When I was a teenager and in a bad place, I believed that there was a God. Now that I'm in my 30s and in a good place, I'm not sure if God exists at all. Any comments?
Just an observation.
when you were in a bad place, you had god.And for some that is a source of comfort.
And now you are in a good place, asking questions. Which in my book is one of the best things people can do.
Could it be more likely you are in a better place because of your own doing, and find comfort with yourself?
It could be that no God is needed.
As a high schooler (especially when I was a senior), I was bookish and had a very offbeat sense of humor. People didn't get me. Hence, I felt very alone and persecuted. My parents were divorced and my brothers were much older, so I was essentially an only child. I felt very alone.
I didn't know where to go for consolation, so I tried reading a Gideon's Bible that I picked up from- where the heck did I pick that thing up? Is it possible they handed them out in school? Maybe- anyway, I started reading the book of Psalms, which, as you may know, is full of a lot of verses about how God is on the reader's side and how, even though everyone else treats us like crap, God is going to kick the snot out of them someday and boy howdy, are they going to be sorry. Very comforting stuff for a lonesome 17-year-old to contemplate.
Of course, at the same time, I watched and read a lot of Star Trek and contemplated the Vulcan philosophy, how logical thought and consideration was superior to impulsiveness and emotion as a way to live your life. And I spent a lot of time trying to apply rational thought to my problems, not letting emotions cloud my thinking.
Honestly, I think Star Trek had a greater long-term effect on me than the Bible did, since I'm still trying to think rationally about things, whereas I don't believe there's any god that's going to watch over me or punish my enemies for me. Logically speaking, such a belief would be the height of arrogance.
I began my journey away from belief in my early thirties. It wasn't about being in a bad place vs a good place, it was about reaching a point in my life when I could no longer just accept rote answers to difficult questions about god and what I had been taught to believe.
My journey from believer to atheist took a little over a decade. I didn't immediately go to atheist because I realized I no longer believed in the god of the bible. I looked at other belief systems then settled into deism. I became an atheist when I accepted the science that shows there is no reason to insert a god of any kind when explaining how the universe works--especially a god that concerns itself with human affairs.
Painful events in my life (my daughter having her baby die in the womb, one of my brothers being killed in a work accident--just when he was getting his life together) happened after I was no longer a believer in the god I was taught to believe in; and, at no time did I feel any need to turn back to that god. These events actually helped reaffirm my non-belief in any kind of "personal, caring" god.
I actually found comfort in knowing that it is just a reality of life that bad things happen and that there is no god watching all this and deciding who has to suffer and who gets to be spared.
If I believed in this god, I would have no choice but to hate it. Not just for my suffering, or that of my family, but for all the suffering of humans and animals.
Any being that would create a world, knowing all this, just so a few would believe in it, and the right things about it, and make it to heaven, is not worthy of my worship.
Now, is there some non-caring, impersonal, non-involved, creator god/consciousness out there? This I cannot know; but, as stated above, I see no reason to think any universal consciousness or god-- of any kind-- exists.
Whether you are in a good place or a bad place doesn't really matter. What matters is what makes sense to you.
One thing that makes a difference is that your current brain is a lot different from your teenage brain. One of them tends to be more emotional. You can guess which is which.
Often, it seems the belief or the need to believe stems from fear. If you were in a bad place, you probably had serious concerns about your life and your future.
When you hear from others that trusting in god can remove those fears, it sounds comforting. If you don't face the same fears now, you can think more clearly and the need for an outside source of comfort isn't as strong. Rational thought can play a more important role in your decision making process.
People often turn to the idea of an all powerful imaginary being when they find themselves in a bad situation that they feel powerless to deal with. This is particularly so when the individual is immature and is still seeking a solution from a parental figure, an all powerful sky daddy is just the thing.
Naturally, there is no intervention or salvation in the real world because the god is an imaginary friend but it can give a person a sense of false security that may help them through a rough period. As we mature we do not need these imaginary friends and so they tend to be put away, much like a child learns to give up the ratty old security blanket that they have been dragging around for years but give up when it is time to go to elementary school.
If you are unsure, you are an agnostic. If you want to be sure, do some research. Read all the arguments you can for the existence of gods. Try finding actual evidence. I did so, and concluded that there IS NO EVIDENCE for the existence of gods. All the literature provided by religions are based on nothing but blind faith. At least that's what I discovered. I admit that there may be evidence out there that I have not yet seen. But until it surfaces and comes to my attention, I am glad to be an atheist.
Critically examine the evidence...is there actually any evidence of god’s existence? Only you can decide what you believe to be true, it doesn’t matter what other people say or think, this is about your beliefs based on what you truly can accept to be true. Most people who believe in god take his/it’s existence on blind faith, because it’s what they have been conditioned to believe. You are at the stage of questioning that belief, now you need to decide whether to take that a step further to actual disbelief or to stay undecided, but that won’t be sustainable for very long. I don’t think it’s possible for you to return to a state of totally believing again, so by default the decision is already made. When you were in a bad place you felt the need for god’s support, now you feel in a good place you can see there isn’t any need for any divine help, you can be happy and successful by your own efforts,
It makes sense, to me at least, that being in a bad place would bias you to buy into the cultural myth that there is a loving, caring, Big Daddy in the Sky, who knows abut and will look after you. I believe that humanity invented gods, time and again, out of desperation, in the face of the uncertain, and random operations, or impact, of the universe in our lives, in order to gain a sense of comfort, if not control, over these.
As an engineer / scientist and an agnostic, I cannot declare there is no god because you can't prove a negative. Conversely, xtians and muslims cannot prove there is. Based on the current state of affairs on this blue island of life, I see no evidence of a superior being. I tell people when jebus shows up and puts my finger in the hole in his hand, I'll hit the floor like a prom dress! Until then, ain't no god!
You believe what you need to believe to get you through. In the end no one really knows. When I hit bad times I think of my 90 year old grandfather who worked his tail off outside until his last year and died as soon as he was put in a nursing home. I think of his stubborness an hard as hell human spirit and I fight like hell to push through. I don't need god.
I can identify with this and also say the god doubt gets much stronger as you get older. I have known or heard of people who jump back and forth between god belief and atheism but if you investigate this you will find that usually a person of the opposite sex is involved there somewhere. In other words, I might believe again in order to have a sweetheart. Gods have nothing to do with it. There is zero evidence of gods.
Nobody has produced any falsifiable evidence to support the existence claims of any gods in the last 5,000 years. As such, all those gods are fictional. (Unicorns and balrogs are also fictional.) Moreover, it is trivial to show that both the God of the Bible and the God of the Torah cannot exist.
See also @BestWithoutGods' comment "All the literature provided by religions are based on nothing but blind faith". I much prefer the vision afforded by the Scientific Method rather than the blindness of myth-claimed-as-fact.
I have understood that bad times and difficult living conditions often lend themselves to reliance on supernatural beliefs for confort and hope. The supernatural certainly has been given credit for natural disasters and harsh weather. The supernatural also often promises a better easier afterlife. To me, it seems counter intuitive, but the same is true for other phenomenon such as divorce. Divorce rates tend to drop when economic conditions like a recession come on. I would think the increase stress of economic hardships would cause divorces, but perhaps the need to work together or to rely on one another creates an opposite effect. Perhaps the same is true with belief in the supernatural.
i would not mind knowing, before commenting directly, why you doubt the existence of a god or gods (including which god or gods you now doubt). my story appears to be different from most here, who were generally onxe christian (i never was) and churchgoing (i was never religious) and eventually disillusioned by the illogic and sometimes the viciousness of the bible (whichever bible that was, and at any rate i hadn't read any bibles). some of them started their path of doubting (i never doubted; i had a vague belief in a personal god who wasn't terribly involved in the doings of earth anyway but was more of an observer, and then one day i realized, due to unrelated realizations, that there was no such entity) because bad things happened to them (my realizations were not traumatic). they say "how could god let this happen?" this ofcourse is not doubt of a god but doubt of a GOOD god, which is different. others just came to their realizations as they grew and matured (i was 15 -- and not especially mature, i admit!) so... if you could explain where you're coming from, at least in a general sense, i could comment better.