[INFJ] Crisis of faith

Crisis of faith

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This is a discussion on Crisis of faith within the INFJ Forum - The Protectors forums, part of the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers category; For the religious and/or spiritual members of this community: Have you ever had a crisis of faith? How did it ...

  1. #1

    Crisis of faith

    For the religious and/or spiritual members of this community:

    Have you ever had a crisis of faith?
    How did it come about?
    How did you deal with it?
    What were the consequences for your faith?

    My reason for asking....

    I was a very spiritual person until recently, but recent life events make me question my faith. The beliefs I held so strongly have slipped through my fingers. They lie shattered on the floor. Now I am not sure which ones are true anymore.....which ones I can and want to pick up & glue back together again.

    Your input is much appreciated.
    lifeisanillusion, mimesis, DuCiel and 4 others thanked this post.

  2. #2

    @yippy nr 2 My friend, I would say that is an infinitely better (if more uncomfortable) position to be in than "having it all figured out." Spiritual complacency often masquerades as faith. And spiritual complacency is a terrible ailment of the soul.

    "So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." Revelations 3:16

    Let your doubts be hot. Let your doubts be cold. Pound on Heaven's door, or turn the freeze on God, but don't be lukewarm and shrug your shoulders and walk away.

    I love this quote from St John of the Cross:

    "Souls must go to God by not comprehending rather than by comprehending, and they must exchange the mutable and comprehensible for the Immutable and Incomprehensible."

    We are not tasked with figuring out God. We are tasked with accepting His love. And that's it.

  3. #3

    Have you ever had a crisis of faith?

    How did it come about?

    How did you deal with it?
    I'm trying to.

    What were the consequences for your faith?
    Trivial behavior change.

    The beliefs I held so strongly have slipped through my fingers. They lie shattered on the floor. Now I am not sure which ones are true anymore.....which ones I can and want to pick up & glue back together again.
    Just recently I had the same experience. I realized I can't find "the truth" no matter what therefore decided to accept every opinion is BS and just live my life. I really see no point in sharing my opinion anymore if it won't improve my language skills and/or help me to just waste time and/or have fun. This decision makes me feel like I'm falling but perhaps it's how it should be. At least I'm not afraid of falling and I'm not fooling myself by believing this time I'm holding onto something stronger therefore I'll never fall again anymore.
    lifeisanillusion, Sei35, AnneM and 1 others thanked this post.

  4. #4

    This is why one shouldn't lock themselves into just one thing allowing for natural change and overall progress towards another step in one's spiritual journey. Those with lives of sweet delight having effortless ease speaking sweet and smooth nothings like what most can see in most spiritual circles only set people up for disappointment and even failure.
    Kamuela and yippy nr 2 thanked this post.

  5. #5

    I've had this problem as well and there's no easy answer. I do think it's important to allow literal interpretations to shift to symbolic interpretations, to see what aspects of the faith help with life and which hurt it, to remember what made you believe in the first place, and to know that sometimes when you look backwards on things from a long time in the future it will make more sense than it makes now.
    Marvin the Dendroid and yippy nr 2 thanked this post.

  6. #6

    Quote Originally Posted by yippy nr 2 View Post
    Have you ever had a crisis of faith?
    How did it come about?
    I don't consider myself a religious person. But I do feel intensely that I know the position you describe as a crisis of faith.

    I think many people put their faith in some variation of God, but I had always put my faith in People. I directed this faith to believe that People were fundamentally kind, fundamentally good at heart. No matter how many examples of pettiness or casual cruelty I had come across, I always viewed them as exceptions, as the result of terrible environmental circumstances or playing out suffering that they had received and been unable to make sense of without passing it along to others to justify and normalize it.

    The trouble is, as I continued to believe this, I closed my eyes to some very real ugly aspects of people and put myself in a very weak position of "ignorance is bliss" by not acknowledging that just as there are people who genuinely care and act kindly towards others, there are people who genuinely desire the opposite, or even don't care and will gladly pursue their own power heedless of how it affects others.

    When you want very badly to believe something, it's a good indicator that it makes you feel safe and comforted. For me at least, it made me feel comforted to believe that people don't have a direct lust for evil or hurting others, that it's only a reaction or defense to their own pain. I was confronted with this "crisis of faith" when I visited a concentration camp for the first time. I felt the ugliness of humanity, listened to the terrible stories, saw the artifacts of torture, read about the circumstances. But mostly I felt it. I felt the conflict between the ideals of my faith in people and the cold reality of what people had done to each other, that was ripping apart this hopeful veil that I was accustomed to cast on things.

    How did you deal with it?
    Not well. I sort of walked around in a stupor for several days, unable to move beyond the enormity of it. Everyday things did not seem to matter any more. Eventually I got to a point where I could cry about it, but that did not help. It did not change what I had learned nor restore any faith in people. What helped was talking about it with other people and asking them questions about their views on what had happened, and why, and could it happen again, and what could be done to stop it. It helped to be around others who also felt the horror viscerally. I felt a lot of bitterness and betrayal because I could see that people were capable of creating systems of destruction and forcing others to perpetuate and cooperate within those systems in ways that caused them to lose all sense of right and wrong and all perception of their fellow beings as real and able to suffer. But I was also able to experience still that there were systems of construction in the world, networks of people trying to improve conditions for their fellow human beings. I spent some time feeling very jaded and distrusting, and closed even to kindnesses because I didn't know if they had any meaning any longer. I withdrew and did a lot of aimless walking in places without having a plan of where I was going or anything to do. I decided after several weeks that I could choose only what I would do and believe, and not trust large groups of people, keep some distrust as protection from reality, but that if I wanted to live in the type of world that did not declare these actions acceptable, I would have to do my own best to choose their opposites. So I decided that my new faith was not to be in people either, but in doing my best not to be this way or support others in this way of being. To try to be kind and see people as human even when we disagree about how to live the best life. But also to recognize that sometimes people are cruel for the delight of it or the power of it and not to normalize it by saying things like "all suffering not transformed is transmitted" or "all people are good at heart" because some people are doing more than just perpetuating what they have received. I decided that things like vengeance and "bringing people to justice" do not make sense. There is no justice large enough for a person who has directed the murder of thousands of other humans. The best option is to disable their ability to continue such acts and cut off their ability to spread hurtful ideologies. All that can be done is to neutralize their power and recognize the face of it when we come across it in its nascent form, to try to stop it before it happens again. And part of that, or what I see as my part of that, is to try to be patient and kind in the small sphere of people I do interact with, and work in the networks of construction rather than destruction. It can be very hard sometimes to differentiate the two, and there are ironic odd overlaps at times that make me feel intense moral frustration. But I guess my evolution of faith is to see that moral frustration as part of the human condition as well, and better to feel it than feel nothing. So trying to seek and support what helps, but not turn a blind eye to what is frightening. See it and look carefully and unblinkingly because refusing to see it does not make it go away.

    Now I am not sure which ones are true anymore.....which ones I can and want to pick up & glue back together again.
    I am sorry that you're in that place. I don't have any religious light or wisdom to shine to it. As Anne said though, just being in a place of questioning and uncertainty is more "workable" than being in a place of apathy. It doesn't feel comfortable though :( I did once take a class that I very much enjoyed that was called Philosophy of Religion, and the professor was addicted to the idea that "God's love is inescapable" and his thesis was that any god that created humans and claimed to love them must be invested in their progress and would be loath to torture any of them with such a concept as hell simply for making mistakes that he put in their path to help them grow, therefore regardless of all human experiences and whether you believe in god, that god believes/sees/loves you as an individual. To me his logic was interesting but ultimately unpersuasive. If god believes in you whether or not you believe... where is the incentive to believe? Just live your life as best you can, and if there is a god, he/she/it/they will understand. And if not... you have done what you must to sleep at night on terms with your own conscience. I hope some of this is helpful in some way, but if not, I send you a virtual hug and best wishes that something good will come of this crisis of faith, something bright in this search.

    Also if there was an emoticon for purification by fire, I would send that too
    Aizar, AnneM and yippy nr 2 thanked this post.

  7. #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Samari View Post
    Also if there was an emoticon for purification by fire, I would send that too
    Somebody needs to get on that!!!
    Samari thanked this post.

  8. #8

    I don't see it as crisis of faith, I see it as you're starting to think for yourself. I was raised religious until I questioned it. If one raised in Vietnam for instance one generally Buddhist. If one raised in Saudi Arabia one generally a Sunni Muslim. I thought after sometime religion had more to do with conditioning and geography than faith. Whatever you decide all the best

  9. #9

    Everything gone
    - no idea what is up or down -
    so many times...

    I feel another coming.
    yippy nr 2 thanked this post.

  10. #10

    Going back thru journals to find things which might help. This was a particularly wonderful breakthru I made:


    Also, a quote from my meditation book, A Course in Miracles:

    "I have no question. I forgot what to decide."

    I use that more than anything to silence my mind, especially about spiritual matters. I firmly believe that all that matters faith-wise is a quiet and vigilant mind. The sine qua non.
    yippy nr 2 thanked this post.

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