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shrubbery's avatar

Have your beliefs ever been shaken to the core?

Asked by shrubbery (9835 points ) July 11th, 2008

Has an event or moment in your life, or even in the rest of the world, caused you to question what you believe in or your perception of the world? Have you ever just had to stop and re-evaluate yourself and your beliefs? Have you had a period of time where you are completely uncertain what to believe or accept? If so, will you please share with me :)

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29 Answers

robmandu's avatar

When I realized I had lived more of my life in possession of a drivers license than without… kinda freaked me out. Still not sure why.

shrubbery's avatar

* eagerly awaits Harp’s answer *

Harp's avatar

Absolutely. I was raised in a “belief-rich” religious environment which had a biblical explanation for pretty much everything and left very little room for personal interpretation. It was basically a package deal; either you swallowed the whole thing or hit the road.

Questioning was…well,,,out of the question. To allow my mind to start picking at this edifice of believe was to threaten the integrity of the whole structure, so until my early 20’s I saw any doubts as mortal enemies that threatened my whole worldview, social network and, of course, “salvation”. Questioning was to be summarily squelched.

When I was 23 which was,,,um…a while back I moved overseas and found myself cut off from everything that had been familiar in my life. Being taken out of that familiar context was the catalyst for me to unleash all of the pent up questioning, and by this point there was a lot of it. To my utter astonishment, I found that I could turn off the whole system of belief with almost the ease of flipping a light switch. I realized at that point that that whole belief edifice had been held together only by my constant effort to believe it; it had no legs of its own.

From one day to the next, the entire chimera vanished without a trace. The legacy of that experience is a persistent appetite for questioning and a hard-nosed distrust of belief in any of its forms.

marinelife's avatar

I had to carefully examine my beliefs when I was in college during the Vietnam War. There was a lot of rhetoric from all sides. I was at a very activist school in which war protesters even shut down the campus during spring quarter of my sophomore year with a strike.

I really had to think about my own feelings about the war, and what I would and would not do. I chose to march in peaceful anti-war demonstrations, but not to take part in anything that violently or physically interfered with others lives including shutting down the freeway or striking and blocking campus.

On my 29th birthday, I had a 30th birthday crisis. I looked at my life and realized I had not achieved any of my goals. I was stuck in a marriage with an emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive husband. I was very much a believer in marriage, and it was very hard for me to contemplate ending one. I did not like my job.

Before the year was out, I had left my husband and was in divorce proceedings. I went to management at my company and told a very senior-level guy what I wanted to do career-wise. Amazingly, he wrote a letter and made my transfer to the department that I wanted to be in happen. I learned that I had to ask for what I wanted and actively pursue it. It was not just going to happen.

Since then, there have been other smaller versions of this type of shake-up. I have come to believe that I might not always choose the way that growth happens, but I can never regret its happening.

flameboi's avatar

I’m there right now, I’m kind of lost, not only about my religious beliefs, but about everything else….

jamzzy's avatar

when my girlfriend who i was sure was perfect for me broke up with me over litteraly the stupidest reason.

Spargett's avatar

Just ask all the middle American boys shipping out to Iraq.

Many leave Christians, come back Athiests.

kevbo's avatar

I’d say that I’ve had beliefs shaken from my core. Either by shedding ideas that didn’t make sense anymore or by stumbling upon the articulation of a truth that was recognizable at a gut level.

AtSeDaEsEpPoAoSnA's avatar

When I was in High School, I had a very long talk with a Foreign Exchange Student from Japan. She came from the core of another culture completely unlike our own, there was a great sense of exploration and flexibility in here. There were no apparent conformities about her, just a simple game of “see-saw” that answered alot of curiousities and questions that I had. I anticipated the shake, although it was a hard one, it felt great. Complicated questions were answered by perspective and veiw points. I will never forget that day…end of forth period(painting class). Her name was Momo.

tinyfaery's avatar

I think the process by which I gained my current worldview was slow in coming. No big shock, just one little f!&#-up at a time. And they just keep coming.

Skyrail's avatar

Yep, when I have a shower.

Seriously. When I’m in the shower it gives me time to rethink over the past, my beliefs, my future, the present, my family, my education, who I am etc. and a few times have I stood their and all of a sudden thought about something that leaves me some what hollow for the rest of the day. Religion can be an absolutely terrifying prospect. Or, I guess as someone bought up in a religious surrounding, the lack of can be a terrifying prospect.

margeryred's avatar

yes, I got sued by an alleged female minister… for a complete falacy and I really became bitter after that, buti sought counsel through the church and felt much better…

We are all human beings, some dressed as sheep but wolves to the core. Each person & situation should really be judged on an individual basis! Even asier said than done.

trumi's avatar

Twice. When I was 8 and I realized I didn’t believe in God, and when I was 12 and I realized what that meant.

delirium's avatar

My religious beliefs? No.
My philosophy for life? Yes.
I was in the hospital for a while. In and out of it for violence against myself, or suicide attempts.

I finally realized that doing such was selfish. It would be irresponsible to wimp out after all these people had put so much in to me. So many resources were put in to raising an intellectual, curious, determined young lady that it would be irresponsible to cut that off from reaching its full potential.

I’ve been stable and medicated for a long time now, but I will never forget that I have a responsibility to do something exceptional and to make all this time, energy, money, and education worth it.

Not many people in the world get the opportunities to grow and learn that I have… Not taking advantage of those opportunities (college, for example) would be inappropriate. I might as well make use of them if I am lucky enough to get them.

jlm11f's avatar

can i just say this is a WONDERFUL question? thanks!

susanc's avatar

Many times.
One was this: At 27 I was in love with a tall, strong, silly
man who didn’t love me. He liked me, but he didn’t love me. He was kind, but he didn’t love me. He slept with me, but he didn’t love me.
So one day after I’d been visiting him I drove across the
Merrimac River , thinking hard. In the middle of the bridge, in the middle of winter, I suddenly understood : he didn’t love me. It was excruciating because I’d staked my life on believing he could. And after that I understood that you can’t make this decision: the other person makes it. All my determination and effort to be loved was irrelevant. It was out of my hands.

ebenezer's avatar

I think my belief system was hardened by the existence of the string-pulled gyroscope. That shit is like Jesus walking on water.

ninjaxmarc's avatar

Yes, then I lost it.

Then it was scientifically disproven.

skfinkel's avatar

I think the first time this happened to me was when I was about 8, and my mother’s best friend was dying of breast cancer. I remember praying that she would live, but she died. It was the first thing in my life that was really terrifying, and I guess shaking of beliefs, since it seemed suddenly possible that my mother could also die. A loss of innocence.

bunkin's avatar

When my nephew died at 7 weeks old… As I was holding his lifeless little body I hated God so much. I just wanted to know how he could let this happen. It took me years to come to grips with the fact that he was not coming back no matter how much I wished hoped and prayed and I realized that I was making myself and everyone around me miserable as well as doing nothing positive for the memory of my nephew. I memorialized him with a tattoo and gave my life back to God. I am finally able to deal with the fact that even though I cant see him or hold him, I will be with him one fine day.

marinelife's avatar

@bunkin That is a dreadful loss. I am so sorry that you had such a horrible experience and that your innocent nephew lost his life so soon.

flameboi's avatar

o.k. I’d been thinking about this the whole weekend, I’m not lost now as it was stated above… now I do remember when my beliefs were shaken to the core… I’ve had several changes in my life, like everyone else, but one in particular was, kind of self destructive. Now I know I was feeling lonely and depressed (that was it). I was trying to scape from such pain in different ways, and one night in the middle of my runaways, I started to think about all the stuff my family was going though because of me, asking God why he has put me into this, why my dad was not with us, why instead of being just a normal person I’ve pushed myself to the limits so far for so long… and there, staring at the ocean, waiting for the sunrise with a bottle of moet in my righ hand and a cigarrete in the other, after thinking about it for like 3 hours, I decided that it was enough, left the hotel, took the first plane back home, apologized to everyone, and started to clean the mess… it’s been 3 years after that, and someone told me yesterday, after the storm, there is always a rainbow :)

shudderbrother's avatar

About 5 years ago, after many many years of trouble and different degrees of suffering, my sister´s problems turned into a crisis that nobody – even not our parents – could deny. She was not just a little depressed or “unlucky” (mum´s term). She was severly ill, and in her mind she was building a cage around herself.

She always trusted me in a special way (being her older brother maybe). And through the years I have walked for hours with her, listening to her trouble and fears and trying to put them in perspective for her. Yes, I thought I could be able to cut through the numbing soft bullshit my parents wrapped her in, and help her get to grips with her life.

Ultimately she got into a psychiatric hospital. Our walks continued about every day. And I firmly believed that together with the doctors treatment we could get her through this. I thought that was I said was extremely important, every word was important as it could help change her patterns of thinking. Stupid fool! I was sure the really bad things couldn´t happen with us. Everything can be dealt with in my family.
Well it couldn´t this time. And at last she couldn´t stand the pills and all her fears.

More than enought said, but this opened a new understanding of how fragile everything is. Between success and disaster, sane and insane, it´s such a very thin line!

Poser's avatar

Happened twice. The first time, it was very much like Harp’s story.

The second time was yesterday, and the implications are still making themselves known to me. I realized that I have spent the majority of my life worrying about being like my father. Until I was about 13, I worried that I wasn’t enough like him. From 13 to yesterday, I worried that I was too much like him.

VzzBzz's avatar

Yes.
The first time was not only my disbelief at falling in love with a married person but that I had planned to act on it.
The second time was believing in someone who said they loved me as I most wanted to be.

Master0fPuppets's avatar

I was raised Lutheran. Baptized, made communion, confirmed, and even went to Sunday School. As I grew, and my connection to nature grew (I’m half Sioux by birth) I realized the “big picture” was more than something someone heard from someone else, then wrote in a book 2000 years ago. Seeing how many different religions there were, and researching most of them, taught me that it’s not a specific belief that’s “right”, it’s whatever helps you live the “right” way – be it a God, Saints, a collective “oneness” – whatever brings you completeness in your heart, and helps you get through life, is sufficient. Then, when my sister died at 34 years old (she was married to her HS sweetheart, had two gorgeous kids, and owned a lucrative business for many years), of multiple myeloma (never smoked, drank, barely even cursed) I gave up completely on organized religion. I chose to believe we’re only a part of something bigger than us, and that’s nature, and if we take care of her, she’ll take care of us. I have morals, and values, and live a respectful helpful life – I don’t need some book to tell me how to do that.

Zaxwar91's avatar

Im gonna have to go with @Master0fPuppets. I was baptized Catholic, went to Catholic school for three years, and even actually believed in God for a good chunk of my life. Thats was until i began to ask the question of what people deserved to go to hell. When i asked my priest what happened to people of other religions when they died, he said that they go to hell. I then did my research and found that Christianity is actually one of the youngest religions. I was probably about 13 at the time, and even then my belief in God was shaken to the very core. So much, that when i turned 16 i stopped going to church. I just cant see God as a being who only saves one group of people. Honestly, what happened to the billions of people who died before the belief in one true god ever arose. Hinduism was around even before Judaism, so what happened to all the Hindu’s. I cant stomach the thought of a God who chooses only one people to accept and leaves the other 90% to burn in hell for all of eternity. Thats God is Satan, and that other 10% are his chosen.

candide's avatar

If that ever happened then I’d know that they weren’t very sound beliefs in the first place!

so, no.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

When I was young, I was idealistic, thinking that most human beings were naturally good and loving, but as I got older and lived life in the “real world”, I have come to realize that a lot of people out there are nothing but a bunch of selfish, rude idiots. Sigh.

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