Religious Doubts? Here’s what to do …

Religious Doubts?  Here’s what to do …


This one’s for all
the religious doubters who may be watching. There may come a time when you are no
longer sure you believe in God anymore, and you’re not sure
what to do. And me just saying something like,
“Well, stop believing in God!” that doesn’t really help. It’s never that easy.
So, seriously, what should you do if
you’re having a crisis of faith? Here’s the good news. No one controls your mind. I mean, maybe your parents are
making you go to church every week, but only you get to decide what’s going on in your own head
and you have all the time in the world to figure out what it is you believe in
or don’t believe in. I think you should
start by reading. Read what the religious apologists
have to say in defense of God. Read what atheists have to say
against God’s existence whether it’s books
or websites. You could also, you know,
watch videos or listen to podcasts. Figure out what
you agree with, what you don’t
believe in anymore, and where you still
have questions. It’s entirely possible that you might
agree with Richard Dawkins on some stuff. And agree with,
you know, Lee Strobel on
some other stuff. That’s okay. If you’re not sure what
the right answer is about something, keep reading. And eventually, you’ll come to some clarity
on the issue. Maybe you’ll land on one side or the other. And if you don’t, that’s fine, too.
Not every question has an answer. I would also urge you to think about
why you were religious in the first place. Was it because your parents
told you to believe that way? Maybe a pastor,
or a friend? Is it because of where you live
and the community around you? Maybe the truth shouldn’t be
dependent on geography. Or is it because you decided that religious
beliefs made sense for you in the past? You know, if so, why did you feel that way?
And what changed since then? If you have friends who might be willing
to talk through these issue with you, take them up on it. And it doesn’t matter if they’re religious or not.
Sometimes you just need that sounding board. You want someone who’s willing to
debate you and hear you out. Someone you could disagree with,
but still leave the conversation as good friends. Seek those people out
and have those conversations. Turns out you can learn a lot about yourself by
talking to someone who isn’t afraid to challenge you in a civil way. The most important thing is
that you’re thinking about this issue and you’re not afraid of where
the evidence may lead you. More than anything,
I hate apathy. It bugs me so much when people say they
don’t know quite where they stand on religion, because they just don’t
think about it that much. I mean, this is an issue that
affects our politics, our lives, and it raises some of the biggest questions
we will ever have to answer for ourselves. How could anyone
not care about that? So, good for you
for exploring the topic. There are a lot of
religious groups out there that say doubt
is bad and challenging a holy book
is unacceptable. When asking critical questions
is seen as a bad thing, that’s when you know
your beliefs have to go. Either way, I wish you the best
of luck in this journey. I know which way I would
like you to go, but again, what’s most important is that you’re
thinking about these things. You’re questioning it. A lot of people don’t have
the courage to do that. So, good for you. My name is Hemant Mehta and I write
at FriendlyAtheist.com Please, leave a comment below
and we will be sure to check it out. And don’t forget
to subscribe.

84 Replies to “Religious Doubts? Here’s what to do …”

  1. Excellent advice, Hemant. I hope your videos go on to help many people with their ideological struggles and that they eventually find what they are looking for because of them. 🙂

  2. For almost a year, I have been stuck on the border of whether I wanted to abandon my religion or not. At first, I thought it was gonna be horrible, to leave all my family religious, and be the odd one out. I thought I was going to feel wrong about my decision. How wrong was I?

    Turns out, once I finally accepted the fact that I don't really believe in any god, it gave me a huge confidence booster, and in general, I just felt better. It really shows how I moved on, and how much more open-minded I am now, compared to what I have been 5 years ago. Refusing to question these things, is just the laziness of mind (in my opinion). Still, half of my family refuses to accept that I am non-religious all of a sudden, but I feel comfortable in this situation, despite what my parents and grandparents have to say.

    If anyone has a similar story please relate 😉

  3. Hemant, I had an idea for a video you could do.
    (Working title) 9 Reasons Why Religion Has Stood the Test of Time.
    1. It has vast explanatory power…. It has answers for almost all of the really difficult questions (albeit wrong answers).
    2. It uses guilt as a mechanism for preventing defection.
    3. There is a chosen people and not chosen people; everyone wants to feel chosen or special.
    4. It capitalizes on tribal divisions between people (us versus them is OK). Tribalism is a static function within our evolutionary roots.
    5. Peer pressure is a supported feature within the congregation.
    6. For the sake of efficiency, it has a set of rules to follow that make it easy for the casual believer. Morality is prepackaged and doesn't require intellectual investments.
    7. Good and bad can be viewed as good versus evil. Devastating hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes are products of an evil force. Miracles are products of a benevolent loving father.
    8. It claims ownership of spiritual bliss. Athletes can experience a sort of transcending one-ness with themselves that may have an addictive response. Emotional transcendence has been hijacked.
    9. It has dominion over our future, moreover, it has dominion over out life after death. Supposing there is life after death, religion has a place for you creating a false dichotomy. Of course you want to end up in paradise….

    These are juts the few examples I thought of in five minutes. Help yourself to the template above or devise a better rendition.

    Thanks.

  4. I as an atheist have been quite outspoken for some time now. Although being an 'agnostic' (atheist) seems very much the standard around here in the Netherlands, I did come around a friend who turned out to be an outspoken Christian.

    He and I got into some really heavy conversations, truly challenging each others beliefs. It did worry me at first, but when I asked him about it, he was very much responding like me; "these kind of topics simply get heated, so don't worry about it".

    Believe me, there IS a lot you can learn from a Christian friend, who is willing to be friends regardless of religion.

  5. Here is a question if you grew up in a very religious house and decided you want to be an atheist but know would be disowned for it what would you do. Do you just wait till you can get your own place then come out and continue going to church or whatever every week or what

  6. CP is a troll. Hemant undoubtedly receives many trollish remarks from this 'community', sadly. Good video. I've seen many videos but rarely comment. Just thought I'd throw you a verbal high-five for all the work you do. 🙂

  7. I remember when i was going through that for a few years, i decided to become an official agnostic when i was 16 and when i became 18 i became an atheist. I haven't looked back since, my life is way easier and i'm much happier because of it. If you're worried about not having any meaning in life as an atheist, i can tell you that i found my purpose in life after i became an atheist. Before i became an atheist my parents wanted me to become a lawyer but i later realized that i had a fascination with the universe and physics so i'm now in my last year of uni studying to become a theoretical physicist to find out the answers to the universe myself.

  8. Once again another outstanding video executed perfectly by The Atheist Voice…. im very glad to have found this channel earlier.

  9. I followed many of the tips that Hemant suggested in this video. After 28 years as a believer I came to the conclusion that I could no longer believe after I did tons of research and just actually thought long and hard about it. I've been an atheist now for nearly two years and I've honestly never been happier. My views on a lot of things have changed and I'm more accepting of other people that have differences from me. 

  10. If people are interested in how people go through deconversion, please feel free to check out my (lecture length) findings from my research. Here is a link to the YT video: http://tinyurl.com/ozjul28 

  11. Always remember to teach your children about a imaginary being, without evidence.  Evolution is just a theory, but god doesn't even match that.

  12. Religious belief made sense for me in the past, but you ask why it did for me? Well… Time for a short story.

    So, I grew up in a Catholic household and was taught that I shouldn't like people because they like things like Pokemon or Harry Potter, or that two guys/girls kissing is wrong… Now, what made me question my beliefs was rather simple. I talked to three different pastors, one of which is currently in charge of the most charismatic church in my state, and one of the few in the US that is almost a tourist attraction. What he said to me was rather… Puzzling, because he told me that other churches were wrong in saying that Hellboy or The Exorcist were demonic, he told me that he believes it's just entertainment, and that he's not for gay marriage, but he is for gay relationships. This only brought up more questions and every other pastor had told me "He's not a real priest, he doesn't know what he's talking about." I grew up not knowing anything else, not knowing anything about other cultures or religions… I didn't know what a Mormon was until I was fourteen years old, and that was because my neighbors that had JUST moved in that year were Mormons.

    Continuing to look into it, all I saw was fear mongering con artists who want you to be Normal Norman. "You shouldn't watch this, this, this and this, you can't like this, this or this and you need to tell people to be more like you or they're going to burn forever in hell." What finally pushed me away from religion… My best friend is a Catholic, and he's also gay… But he hates himself for it, he thinks it's wrong, he thinks he's going to hell and is basically just… Depressed all of the time because of the stupid shit they taught him.

    The religious people in my life have been nothing but controlling, lying, hypocritical, ignorant assholes with absolutely no compassion towards other people. What made me decide to be an atheist was simple: I wanted to be a better person.

  13. It took me a loooong time to finally get rid of my faith. I wish this video had been there then. Thanks for uploading for others who are currently going through that though.

  14. Well in some cases you will lose your family. One of my friends grew up as a Jehovah's witness. Somebody in his community had a very sick child who needed a blood transfusion or would die, so the parents did that. Then when the child was 14 years old, she needed another one and the parents were all for it again. Sharing blood is a bad thing in their religion, so the church elders tried to convince the parents that they shouldn't do that again (they tried the first time also) but again failed. So they convinced the 14 year old not to have it and she died. My friend's dad was one of the people who helped convince this girl of that thing. My friend started doubting the religion and for 2 years was going away, until his dad got hit by a car and died. After that he left his religion at 18 years old with his brother. They are the only family each other has now, because the rest of the family exiled them. It was hard, but he now gets to celebrate holidays, have whoever he wants as friends, not have to worry about pleasing god every minute of the day, and not be in a community that tells 14 year old girls its better to die than to live and share clean blood. If you family will exile you, for wanting to be yourself, then they don't actually care about you.

  15. I have a question for my fellow atheists. What do you say when a Christian says " until you have a relationship with god, you will always have doubt." My family and the church always pull that one on me. That's when I loose.

  16. This is one of my top 3 videos on this channel, if not simply #1. People don't think about religion and I have seen when people do and find it false. The most dramatic of which I talked about a few episodes ago where a Christian friend of mine was told it was me (his gay friend) or the Church. The moment he was told this the expression on his face is one that I can not explain. A melange of disgust, horror, and pity that conveys that you do not believe what you just heard.

  17. It's so funny, I've watched a couple of this guy's videos and in every one of them he's addressed only stereotypical ideas of the church and only attacked Christ centered faiths. He hasn't addressed any serious or deep question(at least in any of the videos I've looked at). And, according to him, people of other religions are equally as wrong as we are. Also, a lot of stereotypical ideas that he does address are easily answered clearly in the Bible. In each one of his videos, his sign offs mention that he writes as the "Friendly Atheist" yet he attacks the Christian faith, why? For the sake of being right. His opinions are his, I give him that, but the way he goes about professing his belief I find to be extremely arrogant, especially when he using are very sarcastic tone when talking about anything biblical. It's demeaning.

  18. This video is far better advice than most religious people would give! And you're not telling them to abandon their beliefs, but to analyze them. Good job Hemant.

  19. I approve of this message. As an atheist the worst thing you can do is go out and start hating and tell people to stop believing, because that will result in a defensive position that ultimately just makes their faith stronger.
    Facilitating and helping people to see that it's safe and alright to show doubt is absolutely the way to go.. because as an atheist and scientific person, you know that reality is on your side, unlike every religion who hates skeptical questions, we endorse them.
    Also I think it's incredibly important to point out that it is entirely possible and fair (in my opinion) to be agnostic, from a scientific viewpoint, rather than atheist. Meaning that there's nothing to prove the existence of a god, but likewise there's nothing to disapprove it, so it's alright to say there may be a god or there may not be.. you simply just don't know, because there's no evidence of either.
    It's a lot more inclusive that way too ^^

  20. One of my family members are Muslim and they told me to believe in Allah. Back in the day I used to think Allah was real and couldn't lose faith from him till I realized that later on I've watched videos about other atheists and listened to some atheist podcast after the end of 2013 Ramadan. I suddenly lost my faith on Allah last year and it wasn't easy to do so.

  21. Is there anything I can say to my sister that can make her think about her religion she is the same age I was when I began to doubt and I don't want to see her fall for the same tricks that kept me in church and caused me to become depressed

  22. Thank you for posting this video, I know it's a difficult topic to address but I'm glad you were able to talk about it to reassure and encourage some of your viewers!

  23. Id tell them to study the bible themselves and make up their own minds. Sometimes pastors, churches, apologists and even anti religious people get it wrong about what is in or isnt in the bible.

  24. Is it weird that I want to be a Buddhist but my personal beliefs say that Buddhism is not the correct religion. I want to be a Buddhist because a lot seem to have found piece in their beliefs but they believe that there isn't a god, while I do. Can you guys give me some feed back on how I could possibly stay a Catholic but come to an inner peace like a Buddhist?

  25. what worked for me was … after reading a lot and rethinking about my believes l came to the conclusion by myself, the problem was that it was not easy to let my faith go just like that, but one day, l decided to come out to myself in front of a mirror, was not easy, and it hurt a lot, but the next day was a new day and yup! from then on l was happy and more important y felt true to myself and waited a few years to come out to my family and friends.

  26. This is why I subscribe to this channel, as well as can recognize Hemant's writings on other sites.
    He's incredibly well spoken, RATIONAL, but most importantly, he's FAIR.
    He doesn't take an antagonistic stance, but understands that just encouraging people to think for themselves, and not letting others think for them, (whether those others be theist, agnostic, atheist or apathetic) will likely result in a better result than trying to force them to fall in line.

    It's also worth point out that you won't hear a single religious person tell people on the fence to listen to opposing arguments.
    Instead, you'll hear them try to placate them with cliche religious platitudes, or somehow try to devalue opposition.
    In NO case will they encourage anyone having a "crisis of faith" to become familiar with all opinions, and think/decide for themselves. They'll want to try to convince them (aka think FOR them) instead.

    Much respect Mr. Mehta. Keep up the good work!

  27. I had doubts several months ago about my religion (Baptist). I went to a Christian high school, am now 2nd year college. As a history major, I took ancient world civ. After learning about how several of the Biblical accounts of history aren't supported by other accounts and how some stories are taken from previous cultures, I was conflicted. That's when I learned to doubt even what was told to be wrong to question. That soon made me realize what environment I was really in. I questioned my whole Christian Science and history I had been taught, and I learned that many of its claims are preposterous and direct contradictory to physical evidence: ie the fossil record and radioactive dating. Then when I was sure enough to ask a leader about all of these things, I got "You just need faith" as answer. The next Sunday, the pastor talked on homosexuality, which he never mentioned before honestly. "Back in my day we called em queers." That was the moment I became atheist.

  28. Hi Hemant, first of all I want to say I love your channel and can't help it but listen carefully to all you have to say giving it a deep thought even though I've always been a christian. This video in particular calls my attention because I have been doubting about my believes in the last months and I have actually done a couple of things you suggest on this video. I have been talking about it with a very nice friend and pastor of my church who is being my "faith voice" right now and I like the idea that your videos are a huge part of the "atheist voice" in this struggle I'm dealing with at the moment XD. So I wanted to thank you for doing such an amazing job and to encourage you to keep going, I'll keep myself updated with your channel and if you don't mind me, I would like to ask some questions every now and then. Thank you again, have a great rest of the day 🙂

  29. To truly understand anything you need to understand both sides of the spectrum. Critical thinking is used to find the truth and my definition of critical thinking is to take all the variables of an issue, all of it ( every aspect of the side you agree with and the side you disagree with ) and understand it all and see where everything fits.  Very few people do that. They only understand one side of the spectrum and yet claim to understand it all really when they dont.
     If I can demonstrate that I understand your perspective, but you cannot demonstrate that you understand mine then we have nothing to discuss, because no matter what points you try to bring up they are all in the light of your limited understanding to only your one side of the spectrum. You only know one side of the spectrum so you dont really see the whole picture.
    Thats an argument I always give to evolution deniers. First show me that you understand what evolution is and then if you still think it's false, then we'll discuss it. Otherwise I might as well be debating with a toddler.  And the case always is that they can never demonstrate that they understand it and at the same time dont except it. Its like voting. How many people do you think have a clue what there really voting for?   Not many.  They stick to the ideas and influence of the community around them and fail to observe or research the other side to fully understand whats really going on.  Thats what I found out when I was going through my deconversion. I was only looking for answers on one side "the christian side" and completely ignored the other side. It's like trying to complete a puzzle with only half the pieces. The years and confusion I would have saved if I realized that sooner.

  30. Excellent advice.  As a 43 year old man who in the last year found himself on the fence of faith, but now is trying to find a way to exist in such a saturated religious world I can say that videos like this are NEEDED.  Honest, kind, and thoughtful ways to address people in their doubts are extremely important.  

    I was always turned off by the more militant atheists and I initially steered clear of trying to learn anything from them, just because I found them so abrasive that I couldn't get past their demeanor to learn their message.  

    It took a close atheist friend who was very patient, thoughtful and caring to help me take the honest look at my own doubt and take that first step off the fence.  People like you bridge the gap in a thoughtful way and can help people just trying to learn and step off of their won religious fence.  Well done.

  31. What do you think about this? I believe this is Pascal's Wager.
    If you die a Christian and God exists, you gain everything. If he doesn't exist, you lose everything when you die.
    If you die an Atheist and God exists, you lose everything. If he doesn't exist, you still lose everything when you die.

    Wouldn't you want to take the one with the option of gaining everything?

  32. If you are a grown person in the Church and have not made up you mind why you are there you need to it's very important you do

  33. I also recommend reading when you're having a "crisis of faith", but read more than just your own religious doctrine vs. what atheists have to say about it. Read about other religions too, and then read something from a believer who is anti-organized religion. Personally I am an atheist, but I've started reading "Age of Reason" by Thomas Payne, who was a deist (someone who has a personal belief in God but does not believe in any organized religion). He tears apart religious arguments even better than most atheists do, and it's good to hear/read arguments from points of view you never would have considered. For instance, I actually officially decided to start identifying and calling myself as an atheist after reading about Buddhism. There was a little story about people asking the Buddha is there is a God/Gods. His answer was simple: whether one exists or not is irrelevant. Demanding to know if there is a God is like refusing to have an arrow removed from your body until you know how many feathers are on the end of it. Whether God exists or not, we still experience suffering, and it is up to us to help each other out and find inner peace. When I read that, I decided to stop obsessing over whether God was real or not or what religion was "the right one", and decided to just be a good person and find my own path to happiness in life.

  34. To add on to searching religious apologetics, I'd make sure that what they say is supported by the most authoritative parts of the belief (I.e., the Bible, the Qur'an). I'd also look at context.

  35. I'M HAVING RELIGIOUS DOUBTS.  I THINK THAT RAINBOW WAS A BAD IDEA.  YOU APOSTATE FUCKFACES GONNA GET IT NOW.  BREAK OUT THE UMBRELLAS MOTHER FUCKERS.

  36. Your visuals got much better. The videos used to be too bright to watch, mostly the background. I think many people commented aout it along me.

  37. Well there can’t be a practical reason to believing what isn’t true. I rule it out as impossible. Either a thing is true or it isn’t. If it is true you should believe it and if it isn’t you shouldn’t. And if you cannot find out if it is true or isn’t you should suspend judgement. It seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it is useful and not because you think it is true.

  38. Religion never made much sense to me, but I believed anyway for a while. When I was 4 or 5 I asked a pastor where god came from, and he said god was always there. That was his only response over and over. "But who made god?" "How old is he?" Even at age 5, a god that was just always there seemed illogical.

  39. I started by watching debates between "expert"atheists and "expert" believers  to know the best arguments on both sides and every time i watched them at the end I believed less and less in a god. After some days of watching debates and reading arguments from both sides I ended up by being agnostic (for a week!) until I realized even though we actually don't know for sure (100%) weather there is/are (a) god(s) or not it's not crazy at all thinking there is probable, very probable there is none. Actually is the most reasonable position. Since that time I'm still waiting proves of the existence of any god… they haven't come yet

  40. I purely believed until I was about 7, when I began to see that not all of this religious stuff makes sense. Then, a while later, I found out a lot of my friends were Bi, Lesbian, or Gay. I was fine with it. I didn't see anything wrong. They had different sexual preferences from me, so what? I really believed that until one youth group, when I found out that Homosexuality is a sin. At first that scared me. I didn't want my good friends to go to hell. Then it hit me. Why? Why is it a sin? What's wrong with it? As long as we love him above all else, why does he care who we love otherwise? That's when I became a full agnostic. Just today, I had an argument with my grandma about bad words. I was watching a youtuber play a rage game, which of course had swearing in it. She told me to turn it off because of all the profanity. I asked her, mom swears, is she a bad person? She replied, She is when she swears. I said back, we created language, we created those words and made them bad in the first place. In their base form bad words are just synonyms for words we use everyday. Now I'm just confused.

  41. “Do not be afraid of being free thinkers. If you think strongly enough you will be forced by science to the belief in God, which is the foundation of all religion. You will find science not antagonistic but helpful to religion.”
    Lord Kelvin

  42. As much as I doubt the existence of God, I cannot say he doesn't exist because there is no proof that he doesn't exist just like there is no proof that he doesn't exist. So I am keeping an open mind and stating that there is a God and he/she/it is everywhere in everything and if believing in God only benefits oneself then what is the harm in believing in God, you don't have to go to Church, Mosque or Temple to believe in God just allow time in your life so that you can speak to a higher power as it can help you make better decisions in life and to clear your mind, bring you into a peaceful more productive existence.

  43. I tried to read atheist stuff and I feel bad for atheists. You're mentality is flawed to the point of retardation

  44. I as a christian think that you should examine yourself to see if you are a true Christian. If you feel you aren't a true Christian but still believe in God then you should get help from others and try your best to obey Gods law and make sure that you are truly saved. God bless everyone

  45. After going threw several situations in my life and seeking religion for answers.. and God always staying silent on me of come to the conclusion that I think your right.. believing only gave me false hope, and putting my life on hold waiting for miracles.. when you are the one that has to go get what’s yours.. and all that about things happen for a reason is also bullshit, shit just happens l feel better know than just waiting around for a miracle go get what’s yours on your own

  46. I was and still am religious because my religion, Islam, is very sensible.I commented why before, you might check it out!

  47. No rational people would be religious if their parents gave them a freewill to choose their way of life back then..

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