other about God - who is right?

The answer is that those beliefs that are the MOST accurate predictors of reality are the most correct ones. All our beliefs are our attempt to look at the truth of life, isn't it? So, the only real indicator of whether what we believe in is right or wrong for us is - reality itself. If your beliefs are repeatedly making you sad, or bringing you pain or messing up your life, what does that mean? It means that your beliefs are NOT an accurate predictor of truth. You must update your beliefs and choose more empowering beliefs, beliefs that reflect the truth even better. Choosing these beliefs will make you feel happier, more peaceful, more alive.

So we have clarified two things: 1) Your thoughts about God are your beliefs. 2) That belief is the most empowering one which accurately predicts or matches with your reality. Such a belief will make you happy and peaceful. A belief that does not blend with your reality will make you feel cheated, sad etc.

Now, let us come to your specific situation. Before you had family problems, your belief seems to be "I believe that I am on this earth to be happy, and do the things I want. I trust that God loves me and so he will make things happen just the way I want and make me happy." This didn't happen in reality. So now it has become very difficult for you to still hold that belief. You are like - if this was true then HOW on earth did things that I DID NOT want to happen, happen?

The best thing to do here is to therefore admit that the belief you had in the first place was inaccurate. If the belief was indeed accurate, then it should have matched with reality. Whatever happened in your reality should have matched with the belief. If that is not happening and the exact opposite is happening, that means that belief is flawed. There is NO doubt about it.

If this belief is flawed, then what belief is correct? A belief that CORRECTLY explains reality is more empowering. In your case, there can be many such beliefs and here is one of those beliefs that describes reality more accurately:

"I am here on this earth to grow, evolve and learn many lessons. I trust that God loves me and he will always put those things in my path which will lead to my best growth and learning."

This belief is much more empowering than the earlier belief because it describes reality much more accurately. Let us say you held this belief when your family problem came up. The family problem devastated you and made you feel pathetic. At that moment, this belief would still hold true. You could STILL tell yourself, "God loves me and he has put these things in my path for my best growth and learning. He wants to teach me something." And yes, this belief would STILL comfort you and make you feel more peaceful. The earlier belief on the other hand assumes 2 things - that you are here on earth to be happy and get what you want. And that God will always create circumstances that you like. Both have been violated by reality so that belief does not stand the reality test.

Now, take a look at the lives of others to see why the second set of beliefs is more accurate. A beggar's son is born poor. A rich man's son is born rich. The first belief would fail to explain this. Obviously God should give both the poor and rich man what they want according to the first belief. The second belief explains this easily too. We are born to grow and learn and evolve as human beings and God is always helping us in this process. The beggar's son might be helped in his growth and evolution by being a beggar while the rich man's son might be helped in his learning path on earth by being a rich man's son. God loves both and is helping both learn and grow and fulfill what they have come to do on earth.

Yet another interesting point is that there are still many more empowering beliefs apart from this one too which can explain reality well. For example an atheist may be very happy with the way his beliefs reflect reality and he may say " God does not exist but whatever happens, happens so that I grow and learn what are the best lessons for me. " The point again is to choose beliefs that feel the best predictors of reality to you and not get too attached to what is not working in reality.

Well, I didn't notice and have ended up writing quite a lot. :P The crux of what I have wanted to say is that earlier you believed that God loves you and gives you what makes you happy. A better belief to adopt (because it matches with reality) is God loves you and gives you the best possible experiences that you need to go through to learn your life lessons. It can also help to ask yourself - "What was I meant to learn from these family problems?" You might get new insights.

In any case, have a happy and wonderful day. :)

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