Hi, I was hoping maybe some of you good people could help me out.
I am not afraid of God, I'm terrified. My adoptive father was a fundamentalist evangelical pastor. This was back in the days of pulpit pounding and hell-fire and brimstone. For me the central character of God was not love, but judgement. On top of that was the judgement of the congregation, that my character and actions would reflect badly on my father. Then throw on top of that being an unaware empath and not being able to ignore the judgements of my classmates. My formative years felt like being a bug under a magnifying glass.
I used to have recurring nightmares of being thrown into hell. I no longer remember my dreams.
I want to believe that God is love. Yet for me, just being able to relax and enjoy myself always seemed wrong. That happiness was an act of defiance. I became hyper aware of my own faults and beset with a sense of impending doom.
For the last few years I have tried to reject anything of a spiritual nature. I became a complete atheist/materialist. I rejected emotion and tried to embrace pure reason. I tried to climb into the box of science and the material world in an attempt to escape. I became humourless and pedantic. I finally convinced myself that all that awaited me upon death was oblivion. And at first I finally found some relief. But as time went on and I examined the world through the lens of science I realized the only emotion I ever felt was futility. I longed for the grave. I longed for nothingness. There was no justification for the suffering I felt and saw. Pain was just pain. Survival just for survival's sake.
So with much fear and trembling I began my inward journey, again. I have been desperately searching for that elusive joy and wonder that I foggily remember from my short and happy childhood. I long to believe that there is a good purpose to this existence.
So please, I would like to hear about your ideas of God. And it doesn't have to be from a Christian point of view. Tell me why you have hope. What chases away your fear of death? What helps you deal with pain and suffering?
updated by @shadowpath: 01/17/17 03:34:33PM